This past week was full of highs and lows. We were in lockdown over the weekend of 16, 17, 18th October so didn’t do a lot. On Wednesday I happily took the bus into the gym to do the weight training. We had to wear a mask outside of our house or face a $1000 fine until the Friday. Working out at the gym (as weight training is not considered intensive) with a mask is not anything I enjoy so I skipped my second session Friday.
I stayed home and read quite a bit during the week. On Tuesday I had to go to the funeral of one of our dearest friends of 25 years who passed away in her sleep after being ill for sometime. When people or pets I care about die, I generally plant something in the garden that reminds me of them. She loved lilacs and my lilac tree hasn’t bloomed early this spring due to the heavy rains and frost we had this year so I just missed giving her a bunch of blossoms as I have done every year. So today I went lilac shopping and found a very nice more mature purple lilac bush to plant in the yard next to mine. I will do that on Tuesday coming up.
I was to have attended a photo club excursion today (Sunday 24th) but as it has been pouring rain it was cancelled. I was going stir crazy as I’ve been in quite a bit due to rain. We have also been dealing with very muddy dog paws now for two weeks. I am over the incessant rain we’ve been getting. Anyway, I went to the garden shop which is always fun and looked over everything.
I have been reading a lot of books on journaling and dipping into books on illustrations and sketching etc . I love journals that people do where they draw what they see as they travel around or they collect art pictures, or whatever else interests them. So today I thought I’d drop into the tip shop and see if they had any old postcards, or things that look vintage or arty for my own big table journal where I scribble and paste pictures of things that catch my eye from magazines, events, etc.
I found several little art papers, postcards and even a little puzzle (that had one piece missing 🤨 when I put it together and glued it in the book. However the puzzle came in a tiny box, had around 50 pieces ? Maybe not that many and the company that produced it is in Austria. Now speaking of Austria……
I have been slowly reading the Austrian novel The Hotel Years by Joseph Roth as he was an Austrian author (going back to my previous Lonely Planet book post) who was listed in the book. It is very slow going. The book has many chapters in it of two or three pages. The time frame so far has been the 1920s and he jumps around from place to place beginning in the Baltic States and Germany as he travels between hotels. One chapter might be an experience within a hotel. The next might be telling a history of a village he is staying in. Sometimes it is a description of a market or the people he visits. Sometimes it is about the food he eats. I find it isn’t really a book to read straight through so I tend to read about five or six chapters then move on to something else. He is a very good writer. I just wish the chapters wouldn’t jump around so much as he travels. He was in northwestern Germany then the next chapter he had gone south. Then he was in western Poland, then back to Germany, then he was in northwestern Spain, back to Austria and now I am about 40% through it he is in the USSR. I take the episodes with a grain of salt and just concentrate on the content of the place he is actually visiting.
I finished Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Klara is an artificial friend to a young sickly teen. It is a book of science fiction and the relationships between her and family members. It is quite believable however quick a read it is. I enjoyed it but was happy to be done with it. Our book group will discuss it in a couple of weeks. I found parts of the dialogue a bit clunky towards the end. I am not sure this is his best book. I have Remains of the Day to read soon as everyone tells me how wonderful that one is though very different to Klara.
I have listened to six of nine hours of Derva Murphy’s Full Tilt bike trip book. Really enjoying it but it is my ‘car’ book. I only listen to it when driving and with all the rain, lockdown and mask wearing I have tended to not be in the car. However I did get a good chunk of it listened to today as I drove around doing errands.
On Tuesday night Fullers held an event with Marta Dusseldorp and her husband Ben Winspear who are doing Jean Genet’s play the Maids beginning next week. A friend and I will be attending that. I have seen the Maids before with Cate Blanchett and Elizabeth Debicki in Sydney several years ago and really enjoyed it. I really like Marta Dusseldorp. Some of you will know her from the series: Jack Irish, A Place To Call Home, Stateless, Blackjack and Janet King, most of which I have seen.
She is now living in southern Tasmania and has several projects lined up. They will be producing a film of Favel Parrett’s book Past the Shadows hopefully in two years time. The setting of that book is in Tasmania and our book club read it several years ago when it came out. Marta Dusseldorp and her actor/director husband Ben Winspear are heading up projects here. I had a lovely chat to her and we talked about the refugee work she does with UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees). Topics discussed during the hour long event were her work with this organisation and her visits to Lebanon, Syria and Uganda. She discussed the trauma of Manus Island too. She has also done quite a bit of feminist work and the two books she recommended people read, when asked by an audience member the books she values were Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things. She believes that is one of the most important feminist works to come out of Australia ever. She also talked about her conversations with Behrouz Boochani and his book No Friend But the Mountains. It was a very lively event with 50 people in attendance.
As the event was to discuss the Maids by Jean Genet there was a lot of information of his life and the hardships he faced. All in all a very good night.
Well this post is getting long and I wish to put up some photos so will move along here. What a very active and diverse week it has been. I look forward to this coming week being a bit quieter but who knows. Rain continues to be predicted throughout the week so anyone of us might go nuts. Bring on summer.