Ah, the serenity………

0nce again the house is still. The vacuum cleaner is full of dog fur and I suspect a couple of Scrabble tiles. There are still 12 blocks of various cheeses, olives and a carton of Cab Sav in the fridge so I have no need to cook till February nor visit a supermarket. I did nine loads of washing yesterday which only confirmed that putting the ironing board out in a garage sale twenty years ago was the right decision. The silence is golden.

In between three weeks of playing Mummy Dearest – but not in a Joan Crawford kind of way – I did squeeze in a little binge watching, sashaying around the kitchen with Yul Brynner as the King of Siam and crawling through air conditioning ducts with Bruce Willis in the greatest Christmas movie ever made in movies 1,2,3,4 and 5 (watching the receding hairline with glee).

Young Cat Balou gifted me with a DVD of the television mini series Feud : Bette and Joan, as in Davis and Crawford, and based on the making of the movie “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane”. Starring Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange respectively I adored this muck in all its depressing detail about the treatment of women particularly by the Hollywood machine during the so-called Golden Years. My viewing partner found the bitchiness between these two “stars” too brutal to watch and scampered after Part 4 which was okay as it meant sharing the Toblerone (and plonk) was no longer required for the final 4 parts. Besides, if I’m invested allow me to view in peace. Does that work for you too?

My favourite viewing was an obscure little Australian flick (1998) which I am adding to my list of favourite Xmas movies, right up there with Die Hard, and Joyeux Noel. It made such a little ripple upon its release that I’m giving you all 12 months to locate a copy for December 2022.

Crackers is a Christmas movie that will resonate with many as it includes much of our Aussie culture including dog poop, a pub brawl, weed in the mince pies, and grandpa, an old Rat Of Tobruk, who hits the turps and is an ex con. The aesthetics are straight from Christmas’s past: the wooden spoon and fork hanging on the wall, the painted tyres turned into swan planters on the front lawn, the aboveground swimming pool. It’s every bit as chaotic as Christmas always tends to be, yet amongst all the dysfunction it’s about a family who cares about each other.

The only actor I recognised was a younger, trimmer Peter Rowsthorn, 15 years before he played Kim’s doormat husband in Kath And Kim.

Before we move away from the movie theme did you know that LEGO are considering a kit for the house from It’s A Wonderful Life? I want three.

Ah, the serenity.

It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas…

So, to borrow a phrase, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….The days are long and hot, cicadas chirp throughout the evening, and the kookaburras and magpies start their birdsong from 3.30am onwards. Oh, and the grass needs cutting on a weekly basis. It’s exhausting I tell you.

Ronan Keating’s version…..

Refusing to go anywhere near a shopping centre and the humidity is preventing any reading of real worth. This means resorting to DVD’s because I just cannot view anymore tragedy on the telly. Thank goodness for the local Op Shop which also serves coffee and Hummingbird Cake for $8.

This week I found a copy of all time favourite, Valiant, a delightful computer generated epic set during World War 2, and covering the exploits of carrier pigeons. With its references to the White Cliffs of Dover, Andrews Sisters, the Dambuster theme song, and a cute white mouse working with the Resistance called Charles De Girl it goes way over children’s heads.

The movie ends with Valiant and his fellow members from Squad F being awarded the Dickin Medal with a message then displayed commending all the animals that in real life saved thousands of lives during World War II.

Forty five minutes of pure pleasure. Chew on that, Spiderman.


I did venture to the dark side, also known as having crossed the Brisbane River in a northerly direction, to enjoy carols performed by the Brisbane Army Band. Brilliant and a great wake up call to get into the mood.

This weekend a friend has volunteered to play guinea pig as I attempt fellow blogger’s ( Valerie AKA Muriopsis) Sweet Potato Casserole recipe as well as a tropical Coconut and Lychee Granita.

If all else fails I have this to fall back on. $5. Bargain.

