…regards, some girl with words

Snip20181227_1This tragic story happened in Hobart in 2005.  Elizabeth Ryan’s daughter, Genevieve was born in 1984. She died in 2005.

She came to Tasmania to attend the University of Tasmania.  She was a very bright, intelligent girl who had her entire life ahead of her and lived it enthusiastically. She loved words. She was a passionate writer. She loved nature.  She loved everything around her and she had an eye for observation that most people don’t seem to bother with.

One lovely Tasmanian day, Genevieve took a bushwalk on the Mt Wellington tracks.  People who don’t live here don’t always understand the life of Mt. Wellington. Indigenous people understood it for centuries. Mt Wellington has many stories. Many of them quite haunting tales of those who went missing and were never found again. Although the mountain is near the city, it has remote sections on it that need to be respected.

When Genevieve came upon a waterfall, she stood atop of it, marvelling at everything one marvels at when visiting a beautiful waterfall. She slipped and fell to her death.  When she failed to return to the share house she lived in she was reported missing.  Her friends, Nick and Ben found her body. Gen had mentioned she was going to walk to a waterfall several days earlier.

“She was lying peacefully on her back, naked, her arms above her head. She had been there for two nights. Nick (her friend), said that from up above, from where Gen had fallen, she looked like water- merging into the waterfall. A huge tiger snake, curled on the rock beside her, slithered away as Ben approached. ” (page 11)

Good Reads describes this book as:

Articulate, perceptive, sensitive, quirky, and often hauntingly beautiful, Genevieve Ryan’s writing explores the innermost experiences of a young woman growing up in an exhilarating and confusing world. Her journey through the twenty years of her short life is enriched by a passion for philosophy, literature, politics and art.

In this book, her mother, Elizabeth has drawn together a collection of Genevieve’s writings. The collection presents a delightful picture of a much-loved daughter. More importantly, it presents a message to a wider world – a message that growth and beauty are to be found in the deep, often painful search for inner meaning.

This is a book that will motivate everyone who feels called to write. People from fifteen to ninety-five will be inspired and charmed by the remarkable insights of an extraordinary young woman. Elizabeth Ryan grew up in Melbourne where she taught for many years before meeting Peter and having four daughters. With her family, she travelled and lived in Tumut in the Snowy Mountains, Townsville in North Queensland and Lismore in Northern New South Wales.

During these years she pursued a range of occupations. She has published in a number of educational journals and now works in Research Services at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.

Daughter Genevieve was a wonderful writer. She wrote all the time. I do mean, all…the…time.  When working at the kiosk at the cricket once, she would write thoughts and little poems on brown paper bags when they weren’t busy.

She wrote in cafes all of the time. She mostly wrote journal entires, poetry and observations of people, places and events around her.

This book, written by her mother, Elizabeth shares Gen’s story of her life. She grew up on mainland Australia in several places. She wasn’t a Tasmanian.  She came here specifically to attend university.

Her writing is lovely. It’s intelligent and intuitive.  It’s one of those stories one reads about a person’s life that makes you wonder why the intelligent, beautiful people, who contribute to the world, have a life cut short and the mean, nasty people that only do harm live to be old.  In fact, her mother mentions this thought when she goes to the police station after Gen’s body has been found.  They need to identify her body. While there, a young man is dragged into the station, hate filling his eyes.  Gen’s mother wonders why there is such a difference between her daughter’s short life and this young man, who appears to not appreciate anything about life at that moment.  Who knows his story.

My thoughts-

I enjoyed meeting this young woman. Though I did get bogged down in the mother’s grief. Of course, anyone would. I focused on the writings of this talented young woman as that was what seemed important to me.  I didn’t know Gen but I know I would loved to have met her.  I enjoy hearing about talented young people who do wonderful things such as paint, write, succeed at sport.  This woman had her entire life ahead of her and it is to her mother’s credit to record her story and include so much of what she wrote.Snip20181227_2

I will include a sample below.

Cars Are My Soundtrack

I’ve been given life

And I choose to take it in the form of

Ink-water and touch

Writing, tears and human inter-action

My head is beating with the rhythm of necessity

My face is flushed, hot, burning

My heart is doing vigorous exercise

Am I ok? I have no idea

Cars are my soundtrack

Other people my plot.

