Two Books for Mention on a Sunday

41057294._UY2115_SS2115_After several days of absolute pouring rain we are finally having a couple of lovely winter days with full sunshine.  Ollie and I went to the dog beach yesterday and he had a lovely time.

Books:

I finished Normal People by Sally Rooney. Our book group was to have discussed it last month but we are not meeting now so I was late reading it. I didn’t really want to read it as I’ve heard both negative and positive reviews about it. It’s not a long book so I picked it up to see what all the fuss is about it since I had it. I have to say it was not a book I loved but I can see why some others loved it. The story is about Marianne who is a rich high school/college girl who lives in Sligo, Ireland then goes to Trinity college in Dublin. She comes from a wealthy family of her mother who ignores her and her older brother who is quite abusive. She lives in her own world and has no friends and states she doesn’t need them. She doesn’t care of about high school or the people in it but she is very bright.  She meets Connor. Connor’s mother Lorraine cleans for Marianne’s household. Because Marianne is so ostracised at school Connor does not let on they know  each other much less see each other.  They develop a very long standing intimate relationship but nobody knows about it except Connor’s mother who likes Marianne and leaves him to it.

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There are two sections to dog beach separated by a thin stream of water. However we have had so much rain there was water everywhere.

The story continues. Both are well read and exceedingly bright and though Connor comes from a poorer background he gets a scholarship to go to Trinity and their saga continues in Dublin. Then we get new boyfriends and new girlfriends although the two of them always seem to love each other.

I grew very weary of this relationship.  Some of the positive points of the book to me were I liked Connor’s character and his mother Lorraine. I think they were the best developed characters.  Marianne annoyed me beyond belief.  We begin to see her mental instability as the book continues and even understanding that I didn’t feel anything for her. I could say the book is plot driven because all of the other characters including friends at Trinity and back in Sligo were not really developed.  It becomes more apparent as we continue Marianne wants to be physically and mentally hurt by her boyfriends and then by others as well. She doesn’t have much self esteem by the end.

The main things that bothered me about this book:

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This is the far end of the dog beach. I like all the rocks. This beach is on the Derwent River that runs out to the Tasman sea on the east side of Tasmania.

The writing in the first half of the book was poor. I kept thinking “where on earth was the editor” with these sentences?   I thought the writing became stronger towards the last of the book. It settled. There were so many inconsistencies with the book. Marianne seemed strong in herself at the beginning. By the end she is like an entirely different person. I know everyone changes during that age group but her basic nature wasn’t the same.

The store of the relationship of Marianne and Connor drags…..and drags…..and drags….. It is very repetitious. It is very predictable. I was going to give it up about 60 or 70% of the way through but I was curious how this book would end. When the ending came it is incredibly unsatisfying and open to interpretation as to how one feels about the entire story. I kind of thought, “right, they have left the way open for a sequel.”  That was my first thought. My second thought is if there is a sequel I won’t be looking at it.

A series has evidently been made of this book and some viewers in the United States have viewed it. I haven’t seen it here on any thing I have access to but I don’t think I could bare to watch it.

My other thought was if I was in the ages between 16 and 25 I’d probably have loved the angst of this story and the relationship and wondering about all the options available to them and how it would work out. I wouldn’t have cared that the writing wasn’t that great. There are a couple of vloggers I came across on You Tube that are in their 20’s and they rave about it. In fact three of them got together and had a Normal People day where they all sat down in their respective homes one day and read it together then talked about it that evening.

But as an older person I found the book tedious and done before a hundred different ways and I expect and enjoy better writing these days. I guess you could say I’m much more discerning as you might expect a person to be who’s been reading more than 60+ years.

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We are at the far end of the beach. In the distant horizon is where the location of the first photo I posted is. In the sun. A lovely sandy beach.

Would I recommend this book to others?  No. There is plenty more out there to read that’s enjoyable unless you’re 16 and having boyfriend problems as there are many lessons one that age could learn as to what a relationship should be about. As there are so many examples in this book about what a relationship shouldn’t be about.  If that makes sense.

