Up Lit and Movie Musicals

One of the fastest growing genre of books is Up Lit, or Uplifting Literature, which can help to elevate your mood. The cause of its current popularity is not rocket science.

It has been said that the trend started in response to the current climate leading for a desire to read about “everyday heroism, human connection, and love.” 

Generally Up Lit books “track quirky, offbeat protagonists on their journeys to creating a fulfilling web of relationships.” The books keep any possibility of saccharine sentimentality in check by also offering up healthy doses of melancholy.

So although there may well be tears and disappointments by the final pages of books of this genre “you’ll be left with an appreciation of the good in the world, and the wonderful people in it.”

Think A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, two really good reads (although with the former there was a period where I considered cutting my wrists during the first few chapters. Thank God I was not listening to Leonard Cohen at the time.)

Here’s a list from Goodreads of the most popular Up Lit titles:

www.goodreads.com › shelf › show › uplit

My attention span is that of a gnat lately. Minimal focus. My study program has been pushed aside, so I’m giving Up Lit a go.

Ditto my movie watching habits. You know, I nodded off in the chair during Casablanca last week, did not shed a single tear when Heath Ledger died by the sword in The Patriot, and cannot even contemplate a swashbuckler at the moment. These are bad days…..

You know what’s soothing the beating heart?

Movie Musicals from the 1940’s and 50’s. Bizarre, I know. I guess there is a correlation as these were popular in Hollywood during the Depression and after World War 2. They were light, colourful and importantly for some of us – ME – you could leave the brain at the front door.

I’m finding myself singing some of the songs when I get up first thing in the morning. Today it was “ Take Me Out To The Ball Game”. Sure beats listening to the news.

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.








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:


When they told me that the music would contain lots of Hallelujas my mind went immediately to singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.

Imagine my surprise then at the beautiful Mandeville Hall in the grounds of Loreto College in Melbourne’s very swish Toorak, the Hallelujas were part of Frideric Handel’s Messiah. Originally an Easter offering this English-language oratorio burst onto the stage of Musick Hall in Dublin on April 13, 1742.

We enjoyed excerpts performed by Cantus and Sonare Novesia, from the Cathedral of St Quirinus, in Neuss, Germany. Eight glorious voices soared through the rafters and we were left absolutely spellbound.

And yet another performance at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne.

Normally when you hear of Melbourne talk turns to Federation Square, Lygon Street, Southbank and the Victoria Markets. And the Casino. Who cares!

We were spoiled by several days in South Yarra, 4 kms out of the CBD and roughly 1,300 kilometres south of Brisbane. A bustling, upscale suburb with art deco apartments facing the Yarra, and well-preserved mansions, South Yarra is full of swanky boutiques, art galleries, cocktail lounges and eclectic bistros. I was tempted by a cat collar with bell for $77 – Ha ha ha -and of course I came upon a great bookstore.

Avoca Book Store, Toorak Road, South Yarra

I’ve been known to favour walking tours of an eclectic nature when I travel and I wasn’t disappointed with South Yarra’s offering of a two hour stroll with an architectural expert explaining the various styles of housing.

Both trams and train service South Yarra and the nearby Botanical Gardens and other reserves offer a great stretch of the legs. Honestly, it was just so therapeutic being surrounded by greenery after having been in drought effected territory for so long.( Note to self : plant more trees this week and steer clear of chocolate).

We went Airbnb. I love them and detest the impersonality of hotels. After all, seen one marble bathroom, you’ve seen them all.


Wattle and Koalas

Wattle Day has been celebrated on the first day of September each year since 1992, the official start of the Australian spring. Prior to this each State acknowledged the day at separate times depending on when the Acacias were in full bloom in that territory. My memories as a young lass are of wearing a sprig of Cootamundra Wattle, which flourished in Sydney, to school on the 1st day of August each year.

The Golden Wattle was incorporated as an accessory in the design of the Australian Coat of Arms in 1912.

I’m a big fan of Wattle (but then I don’t suffer from Hay Fever) and have recently planted a Wattle sapling, along with other native trees, on the fringe of the Koala corridor which my property borders. Pretty sure the neighbours will be unimpressed. Stuff ‘em.

Both the Koalas and Wattles are at their best at the moment. The former may well be cute but the bucks are noisy when they’re feeling antsy. Noisy and determined. And they’re most certainly feeling antsy at the moment.

Tree planting endeavours on my part are an attempt to encourage the bees, butterflies and bird life. All creatures welcome really – except snakes.

Wattle flowers were sold to raise money during World War 1 and it became tradition to send pressed wattles in letters to wounded soldiers in Europe. Fallen diggers were often buried with a sprig of wattle. The green and gold of Wattle inspired our national colours which we see at the great sporting events.

Wattle……just love it.

