Simply Sunday



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.


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.


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.


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.



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.

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

Simply Sunday

This is what Hobart looks like today.

This is what Hobart looks like today, maybe a bit grayer.  


It is a cold blustery day down here and I am loving it. I don’t have to go anywhere today. Mr. Penguin is house-sitting for a friend for a couple of weeks so it’s very quiet. It’s the kind of day where there is time to snuggle with the pets, read a backlog of things piling up, watch a bit of Netflix and eat food that doesn’t go together. Just graze. Did I mention how quiet it is. Phone is turned off. Instant message is ignored. Except for Mr. Penguin.

The last week has happened in bits and pieces. It is that time of year where throats get a bit sore and you hope the flu shot you had works.


Snip20190714_3Last night a friend and I went to the Playhouse Theatre in Hobart. It is the home of the Hobart Repertory Theatre Society that was established in 1926. They feature amateur community productions. One often sees the same actors from play to play. The plays can be excellent and there is a very congenial attitude of mixed ages in the audience. Also chocolate is very cheap. You get a chocolate bar, a glass of wine if you wish, take it to your seat and enjoy the play.  I support them every year by going to most of their performances.  Last night we saw a production of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  It was a cold and windy night and the audience wasn’t packed like it usually is but the people who bothered to come out had a good time.  They didn’t seem to have enough men/boys for the pirates so many girls played both girls and boys. They made good pirates. A young woman played the part of 14 year old Jim Hawkins and she did such a good job. Long John Silver was great fun. (Can’t find actor’s name). It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday night despite the cold.

Books this week:

Snip20190714_4I finished the Mongolian horse race book by Lara Prior-Palmer, Rough Magic.  I found it to be an average read.  I liked her writing and hearing about the logistics of the horse race.  She wrote about some of the Mongolian people she met and that was interesting.  I got a little bit tired in parts when she flashes back to other times in her life. I think she had a lot of time to think of her past as the traversed the long days on the Mongolian steppes.  I know when I rode my Scooter from Hobart to Long Reach, Queensland in Australia (one way 2300 kms/1450 miles) I was on very long straight stretches of road and your mind wanders to all sorts of memories, thoughts, creative ideas, future plans. She put a lot of these thoughts into her book.  I would give it three stars. Just a good read. However I do think she is a character whom I will remember for a long time and I will remember her story. That is always a good measure of a book.

I am currently listening to a non-fiction Australian story called My Mother, A Serial Killer written by the daughter, Hazel Baron and Janet Fife-Yeomans narrated by Kate Hosking who does a brilliant job.

Snip20190714_2Good Reads describes it as:  A gripping and shocking story of a serial killer mother, and the brave daughter who brought her to justice. Dulcie Bodsworth was the unlikeliest serial killer. She was loved everywhere she went, and the townsfolk of Wilcannia, which she called home in the late 1950s, thought of her as kind and caring. The officers at the local police station found Dulcie witty and charming, and looked forward to the scones and cakes she generously baked and delivered for their morning tea.

That was one side of her. Only her daughter Hazel saw the real Dulcie. And what she saw terrified her.

Dulcie was in fact a cold, calculating killer who, by 1958, had put three men in their graves – one of them the father of her four children, Ted Baron – in one of the most infamous periods of the state’s history. She would have got away with it all had it not been for Hazel.

Written by award-winning journalist Janet Fife-Yeomans together with Hazel Baron, My Mother, A Serial Killer is both an evocative insight into the harshness of life on the fringes of Australian society in the 1950s, and a chilling story of a murderous mother and the courageous daughter who testified against her and put her in jail.

I am really enjoying this bit of Australian history of this woman. It isn’t so much the murders. They are discussed but the main part of this story is the psychological machinations of this woman’s mind. Her manipulation, how she fools everyone in the communities she visits. If she were an animal she would be a feral cat. It is a shame she didn’t put her brilliant mind towards something worthwhile.

I am about half way through it and every time I sit down to rest a bit or before going to sleep I put the audible app on another 30 minutes to listen.  It is true to its word as it details “society on the fringes” in the 1950’s which is a time period I enjoy reading about in both Australia and the USA.  If you enjoy this type of book I can certainly recommend it.

