A New Idea for a Blog Post

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This social isolation gets to you once in awhile. Trying to think of things to entertain myself. Today I took Ollie out for a photo walk in the bush. As we walked through the trees I decided I needed some themes in my photography to keep my interest. I needed to look for things.  I saw a lot of old dead tree stumps with various degrees of deterioration and lots of insects so I thought I’d focus on those a bit. Then I thought I’d go home and discover what books relating to the word “tree” I had on my shelf.

There are several blog posts where people share what is on their shelf with others and I really enjoy those posts. Some of those books are read and some of them aren’t. So I had this big brainwave of combining my photography with my books.

Today is the first effort and I’m happy to share it here. Now I need to think of other themes I can combine all while social isolating. That should be more of a challenge than the trees have been. So…..

Here we go- five books and five photos

BOOKS:

Eucalyptus

  1.  Eucalyptus by Murray Bail as most of the trees around our house are that variety. The description from Good Reads states:

The gruff widower Holland has two possessions he cherishes above all others:
his sprawling property of eucalyptus trees and his ravishingly beautiful daughter, Ellen.
When Ellen turns nineteen Holland makes an announcement: she may marry only the man who can correctly name the species of each of the hundreds of gum trees on his property.

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The remains of a very old moth hang on this stump. Only the shredded wings remain

2.  Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Tree by Saki.  This is a little black Penguin from the 80 th birthday boxed set of the Little Black Classics.

Sake Cherry TreeIt is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met…’

Moonlight, sake, spring blossom, idle moments, a woman’s hair – these exquisite reflections on life’s fleeting pleasures by a thirteenth-century Japanese monk are delicately attuned to nature and the senses.

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No social isolation for these ants. I have visited this tree before and it was just as busy. 

3.  Climbing The Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jeffrey.

Mango TreeToday’s most highly regarded writer on Indian food gives us an enchanting memoir of her childhood in Delhi in an age and a society that has since disappeared.
Madhur (meaning “sweet as honey”) Jaffrey grew up in a large family compound where her grandfather often presided over dinners at which forty or more members of his extended family would savor together the wonderfully flavorful dishes that were forever imprinted on Madhur’s palate.

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I thought this tree looks like an American bison lying on it’s side. His head is on the right with horns on top and his nose into the ground. Do you see it? Or have I been socially isolated too long!

4. Tree- A Life Story by David Suzuki.

Tree SuzukiOnly God can make a tree,” wrote Joyce Kilmer in one of the most celebrated of poems. In Tree: A Life Story, authors David Suzuki and Wayne Grady extend that celebration in a “biography” of this extraordinary—and extraordinarily important—organism. A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions but focuses on a single tree, a Douglas fir, Tree describes in poetic detail the organism’s modest origins that begin with a dramatic burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen.

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A bit of minimalism.

5. My Sweet Orange Tree by José Mauro de Vasconcelos.

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Five-year-old Zezé lives in Rio de Janeiro, in a forgotten slump in great poverty. But Zezé is not alone. In this world of scolding and beating, he has discovered a magical universe where he spends most of his time: the realm of imagination. There rules a sweet orange tree called Minguinho, and he is a tree like no other: he can talk.

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Little Mr OlliePants. Are we done with this yet?

 

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Stay safe everyone.

 

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.

Simply Sunday

map-of-italyThe past couple of weeks have been rather busy so I’ve been catching up on medical appointments, reading and socialising.

Events:

I’m dealing with too much pressure in one eye so getting that attended to. Drops and more drops. Treatable so no problem there.

My photography friend in Sydney and I had booked a month long trip to Italy, Croatia and Slovenia to begin in mid May in Milan and Venice. After agonising over it for awhile we decided we had to cancel. It is very disappointing but it would be more disappointing to get quarantined somewhere or to catch the virus everyone is sick of hearing about.  As the virus is so widespread in northern Italy, everything is closed up tight and the streets are empty. Though photography would have been great as nobody is walking around. We are  dealing with the travel agent and hopefully we’ll recover cancellation fees through travel insurance as we booked it last October before anyone heard of the virus.

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Apologies for poor quality of phone photo

Another lovely event was held at Wrest Point Casino theatre. Margaret Atwood appeared interviewed by Australian journalist and television presenter Carolyn Baum. It was a lengthy interview attended by 800n people. She was intelligent, astute and extremely funny and the chat was great. During the intermission people could post their questions to a Twitter address and when we returned for the second half several of the questions were answered.  I enjoyed it thoroughly and to make matters even better, I won my ticket through Fullers Book shop.