Sometimes I think if the credits rolled at the end of my life- I might be a stunt double

Or a cameo

I feel like, in cutting the unnecessary fat away from my life, I’ve just chopped 

off a large portion of the actual meat, a large part of my essentials.

So I’m bleeding

I feel like I need a teacher

But can’t find anything that helps me, in books, music or people

I can’t open up to religion

I’m worried that I’ll be stagnant forever

 

(written 2002 in Melbourne before she entered Uni.)

I still have a couple of chapters at the end of this book to finish so I will stretch it out until the first of January so I could it on the list for 2019.  It will be the first Australian book, by an Australian woman writer for the year. Snip20181102_18

 

An Icelandic Christmas in Tasmania?

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I do still have several old vintage Penguins. 

As many of you know Icelandic persons celebrate Christmas in a way that I love. The government sends each resident a catalog of books before the big day.  The residents pick out the books they plan to buy for their family members and off they go shopping. On Christmas Day they all receive their books as gifts and they they settle down and read for the day.  That sounds like heaven to me so we will come close to doing that tomorrow.

We have celebrated Christmas with a surrogate family (friends with kids) on Saturday so most of it is over. Mr. Penguin and I celebrate it on Christmas Eve.  Christmas morning is spent quietly at home, reading the papers, books, magazines and a leisurely breakfast. I might add it is to be 24 degrees C tomorrow here (75 F) so a lovely summer day. Then a friend will join us for afternoon tea later in the day.

I bought these books last year but they arrived too late to read them for the season so looking at them tomorrow. Very northern hemisphere but I love the covers and the authors.

 

Then it’s over. Of course the big Sydney to Hobart boat race begins on Boxing Day (26th) and we usually listen to a bit of that news or watch them leave Sydney Harbour on TV.  The boats begin arriving in Hobart around the 27th (the big maxis) to New Year’s day (the smaller ones.) I admire the smaller ones taking on this race. I’m not interested in the multi-million dollars racing boats. It’s those that sail on the smaller boats across treacherous Bass Strait that seem to have the spirit of the race in them, in my humble, non boating opinion.  They are all scored on handicap. I might post up a few photos later in the week.

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Beginning the walk into town.

Today I decided to take the bus into town and get a bit of Christmas Spirit.  I missed the first one so just started walking. I knew the next one would be along in another 35 minutes or so. It takes one hour, ten minutes to get into the city centre from my house.  Once the next bus was due I stopped at a bus shelter and sat down for a little rest. It was very hot today. 31 degrees C (88 F). An Indonesian woman, named Clara,  who has lived in South Hobart for many years was at the stop. I loved the flowers in her hair and the little Christmas hat she wore. We chatted for about 10 minutes and then both of us rode the bus into town. She certainly was enjoying the Christmas season. I ran into her again on the way back to the bus home. She was carrying two heavy grocery bags and I asked her if I could help, but she waved me away and said she was taking a taxi home. So we wished each other well again and went on our merry way.

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On the bus with cheery Clara. Don’t you just adore the “Merry Christmas” hat?

While in town I sat at Bojangles cafe which is located in the Elizabeth Mall. (For you American friends, a mall here is an area outdoors- not like you have.) I had a toasted cheese sandwich and a large, cold milkshake and people watched for about 30 minutes. It was fun watching everyone walk past with large bags and parcels, funny t shirts and all kinds of hats.

I then went on my way, finished my errands and caught the bus home.  I am looking forward to peace and quiet now in the coming week.  I haven’t decided if I’ll do the Boxing Day sales. I think it might be a bit mad and I really don’t need a thing.  I think I just talked myself into staying home and playing with Odie and Molly.

There are some fun summer photography challenges happening with our club so I will have a closer look at the topics and see what I can get up to with my camera.  I need to practise using my camera on its tripod more often. Sharper photos but so often I just don’t bother. There is always something to work on in photography.

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Hobart City Council Christmas banners were getting a bit windblown.
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This holiday urchin was on the front of a large tea shop. 
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One of the decorations in the mall. They are metal and go around the trees to keep the trunks from being damaged. You can see them in the photo below.
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People watching in the Elizabeth Mall. There were lots of people, I just caught this photo while it slowed down a bit.
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Enjoying my milkshake on this hot day.  

