Simply Sunday

25 October, 2020

Ollie and I went to the beach the other day.

I hope this finds everyone well and not too stressed by world events. I must admit I’m a bit stressed about the outcome of the upcoming presidential election in the United States. I will be happy once the election is finalised but not holding out a lot of hope that everything will go smoothly. It’s getting crazier day by day but enough of that.

Simply Sunday is about the past week or so and what’s been happening on our little island at the bottom end of the Australian continent.

The book I’m listening to is The Flight by Julie Clark narrated by Patricia Rodriguez. (USA- Hodder and Stoughton).

I haven’t read much fiction and as I enjoyed the Minotaur fiction I thought I’d dive into some more.

Good Reads describes this book in part as:

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets ― Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away.

I won’t add anymore because I think it’s a spoiler. This tale begins at a ground breaking pace of suspense. It flies and really sucks the reader in. Then once the first big event happens it slows down a bit. However it’s about to pick up again soon.

I am not going to say much at all about the plot as there are many twists and turns constantly and I don’t want to ruin it. I wouldn’t google this book either as spoilers seem to be in a lot of places on the net. Suffice it to say I am finding it a fun read amongst many distractions and my lack of concentration. I’ll get back to more serious reading after the U.S. election.

I think I am going to enjoy her story.

Having said that I have just started another book in print called Olive Cotton: A Life in Photography by Helen Ennis though am only 25 pages into it so far so can’t talk about it except to say it’s an Australian biography written by an Australian author.

Other news? I have been participating in the Great Australian Bird Count this week. It runs for seven days and participants sit in their yard or wherever else they may want to go for blocks of 20 minutes. There is an app to download and as you see a bird you identify it and enter it into the app. It is a yearly event and it is easy to do. It provides a useful census of the current bird population throughout Australia. I think it is a very worthwhile event. Today is the final day of counting.

These are the birds I counted in my front yard on Day One. L to R: Green rosella, Common blackbird, Black Currawong, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. We have other birds by they didn’t show in the 20 minute block.

I also had some entertaining news last week. I ran into a work colleague from about 20 years ago recently in the book shop and she used to have Jack Russell dogs. Her last one passed away at an advanced age, she lives alone and has recently downsized her house. She would like another dog. Well lo and behold didn’t I have a photo to show her. She loved Ollie and I told her if I could chase up the breeder I would do so. I was able to retrieve the contact details from when we purchased Ollie in Nov in 2019. I contacted her and long story short, we became Facebook friends and she put me in touch with other puppy owners, one of which to my delight lives in the Hobart area. (Playdate soon I hope).

I now have photos of Ollie’s mother, father, brother and litter mate Eddie and a sister born the year before Ollie. I think her name is Magga. I’ve never bought a dog from a breeder before. We have always rescued animals from various places and I’ve never known much about their relatives. So this an enjoyable first.

Top Left: Father Jack; Top Right: Mother Heidi; Bottom left: Ollie; Bottom right: litter mate brother Eddie.
Ollie’s sister from previous year. Ollie takes after his mother and sister.

A couple of other things I’d like to share is an Australian magazine I subscribe to that is actually distributed internationally but published here in Hobart. It is called Womankind magazine and it has wonderful stories featuring various countries, photography, short stories, book reviews and assorted miscellaneous articles. If you’re interested in having a look your can find the link HERE

Speaking of links, I found this link to an interesting article on the Lit Hub (originally the Post Bulletin) newsletter about a high school student who tells why students should read bad books. He says that throughout school he has been confined to the books that teachers have chosen and they had an assignment to choose any book they wanted. He chose a book by Ayn Rand that he thought wasn’t that great of a book and he explains what he learned from reading a ‘bad’ book. He wants to be a writer and this evidently gave him some ideas of what he doesn’t want to do in his writing future. I enjoyed the article. You must answer one question in a survey though before you can access the article but seems rather harmless. The link for that is HERE.

I think this is enough news for one Sunday so I will now shut this thing down and continue with the spring clean up we are doing in our large enclosed patio area called The Lockup in the back yard. Lots of winter debris to sweep and clean and it is also our enclosure for our cats. Since Ollie has destroyed a few of their things I need to sort out what I can substitute. More later, stay well and motivated. Do something today that makes you happy.

Mental Health tip: Learn to say No.

Simply Sunday

Royal Hobart Botanical Gardens- Spring 2020

Spring has arrived in Tasmania with various bouts of gale force winds, rain and sunny days interspersed amongst it all. We are continuing to keep busy and I have also been reading quite a bit. I’m also culling books here and there too. My aim at this point is to have all books fit easily on the shelves with no flat stacking in front of the standing books on shelves. So whenever I bring in a new book to the clan, I make at least three leave and find their way into the book wilderness. So far it is working but I have a ways to go.

