Simply Sunday 10 November

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Ollie- 12 weeks old. Male.

It’s been a very hectic week but more pleasant than the previous week.  Readers will know we lost our lovely Odie last week. We were going to adopt another puppy as our older dog Molly is missing him. We wanted to get one from the Dog’s Home but they seldom have puppies that are small breeds. As we’re getting older we need a dog we can lift if needed. Odie needed to be carried a lot and we struggled with his weight. We saw a lovely litter of Jack Russells that needed a home. I checked it wasn’t a puppy mill turning them out and it wasn’t. A lovely family with six children had a pair of pedigree Jack Russell puppies. The mother is from Queensland and the father is a Tasmanian.  A good gene selection.

Ollie came home on Thursday this past week. Molly has taken over keeping an eye on him. As she’s 15 years old in March she is an old hand at raising a couple of puppies and a few kittens. She seems livelier since he has joined our family and has cheered all of us up immensely though he will never be a replacement for Odie. We named him Ollie as it is a combination of the names of our past two dogs, Wally and Odie. He seems to be getting used to it. So he will continue to feature on this blog in future posts here and there.

Snip20191110_1As we’ve been so incredibly heartbroken over the past couple of weeks I needed to find a book to read that offered comfort. I downloaded the audible book of All Creatures Great and Small read by actor Christopher Timothy from Audible.com. I have been listening to the wonderful stories of the Yorkshire practice before World War II in England. The family of characters, the country folk, everything about the series is lovely. Christopher Timothy played Mr. Herriott in the series that aired on television in the 1980’s. The series was wonderful and I have seen it a couple of times.  It is my go to comfort watching/reading.

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Alf Wight

 

Mr Penguin and I went to Yorkshire in the 1980’s and were lucky enough to be in the town of Thurso while James Herriott was still practising. Known as James Alfred (Alf) Wight, not Herriott we were told in the local bookshop we visited that he would be in his practice the following day talking to visitors. With a newly purchased book in hand, we trotted over to his practice and waited with a handful of others as he turned up from a day’s work and invited us into his parlour. He chatted with us and autographed our books.  It was a lovely day and we enjoyed meeting him very much.

The other book I’ve started as a hard copy is one Simon of Stuck in a Book (see his review here which I agree with) discussed awhile ago about a family who moved to Hay on Wye in Wales and decided to raise their family there. It was when Hay on Wye was in its heyday of bookshops in the early 2000s. The title of the book is Sixpence House: Lost In A Town of Books by Paul Collins.Snip20191110_3

I’m only about a quarter of the way into it but am enjoying it very much.

I also realise several bloggers are doing the Non-Fiction November readings this month. I haven’t joined in this month but it turns out I have only been reading non-fiction lately so I guess I’m participating despite my plans not to actively join in.

I’m looking forward to the new year of 2020 and am making some bookish, photography and dog training plans.  I’m hoping it will be a more uplifting year than the past couple of months have been.  I know life is cyclical so we can only continue to go up now.

As I have previously lost one book per puppy. (You cannot leave them unattended- books that is); I am hoping Ollie does not continue the tradition.  I will let you know how we go.

Who can believe we’re in the middle of November already?  Until next time….Snip20190825_5

Our Lovely Boy Odie

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Odie’s Bell

It is with a heavy heart I must tell readers that we lost Odie this week.  He was doing well while we were away and then this past weekend he began to deteriorate. It was as though he waited for us to return before saying goodbye.  By Thursday he was in pain, couldn’t stand and had stopped eating.  We knew it was time to act.  He went peacefully in my arms with a loving staff of veterinarians and vet nurses.  He was happy up to the last minute. Everyone was fussing over him and he seemed relaxed.

It is lovely we can show such kindness to animals in their last moments but not so humans yet in this country.  The time is coming but it is not here yet.

I have a Japanese maple tree in our front yard. When we lose a loved pet I hang a bell in it as a memorial to that wonderful animal. When the wind blows I can hear the small tinkling sound of the bells. Odie and I used to sit on the porch every night in the dark after he did his business. He would come up the stairs and sit with me for a moment and often we would hear the bells.  Now he has his own bell hidden in the green leaves of summer.

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A very happy dog.

I can sit in my reading chair in the bedroom, with the window open and often hear the bells. It causes me to pause and remember some funny memory from the pets we have loved over the past 30 years. There are now seven bells in the tree.

Before long we will contact the Dog’s Home and offer to foster any puppies they may have that are not old enough to be adopted, with a view to giving one a home. If that doesn’t work out we will wait for a puppy to become available. We have given many animals who needed rehoming new lives and this will continue as long as we live.  We are looking forward to new adventures with another goofball. We miss Odie so very much but he had everything a dog could ever want and he would want this for future pets. Our work was finished.  His kindness always shone through above all else to other animals.   So, don’t feel sad. This is all part of life and all any of us can ever do is be kind to the animals we meet and the people that await introduction.