Photography News:Camera Penguin

Our photo club meeting is coming up this coming Thursday evening. We have two digital challenges I had to put up. One category is “Open” and the other category is “Hidden Spaces”.  The print challenge category is “Abstract”. We get two of our images printed and upon arrival at the meeting we lay them out on a long table with our names on the back. Nobody knows who they belong to though some put in the same type of genres so easy to guess. I like to mix it up a bit so no one knows mine ahead of time. At the tea break during the meeting, members attending vote on their favourites. The first place (which I have never won) gets a bottle of wine. Second and third places get chocolate.  I have come in third place a couple of times and enjoyed some chocolate.  I love challenges and competitions and enter often both in and out of the club meetings.  It is a good way to learn new types of techniques and genres of photography.

So I’ll pop up the challenge photos for this week for you to have a look at.  They are all quite different. Until next time….the Penguin and I say..Have a good week. If you’re in the northern hemisphere stay cool. If you’re anywhere near Tasmania or Melbourne, stay warm.

OPEN CATEGORY:  Spain Street Photography:  Two boys daring each other to kiss this mannikin. It was quite funny watching them. They didn’t see me. 


HIDDEN PLACES. Fez, Morocco:  Travel Photography


Print Challenge:  ABSTRACT CATEGORY:  Street Photography- doorway with abstract drawing of a face.


ABSTRACT CATEGORY:  Art work from festival I attended in Mill Valley, California.


Penguin’s Thursday Travel Photos

I have a lot of photos to sort through so I thought I’d put a few up here on Thursdays, hence Penguin’s Thursday Travel Photos.  If you aren’t interested in photos then you can just ignore the post. It will be more of a journal for myself and I do have quite a few photographers that check in from my posting on Instagram.

These photos are from Valencia, Spain. I enjoy street photography. My aim is to document what happens on the streets and to find people that are not holding a mobile phone. That in itself is a challenge in itself. I don’t want photos of a bunch of people walking around holding mobiles.

Those who are visiting here today…I hope you enjoy.





















Camera Penguin

Simply Sunday

Snip20190630_3I wrote a very long post here last Sunday. I included all of the photos. I then decided to move one photo and as I dragged it a couple of lines higher the entire post disappeared. It hasn’t been seen since. Frustrated I turned the computer off and went and watched an episode of Master Chef. I’m trying to catch up on the episodes I missed while away.  I am enjoying it so much. What I enjoy the most is the support the contestants and judges give to one another. They truly seem happy for the success of others.  It is about time reality tv (though there isn’t much I watch) get away from the snarky personalities.  The world is cruel enough at times.

Anyway….. Back to last week’s post.  I have read or partly read three travel books.  As I have said before I really do enjoy good travel writing. The first book I began and read half way through was Walking the Camino by Tony Kevin. I enjoy books by people who walk long distances and have read other books about the El Camino Pilgrimmage trail in Spain. Having just come back from Spain I had a clearer idea of where cities are and thought this would be really good.  It is a really good book and the writing is wonderful but it isn’t much about the walk. It is about the history of the walk, the villages, the country.  I think about 80% of this book is pure history. When I read a book about a walking journey I like to hear about the places, the accommodations, the hike, the feelings about the exertion the hike takes. I like to hear the about the conversations with others doing the same thing that the walker meets.Snip20190630_4

You kind of get the idea.  I didn’t want to hear anymore about the Roman history in the country, the Arab history in the country, the Spanish Civil war (in depth). I wasn’t interested in the history of agriculture in Spain. I spent two weeks on my trip learning more history of Spain than I probably ever learned in 12 years of schooling. What is the walk like??? I finally put the book aside.

The second book of travel writing is much better. Stranger Country by Chinese Australian author Monica Tan.  Ms. Tan is a young woman of Chinese ancestry but born in Australia. She visited China and marveled at the sense of family and connectedness of people in China. She thought a lot about Australia as a nation and seemed to understand the only people in this country that have that are the Aboriginal people. They have strong connections to the country Snip20190630_1and to their ancestors. She wanted to know more about it so she put her job on hold as a journalist working for The Guardian and spent several months driving 30,000 kms around Australia learning about Aboriginal culture. She was a bit worried about going into the remote areas of Australia as a young woman travelling alone and as a Chinese-Australian woman knowing theSnip20190630_2 racism against Asians in many parts of Australia.  This book is that journey.  Her writing is interesting and I learned a lot of the lessons she learned. If one enjoys any of these topics then I would comfortably recommend this book.

The third book of travel writing I’m listening to now on Audible is Rough Magic: Riding The World’s Wildest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer.  Ms. Palmer is a young woman who lives in England. She is also the neice of past Olympic rider Lucinda Green. Anyone who has followed show jumping or Olympic and World show jumping will have heard of Lucinda Green. I have chuckled at her descriptions of horses, riders and events many times in the past while watching these competitions. She can be quite over the top at times but she knows her horses. Lara sought quite a bit of advice from her aunt Lucinda about horses as she entered this race not having a lot of riding experience or knowledge of horses. It really seemed quite a hare-brained adventure to undertake.