I am also making myself read at least 50 pages each morning before I turn my tablet on and get stuck into reading emails, blog posts, Facebook messages from family and friends overseas and the morning news. Starting with 50 pages immediately with my coffee gets me into the reading mood and lifts my spirits. People who love books will understand the feeling of the little jolts of happiness that course through a mind while reading something new.

Let’s continue with what books were uncovered since my last post.The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie– Australian- Non fiction, winner of the Finch Memoir Prize 2018 and 2019 Stella Prize and shortlisted for the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

(From Booktopia description). When Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s elderly mother is hospitalised unexpectedly, Vicki and her sister travel to their parents’ isolated ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to help their father. Estranged from their parents for many years, Vicki and her sister are horrified by what they discover on their arrival. For years, Vicki’s mother has camouflaged her manic delusions and savage unpredictability, and over the decades she has managed to shut herself and her husband away from the outside world, systematically starving him and making him a virtual prisoner in his own home. Vicki and her sister have a lot to do, in very little time, to save their father. And at every step they have to contend with their mother, whose favourite phrase during their childhood was: ‘I’ll get you and you won’t even know I’m doing it.

It is described as “sharply funny” but I thought it was anything but. Vicki lives in Australia and flies back and forth to Canada to deal with all that is happening with her parents. Her sister lives in Canada and at times feels quite overwhelmed by being the one closest to the parents.

Their mother certainly has some issues and truly seems to hate her daughters. I thought the book is extremely well written and describes the issues of dealing with elderly parents, especially from a distance very well.

I enjoyed reading about how they dealt with everything. The story mainly deals with the present situation and then dips backwards into some experiences of the sister’s childhood with their mother. I never learned though why her mother seemed to hate her daughters so much. I would have liked to know about the family from the mother’s perspective, from her mind.

When did this attitude begin? Why was it so? Their mother was incredibly hateful, wanting them to suffer as much as possible. Perhaps that wouldn’t have been possible. Who knows how family members in these situations really interpret each other.

The next book I finished was Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship wth the First Lady by Stephanie Winston Wokoff, narrated by the author on Audible.com.

What an interesting book but what was wrong with this author!!?? Stephanie and Melania met years previously when both were involved with Vogue magazine. They became very good friends and that friendship endured for many years. So when Melania became the First Lady of the United States as part of the Donald Trump family she was able to get Stephanie to hire on as an assistant to her as she dealt with everything the East Wing of the White House involved.

However the people working in the West Wing with Donald Trump and Donald’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared Kushner never seemed to acknowledge her presence, much less her authority.

The book is a very long tale of the interminable abuse Stephanie endured while participating in the inauguration preparations of Donald Trump on 22 January, 2017. Stephanie lived in New York with her husband and children. Yet she spent incredible amounts of time in Washington DC. She was hired but somehow a contract never happened. She worked without salary. It would all be organised soon but never was. Melania is portrayed as someone who could care less about anything that happens in the USA and is more obsessed with the outfits she wears and her appearance.

I thought the information regarding the Inauguration preparations and life within the White House was interesting. The stories about Ivanka were as I expected as she and Melania do not get along and Ivanka is portrayed as being more interested in taking Melania’s position to be with her “daddy”. It was Ivanka that “helped” Melania prepare the speech for the 2016 Republican convention where Michelle Obama’s speech was plagiarised. She wanted to humiliate Melania. It worked. Melania was silly to take it on trust and not proofread it or fact check it with people in the know.

As events progress over the next couple of years, Stephanie’s health deteriorates so much she ends up doing quite a long stint in the hospital with Melania continuing to offer her platitudes through emoji laden texts. By the end of the book Stephanie is well and truly thrown under the bus based on missing millions of dollars resulting with her photo and false information plastered all over the front page of the New York Times.

Throughout the telling of this tale I could only think, “Why are you being so pathetic to allow yourself to be treated like this for such a long time?”

I can understand trusting a friend but most friendships end far before this one did if one person is harming the other.

I didn’t really feel sorry for her because she appeared to be so blindsided by the power and publicity of having her best friend become First Lady of the country she couldn’t do enough for her. She really was her own worst enemy.