Odie Wally Beach
Odie and Wally…………….Together Again

Back With the Living

We returned from our month long Moscow to Prague trip last week. I have photos from Moscow, St Petersburg, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic to sort through. As this blog has been dedicated to travel photography for the past month I thought it was time to get back to reading and books.

However I have grouped some photos together that I think readers of these posts might enjoy and will post them up in upcoming weeks for Travel Thursday. But first things first.

One the home front:

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Getting used to the vet’s office.

Odie is doing well for the time being and was great while we were away. Our house sitter kept us posted. However this week he is quite under the weather and he will be spending time with the vet. We are keeping him pain free and as happy as we can.

On the photography front:

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Our photo club has our big exhibition opening Thursday night, on 1 November and will run until 12 November. There will be more than 100 photographs on display, of all genres, at the Waterside Pavilion on the Hobart waterfront. I have four photos being exhibited. As it is my first exhibition I am looking forward to it. However I will be working quite a few two hour shifts so will be busy with it until it closes. Then hopefully things will go back to normal. I’ll let you know how it goes.

On the book front:

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I have actually been reading and enjoying it. My airplane read was the newest Michael Connelly book (Bosch series), The Night Fire. It’s exactly as one expects from his books, a mystery to solve with an interesting detective who now has more freedom to bend the rules now he’s retired.

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I am up to the last chapter of Emilie Pine’s Notes to Self which I have enjoyed very much. It is a retelling of many chapters of her life that she discusses with a great deal of honesty that doesn’t hold back any punches. She grew up in Ireland with her sister and mother with an alcoholic father lurking in the background (a tale we’ve all read before) that influences them greatly. The first chapter is about his ageing and illness in Greece, where he now lives, as they are called to attend his bedside in a very under-resourced hospital. How do you care for your father’s bodily functions when you barely have a relationship with him? He is a person who they both love and hate.  Growing up with alcoholic parents in my own family I could really relate to the emotions that surfaced. The next chapter is her quest to have her first child in her late thirties. To say more would spoil this story.

The third story explains the divorce laws in Northern Ireland (with the first divorce granted 17 January, 1997. Her parents split when the sisters were quite young but the laws of the country really reverberates throughout their life. Her father, of course plays a role in this story quite a bit and how the sisters dealt with their emotions related to him  throughout their early lives.

The book is well written and quite a quick read but it expresses some powerful emotions and I got taken right into their lives while reading it.

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I listened to this on the long bus journeys between the countries we visited. 

The audio book I’m listening to is one I began at the start of our trip to Moscow. Thomas Keneally’s book Schlinder’s Ark. As we visited many places where Arthur Schindler lived and worked in Poland I thought it would be beneficial to finally address this book. We also visited the museum dedicated to his life in Krakow of which I will write about in a later post.  I am sure I’m the only person in the world to have not seen the film, Schindler’s List, but I have been waiting to read the book beforehand. Despite the horrific events within the story it is a story that all should be familiar with. We were immersed in so much history on this past tour between Stalin, Hitler and the events of Jewish cleansing it did become a bit much at times.  Stories of the impact of life under the Soviet Union in the Baltic countries also filled our heads. Our group visited Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps but as Mr. Penguin and I have gone through it previously we chose to not attend again.  It is certainly not a tourist attraction as much as a sobering memorial to the six million people who perished. Not only the Jewish population, but homosexuals, intellectuals, gypsies and the list goes on.

We only had 11 people in our group and it was good to have discussions with some of them as we toured the museums and we visited the atrocities in stories and photographs around us. There were a couple of days we did need to debrief.

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My new coffee cup I bought in Prague.

Well I guess that catches everyone up for now. Today I am going to see Downton Abbey, the film, for the second time. I loved it so much, I cannot let it pass by without seeing it again on a very large commercial screen. My friend who is going with me hasn’t seen it yet so we should have a good time. Then off to my favourite spot in town, Fuller’s Book store for afternoon tea break. Until the next time.,,,, all the best.

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So good to be home.

Arrived In St Petersburg

4:30 am start today. Train from Moscow to St Petersburg 7 am to 12 pm. Then a city bus tour then several hours at the Hermitage Museum with a million tourists. Then heavy traffic to hotel and finally a meal out. Very tired tonight so am sharing a few photos from museum.

