Ponderings of a retired Tasmanian, photographing, animal loving, book reading, travelling, motorbike riding penguin, growing old disgracefully, who still loves old Penguin books and sharing our world with others.
I live a retired life in Tasmania, Australia. I love books, travel, animals, photography, motor biking and good friends. I indulge in all these activities with the little Travellin' Penguin who has now shared four continents with me. We love book shops, photography walks and time with friends as all our family is in USA and Canada. I enjoy visitors to my blog so hope you'll stop by.
This weekend has been very busy with photography. Getting ready for the Wooden Boat Festival on Friday (see my last post if interested) and several of us photographers participated in a Saturday Photojournalism course for the day. We had some theoretical information and photos on the screen (wall) as examples. Then we split into three groups and off we went amongst the millions are Salamanca market. This market is large enough but with tourists pouring into town and a cruise ship emptying about 3000 more tourists into the area it was full on.
Our team had a brief to photograph. We were assigned a task to develop a story of jewellery or fashion. Our team just could not get it together. Five people on the team and five different directions people wanted to go. I don’t feel we satisfied the brief of showing beginning, middle and end photos that told a story but we had fun and did get a few good shots. Overall we were just concentrating on photographs that tell a story.
Then today was the Chinese community festival on Parliament Lawns. So much good food. I’m glad I left my money in my motorbike a couple blocks away as I could have eaten a lot. The smells alone were worth money. I got a few photos but I could have had more if I hadn’t of fudged the settings on my camera and drastically overexposed several. Was kicking myself once I got home. I’ll share a few here from the weekend that weren’t so bad.
This coming Thursday our book group meets and we’ll be discussing the book The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. It will be interesting what our group members thought of it. I’ll do a post about it once we’ve met.
I’m reading the Newspaper of Claremont Street by Elizabeth Jolley now and really enjoying it. Quite short and I should be through with it soon. So more on that later too.
Well the whole weekend is about trying to get the perfect shot and there have been lots of laughs along the way. A good distraction from the fires which are still going. But I’ve decided not to think of them today. Nothing I can do about it anyway except support those wildlife organisations I like.
Coming up on Friday next week is the largest wooden boat festival in the world. Right here in Hobart. Our photography club has many members who have volunteered to be event photographers. I have not photographed events seriously in the past so this will be a good place to start. The event will have approximately 400,000 people attending over the four days of next weekend. Friday though Monday.
Yesterday I attended an induction for volunteers. Without volunteers the event would not survive. It is held bi-yearly in Hobart. I have attended in the past but never volunteered. I am not a boat person. I get very seasick on the water. But I do appreciate the expertise and workmanship that goes into these wooden boats. We will have everything on display from dinghies to tall ships. People attend from all over the world. I see there is an American pavilion so I might drop in and say hello. The event is staged in the Hobart wharf area which is a beautiful spot.
There will be about 30 photographers from our club. Once spaces were filled by club members remaining spaces opened up to photographers outside of the club. It feels like a job. There will be a morning, afternoon and evening shift. I will probably try to work the morning and evening shifts especially if weather is hot. We supply the event coordinators the photos and they choose what they want for marketing and publication.
Tomorrow I will be attending a day long photo-journalism course. We will have assignments around the Salamanca market to complete. There will be lots of people in the area as the market is on and there are lots of tourists in town. Though I am slightly intimidated I think it will be interesting and fun. Several others I know will be in the workshop too. It goes from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
Other good news is…..Remember the photographs I submitted of the African animals to Australian Photographic magazine’s competition for Wildlife Photographer of the Year? No, I did not come near to winning. The winning photos were truly stunning but I did get a highly commended certificate mailed to me. That meant my images went through not one shortlist but two. I was thrilled. It is a big honour for me who has only been participating in photography seriously between two and three years. Now I’m inspired to keep going and enter more challenges, not because I ever expect to win but they are so much fun and hoping for a win is enough.
I have been sorting through some of my Sri Lanka photos and came up with a short portfolio of portraiture I did. I’ll close out the post with those photos.
