This Week In Books

A successful weekend having secured some fifty odd books at the local Rotary Club Bookfest (fundraiser). The $2 Mystery Boxes are perfect for the rotation of books through the Little Community Library, and if I manage to get through a handful that’s a bonus. Total expenditure : $4. I’m laughing:)

Many years ago, before I became bogged down with responsibility, I started collecting (in addition to anything Errol Flynn) books that were turned into a movie and visa versa. After a thirty year hiatus I’ve rekindled this interest and was excited to pick up a copy of the novel Run Silent Run Deep by Edward Beach, published in 1953, at the sale. The movie followed in 1958 starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster and I look forward to comparing them later in the week. ( Yeah, I also collected war movies – or “warries” as they are colloquially known. Never was one to lose time painting fingernails and curling eyelashes).

Two Book Club meets this week and although I love the social aspect, and especially the decent coffee and cake, both novels had me somewhat “confused”. Maybe it’s still Covid brain and let’s leave it at that.

Interestingly I read an article from the Sydney Morning Herald – my favourite paper on weekends for the obituaries – dated the 18th of May listing the Top 20 Most Borrowed Books during the pandemic based on 34 million loans across more than 100 Libraries throughout Australia and New Zealand.


1 The Survivors 2020 Jane Harper
2 Becoming 2018 Michelle Obama
3 Blue Moon 2019 Lee Child
4 The Good Turn 2020 Dervla McTiernan
5 The Lost Man 2018 Jane Harper
6 When She was Good 2020 Michael Robotham
7 The Scent Keeper 2019 Erica Bauermeister
8 Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Wrecking Ball 2019 Jeff Kinney
9 The 117-Storey Treehouse 2019 Andy Griffiths
10 Fair Warning 2020 Michael Connelly
11 Good Girl Bad Girl 2019 Michael Robotham
12 Vote WeirDo 2020 Anh Do
13 Boy Swallows Universe 2018 Trent Dalton
14 A Room Made of Leaves: A Novel 2020 Kate Grenville
15 Art Time! 2020 Anh Do
16 Nine Perfect Strangers 2018 Liane Moriarty
17 Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man 2020 Mary Trump
18 The Weekend (2019) 2019 Charlotte Wood
19 All Our Shimmering Skies 2020 Trent Dalton
20 Weirdomania! 2019 Anh Do

How many of these have you read ? *

It’s Spring here Down Under and its just marvellous. Lots of alfresco dining and Saturday morning markets. And you just know that means more books, don’t you…………

*9

PS. Did I mention that I also won the Bookfest Raffle?

Old Dogs and New Tricks

I failed Domestic Science at High School. The only F I ever received on a report card. I knew better than to enrol in Sewing Classes after having received a D, in a scale from A to D, at Primary School. My mother, a seamstress who could turn a parachute into a wedding gown during the war years, was appalled. She gave me her first Singer Sewing Machine thinking that it would provide encouragement. Never switched it on and it later became a garden ornament alongside the gnomes.

Unable to use a needle and thread the only thing I used a needle for was removing splinters out of little fingers when the children were small.

Knitting, crochet, and quilting were never options though I’ve always been pretty handy with a paintbrush. Over the years I have painted both the exteriors and interiors of several houses. Unfortunately, often in colours that have had real estate agents cringing. My last house I opted to bulldoze and redevelop after comments about my sunflower yellow and budgie green colour scheme.

(Personal Note : That’s what comes of living with someone whose life is coloured by beige).

So I’m a little surprised with two new hobbies I’ve picked up since retirement.
Having the time to explore new interests truly is one of the positives of the finality of a working life. No guilt whatsoever. Loving it!

Mind you, I’ve had some EPIC fails. Like square dancing. Who knew it was so hard to differentiate between your left and your right? The popularity of using the clocks on our electrics as opposed to a watch has only exacerbated this issue (for sum of us). And those flouncy skirts were cute when I was six, not so at sixty.