I was going to share a second book with you today but I won’t as I think this post is long enough and I don’t like to make them too long.

Instead I will post up a couple of photos from Ollie and I at the beach yesterday. I’ll write about the second book I received from the library this week in a day or two. I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

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Now! Off to find another book to read.

Rainy day in Hobart

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7 Mile Beach- Hobart, Tasmania on a very grey day.

This will be short as I need to go get some groceries but when I went to start the car the battery was dead. I’ve most likely left the overhead light on again as the garage is so dark during the dark days and forgotten to turn it off. The RAC-T (Royal Auto Club of Tasmania) is on the way with the cables so I thought I’d write while I wait.

It’s been grey and rainy here for the past couple of days, today and will be again tomorrow.  So much rain and all the rivulets are running wild down Mt Wellington.  Two days ago I took Ollie out to Seven Mile Beach. It is about a 25 minute drive just east of Hobart out past the airport. It channels into the Derwent River that eventually goes out to the Tasman Sea.  It is a nice beach and very few people on it when it is very grey and dark. Our photo club was challenged to do solstice sunrise or sunset shots but with the heavy cloud cover and fog I decided on an afternoon photo shoot. Besides I had to get Ollie out as he was full of beans and we needed to get rid of a few of them. I have told our vet she is not allowed to ever operate on him as all his beans may fall out.  A bit of a run on this beautiful beach sorted out a few of them.

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Bookwise- I finally finished the 37th hour of selections of The Diary of Samuel Pepys. What a long haul it was but overall I enjoyed it very much but by the end I was truly tired of him. The way he treated women as if everyone of them was manufactured from Mattel and always thinking about his own work, his own days, his own pleasures. But I did enjoy the stories of London and hearing about the September fires in 1666 and the plague year the year before. People’s lives were so difficult and desperate and it made me happy I was here in Tassie during our own pandemic.

41057294._UY2115_SS2115_I have a couple of new books on the go but not sure I’ll stick with them. My mood changes from day to day. I’ve started Normal People by Sally Rooney. I’ve been hearing a lot of good about that book. My other book is called A Time of Birds by Helen Moat. This book is newly published also and is a tale of Irish woman, Helen and her older teenage son’s bike ride from England to Istanbul. She is a school teacher who suffers from the same depression her father had and she thinks this bike ride might give her a new perspective on life. She has an old clunky bike that some lycra clad bicyclists in the Netherlands had a real go at making fun of but her son is more modern. Her father spent his later years studying birds and she wants to continue that tradition on her trip across Europe. However she hasn’t mentioned any of them yet.

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I do like this cover.

So far she talks a lot about her dad to the point of dwelling I’d say. Have you ever been around that person, maybe at work, who does nothing but talk about their friends you don’t know and that friend’s relatives or experiences and you still have no idea who they’re talking about but they just never stop?  We all talk about family members to our friends which is fine but there are some people who are more acquaintance who continually go on and on and on as it begins to wear a bit. I’m hoping as she gets into this trip she focuses on the present and not so much of the past but we’ll see.

I’ll let you know how I go with the books. In the meantime I’ve posted some photos of our day at the beach. Remember it is winter here.103551374_3290431614324618_4941826444125954385_o

Until next time.

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Penguin Lines Series

2020-05-31 10.39.18Sunday here and I’m moving ahead here. Forget the post about splitting up or not splitting up book series.  I’m keeping them all and they will continue to live together with their families. Once that thought was out in the open I couldn’t bear to separate them all. Thanks for the comments about it.

