A Little Miscellany Today

Beautiful day today. We have been having a very chilly, windy, showery summer this year so far. I’m not complaining because that is better than bush fires and terrible heat. However it is nice to go outside in shirt sleeves.

I am half way through the book Nada by Carmen Laforet. I am enjoying it very much. What an unusual and I must admit very strange family tale in Barcelona just after the war. Life in the 40s in this family is not only very poor but also extremely bizarre. It is translated by Edith Grossman who I really liked as a translator having read her translation a few years ago of Don Quixote. (Bill, I will be sending this book to Perth before too long.)

The Book Tube I followed for a few days did his spin on Sunday and number 15 came up. I have two months now to read the book I listed as number 15 which is a book I am looking forward to. You can see what it is about, if you haven’t on my post Book Tube Part 3 (here). It is The Only Way Home by Liz Byron. Travel writing by an Australian female writer. In 2004 she undertakes a 2500 kms trek of the Bicentennial National Trail over nine months with two donkeys. I am hoping this is an interesting book but in any case the premise of it certainly appeals. I will start it as soon as I finish Nada.

On Audible I am listening to the Odyssey by Homer. The narrator is Charles

Purkey and I enjoy listening to him of this version. Of course we visited this in high school, back in the 1960s but who pays attention then? It all went over my head that was filled with horses and social events.

I picked up Italo Calvio’s Book Why Read the Classics and the first essay is about the Odyssey. I had a new credit and used it for this so I can read both the essay and listen to it. I am enjoying it very much. We touched on several of the characters from this and also The Iliad in our play reading class which has sadly met its demise. Once I got all the characters pretty straight in my head and heard the correct pronunciations of them I have well

and truly settled into the story. Such a journey. I think this might be a book I read like Mortimer Adler suggests in his book, How To Read A Book from back in the 1930s of a classic book. Read it, ask no questions, do not stop to look up things, just go. Then go back and reread it and then look up things if you need to but by then much of it will be in your head. I would have enjoyed meeting Mortimer Adler. I read his book twice and again here and there a third time. When one grows up in a family where I was the only one who truly loved books and reading a bit of outside direction from various learned people comes in handy.

Outside of the books, we are still working with the vet around Ollie’s medical condition. Much has been ruled out but his ultra sound has shown smaller than usual adrenal glands on his kidneys and so far he has picked up quite a bit on his anti-biotics and steroids but Addison’s disease is being looked at. He does feel good most of the time. He has lost his energetic bursts of speed though and acts more like an older dog. More tests are coming up soon and the vet is working with a specialist from Sydney university.

In the meantime we have changed Dolly’s name to Peanut. We thought Dolly would be a retiring, timid little girl puppy who would slot into our family on a quieter side. However, Miss Turbo Pants is full of piss and vinegar and has two speeds, run full on and drop wherever you are and sleep. She has been with us about 10 days and is already pulling the tennis balls out of the bushes where Ollie hid them and banging on the back door to be let in as she runs through the house chasing the cats. She has been slapped once and is now leaving Cousin Eddie, our tabby alone more. She is such a tiny Peanut little hell on wheels. We love her.

Built by convict labour in 1824.

Sunday our senior group had an afternoon tea at a heritage listed home/hotel in Richmond which is about 25 minutes from Hobart. We had nine of us, a real girls day out, enjoying a garden, a courtyard and a stately room with lovely chicken salad with tarragon sandwiches, a lovely Tasmanian sparkling Rose wine and several assorted pastries followed by a choice of assorted teas and coffee.

There is a legend that a woman named Elizabeth Buscombe his her jewels somewhere in the house in 1860, but then could not remember where she put them. They have never been found. Evidently people still look for them.

A pleasant way to spend an afternoon with friends. Tasmania has been completely Covid free now for 2 months so a safe place to hide out from the world. The Australian state leaders, no matter what one thinks of their politics have handled Covid safely in our states, no thanks to our Prime Minister who is usually more interested in getting adulation from America’s past president than helping the Australian people in any way. (No more as I don’t want to ruin a perfectly good post.)

