Weekend Wander- 25 June, 2018

Snip20180625_10Although it’s Monday morning here it’s still the weekend in some parts of the world.  The past two weeks have been busier than usual.  Mr. Penguin has been housesitting a friend’s house the past six weeks and that means the care of our five animals has been busier than usual.  Vet appointments, three cats using a litter box that needs cleaning four or five times a day. Feeding and exercising the dogs.  I did get a book read though.  A friend of mine started the Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I had started it when it first came out but got distracted by something and put it back on the shelf.  Since I’m trying to read books I own I thought it was a good time to start again, finish it and move it on.


Generally, I enjoyed this book.  For those who haven’t read it (though I think everyone I know is ahead of me on this book) it begins with Harold hearing from a work colleague of 20 years ago telling him she is dying of cancer and wants him to know.  There is a commitment he feels towards her though we don’t know that story until the end.  He walks out the door to post a letter he wrote back to her and decides to keep walking. He plans to walk the length of England to visit her because he gets it in his head if he achieves this task she will not die.  The book is about his walk, the people he meets and more than that, the reflection of his life since childhood.  During his long days of walking he is confronted with the way he lived his life, the things he felt he didn’t achieve, his relationships with his son and his wife, Maureen.  There is a secondary storyline of Maureen. Since Harold left so suddenly she is now confronted by her aloneness and thoughts of her marriage. As she faces her own demons she begins to come out of her self imposed shell and you can see where this might be going.

There are revelations along the way that help us understand these two dysfunctional people.  I enjoyed the book for the most part. I did think it was too long though. There were a couple of story lines I thought were unnecessary.  As he walks he gains fame in the British press and hangers on start surrounding him on his walk. I found this section tedious and annoying, as I felt this section wasn’t as well developed as the rest of the story between him, Maureen and Queenie, the woman he was hoping to meet up with at the end.  A young boy is thrown in the mix as well as a dog and a man who follows along as part of a group of strangers, trying to take notes of the excursion dressed in a gorilla suit.  I found that was just annoying.

I am happy I can finally move this book off my shelves and move on.

I might add the past few weeks had me seeing several films.  Tea with the Dames featuring Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins was a brilliant film. They spend a pleasant afternoon talking about their lives, their careers and their families. Some great clips of their career history are also included.

Lost in Paris is a pleasant Belgium produced film with a Paris setting.  It is filmed in the tradition of some of the old silent films of early history including those of Charlie Chaplin.  The actors are almost caricatures and I loved it. Charming, quirky, with a fun story line and some very good humour.

Last night I saw The Bookshop.  I found it a film that passed the evening pleasantly enough but not earth shattering. Bill Nighy is in it and that’s what made me want to see it. The story was a bit of a non event, predictable and I even figured out the ending. However having said that, the young actress who plays her child assistant in the film who works in the bookshop is worth the ticket price. She was charming and the scenery was gorgeous.   I wouldn’t drive cross country in heavy traffic to see this movie, but if you’re home alone, tired of having five animals sitting on you every chance they get and need a bit of respite it was pleasant enough.

I rounded out the week with some time out at Cornelian Bay, which is a dog park and sports oval on the River Derwent in Hobart. The dogs had a great time for the afternoon. Then when the cold settled in that night Odie got to sleep in his new warm jumper once the heating was turned off for the night.  Hopefully Mr. Penguin will be home in a few days and things will return to a bit of normalcy.

Odie feels most trendy in his new jumper.


Weekend Wander – 9 June, 2018

My copy is the 23rd edition published in 1926. Published by then PF Volland Co.

Beloved Belindy by Johnny Gruelle

For our writing group we had to write a paragraph or two about one of the oldest objects we still own.  Of course I thought of my childhood books and decided to introduce the group to Beloved Belindy.

I own quite a few very old books. Although I don’t have many left over from my childhood this is one that has travelled with me whenever I moved. I don’t remember how I acquired it but it has been with me for more than 60 years.

As a child I loved the Raggedy Ann and Andy series of books written and illustrated by Johnny Gruelle.

Johnny Gruelle, according to Wikipedia, was born in Arcola, Illinois, in 1880. He died in 1938.Snip20180609_8

He began his career as a painter and cartoonist but then went on to illustrate books. He was friends with James Whitcomb Riley who wrote Little Orphan Annie.

The story goes that his daughter Marcella brought from her grandmother’s attic a faceless doll on which the artist drew a face. But this story was evidently a myth according to his biographer, Patricia Hall. In reality, Gruelle’s wife Myrtle told Hall, it was Gruelle who retrieved a long forgotten, homemade rag doll from the attic of his parent’s home sometime around the turn of the 20th century. There was something he was looking for in the attic when he found an old doll his mother had made for his sister. He thought it would make a good story.


You can see how many friends she had to care for.

What he was most famous for was his series of books about two rag dolls called Raggedy Ann and Andy.  I read everyone of those books from the Grand Ledge, Michigan library in the 1950’s.

All of the dolls in the Raggedy Ann and Andy series came to life at night and played in their mistress’s playroom upstairs in an old house.  They had big adventures and got into much  mischief.  Not only did Ann and Andy come to life but they had quite a few friends. Readers never knew if they were brother and sister or husband and wife. We never thought about it.

There was Beloved Belindy who was the black nanny who took care of everyone.  I know Beloved Belindy isn’t politically correct but back in the 1950’s I adored her. She could cook large meals, gather eggs from the hens and organise garden parties.  One night she cleaned up Percy the policeman when he got covered in flour from some misadventure they encounted when they ventured into the kitchen. Beloved Belindy could also stitch their ragdoll injuries, sew button eyes back on if they fell off or mend their britches if they were snagged while climbing trees. 