What I am enjoying is an online Art Therapy study program. I’ve done collage, meditation to promote creativity, learnt about colour therapy, created my Tree of Life, and am currently working with clay. Well, plasticine really – it’s less expensive.

Art Therapy is used as a healing process. I was creatively stunted when I was young and perpetually fearful of having my knuckles rapped with a ruler by over zealous teachers when I coloured outside the lines. A bit like Harry Chapin’s song :

(Personal Note : Probably accounts for Mr Beige).

My search for Trailblazing Aussie Women is proving fascinating. I started with names of well known women but this exercise has led me down a rabbit hole and I have stumbled upon an 8 year old who walked the Kokoda Track and proceeded to climb Kilimanjaro and Everest, an Indigenous woman with a degree from Harvard, and a lass who has been working on the Mars Mission.

LIFE LESSON : You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Finding Joy

Christmas in Australia falls in summer meaning that it is generally uncomfortably hot. Beach picnics, salads and seafood tend to be the order of the day. One year Christmas was so hot that the paper hats from the middle of the bon bons disintegrated from the perspiration from our heads over lunch. This year looks like being another stinker.

In a year short in the Joy Department a drive around the local streets this evening indicated that many neighbours have gone to more than the usual effort with their Christmas decorations. It was cheerful and fun especially for this big kid.

One neighbour has gone to an amazing amount of work having created a Teddy Town Hunt on his front lawn amongst the sparkling Xmas lights and a 6ft tall Santa that waves.

For a gold coin donation that goes to the Queensland Country Women’s Drought Fund you are given a pencil and a list of celebrity characters to identify as you walk around enjoying the display, essentially hunting down the toys on your list, from the thousands exhibited.

There are stuffed toys dating back to the 1930’s as well as from recent movies and TV shows, such as Bluey. Buzz Lightyear, Wonder Woman, Bananas in Pyjamas, Peter Rabbit and Peppa Pig were only some of the toys represented. Every item on display has a story and Beryl and Rod are only too pleased to share them with you.

Many family groups were enjoying reminiscing about the characters from their childhoods and younger folk were having great fun locating Gru from Despicable Me and Shi Fu from Kung Fu Panda.

I admit to feeling a bit nostalgic when I saw Jemima Puddleduck and Little Ragged Blossom from my own childhood and look forward to returning with my daughter and young Harry Kilometres in coming days.

I can’t tell you how good it was to at last find the Joy.

A New Cookbook In The Works.

Following weeks of Self Isolation I was anxious about the results of my 6 monthly blood tests and was fully prepared for a lecture from my General Practitioner.

You know, weeks of channelling Nigella Lawson cooking comfort food with a wine in hand, scones for morning and afternoon tea, and outdoor activities reduced to picnics by the water and gardening. (I planted vegetables like a madman in case carrots and spuds went the way of toilet paper…..)

It was good to get frocked up for the appointment though I was feeling decidedly blobby. Putting make up on felt really strange and I hadn’t had a hair cut since the week before Christmas. If there’s a remake of The Adams Family on the cards I’m a shoe in for the part of Cousin It.

Plus I was nervous about the pending lecture.

Well blow me down with a feather all test results were damn fine. *Kidneys, Liver, Sugars, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and I’ve dropped 5 kilos.

Repeat :

Lost 5 kilos in Lockdown.

Forget the Paleo, Keto, Atkins, and Israeli Diets. I’m working on a Covid Recipe Book which highly features Brie and Bordeaux, Shiraz and Salami, and Crackers with Chardonnay.

*Thank goodness there is no test for Brain Cells. That may have been a totally different matter.

Note:

With the easing of restrictions in Queensland enjoyed a Chicken Schnitty at the local this week. Starting to feel human again.

Still need a haircut.

Lunch, Nigella and John Wayne

The problem with being a reasonably good cook is that most dining out experiences tend to be disappointing.

