Today I took the dogs out for a walk. I get bored walking up and down through the same neighbourhood but we all need the exercise. I came across this book in some review I read. Many of you would be familiar with Keri Smith’s “Wreck This Journal” in bookstores that sell journals. It is a journal with pages that you can destroy according to the directions. I have never been interested in it but she has this one that might be a bit of fun over the winter months.
First off, I have always been a scavenger. I have organised a scavenger hunt for next Saturday in the historic town of Richmond (Tasmania) for our photo club. That is a story for another day.
I am the kind of person that picks up paper clips or buttons, and reads invoices and notes
that I find in the gutter. I have this weird curiosity to know what people throw away or lose and I know there are others like me. There are web pages and books of things people find.
So it is not surprising I am attracted to The Pocket Scavenger by Keri Smith. It is a pocket paperback, sized A5, and has lots of things to look for. I’m sure I’m on the spectrum at times.
On the right hand page is what I am to look for and on the left hand page is a place to paste my photo of it once found or to draw a picture of it. There is also a space to write the date, the location found, the time and to write a short paragraph about the circumstances I am in when I found the object. There is also a bibliography in the back.
The rain is moving in this afternoon and it is quite cold and blowy out. I thought I’d go out on a couple of kilometre walk with Odie and Molly and see if we find anything along the road or through the bush. I limited myself to just a couple as several items will be easy to find and I don’t want to rush it.
I am sharing the pages of the book with you and if anyone is so inclined to follow along I’d love to hear about it. You could use a blank journal, copy the items posted here or make up your own. This is something fun to do while walking to keep me moving when I’d rather be curled up in a chair with a hot drink and a couple of cats or dogs.
Do you ever pick up things in the street to see what it is?
This has been a hectic week so today Mr. Penguin and I are having a Pyjama Day. It’s cold out. There’s been a lot of rain with more to come. It’s winter in Tasmania. Pajama Day is a day where you wear daggy clothes, stay home, read books, put a roast in the slow cooker and drink hot drinks…all…day…long.
Tuesday our play reading class made good progress on Mother Courage and Her Children by the German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898- 1956). It is an anti-war play rated as one of the most important plays of the 20th century. It takes place over a period of 12 years in 12 scenes. The class is enjoying it very much.
Wednesday had our Writing Group admitting a new member. This week’s topic was “about a walk”. It could be a walk in nature, a walk you’d like to do, a walk you’ve done. It has been a popular topic and we had a variety of perspectives.
I am also reading an interesting little book I found in the South Hobart Tip Shop. It’s called Circuitand is written by Francisco Jiménez. He was born in Mexico in 1943. He was the second oldest of nine children. When he was four years old his family escaped into the United States. The family worked as migrant farm workers. He started working in the fields with his family when he was six. They would move with the seasons of crops and he missed a lot of school. When he reached grade 8, his family was deported back to Mexico but they legally returned a few months later. His father developed back problems not long after and that caused them to stop moving and he settled into school. He went onto Santa Clara University getting his B.A. in Spanish in 1966. He then became a U.S. citizen. Throughout school he and his brother supported themselves working as janitors. He went on to attend Columbia University to get his Master’s and Ph.D. in Latin American Literature. He later married and had three children.
He wrote a series of books about his life as a migrant worker. I thought the book is relevant to what is happening in the United States now. It appears to be written for a younger audience and I can compare it to a simpler version of The Grapes of Wrath but from a Mexican view point. It raises important issues and details the hardships that migrant workers face between escaping a poorer, more dangerous life, trying not to get caught by U.S. immigration officials. Mexican migrants work incredibly hard and American agriculture wouldn’t survive without migrant workers.
I picked this book up because I was drawn to the cover. I am really enjoying it and will be finished with it very soon.