On the other hand Melania is exactly as she portrays herself. Wearing a jacket that says “I don’t care” because she likes it. Wearing foreign designer clothes from foreign designers instead of American ones and forcing one designer to near bankruptcy as bills aren’t paid. The Trump family is portrayed exactly as how I think they are, incomprehensible in their actions and activities, fraud and money laundering stories. Melania was heard to speak of the Stormy Daniels episode as “that’s politics!”

Stephanie was told again and again by very well known people, her husband, her friends, “Do not get involved with the Trump family” but she ignored it to her own detriment. I think most people in her situation would have seen the light far sooner. However if you fancy a salacious tale of the nutty Trump family this is your book. It’s something right out of an amusement park.

The book I’m halfway through is about as different as a book can be for me. I was in Fullers Book store in Hobart and one of the sales people, Peter, walked up to me and handed me the book, The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break by American author Steven Sherrill. I’ll write more about this book once finished but so far it is a really interesting read with some good themes in it.

I’ll leave you with a photo of Ollie’s walk on the beach last week when we attended a Mental Health activity for National Mental Health Week in Australia. It was a dog walk and consisted of a dog walk with others along the beach, speakers by the manager of the Dog’s Home of Tasmania, a Veterinarian and some Indigenous peoples readings about the land we stood on. It was followed by a sausage sizzle that included veggie burgers and onions. The first time the event was held and they hope it becomes an annual event.

Ollie plays with another small dog who is also named…..Ollie.

Until next time….stay well.

Simply Sunday

Just some miscellaneous musings on a partly sunny Sunday. 21 degrees C (69 degrees F).

There has been a lot happening here in springtime Tasmania but all rather disjointed.

Last week I read a blog post by Lisa on https://anzlitlovers.com blog.

She reviewed the non fiction book The Application of Pressure. You can see her review here. I was interested in this book after reading her review. As I had a credit on my Audible.com subscription I thought I’d see if they had it. Sure enough they did so I downloaded it and have listened to it the past few days. I finished it last night. The book is written by Rachel Mead and the audible version is narrated by Caz Prescott who did a pretty good job. However there were times she sounded a lot like Kitty Flannagan with her intonations. (Australians will understand Kitty Flannagan). I found that distracting at times but if you aren’t familiar with her it shouldn’t be a problem.

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The Blurb From Affirm Press

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I didn’t enjoy the book as much as Lisa did but overall it turned out to be pretty interesting and I’m glad I read it. It’s just that it gets uncomfortable at times.

First off this book is not for the squeamish. There is a lot of every type of body excrement, horrible smells (yes I think you can smell stuff coming out of this book) and some scary experiences. There is also a variety of quite funny experiences and compassionate experiences. I think the author tried hard to balance things out.

Tash and Joel are two paramedics. The chapters take it turn to feature one of them. I had a harder time with Tash than I did with Joel. I felt Tash was quite jaded and came very close to inappropriate comments about a few clients, especially one with disabilities and older people. A couple of her comments grated on me but in her defence it is a job that not many people could do and I understand some of the black humour. It probably wasn’t the type of audible book to read at night before falling asleep. However as the author’s first book, I thought the topic was interesting and the writing was good. There are parts you can’t put down until you come to the chapter’s end. If you like the subject matter I would recommend it.

Other things happening this week. Well, we are getting a new kitchen. We had a consultant come from a very large hardware store here and design our 1970s kitchen into something that goes into the 2020s. It is very exciting but quite daunting. The components should be here in about 6 weeks, the builder has been hired and it will be all systems go. Other than having to clean out cupboards that haven’t seen the light of day since the late 80s, having 3 cats, a 15 and a half year old terrier and a one year old Jack Russell puppy in the house, it should be a real challenge. The cats are all house cats but if the weather is nice they will be living in their outdoor enclosure for a few days while the kitchen gets gutted.

On top of that I’ve joined a 12 week gym challenge that has me completing two pilates classes and a one hour session with a personal trainer in the gym in the city. A 5 block walk from bus to gym and then gym to bus on a time schedule keeps me pretty focused. But having seen what is going on in nursing homes during this Covid episode I don’t want to end up in one in 15 or 20 years. So staying strong and mobile is my older age priority these days. I couldn’t bear to be separated from my pets if things went downhill. Heartbreaking thoughts like that make me get up and self torture myself! No, it’s not that bad and feel wonderful after each session. End of winter blues have disappeared too.

What else is new? Well I’m dipping into some other books here and there, watching a couple of Netflix series and our photography club and senior’s group is now meeting monthly face to face. Tasmania continues to be in lockdown from Australian mainland and the rest of the world and there is not a single case of Covid in our small island state which is lovely. At least for now.