It’s been a food-centric week with functions and friends and I haven’t had a decent feed yet. Case in point : this offering from an acclaimed Brisbane CBD establishment for which I waited 90 minutes.

Forty dollars. Really Brisbane -you can do better!

Lunch with a girlfriend at an RSL acknowledged as the best in Brisbane was “ordinary” with a wait time of an hour and no table service. We dialled for a pizza on the trip home.

The best foodie experience was at a new suburban cafe where I stopped for coffee and cake after having been to the flicks to see The Searchers. We may all know the storyline but we don’t all know the landscape. Up on the big screen it was simply majestic and the rocks won over John Wayne for the full 122 minutes.

Cafe Two 14 was a find. It’s beginnings are founded in the history of the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry).

“The 2nd/14th LHR (QMI) was formed in 1952, though sentimentally traces its lineage to 1860. Consequently, there was a claim that it was the oldest Australian Regular Army unit through the antecedent units 2nd Moreton Light Horse (QMI) and the 14th West Moreton Light Horse (QMI) and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010. Cafe Two 14 continues to honour our heritage and the veterans who served Australia in the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment by adopting the green and white patch colours in our branding as well as their motto, ‘forward’.”

The Director is ex military and the Cafe raises funds for social justice programs to assist veterans.

I’m channelling Nigella Lawson again today – chest out, tummy in , wine in hand. I’m cooking chicken marinated in mango and sweet chilli with a Middle Eastern Fattoush Salad, with green beans and potato salad for friends for lunch. Allow me to show you how to cook in a drought, Brisbane.

Special Blog Award

Big thank you to geejenmotw for this award nomination and yes, it has proved a distraction ( whilst I’ve been down with an infection and wondering if my child in New Delhi is doing ok). geejenmotw is a local lass despite being some 1,000 kms away. I have enjoyed her take of life in rural Australia, as in a professional, family and spiritual sense. Plus, we seem to read many of the same books and both love theatre!

Award Rules:

1 Thanks the blogger who nominated you (as above )

2 Answer the questions you are asked ( if you’re comfortable doing so!)

3 Create 10 questions for the bloggers you’ve nominated.

4 Nominate at least 3 bloggers for the Special Blogger Award.

5 Comment on your nominees most recent blog post to let them know you’ve nominated.

6 Have fun!

Answers to questions follow:

1. How often do you blog and what motivates you? A bright young thing at the office who managed all the social media once told me that blogging was self indulgent. After having played good daughter,sister,wife, business partner, mother and general dogs body the thought of self indulgence appealed. I earned it in spades.

2. Favourite author and/or book? Depends on my mood. Different books, authors and genres for different moods. 

3. Do you support abortion? I was raised not to discuss politics, religion or sex without a glass of wine in my hand.

4. Where would you like your next holiday destination to be? Just back from a trip to Melbourne, to Margaret River WA in the New Year, Papua New Guinea in May, Darwin and East Arnhem Land in August. Oh, and The Oracles of The Bush Festival in Tenterfield in April. Trying to squeeze in a trip to Longreach too though that will mean selling a kidney.

5. If you were to start learning something new tomorrow what would it be? I attend a fortnightly Literature Workshop, and am enrolled in a distance education course on Multiple Sclerosis ( my youngest daughter was diagnosed six years ago). Am off to a Mosaics Workshop next month and am looking to complete a course on Dementia through the Uni of Tasmania in February. Oh, and I attended a poetry workshop recently. Epic disaster! I will post about my pitfalls with poetry soon.

6. What do you do to de-stress? Cook for friends, listen to music, read, and watch movies. Love live performances- both music and theatre. Paint ceramics. Grow Rosemary plants which I then sell to raise funds for Wounded Heroes. Move books around the community.

7. What is your favourite sport? None. My father was an A Grade sportsperson and laid similar expectations on his daughters. Silly move. Just let me play in the surf and I’m a happy girl. Too cynical to enjoy sport as a spectator – money has killed all games.