November In Books

Not a satisfying month for books. Could be my brain fuzz having to spend days dealing with a major roof leak, tradies and the insurance company.

Finished Nicole Moriarty’s You Need To Know, Small Acts Of Defiance by Michelle Wright and The J M Barrie’s Ladies Swimming Club by Barbara Zwitser. Anything else is a blurr.

Off to the local Library to listen to Heather Morris on Friday, author of The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, so hope I can get the head into gear by then.

With all the rain I’ve been enjoying the garden and preparing seedlings to put in the Little Community Library for Christmas. Pumpkin seedlings mainly : my small attempt to eradicate hideous plastic pumpkins imported from China for next November.

I’ve also rescued and groomed some bears in need of adoption for the Community Library. Recycling and Sustainability, one step at a time……


This weeks movie watch was The Magic Pudding, an animated version of Norman Lindsay’s 1918 Children’s Classic. Albert, the Magic Pudding, and Bunyip Bluegum the koala, are characters much loved by those of a certain vintage, right up there with the Seven Little Australians.


The movie, released in 2000, featured the voices of Sam Neill, John Cleese, Jack Thompson, Hugo Weaving, and Toni Collette. Top shelf. It didn’t sit well with me for numerous reasons, particularly the ocker accents, and I think the humour will be lost on the Little Person. I’ll stick to a long time favourite for baby sitting purposes : Cujo, the rabid Saint Bernard.

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John Rambo and 007.

It’s been a humid weekend best spent in air conditioning watching DVDs. Yes, I’m old school – no Netflix, Stan, Foxtel or streaming. One of the saddest events of modern history is the passing of the movie rental store. Thank God for my local Op Shop where I can acquire a movie fo 50 cents which can either be retained or returned after watching!

Feeling the need for a girlie flick I sat through the Rambo trilogy starting with First Blood. Odd, I know. Blame Sylvester Stallone’s hair that I fantasise cutting each and every time. As usual, participated in screaming at the tele egging John on through out proceedings.

I think I must be the only Aussie not to have seen the new James Bond movie. The local Movie Club recently attended the cinema but I declined. I’ve declined all their invitations to the flicks.

You see, when I’m watching the screen the last thing I want to do when the lights turn on is have someone talk at me. ” Well, what did you think?”

Leave me alone. Please.

I’m happier taking the whole experience in, rather like a boiled lolly – preferably one of those black and white striped aniseed flavoured ones – when you let it roll around your mouth, slowly releasing the different flavours. Nothing analytical about the process at all – just allowing thoughts to percolate. Know what I mean?

Same with travel.

I detest being with a group of people who arrive at a new destination and who insist on discussing their feelings about said site. The ooohs and the arghhhhs add nothing to the experience. I remember first stepping into Florence, Italy, and just standing completely still, watching, breathing, taking it all in. One of my fellow travellers wanted to discuss. I wanted to thump him. Thank goodness for those twenty odd years of parenting skills including the ability to tune out or it may have become ugly.

Daniel Craig will eventually end up at the Op Shop and as I’m told I need to be aware of the back story will rewatch his previous efforts over coming weeks. Homework: who would have guessed.

Rambo requires attention first. There’s more movies in the series to locate. Fingers crossed he can finally afford a decent hair cut.

Tomato Update and Weekend Plans

Spring in South East Queensland lasted for all of a fortnight and then we pounced straight into Summer, evening storms and all.

The tomato plants have revelled in the heat and humidity and I have no doubt that the bandicoots that frolic in the vege bed at night will also be prone to acidic disorders from over indulging. The freezer is full of pasta sauce, a little heavy on the chilli and garlic apparently, and I’m now moving on to tomato chutney production. Not that I eat chutney but I can’t handle food waste. Blame the Depression parents who wouldn’t let us kids leave the table until the plates were clean.