We’ll see how the rest of this week goes. I am hoping to just finish the books I have picked out, do some more cooking and maybe experiment with some baking after watching reruns of both the Great Australian and British bake off shows. I have a Mary Berry book being delivered today that I am looking forward to. I really like her. She said in a television program her mother cooked right up until she passed away at age 105. There remains hope for us all.

Enough for today. Now I’ll go hunt out some photos for this post. Stay tuned and for goodness sakes, stay well.

Book Tube Spin – Part 4

Today I’m featuring the last five books of the list for the Book Tube Spin on 31 January. Without further adieu….. Let’s begin.

South American-Spanish- Non fiction- Travel

16. How To Travel Without Seeing by Andrés Neuman. This author was born in Argentina and grew up in Spain. Lamenting not having more time to get to know each of the 19 countries he visits after winning the prestigious Premio Alfaguara, Andrés Neuman begins to suspect that world travel consists mostly of “not seeing.” But then he realizes that the fleeting nature of his trip provides hin with a unique opportunity: touring and comparing every country of Latin America in a single stroke. Neuman writes on the move, described as a kinetic work that is at once puckish and poetic, aphoristic and brimming with curiosity. Even so called non places- airports, hotels, taxis – are turned into powerful symbols full of meaning. He investigates the artistic lifeblood of Latin America, tacklig with gusto not only literary heavyweights such as Bolaño, Vargas Llosa, Lorca, and Geleano, but also an emerging generation of authors and filmmakers wose impact is now making ripples worldwide. (paraphrased from back cover).

Netherlands- Fiction

17. Lost Paradise by Dutch novelist, Cees Nooteboom. Alma and Almut share a fascination for Australia and its ancient peoples; their ceremonies, sand drawings and body paintings. After Alma suffers a traumatic attack, they board a cheap flight from São Paulo to Sydney, and together begin their journey across their secret continent. Alma slowly recovers through a brief love affair with an Aboriginal artist, and both women become involved with the Angel Project in Perth, where actors dressed as angels are concealed around the city for the public to discover. I bought this book as it sounds imaginative and very unusual.

USA- Fiction

18. I have always been attracted to the publishers descriptions of Marilyn Robinson’s books but not yet read one. I have read reviews of this book and it sounds really interesting. Housekeeping published in 1980. This copy is a Faber Modern Classic and was picked up second hand in an op shop.

It states: Abandoned by a succession of relatives, orphaned sisters Ruthie and Lucille find themselves in the care of their eccentric aunt Sylvie in their rural home town of Idaho. Ruth narrates the sisters’ story as Lucille moves out into the world and Ruthie falls further back into her own family’s dark past. Against the stunning backdro of a bleak wintery landscape in a small desolate town, Marilynne Robinson’s first novel is a powerful portrayal of loss, loneliness and the struggle towards adulthood.

Australian Non Fiction Memoir- Animal

19. Red Lead: The Naval Cat with Nine Lives, an Australian non fiction book by Roland Perry. I have mentioned this book previously and have begun reading it but was then distracted by events at the end of last year. I had not picked it back up again but do think about it so will continue with it.

The story goes: Australia’s most renowned Cruiser, HMAS Perth was sunk by Japanese naval forces in the Sunda Strait off the coast of Java. Of the 681 men aboard, 328 survived the sinking and made it to shore. And one cat. Her name was Red Lead, and she was the ship’s cat, beloved by the crew.

However surviving shellfire, torpedoes and the fierce currents of the Strait was only the beginning of what they would face during the next 3 1/2 years. From Java to Changi and then on the Thai Burma Railway, red Lead was their companion.

It is an amazing tale of a cat who survives this ordeal and goes on to live for 24 years before her passing in Australia. Sorry, I had to read the last pages before I bought their as I don’t like surprises with animal tales.