From top to bottom:

*Rembrandt

*Goya

*Can’t remember, just liked the horses

*Titled the Three Graces

*Michaelangel

*Canal outside

*View out the front through window

Sorry not more info but time to bed. Penguin is already asleep❤

The Journey Begins

We are currently in Dubai waiting for our flight to Moscow. One must go through a comprehensive visa application to get entry in Russia. The application is long and arduous especially if you have travelled a lot during the last 10 years. They want to know all the places you have been and what dates you arrived and then left. Then the application gets sent off with your passport. When approved you end up with a copy of your passport page, details and photos all added as another page in your passport. It is also in Russian. If you have any medication that is a controlled substance then that needs a letter from the doctor, the original prescription, the original packaging and the letter also needs to be translated into Russian. Mr Penguin is on pain medication for his osteo-arthritis so he had to acquire the forementioned information. We’ll see what happens when we go through entry to the country.

We are only visiting Moscow and then take a bullet train to St Petersburg.

On the flight to Dubai I had a man seated behind me who got up every five minutes to get something out of the overhead locker. My first annoying traveller. Melbourne to Dubai is a 14 hour flight and we were trying to rest. All I heard was, ‘Slam, slam, slam.’ He finally settled down.

When we stood to disembark the plane the same man had piles of brochures and paperwork all with Salvation Army letterheads everywhere. I heard him mention he was going to some conference or other. He also had an armful of religious material, also with Salvation Army material. I did wonder if he was with that organization why he was in Business Class. I do hope he was paying his own way. You hear about all the administrative costs so many international charities spend. Was this one of them? Who knows.

Well time to move soon, so stay tuned. Once I learn what can be photographed and what can’t in Moscow I’ll try and put up a picture or two.

Bookwise, I started an autobiogtraphy of Graham Greene, forget the name, that I am enjoying in an old vintage Penguin I had on my shelf. More on that later.

For those of you who follow Odie, he has settled in with the housesitter and is doing well for now. More later…

Simply Sunday

 

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I have probably had the most chaotic time in the past six weeks I’ve had in a long time.  First things first.  We are heading overseas to Russia and the Baltic countries on Thursday.  I will be taking my laptop with me and although I do say I will try to put up blog posts I find the 20 persons tours we go on are exhausting.  However I will try a bit harder. The days we have dinners out at night give us less time for anything else. We are heading to Moscow and St Petersburg then onto Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic. It is a 27 days tour.

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Next up, is, our dog Odie had his second ultrasound scan and the tumours remain unchanged so he very happily remains with us. Our house sitter has been briefed and is an angel who cares for him in conjunction with our vet.  We expect he will be with us awhile longer. We really are overjoyed at that.

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I just had a week in Sydney with two good friends. As it was booked months ago, the timing turned out to be difficult as so much going on but it was a good distraction and we had lots of fun. I spent three days of photography with one friend and then four days of theatre, shopping and a film. We saw The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard at the Sydney Opera House. It is a very wordy play and I thought a bit too long. But once we figured out the first act of a play within a play we soldiered on.  One night we went to the beautiful Capital Theatre and saw the musical Chicago. It is thoroughly entertaining with great music, dance, choreography and voices that brought the house down. Lots of fun. We had one very rainy day so ended up at Events Cinema on George street, a large, almost empty theatre to see Downton Abbey which we loved. I hope to see it a second time. It was so much fun.

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We also loved visiting the independent Glee Books on Glebe Pt Rd and the second hand shop next door and the big Japanese book store in the Victoria Galleries, Kinokuniya.

I brought back two books, one from Glee Books and one from Kinokuniya.  I thought I would share them with you.

9781631495946Writing Across the Landscape 1960 to 2010 edited by Giada Diano and Matthew Gleeson. This is one of the stories of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, now 100 years old,  who has been many things: (from the blurb on the back) a poet, painter, pacifist, publisher, courageous defender of free speech and the co-founder of San Francisco’s legendary City Lights bookstore. (A store I absolutely adore.) This is a compilation of his travel journals spanning 60 years of various places around the world. It’s a chunkster so won’t be travelling with it but the bits I’ve dipped into are fascinating.

 

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The book I purchased at Glee Books is called Thumbing It : A Hitchiker’s Ride to Wisdom by Barbara Noske. I have just begun it and not sure if I’ll travel with it as I only tend to take books I’m happy to leave behind and this is not one of them….yet.

Barbara Noske is mad about hitchhiking, especially in trucks, and has 40 years of it, in, among other places, Europe, Algeria, the Sahara, as well as the vast expanse of Canada and the Australian outback. She is a Dutch anthropologist and philosopher whose field is the relationship and the similarities between humans and animals. She lives in the Dutch countryside with a horse and a bike. She has no driver’s license and no smartphone. (Blurb on the backside)

She travelled during the days before the internet, google maps and smart phones. I really enjoy tales of travel from brave women in the past.

I finished Shaun Bythell’s book Confessions of a Bookseller, the sequel to his first bookseller’s tale, The Diary of a Bookseller,  in Wigtown, Scotland.  It is identical in structure to his first book  I know many people have read. If you really enjoyed the first book I would recommend this one. There are more characters introduced, just as quirky as those in the first book. I found it a delightful read, especially in relation to all of the things going on around here during the past month.