On a personal note we had a bit of trauma with our brain injured cat, Uncle Buck (aged 12). We’ve had him since he was three weeks old. He came home with me as a kitten from a veterinary practise I was working in at the time. He had been badly injured and wasn’t expected to live but 12 years later he is an important member of our family. He has neurological damage and as a result of that he only chews on the left side of his mouth. That means the right side gums and teeth need to be watched. He was to undergo a general anaesthetic but he crashed on the table so the procedure was aborted. This hadn’t happened before but our lovely veterinarians and their nurse got him back after a good five minutes and he survived. It was described to me by one of the vets as “controlled panic.” We have been keeping a close eye on him. It turns out he reacted negatively to the anaesthetic and after Friday’s ultrasound we learned he has been diagnosed with cardio-myopathy. It pays to have health insurance on your pets. He begins medication next week and we are happy to report he is back to his purring self.
Thursday was a lovely day. I mean lovely. Sunny, 16 degrees and no wind. That’s 60 degrees to my North American friends and relatives. Mr. Penguin dropped me in town with my camera for the afternoon on his way to the gym. I spent the next couple of hours meandering through Battery Point and Salamanca as well as the waterfront for the next couple of hours. Both of us needed a very stress free day after the previous activities and events. Battery Point is the oldest section of Hobart. The original settlement began here. I include a few photos here.
When I got home my friend rang me and said she was looking forward to us going to the theatre on Friday night. I said, “What?”. We booked Sweeney Todd at the Playhouse some time ago and I hadn’t put it in the diary. As both of us laughingly state, “If it’s not in the diary it doesn’t happen.” So last night was a meal out and a three hour (including intermission) of Sweeney Todd. It was a musical and very gruesome. The story goes (in a nutshell). English man married with child. He gets transported to Australia for a crime and returns after 15 yrs. He meets the pie shop owner who falls in love with him. She tells him his wife has died. But a daughter remains and is holed up in a mansion with a lecherous judge who adopted her at a young age but now wants to marry her. He wants his daughter back but can’t get past the judge. The pie shop isn’t doing well. The man is a trained barber but has competition. He ends up killing the competition and when trying to work out what to do with the body, they decide to bake him in the pies. The pie shop takes off because the pies are so delicious. To keep business going the barber continues to slash the throats of those in his chair if they are strangers or loners (no one will miss them) and keep the pie business booming. I won’t give away anymore but the trend does continue with a few surprises. We enjoyed the play but after three hours in a hot theatre we were glad to get out in the winter’s night air at 11:00pm.
This pretty much brings you up to date on last week’s wandering. I’m hoping for a quieter one next week.
Although it’s Monday morning here it’s still the weekend in some parts of the world. The past two weeks have been busier than usual. Mr. Penguin has been housesitting a friend’s house the past six weeks and that means the care of our five animals has been busier than usual. Vet appointments, three cats using a litter box that needs cleaning four or five times a day. Feeding and exercising the dogs. I did get a book read though. A friend of mine started the Pilgrimage of Harold Fryby Rachel Joyce. I had started it when it first came out but got distracted by something and put it back on the shelf. Since I’m trying to read books I own I thought it was a good time to start again, finish it and move it on.
Generally, I enjoyed this book. For those who haven’t read it (though I think everyone I know is ahead of me on this book) it begins with Harold hearing from a work colleague of 20 years ago telling him she is dying of cancer and wants him to know. There is a commitment he feels towards her though we don’t know that story until the end. He walks out the door to post a letter he wrote back to her and decides to keep walking. He plans to walk the length of England to visit her because he gets it in his head if he achieves this task she will not die. The book is about his walk, the people he meets and more than that, the reflection of his life since childhood. During his long days of walking he is confronted with the way he lived his life, the things he felt he didn’t achieve, his relationships with his son and his wife, Maureen. There is a secondary storyline of Maureen. Since Harold left so suddenly she is now confronted by her aloneness and thoughts of her marriage. As she faces her own demons she begins to come out of her self imposed shell and you can see where this might be going.
