Villers-Bretonneux, #kindjuly and nuts.

I’ve just booked into an Author-In-Action presentation at the local Library. Can’t wait to learn more about Vicki Bennett’s children’s book, Two Pennies.

In April, 1918 the village of Villers-Bretonneux in France was the scene of the world’s first tank battle between British and German troops which the Germans would win, occupying the township.

The Ecole de Garcons (Boys School) was destroyed along with much of the town on the 25th April 1918 when the Australian 13th and 15th Brigades recaptured it from the Germans in a battle in which over 1,200 Australian soldiers were killed.

The school was rebuilt with donations from Australia. School children and their teachers helped the effort by asking for pennies- in what became known as the Penny Drive -while the Victorian Department of Education contributed 12,000 pounds to the War Relief Fund. The school was appropriately renamed ‘Victoria’. The inauguration of the new school occurred on ANZAC Day in 1927. “N’oublions jamais l’Australie“ (Never forget Australia) is inscribed in the school hall.

The Rugrats have just returned to school after a fortnight of holidays here in Queensland.

The Little Community Library proved a huge success with the generous addition of CDs, DVDs and books for the older kiddies to ease them through the break.

A fellow Little Library Custodian shared with me that it was #kindjuly. Did you know this? (Marketing gurus: aren’t they precious…..)

Kind July – Stay Kind
If every Australian did one act of kindness a day for the month of July, that would be 775 million acts of kindness in Kind July (and 9.3 billion acts of kindness every year).

And I’m off for a dose of Community Theatre tonight : My Husbands Nuts. Honestly, I’m too intimidated to add an apostrophe in case I get it wrong.

Happy Trails:)

Bookish Things and Harry Potter

It’s winter in subtropical Brisbane and the cold weather is delightful. Three hours away we even had snow flurries. It’s a good excuse to cook, eat, and read books.

Green Curry

(Just for the record: one more salad featuring pomegranate and I would have necked myself. Peeps, this fruit is for drinks, not meals!)

The Little Community Library continues to flourish with a wide variety of books being added on a regular basis. I cleared a box out earlier and donated them to a community organisation for their coming Garage Sale. All proceeds go towards computers and IPads on which they provide individual tuition to the elderly at no cost. What a great concept!

A friend is on a cruise shortly to Papua New Guinea with six stops at different ports in the region. Personally, I’m not a fan of cruises because :
A) you can’t get off when you want
B) being on a boat and not being able to throw out a fishing line is ridiculous

My friend, however, is very excited having lived there previously and has been advised that should she so wish she can take some children’s books along to donate to the kiddies wherever she disembarks.

So, of course I stuck my beak in and located a local organisation called
BOOKS4PNGKIDS which is not for profit and which sends donated books over to PNG by the container load. They specialise in books for elementary and primary school students as well as dictionary’s and some stationary items.

We met the CEO last week and were blown away by the operation. The number of books being sifted, sorted, and packaged by volunteers was simply amazing. There are still many areas in the land of our Pacific neighbours that cannot be reached by road and education facilities are basic.

My friend has been given a suitcase of books to distribute to local schools. Some PNG expats have even written health books in Pigeon English for distribution to local hospitals and medical centres. Not at all what we expected from our visit!

We’ve been advised that the older primary school kids are desperate for Harry Potter books. They have read Book 1 but the latter books in the series are in very short supply. So this is my latest venture: hunting down Preloved Potters. My friend who volunteers in a hospital is chasing crutches. Apparently they are like hens teeth in PNG.

Who was the idiot that said there was nothing to do in Retirement?

Books, Phobias and Teeth

I’ve previously shared my fear of crabs thanks to an Errol Flynn movie with the title “Against All Flags”, and seaweed, courtesy of an early John Wayne effort called  “Reap The Wild Wind” where the Duke gets eaten by a giant squid. I’m not fond of spiders or snakes either, but thanks to a couple of marvellous inventions,  I can deal with these  – garden hoes and vacuum cleaners.

My biggest fear is ………….dentists. There, I said it. Dentophobia.

Ogden Nash once said “Some tortures are physical And some are mental, But the one that is both Is dental”.

OMG, I hate them like you wouldn’t believe. I have to be dying before consenting to visit the dentist. When the kids were little I would escort them for their annual check up and they would be skipping with excitement. Me? I would have fainted on the footpath outside the surgery.

Everything about the process makes me sick to the stomach. I am grateful for having inherited strong bones and good teeth.

Having to face my fear head on early next week. 

So what do I do to quell these fears? Pick up some bargain books of course, ( and add a few amendments to my Will, as a precautionary measure).

The Chaplaincy at the local High School held a fundraiser yesterday where I rehomed two boxes of books, half going up to the Little Library around the corner. Twenty bucks. You beauty!

Because the turnover of books is going so well at the Little Library  thanks to the enthusiasm of the neighbourhood I’m now in negotiations with the councillor to adopt a local retirement village or aged care facility, so that books in good nick can once again be moved on and given a new lease of life.

Yeah, I could have mopped floors and dusted, but who gives a rats. 

They are recommending Valium. As a non pill popper the prescribed antibiotics sent me gaga and I’ve been all over the place like a bride’s nightie all week.

Bill Bryson, my favourite travel writer who authored Tales From A Small Island wrote :

Because we humans are big and clever enough to produce and utilize antibiotics and disinfectants, it is easy to convince ourselves that we have banished bacteria to the fringes of existence. Don’t you believe it. Bacteria may not build cities or have interesting social lives, but they will be here when the Sun explodes. This is their planet, and we are on it only because they allow us to be. 

The local Rotary Club are holding their annual Bookfest today. I could always go and sus that situation out…….


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