A Cold Rainy Saturday

Rain and cold today.
Photo from ABC News website

Autumn has truly set in on our small island at the bottom of the globe. 12 degrees C (51F), rainy and probably snow on the mountain. Wind out of the south is chilly.

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately as well as doing my work at the gym, and attending a few events at Fullers Book shop. Easter weekend had me working on photography for three days as several challenges were due for our club. So first things first…..

Our book club discussed Tasmanian Erin Hortle’s The Octopus and I.

We had mixed feelings about it. It is her debut novel and we would have liked the editing to be a bit stricter. We enjoyed her writing about the Tasman Peninsula which we are all familiar with as it is only about 60 kms from where we live. We knew of the places she wrote about. We wondered why she varied between first person and third person narrative. We had interesting discussions about editing of books in general, comparing modern editing to that of the past. We thought books were edited more tightly before 1970. We also thought maybe younger women than all of us older women in the group would have worried more about the body image discussed a lot in this book. The protagonist Lucy has had a double mastectomy and breasts were discussed at length. Some of us would recommend this book and others not so much. We also liked the environmental themes within the book. We’re waiting to see if and how she approaches a second novel which we’ve heard she is working on.

I finished Rosie Batty‘s book, A Mother’s Story in no time. Rosie Batty was Australia’s Person of the Year in 2015 as a domestic violence campaigner and advocate for the work she has done regarding domestic violence. If you google her you can learn much more about her. She was in an extremely on again/off again relationship with Greg, whom she never really loved, but it resulted in her son, Luke’s birth. We know from the outset Luke’s father kills him when he is 11 years old. The story is a sad one but what I thought the book pointed out was how the system fails people in domestic violent relationships. There were also so many sliding door moments for Lucy. There were bad decisions Rosie made, there was incredible miscommunication between the agencies that should have been able to help her. This is not a genre I would read often but I thought the information on how communities, in this case the state of Victoria, handled her case. As a result of her becoming Australian of the Year and publicity of her story, a royal commission was held and evidently changes are being made regarding domestic violence.

However, one woman a week continues to die in Australia due to domestic violence. If a sporting name, a politician or a celebrity died at the rate of one a week I believe much more would be done. So moving on….

Another book I finished was a bit of travel writing again. I listened to young Jake Tyler from England discuss the walk he undertook to circumnavigate the UK. He wrote about it in his book A Walk from the Wild Edge. He has a great deal of difficulty suffering from depression/anxiety. This caused his excessive use of alcohol, drugs and non employment, lying around doing nothing. He finally decided he would leave Brighton where he was living in England and start walking clockwise around England, Wales, Scotland.

I didn’t find this book was so much about his trip as it was his unending discussion of dealing with depression. Every page had him talking to people about it, regressing once more into drugs and alcohol several times as he met up with friends in various locations, pulling himself out of it again, then talking more about it.

I believe the walk helped him in many ways but until he can beat his addictions I don’t think any walks anywhere are going to put him on a complete path to recovery. I was happy to finish the book.

I read a lot of travel writing and it seems many people, especially with more current books, are dealing with a mental health issue. They seem to travel, often using unusual transport (camels, donkeys, walking, bicycling, etc) to deal with what affects them. The more travel reading I do I am now looking at the back cover more carefully to see the reason for their trips. I’ve read enough about travel and mental illness for the time being.

I am halfway through Gilead by Marilyn Robinson for our May book group. The writing is beautiful and I appreciate it but I am finding it slow going. It isn’t the type of book I enjoy the most. It is much too religious for my non believer self. I am only reading 20 pages a day to ensure I finish it in time, then reading other things I enjoy more.

I am enjoying the
Australian book Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster. Described as “15 year old Lisa Dempster promises herself to one day walk the zhenro michi, an arduous 88 temple Buddhist pilgrimage through the mountains of Japan’s Shikoku island.” She spent a year in Japan as a student when she made this decision. Now 13 years later she is doing it. She, again, is not in good health. She has few interests, is overweight, unfit and begins this journey. It is more of a physical health issue and also a way to develop her confidence and self image. However she doesn’t dwell on it and instead discusses the journey, the temples, the food, the people she meets. Her experiences are really interesting and she keeps an open mind to everything around her. I’m not too far into it yet but I am really enjoying it. The walk comprises “1200 kms of mountainous terrain, a sweltering Japanese summer, she has no money and has never done a multi-day hike especially alone.” But her determination is fun to watch and I am interested in how she does.

Other books I’m dipping into are photography books and instructional methods in books, magazines and you tube videos.