There are revelations along the way that help us understand these two dysfunctional people. I enjoyed the book for the most part. I did think it was too long though. There were a couple of story lines I thought were unnecessary. As he walks he gains fame in the British press and hangers on start surrounding him on his walk. I found this section tedious and annoying, as I felt this section wasn’t as well developed as the rest of the story between him, Maureen and Queenie, the woman he was hoping to meet up with at the end. A young boy is thrown in the mix as well as a dog and a man who follows along as part of a group of strangers, trying to take notes of the excursion dressed in a gorilla suit. I found that was just annoying.
I am happy I can finally move this book off my shelves and move on.
I might add the past few weeks had me seeing several films. Tea with the Damesfeaturing Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins was a brilliant film. They spend a pleasant afternoon talking about their lives, their careers and their families. Some great clips of their career history are also included.
Lost in Paris is a pleasant Belgium produced film with a Paris setting. It is filmed in the tradition of some of the old silent films of early history including those of Charlie Chaplin. The actors are almost caricatures and I loved it. Charming, quirky, with a fun story line and some very good humour.
Last night I saw The Bookshop. I found it a film that passed the evening pleasantly enough but not earth shattering. Bill Nighy is in it and that’s what made me want to see it. The story was a bit of a non event, predictable and I even figured out the ending. However having said that, the young actress who plays her child assistant in the film who works in the bookshop is worth the ticket price. She was charming and the scenery was gorgeous. I wouldn’t drive cross country in heavy traffic to see this movie, but if you’re home alone, tired of having five animals sitting on you every chance they get and need a bit of respite it was pleasant enough.
I rounded out the week with some time out at Cornelian Bay, which is a dog park and sports oval on the River Derwent in Hobart. The dogs had a great time for the afternoon. Then when the cold settled in that night Odie got to sleep in his new warm jumper once the heating was turned off for the night. Hopefully Mr. Penguin will be home in a few days and things will return to a bit of normalcy.
About three weeks ago a friend and I attended a book event at Fuller’s bookshop in Hobart. The blurb about this interesting Tasmanian lady sounded very interesting in the advertisements. About 250 other people agreed with that thought and the event was packed to the gills with people wanting to hear her story.
Alannah spent her childhood in a very rural area of Southern Tasmania. She talked of her childhood which was positively gruesome with mental and substance abuse by her parents. She grew up and left home in her teens to escape parents who really didn’t like children at all but had five of them. Their abuse consisted mainly of severe denigration of everything they aspired to do. Alannah lived in a fantasy world and who wouldn’t in this situation. She began designing clothes and became one of Australia’s leading fashion designers based in Melbourne. She had multiple stores and was very successful, a feat that was never acknowledged by her parents, especially her mother.
She loved dressing up in quite outrageous clothes and her tastes reflected this in her designs. Her designs were trailblazing and instantly recognisable and became very iconic.
After 18 years of partnership with Factory X she released a statement that she was leaving her role as Creative Director and Founder of the Alannah Hill brand. She stated in her talk that her own brand name of Alannah Hill was taken from her and from then forward she could not sell clothes under her own name as it was copyrighted elsewhere. There is obviously quite a bit of bitterness about the whole situation. However the name still exists in the fashion world. If one buys an Alannah Hill design now it has nothing to do with Ms. Hill. She has been unable to get her brand name back under her control.
After eighteen years of partnership with Factory X Alannah released a statement informing her many loyal fans that she was leaving her role as Creative Director/Founder of Alannah Hill. The shock of Alannah’s departure from her own label captured the public and the media’s imagination. Alannah has had no creative input into the Brand Alannah Hill since 2013. Factory X continue to run the chain of stores named after her.
In 2015 she launched a new fashion brand Louise Love online. It was retailed exclusively through the David Jones Department store. In 2016 she closed her online store to recover from a melanoma cancer she was dealing with and decided to write her memoir.
Butterfly On A Pin is the book that has been published and what a ride it is going to be. She details her childhood, her rise in the fashion business. The betrayal she felt of losing her name/identity in her business must certainly be included.