I am looking forward to seeing what books people get from Santa and I look forward to the year ahead reading, mostly what is on my shelf.  Stay tuned.

Merry Christmas to all my online friends and let’s hope 2019 is a really good year, personally, environmentally and politically. Snip20181218_10

Enjoy the photos.

Last but not least- the photo challenge for this week from Hobart Photographic Society fun challenge. The theme this week is:  LIQUID.

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ODIE enjoying ‘liquid’ at the beach. I just love the expression on his face. He always concentrates so hard whenever he does anything.

An Environmentally Friendly Tasmanian Book Group

Snip20181014_5Everything in Tasmania is about beauty of the scenery, excellence of the fresh food and wonderful experiences.  Now there is a book club in Hobart I had no idea about. I saw a flyer for it a couple of months back on the notice board at Fuller’s Book Shop.

I saw the poster, read the book at the time...The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman. I was geared up to attend the Sunday meeting in a large reserve nearby and then something came up and I missed it. The next month came along and I was overseas.  I was determined to get to the October meeting.

This is their facebook page in case anyone would like to follow. Bushcare Walking Book Club – City of Hobart, Tasmania at https://www.facebook.com/groups/159587037917696/.

Okay, I’ll now explain.  This book club is an initiative of the Hobart City Council. Nicole, who works for the HCC organises it. She works in the area of Bush Care. You know, getting rid of noxious weeds, replanting and reinvigorating areas of neglect. It is a very ‘greenie’ department.  Each month she assigns us a book about the Environment.  When I saw the flyer about the Genius of Birds I thought I would see what it was about. I love birds. I downloaded the book on audible and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I learned more about birds than I ever thought I would. Their intelligence and habits are both amazing and endearing.  Such bright creatures.  If you love reading about birds then this is a great little book.Snip20181014_6

Before I left for the United States in September I downloaded the book Feral by George Monbiot, an author from the United Kingdom.

According to Wikipedia:   “Feral is a book about rewilding by the British environmentalist George Monbiot. It was published by Allen Lane (a hardback imprint of the Penguin Group) in 2013 with the full title Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding. The book has also been published as Feral: rewilding the land, sea and human life (paperback and American editions).

Monbiot looks at rewilding projects around the world. However, he pays particular attention to the scope for rewilding in the United Kingdom. He argues that overgrazing is a problem in the British uplands and calls for sheep numbers to be reduced so that areas can be rewilded.  Such ideas received criticism from organisations representing farmers, for example the Farmers’ Union of WalesOn the other hand, the book received favourable reviews, including in publications normally hostile to Monbiot’s work, such as The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph.  Many reviewers were impressed by the lyrical nature of the book’s prose style. According to the New Statesman‘s reviewer “something about the charm and persistence of Monbiot’s argument has the hypnotic effect of a stoat beguiling a hapless rabbit.”

Snip20181014_8I didn’t think I would find this book of essays very interesting but I have to say I really did.  The issues he brought up were fascinating.  He talked a lot about the environmental rewilding projects mainly in Europe but he also touched on Africa and the United States. I don’t remember there being any Australian content.

The format of the book group is also fun and interesting.  A beautiful location is picked in the Hobart area. One month it was on Mt. Wellington trails. One month is was in a large reserve near a water catchment area where they are picnic facilities and much birdlife.

October had us walking along the shore of Sandy Bay beach which borders the River Derwent.  We meet on the first Sunday afternoon of the month from 2:00 pm  4:30 pm. In the past approximately five or six people turned up but this month we had 18!  We had 13 women, three men and one child about ten or eleven. He attended with his mother.

We all introduced ourselves at the beginning in the carpark area. We had to tell everyone our name and our favourite Tasmanian animal. (How do you choose that?)

Then we began our walk about 20 minutes along the beach. There were lots of families on the beach and on the adjoining playground. Many were enjoying a swim or a picnic. The day was a beautiful warm day. It’s springtime here.

When we first stopped, Nicole asked us some questions about the book. A discussion then pursued about environmental issues in our locale. We talked for about 15 or 20 minutes. We then walked on.  Small groups that had formed on the first leg of the walk chatted and then the groups changed once we began the second leg of the walk.