Australian Poetry and Narrative

20. Last but not least is a book of Aboriginal Narratives and poems entitled The Nearest the White Man Gets: Aboriginal Narratives and Poems of New South Wales collected by Roland Robinson. Published in 1989, this was a one dollar bargain from a sale bin in an op shop. It is a short book and could be read in an hour. I needed one shorter book on this list. It looks a charming little book and I have not read much, if any indigenous poetry so should enjoy it.

Well….there you have it. A good list I think of 20 books from my shelves. I must say, having pulled these books randomly off the shelves does show me what lovely tales of travel, adventure, heartache and laughs await and I think I will begin on this list with or without the Spin at the end of the month.

Once read I can move them on to their place in the broader world so we’ll see how I go on this pile of books during the next two months set aside to read.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and can remark on them. Until next time…

That’s the list folks!

Book Tube-Part 3

I read Simon’s post earlier this week from Stuck in a Book and he introduced Rick McDonnell who presents on You Tube as Book Tube Spin. I went and had a look and it is a very easy challenge. You pick 20 books from your TBR shelf, list them and on 31 January Rick will announce a number and you have two months to read your book. Two months is quite a while so I thought I’d join. I am already devoting time to my TBR shelf so I thought I would put up four posts this week of five books each that I am choosing for my spin.

Canadian- Non fiction

11. Wisdom of the Elders by North American authors Peter Knudtson and David Suzuki. This is one of those long term TBR books picked up in 1992 when it was first published. I have handled it so many times shuffling it around but time to read it.

It explores the beliefs about the delicate relationships between humans, nature and the environment held by two traditions commonly thoght to be diametrically opposed: Western science and the age old wisdom of indigenous peoples around the world.

Australian-Indigenous Non Fiction

12. The Stranger Artist by Australian author Quentin Sprague. This book is written in gouache, acrylic, blood and tears: the story of the modern frontier, where high art, for a brief, magic time was made from the trust and tension of two worlds (Nicholas Rothwell author)

I really enjoy stories about art and indigenous artists are very interesting to me.

It takes place in the East Kimberly region of australia. An art adviser he finds himself deeply immersed in the world of a group of senior Gija artists. The bonds he forms with renowned painters Paddy Bedfort and Freddy Timms backdrop the establishment of the ground breaking Jirrawun Arts.

USA-Travel- Non fiction

13. This next book is a reread that I adored. Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman. I read this book probably in the 1990s and I never forgot it. She wrote three books before she died. She was such an interesting woman. She was a journalist and author who won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1985. She lived and worked in Baltimore, Maryland.

This is her memoir of when she took a year off to explore Euro[e and rediscover what it was like to be an independent woman again. She left her job, family, friends and routine behind. The result, Without Reservations, became a bestseller and inspired women everywhere to take that leap, if not in reality, at least in their imaginations. She focused on travelling, writing and learning. This is such an enjoyable book.

Australian- non fiction-memoir

14. Number 14 is another Text Australian classic. Nino Culotta author of They’re a Weird Mob. Just off the boat from Italy- the north- Nino Culotta is in Sydney. He thought he spoke English but he’s never heard anything like the language these people were speaking. They’re a Weird Mob is a hilarious snapshot of the immigrant experience in Menzies era Australia, by a writer with a brilliant ear for the Australian way with words.

I purchased this book as coming to Australia myself from the USA and working as a speech pathologist for many years I think I can relate to much of his experience.

Australian- non fiction-memoir-travel

15. Another Australian woman writer, Liz Byron wrote the travel memoir The Only Way Home, published in 2020. On a warm day in May 2004, the author set off from Cooktown with her two companions, donkeys Grace and Charley, on a self imposed challenge to walk 2500 kms of the Bicentennial National Trail over 9 months. It was a rite of passage to mark leaving 40 years of marriage and embarking on life as a single woman at the age of 61. She foresaw that self-reliance, physical stamina and route finding would be challenges, but she couldn’t have known how the outback environment in Queensland was to test her to the limit.