Now..I’m going to begin reading some of the books from the various series I have and I went to Random.org to see what to read first.  Penguin Books published a series of 12 short books based on the names of the underground Iines of London.  Here is the list:

  1. Victoria: Mind the Child- Camila Batmanghelidjh & Kids Company
  2. The Central Line: The 32 Stops- Danny Dorling
  3. The East London Line: Buttoned-Up- Fantastic Man
  4. The District Line: What We Talk About When We Talk About the Tube- John Manchester
  5. The Northern Line: A Northern Line Minute- William Leith
  6. The Metropolitan Line: A Good Parcel of English Soil- Richard Mabey
  7. The Bakerloo Line: Earthbound- Paul Morley
  8. The Jubilee Line: A History of Capitalism According to the Jubilee Line- John O’Farrell
  9. The Hammersmith & City Line: Drift- Philippe Parreno
  10. The Waterloo & City Line: Waterloo-City, City-Waterloo
  11. The Circle Line: Heads & Straights- Lucy Wadham
  12. The Piccadilly Line: The Blue Riband- Peter York

thumbnailLast evening I read no. 3, The East London Line- Buttoned up by Fantastic Man.  The authors are Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom from Fantastic Man magazine.

This book, published in 2014 was about the fashion that is East London in the mid 80s. Not just that but the ‘buttoned up’ look of the men who lived and worked there. Evidently, there was an entire culture about the buttoned up look. It actually started with the buttoned up to the neck look (some wore ties, others didn’t) of the Mods with their Lambretta and Vespa scooters as they railed against the rockers during the 60s and 70s. They could be loud and violent but their dress was quite upstanding as opposed to long hair and rough looks that was the mainstream music culture of the time.

Another look was the one the Pet Shop Boys had in the 1980s which is when the buttoned up look took off again. One of the Boys was sported a street look while the other was ‘buttoned up’ with the very top button of his shirt buttoned.

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Film director David Lynch was a buttoned-up man.

Who knew there was such a culture around the top button of a man’s shirt. Maybe people who lived in London were familiar but during those days I was living next to a cornfield in mid Michigan, so who knew?

One of the musicians from that time stated: “If I ever see a picture of myself playing, and for some reason I’ve unbuttoned my top button, I always feel a bit angry at myself,” he said. ‘I feel it makes a big difference to the way you wear a shirt. It’s really subtle but it changes an entire outfit. If I’m not buttoned up it feels a bit like something’s missing, like I’ve not finished getting dressed.’

thumbnail4From another…“The man in a deep V is open, ready, disposable. The buttoned-up man has a flavour of some entrenched, considered mystery. We would’ve once considered him pretentious, if preferring books to TV can be adjudged as such. He does not favour the more expositional approach to male sex-appeal in his wardrobe. “

The various parts of London were evidently known for their street dress. An East ender would be buttoned-up without a tie. If you wore a tie you were even more conservative such as someone in the law profession. South Londoners sported the hoody. If someone had a jumper over their shoulders they were obviously from a ritzy public school. The buttoned-up are practically Edwardian in their style.

I got a big kick out of this little book. It is also full of black and white photos of various buttoned-up men models and the neighbourhood streets that make up the stops along the East London line.2thumbnail

I have nine series in sets or boxed sets and I plan on dipping into them more often. For the reason they are generally about subjects I books I would not normally pick up if in a shop.  It will be interesting what adventures they hold and what new information will be imparted to this currently addled brain of mine. Time to relax and enjoy what is on the shelf.

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Cheery Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Clean Up

Today I got fed up with the messy book shelf and seeing the books crammed into the shelves at various angles. So I pulled out the step ladder, gave Ollie something to chew other than books and got stuck into it. Now four hours later I have inspected each shelf, culled three boxes of books and taken them off the Library Thing inventory list.

Then I went outdoors and played with Ollie a bit as he was very good, only chewing a bit on the cardboard boxes I was putting the books into. One of main Op shops is now open and the tip shop opens next week so I will haul them down there so others can enjoy them.

I noticed I have a lot of books that are less than 150 – 200 pages. I thought if I read them first I could then let them go and therefore clear out even more. We’ll see.

I have been reading Unreliable Memories by Clive James. Richard at Cracked Spineless book shop in Hobart put me onto it. He told me when he read it he was in puddles on the floor, laughing and he couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it.

He’s right. Bits of it are very funny. I’ve not read Clive James and this memoir of his early child and teen years is very funny. He has a way of describing his relatives and school mates in a way we might like to do but don’t have the nerve to do so.

I have laughed out loud several times.