Last but not least: Today our photography club is having a day out in the Royal Botanical Gardens. I’m hoping the tulips are in bloom. I might share some of my photos in Wayfaring Wednesday if they turn out to my satisfaction.

Books I’m dipping into to and an interesting library book:

The Bedside Baccalaureate edited by David Ruben is one I bought several years ago on a trip to Sydney. It has parts in it of various topics in each section. For example Part I is: American History- General Grant’s Civil War; Economics- Globalization; Art History- The Hudson River School; Physical Sciences- The Astronomical Universe and Classics- Mythis of Ancient Greece and Rome. Each subject is rotated. So day I is General Grant, dat 2 is Economics, etc. There approximately 18 to 20 pages on each topic. If one topic’s overview is interesting enough there is a more extensive bibliography at the back. I’m not rotating the reading. Instead I flip through all the pages of the same topic. I have just finished the chapter on General Grant and enjoyed it very much. Limited to his personality, how he achieved his roles in the Civil War and his important battles.

Another book I’ve started too is one of Penguin’s Little Black Classics. No. 40, The Steel Flea which is written by Russian author Nikolay Leskov. It is short and very funny. Very similar to the Emperor’s New Clothes.

The library book that came in is: The Most Beautiful Walk in the World by John Baxter. It is a literary walk through out Paris. It looks like fun and has some illustrations.

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: 0%

The Steel Flea: 18%

The Bedside Baccalaureate: 4%

That pretty much finishes up the past week. Hope everyone has an enjoyable Sunday.

Off to the Gardens today.

Two Books for Mention on a Sunday

41057294._UY2115_SS2115_After several days of absolute pouring rain we are finally having a couple of lovely winter days with full sunshine.  Ollie and I went to the dog beach yesterday and he had a lovely time.

Books:

I finished Normal People by Sally Rooney. Our book group was to have discussed it last month but we are not meeting now so I was late reading it. I didn’t really want to read it as I’ve heard both negative and positive reviews about it. It’s not a long book so I picked it up to see what all the fuss is about it since I had it. I have to say it was not a book I loved but I can see why some others loved it. The story is about Marianne who is a rich high school/college girl who lives in Sligo, Ireland then goes to Trinity college in Dublin. She comes from a wealthy family of her mother who ignores her and her older brother who is quite abusive. She lives in her own world and has no friends and states she doesn’t need them. She doesn’t care of about high school or the people in it but she is very bright.  She meets Connor. Connor’s mother Lorraine cleans for Marianne’s household. Because Marianne is so ostracised at school Connor does not let on they know  each other much less see each other.  They develop a very long standing intimate relationship but nobody knows about it except Connor’s mother who likes Marianne and leaves him to it.

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There are two sections to dog beach separated by a thin stream of water. However we have had so much rain there was water everywhere.

The story continues. Both are well read and exceedingly bright and though Connor comes from a poorer background he gets a scholarship to go to Trinity and their saga continues in Dublin. Then we get new boyfriends and new girlfriends although the two of them always seem to love each other.

I grew very weary of this relationship.  Some of the positive points of the book to me were I liked Connor’s character and his mother Lorraine. I think they were the best developed characters.  Marianne annoyed me beyond belief.  We begin to see her mental instability as the book continues and even understanding that I didn’t feel anything for her. I could say the book is plot driven because all of the other characters including friends at Trinity and back in Sligo were not really developed.  It becomes more apparent as we continue Marianne wants to be physically and mentally hurt by her boyfriends and then by others as well. She doesn’t have much self esteem by the end.

The main things that bothered me about this book:

dog beach 2
This is the far end of the dog beach. I like all the rocks. This beach is on the Derwent River that runs out to the Tasman sea on the east side of Tasmania.

The writing in the first half of the book was poor. I kept thinking “where on earth was the editor” with these sentences?   I thought the writing became stronger towards the last of the book. It settled. There were so many inconsistencies with the book. Marianne seemed strong in herself at the beginning. By the end she is like an entirely different person. I know everyone changes during that age group but her basic nature wasn’t the same.

The store of the relationship of Marianne and Connor drags…..and drags…..and drags….. It is very repetitious. It is very predictable. I was going to give it up about 60 or 70% of the way through but I was curious how this book would end. When the ending came it is incredibly unsatisfying and open to interpretation as to how one feels about the entire story. I kind of thought, “right, they have left the way open for a sequel.”  That was my first thought. My second thought is if there is a sequel I won’t be looking at it.

A series has evidently been made of this book and some viewers in the United States have viewed it. I haven’t seen it here on any thing I have access to but I don’t think I could bare to watch it.