There was always a moral message in American children’s books.

They represented the best that friendship had to offer. They were kind to each other and worked together so they would enjoy the adventures they set out on each night. 

I used to think it would be wonderful if all of my dolls and stuffed animals came to life at night. I would have given anything at that time to hang out with the Raggedy Ann crew and share the events they organised.

Are there any American readers out there that loved these characters as a child, or dressed up as them on Halloween night?

I laughed that Percy has to serve the plates because he is a man doll.
As a child you know nothing about stereotypes.


Raggedy Penguin

Weekend Wander- 27 May, 2018

Thank you for the suggestions put forward for naming my weekend posts. I enjoyed hearing your ideas. Also I had a few suggestions from friends on facebook too. I liked Whispering Gums idea of using the word ‘scoop’.  I did try to work it in Sue.

In the end I needed to look at the purpose and the name of my blog and as the word ‘Travellin’ plays a big part….well, no need to explain. The weekend posts will simply be a summary of how the week was spent and hopefully will motivate me to get out there and do stuff when the wind blows, the rain pummels and I know friends are out there with hot cups of coffee.
The Past Read:  Okay, I’ve been harping on about the Levison Wood Travel books. Exploring the Nile, Exploring Central America and Exploring the Himalayas.  I got about 2/3 ‘s of the way through the Himalayas and finally gave it the old Heave Ho.  He had a very bad car accident in the book. It was amazing, really, that he survived it. I thought the book would end right then and there.  His car plunged down a very steep ravine, rolling dozens of times, yet everyone survived but he was very broken after that. He had to return to England, heal and then start the trip again where he left off.  I just got tired of the drama and the history being repeated and the descriptions of the Nepalese earthquake began to sound the same.  (No, I’m not belittling what happened there.) I unplugged the audio. I got the gist.

Snip20180527_2The current read: I was ready to move on.  I’m currently reading Think Like An Artist by Will Gompertz. It is a small book, about A5 size. The paper feels good to the touch, like a heavy newsprint. The illustrations are fun. Lots of stick figures throughout. He describes an artist as anyone who creates anything in any medium.  I’m on a photography jag at the moment and reading anything that increases my skills or my motivation. Did I say that winter is on its way?

Here is the blurb from the back of the book that sucked me in when I saw it at Fuller’s book store recently. (No comments about sticking to those TBR books on the shelf. My staunchest critics may not be better at leaving a book store empty handed than I am.)                             Stick tongue out here.
After spending years getting up close and personal with some of the world’s greatest  creative thinkers, the BBC’s Arts Editor Will Gompertz has discovered a handful of traits common to them all. Basic practices and processes that allow their talents to flourish, and which we can adopt-  no matter what we do- to help us achieve extraordinary things too. It’s time to Think Like an Artist and…”Snip20180527_4

The Film:   Now- on to the rest of the week.  I won a ticket to see the film Kodachrome at the State Cinema in North Hobart on Monday. I probably would not have seen it without the freebie but the name ‘Kodachrome’ did have me seriously looking it up on IMDB. I remember reading an article in some magazine quite awhile ago that the lab that developed Kodachrome film was closing and an important photographer was credited with developing the last film out there and after that there would be no more.  A sad thought really. Think of all those beautiful photos taken over the years by National Geographic photographers.  I remember seeing pictures of the photos he took. He lived somewhere in the United States.Snip20180527_5

In this film, Ed Harris played the crotchety old photographer. He’s dying and his personal nurse, who is a very attractive young woman contacts his son, who he has fallen out with. Predictable story, right?  The old photographer had to be driven across the U.S. in order to get his film developed before the last lab closed its door.  The son says, “No way” the nurse says ‘way’. Before you know it they are in a classic convertible car pounding the freeway across the country. Arguments, enlightenment, a disastrous visit to the old man’s  brother’s home in Ohio.   It was predictable, predictable, predictable as only Hollywood can do. Moralistic and a do you think it had a happy ever after ending?

The best part of the film was when they rolled the credits and the audience members could see some beautiful photos from history from National Geographic photographers alongside the credit information.  But hey, it was free, so who am I to complain.  I like films.  I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the theatre and time to myself.

The Wander:  Friday had me in the small country town of Kempton with friends at the Huntingfield Pub.  One of our senior club excursions. I drove and transported three other ladies in my small car to much chatter and good humour. Thirteen of us turned up, ordered our meals and sat down. One hour, 20 minutes later the food arrived.  As usual the normal complainers started in and the good humoured ones continued to enjoy each other’s company. When the food did arrive it was very good. Typical situation where the owner only has two staff on board to take orders, sell Keno tickets, cook the meal and clean up.  My motto is just relax and enjoy the present moment. We were warm, the people were nice and the views of the country were gorgeous.

In ending this post I will post up the posts. Kempton is a small farming community, about a 45 minute drive north of Hobart off the midlands Highway, (Hwy 1). Notice in the photos there is no wind or rain and the sun was glorious.  A good day was had by all (except the regular two who never have a good day). Fortunately I know they won’t be reading this post.

The Photos:

St Mary’s Anglican Church


Town Centre


I liked this little garden area.
3N3A1060 2 copy
Second hand shop- check out the old photograph of the lady getting dressed. It looked so out of place on this little nook.
The old churchyard in back of St Mary’s


The traveller is never too far away from sheep when in Tasmania

The Latest Outfit:

All ready for autumn.