The other weird, er, interesting book I’m listening to for an hour each night once I’ve gone to bed is Pepys Diary. It’s 37 hours of his daily diary from 1660 to 1669 and is reputed to be one of the best documented publications of life during this time period. He stopped writing in 1669 as he had very bad eyes and writing in candlelight was not helping. He lived another 30 years.

I am not nor have I ever been a good sleeper. It takes a long while to fall asleep and I seldom sleep through the night without waking up a couple of times. I find listening to an hour of a book each night is very relaxing (if the book is properly chosen) and I often don’t get past 30 or 45 minutes with this one before drifting off to sleep. I am really enjoying the narrator. Michael Maloney’s voice and the structure of Pepys days. He almost finishes each daily entrance with the words, “went home, had supper and off to bed.” I also like the way he describes his “discourses” with people each day. “He and I had interesting discourse,” or “We discoursed this topic for some time”.

Well as I’m worn out a bit from moving and carrying many books around today I am going to sign off here and see how this new layout of Word Press works. Why do people always feel they have to change perfectly workable structures.

Until next time..

A Lazy Wednesday with Books & Food

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P Fiennes writes as though he is travelling with these writers and I feel I am with him in conversations.

I have found two books I must say I am really enjoying.  The first came recommended to me by English blogger Catherine of the Read-Warbler blog. After my last post she suggested a book she was enjoying entitled: Footnotes: Journey Round Britain in the Company of Great Writers by Peter Fiennes. Amazon describes it as:

“Peter Fiennes follows in the footsteps of twelve inspirational writers, bringing modern Britain into focus by peering through the lens of the past.

The journey starts in Dorset, shaped by the childhood visions of Enid Blyton, and ends with Charles Dickens on the train that took him to his final resting place in Westminster Abbey.

From the wilds of Skye and Snowdon, to a big night out in Birmingham with J. B. Priestley and Beryl Bainbridge, Footnotes is a series of evocative biographies, a lyrical foray into the past, and a quest to understand Britain through the books, journals and diaries of some of our greatest writers.

And as Fiennes travels the country, and roams across the centuries, he wonders:

‘Who are we? What do we want? They seemed like good questions to ask, in the company of some of our greatest writers, given these restless times.”

I downloaded it from Audible and have only listened to the first two chapters. The first is about the life Enid Blyton who I had no idea was such a difficult person with, what sounds like a lot of personal issues and the second is about the life of Wilkie Collins, author of the Moonstone and The Woman in White.  The description of his life makes me want to read the Moonstone again and also the Woman in White which I have never read.  I listen to 30 to 60 minutes at night before I fall asleep or as I lie down for a short rest in the afternoon. Peter Fiennes, the author, also narrates it and does a splendid job of it.

The other book in print I began last night is one I’m hearing quite a bit about. In this

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This beautiful little hard cover is a Virago Press UK copy. I love it.

book I am visiting a castle in Italy with four women who share the rent in the early 1900s.  Some of you may have guessed by now.  The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.  I only began it this morning with my morning coffee and toast with Ollie (who I learned loves apple slices).  I’m not far into it so will comment later.

The rest of the day will centre on taking our 15 year old Molly to the vet later for her monthly arthritis injection.  I think running around the yard with Ollie has been good for keeping her young though observing the looks she gives him at times might disagree with this though. Molly is a terrier mixture of about 9 different breeds according to the DNA sample we sent in. She is a sturdy little dog that just doesn’t quit and is certainly in charge of this household.  Ollie has a healthy respect for her having been shaken by her at least twice since he arrived in this household. Those boundaries were established early.

Mr. Penguin has gone to the grocery store and will be picking up some ingredients for a Moroccon chicken recipe I found online that looks pretty good and also quite easy. I will print it here in case you’re interested. I’m not a big cook anymore. I cooked the first 25 years of our marriage and Mr. Penguin has cooked for the past 25 years.  Once we hit our 50 year mark I’m not sure how we will divide that up. During these days of isolation and watching the Great British Bakeoff show on reruns I feel a bit like getting into the kitchen at times.