8. Beach, lake or river? I have always turned to the beach when under pressure. The sound of the waves, the salt air on your face, and a battering by waves is a great workout. (Did you know that if you get dumped by waves into the sand enough times you don’t have to shave your legs? True)

9. What country does your family originate from? The psychic tells me I have a connection to Ireland and thus my love of music and storytelling.

10. What’s been the highlight of your year so far? Every day is a highlight, and I treat them all with respect accordingly.

My Questions:

1. The last theatrical production or musical performance you attended?

2. Your next holiday destination?

3 Do you set yourself goals?

4 So many books are made into a movie. Do you have a favourite?

5 If you could invite any three people – dead or alive- to a dinner party who would they be?

6 You wish your Super Power was?

7 If you could do one thing to change the world what would you do?

8 Please share a secret about your childhood

9 Name two things that are on your MUST DO LIST

10 Do you have a song, movie or book that you return to when in need of comfort?

My Nominations (with zero pressure attached!):

1 Cupcakecacheblog

Cupcake lives on the other side of my world, is an educator who has worked in Korea and Abu Dhabi. As well as sharing tales about alligators, dogs and the keto diet this lass is courageous and will give most things a go.

2. The Obstinate Fig

Rachelle describes herself as a “hot mess writer”. I’de describe her as totally authentic. This is another blogger who shares American culture and the trials of finding a life balance. Her photos of the National Parks of the USA are fascinating. Chatting with Rachelle is the same as Cupcake : it’s like sitting across a table with a cup of tea.

3. Feed My Family

Jillian lives just up the road literally – hey, should we organise a coffee sometime? – and continually encourages new ideas. She is a woman of faith, family and community which I respect.

Thank you to these three bloggers for their inspiration and for geejenmotw for keeping me occupied whilst my daughter sends short cryptic emails like “ I’ve ordered toilet paper online” and “That was an out of body experience” – sent from a four storey sari shop.

Oh, and please, no more of these. Too, too hard on the old noggin.

BOGANS : Todays Cultural Exchange

The latest edition of the Australian Dictionary from the team at Oxford University Press includes 2000 new entries and more than 3000 updates to existing words. That’s what they reckon anyway – I certainly didn’t sit down and count them.

Here are a few beauties that I’de never heard before:

Anzackery: The promotion of the Anzac legend in ways that are perceived to be excessive or misguided

Kangatarian: A person with a largely vegetarian diet who includes kangaroo meat as an environmentally-friendly source of protein.

Normcore: A style of dressing that involves the deliberate choice of unremarkable or unfashionable casual clothes.

Who knew?

The term Bogan (/ˈboʊɡən/ BOHG-ən) has been updated. Australian slang for a person whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour are considered unrefined or unsophisticated, bogans are also known as ferals, white trash, rednecks, and dags. ( Any further additions would be simply unladylike).

The new definition is: An uncultured and unsophisticated person; a boorish and uncouth person.

Here’s a list of the Top Bogan Baby Names for 2019 with thanks to Sabrina Rogers-Anderson from Queensland Press.

ANOMALY

ANTWOHNETTE

PANDA

SNOWDROP

VIN’NYLA

PLUTO

PRECISE

TENYSI (Pronounced Tennessee. I just love this!)

TOKYO (Wont the great grandparents who lost four years during WW2 be turning in their graves?)

Frightening enough one of my daughter’s ( with two Degrees) favourite books is this little gem. She’s one of those readers who lays in bed with a book and giggles her head off…………

And just because you can’t keep a good bogan down:

My Day In Numbers

0 – Episodes left in Game Of Thrones

“You know nothing, Jon Snow”. Ygrette was sooo right. Snow, ya dipstick. Talk about conned.

4 – Assignments submitted 2 weeks ahead of schedule.

A few profanities were thrown at the computer and there may have been a meltdown, but you know what? The old girl’s still got it.

5 – exservicemen have committed suicide since Anzac Day

( and 1 on active service but you didn’t hear it from me).

Appalling.