My other thought was if I was in the ages between 16 and 25 I’d probably have loved the angst of this story and the relationship and wondering about all the options available to them and how it would work out. I wouldn’t have cared that the writing wasn’t that great. There are a couple of vloggers I came across on You Tube that are in their 20’s and they rave about it. In fact three of them got together and had a Normal People day where they all sat down in their respective homes one day and read it together then talked about it that evening.

But as an older person I found the book tedious and done before a hundred different ways and I expect and enjoy better writing these days. I guess you could say I’m much more discerning as you might expect a person to be who’s been reading more than 60+ years.

dog beach 3
We are at the far end of the beach. In the distant horizon is where the location of the first photo I posted is. In the sun. A lovely sandy beach.

Would I recommend this book to others?  No. There is plenty more out there to read that’s enjoyable unless you’re 16 and having boyfriend problems as there are many lessons one that age could learn as to what a relationship should be about. As there are so many examples in this book about what a relationship shouldn’t be about.  If that makes sense.

I was going to share a second book with you today but I won’t as I think this post is long enough and I don’t like to make them too long.

Instead I will post up a couple of photos from Ollie and I at the beach yesterday. I’ll write about the second book I received from the library this week in a day or two. I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

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Now! Off to find another book to read.

Simply Sunday

Molly
Our old Molly-Monkey. She sorts Ollie out every chance she gets.

I haven’t checked in for a couple of weeks or so as it’s been very busy here lately. Mr. Penguin is in hospital having a knee replacement. Our old dog Molly is in hospital with a bad case of colitis, dehydration and just all the things that come with being 15 years plus.

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Now what have I done. Actually this is his resting look on our bushwalk.

I have been doing quite a bit of watching You Tube photography videos trying to increase my knowledge base, especially in landscape photography which is an area I don’t do much of but would enjoy it I think. Street photography is my first love.  I’ve ordered some filters and will learn how to use those to be a bit creative. Winter light in Tasmania is the best (I think) of the year so would like to get out and enjoy it.Keeping up with Ollie’s training continues to be fun if at times challenging. He is a very bright little spark and also very strong willed. We argue at times but I need to make sure I always win. He is 10 months old tomorrow.  

2020-05-29-15.59.59I have been reading a bit but mainly continuing to listen to The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Selections from). I am enjoying it very much. It is 37 hours long on audible. He kept his diary from 1660 to 1669 and I am currently in 1665. 1665 is the year the plague hit London. Such a scary thing as medical treatment back then was very different and also very unforgiving. In 1666 the great fire of London will hit and that’s going to be challenging for him too, I’m sure. He was quite a character and he got up to all kinds of stuff, quite a bit of it naughty. He is quite taken with himself and I’m not sure I would like him as much in real life as I do reading about him in his diary. I just find all of it interesting.2020-06-14 20.12.52

I also receive one Shakespeare Sonnet from Fullers Book Shop with an explanation from our facilitator Tim each weekday. That is going along fine. It will take several months to get through 120 of them. I am enjoying it though and it is a good way to become familiar with them. Tim sources information from several different books and shares that information with us and we are able to write comments back to him.

 

I finished culling about 3 boxes of books and as the tip shop opened up again off they went. So much stuff there to look at.  I dropped in today for a bit just to see their reorganisation.  I picked up a couple of Australian books while there. Two of the three book trilogy by Henry Handel Richardson. I found number 2 (Ultina Thule) and 3 (The Way Home). Now I just need the first one.   I also snagged Peter Carey’s copies of the True History of the Kelly Gang and one I’ve been wanting to read, Oscar and Lucinda.  I also found an Australian book I have never heard of called Lady Bridget in the Never Never Land (Australian Women Writers Literary series by Rosa Praed.  Australian bloggers who have grown up in Australia might know more about this.

I have taken Ollie on a couple of good walks and taken photos as well so will share a couple below as a sign off.  Hopefully once everyone is picked up from hospital I will be homebound and settled. Did I also mention Mr. Penguin opened the car door into traffic and another car hit it? Ruined the door so our little Honda Jazz (Fit) was towed away and replaced with a really big SUV which I do not enjoy driving as our city roads are not freeways. Hopefully we will get our car back Tuesday afternoon. What is the saying? “When it rains it pours?”

Back with more books and photography soon I hope. Until then….enjoy the photos.

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These two landed on the porch and looked in at us through the window. I put a handful of sunflower seeds out every few days and they thought they should have them that day. I believe these birds were once captive as not as wild as the flock they hang out with.