Here is the recipe

Moroccan Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces baby carrots with tops, trimmed, or baby carrots, halved lengthwise if large
  • ½ cup pitted dried plums (prunes)
  • 1 14 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons curry powder (I brought back some spices from Morocco when I was there last year I will use)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Step 1 In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker combine onion and carrots. Add prunes and broth. Top with chicken. In a small bowl combine curry powder, salt, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over chicken.

Instructions Checklist

Step 2 Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Remove chicken, fruit, and vegetables from cooker with a slotted spoon. Spoon some of the cooking juices on each serving. Makes 4 servings.

I’ll have to let you know if it is good or not or of any adjustments I make to it.

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This is first thing in the morning as Ollie lies on my fuzzy robe in our reading chair with our cup of tea or coffee before the household is awake. A favourite time. I love it when he is asleep.

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Another lazy day.

A Bit of a Rethink

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His descriptions of the British people who run BnBs in the 90s are very funny.

I’ve been in a bit of a reading and blogging slump and have finally thought it through enough to come out the other side.  This blog was started in 2011 so it is almost 10 years old and I must say I am feeling quite stale with what I’ve been reading and writing.  When I think back to the books I get the most excitement from and just really enjoy I always come back to travel writing.  Travel writing isn’t written about that much.  Most of the bloggers I follow read the Bookers, the Stellas, the Pulitzers, the popular books, current events, politics, global issues and authors from the first half of the 20th century. While I enjoy following these posts they are books I don’t always get too enthused about, except maybe authors of old.  Modern authors, though on my radar, aren’t always authors I enjoy reading. I think too many of them try to be too clever,  politically correct to the extreme , using gimmicks that try to outdo everyone else. (Okay, you don’t need to agree with me and I will still like you).

I like adventure. I like a good story. I’m too old for too much naval gazing and deep and meaningfuls. I feel too old to do much more about changing the world from outside of my own domain. I’m leaving it to the younger generation. I have spent years writing letters to politicians, working in unions over worker’s rights, volunteering for various causes. I am tired now. Being in my 70’s I want to back down and enjoy what is around me more.

My interests in life are friends, animals, nature, photography and travel. I enjoy a lot of books that surround these subjects.  Having been socially isolated for several weeks now along with the rest of the world, these topics are continually rising to the surface.

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This recently arrived and looks to be a gentle, motivating book about this topic. It has literary quotes in it too from well know authors that I love

I’m supposed to be in Sydney today. I should be spending a day with a fellow photographer friend talking about the performance I saw on Saturday night at the Opera House.  That same friend and I had booked a trip to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia and should be leaving in a couple of weeks.  Sadly all of that has gone by the wayside and I now spend time here housebreaking a Jack Russell puppy who thinks he knows everything and argues with me every chance he gets.  (Lucky for him he is such a cutie)

It is odd how quickly things can change.  On the other hand I have been enjoying the quietness of being at home all the time. It’s given me a chance to buckle down and sort through closets and bookshelves. I even did a cull of some books and moved them on.

I haven’t been reading much though I did start the book Bruny by Heather Rose that was

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Thank you to a friend who sent me this. I’m almost half way through it and have smirked a couple of times.

kindly sent to me by a friend in Queensland. I am enjoying it. It is political but I know who all the characters are as it takes place in Tasmania.  The author isn’t at all careful about not revealing, shaming and almost naming the politicians this story seems based on.

But….. I keep going back to travel books in my heart. People walking, cycling, motorbiking to the corners of the earth. I love the people they meet, the experiences they have. The suspense of tricky situations that sometimes arise. I love road trips more than any other kind of travel, both real and virtual. I want to be with them on that bike, in that backpack so I am giving all the books I feel I “should” be reading the flick and focusing on travels. The Travellin’ Penguin didn’t get his name from reading best sellers.

I’m hoping the enthusiasm will come back to my moods when it comes to pages between covers.  I am also listening to more podcasts about books and interviews with authors regularly so I am not going to be completely in the dark regarding modern times.