I love travel writing about lone women doing unusual things. Especially in later life. I know I won’t ever have any of these experiences but I like to vicariously follow others.

Book Tube Spin- Part 1

I was reading Simon’s post today from Stuck in a Book and he introduced Rick McDonnell who presents on You Tube as Book Tube Spin. I went and had a look and it is a very easy challenge. You pick 20 books from your TBR shelf, list them and on 31 January Rick will announce a number and you have two months to read your book. Two months is quite a while so I thought I’d join. I am already devoting time to my TBR shelf so I thought I would put up four posts this week of five books each that I am choosing for my spin.

It is a way to share some of the lovely books on my shelf and remind myself they are there. I have had a good look and many of the books are Australian authors which I really want to read. Then a threw in a few others that are of interest but I don’t know much about. They were gifts or recommendations from other people or I simply loved the cover and it drew me in. So Part 1- Here we go.

Australian Fiction
  • 1. Flames by Robbie Arnott. This Tasmanian author has received quite a bit of publicity about his first book. From the blurb: A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his sister, Charlotte- who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. a father takes form from fire.

I put off getting this book because the premise sounded so weird frankly but reviews have been positive and fun and I do need to read outside of what I normally pick. I’ll give this a try.

Russian Fiction

2. Alina Bronsky writer of The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine. When Rosa discovers that her 17 yr old daughter “stupid Sulfia” is pregnant by an unknown man she does everything to thwart the pregnance, employing a variety of folkloric home rememdies. Despite her best efforts the baby, Aminat, is born later at the Soviet Birthing Center.

This is a Russian tale of an “uproariously dysfunctional family that bind mother, daughter and grandmother into the fray.” It sounds fun and interesting and I love the cover.

Spanish

3. Nada by Carmen Laforet. I don’t remember how I came by this book. Eighteen year old Andrea moves to Barcelona to stay with relatives she has not seen in years while she pursues her dream of studying at university. Arriving in the dead of night she discovers not the independence she craves, bt a crumbling apartment and an eccentric collection of misfits whose psychological ruin and violent behaviour echoes that of the recent civil war.

Sounds an interesting Spanish tale.

Australian Indigenous

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko. This Australian novel has been listed for many awards here and I have read quite a few reviews in posts online. The blurb states: Wise cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things- her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup so she heads south on a stolen Harley.

She plans to spend 24 hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. The unexpected arrival on the scene of a good looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds to more trouble- but then trouble is Kerry’s middle name.

Australian Fiction

Number 5 is Robbie Arnott’s second book The Rain Heron. I attended the launch of this book last year as one of Fuller’s book store events. Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting and trading- and forgetting. But when a young soldier comes to the mountains in search of a local myth, Ren is inexorably drawn into her impossible mission. This is their story. Bits of fantasy and imagination drew me into this plus the enthusiasm of the people attending the book launch.

Happy Times

Grandma Schavey’s Prune Cake

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my grandmother’s cook book I have. You can see that post here. It actually belonged to my maternal great grandmother whom I’ve never met. She passed it on to her daughter in law, my maternal grandmother. Somehow my paternal grandmother ended up writing a recipe or two in it and then my father’s sister (my Aunt Bea) gave the book to me. I have no idea of how it transferred between all of these women on both sides of the family but I am happy to have it.

In the back was a hand written recipe from my mother’s mother, my Grandma Schavey. (Schavey is a German name. She had Scandinavian blood in her as she was a Petersen but her husband was German.)

I have been curious about this recipe for some time. So I decided it is just too windy and rainy to go outdoors this week and I am tired of sitting still reading. Not in the mood for much else so I decided to make the prune cake.

I am not a baker (from scratch). Growing up in America most people just use mixes in a box. Also this recipe only has the ingredients listed and no directions. However I have watched a zillion episodes of the Great British Bake Off which I love and I thought I could figure out a cake. No temperatures are given for anything either so I guess I had my own Great Tasmanian Bake Off.