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Australian Photography Magazine has a Mono competition closing today so I popped this photo in it.  I took this last year of the Sydney Opera House. Just for the experience, doubt anything will come of it.

While out walking I came across these brothers and they were happy for me to take some photographs and even happier when I sent the photos to them.

This is the fire track at the base of Mt. Wellington that Ollie and I walked up. Very pretty on a lovely day.

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Stay well everyone.

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?

 

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Stay safe everyone.

 

Simply Sunday

It’s been a pleasant weekend. There is a very large book sale down the road put on by Rotary club this weekend.  I took my motorbike down yesterday as Mr. Penguin was helping out on a friend’s farm.

BOOKS:

I didn’t think I would find much and I wasn’t going to go but you know how it is. A very large book sale less than two kms away?  Would you at least check it out?  I did. I found six new books and I could not believe it.  The ones I found could not be left behind. It would keep me awake at night.  I went straight to the literature/classics section. Wasn’t interested in anything else.  Here you have them.

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I have never read any of his books and I have always wanted to.

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Very unfamiliar with this author but hey, it’s a Persephone. It must have merit.

 

  • Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory
  • Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock
  • Persephone (which you NEVER see in Tasmania) Saplings by Noel Streatfield

 

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I like Hemingway a lot as long as I don’t have to read about his African hunting excursions and the Bullring in Spain.

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I have a very small collection of Virago and think they are lovely books.

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This is close in size to a coffee table book. Just beautiful.

  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Over the Frontier by Stevie Smith – green Virago
  • The Illustrated Edition of Charles Dickens. A very large, double column gorgeous book filled with illustrations. Simply gorgeous.

The next thing I did was come home and culled 16 or 17 books from my shelf and they will be donated to the Red Cross book shop. I chose that shop because it is in the city centre and each time I visit it is full of young adult and the elderly picking through the books. They also sell them for the most affordable prices than other op shops. My shelves look emptier already. (*cough *sputter)

PHOTOGRAPHY:

I had another weekend win today.  My good friend in Florida sent me a photo that was taken of her with a phone under a beautiful tree in Charleston, South Carolina.  She just returned from a short trip there. The problem is there were heaps of tourists and she asked me if I could get rid of the man dressed in orange.  This is an exercise I need to work on in Photoshop so I enjoyed trying. I didn’t think the result would be so good though so once again I am happy (and terribly surprised.)

BEFORE:

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She is dressed in red. Isn’t it a beautiful tree. So much clutter in the photo though. Everywhere !

AFTER:

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1. Cropped it.  2.Got rid of people and the shed.  3. Brightened up her top. 4. Filled in the bare patch in background right and filled in the space between the branches.

I looks a lot better now.

WALKS WITH OLLIE:

The last thing that was a happy event today is that Ollie and I took a walk up to the fire trail up the road from our house. We used to go up and visit the donkey.  We would take her carrots. Odie and I did this a lot before he died.  But the last two times we visited the donkey was gone. As there’s been a drought I was worried they sold him. I was hoping they only moved him to a better paddock. He’s been gone all summer so I figured that was it.

Donkey 1

Today. as we walked up the road I heard the loudest, biggest braying. I couldn’t believe my ears. Ollie and I walked up to his regular paddock and lo and behold, she was there. He was on the far side of the paddock but as soon as soon as she saw us she walked over so we could pet her. I felt so bad I didn’t have a carrot for her as I usually do. She and Ollie sniffed noses.

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The two of them were really interested in each other. Ollie is more fearless than is good for him.

This weekend has been a good one and I am continuing ignoring all the hype about everything going on in the world at the moment. I really can’t take it much longer so I’m making a concerted effort to do other things that make me smile.

Okay, your turn…. What did you do this weekend?

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Currently reading a book about Antarctica. Would love to visit one day.

Simply Sunday

map-of-italyThe past couple of weeks have been rather busy so I’ve been catching up on medical appointments, reading and socialising.

Events:

I’m dealing with too much pressure in one eye so getting that attended to. Drops and more drops. Treatable so no problem there.

My photography friend in Sydney and I had booked a month long trip to Italy, Croatia and Slovenia to begin in mid May in Milan and Venice. After agonising over it for awhile we decided we had to cancel. It is very disappointing but it would be more disappointing to get quarantined somewhere or to catch the virus everyone is sick of hearing about.  As the virus is so widespread in northern Italy, everything is closed up tight and the streets are empty. Though photography would have been great as nobody is walking around. We are  dealing with the travel agent and hopefully we’ll recover cancellation fees through travel insurance as we booked it last October before anyone heard of the virus.