So, without further adieu the Penguin and I are going to get our virtual passports and spend time doing more out in the world. I’ve scattered some photos throughout of the Dapper Penguinplaces and people I plan on spending time with.

Shakespeare Sonnets

ScreenshotIt’s time for a quick catch up. I abandoned the Alphabet book sharing from my shelves as I found I was having to spend too much time online either researching the authors or looking up photos of the books plus writing about the book. During lock down there are more phone conversations of people I usually catch up with, emails to friends and relatives overseas, book blogs to read, books to read. All in all I was just on screens too much and it was getting to me.

It felt too much like a job and that meant stress to get everything done regarding a simple blog. So I just packed it in.

One thing that has just started that I am enjoying is the Shakespeare Sonnets sharing from Tim, a Doctor of Philosophy and assistant manager at Fullers Book store. As the store is closed it isn’t possible to visit though you can pick up books at the front door if needed. Tim discusses one sonnet a day and it will take three months to get through the 120 he plans.  The online group has the book Sonnets which is a Pelican Shakespeare edited by John Hollander. Each day we read our one page sonnet and then receive a discussion email from Tim.  It has been fun and doesn’t require a lot of time.

In the meantime I continue to read blogs that are still very active and hope everyone is remaining in good health.  Until next time….Hawaiian

Simply Sunday

It’s been a pleasant weekend. There is a very large book sale down the road put on by Rotary club this weekend.  I took my motorbike down yesterday as Mr. Penguin was helping out on a friend’s farm.

BOOKS:

I didn’t think I would find much and I wasn’t going to go but you know how it is. A very large book sale less than two kms away?  Would you at least check it out?  I did. I found six new books and I could not believe it.  The ones I found could not be left behind. It would keep me awake at night.  I went straight to the literature/classics section. Wasn’t interested in anything else.  Here you have them.

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I have never read any of his books and I have always wanted to.

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Very unfamiliar with this author but hey, it’s a Persephone. It must have merit.

 

  • Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory
  • Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock
  • Persephone (which you NEVER see in Tasmania) Saplings by Noel Streatfield

 

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I like Hemingway a lot as long as I don’t have to read about his African hunting excursions and the Bullring in Spain.

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I have a very small collection of Virago and think they are lovely books.

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This is close in size to a coffee table book. Just beautiful.

  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Over the Frontier by Stevie Smith – green Virago
  • The Illustrated Edition of Charles Dickens. A very large, double column gorgeous book filled with illustrations. Simply gorgeous.

The next thing I did was come home and culled 16 or 17 books from my shelf and they will be donated to the Red Cross book shop. I chose that shop because it is in the city centre and each time I visit it is full of young adult and the elderly picking through the books. They also sell them for the most affordable prices than other op shops. My shelves look emptier already. (*cough *sputter)

PHOTOGRAPHY:

I had another weekend win today.  My good friend in Florida sent me a photo that was taken of her with a phone under a beautiful tree in Charleston, South Carolina.  She just returned from a short trip there. The problem is there were heaps of tourists and she asked me if I could get rid of the man dressed in orange.  This is an exercise I need to work on in Photoshop so I enjoyed trying. I didn’t think the result would be so good though so once again I am happy (and terribly surprised.)

BEFORE:

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She is dressed in red. Isn’t it a beautiful tree. So much clutter in the photo though. Everywhere !

AFTER:

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1. Cropped it.  2.Got rid of people and the shed.  3. Brightened up her top. 4. Filled in the bare patch in background right and filled in the space between the branches.

I looks a lot better now.

WALKS WITH OLLIE:

The last thing that was a happy event today is that Ollie and I took a walk up to the fire trail up the road from our house. We used to go up and visit the donkey.  We would take her carrots. Odie and I did this a lot before he died.  But the last two times we visited the donkey was gone. As there’s been a drought I was worried they sold him. I was hoping they only moved him to a better paddock. He’s been gone all summer so I figured that was it.