The good news is that I will pull the remaining plants out on the weekend (before sunrise). The bad news is that means no tomatoes for summer salads and I’ll probably have to sell a kidney to afford them for Christmas Lunch.

Talking of waste, Australia has collectively moved away from single use plastics recently. Well done! So please explain somebody, anybody, why the shops are all full of plastic pumpkins. Crappy, cheap plastic pumpkins from China.
1. Why is Halloween becoming such a big deal in Australia?
2. Why is it that freight from China has been delayed since Covid but plastic pumpkins arrive in time for the end of October?
3. If children under 12 are not allowed to walk to school without parental supervision why are they allowed to go trick or treating? I’m not even going to mention the legalities of nazi teachers checking the contents of lunchboxes. I’m too old to open that Pandora’s Box.
4. If we really must instigate this Halloween business, how about next year we all plant some pumpkin seeds and harness our own food source?

So, you’ve figured that I don’t give a rats. Instead, and weather permitting, I plan on a much more appropriate celebration. Yep, a reenactment of the charge at Beersheba at the Laidley Pioneer Village. Entry is by donation.

Never heard of Beersheba?

On 31 October 1917, during World War 1, Australia’s Desert Mounted Corps led the famous charge of Beersheba by the 4th Light Horse Brigade, probably one of the most stunning victories in any battle or war in Australian history. This charge saw 800 Australian horsemen gallop their horses across three miles of open desert, through the Turkish defences, to win the precious wells of Beersheba.
 
The victory by the Australian horsemen, under the command of Lieutenant General Harry Chauvel against the Turks, was the beginning of a successful Australian campaign that led to the collapse of the Turkish Ottoman empire and turned the tide of war in the Middle East.

And I wont be watching anything starring Jamie Lee Curtis either. It’s the 1980’s Australian flick, The Lighthorsemen, or nothing. Forget the insipid romance between a young Sigrid Thornton and Peter Phelps before he got paunchy, it is a beaut little story and a reminder of old fashioned Aussie larrikins.

It would be totally hypocritical of me to wish you all Happy Halloween though I do hope you all play safely and that there are no chipped teeth from all those boiled lollies. I’ll be at Laidley – yee haa.

ADD TO 2022 TO DO LIST :
Instigate a community pumpkin growing plan and eradicate all plastic pumpkins.

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?

Spring and Gratitude

We are almost one month into Spring and I am loving all the colour in gardens and bushland, the sound of birdcall as the fledglings prepare to leave their nests, and the baby possums clinging to their mothers’ backs when they visit early each evening for sliced fruit. The wallabies have joeys in their pouches and my tomato plants are bearing enough fruit for weekly charcuterie boards, bruschetta and to be thrown whole into pasta dishes. Tomatoes go so well with a chilled chardonnay, don’t you find?

A new friend

Last weekend I sold passionfruit saplings to raise funds for Wounded Heroes, an organisation that assists veterans at a grassroots level. I’ve been dining alfresco which is simply delightful and the feel of sun on the old bod is just so good.

Spring means a weekly morning walking club where we investigate new parklands, nature reserves ……..and coffee shops. The morning air is fresh and it is a time to be reinvigorated.

With all the negative media insinuations about an imminent Lockdown – after a football grand final on the weekend ( can you detect the dripping sarcasm?) – I have to remind myself of all for which I am grateful. I can deal with Lockdown, I can deal with the prospect of no ham for Christmas ( really, Australia, this is just pay back for our own stupidity) and I don’t give a rats if boat loads of plastic toys don’t arrive from China. *

The local church turned an unused building into an Op Shop during the first Lockdown last year in an endeavour to create some “community” in the area. They have since added a coffee cart and hold monthly markets to support local creatives. I will walk up there shortly for $5 coffee and cake of the day and to donate some books.

I have no religious affiliations or convictions whatsoever, though do live by the ten commandments – you just do – though fully support the efforts that this non-mainstream group go to in order to bring people together at a time when their is so much isolation. And so much fear.