 

The week before last a friend and I travelled up to the small country town of New Norfolk which is about a 45 minute drive north of Hobart. There is a new bookshop and a stationery shop with beautiful things in it. We wanted to see what it is like. The bookshop is called the Black Swan and has a lovely small cafe. We enjoyed some wonderful baked goods and cappuccinos and had a look through both the new and second hand books. The young owner had a good collection of vintage Penguin books on his shelf and I was only too happy to discuss all the books with him.  It was a lovely morning followed by a very good Pub lunch.

Fullers Book shop had some lovely events I attended this week.  First was the book group where we discussed The Godmother byFrench writer Hannelore Cayre.  Most in the group really enjoyed it.
Originally published in 2017 as La Doronne, later translated by Stephanie Smeethe into English and published in 2019.  A widowed woman, Patience,  in her fifties works as a French-Arabic translator employed by the French police who monitor Arabic drug traffickers through wire tapping.  She translates the conversations for them and it evolves that she starts to be less than honest with the police.  She is needing money to establish some security for her grown children and The Godmother (online)also to pay the fees for the nursing home her mother resides in. She ends up acquiring a very large haul of hashish and begins to sell it. The story deals with those activities, her boyfriend who happens to be a policeman and also the difficult relationship she has with her mother. She also adopts a wonderful retired police drug sniffing dog named DNA who is quite important in the book. (Nothing bad happens to the dog.) The book, at a mere 200 pages is concise, well written and everything is neatly woven together. There is a lot of black humour that keeps you chuckling here and there. I really enjoyed it. No spoilers (except for the dog) so if you like this kind of French noir crime you will enjoy this book.

Fullers also launched the new book just released by Tasmanian born historian Cassandra Pybus. It is the non fiction biographical tale of Truganini, an important Aboriginal woman who was born south of here in the early 1800’s. The book, told through journals and historical documents, all listed at the back of the book, is absolutely fascinating. Truganini was an important figure in Tasmanian history.  I started reading  the book the day of the launch.  I read half of it and couldn’t put it down. The Aboriginal people were completely annihilated from this state and/or moved to the islands to make room for white settlement. It is a horrifying tale but an important one that needs to be

Trugunini
Cover photograph by the late Tasmanian Photographer Peter Dombrovskis.

told. I hope this use this book in Tasmanian schooling as many do not know our history. The motivation for Ms Pybus to write the tale is because in her thirties she learned Truganini grew up on the land that was later acquired by Cassandra Pybus’s family on Bruny Island and Cassandra grew up in her footsteps. The book is very factual and not at all sensational. It is not sentimental but written in a style I enjoy and the individual tales are fascinating. The bookshop was packed with people who came to hear about her story and many were later seen to be leaving the shop with the book under their arm.Screenshot

Later that evening three of us went to the Playhouse Theatre to see the amateur play, Keeping Up Appearances. Most would be familiar with the British tv show with Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bu-Kay) and her wacky family. My father’s second wife was much like her and I always get a kick out of it when I see it. We had a fun night out between the book launch and the play with a lovely Nepalese meal in between.

What I have described is only about half of what I’ve completed in the past fortnight but I did want to catch up with this and I’ve added a new category to my blog posts called Photo of the Week that I will post at the end introduced by the Penguin. Our photo club meeting is coming up soon and I needed to work on some photographs for our print and digital challenges.

Until next time…..Screenshot 1 copy

 

 

 

 

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Don Quixote mural taken in a Spanish courtyard- Spain for Architecture challenge for photo club.

 

Simply Sunday

Today is a beautiful day. Too lovely to be inside reading so I attended some outdoor events this weekend. Saturday saw three of us riding to Triabunna, up the east coast of Tasmania on motorbikes.  With the Coronavirus all of the crayfish that is usually shipped to China is staying in the state and we are enjoying it. We went to the harbour for fish and chips and I got a crayfish roll. A large roll with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and a wonderful heaping pile of fresh crayfish.  We rode approximately 200 kms for this meal but a fun day.