Donkey 1

Today. as we walked up the road I heard the loudest, biggest braying. I couldn’t believe my ears. Ollie and I walked up to his regular paddock and lo and behold, she was there. He was on the far side of the paddock but as soon as soon as she saw us she walked over so we could pet her. I felt so bad I didn’t have a carrot for her as I usually do. She and Ollie sniffed noses.

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The two of them were really interested in each other. Ollie is more fearless than is good for him.

This weekend has been a good one and I am continuing ignoring all the hype about everything going on in the world at the moment. I really can’t take it much longer so I’m making a concerted effort to do other things that make me smile.

Okay, your turn…. What did you do this weekend?

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Currently reading a book about Antarctica. Would love to visit one day.

Documenting Life-What are their stories?

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Laundry lady in a Portuguese courtyard

Today I came across a photography competition (Lens Culture) being held somewhere. It’s online and international. I saw that the winners of the competition will have their photos exhibited somewhere in Paris. The competition closes in April and anyone can submit one single photo, five single photos or five photos that are part of a project where the photos are linked together to be a project or tell a sequential story. I chose the five single photos and I also paid the small extra fee to receive a critique back on them from the judges. If I am not going to end up in Paris at least someone from another part of the world will explain to me why not.

Now, I am not a professional photographer by any means as I’ve never made a cent from my photos.  But I am somewhat of a dreamer and I can see me walking in to the well lit gallery on a Parisian street with dozens of wonderful street photography hanging on the walls. Standing around in a quirky outfit with other people in interesting dress. I might even wear a hat. We’d be sipping champagne discussing the settings we used in our cameras and the experiences of dealing with the people we stalked through the streets.

(Though I am more of a photographer that sneaks up from behind.)

As it is fun to give things a go, even when you know you have no chance, being in that moment for a second, on a cold, blustery, rainy Tasmanian day is a fun way to live once in awhile.

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Making herself more comfortable on a street in Moscow while life passes by.

My favourite genre of photography is Street Photography.  Documenting life. Street photography are photos that presumably tell a story. I also try very hard to not take a photo of anyone holding a mobile phone unless it is imperative to the story.  All of us are living stories each day that very few people ever witness.  I like that about life.

Often I will sit in traffic and be stopped at a light. How often do you watch people cross the street in front of your car and wonder what’s in the shopping bag or think about where they are coming from? How did they spend their afternoon? Probably not too exciting but the thought does cross my mind. I enjoy looking at the expressions on their faces and while really stuck in a long line of traffic, begin to make up stories in my head about them.

 

Moscow Men and Dog
Two friends hanging out on a Moscow street. The dog has his own agenda.

Perhaps she wouldn’t be so cranky if her son hadn’t just slammed the car door on her and disappeared down the street. Or the three girls giggling because their school day has finished and they have big plans for the weekend.  How good will it feel for the elderly lady, carrying too many groceries in that bag, hoping she makes the bus and can finally relax when she gets home.  It is no wonder I love books so much. It also keeps me calm when some idiot does something on the road where I want to ram him or her. I won’t describe the stories I think up for that person but *hint* it involves crime and will I get away with it?

Morocco
Morocco:    Waiting for his friend to come back with jumper cables maybe?

It is with the idea of these little stories happening every second of the day and night, right around the world that I decided to enter five of my favourite shots I have taken whilst travelling. I may never hear of them again which is most probable but I’ve had fun making up the dream and working with the photos.

I share them here with you today.

Cleaning lady
A Street Cleaning Woman on a street in Seville, Spain.

and last but not least…………….

Tasmania penguin tourist copy
Penguin exploring Tasmanian wilderness.

Olive Again and a Giveaway Winner

Business first please:  

Berezina bookI said I would send the Russian travel book, Berezina by Sylvain Tesson to a random person who commented on the last post.  I used Random.org and the winner is Kaggsy of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings.  Karen, if you email a mailing address at psbparks at ymail dot com, I will post to you at the beginning of next week. I hope you enjoy it.

