This Week In Books

With summer on the doorstep we are sliding into a heatwave this weekend. Thank God the house is currently spotless and full of both reading material and mangoes.

My Chilli Chicken with a Mango Salsa

The DVD Fairy made a donation to the Little Library last week encouraging a selection of movies not generally considered. These included POMPEII, featuring an abundance of flames and fury with poor little Kit Harrington copping the wrong end of the stick yet again. And then there was OBLIVION which caused a great deal of psychoanalysis on my part. Sci Fi AND Tom Cruise. Why do I self inflict like this?

This facility has become so popular in our local parkland that the Council has agreed to install a separate utility to house books for Little People, allowing them the sensory pleasure of choosing their own books. WOOT WOO!

Read Jane Harper’s fourth novel, The Survivors, based in a small coastal town in Tasmania, unlike her previous books where the harsh Australian outback becomes a stand alone character. Couldn’t put it down though I have lots of “buts”……….

Stephen Fry’s Mythos is a retelling of Greek Mythology and is written the way he speaks making it easy to keep up with who is whom in the zoo.


My garden is beginning to suffer due to the lack of rain ( though the media continues its scare tactics by quoting expected cyclones : Was 15 down to 4). Optimistic, I treated myself to a new addition:

Stay hydrated…….

A Recipe Book For Those With Food Intolerances.

My daughters have eaten all manner of interesting food whilst travelling the world including moose, armadillo, duck tongues and sea urchins. Do you think I’ve ever been able to get either of them to eat cucumber? Not on your life ! It wasn’t until they were both in their early twenties that I could stop hiding Brussel Sprouts in their meals. How I adore the much maligned Brussel Sprout – my favourite all-time veg.

Thankfully my offspring have never suffered from any food allergies. I remember the increasing difficulty of holding celebratory Morning Teas at the Office because of the various food intolerances so many suffered. It became easier to cater for your own needs only and not to share-a-plate.

Blogger, Jillian, from FeedMyFamilyblog.com has a husband and a son who each have 8 food intolerances, 3 of which are shared.

Jillian is one of those “quiet achievers” who knuckled down during the social constraints of the Pandemic to produce a Recipe Book from her years of tweaking meals to better meet the needs of her family. Mothers’ And Others’ Recipes From the Heart has recently been published in both e-book and print format and includes recipes handed down through the generations with variations to cater for different dietary requirements.

Recipes cover Biscuits and Slices, Cakes, Desserts, Dips and Savoury Nibbles, Salads and Main Meals. They are easy to read and to follow. More importantly these are all meals that can be integrated into everyday meal times.

Under the name of each recipe is a colour coded reference to advise which intolerance the recipe caters for : Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Sulphate Free or Nut Free.

At the end of each there are notes should you wish to make further variations such as swapping one ingredient for another.

This book has been produced with much love and with contributions from Jillian’s family and friends.

One disappointment only: not one Brussel Sprout in sight!

Here’s a link for further information:

Mothers’ and Others’: Recipes From the Heart

You’ve got to respect those amongst us who have achieved something other than a batch of sour dough or brownies during ISO, don’t you?

NOTE:

Although Jillian and I both live in Brisbane we have never met, yet we have shared information about local WordPress events and Book Fairs. She asked for an honest review which I like to think I achieved by replicating one of the recipes in her book – the Roast Vegetable Couscous (with tweaks as I’m spring cleaning the pantry and defrosting the fridge in readiness for Christmas).

Delicious – even if I had to hide the pumpkin.

Bub’s Books For Xmas

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” — Albert Einstein

My daughter, Pocohontas, has already read six week old Harry Kilometres this years Booker Prize Winner. So of course I have been having great fun at local bookstores finding more appropriate literature for the child for Christmas.

This is Harry’s major Christmas parcel from his Meemaw:

I’m a firm believer that you cannot begin your Classic Movie education too early.

Aunt Cat Balou is gifting a copy of the movie Calamity Jane and a book about Audrey Hepburn. (Have I done well with my kids, or what!)

“You don’t have enough money to be considered eccentric. You’re just weird.” – my friend, Bernadette Mercer.

This one’s going into the babe’s Christmas stocking :

Harry’s Dad, a military boyo, has also been reading to young Harry : books on international conflict and aviation strategy.

And they think I’m weird…………..

NOTE :

Discovered a great website which encourages young girls to follow their interest in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. Go to http://www.amightygirl.com

For fairy tales starring clever and courageous girls, you can find over 180 girl-empowering books of fairy tales in A Mighty Girl’s “Fairy Tale Collection” at https://www.amightygirl.com/books/fiction/fairy-tales-folktales

If you’re looking for princess stories that break the ‘damsel in distress’ mold, A Mighty Girl’s “Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess” collection features 100 books starring princesses who are smart, daring, and aren’t waiting around to be rescued at https://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/independent-princess

I’ll share these purchases soon with no guilt. Helping both the economy and the sisterhood.

Visiting Beaudesert, S E Qld

With all travel plans flying out the window this year we have continued with our short trips away to places close to home yet previously unexplored. The benefits are numerous :

  • Provides stimulation. I tend to go feral when bored. It’s a Gemini thing.
  • Provides an opportunity to learn more about my own country.
  • Provides an opportunity to drop a few funds in a community that may be doing it tough
  • Provides an opportunity to pick up a possum tea cosy.