It has been described by the publishers as a “shocking and exhilarating memoir” describing her transformation from a joyless and abused childhood to a dream come true career peak of love, loss and reinvention. Publishers are Hardie Grant, 2018.
I really enjoyed hearing her discuss her life and success. She did a wonderful job of impersonating her mother, using a very different voice from her own. One tale she told was when she opened her brand on Fifth Ave, New York and rang her mother to tell her. Her mother was not impressed and could only reply, “Why aren’t you good enough for First Ave?” The audience had quite a laugh. Alannah was wildly dressed and more actor than detailer of a depressing childhood. I think some may have found her confrontational to a degree and thought, “This woman is wacky.” I loved her and enjoyed all of her stories.
My friend and I did not stay around as the line for the book signing went around the store more than once. I bought the book later in the week and have added it to my TBR pile.
We were hungry and disappeared into a wonderful Thai restaurant/takeaway around the corner where we enjoyed hot food on a chilly night.
The event was fun and we look forward to more events over the upcoming dark evenings of winter.
For our writing group we had to write a paragraph or two about one of the oldest objects we still own. Of course I thought of my childhood books and decided to introduce the group to Beloved Belindy.
I own quite a few very old books. Although I don’t have many left over from my childhood this is one that has travelled with me whenever I moved. I don’t remember how I acquired it but it has been with me for more than 60 years.
As a child I loved the Raggedy Ann and Andy series of books written and illustrated by Johnny Gruelle.
Johnny Gruelle, according to Wikipedia, was born in Arcola, Illinois, in 1880. He died in 1938.
He began his career as a painter and cartoonist but then went on to illustrate books. He was friends with James Whitcomb Riley who wrote Little Orphan Annie.
The story goes that his daughter Marcella brought from her grandmother’s attic a faceless doll on which the artist drew a face. But this story was evidently a myth according to his biographer, Patricia Hall. In reality, Gruelle’s wife Myrtle told Hall, it was Gruelle who retrieved a long forgotten, homemade rag doll from the attic of his parent’s home sometime around the turn of the 20th century. There was something he was looking for in the attic when he found an old doll his mother had made for his sister. He thought it would make a good story.
What he was most famous for was his series of books about two rag dolls called Raggedy Ann and Andy.I read everyone of those books from the Grand Ledge, Michigan library in the 1950’s.
All of the dolls in the Raggedy Ann and Andy series came to life at night and played in their mistress’s playroom upstairs in an old house. They had big adventures and got into muchmischief.Not only did Ann and Andy come to life but they had quite a few friends. Readers never knew if they were brother and sister or husband and wife. We never thought about it.
There was Beloved Belindy who was the black nanny who took care of everyone.I know Beloved Belindy isn’t politically correct but back in the 1950’s I adored her.She could cook large meals, gather eggs from the hens and organise garden parties. One night she cleaned up Percy the policeman when he got covered in flour from some misadventure they encounted when they ventured into the kitchen. Beloved Belindy could also stitch their ragdoll injuries, sew button eyes back on if they fell off or mend their britches if they were snagged while climbing trees.
They represented the best that friendship had to offer. They were kind to each other and worked together so they would enjoy the adventures they set out on each night.
I used to think it would be wonderful if all of my dolls and stuffed animals came to life at night. I would have given anything at that time to hang out with the Raggedy Ann crew and share the events they organised.
Are there any American readers out there that loved these characters as a child, or dressed up as them on Halloween night?
Thank you for the suggestions put forward for naming my weekend posts. I enjoyed hearing your ideas. Also I had a few suggestions from friends on facebook too. I liked Whispering Gums idea of using the word ‘scoop’. I did try to work it in Sue.
In the end I needed to look at the purpose and the name of my blog and as the word ‘Travellin’ plays a big part….well, no need to explain. The weekend posts will simply be a summary of how the week was spent and hopefully will motivate me to get out there and do stuff when the wind blows, the rain pummels and I know friends are out there with hot cups of coffee.
