Live your life by a compass…

I have returned from a lovely trip to see friends in NSW. Almost 10 days down the south coast from Sydney in New South Wales and the northern beaches of Sydney. Then followed by meeting up with another friend for 5 more days in the city. It was great to finally get off the island we live on and see more of Australia.

By the way, the quote above is what was printed on my license plate frame on my scooter.  While I am no longer a motorbike rider I still hope to enjoy the intent of this quotation.

What I’m Reading: 

I am working my way through Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book . It was written 1000 yrs ago from the perspective of a lady at the imperial court of Japan. It is described as a “crazy quilt of vignettes, opinions and anecdotes” of the times.

Our book group will discuss it in the first week of September. She discusses the many issues she encounters in her life and it is interesting so many of them are relevant today. Relationships with men and friends, communication with others in the palace, much of it through written poetry that everyone wrote back and forth and following the young Empress who over sees daily life in the palace. 

It is not a book I’d pick up and read in large chunks but I try to read 15 – 20 pages a day and that is enough. The author lived in the Heian period that translates as ‘peace and tranquility’.

The periods stretched from 794 to 1186. 

My copy is a black Penguin classic and the introduction and addendums take up as much space almost as the story itself. It is certainly different from what I usually read and I am enjoying it more than I thought I might.

Audible Book on the Go at the Moment:

How to End a Story: Diaries 1995 to 1998 by Helen Gar

ner narrated by. Helen Garner. I listened to her first two diaries and this is the final one in the trilogy. It is described as:

“The third instalment of diaries from the inimitable Helen Garner covers four eventful years in the life of one of Australia’s most treasured writers.
Helen Garner’s third volume of diaries is an account of a woman fighting to hold on to a marriage that is disintegrating around her.

Living with a great writer who is consumed by his work, and trying to find a place for her own spirit to thrive, she rails against the confines while desperate to find the truth in their relationship-and the truth of her own self.”

I can’t say it is pleasant to listen to but at times is interesting. I don’t know why so many people want to publish a ‘warts and all’ diary for anyone out there to see, but it seems to happen with regularity.

I wonder what her ex-husband thought of this publication as it certainly doesn’t shine a good light onto him. It also isn’t hard to discover who the unnamed husband in the book is either. But it is a rather short book and as I found her first two diaries interesting I wanted to see how it all ends up. 

Bookish Event of the Week:  

I attended a lovely Fullers book shop event last Sunday with a friend. Carmel Bird launched her wonderful book  Telltale with a fun interview with author Danielle Wood. There was accompaniment by a Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra member, Michael Fortescue, who played the beautiful double bass as she read aloud passages from her book. 

We really enjoyed it and I look forward to reading her book. Carmel Bird really identifies with the peacock and not only does her book have a beautiful cover featuring a peacock, she was dressed in the gorgeous colours of a peacock herself. The room was full of appreciative readers and we all went away feeling most uplifted. 

Penguin’s Choice:

The Penguin 70s bookish project begins.  Our facilitator of our book group is going off on maternity leave in October and that month will see our final discussion. We won’t meet again until March of 2023 and not only is she going to give us recommended reading for the summer, I will be attacking the books on my shelves that lie unread. I will also be getting into the 70’s anniversary Penguins from the boxed set.

Kicking off the random draw is: No. 16- Christmas at Stalingrad by Antony Beevor. More on this little book next time.

Life as it happens…..  the coming week has me getting out of travel mode and back into the regular routines. Medically, especially with the old eye, things are looking up. A bit of vision has returned, and I have been instructed by the ophthalmologist to go to the optometrist and get fit for some new lens in my glasses. Although the vision will never be great in that eye, the improvements do make it easier to read and drive. The glasses will hopefully increase the vision a bit and now we just hold steady to see what progresses in the future.  So now, the eye discussion is at a close!!! Such a boring topic. 

Back to the gym this week too and that should be a laugh as I stumble my way back to fitness with a good sense of humour. I expect to be quite sore for a few days but feeling good.  Old age is hard to face but it helps to keep oneself in as good of physical (and mental) shape as possible. So on we tread……sometimes clumsily.

From the Photo Archive:

Melting Sydney Opera House

So far I have not downloaded and edited all of my photos from NSW. I do have some interesting filters to add to Photoshop and Lightroom which I am playing with. Although a steep learning curve, I am getting a bit of success. I will share the two photos I have entered in to our club challenge. One is a open theme of which I submitted the Sydney Harbour bridge with a vintage touch. The second theme is about taking something we all know as familiar and changing the way it looks but still keeping it recognizable.  I decided to fantasize what the Sydney Opera House would look like if global warming increased to such an extent it would melt.  It was an interesting exercise. 

What the Penguin did this week:

Penguin and I were thinking about aging. He has travelled on six continents with me and he still looks as good as ever. I think I am feeling the older years more than him.

But I heard some very good advice and I try to live by it now.   1. Exercise.   2. Socialise with others. 3. Learn something new.  That should keep us going in the right direction for a while.

Stay Well.

14 thoughts on “Live your life by a compass…

  1. I like your three point plan for contending with the ageing process. I can put a tick against number 1 with my gym sessions and Nordic walking and then today I went and signed up for a 30 day walking challenge to raise funds for food banks. So I can completely relate to the sore muscles. I got down on my hands and knees today to take a photo of a swan and didn;t think I was ever going to get up again!

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  2. Very good advice, which we definitely should be living by. Happy to hear that the eyes are getting better. Must have been a lovely trip to NSW. I have a book by Beevor called Stalingrad. I guess maybe Christmas at Stalingrad is a smaller, more personal note on the place? I did take up his book recently, but with the war in Ukraine, I was not in a mood for such a book. It is still waiting on my shelves.


  3. What a grand time you’ve had lately! And some interesting books, too!

    As one who loves to read a warts & all diary, I’m sure glad there are people who love to write them. Hahaha!


  4. Plus No 4: eat something nice every day!
    Christmas at Stalingrad sounds interesting. Since it’s written by Beevor, I’m guessing it would be when the Soviets changed the course of WW2 by inflicting the first defeat on Germany in one of the most savage battles of all time. I look forward to hearing about Beevor has to say about it.


      1. Beevor is a notable historian of war, and I read his history of Stalingrad after my trip to Russia. I found it overwhelming, but I suspect that the title of what you are about to read would offer an element of hope and humanity.


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