Note: should read baking SODA.

I cooked the prunes on the stove top in a little bit of water until they were really soft and falling apart. Use pitted prunes as you don’t want to be messing around with pits.

I put all the wet ingredients in one bowl and stirred them up well. Then I put all the dry ingredients in another bowl. I then got the mixer out and slowly added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while mixing them all together. I greased the pans with Crisco which I get from USA Foods.com as I will never get used to baking paper but you can decide how you do that.

I baked it for 20 minutes in a fan forced oven at 170. I should probably have lowered the temperature a bit, maybe to 160 and taken longer but it did come out pretty good. One side of it was slightly darker on top than the other but I’m sure that is my fan oven. I will never get used to a fan forced oven but not much I can do about it.

The Final Product

I had Mr. Penguin taste it with his afternoon cup of coffee and he thought it was really good. However I could give him slop and he would tell me it was very good so I tasted it myself. I LOVED it. It has a. nice taste of prune and if you enjoy prunes you will like it. However I have no idea how I am going to go tomorrow after eating all of those prunes so I think I shall start out slowly with a smaller piece.

It would be lovely with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream with it, neither of which I have. So it will be a plain old prune cake for today.

Let me know if you try this but I would certainly recommend it and it really was easy as.

READY – SET – BAKE

A Cool Summer’s Day Christmas

Photo: Shutter Stock

Having grown up in the state of Michigan in the USA, I will never get used to Christmas in summer. We have lived here more than 30 years now and it still seems strange to not have a myriad of lights everywhere (as our summer days are long) and snow covered trees and bushes. However I cannot complain about our weather although summer heat has still not kicked off. 18 degrees C today (64F or thereabouts).

We have some lovely food in the fridge for a later dinner, a new kitchen instead of gifts and many books waiting to be read. Our cats have been chasing each other through the house. Ollie is running around the backyard looking through his fence crack for the neighbour’s cat, Stanley and old Molly is waiting for her heart and arthritis medication before her doggie breakfast.

Photo Source: tdls.com

I finished the Ann Cleeves book I mentioned previously and the Gifts of Reading also. I will now pass those on as they won’t need to live here anymore so they will be released into the wild.

I will start a new novel in the next day or two and I have a new book of essays I began today. I will mention that today. It is called In the Kitchen: Essays on food and life. Published 2020 by Daunt books it consists of 13 essays by a variety of authors. Here is the inside cover’s blurb:

Food can embody our personal histories as well as wider cultural histories. But what are the stories we tell ourselves about the kitchen, and how do we first come to it? How do the cookbooks we read influence us? Can cooking be a tool for connection in the kitchen and outside it?

I love this brightly coloured cover.

In these thirteen original essays, writers consider the subjects of cooking and eating and how they shape our lives, and the possibilities and limitations the kitchen poses. Rachel Roddy traces her life through the cookers she has known; Rebecca May Johnson considers the radical potential of finger food; Ruby Tandoh discovers other definitions of sweetness; Yemisi Aribisala remembers a love affair in which food failed as a language; and Julia Turshen considers food’s ties to a community.

In the Kitchen brings together thirteen contemporary writers who brilliantly capture their experiences in the kitchen and beyond.

I have read the first essay by the food writer Rachel Roddy who lives in Rome. She recalls the 20 cookers she has known throughout her life, where she was living, what she was doing and their idiosyncrasies. They varied in use from disconcerting gas leaks, collectible old Agas, bum warmers and overheated kitchens. It was a fun read of how life can be measured by our appliances in a kitchen, which I have never really thought of much. I have not lived with 20 cookers in my lifetime and I doubt I could remember many of the ones I did live with except to say they were all electric.

I am sure I will enjoy the rest of this book through my daily reading of these little gems of wisdom and history.

I can’t believe I have traded in my motorbike for a new stove. You just never know the direction life may take.

