In the end we’ll all become stories (Margaret Atwood)

The week of 10th July, 2022

Welcome to the new format of the Travellin’ Penguin. With my dodgy eye sight I decided to develop a template for future blogs. Something easier that keeps my on track, avoids me rambling too much and just getting out the points I want to make. 

What I’m Reading: I am getting through Geraldine Brook’s book Horse. It is based on the true story of the most famous race horse in 1800s America who was cared for by a young slave. I’m finding it a much simpler read than I anticipated. It is more like a book I would have read in 7th or 8th grade, a level above Black Beauty maybe. I am finding the research is quite good as are the characters that pop up in the 1800s.  Of course a book about slavery and horse racing is not my favourite topic. I really abhor stories of slavery (though so far I’m not finding the horrific events written about in other books but the night is young). I also really despise horse racing but as this is a book for August book group and I’m seeing Geraldine Books at the Theatre Royal the end of July I am persevering with dread. 

I have begun a wonderful memoir by British actress Sheila Hancock called Old Rage. She is in her late 80s and she has a lot to say about growing older. The book is in diary form. Her sense of humour is on every page and I have seen her most recent film, Edie (2017) a couple of times and no doubt will watch it again. The story revolves around her life after her husband’s death. She doesn’t want to sit around waiting to die so she travels to Scotland where she is determined to climb a mountain in a remote area. I loved the film. There is a synopsis of it here.

I also have the book about death called The End on my Kindle by Bianca Nogrady. Sue at Whispering Gums wrote a great review of it so I decided to read it. Find that here.

It is an interesting non fiction account of death, what happens physiologically, the myths, is there an afterlife, etc.  It is not a book for everyone but I am really enjoying getting familiar with the nitty-gritty and hearing other person’s experiences with it (then revived) or around it. But……(Now you’ll laugh at this) I tend to read it when sitting in doctor waiting rooms or at the Franklin Square bus stop waiting for the bus home after the gym). I do not read it before falling asleep at night in bed. It is a bit too close to home!

Bookish Event of the Week:  There have been two book launches in the past two weeks through Fullers Book shop. The first one was the Stella award winning author Evelyn Araluen discussing and reading from her book of poetry Drop Bear.  There are many reviews of this book online so I’ll let Mr Google lead you there, but what a breath of fresh air she is. Young, dynamic, tells it like it is regarding First Nation’s people of Australia. Funny, intelligent and I think I’d read anything she publishes. We just loved her. If you get the chance to see her or read her poetry, run, don’t walk.

The second event was the launch of Undertow, by Kim Bambrook.  The blurb is as follows:

And on it goes. Fiction published by Forty South Publishing.

Kay wakes up on a floundering yacht.The Tasmanian coastline has receded, and her partner, Sam, has mysteriously disappeared.An eerie fog hinders visibility.With no means of communication with the outside world, Kay’s worst fears are realised: she is alone and isolated, her vessel off-course and lurching into the unknown.From the bow of a sinking yacht to remote and craggy coastlines, Kay’s journey is one of unexpected dangers and startling discoveries.In an unforgiving environment, Kay has to dig deep and trust her instincts

(Photo at left- Above: Kim Bambrook rt and below Evelyn Araluen)

The launch was a bit of a laugh. This is her first book, and she based it on a very adventurous childhood and adult life she has lived. She has travelled the world, lived and sailed on a yacht alone for 7 yrs, had two children, seemingly raised on her own.  The head of Forty South Publishing flew here to introduce the two people who would introduce and interview her. The room was packed with quite well off people who flew here from all over the country to be here for the night.  The launch was person after person singing her praises and achievements. In one hour we had the three who heaped accolades on the author, the interview of the author, a journalist whose name escaped me after the audience was told she had Covid earlier in the week! I lost my train of thought after that announcement and I must say she looked very sick. Then we had the talk for 15 or 20 minutes of how the book came about which was interesting. I must say I liked the author and she appeared very humble but the others! Then there were a few questions and then the author gave a speech lasting about 10 minutes as to how humble she felt and she had a list of notes four pages long of those she wanted to thank. OMG, we winced.  There was a book signing afterwards and of course I bought the book for my friend’s 83rd birthday and I think I will actually enjoy the story. But as my friend and I left the shop we looked at each other and said, “Did she just launch her first book or did she find the cure for cancer?” Hilarious. 

Penguin of the week:

I will tell you more about this the next time and probably in a separate post. 

Life Happens:

My week went well. A couple of times at the gym, no visit to the eye doctor for a change. Cold days but I accomplished a fair amount of walking. A wonderful pedicure with teal nails in anticipation of seeing two dear friends in Sydney soon. I hope my mask keeps me healthy as I wear it everywhere. The book launches over the past two weeks and the Monday night shared reading of Hard Times by Dickens pretty much filled the week.

From the Photo Archive:

I am continuing to learn editing software of my photos so have pulled a few out of the archives. I will share one of the past travel photos here. I hope you enjoyed this rambling missive and look forward to hearing one or two things you read or did this week.

This photo was taken in Botswana on a trip we did to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. These guys are scary and purported to be the most dangerous animal in Africa. Faster than you’d think.

Hippos weight up to 2000 kgs and kill 3000 people per year in Africa. Yikes!

Let me know what you did or read this week. I really enjoy hearing what people do to make themselves comfortable or happy during these times.

35 thoughts on “In the end we’ll all become stories (Margaret Atwood)

  1. What is the name of the horse?

    I love books written in diary format!