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Apologies for poor quality of phone photo

Another lovely event was held at Wrest Point Casino theatre. Margaret Atwood appeared interviewed by Australian journalist and television presenter Carolyn Baum. It was a lengthy interview attended by 800n people. She was intelligent, astute and extremely funny and the chat was great. During the intermission people could post their questions to a Twitter address and when we returned for the second half several of the questions were answered.  I enjoyed it thoroughly and to make matters even better, I won my ticket through Fullers Book shop.

 

The week before last a friend and I travelled up to the small country town of New Norfolk which is about a 45 minute drive north of Hobart. There is a new bookshop and a stationery shop with beautiful things in it. We wanted to see what it is like. The bookshop is called the Black Swan and has a lovely small cafe. We enjoyed some wonderful baked goods and cappuccinos and had a look through both the new and second hand books. The young owner had a good collection of vintage Penguin books on his shelf and I was only too happy to discuss all the books with him.  It was a lovely morning followed by a very good Pub lunch.

Fullers Book shop had some lovely events I attended this week.  First was the book group where we discussed The Godmother byFrench writer Hannelore Cayre.  Most in the group really enjoyed it.
Originally published in 2017 as La Doronne, later translated by Stephanie Smeethe into English and published in 2019.  A widowed woman, Patience,  in her fifties works as a French-Arabic translator employed by the French police who monitor Arabic drug traffickers through wire tapping.  She translates the conversations for them and it evolves that she starts to be less than honest with the police.  She is needing money to establish some security for her grown children and The Godmother (online)also to pay the fees for the nursing home her mother resides in. She ends up acquiring a very large haul of hashish and begins to sell it. The story deals with those activities, her boyfriend who happens to be a policeman and also the difficult relationship she has with her mother. She also adopts a wonderful retired police drug sniffing dog named DNA who is quite important in the book. (Nothing bad happens to the dog.) The book, at a mere 200 pages is concise, well written and everything is neatly woven together. There is a lot of black humour that keeps you chuckling here and there. I really enjoyed it. No spoilers (except for the dog) so if you like this kind of French noir crime you will enjoy this book.

Fullers also launched the new book just released by Tasmanian born historian Cassandra Pybus. It is the non fiction biographical tale of Truganini, an important Aboriginal woman who was born south of here in the early 1800’s. The book, told through journals and historical documents, all listed at the back of the book, is absolutely fascinating. Truganini was an important figure in Tasmanian history.  I started reading  the book the day of the launch.  I read half of it and couldn’t put it down. The Aboriginal people were completely annihilated from this state and/or moved to the islands to make room for white settlement. It is a horrifying tale but an important one that needs to be

Trugunini
Cover photograph by the late Tasmanian Photographer Peter Dombrovskis.

told. I hope this use this book in Tasmanian schooling as many do not know our history. The motivation for Ms Pybus to write the tale is because in her thirties she learned Truganini grew up on the land that was later acquired by Cassandra Pybus’s family on Bruny Island and Cassandra grew up in her footsteps. The book is very factual and not at all sensational. It is not sentimental but written in a style I enjoy and the individual tales are fascinating. The bookshop was packed with people who came to hear about her story and many were later seen to be leaving the shop with the book under their arm.Screenshot

Later that evening three of us went to the Playhouse Theatre to see the amateur play, Keeping Up Appearances. Most would be familiar with the British tv show with Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bu-Kay) and her wacky family. My father’s second wife was much like her and I always get a kick out of it when I see it. We had a fun night out between the book launch and the play with a lovely Nepalese meal in between.

What I have described is only about half of what I’ve completed in the past fortnight but I did want to catch up with this and I’ve added a new category to my blog posts called Photo of the Week that I will post at the end introduced by the Penguin. Our photo club meeting is coming up soon and I needed to work on some photographs for our print and digital challenges.

Until next time…..Screenshot 1 copy

 

 

 

 

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Don Quixote mural taken in a Spanish courtyard- Spain for Architecture challenge for photo club.

 

Simply Sunday

Today is a beautiful day. Too lovely to be inside reading so I attended some outdoor events this weekend. Saturday saw three of us riding to Triabunna, up the east coast of Tasmania on motorbikes.  With the Coronavirus all of the crayfish that is usually shipped to China is staying in the state and we are enjoying it. We went to the harbour for fish and chips and I got a crayfish roll. A large roll with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and a wonderful heaping pile of fresh crayfish.  We rode approximately 200 kms for this meal but a fun day.