Ms. Palmer is bored with her young life and wants to do something different. She hears of the 1000 mile horse race across Mongolia that happens each year on Mongolian ponies. Now I am the first one to stand up against horse racing as we know it in Australia. But this race is much different to the greed and cruelty we see in much of horse racing in the west.

The ponies can only be ridden forty miles per day and then they are changed. They are bred to be tough, and many run with little encouragement. If a rider does not get off from a pony immediately if it goes lame they are heavilypenalized . The horse comes first in this race. There are quite a few breaks during the day and in the evening the pony is cared for before the rider. Snip20190707_1

There are several young men and women participating in this race and overall I am enjoying hearing about the country side of Mongolia, the culture in bits and pieces and the tales about the people she meets. The other riders are certainly described in detail especially when it comes to their personalities. I would say it is an average read. The writing is good and if this is a topic that one finds interesting so far it is a gentle read. She rides many ponies as the race is 1000 miles and as there are many legs of it she keeps a log of the ponies she rides based on their personalities and appearance..   Some ponies barely move in this race while others move like the wind. They are not trained beyond basic commands so if it takes off running the rider must just hang on.  Having been raised with horses in my teenage years I enjoy hearing about horse events but they must be treated kindly.

It is also interesting how they cope with the weather, quite often getting caught in storms and a single pair of clothes that must endure for the length of the race. They often sleep in wet jodphurs or dirty tee shirts.

And of course there is a bit of fantasizing that goes on from the young women over arrogant Devon, who is a young male who continually leads the race.

I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest travel writing I’ve read but it does keep my attention and it is certainly different from the long journeys around Europe many people write about while walking, bicycling or motor biking.

Have you heard of any of these books? What travel writing do you enjoy and what do you think travel writing should include?images

Travellin’ Thursday- Willie Smith’s Apple Shed

received_2397288277216558I am going to Europe for a month in mid-May with two girlfriends. I will be doing more serious photography but will also use my Samsung phone for facebook, Instagram and blogging in short spurts. I would like to share some photos with friends and the Penguin will be leaving this page and travelling with me too. I won’t forget him this time. I’m going to be on a tour with 20 people max and going to Spain, Portugal and Morocco.  Mr Penguin is staying home caring for our creatures. We are known for doing “his” trips, “her” trips and “our” trips. He recently did a “his” trip to India, now it’s time for a “her” trip. We will do an “our” trip at the end of the year.  This arrangement is probably why we’ve been married for almost 50 years.received_340757306791783

I have not done blog posts on my Samsung tablet so I am doing it now and seeing how it comes out. I don’t want to take a laptop and download the raw photos and edit, etc while travelling. I think this might work.

There are often times I’d like to write up a quick book post or local adventure at night from the comfort of my bed without firing up the big desktop.

20190410_143019Today we went to Willie Smith’s Apple Shed with two other couples. It is a renovated shed that has an apple museum, cider distillery and restaurant with all local Tasmanian food. It’s great. We sat at big picnic like tables, drank wonderful Tassie red wine (though I was limited as I was the driver) and ate wonderful food. It was a clear, sunny autumn day and we had many laughs. One example was the conversation between two of our friends, one a former Catholic priest who remains very spiritual and the other a devout atheist kept us entertained. It was all very good natured.

Autumn in Tasmania is glorious with the light especially. We don’t get the bright reds and oranges as much as North America but yellows and russets and all shades in between into lighter oranges are beautiful. 20190410_143143

On the way out we picked up some Indian apple  chutney, apple jam and apple brandy of which I have yet to taste. Tasmania is the apple state of Australia and you would not believe how many wonderful varieties of apples there are. Yet our grocery stores seem to sell only about four varieties. The rest are exported all over but mainly to Japan. One must travel to local markets or food stalls to get some of the lesser known varieties. If you look at the photos you can see the apples, yes these are real, with their name printed below each one. Quite amazing really.

I hope this post is formatted okay because if this works I will certainly have more posts to share while on the road. I think I’ve said enough for  Thursday Travel.