Binging on films:

little womenThis week has really flown by and I admit I have no idea where the time went. I have been reading and also attended a couple of films. Little Women was enjoyable but more for the costumes and scenery.  They flash back and forth a few times which at times confused me momentarily but then all became clear.  I have seen so many interpretations of this film I guess now I have it covered more than enough. The book remains the best way to know this story. Timeless.

I also saw the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. Starring Tom Hanks, it is the story of Fred Rogers who presented the American childhood show, Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood in the USA from 1968 to 2001. It was a very gentle show and although I was too old for it at the time, I remember my younger brother watching it and the impersonations he did of Mr. Rogers kept our family in fits of laughter several times. I enjoyed the nostalgia of it.

Last night I saw the film, Bombshell with a couple of friends. It is based on the sexual harassment that happened to the women broadcasters on Fox News by the CEO and the women’s case against him that resulted in his leaving the organisation in 2016, just before the American election of Donald Trump.  As I won’t have anything to do with Fox News, I was unaware of all of this, though none of what I witnessed surprised me.  Fox News isn’t even registered as a news organisation but instead is listed as entertainment. Why so many Americans think Rupert Murdoch’s Fox TV news program presents unbiased news is beyond me but hey, to each their own.  Of course being a Hollywood film it was full of drama and spit and polish.  I don’t usually run to see a lot of American films unless they are more independent but to see three in two weeks is a record for me.  It was more of a social opportunity to spend time with friends than having any real desire to get to these films.

I did get excited to hear the producers of the Downton Abbey movie that was so popular last year are looking at making yet another full feature sequel.  I think they were surprised at how much money they made from the first one so that is probably the best incentive.  Now, they just have to try to get all of the actors gathered together again to move forward. We’ll see…

Books:

Olive AgainThe book I immersed myself in this week was Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout. I really loved Olive Kitteredge as the first Olive book. I also enjoyed e mini-series made of it with Frances McDormand starring as Olive. As I read the book she is who I pictured in my mind.

Olive Again is constructed the same as the first book and picks up from the end of Olive Kitteredge and goes to almost the end of her life when she is in assisted living.  The chapters feature various people in the town of which she lives and she pops up here and there. Sometimes she features quite a bit in the chapter and other chapters she is a passing character.

Elizabeth Strout has such a good way of defining and writing about characters in a community and by the end several characters are intersecting in each others lives with Olive somehow touching all of them. I really enjoy the format.

Olive KitteridgeI know a lot of people probably wouldn’t like her as a person but I love her.  She is acerbic and cranky with a very hidden heart of gold. As I grow older I find myself blurting out things when annoyed and I can hear Olive’s voice in my head-=. Sometimes it worries me how easily I could become her.  She is one of my all time favourite characters in a book and I really do come close to knowing her as a non-fictional character.  I guess this is very complimentary of Strout’s writing.  If you enjoyed the first Olive book then I think you will enjoy the second one. If you didn’t like the first one then it is probably best to skip the second one.  I think they are both books I could happily read again at a later date.

I’m undergoing some treatment for an eye problem at the moment (nothing to worry about as it is treatable but necessary) and the drops I’m using really cause the eye to be sensitive to light.  It also aches quite a bit for a few hours after the drops so I am only reading in fits and starts.

classic american litI downloaded the Classics of American Literature narrated by Arnold Weinstein on Audible.com.  I listen to it for 30 to 45 minutes each night when I first go to bed each night. I set the sleep timer for 30 or 45 minutes and as it finishes I am either asleep or just about to sleep. The entire course is 44 hours long.  I’m finding it very interesting.  Mr. Weinstein is a professor in literature at Brown university and is very knowledgeable.

I have heard lectures on Washington Irving, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe and am currently listening to lectures on Nathaniel Hawthorn.  He discusses their personal lives and then really dissects their most prominent writings. Currently he is really giving a great deal of information about the Scarlet Letter. I read this book in high school and hated it. But now I am much older and learn what Hawthorne was trying to relate through it, I am finding it much more interesting.

I guess that pretty much summarises the week so I will finish this off and get the Berezina book wrapped, ready to post.   Enjoy your weekend.

Screenshot 1
Happy Reading