I will now leave you to enjoy the rest of your day and happy thoughts to each of you whether you have a large Christmas (I hope not too large) or a quiet, more melancholy one of which I think might be quite prevalent this year

As our relatives are all spread out between the USA and Canada, ours will be quiet but it will be contented with what is going on today and I must say I am really looking forward to January when I hope to be seeing Trump being dragged out of the white house on 20th. Put him on a horse and slap it on the rump and watch it run off (like in the cowboy movies of the 1950s I grew up on.) It is good to have things to look forward to.

May we all do things in 2021 that keep us healthy, make us happy and move us forward as humanity and keep our earth, flora and fauna happy too.

Hope you all get a book for Christmas.

Rainy day in Hobart

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7 Mile Beach- Hobart, Tasmania on a very grey day.

This will be short as I need to go get some groceries but when I went to start the car the battery was dead. I’ve most likely left the overhead light on again as the garage is so dark during the dark days and forgotten to turn it off. The RAC-T (Royal Auto Club of Tasmania) is on the way with the cables so I thought I’d write while I wait.

It’s been grey and rainy here for the past couple of days, today and will be again tomorrow.  So much rain and all the rivulets are running wild down Mt Wellington.  Two days ago I took Ollie out to Seven Mile Beach. It is about a 25 minute drive just east of Hobart out past the airport. It channels into the Derwent River that eventually goes out to the Tasman Sea.  It is a nice beach and very few people on it when it is very grey and dark. Our photo club was challenged to do solstice sunrise or sunset shots but with the heavy cloud cover and fog I decided on an afternoon photo shoot. Besides I had to get Ollie out as he was full of beans and we needed to get rid of a few of them. I have told our vet she is not allowed to ever operate on him as all his beans may fall out.  A bit of a run on this beautiful beach sorted out a few of them.

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Bookwise- I finally finished the 37th hour of selections of The Diary of Samuel Pepys. What a long haul it was but overall I enjoyed it very much but by the end I was truly tired of him. The way he treated women as if everyone of them was manufactured from Mattel and always thinking about his own work, his own days, his own pleasures. But I did enjoy the stories of London and hearing about the September fires in 1666 and the plague year the year before. People’s lives were so difficult and desperate and it made me happy I was here in Tassie during our own pandemic.

41057294._UY2115_SS2115_I have a couple of new books on the go but not sure I’ll stick with them. My mood changes from day to day. I’ve started Normal People by Sally Rooney. I’ve been hearing a lot of good about that book. My other book is called A Time of Birds by Helen Moat. This book is newly published also and is a tale of Irish woman, Helen and her older teenage son’s bike ride from England to Istanbul. She is a school teacher who suffers from the same depression her father had and she thinks this bike ride might give her a new perspective on life. She has an old clunky bike that some lycra clad bicyclists in the Netherlands had a real go at making fun of but her son is more modern. Her father spent his later years studying birds and she wants to continue that tradition on her trip across Europe. However she hasn’t mentioned any of them yet.

9781912235704
I do like this cover.

So far she talks a lot about her dad to the point of dwelling I’d say. Have you ever been around that person, maybe at work, who does nothing but talk about their friends you don’t know and that friend’s relatives or experiences and you still have no idea who they’re talking about but they just never stop?  We all talk about family members to our friends which is fine but there are some people who are more acquaintance who continually go on and on and on as it begins to wear a bit. I’m hoping as she gets into this trip she focuses on the present and not so much of the past but we’ll see.

I’ll let you know how I go with the books. In the meantime I’ve posted some photos of our day at the beach. Remember it is winter here.103551374_3290431614324618_4941826444125954385_o

Until next time.

Screenshot 5

Sharing Something Fun

I am part of a Facebook sketch group and something has cropped up that I really love and wanted to share with you.  I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler but I do admire people who do sketch out various things going on in their lives.