I’ve been in a reading slump for a couple of weeks but feel I’m out of it and am ready to pick up some books off my shelf and start them. I’ll be pretty busy with the festival but that might be a good way to relax at night to get the boats and water out of my head enough to fall asleep at night. More to come….
Sadly, Tasmania is burning and it just has everyone on edge and filled with sadness. The fires began in our wilderness areas from lightning strikes from a dry storm we had a few weeks ago. They seem to be spreading from west to east. They have now approached residential parts of the state in the southwest and central highlands. People are evacuating everywhere.
Tasmania has very good fire management strategies and so far there has been no loss of life though a few houses have now gone.
The smoke not only blankets our state, it has been reported that it has reached New Zealand.
Fires are unrelenting in our high temperatures blanketing out state and they really cause people to feel depressed. I feel very sad for the people leaving their homes for evacuation shelters and camping in large football ovals in this heat. I also feel very sad for the animals. Wildlife flee, people with horse trailers collect farm animals and move them to large paddocks that have been volunteered away from the fires. People really rise to the occasion and provide amazing relief on all counts.
Lots of donations being made to the dogs home and the woman who is organising paddocks for farm animals. A pet taxi service in Hobart has been collecting domestic pets and driving them to refuge as well.
One feels helpless watching. Everyone wants to do something but is not equipped to do more than donate money to those working. There have been warnings to stay away unless on official business.
Of course there has been one looter caught and another in a campground in the eastern half of the state that is currently fire free lighting a large campfire. Both have been charged and will go through the courts. One can only wonder what these morons think about. There has also been some arsonist that started another fire that diverted one of the helicopters away from the main blazes to put this fire out. I must admit my thoughts run to the days of public floggings.
Like the rest of the country, we need rain. Except Queensland which has floods raging in the north. Isn’t that always the way. We also need politicians who believe in the science of global warming and aren’t pushing through a coal mine at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. (Again the public floggings go though my head.)
As far as books. I have finished up reading the books I wrote of previously and am looking for something that will hold my attention long enough to get out of this funk that quite a few of us find ourselves in.
There is a lot of photography work coming up for me in the month of Feb that will be mentioned later. But for now I just need to get this out of my system.
I know this will pass. Everything passes eventually. Just need to keep telling ourselves that.
I have been doing quite a bit of reading but it mainly involves reading the books for the first few months of this year’s book club reads.
Our Fuller’s Bookshop Book for February is The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. It is a retelling of the Iliad from the point of view of a woman. Our group meets the first Thursday night of February so I will write more about it after we have discussed it.
I recently finished The Arsonist by Chloe Harper. Our group will discuss this book the first week of March. Chloe Harper is an Australian writer who writes about the Black Friday bushfires in Victoria that happened several years ago. Again I will wait until after the group meets to write about it.
I am currently reading our April book, The Everlasting Sunday by Robert Lukins about boys living in a boarding school in England in 1962. I’m not that far into it yet but I feel it might become quite ominous. More on that later.
In the meantime, I can talk about the recently read The Shepherd’s Hutby Australian writer Tim Winton. I imagine most people who live in Australia who read this blog have read it. I will say I loved it very much and couldn’t put it down. It was a slowly drawn story of a young man who lives in Western Australia. He had a very abusive father who had abused him for years and it became worse once his mother died of cancer. He often wished his father dead and when he does die in an accident while working on his car in a shed, the boy fears he may be blamed and heads off into the bush and desert of Western Australia.
In my opinion nobody writes about Western Australia better than Tim Winton. You feel the heat, the dust, the young man’s hunger. He comes across an elderly man living in a shack in the desert in the middle of nowhere and the story continues with the development of their relationship, the life and trials that happen upon them.
My only criticism of the book, which some don’t agree with is I thought Tim Winton wrapped up the ending too quickly. This is a drawn out story that seemed to follow a certain, consistent pace throughout. Then suddenly the end is upon the reader and it seemed to quickly finish. I can’t say more than that as I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone. I will leave it at that for now. I did really enjoy this book though.
The serendipity I refer to is regarding a page I have put in my 2019 journal. I read a lot of book reviews. I get them from my bookshop, other blogger’s posts, the newspaper, everywhere.