When we stopped the second time, maybe another 20 minutes down the beach, we all sat in a circle in the sand or on rocks and chatted again. Some people drank from the water bottle or pulled a snack from their bag.  We continued to talk about the issues raised in the book and also about who we are and what our interests are within smaller groups. We were probably at that location 2o to 30 minutes.  The time went so fast it is hard to estimate how long we were there.

We then turned around and did a very long walk back the way we had come and beyond.  We seemed to walk quite a distance and it was becoming very warm.

At the last stop, Nicole produced a large container of hot water, coffee, various teas and lots of biscuits (cookies), even catering for any vegans that may appear.

This saw our conversations with new found friends to be much more social and Snip20181014_7personal. We talked about various books and experiences we have had. Nicole wants us to think of other books about the environment we could read for this group. So far most books have been non fiction. But the November book will be Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan who is purely Tasmanian and a Booker Prize winner (The Narrow Road to the Deep North). Death of a River Guide is a much earlier work of his and refers to the Franklin River dam dispute that began the Greens movement in Tasmania in the late 1970’s.

The Franklin Dam or Gordon-below-Franklin Dam project was a proposed dam on the Gordon River in southern Tasmania. The government wanted to build a dam for the hydro electricity it would provide but it is in a wilderness area of UNESCA heritage listing and it never happened. The protests were large, loud and often violent. It was the most significant environmental campaign in Australian history and the beginning of the Greens Political movement.

But back to the book group…..After a walk of about 3.5 kms and 2 1/2 hours of walking and book discussion our friendly group returned to the carpark to get their rides back home.

It was a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Next month we will be near the foothills of Mt. Wellington again, I presume on a bush trail and I look forward to it very much.

Here are more photos of our environment for the day.  I know…..very nice.

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Our group heading out.
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These were a very bright spot on the river.
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Everyone was out today. From a tall ship to kayaks.
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We have a lot of these things in our river. A bit of a nuisance but still pretty to look at.
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Another peaceful view of our River Derwent.

 

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Library Loot and Miscellaneous Life…

Snip20180427_2The Penguin and I returned from California in one piece and it was good to get home. I had two dogs that exploded when they saw me. Love an exploding dog. It’s as though they forget you and then remember and then explode.    I had lots of well wishes for my travels. I always laugh a bit when people wish me a safe trip.  As if I can control what happens with the pilot and our plane. But I know their intentions are good.

Today I went into the city and picked up some library books I had on hold. I suspended my holds while away so of course once I returned and took the suspension off them they all came in at once.  I got two photography books that I won’t display here but I am enjoying them.

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The books I picked up today have a funny tale.  The one book I have been waiting for is The Totem Pole by Paul Pritchard. The Totem Pole is a very tall rock formation on the east coast of Tasmania. Here is the blurb.

“Climbing defined Paul Pritchard’s existence and signposted his horizons. From his Snowdonia base he gained a reputation for routes of extreme technical difficulty and meagre protection.”

“He’s climbed in the mountain ranges from the Hiumalayas to the Andes, Baffin Island to the Pamirs.  When climbing the totem pole in Tasmania a falling boulder inflicted such terrible head injuries that at the hospital they thought he might never walk or speak again.”  He spent the next year fighting his hemiplegia, his memory and speech disorders. This is his story. He does come back from all of this.

I was waiting in line for the bus today. A hippie type man was standing next to me also waiting to board the bus. He saw this book on the top of my pile and said, “He’s a good friend of mine. I was just at his place yesterday.  We actually like him more since he’s had his head injury. You’ll enjoy this book. It’s just been reprinted in a new format.” I was told I don’t have the ‘new’ one.

People in Tasmania get teased a lot because everyone is supposed to be related to everyone else and have two heads. Of course with the great rise in cultural events here now we don’t hear that as much now our state has been discovered by the world. However, you have heard the saying, “six degrees of separation.” Well Tassie has two degrees of separation and we do witness this all the time. So today I was only two degrees from meeting the author of this book.