However what I came across a couple of days ago is something I could probably do. It’s Book Mapping. I have seen others who do this but these examples are just so much fun I thought I’d share. Julie Hawkins is the artist and reader and she has kindly given me permission to share her drawings here.  So thank you Julie.

Do any of you do anything like this?  If so I’d love to know.  Are there any blogs or fb pages or Instagram pages that reflect this mapping of books? If so and you know of them, please share as I’d love to follow.

2020-05-13 12.47.32

 

2020-05-13 12.48.03

 

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I’ll keep this post short and sweet for today. I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. Ideas abound.

Dapper Penguin
What book would you love to map?

A New Idea for a Blog Post

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This social isolation gets to you once in awhile. Trying to think of things to entertain myself. Today I took Ollie out for a photo walk in the bush. As we walked through the trees I decided I needed some themes in my photography to keep my interest. I needed to look for things.  I saw a lot of old dead tree stumps with various degrees of deterioration and lots of insects so I thought I’d focus on those a bit. Then I thought I’d go home and discover what books relating to the word “tree” I had on my shelf.

There are several blog posts where people share what is on their shelf with others and I really enjoy those posts. Some of those books are read and some of them aren’t. So I had this big brainwave of combining my photography with my books.

Today is the first effort and I’m happy to share it here. Now I need to think of other themes I can combine all while social isolating. That should be more of a challenge than the trees have been. So…..

Here we go- five books and five photos

BOOKS:

Eucalyptus

  1.  Eucalyptus by Murray Bail as most of the trees around our house are that variety. The description from Good Reads states:

The gruff widower Holland has two possessions he cherishes above all others:
his sprawling property of eucalyptus trees and his ravishingly beautiful daughter, Ellen.
When Ellen turns nineteen Holland makes an announcement: she may marry only the man who can correctly name the species of each of the hundreds of gum trees on his property.

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The remains of a very old moth hang on this stump. Only the shredded wings remain

2.  Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Tree by Saki.  This is a little black Penguin from the 80 th birthday boxed set of the Little Black Classics.

Sake Cherry TreeIt is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met…’

Moonlight, sake, spring blossom, idle moments, a woman’s hair – these exquisite reflections on life’s fleeting pleasures by a thirteenth-century Japanese monk are delicately attuned to nature and the senses.

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No social isolation for these ants. I have visited this tree before and it was just as busy. 

3.  Climbing The Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jeffrey.

Mango TreeToday’s most highly regarded writer on Indian food gives us an enchanting memoir of her childhood in Delhi in an age and a society that has since disappeared.
Madhur (meaning “sweet as honey”) Jaffrey grew up in a large family compound where her grandfather often presided over dinners at which forty or more members of his extended family would savor together the wonderfully flavorful dishes that were forever imprinted on Madhur’s palate.

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I thought this tree looks like an American bison lying on it’s side. His head is on the right with horns on top and his nose into the ground. Do you see it? Or have I been socially isolated too long!

4. Tree- A Life Story by David Suzuki.

Tree SuzukiOnly God can make a tree,” wrote Joyce Kilmer in one of the most celebrated of poems. In Tree: A Life Story, authors David Suzuki and Wayne Grady extend that celebration in a “biography” of this extraordinary—and extraordinarily important—organism. A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions but focuses on a single tree, a Douglas fir, Tree describes in poetic detail the organism’s modest origins that begin with a dramatic burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen.

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A bit of minimalism.

5. My Sweet Orange Tree by José Mauro de Vasconcelos.

my-sweet-orange-tree

Five-year-old Zezé lives in Rio de Janeiro, in a forgotten slump in great poverty. But Zezé is not alone. In this world of scolding and beating, he has discovered a magical universe where he spends most of his time: the realm of imagination. There rules a sweet orange tree called Minguinho, and he is a tree like no other: he can talk.

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Little Mr OlliePants. Are we done with this yet?

 

Photo Penguin1
Stay safe everyone.