    The book about death sounds fascinating. I follow a hospice nurse on TikTok so I’m learning a lot.

    That book launch was something else!!! I would’ve just wanted to hear about day to day life living on a yacht all by herself!

    Love the hippo picture. They kill 3,000 people a year in Africa??? Yikes! That’s a lot! I wish I still had my hot pink hippo beanie toy from the 70s…oh I just found her online. $40-70. Yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The horse’s name is Lexington. Diary books are fun. I like listening to them on audible. It seems all the book launches I attend tend to have a life of their own. Lots of fun though. All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also like the new format. After reading Lionel Shriver’s latest on That Topic i.e Death, I’m definitely not up for another book on the theme. Still getting over the LS. In no way did it fall into the comfort category.
    My comfort category this week included Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus (there is hope! and humour) and the discovery that Lactose-Free milk is drinkable as opposed to the awful plant Fake Milk products. So: there is hope, and tea!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved Drop Bear. Shelia Hancock sounds like a blast, my kind of woman.
    In a bit of a reading rut at the moment but have started Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the sea, so far enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve not read Isabel Allende but Mr Penguin has. I am looking forward to getting more into the Hancock book. I got deterred by grabbing When the Crawdads Sing, a book that’s been on my shelf. I’d like to see the film but feel I need to read the book first.


  4. I like the new format. It is a good idea. I am not sure what I can do with blogger, but maybe it is possible to do something.
    Sheila Hancock is a lady of many talents. She came to Brussels to our Brussels Brontë Group when she was hosting a tv-program on favourite authors. She walked around on a guided tour through Brussels where Charlotte and Emily once walked. It was great fun, and she is really a great and nice lady.
    The book launches seem very interesting and eventful.


  5. I’m also a fan of neat, clean looking blogs and a format that you can pull out when you need to.
    My comfort this week has been Maigret. I love Simenon’s novellas about his food and wine loving detective based in Paris and I save a few to read every July for Paris in July. I find them so cosy and charming and they transport me out of winter in Sydney for a while 🙂
    A positive today is that today was the first day since Covid nearly a month ago where I feel like I have my energy back again!! And the sun shone!


  6. I like the new format Pam and the mix of bookish/not so bookish news. I’m also averse to books about horse racing – it seems a very cruel sport to me.
    What am I doing to keep happy/comfortable? The only new thing to report is that I’ve started doing Tai Chi. I did this decades ago and loved it but never managed to keep it up. Then I learned there is a group which meets on a Sunday morning at a spot overlooking the sea. It’s the bargain of the century as well as being great for mind and body

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Tai Chi is something I’ve thought about over the years but I am not a morning person at all and the classes always seem to be at the crack of dawn. If they held it at 10 at night I would be there. Lol. It looks like it would be so calming.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I prefer to exercise with others. I’m not very motivated to do so on my own unless it is walking. I think the guys at the gym are keeping me busy enough for now but thanks for the tip!


            1. That is so true. I have a personal trainer for 12 sessions to get me back on track after being away for a month due to eye surgery. We laughed so hard yesterday I fell off the roller thing we were using to smooth out muscles yesterday.


  7. Thanks for sharing your week, Pam, and I think it’s a great idea to have a template for your posts. Glad you can still get out and about, and yes keep wearing that mask – I don’t go inside anywhere without mine!!


  8. Wee, as you know I spend most of my days just reading and writing and walking the dog, and we are at a bit of a loose end now that the Masterchef season has come to an end… but I do have one item of interest to report.
    I had never been to a live rock performance in my life, but I saw an ad for a local dinner and show with an ageing rock star that I used to quite like when I was a schoolgirl, and I thought, why not? Support local and all that…
    Oh dear, well at least now I know I hadn’t missed anything!


    1. I haven’t gotten into Masterchef this season. Too busy with the great bake offs! We were surprised by a big layer of snow this morning. Haven’t seen that in a long time and both dogs seemed quite intrigued with it. Especially when they discovered they can eat it!


      1. I saw the pictures in the media! I can just imagine the dogs…
        Actually Masterchef wasn’t great this year. Far too much emoting, occasional unfair decisions because of that emoting, and no recipes that made me want to ‘try this at home’.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I like your neat, clean new theme Pam.

    I also like that you really did get The end, and that you are finding it interesting.

    I reviewed Dropbear a couple of weeks ago, as you know, but I missed her when she was here which made me really sad as I’d love to have seen her. She’s so erudite, and yet she does come across as funny too.

    As for what I’m doing to make myself “comfortable or happy during these times” are you referring to the pandemic, climate change, challenge of increasing conservatism? In a way, I’ve got past thinking about its being “these times” to just thinking about now. And now, I am desperately trying to find more time to read, trying to work out how I want to really spend the last decades (if I have decadeS) of my life, feeling bad at the same time about my privilege, and trying to fit in trips to Melbourne while also visiting other places in Australia and overseas.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel as though “these times” are the backdrop to a stage play and real life is in the foreground. I try to stay at the front of our stage but the backdrop looms behind us. Erudite is a great word for Evelyn Araluen. I enjoyed listening to her so much. I am looking forward to getting off this island very soon if the back drop of the stage, does not impact on me dancing around at the front of it! lo


      1. I’m sorry you feel that way Pam … though I love your way of describing it. I think I’m mostly an “it is what it is” person and just keep on going but of course I’m very conscious of limitations particularly on travel.


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