Cootamundra Wattle by John Williamson

Don’t go lookin’ through that old camphor box woman,
You know those old things only make you cry.
When you dream upon that little bunny rug
It makes you think that life has passed you by
There are days when you wish the world would stop woman,
But then you know some wounds would never heal
But when I browse the early pages of the children
It’s then I know exactly how you feel.
Hey it’s July and the winter sun is shining
And the Cootamundra wattle is my friend
For all at once my childhood never left me
‘Cause wattle blossoms bring it back again
It’s Sunday and you should stop the worry woman,
Come out here and sit down in the sun
Can’t you hear the magpies in the distance?
Don’t you feel the new day has begun?
Can’t you hear the bees making honey woman,
In the spotted gums where the bellbirds ring?
You might grow old and bitter cause you missed it,
You know some people never hear such things
Hey it’s July and the winter sun is shining
And the Cootamundra wattle is my friend
For all at once my childhood never left me
‘Cause wattle blossoms bring it back again
Don’t buy the daily papers any more woman,
Read all about what’s going on in hell.
They don’t care to tell the world of kindness,
Good news never made a paper sell.
There’s all the colours of the rainbow in the garden woman,
And symphonies of music in the sky.
Heaven’s all around us if you’re looking,
But how can you see it if you cry.
Hey it’s July and the winter sun is shining
And the Cootamundra wattle is my friend
For all at once my childhood never left me
‘Cause wattle blossoms bring it back again.

Porter, Big Bands and Hip Replacements

Showing my age but I remember when pre wedding festivities consisted of a gathering of women who thought it dreadfully risqué to open a bottle of Porphrey Pearl or Cold Duck and to gift such wondrous things as wooden spoons , tea towels, and paper towel dispensers to the bride-to-be. Yes, the compulsory Kitchen Tea, when mothers and maiden aunts openly drank the McWilliams Port or Sherry from the flagon and guests dined on sausage rolls, Devilled Eggs and fruitcake. ( Question: why is it that any drink that is pink kills pot plants?)

Times have changed and the Hen’s Night is now almost as big as the actual wedding requiring just as much planning. Some young women fly out of the country for the event on the basis that “ what happens in Bali stays in Bali”. I did not attend my eldest daughter’s Hens as I’de had enough of waking up on Saturday mornings to find some strange teenager laying across my bed wanting relationship advice and breakfast. From a divorcee. What’s that all about?

My favourite Hens function took place nearly thirty years ago. Frocked up we went to a Saturday matinee to see A Swell Party, a musical which was overlaid with biographical content, followed by a slap-up Thai meal where we all got sill-ily sloshed. That was my introduction to the music of Col Porter.

I often play a CD of Porter’s music by the original artists. It’s old. The sound quality is not the best but it’s still fine music. Helps with the mopping.

De-Lovely is a 2004 musical biopic. The screenplay is based on the life and career of Cole Porter from his first meeting with his wife, Linda Thomas, until his death.  Critics may have panned the movie but I loved that it introduced a new generation to the music of Porter with a soundtrack featuring contemporaries such as Alana Morrissette, Robbie Williams and Sheryl Crowe.

So a recent Dinner Dance with a Big Band playing all the tunes of Porter and the songs of Dino and Cranky Frankie was just De-lightful.

Swing Central at Cloudland in Brisbane

Better than my previous weeks venture to a nightclub for Baby Boomers – yes, they are a thing – where the only positive was that I seemed to be the only one not requiring a hip replacement.

Housekeeping 101 and Music Trivia

Whilst the weather is lousy I have remained indoors and have been catching up on domestics. The spider webs have gone from cornices and if it’s not nailed down it’s been rehomed.

I did brave the rain last night for Music Trivia. Won a bottle of wine for being the Wooden Spooner. Trivia about Disco Music. Epic Fail. I appear to have bypassed that era completely. Next week is the music of Elvis, Beatles and Bee Gees. The King was before my time and The Beatles were a No No. Their hair was too long apparently. I wasn’t allowed to date any lads who had been to Vietnam either or who drove motor bikes or panel vans, and who had facial hair of any sort.

With my recent rage against WP Blocks I’ve attempted some housekeeping here. I haven’t set out to offend but hey, if you sell amoxicillin or viagra you’ve been wiped. I’m not a gambler, so sayonara, and have not ever, nor ever will be, in the market for a 90 metre cruiser.

Despite my recent retirement I believe I’m still very much connected to current lingo, though admit to being stumped by “White is a classic color choice for coffee tables”. What does this even mean? Spook code for what ?

Apologies also if you’ve been removed from the Following List. I’m all for cultural exchange and broadening horizons, though communication must be in English. I’ve studied a little French, Italian, and German. No Arabic nor Asian Languages. Goodbye.

I do not know how some of you disappeared, and some continue to do so. I’m sorry. Not being rude. If I was you’de know. Promise. Blame those boyfriends who went to Vietnam.

Still having issues with Blocks and adding photos and my Deleted folder continues to get thicker as my frustration grows.