Today the Hobart Photographic association had a scavenger hunt in Battery Point, Hobart. Battery Point is the oldest section of Hobart where the first settlers developed. It is full of lovely cottages and cafes. We had two hours, from 10 am to noon, to find a list of items. We all did well and I thought I would share them. We then went to a cafe for a coffee at noon and debriefed. The debriefing was mostly laughter.  We are going to have these photo club excursions once a month.  I’m looking forward to them.  We had about 15 people who took photos and then nine stayed for a coffee.  Here are the photos from the weekend.  I hope the weather is good where you are. We could use some rain but we might as well make a happy time out of the sunny days we have had this weekend.

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SATURDAY

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Triabunna Tasmania Waterfront

 

Fish v an
Seafood Hut

 

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Crayfish roll

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SUNDAY

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Something old (Lester- 15 years old)

 

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A sign

 

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Quirky

 

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Leading Line

 

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Warm colour

 

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Movement

 

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Wooden

 

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Texture

 

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Rectangles

 

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Reflections

 

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Symmetry

 

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Shadows

Camera Penguin
BUSY, BUSY, BUSY.

Simply Sunday- 17 Nov. 2019

Wow! Another week has gone by and I’ve got new books!  (Yes, this is not another puppy post).

The Fullers Bookshop Reading Group email came out this past week and the first three books of 2020 are here so I have picked them up to get started. The long hot days of an Australian summer with their horrendous fires will be upon us soon enough so I wanted to start my reading while confined to a cool indoors.

Below are the February, March and April books in no particular order.

I have never read this book and have always meant to so I will begin with this one.

images (2)The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton:

The blurb on the back (for those who haven’t read it) states:

“When the Countess Ellen Olenska returns from Europe, fleeing her brutish husband, her rebellious independence and passionate awareness of life stir the educated sensitivity of Newland Archers, already engaged to be married to the Countess’s cousin May Welland, “that terrifying product of the social system he belonged to and believed in, the young girl who knew nothing and expected everything.”

I think we can see where this one is going.

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The Godmother- A Crime Novel by Hannelore Cayre.  This book won the European9781770415430 Fiction Prize and the Grand Prix de Literature Policière

“Meet Patience Portefeux, 53, an underpaid French-Arabic translator who specialises in police phone taps. Widowed after the sudden death of her husband, Patience is wedged between the costs of raising her daughters and the nursing home fees for her ageing mother. She’s laboured for 25 yrs to keep everyone’s heads above water.

Happening upon an especially revealing set of wiretaps ahead of all other authorities, Patience makes a life-altering decision that sees her intervening in – and infiltrating- the machinations of a massive drug deal. She thus embarks on an entirely new career path: Patience becomes ‘the Godmother’.”

This sounds like a fun summer read.

Last but not least is our third book of the summer.

images (1)The Trespassers by Meg Mundell. Finally we have a book that is closer to home. Meg Mundell was born in New Zealand but now lives in Melbourne, Australia.

A shipload of migrant workers flees the pandemic-stricken UK, seeking a fresh start in Australia. For nine-year-old Cleary the journey promises adventure, for former nurse Billie it’s a chance to put a shameful mistake behind her, while struggling schoolteacher Tom hopes for a brighter future. But when a crew member is murdered and people start falling gravely ill, the Steadfast descends into chaos. Trappedon the ship, the trio must join forces to survive the journey and its aftermath.  The Trespassers is a beguiling novel that explores the consequences of greed, the experiences of migration and exile, and the way strangers can become the ones we hold dear.

I am looking forward to reading this too. For once I have book club reads I am happily anticipating.

Other News:

For once all dogs are doing fine! We had a scare with our 14 year old Molly and thought “this thumbnailis it,” but a change in medication and diet has her firing on all of her stubborn years and giving a big “what for” to Ollie.  Ollie on the other hand gets his second vaccination next week when he turns 14 weeks and is then able to go outside of our property.  He will be enrolled in the Hobart Dog Training club and will start puppy classes on Sunday.  I’m hoping that takes a bit of the wind out of his sails.  He loves running around giving Molly and the three cats grief but he doesn’t always come out on top.

I have some other events and travel bits and pieces that have piled up I need to get on this page so hopefully you’ll be hearing from me before too much longer. I attended an author event at Fullers Book shop, went to the theatre and our photo club wrapped up the Hobart Photography Exhibition. There has been a great deal happening in the past two or three months and now I am looking forward to the next two or three months of stability, peacefulness and planning bookish goals for 2020. Believe me those goals will not be grand.

I hope all of you are well and moving along and I look forward to more catching up. Let me know what you’ve been doing to keep yourselves entertained.

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