Beaudesert is 90 kms southwest of Brisbane making it an easy destination for day-trippers for those from Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Located on the Mt Lindesay Highway, the area sources its income predominantly from rural activities such as cropping, grazing and equine activities. 

The township boasts several heritage-listed sites including the Beaudesert War Memorial in William Street and the Racecourse and Grandstand on Beaudesert-Boonah Road.

Under normal circumstances, Brisbanites tend to drive straight through Beaudesert. I was meant to attend a Charity Race Meeting a couple of years back but consistent rain flooded the track which meant the horse racing was cancelled and replaced by pig races. I didn’t bother.

We used Beaudesert as a base camp to investigate some of the surrounding smaller areas such as Rathdowney. The terrain, after a little rain, with its winding creeks and Eucalypts is just lovely and is known as Thoroughbred Country with all its horse studs.

We visited the Beaudesert RSL ( Returned Services League, more affectionately the Rissole) for a beaut lunch and again later that evening for a Share Plate and something chilled in front of the footie which was appropriate for November the 11th.

There was also an interesting exhibition in the main street highlighting the local indigenous families who had contributed to the war effort in times past.

My favourite spot in town is the Information and Arts Centre where the Devonshire Tea with homemade scones overlooking local parkland was perfect. I also finished my Christmas shopping. No doubt there will be a rush on tea cosies.

One for Baby Kilometres for Xmas
And one for me.

Remembrance Day 2020

Rupert McCall said “I wrote this poem at the request of a Dad who lost his boy in Afghanistan… The honour of his request had me compelled to mention every Australian son, brother, husband, father & mate who didn’t make it home from that war… or who did… but couldn’t escape from it on home soil. Look at their faces. Please don’t ever forget them…”

LEST WE FORGET.

Rupert McCall is an Australian poet of international renown. His tributes to special events and occasions have become highly sought-after and treasured for the indelible mark they’ve left on audiences everywhere.

In many sectors, Rupert McCall has become the poet of our generation. In 2005 he was awarded the honour of opening the Prelude to the Dawn Service in Gallipoli with his acclaimed and moving tribute NINETY YEARS AGO and in 2011, he recited his poem A FIREFIGHTER’S DREAM at Ground Zero for the New York Fire Dept on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.

In 2013 as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Rupert received a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for services to the community, particularly as a poet.

Ode Courtesy of You Tube

A Rollercoaster Of A Week

What a rollercoaster ride we all experienced last week and that does not even include events on the other side of our world. Two of our most important sporting events were held according to our new Covid World and OMG it was ……….different.

 These were followed by The Junior Master Chef Semi Finals last night. The cooks are aged between 9 and 14 years and lets just say that they decimate my confidence in the kitchen. Grand Final tonight so I’m expecting tears. That’s me – not the contestants.

Take these cooks for example :

Mirror Glazed Carrot Mousse with Carrot Jelly and Biscuit courtesy of 10 play.com
Brownies with Candied Beetroot, White Chocolate and Beetroot Rocks courtesy of 10 play.com

One sweet little thing in pigtails cooked a pumpkin tart with a parsnip flavoured ice-cream. Who eats parsnip flavoured ice cream? Why would you even think of such a flavour? I don’t get it. My favourite contestant, a lad aged 10 whose favourite snack is Pate and Blue Vein Cheese has since been eliminated, though I see he is now giving online cooking classes…..OMG

On a more personal level last week I experienced a couple of Epic Fails.

My attempt at making clay wind chimes, without a lie, almost burnt the house down. Who was the imbecile that declared that creating home made gifts was a positive mindfulness experience ? Unless mindfulness includes a heap of expletives…..

And I had a death in the family. My favourite Rosemary bush carked it, requiring a massive effort for its removal. There’s more to the story including sewerage pipes, Grevillea trees, and several trips to the Dump but you get the gist.

The books by my bedside grew yet again. I’m drowning in them, I tell you.

And then there was this. Bless my cotton pickin’ socks.

Spirit Of The ANZACS

Country singer, Lee Kernaghan, along with other Australian singer/songwriters Garth Porter and Colin Buchanan, were given access to the diaries, letters and stories of Australian and New Zealand diggers held by the Australian War Memorial as a project for the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli. These letters covered 100 years of ANZAC history from the First World War right through to Afghanistan, resulting in the CD Spirit Of The ANZACS. Many of the lines in the songs on this CD have been directly lifted from letters written on the battlefield.

The booklet which accompanies the CD includes pictorial evidence of the individuals, a brief history, and what it was about their letters home which inspired their adaptation to music.

To The Top Of The Hill has its origins in a letter by Roy Denning ( No 1 Field Company, Australian Engineers) who wrote of his first day of the Gallipoli Campaign on 25 April, 1915 – the dawn, the landing, and the charge “to the top of the hill”. Oh Passchendale is based on a 40 page letter written to his parents and sister by Private Leonard Hart, 2nd Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment, NZEF, describing the horrific events of 12 October 1917 in Belgium, near Passchendale. Inspired by a letter from Private Allen May, forward scout with D Company, 6th Battalion, 6RAR, in Vietnam Tell Carmelita derives from a missive home about a battle he had survived the week before – at Long Tan.