One day I will get the settings right. At the moment it looks like a cats breakfast and that’s okay. I have Elvis music to catch up on.

The Perfect Souvenir

My daughters, the Gadabout Girls, are big on travel and experiencing different cultures. Add the label Adrenalin Junkie to my eldest who does all kinds of horrific things that she doesn’t even share with her mother these days, such as jumping out of planes, hiking through South America and driving Go Karts through the streets of Tokyo. She unashamedly admits bonding with her partner when they patted a shark together whilst surfing off North Stradbroke Island.

When she told me a few years ago that she and her military lad were touring Europe she mentioned Switzerland. Switzerland. Stupid mother asks, “why Switzerland?” The reply? “Large dairy industry and great cheeses”. Mother was stupid AND naive. They jumped out of a plane, landing in water, and floating down an icy river. As you do.

So today, on the 110th Anniversary of the birth of Errol Flynn I thought I’de share the souvenir the daughters brought back for me from their trip to Greece via Egypt.

Yep, these they found in Athens. Better than a miniature sphinx or a snow dome, hey.

I’ve been away for a few days to a beautiful part of our world though home earlier than expected. Bit of an issue so a bit blahhhh.

In an attempt to lift my spirits a friend jokingly said “ what we need is some Errol music, but we haven’t got any”.

Well guess what, my friend. The jokes on you.

2019 Peter Allen Festival in Tenterfield, NSW.

Last year I visited Tenterfield to attend the Inaugural Peter Allen Festival, a colourful celebration of Allen’s contribution to Arts and Culture, not only in Australia but internationally.

A singer-songwriter, musician and entertainer known for his flamboyant stage persona and lavish costumes, Peter Allen was born in Tenterfield in 1944. His most famous song Tenterfield Saddler honours the memory of his grandfather, George Woolnough, who had been a long time Tenterfield resident and owner of the Tenterfield Saddlery on High Street for fifty two years. Classified by the National Trust the building remains mainly untouched to this day.

The 2019 Peter Allen Festival, held from Thursday, 5th September to Sunday, 8th September, will incorporate a range of activities including arts, culture, singing, songwriting, theatre, dance and entertainment and promises to highlight the rural lifestyle, heritage, history, food, local produce, and the indigenous history of the area.

Reservations for some of the big ticket events of the weekend are already available for purchase. These include Peter Allen On The Big Screen, The Jackaroos Breakfast, and Livy and Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen. Refer http://www.thepeterallenfestival.com.au.

Only 4 hours drive from Brisbane in northern New South Wales, Tenterfield is located in a valley within the Great Dividing Range. Its largely preserved architecture, natural attractions and rich farmland make it a worthwhile destination when needing to relax and recharge.

Tenterfield has a good range of accomodation options including hotels, motels, B&Bs, and caravan parks. Refer to Www.visittenterfield.com.au.

What is my fondest memory from last years Festival?

People singing in the streets, an entertaining show at the School of Arts Building that had us all out of our seats, and the infectious community spirit at the street markets where I purchased enough fresh produce, jams, and chutneys to fill the pantry. And loud shirts. Lots of loud shirts.

Tenterfield is also full of wonderful history. Take the time to discover it all. It’s well worth the effort:)

NOTE: When I drive to Tenterfield from Brisbane I allow umm, errr, …………nine hours * slinking with a slight dose of shame.

Morning tea at Pottsville just over the border with a whiff of salt air and/or a walk on the beach, a visit to Uncle Peter’s Secondhand Bookstore at Clunes, lunch at Casino (and some good country clothes shops), and a scenic drive in the afternoon to my destination via a quick stop at Tabulam, where General Henry Chauvel was born (and a monument to The Australian Light Horse).

Just before ANZAC Day @ The AWM.

I’ve recently touched on some of my favourite monuments located within the grounds of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra – without even scratching the surface!

By far the most moving and thought provoking tribute occurs on the evenings of 23 and 24 April until the commencement of the Dawn Service on Anzac Day on the 25th.

Between dusk and dawn on these dates images of Australian servicemen and servicewomen from a variety of actions and battles across the history of Australia’s Military Service will be projected onto the Australian War Memorial’s façade.

Many images are black and white, some are in colour, and they are all authentic photos taken over periods of our nations military history.

It’s already coats and boots weather in our Capital City, yet the cold weather wont prevent all demographics from taking the time out to view this spectacular event. This is one of those lump-in-your-throat occasions which shouldn’t be missed if you are travelling through the A.C.T.

I did have more photos though they were lost when that phone went through the washing machine. Oooops.

A girlfriend crocheted the above tribute to the ANZACS for me with the colours representing the sun, the sand, blood and the poppies. She used scraps of wool left over from a much larger version that she created for herself as a double bed blanket. It is nothing short of spectacular. Valmae is the daughter of a Changi POW. Thank you, my friend x