6 – Months of Retirement. 💖

15 – Days and I’m off again

Off to the hinterland to review a $3k a week house with log fire and spa, located near wineries and two distilleries. Tough one but someone has to do it. See Retirement

20 – Years since release of Ten Things I Hate About You.

Have you been to one of the special screenings? Oh, Heath, you were something else. Sigh…….

42 – % of Homeless in Australia are women due primarily to Domestic Violence.

Take a bow, Australia. You must be so bloody proud. NOT.

60 – years of age.

It’s just a number and still no grey. Well, a wisp only, though my eyebrows are fading. Bloody awful to think my first tattoo may be a new set of eyebrows. Thinking Baby Jane….

75 – years since D Day.

This was something we commemorated when I was at school. My daughters know the 6th of June as Queensland Day. Not sure what it is we are celebrating: incompetent pollies, brown paper bags full of cash, destruction of the reef, coal mines owned by Indian interests, fracking in our farmland, and my favourite, the developers who do secret deals to build 3600 units by reclaiming mangroves in the dugong breeding waters off the coast. Yay, Qld Day!

76 – Seats won by the Liberals in the recent Elections

Not a political comment. Just concerned about a society full of Snowflakes……

80 – years

The Archibald Prize – The Everyman’s Art Award.

The Archibald Prize, first awarded in 1921, is Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious. Awarded to the best portrait painting, it’s a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists. It garners a great deal of interest each year because of the subject matter, regardless of the painting style.

1942 Winner, Jim Gordon VC, by William Dargie

All finalists will be on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from May 11, 2019 to September 8, 2019. ( Add to To Do List : Book Tickets).

2011 Winner, Margaret Olley by Ben Quilty

As a prelude to the announcement of this award the Packing Room Prize is chosen by the Art Gallery of NSW staff who receive, unpack and hang the Archibald Prize entries — with the head packer having 52 per cent of the vote. 

The winner of this award was announced earlier this week with a portrait of actor David Wenham by Tessa MacKay. Just love it!

David Wenham (born 21 September 1965) is an Australian actor who has appeared in movies, television series and theatre productions. He is known in Hollywood for his roles as Faramir in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Carl in Van Helsing, Dilios in 300 and its sequel 300: Rise of an Empire, Al Parker in Top of the Lake, and Lieutenant John Scarfield in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

He is best known in Australia for his role as Diver Dan in SeaChange.

And Diver, I can never forgive you for walking out on Laura the way you did………………

PS. Disappearing for a few weeks. I have some major commitments which require focus, and God knows focus isn’t my strong point, and then I’m flying out to put a dent in the Bucket List. Retirement’s tough.

Little Library Update and Rocks.

The Little Library in the park near my home continues to gain momentum.

Because of my gallivanting over recent weeks I lost touch over the Christmas school holidays and was pleasantly surprised to find no vandalism and a stash of new books upon my return.

I even came across a lass who was reading and swinging her child at the same time. Now that’s dedication.

Indeed one of the local mothers encouraged the ankle biters to visit the park and the Little Library by planting hand painted rocks amongst the books as well as around the playground and surrounds.

Apparently this is a thing. The rocks are hidden in parks, with photos posted on a Facebook page so other parents can take their children to find the rocks, then re-hide them somewhere else. The trend started in America (where else?) and has spread all over the world.

I think I’de be tempted to go searching for these cuties.

This new global craze has kids getting outdoors to play hide and seek with hand-painted rocks. It has been praised as a cheap and easy way to get Little People away from technology and outside. Way to go, Mums!

I’ve been photographing Little Libraries on my travels. I hope someone may be inspired to organise something along the same lines within their own community. One friend is initiating a simple shelf of books for swapping purposes within her retirement village. Yee Haa! See, it’s not about being flash, it’s all about the service and community.

In The Blue Earth Cafe At Bodalla, NSW
Ainslie Shopping Centre, Canberra
In a playground in Mollymook, NSW