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Red Dirt by E.M. Reapy. I saw this one in City Lights Book Shop in San Francisco and made a note to check our local library for it. The blurb from the back:

“Hopper, out of his head on acid, is left for dead in the outback.  Fiona has fled an abusive relationship that shattered her self-respect.

Murphy’s family lost a fortune when the Celtic Tiger collapsed. In Australia’s vast promised land, these three young people try to escape their past.”  This is the author’s debut novel and I’m hoping I don’t run out of time to read it.

The next book is Girl With Dove: A Life Built by Books by Sally Bayley.  It is a story of Snip20181004_5how one girl’s life was shaped by books.  I always love a book about books and reading. I think I heard about this from a fellow blogger but for the life of me I can’t remember who.

The last book is much more serious. Home: Drawings by Syrian Children edited by Ben Quilty and a Foreword by Tasmania’s own Richard Flanagan.

It is a very large book full of drawings by children who have survived the war in Syria, still reside in refugee camps or have escaped to other countries.  It is important to keep these issues in the mainstream especially when the Australian government treats refugees, many of them Snip20181004_3sick children, so cruelly in off shore detention centres   that are below third world conditions.  Shame is the main word I use to describe our politicians in leadership at the moment. I can’t print what I really think of them. I will put up a couple of drawings from the book.  If I had lots of money I would send this book to every politician in the federal parliament.

 

I have read several books over the past month but I will mention them another time in a list.  I have a book club meeting tonight at Fuller’s Book Store and will add that one to the pile. This post is long enough for today.  Let me know if you have read any of these books. I’m not sure which one I will begin with.

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I Made it to City Lights Bookstore..Fun!

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Sadly this is not my photo but a stock photo. The sun was too bright, the traffic both pedestrian and street was busy and too many reflections in the window.

Whenever I visit my sister in the San Francisco area I always drag her to City Lights Bookstore in downtown San Francisco.  It is one of the most wonderful bookstores I have ever been in. It is very hard not to buy everything on every shelf.  I did very well. I took a photo of a couple of books on the shelves to see if our local library at home has them. I know,  I know.  I was very discreet. I remember being in a bookshop in Ireland and took three pictures in order to feature the shop on my blog and the store owner gave me a scathing lecture, dripping with sarcasm. When I bought a journal from him and something else, I forget what it was,  he threw my change at me.  Needless to say I did not feature him or his shop in my blog as I don’t like to be negative here.  I often wonder if after two years how he is doing.

Anyway- I digress.  We spent an hour in the bookstore and then wandered back to a yummy looking cafe that had lots of Udon noodle dishes. It wasn’t busy when we first saw it on the way to the bookstore but upon returning the queue went out the door. We couldn’t wait as we only had a two hour meter.

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Front window

My sister, who is a military veteran suggested we go over to the veterans medical centre and eat in their cafeteria.  It is built on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and sets high above it with magnificent ocean views out the glassed wall.  We had a very good lunch of chicken, mashed potatoes, hot gravy and vegetables plus a bottle of water for $6.00 each and enjoyed the beautiful views for free. After lunch we walked along the trail from the back of the ocean and around a very large golf course back to the street where our car was parked.  A wonderful day in 80 degree temperatures with a slight breeze.

After our day out we only had energy to eat chocolate chip cookies on the drive home. A good way to deal with heavy traffic.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.

 

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Before you enter the store  you must walk down the alleyway alongside the store to see the literary insets in the cement and the murals on the wall. I liked this mural. It represents the many authors who have been jailed in other countries for their written word.

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There is a bar next door and this is the mural near their entrance.  A good place to go and have a cold drink.

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Two of the literary tiles on the path down the alley.

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Then we went into the store and stood in awe at the wonderful selection and the variety of authors. There is the main floor, plus a basement and an upstairs.

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First stop was the shelves of periodicals and magazines.  I loved this periodical full of short stories, poetry and essays as well as some illustrations. It was big and I took note of it to see if our State Library has access to it.

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I am sure our State Library has this so I will check it out if it does. I have heard of it but never read it. It’s a long ways from Tasmania.

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These were the four magazines I did buy. They will slip into my carry on bag easily and should provide entertainment for the 24 hour journey home on Monday night.

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I noticed this Australian book by its title right away. I will definitely see if our library has this. It sounds like a great Aussie read.