I also receive publishers newsletters and magazines and often see older books referred to at times. I often exclaim to myself, “My gosh I have that book on my shelf!” and think I should get it off the shelf and read it so I can then pass it on. So for 2019 as I read reviews and notice books that are named by other bloggers, I will get that book off my shelf and place in a pile to finally have a serious look at it. If I’m not going to read it then maybe it is time to pass it along.
So far on my journal’s Serendipity page, as I call it, I have Persuasion by Jane Austen. It is one of her books I have seen the film for but never read. So onto the pile it goes and I might finally get to it. As it is early in the year I don’t have any other books listed but I do have books by a couple of authors that have been in the winds of 2019.
I read a blurb in the Weekend Australian just before New Year’s Eve written by Mandy Sayers about her favourite books for 2018. I have a book on the shelf by her so I may grab that one. I have several books on the shelf by Helen Garner unread and I know I must read them. I hear so much about Helen Garner especially from Australian bloggers I follow. So onto the pile they need to go. I can’t think about their latest books while I still have their previous books on the shelf.
February will have me listening to audible books, mainly in the car. I’m currently listening to Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick who is a New York City writer I love. I heard her speak at the Sydney Writer’s festival a few years ago and enjoyed her very much. Most of her books are memoirs of her life growing up in a tenement building of 20 apartments in the Bronx. Some of her books are of her life later in life. She is close to me in age so has lived quite a bit of life.
I love tales that take place in Brooklyn or the Bronx especially in the 1950s and 60s. She deals with a very exasperating mother which I find interesting and I feel as though I am on the streets of New York with her, trying to figure out life. Fierce Attachments has most of the book taking place in her first 25 years. They live in an apartment building that has 20 apartments in it and the interaction between the neighbours and families really draw me in. I love the New York Jewish phrases and sometimes hysteria as many of the women deal with their husbands and children.
February is going to be a very busy month for us but I’ll write more about that in a couple of days. I’m trying to finish off books in January because I’m not sure I’ll get a lot of reading completed in February.
I was going to have posted this up last weekend but I came down with a virus that knocked me around a bit. Better now so getting onto it. I mentioned in the last post that my friend, Kate and I sometimes go to the Glenorchy markets. It is a real mish-mash of items but they have pretty good coffee and excellent doughnuts.
We decided to get stuck into the doughnuts right away to give us sustenance for walking around and searching through all the junk this place offers for some possible treasures. I brought Penguin and Penguin brought along his American friend, Red Squirrel. I gave the responsibility for Red to Kate. I know she hasn’t lost her ability to recreate childhood anymore than I have so it was a good match.
While sitting at a table at the little kiosk in this big warehouse, her eye wandered to a table of second hand books. She suddenly said, “I see a book I need to get.” Once we finished our doughnuts we walked over to the table and I saw the large book she was talking about, Tickleberry Tales. I had not heard of it before but it turns out it is a history of the Hydro Electric Project started in Tasmania several decades ago.
Following the Second World War in the 1940s and early 1950s, many migrants came to Tasmania to work for the HEC with construction of dams and sub-stations. This was similar to the Snowy Mountains Scheme in New South Wales and similar effects in bringing in a significant number of people into the local community enriching the social fabric and culture of each state. Most constructions in this era were concentrated in the centre of the island.
As the choice of rivers and catchments in the central highlands were exhausted, the planners and engineers began serious surveying of the rivers of the west and south west regions of the state. The long term vision of those within the HEC and the politicians in support of the process, was for continued utilisation of all of the state’s water resources.
As a consequence of such a vision, the politicians and HEC bureaucrats were able to create the upper Gordon river power development schemes despite worldwide dismay at the loss of the original Lake Pedder. (Lake Pedder is a lake that has a bottom of pink quartz on the bottom and there are still calls to bring the lake back to its original glory)The hydro-industrialisation of Tasmania was seen as paramount above all, and the complaints from outsiders were treated with disdain. (When the politicians approved the Gordon River to be dammed for inclusion in this scheme the people of Tasmania held enormous protests led by several very angry environmentalists, including ex-Senator Bob Brown and what is now know as the Greens Party had its beginnings. But that is another story entirely. I might add the environmentalists won and the river was not dammed.)