 

A Bit of a Catch Up

victory-in-the-kitchenI’m finding the current situation in the world very weird. I’m not going to say anything more about this virus thing as I am well and truly tired of hearing about it. We are doing everything right though. Like everyone else we are trying to find things to do around the house and that isn’t too hard. For a start I have a lot of books I can read. I also have a 7 month old puppy to spend time with. So each day I ask myself- “will it be a quiet book and a cup of coffee?” or “will it be a crazy , high energy puppy to occupy my time?”

 

I have been reading a lot of photography magazines and watching you tube videos on the subject. So not reading a lot of novels. However I did start this one which I am enjoying so far at a fairly slow pace. It’s called Victory in the Kitchen: The Life of  Churchill’s Cook by Annie Gray. The blurb on the cover states, ” This is a book about Georgina Landmark. It’s about her life, her times and some of her employers, including Winston and Clementine Churchill. It’s about working class life, and women’s work and expectations, and it’s about domestic service at the highest level. It’s about British food and French influence, and the impact of war on the way we ate. Above all else, though, it’s the story of a woman who loved, loved and cooked her way through much of 20th century Britain, and, while her life is made more resonant by her relationship to her last employers, it remains Georgina’s story.

I might also add I love the cover of this book.

Other activities: 

90419399_3070627949638320_5357850227199967232_oWe have three cats and for entertainment they are quite hard on their cat tree. We replace the one in the house every few years by moving the old one outside to their enclosure and adding a new one to the living room. I ordered one online and it arrived in a flat pack package and I had to put it together. Once I sorted all the pieces and made sure everything was there I got it together this morning.  I had to spray vinegar water around it to keep little Ollie from grabbing pieces and running through the house with them. I often spray a bit of vinegar water on things I don’t want him to chew, such as the edges of furniture or power cords.  It works well as he hates the smell.

 

Our cats took one look at this tree, backed up and went, “Whoa! Check this out!!”  So far, we are getting gentle sniffing at it but not daring yet to venture onto it. I’m sure it won’t be long before they explore it properly,

Photography and bush walks with Ollie:

89828882_3055537494480699_5550781738684252160_oWe have a reserve behind our house that has trails that eventually lead to the pinnacle of Mt, Wellington.  Ollie and I took the camera out one beautiful autumn day and took some photos.  He sniffs out wallaby poo and I look for things to photograph. I thought I’d do a bit of macro work. These are the photos.

Well that pretty much sums up the week. I won’t go on too much about the cancellation of all of my activities I generally participate in. The Book group and Shakespeare group at Fuller’s book store have stopped though a Shakespeare activities is coming up soon online dealing with the sonnets. That should be fun.

The Play reading, Motorbike group rides and social events, the sketch groups at the 90047539_3055537341147381_6826748498633818112_omuseum and all photography events have been cancelled as well. Though the sketch group has a fb page and our photo club currently has a bingo game going on with our fb page.

In summary, it really is a strange time and I’m finding it quite interesting to see the progression of the government rules coming out daily. Tasmania is currently locked now. You can leave but you can’t enter without going into 2 weeks isolation though they are still working on how they monitor the caravans coming in on the ferries from interstate and driving around everywhere.  Governments are great at issuing orders before they work out how they are to be implemented and monitored.

90094922_3055537697814012_1509713474496757760_oAnd if I do get really bored there is Netflix though I don’t want to dive too deep into that entertaining activity.  Remember, I have all these books

I hope all of you out there are doing well and coping and staying well.  It is distressing to see what is happening with people losing jobs, getting sick and dying in large numbers around the world. But it is careful we balance these things out in our mind to prevent getting too depressed about it all. I appreciate all my blogger friends at this time and sometimes I don’t have time to comment on all the blogs I read, I do read most of them, most of the time. I appreciate seeing what others are doing during these weird times.

 

 

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He was so exhausted after his bush walk. Check out the spots on the belly. I love puppy bellies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

masked penguin
Stay Well.