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This is the invitation,  not my photo. 

Other good news is one of my photos made the finals in the Fremantle, Western Australia International Portrait Prize and will be on exhibition in October. I have been invited to attend but will be overseas so will not be able to.  I really am in shock that it has been recognised as a finalist.

I could go on for another couple of paragraphs of activity but feel this has been enough.  I wish everyone well and hope to be in touch again soon.

PS- I will remember to pack the Penguin and hopefully he will not end up in a Russian gulag or lost on a bus somewhere.Snip20190825_5

Wintry Wednesday

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A photo of Mt. Wellington taken by an ABC photographer. 

Although Australians think spring arrived on the first of September, I prefer to wait for the equinox because it is quite wintry today. It’s blowing a cold gale and although the sun shone for much of the day Mt. Wellington is currently under a cover of cloud.

It’s been a hectic week, though I am getting through a couple of books slowly.  I am enjoying listening to the Golden Earrings by Belinda Alexandra but I am more excited about the read/listen book I downloaded this week by Shaun Bythell. Remember the Diary of a Bookseller that was so popular. Well now Confessions of a Bookseller has just been released in the same diary format.  It begins on 1 January, (though I don’t remember what year) and continues through December. I have a foggy mind this afternoon. It’s fairly recent though. He continues to keep track of the eccentric characters and wacky book business of the running of his shop. He has a great sense of humour and I love following him through his days.

Snip20190904_2Here is the snippet from Good Reads.

“Do you have a list of your books, or do I just have to stare at them?” Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. With more than a mile of shelving, real log fires in the shop and the sea lapping nearby, the shop should be an idyll for bookworms. Unfortunately, Shaun also has to contend with bizarre requests from people who don’t understand what a shop is, home invasions during the Wigtown Book Festival and Granny, his neurotic Italian assistant who likes digging for river mud to make poultices. The Diary of a Bookseller (soon to be a major TV series) introduced us to the joys and frustrations of life lived in books. Sardonic and sympathetic in equal measure, Confessions of a Bookseller will reunite readers with the characters they’ve come to know and love.”

I wonder how the TV series will be played out. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a good thing.

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Odie spends time with Uncle Buck. Good friends.

Other news this week.   Odie is still with us.  The swelling in his leg went down and I took him out front to enjoy walking around on a sunny afternoon. A cockatoo landed on the fence. Odie has a rule that birds are allowed on the tree branches in the yard but had better not touch the fence.  Well this cockatoo ignored that rule and Odie took off after him running at full tilt before I could grab him. He skidded on wet grass and crashed into the fence. When he stood up his bad leg was at a 90 degree angle to his body and he couldn’t move. He has severe bruising and a sprain on his elbow of his left front leg. So he is being treated for that at the moment.  He is scheduled for an ultrasound of his tumours the week before we leave on our big trip the end of September. We’ll know if the tumours in his pancreas, spleen and liver are fast growing or have been there awhile and continue to grow slowly. If they are enlarged more than they were we may be saying goodbye.  But we are coping okay for the most part. We’ll just have to see how we go and as my mother always said, “Don’t borrow trouble.”  He is happy, alert and continues to eat a lot.

Our Hobart Photographic Society is planning our large photo exhibition for the beginning of November down on the waterfront of Hobart. There will be approximately 170 photographs on display.

I’ve not exhibited before as I’ve not had the confidence.

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Cheetah

 

Caracol
Caracol

Yesterday I took four photos to the printer and they are being greatly enlarged and printed on a lovely rag paper and matted. I am putting four into the exhibit.  They are photos of wildlife I took in Namibia a couple of years ago and I think they are interesting. So many photos of African wildlife are of elephants, zebras, rhinos. So I decided to put a couple of photos in of animals many people don’t see photos of much. The caracal and the beautiful markings of the wild dogs.  I’ll share more on the exhibition later on once we begin.

Wild Dog
Wild Dog
Pelican
Pelican

I am heading to Sydney next Wednesday to spend three days with a photography friend and four days with my theatre/shopping/galleries friend. My photography friend will show me the places she goes to take her wonderful photos and we’ll talk cameras and settings no doubt for hours. We are like two peas in a pod when we get together. It’s quite funny.   Then my friend who used to live here but retired on the northern coast of New South Wales and I will be sharing a Tom Stoppard Play at the Opera house and also seeing the musical Chicago.  We’ll hit all of our favourite haunts no doubt including a couple of book stores.

Hopefully this is all sounding a bit more upbeat than my previous post as we continue to go through the ups and downs of life as everyone else in the world does.   I hope you enjoy the photos. Until next time…bluejumper