There is much more history to this large project and if you’re interested in more information just google Hydro-Electric Commission Tasmania.
Now the Hydro published a book about much more history of this project and the community of people who were the workers. This also included their families and communities. My friend, Kate, grew up in Wyatinah, Tasmania, deep into the Derwent Valley. Her husband, Mark also grew up in the same community and was two years ahead of her in school. Mark’s family is Stansbie. He comes from a large family of children and he and Kate were in primary school together.
As we looked through the book, Tickleberry Tales, she showed me photos that had been taken in their small community back in the 1970’s. Mark’s family members and Kate were featured in them. We started talking to the bookseller at the market about this book and I told her Kate is featured in the book. We thought the price she had on this book was a bit high. But before we discussed buying the book, she offered us a significant discount because she thought Kate should have it for her children to keep.
Kate’s husband’s family: The Stansbies
We pooled our money together and given the discount Kate took the book home. Her children were very happy to accept it.
That experience really lifted our spirits and we continued to walk around the rest of the market. Penguin and Red had fun, Kate and I had fun and we left two hours later with several very inexpensive plants we picked up for our gardens. I think this was a very successful Weekend Wander full of Serendipity.
I have scattered a few photos on the page. I hope you enjoy this little bit of Tasmanian history and the Penguin was glad to get home and onto the page again.
Australia is in the grip of a heatwave today and tomorrow especially. It is supposed to get near 40C here which is highly unusual. To my American friends and family that is around 95F. The sun here is very hot, dry and direct. You can feel it burn through your clothes. The kind of heat we get is hard to describe but other Australians will know what I mean. I think it will be an indoor day with air conditioning on and reading books, writing in my journals or binging on a good Netflix British crime/detective show.
Mr Penguin is travelling in India now for a 19 day tour with four other people. I have his itinerary in my diary and am googling the places he goes each day to see what they get up to. They are visiting markets, doing cooking classes, tours around cities, boat rides down rivers, riding on the trains and having two nights camping in the desert with a camel trek up through the sand dunes. It will be fun to follow him. He might send a photo or two from his tablet or phone that I share here. So far I only have a photo of his hotel room (bed and bath) so not worth sharing. At least I know he got there okay.
The house is full of groceries including ice cream and I have no appointments anywhere. It’s going to be a ‘Pajama Day’ but with shorts and t-shirt.
I’ve been thinking of what I’m going to do with this blog for 2019. I want to incorporate books I own and read, share some of the old collectable books I keep on a shelf in a hallway that is not exposed to light and I think I’ll use Wednesdays to share my photography. I had three overseas trips last year and will have two coming up this year in nine different countries. Five of those countries I have not been to before. Many photo opportunities. I’m not sure I want to call the Wednesday posts ‘Wordless Wednesdays’ as I’d like to caption the photos with descriptions or information of some time. I’d also like a photographic alliteration of Wednesday but have not sat down to think of something with a W.
I’d like a paragraph about books, especially non-fiction books I’m picking my way through and thoughts and simple reviews on the fiction books I read.
I think I’ll keep the Weekend Wander for my walks and motorbike rides around Tasmania that I do mainly on weekends. Or I could pretend I do them on weekends and post them anyway. A bit of walking exercise, including the pets and our own local beautiful cities, towns and state.
I’m going to spend Hot Friday and Cool Change Saturday this weekend redesigning content on this blog.
Sunday I’m going to a local market that has all kinds of stuff, pretty much like a home grown flea market with a good friend to look through old clothes, books, cheap plants and flowers and very cheap doughnuts. That might be the topic for a Weekend Wander.
I love that I have a few faithful follower friends but my aim is not to try and get as many people to follow me as possible. I do this purely for fun and to keep track of my life in a journal format. It’s very lovely when people want to participate and share and I enjoy the conversations but as for trying to be someone like an Instagram Queen, I am just not interested.
For those of you attached to the Penguin, he will remain a part of this blog. In fact I might get him off the page for the Sunday Market and take him with me. Get some photos. He hasn’t been out in awhile.