Until next time…


Walking the Americas- Levison Wood

Snip20180427_1I love travel books about walking across the world, bicycling or motorbiking. I live vicariously through the authors and feel every step they take.  I picked this book up a few months ago at a local independent bookshop because I fell in love with the cover. It is a beautiful book to look at. I thought Mr. Penguin would enjoy reading it because it takes place in Central America and Mexico which is an area he has always been interested in. But as it goes, when one buys a book for another, it was not his mood at the moment and it sat unread on the shelf until I picked it up.

I read it in less than two days as I could not put it down.  As I got further into this book it dawned on me that Levison Wood also wrote a book I read, Walking The Nile. That book was gripping as one of his friends actually died on that walk due to extreme heat. It took him awhile to get over that. When I bought this book I had no clue he was the author of the Nile book, then the penny dropped and it all fell into place.Snip20180427_4

The author is a British citizen, aged in his 30’s and spent four years in the army in the Parachute Regiment.  He served a tour of duty in Afghanistan and his interest in walking in various countries appears to be unabated. He left the army in 2010.

Another walk he undertook was to walk in the Himalayas from Afghanistan to Bhutan. The Nile walk was made into a tv series of which I saw a few episodes.

The blurb on the back of the Americas book states:

“Walking The Americas chronicles Levison Wood’s 1,800 mile trek along the spine of the Americas, through eight countries from Mexico to Colombia, experiencing some of the world’s most diverse, beautiful and unpredictable places.

His journey took him from violent and dangerous cities to ancient Mayan ruins lying still unexplored in the jungles of  Mexico and Guatemala. He encountered members of indigenous tribes, migrants heading towards the US border and proud Nicaraguan revolutionaries on his travels, where at the end of it all, he attempted to cross one of the most impenetrable borders on earth: the Darién Gap route from Panama into South America.

This trek required every ounce of Levison Wood’s guile, tact, strength and resilience in one of the most raw, real and exciting journeys of his life.”

The blurb does not state the fact he had a good friend that did this walk with him; Alberto, who is Mexican, accompanied him along the entire trip.  I think the walk would have been much more difficult had he been a solo traveller.

It was written in 2017 and the walk occurred during the lead up to the 2016 U.S Presidential election. They too were gobsmacked when in a small Central American town they heard Trump won. There is some good humour from Alberto about the wall Trump wants to build between Mexico and the U.S.

Snip20180427_5.pngMr. Wood is an excellent writer. This journey details a great deal of history of the eight countries travelled. There are some real danger spots in the Darien and very much of the book is extremely suspenseful. The reader really wonders if they will make it or not.  I doubt the book would have been published had they not succeeded but I was never completely certain.

I have read a great deal of travel writing and this is right up there with the best. It is a wonderful journey of history, hardship, friendship and suspense. If you enjoy travel writing this man is a wonderful one to follow.  One day I will chase up his Himalaya walk but I am still committed to reading mostly from my TBR shelves so I want to stay on Snip20180427_2track.  I will warn readers- if you have a lot to do around the house, don’t pick up this book as you won’t be able to move until it is finished and nothing else will get done.





Best Intentions- Africa continued

With starting times to most days at 5:30 am, long days on the road and not finishing with even longer buffet dinners at lodges there was no time for writing on this blog. We were also exhausted at the end of each day and internet connections were dodgy at best.

We arrived home Easter Sunday night about 10:00 pm and although this trip was incredibly beautiful, challenging, often confronting and glorious we are very happy to be home. I will now attempt to catch up with the myriad of photos taken and put some of the highlights here during the next couple of weeks or so.

I am sharing another Namibia day here with photos from a living museum we visited. The day was hot and dusty and the people we met here were so friendly and eager to share their way of life with us. Here are some photos.

This village was a display of life as a bushman.
She explained how the various local plant life is used for medicinal purposes and how they work. Another tribesman translated for her.
We were treated to a method to light a fire. It was amazing how fast the fire started and how quickly they could make it larger.
The people then shared a dance of greeting for us. 
The dance continued. 
Outside of the museum we gathered together to have our lunch which we carried with us most days to eat in the desert. This guy helped out with the dishes. He is earning money to study at university in Windhoek. He wants to work as a tour guide and speaks four languages including German. Lovely man.


This is the lodge were checked in later that day.
Later that day we went on a desert tour to look for the desert elephants. We came across this old guy.
The desert elephants are different to the ones we saw elsewhere. They are tall and this one was reportedly about 45  years old. It is incredible how they survive in the heat of this desert. 
While touring this desert we came across this common form of transport out here.
On the way back to the lodge were were treated with our first sighting of a giraffe in the distance.
A glorious Namibian desert sunset. This land is truly spectacular.