The Past Read: Okay, I’ve been harping on about the Levison Wood Travel books. Exploring the Nile, Exploring Central America and Exploring the Himalayas. I got about 2/3 ‘s of the way through the Himalayas and finally gave it the old Heave Ho. He had a very bad car accident in the book. It was amazing, really, that he survived it. I thought the book would end right then and there. His car plunged down a very steep ravine, rolling dozens of times, yet everyone survived but he was very broken after that. He had to return to England, heal and then start the trip again where he left off. I just got tired of the drama and the history being repeated and the descriptions of the Nepalese earthquake began to sound the same. (No, I’m not belittling what happened there.) I unplugged the audio. I got the gist.
The current read: I was ready to move on. I’m currently reading Think Like An Artist by Will Gompertz. It is a small book, about A5 size. The paper feels good to the touch, like a heavy newsprint. The illustrations are fun. Lots of stick figures throughout. He describes an artist as anyone who creates anything in any medium. I’m on a photography jag at the moment and reading anything that increases my skills or my motivation. Did I say that winter is on its way?
Here is the blurb from the back of the book that sucked me in when I saw it at Fuller’s book store recently. (No comments about sticking to those TBR books on the shelf. My staunchest critics may not be better at leaving a book store empty handed than I am.) Stick tongue out here.
“After spending years getting up close and personal with some of the world’s greatest creative thinkers, the BBC’s Arts Editor Will Gompertz has discovered a handful of traits common to them all. Basic practices and processes that allow their talents to flourish, and which we can adopt- no matter what we do- to help us achieve extraordinary things too. It’s time to Think Like an Artist and…”
The Film: Now- on to the rest of the week. I won a ticket to see the film Kodachrome at the State Cinema in North Hobart on Monday. I probably would not have seen it without the freebie but the name ‘Kodachrome’ did have me seriously looking it up on IMDB. I remember reading an article in some magazine quite awhile ago that the lab that developed Kodachrome film was closing and an important photographer was credited with developing the last film out there and after that there would be no more. A sad thought really. Think of all those beautiful photos taken over the years by National Geographic photographers. I remember seeing pictures of the photos he took. He lived somewhere in the United States.
In this film, Ed Harris played the crotchety old photographer. He’s dying and his personal nurse, who is a very attractive young woman contacts his son, who he has fallen out with. Predictable story, right? The old photographer had to be driven across the U.S. in order to get his film developed before the last lab closed its door. The son says, “No way” the nurse says ‘way’. Before you know it they are in a classic convertible car pounding the freeway across the country. Arguments, enlightenment, a disastrous visit to the old man’s brother’s home in Ohio. It was predictable, predictable, predictable as only Hollywood can do. Moralistic and a do you think it had a happy ever after ending?
The best part of the film was when they rolled the credits and the audience members could see some beautiful photos from history from National Geographic photographers alongside the credit information. But hey, it was free, so who am I to complain. I like films. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the theatre and time to myself.
The Wander: Friday had me in the small country town of Kempton with friends at the Huntingfield Pub. One of our senior club excursions. I drove and transported three other ladies in my small car to much chatter and good humour. Thirteen of us turned up, ordered our meals and sat down. One hour, 20 minutes later the food arrived. As usual the normal complainers started in and the good humoured ones continued to enjoy each other’s company. When the food did arrive it was very good. Typical situation where the owner only has two staff on board to take orders, sell Keno tickets, cook the meal and clean up. My motto is just relax and enjoy the present moment. We were warm, the people were nice and the views of the country were gorgeous.
In ending this post I will post up the posts. Kempton is a small farming community, about a 45 minute drive north of Hobart off the midlands Highway, (Hwy 1). Notice in the photos there is no wind or rain and the sun was glorious. A good day was had by all (except the regular two who never have a good day). Fortunately I know they won’t be reading this post.