Surprisingly these songs aren’t depressing but rather a celebration of the human spirit. It’s music that can be enjoyed at any time, not just on military anniversaries. 

With Remembrance Day next week I’m sharing I Will Always Be With You.

courtesy of youtube


Commando Private Benjamin Chuck signed the last letter to his wife :

I Will Always Be With You, Ben.

Back To The Flicks At Last

First visit to the cinema since the arrival of Covid 19. That in itself was a treat.

Never Too Late is an Australian movie which features a fine cast of main characters with the average age of 73 : Jack Thompson, Jacki Weaver, Dennis Waterman, James Cromwell, and Roy Billing. They are all residents of a War Veteran’s Retirement Home having served in Vietnam, Weaver as a Nurse, with various age related ailments.

In Vietnam the virile young lads were in the SAS together, and prisoners of war, who escaped. The plot of Never Too Late has the old boys making plans to escape the Home, for one last hoorah : a day at the football with a son, a marriage proposal 50 years later, and to sail into the sunset.

Yes, it’s predictable. Yes, there are major plot holes. Just go with it.

These veteran actors work well together and you know what I liked ? Now that they’ve all reached their sunset years no-one tried to out act the other. Team work – their lack of vitality meant that they had to bounce off each other for it to work. Though why Waterman continues to play the womaniser I just don’t get. Never have. If ever a bloke deserved a drink spilled over his head in a pub it would be him surely. Am I right, girls?

Courtesy of You Tube

It’s a pleasant little movie : no car crashes, no robots, no nudity – well except for Thompson who’s character suffers Dementia and forgets to wear pants. It is also a reminder that though the body might at times fail us as we age we don’t necessarily lose our feistiness. Those under fifty years of age will have no interest and that’s okay. I’ve never watched Frozen.

The reviews have not been overly kind. Again, just go with it. This is an easy way to lose 110 minutes in air conditioned comfort. The humour is very ocker so Boo-Bloody-Hoo to the yanks who don’t like and to the reviewer who complained because in real life there were no Australian POWs in Vietnam, guess what ? Skippy was just a flea bitten marsupial and elephants don’t really do ballet in tutus.

Filmed in South Australia there are some lovely shots of the bay at Glenelg and beautiful Adelaide.

Stars out of five for Tear Duct Action : 2

And the coffee was good too. Never underestimate the coffee.

This Week In Books (Spring)

The old bod is a little under the weather with all the Spring Cleaning taking place. Simply crashing when I hit the sack. The pile of books beside my bed just continues to grow……. ( Note that the wretched Hilary Mantel just keeps moving to the bottom of the pile. I tell you : it’s killing me). This one was gifted to me by a girlfriend from the other side of the country.

Thank you Teneille. Next on the list.

A few months back my daughter in Canberra visited the Australian War Memorial as she is want to do regularly as it is near her favourite *cough* wine bar. Yeah, ok, her mother’s daughter. ….She sent me some Poppy Seeds for planting, both Red and Purple (for the animals). No success with the red as per usual though signs of a good showing of the purple for Remembrance Day.

Thanks Cat Balou

Year 12 Exams have finished, there is an abundance of Driving Schools on the road with their pimpley clientele, and the young things are a tad hormonal with the freedom and spring weather. It appears they had a wild night at the Local Community Library as I spotted half a dozen novels in the creek. Literally. I have taken to making my visits armed with a gold club – to fight off the swooping magpies of course.

Spring also means Spiders. What I think about spiders cannot be repeated here.

Not into Romance Novels or Chook Lit ( Aussie romance in a rural setting generally including chickens ) though have read my fair share lately thanks to Covid Brain. Thought this map was a clever marketing strategy combining books with travel. What do you think?

Happy Weekend Peeps. Queenslanders, remember to vote, and the rest of my mob, watch out for those ghastly arachnids. Everyone else, remember:

Hey Brother by The Wolfe Brothers

Last weekend Wounded Heroes held their annual major fundraiser to assist (ex)servicemen and their families. This year because of Covid 19 Exercise Stone Pillow morphed into a Backyard Sleep Out. Brisbane turned on more rain than we’ve seen in 12 months and there are still Emergency Services out there removing fallen trees from roads and rooves. No casualties, thank goodness.

Courtesy Wounded Heroes

This is the mob for whom I raise and sell a few succulents to raise a few bob.

With Remembrance Day in a matter of only weeks I thought I’de share some recent Australian tribute songs to our men and women of the services over coming days.

The Wolfe Brothers are an Australian Country Rock  band, formed of brothers Tom and Nick Wolfe and childhood friends Brodie Rainbird and Casey Kostiuk, all from Tasmania.

Courtesy of You Tube

There are no actors in the video for Hey Brother. “Just real people, real stories, real life”.

If you are interested in hearing some of these stories go here: https://www.awm.gov.au/get-involved/after-the-war-cd/hey-brother