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I was fascinated by this series of ‘Noir’ books.  I had never heard of them and don’t they look great, all together on the shelf. I would love to read these.  Have you read any of them?

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When I went down the stairs I saw this door that leads to another place.  I am glad it is spelled out to those of us who arrive from far away places and still get a bit jet lagged.

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I only include this book for a friend at home who I know adores squirrels, or “squiwwels” as Australians pronounce it. It is a long running private joke and you know who you are!!! The rest of you may  move on.

By the way, not having heard of John and Pamela, they were a couple of British playwrights who had an off and on love affair for 40 years and this is their tale.  It did look quite interesting but far too heavy and expensive to spend money on (at this time). Library??

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This is the area around the Veteran’s Hospital where we walked after lunch. A very lovely area. Beautiful day out.

I hope you enjoyed our day.   If you are ever in San Francisco be sure to go to this wonderful bookstore.

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The Penguin and I enjoyed a great Arts Festival

We spent the day in Mill Valley in the middle of a large redwood forest. It is situated north of San Francisco and each year they hold a very large arts festival. Lots of people attend with their families and dogs. Saw a few quirky outfits and there are food stalls set up. I enjoyed the photography exhibits but I didn’t see any street photography on display or much travel photography outside of a German photographer’s wonderful photos of wildlife from around the world. They were truly stunning.

Of course I could not photograph the exhibits so you’ll just have to believe me.  If you’re interested, scroll down to see my captioned photos. If not, close this post and wait for another post on books. I have finished a few.

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Lots of people everywhere

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It was all a bit too  much for some people.
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I sneaked a photo of this interesting, very shiny sculpture.
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This is the view when we looked up. Beautiful redwood trees.
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Colourful lanterns hung from the trees through out the festival grounds.
band
We listened to the ‘funk’ band for almost an hour. Great band.
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I loved Mr and Mrs Hats sitting in front of us while we listened to the music.
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Then they moved to better seats and we could see their faces.
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This guy sang and also introduced the band members.
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This guy could really sing.

singer

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The view when we looked up.
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She spend her time listening to the band and sketching them. I loved watching her.
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This woman was dancing and writhing around like a snake. A little off her head at times but fun to watch. Don’t you love people watching? !
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As we left the festival we passed the entrance to the children’s area where they had art and music activities for them.
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We met the Lovely Henry on the way back to the car. What a smoocher he is.

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Miwok Native American Festival

3N3A1863Today arrived and we had a couple of festivals we could attend. We narrowed it down to an Arts Festival and a Native American Indian festival.  We chose the Native Americans.  Hosting this festival in the lovely Miwok Park in Novato was the Miwok tribe. The word Miwok means “people” in their native language. 

As I knew nothing of this tribe and in fact had never heard of them I looked them up in Wikipedia and learned:3N3A1855

“The predominant theory regarding the settlement of the Americas date the original migrations of the Miwok tribe from Asia to around 20,000 years ago across the Bering Strait land bridge, but anthropologists claim that the Miwok and some other California tribes descend from Siberians who arrived in California by sea around 3,000 years ago.

The Miwok lived in small bands without centralised political authority before contact with European Americans in 1769. They had domesticated dogs and cultivated tobacco, but were otherwise hunter-gatherers.

The Sierra Miwok harvested acorns from the California Black Oak.  In fact, the modern-day extent of the California Black Oak forests in some areas of Yosemite National Park is partially due to cultivation by Miwok tribes. 

3N3A1858They burned vegetation to reduce the amount of Ponderosa Pine.  Nearly every other kind of edible vegetable matter was used as a food source, including bulbs, seeds, and fungi. Animals were hunted with arrows, clubs or snares, depending on the species and the situation. Grasshoppers were a highly prized food source, as were mussels for those groups adjacent to the Stanislaus River.

The Miwok ate meals according to appetite rather than at regular times. They stored food for later consumption, primarily in flat-bottomed baskets. 

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Miwok spiritual narratives tend to be similar to those of other natives of Northern California. The Miwok had totem animals, identified with one of two moieties which were in turn associated respectively with land and water. These totem animals were not thought of as literal ancestors of humans, but rather as predecessors.Snip20180915_4

 

Enjoy the photos below:

 

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