I follow quite a few bookish and travel blogs and one thing I really enjoy reading is when they have a regular weekly feature.
Whispering Gums has Monday Musing on Australian Literature and Simon of Stuck in a Book has Weekend Miscellany. Many of the titles use alliteration. I was doing Saturday Squawk but I wasn’t happy with such a crow like cawing title. I generally have time on the weekends to do something regularly but what to call it? Sunday Sundry? Weekend Sundry? Weekly junket? If anyone has any suggestions let me know. I want to do a weekend round up of what happened the previous week. Posts will be related to combined topics of books or articles read; travels, nature, photography, films, theatre or animals. Winter will be upon us very soon and the symptoms are here now so to prevent getting a good case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorders) from the short, darkened days I need some motivation and accountability that I haven’t been hibernating in my cozy bed with three cats and two dogs. So suggestions are welcome but for today it is simply Weekend Sundry.
So what happened this past week? (No, I will not mention ‘THAT wedding.”- yes, I watched it)
Travel: This past week saw me taking the bus into town (Hobart) a couple of times to get my walking exercise in. I love taking the bus. It’s a great venue for people watching and working on my photography. I wander around and try to accrue 5000 to 10,000 steps. I have included some photos from Thursday’s walk. I met friends for coffee on both Thursday and Friday. We found a new (to us) burger restaurant on Friday and both of us being hungry gorged ourselves on hot kebabs in a wrap and the best hot chips I have had in a long time. We will be back. Sorry too busy scarfing the delicious food and forgot the picture taking.
Our play reading class is on term break for three weeks but will start up again in June. Our writing group meets every Wednesday afternoon except the third Wednesday of the month so quiet this week on that front also.
However my Photography class met this week as it was the third Thursday. I love going to the photography class and hopefully one day my photos will be consistently at the top of the challenge ratings instead of the bottom or the middle. I have read one must take at least 10,000 photos to even be classified as a beginner. I have decided to post up at least five photos per week on my facebook page during the winter months. I need to have my camera on me more often. The more photos taken the more one’s eye develops for what is good. I’ll share a few of them here.
Books? I have been listening to Walking The Himalayas. I have talked about Walking the Nile ages ago and Walking the Americas by Levison Wood. I am listening to this book by him from Audible.com. I am not enjoying it as much as the previous two. He begins his walk in Afghanistan and then heads to Pakistan. He and a friend are following the Himalaya mountain range from start to finish. He goes on and on and on about the history of these countries. I find, as I read travel writing, I don’t want a great deal of the history. I want to hear about the travels: the accommodations, the trails, the people met, the experiences along the way. If I wanted to know about the history of the country then I would read that separately. I find his style seems to be describing the history of the countries for the first third of the book then get to the actual travel. Also as there is so much in the news about these countries (this is a fairly current book) I get satiated about those locations. He is now in northern India and has met with the Dalai Lama which I enjoyed. I think once this book is finished I will let whatever else he has written drop though I do have the dvd’s of two of these trips booked at the library. I would especially like to see Walking the Americas as that was my favourite book. I saw Walking the Nile on the ABC, I think it was.
Miscellaneous: Mr. Penguin is housesitting a friend’s farm now for six weeks so I am busy with our five animals. He is spending his days rounding up sheep, and caring for a big labrador and an elderly cat.
Our animals and I are all having a pyjama day today for Sunday. Might be a day to read some more (start something new), maybe one of the books I mentioned for Mother’s Day or soak in a hot tub with a photography magazine and learn new photoshop tricks. All I know is I won’t be travelling, socialising or exercising very much today.
Before I leave- just reminding you to help me think of a title for these weekly (hopefully) posts. I know how clever some of you are.
Hmmm so I am the Hungry Reader. The one who reads. The one who is constantly reading or wanting to read constantly. This blog is all about the books I have read, the ones that I am reading and gems that I plan to read in the future or whenever it arrives.