Our photography club is undertaking a challenge with our sister city, the West Yorkshire city of Ilkey, England’s photography club. Each member of both clubs has been paired up, one Tasmanian photographer and one Ilkey member. A colour and a letter of the alphabet has been ascribed to each pair. My letter and colour is A and the colour Blue. An Ilkey member has the same. A and Blue. This will result in two photos for each of us to complete. Then a judge will look at the four photos and judge the winner of each category.

Each photo club member has a different letter and colour. Then a tally will be made of what club has the most wins. This time we have an independent Australian judge who will judge the photos blind. Next time England will pick the judge.

It should be fun and I will include my entries below.

A is for Agriculture. (A real Tasmanian scene)
B is for Blue. (Everything in this photo except berries are from the Tip Shop)

On a personal note (which means the dogs), Peanut got spayed this week and our job is to keep a one year old jack russell and an active 4 month old from running around like zoomie nuts for one week. That is our challenge of the week. Lots of dogs on leashes, independent yard visits and getting them to bed at night as early as possible. So far so good.

Peanut home from hospital

Mr Penguin is fixing a large pot of chilli to get us through the cold weekend today. I noticed he brought home a fairly large container of long red chillies from the grocery store and hope he is only using some of them. Mr. P is a person who drinks tabasco sauce straight from the bottle so I do need to keep an eye on things.

I hope everyone who reads this is doing well and enjoying what they can in the part of the world they live in. All the best with your walking, cooking, reading, netflixing, crafting, working…whatever you love to do. Until next time.

16 thoughts on “A Cold Rainy Saturday

  1. I’m not sure it’s stopped being summer yet in Western Australia, down here in our bit I mean, up north it never stops. With a cyclone going past there was a fair bit of rain but no sitting down by the fire, anyway it was only warm drizzle mostly and I just kept working. (My daughter was in Melbourne and sent home a photo of her baby discovering snow, in the Dandenongs).

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    1. We had snow up the road on the mountain. I love the cold weather and winter colours. Guess growing up in northern USA has influenced me for life🤠


  2. I’m so glad to see someone else reading and enjoying Neon Pilgrim. I read it when I went to Japan 3 yrs ago and loved it. I would really like to do part of the temples walk one day.

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  3. “I was happy to finish the book”: classic! amazing blues in the photo… it was 29F here this morning: winter must be asserting itself globally, lol…

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  4. I enjoyed your 2 photos, especially the blue theme – you achieved a wonderfully dark shade of blue in your photo.
    I read Gilead a while ago and enjoyed the prose style.
    I’ve added Neon Pilgrim to my never-ending list of books I want to read. Fingers crossed.

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  5. Lovely to catch up with your weeks, and I hope the dogs behave and the chilli is not too spicy…. (we don’t do spicy either!) Weirdly, it looks as if our seasons as coinciding at the moment as we are having cold and wet weather, just when we thought the warmer spring weather was here. Oh well. And you’ve been reading such a variety of books! Have a happy weekend!

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  6. Interesting comment about the Jake Tyler book. I noticed the cover quoted someone as saying the book was inspiring which seemed odd given that the walk didn’t solve his issues.

    Gilead doesn’t hold any appeal for me either because of that religious content so I might have been cowardly and skipped the book club choice that month.

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    1. I thought of skipping it but the book is only 282 pages and I skip the sermonizing. If it wasn’t for book group I would skip it but feel I can’t comment in group if I don’t read it. I might grow to like it more🐧😀🌻


  7. I have had the same problem with Amber this week. At the very start of our walk last Saturday, she hurtled into the shrubbery after some intruder (of the four-legged variety) and delivered a piercing yip before emerging with a pronounced limp…
    (BTW the hail started just as I was typing that sentence, it’s more like Winter than Autumn here today!)
    …It was Easter Saturday and the vet was closed, or I’d have taken her straight there. I checked her all over and couldn’t find anything amiss so I decided to wait till the next day and if necessary find an emergency vet, and fortunately it was a little better on Sunday morning and continued to improve. By Tuesday she was only limping when she saw us looking, and by Thursday she was only occasionally limping—but on the wrong leg… she’s a great actress, my Amber, but sometimes she forgets her lines.
    Anyway, I’m still trying to keep her rested, just to make sure it’s fully healed, which means OFF the furniture.
    As if…

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  8. I think you are very right about the editing of novels these days.
    I did really like the environmental themes in The Octopus and I and I am looking forward to seeing what Hortle does next. Peanut looks adorable, good luck with keeping them quiet for a few days.

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