I picked up a DVD from there for 50c last week, an Australian flick I wanted to see in the cinema but masks indoors ruined that idea. Palm Beach is geared to the Baby Boomer set and tells the story of three aging boomers, all in a rock group together back in the day, who reunite for a birthday weekend in Palm Beach, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

The movie stars Palm Beach and if you’re interested in checking out the lifestyle that Aussie’s aspire too this alone makes the movie worth watching. Actors include Bryan Brown, Richard E Grant, Sam Neill and Greta Scacchi.

I adored Bryan Brown in A Town Like Alice and The Thorn Birds. He was tall, laconic, and blokey and looked damn fine in a singlet. ( I digress, but what happened to singlets?) He lived only a few kms from me though from ” the wrong side of the tracks” as my mother would put it. Only a few years older than me loved him, loved him, loved him.

Finally, this movie reminded me that I am ever so grateful to still have my own teeth. ( Sorry, Brownie, but your Dentist owes you a refund.)

*I’ve been collecting the fallen paper bark from local bushland, soaking it, and using it to line hanging baskets. This weekend I will plant up the baskets with herb seeds and/or baby tomatoes. Children are being gifted books and clothes and for their parents a gift voucher to keep a local business alive, such as a hair salon, dinner at the pub etc. How bloody hard is it people?

This Weeks Find

The youngest daughter’s middle name is Geordie. Yep, Cat Balou Geordie Whyte. The Geordie is a derivative of a family name, and is also from a movie that appealed to me when I was young and fresh faced, far too many moons ago to mention here.

Originally a book Geordie was first published in 1950 by author David Walker ( 1911 – 1992) a Scottish-born Canadian writer. Essentially, the story is about a boy known as Wee Geordie who enrols in a fitness course by correspondence because of being bullied by local children about his small stature. He becomes an athlete and as a young man represents Scotland in the Hammer Throw at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

Turned into a movie of the same name in 1955 the role of Geordie was played by Bill Travers and I think it was at this stage of my life that I developed a bit of a thing for blokes wearing a kilt. Or maybe it was just Travers because I adored him in later movies, Born Free and a Ring of Bright Water. ( Do you remember this one? Started me on my quest for a pet otter. Right up there with a Mercedes sports car. Never happened, neither of them).

Travers, not in a kilt, sadly.

Nice little storyline, nice little movie…….You may remember those type : no car chases, no f bombs, no nudity.

So, after my whinge last week about the Little Community Library and a rant about slack-arsed people within my community, what did I find on the bookshelves?

Geordie’s sequel published in 1965, Come Back, Geordie.

Who even knew?

I haven’t read it yet and am considering not bothering. After all, it’s been nearly fifty years since I read the original and sometimes it is wiser not to revisit. After all, I’m not so fresh faced……

Oh, and poor Cat Balou was born during my Dylan Thomas phase so she copped another bizarre name too. Poor thing. She’s done well to stick out the harassment – unlike Wee Geordie.


NOTE : Back in Lockdown and just loving it – NOT. Been decluttering so much I’m now looking at pulling plaster off the walls.

Longreach – Lonely or Otherwise

With house guests and travels my recent reading history is abysmal.

Lonely In Longreach” by Australian author, Eva Scott, is chick lit that I picked up after having spent a few days in Longreach, 1000 kms north west of Brisbane.

I wont bore you with more holiday snaps though Longreach is home to some really big hitters in the tourist department. The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, which opened in 1988, showcases the history and the culture of life in rural Australia. It is nothing short of spectacular : informative, user friendly, and totally fascinating.

Sitting in the outside arena watching a drover working his horses in the daily show reminded me of Errol Flynn in the 1950 movie Montana. (Yeah, I wonder about the things that go around in my head too.)

The Qantas Founders Museum is another Must Do as is the Sunset Cruise on the Thomson River.