Today the Hobart Photographic association had a scavenger hunt in Battery Point, Hobart. Battery Point is the oldest section of Hobart where the first settlers developed. It is full of lovely cottages and cafes. We had two hours, from 10 am to noon, to find a list of items. We all did well and I thought I would share them. We then went to a cafe for a coffee at noon and debriefed. The debriefing was mostly laughter.  We are going to have these photo club excursions once a month.  I’m looking forward to them.  We had about 15 people who took photos and then nine stayed for a coffee.  Here are the photos from the weekend.  I hope the weather is good where you are. We could use some rain but we might as well make a happy time out of the sunny days we have had this weekend.

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SATURDAY

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Triabunna Tasmania Waterfront

 

Fish v an
Seafood Hut

 

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Crayfish roll

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SUNDAY

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Something old (Lester- 15 years old)

 

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A sign

 

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Quirky

 

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Leading Line

 

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Warm colour

 

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Movement

 

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Wooden

 

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Texture

 

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Rectangles

 

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Reflections

 

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Symmetry

 

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Shadows
Camera Penguin
BUSY, BUSY, BUSY.

Simply Sunday- 17 Nov. 2019

Wow! Another week has gone by and I’ve got new books!  (Yes, this is not another puppy post).

The Fullers Bookshop Reading Group email came out this past week and the first three books of 2020 are here so I have picked them up to get started. The long hot days of an Australian summer with their horrendous fires will be upon us soon enough so I wanted to start my reading while confined to a cool indoors.

Below are the February, March and April books in no particular order.

I have never read this book and have always meant to so I will begin with this one.

images (2)The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton:

The blurb on the back (for those who haven’t read it) states:

“When the Countess Ellen Olenska returns from Europe, fleeing her brutish husband, her rebellious independence and passionate awareness of life stir the educated sensitivity of Newland Archers, already engaged to be married to the Countess’s cousin May Welland, “that terrifying product of the social system he belonged to and believed in, the young girl who knew nothing and expected everything.”

I think we can see where this one is going.

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The Godmother- A Crime Novel by Hannelore Cayre.  This book won the European9781770415430 Fiction Prize and the Grand Prix de Literature Policière

“Meet Patience Portefeux, 53, an underpaid French-Arabic translator who specialises in police phone taps. Widowed after the sudden death of her husband, Patience is wedged between the costs of raising her daughters and the nursing home fees for her ageing mother. She’s laboured for 25 yrs to keep everyone’s heads above water.

Happening upon an especially revealing set of wiretaps ahead of all other authorities, Patience makes a life-altering decision that sees her intervening in – and infiltrating- the machinations of a massive drug deal. She thus embarks on an entirely new career path: Patience becomes ‘the Godmother’.”

This sounds like a fun summer read.

Last but not least is our third book of the summer.

images (1)The Trespassers by Meg Mundell. Finally we have a book that is closer to home. Meg Mundell was born in New Zealand but now lives in Melbourne, Australia.

A shipload of migrant workers flees the pandemic-stricken UK, seeking a fresh start in Australia. For nine-year-old Cleary the journey promises adventure, for former nurse Billie it’s a chance to put a shameful mistake behind her, while struggling schoolteacher Tom hopes for a brighter future. But when a crew member is murdered and people start falling gravely ill, the Steadfast descends into chaos. Trappedon the ship, the trio must join forces to survive the journey and its aftermath.  The Trespassers is a beguiling novel that explores the consequences of greed, the experiences of migration and exile, and the way strangers can become the ones we hold dear.

I am looking forward to reading this too. For once I have book club reads I am happily anticipating.

Other News:

For once all dogs are doing fine! We had a scare with our 14 year old Molly and thought “this thumbnailis it,” but a change in medication and diet has her firing on all of her stubborn years and giving a big “what for” to Ollie.  Ollie on the other hand gets his second vaccination next week when he turns 14 weeks and is then able to go outside of our property.  He will be enrolled in the Hobart Dog Training club and will start puppy classes on Sunday.  I’m hoping that takes a bit of the wind out of his sails.  He loves running around giving Molly and the three cats grief but he doesn’t always come out on top.

I have some other events and travel bits and pieces that have piled up I need to get on this page so hopefully you’ll be hearing from me before too much longer. I attended an author event at Fullers Book shop, went to the theatre and our photo club wrapped up the Hobart Photography Exhibition. There has been a great deal happening in the past two or three months and now I am looking forward to the next two or three months of stability, peacefulness and planning bookish goals for 2020. Believe me those goals will not be grand.

I hope all of you are well and moving along and I look forward to more catching up. Let me know what you’ve been doing to keep yourselves entertained.

Instagram Penguin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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