All of these venues are mentioned in the book “Lonely In Longreach”. Which in turn had me thinking of another movie : Sleepless In Seattle. Same premise – kid worries his widowed Dad is lonely so fixes him up by signing him up to a Dating App and arranges for his choice of stepmother to fly in from the Big Smoke to give a career chat at the local high school. We all know how the story ends, don’t we?

Then I had to read “Everything Is Beautiful” by Eleanor Ray for Book Club.

Amy is a loner who suffered major heartbreak a decade ago and deals with it by collecting bits and pieces. Read: she is a hoarder with a house full of junk.

Readers were meant to be sympathetic to Amy’s situation though consensus amongst this group of readers was that Amy needed to “have a teaspoon of concrete and harden up”. Not the outcome the author was looking for, I would suggest , and I wondered if this was the Australian readers’ take as opposed to the English ( which is Ray’s ethnicity). Okay, agreed, the answer could be that my Book Club is full of neanderthals……..

Thank goodness for the coming Pop Up Book Sale fundraiser on the weekend.

NOTE:

Coming out of a three day Lockdown which had me housekeeping like crazy. I’ve deleted 350 “Followers” from Word Press. My apologies but at this stage of the game I am not in any need of nutritional or financial advice, information about cryptocurrency nor the stockmarket, and nor do I require the services of a pretty Asian lass. Don’t even start me on Life Coaches…….

40 years on : Gallipoli, the movie.

It’s the 40th Anniversary of the release of the Australian movie, Gallipoli. A restored, digitalised version has been doing the rounds at selected cinemas over the past few days to coincide with ANZAC Day.

Gallipoli comes across as a light little movie that examines the brutality of war and the heroic sacrifices made by the ANZACS. It looks at mateship and heroism ( and personal opinion: stupidity), and provides an insight into the lasting impact of the ANZAC story. Makes it not so light and fluffy, hey.*

The movie won eight Australian Film Institute Awards including Best Film and Best Director, and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 1982 Golden Globe Awards.

Gallipoli starred two young Aussie actors : shy, blond Mark Lee, and confident, dark Mel Gibson, as well as beautiful rural Western Australian vistas. I was always a fan of the quiet Mark Lee and it wasn’t until Braveheart days that I switched camps.

The Yanks don’t like Mad Mel apparently. Yes, he’s been a dipstick and certainly earned his nickname. But you know what ? He’s not been dealing drugs, using the casting couch to win young girls, has never been involved with paedophilia nor incest, nor murdered anyone. He’s guilty of being abrasive, brash, a loud mouth, lacking cultural sensitivities, and has a tendency to call a spade a shovel. Just a typical Aussie lad. Sheesh, I wonder how some of you lot would cope at a Sunday Sesh…..

For some reason, Americans aren’t offended by Gayle King. Or is it not allowed to be offended by Gayle King. I don’t get that at all. “ What did Prince Phillip die of?” she asked. For God’s sake, how does this flip keep her job? And they think Mel Gibson is whacko….

Although Mad Mel hits the media regularly, Mark Lee has remained very unassuming. Read a write up in the weekend rag. Must say, he’s looking mighty F-I-N-E.

Courtesy Courier Mail 24/4/21

Anyway, if you haven’t seen the movie it’s worth chasing up. Two performers at the beginning of their game telling a story about the too many young lives totally wasted, the too many shattered families. For a little film I remember coming out of the cinema the first time I saw it so full of anger and anti British. Of course, those were the days when I was young, fresh faced and an idealist. I’m too scared to revisit this movie 40 years later – the apoplexy might not be good for the health.

Hang in there, Mel. Hold. Hold. Hold the line.

*Today’s lesson in Queensland-speak , and yes, our lingo changes from state to state. Qlders tend to put hey at the end of sentences. After 25 years living here I’m afraid it is starting to stick. Then I hear my father’s voice in my head admonishing me with “ makes the bull fat”.