I Don’t Feel So Bad About My love for the Penguin

I have to do this. When I was in the wonderful days of collecting my Penguin books beginning about 2011 or so, I forget. I acquired the little mascot of Penguin.

Since then he has travelled with me as I travelled in 6 continents on both holidays and book collecting these lovely vintage books. A couple of years ago, with 3000 books of varying Penguins on the shelves, specially built shelving and many travel stories the journey is over, having sold the library a couple of years ago. Getting older one begins to worry what will become of our valued collections.

However the Penguin remained. I couldn’t part with him and I take him with me still. In my 70s, I now travel, embarrassingly at times with him. He recently accompanied me to Sydney and whenever I take him out of my bag or pocket to hurriedly take his photo while he enjoys the sites, as my childhood takes over, I almost turn red in the face. But today that all changed.

I read this article in the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/nov/19/adults-who-have-cuddly-toys-comfort-objects

It is a wonderful article about adults who take comfort from inanimate friends. The story I love the most is the last one about the recently widowed woman in her 70s who acquired a teddy bear for comfort. They watch the news together and she stated she tells him “what sons of bitches they all are.” I really laughed out loud. Who is to say what the appropriate age is to give up their soft friends.

I think now I’m going to feature our household Penguin even more here. After all he’s sat on walls in Cornwall looking out to sea. He sat on the porch of Doc Martin’s porch. He’s been on camera safari in Namibia and Botswana. He had tea in Japan with several,people in our group who would borrow him for their own photo opportunities. That was quite funny as they posed him with cherry blossoms in yards we walked by.

He’s been in the subways of Moscow and once he fell off our bookshelf and one of our dogs grabbed him. I really saved his life that day.

So while this post isn’t about reading books now or going to many places, I do feel like this article in the Guardian may be life changing. I wonder how many other adults out there refuse to give up a childhood friend or find comfort in hard times with an old friend.

I haven’t gotten to the point that he goes into the will but you never know. I hope everyone is having a pleasant weekend and maybe this post puts a smile on your face.

Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore? (HW Beecher)

It’s been a good week in southern Tasmania despite the confused weather. One day I’m outside with the dogs in the sun, the next day there are snow flurries and it looks to continue over the coming days.

Shaun Micallef and Marta Dusseldorp

The gym I attend started a new way to kill us. I attended my first “barre’” class. It is a combination of ballet, Pilates and yoga. I just passed my 2 yr anniversary of weight training and this new addition was great though I was on paracetamol for the next two days so I could walk. My second class is coming up this coming week. So much fun. 😏 , no really!

I attended a couple of really fun book launches through Fullers book shop over the past couple of weeks. Australian tv presenter and comedian, Shaun Micallef has released a new book, Tripping Over Myself. The launch was held in the historic Town Hall as he was interviewed by actor Marta Düsseldorp, who I really admire. I’ve not really followed Shaun but he was very entertaining. I went because I admire Marta so much and have seen her performances both live and on television. The two of them really played off each other and there were lots of laughs, The book is autobiographical related to his rise as a comedian and presenter.

The other book launch was the children’s book Runt by Craig Silvey, author of Jasper Jones and Honeybee. The book, though written for younger readers is also touted to be enjoyed by adults. A tale of resilience and hope and everyone wanted to read this book by the time we left. Looking to the future it could very well be an Australian children’s classic and will most likely be made into a film. Craig was an entertaining speaker and quite a bit of conversation went on around me as question time had many people putting up their hands, including one child. The feel of the book is wonderful due to the texture of the cover and the illustrations are like the sparse black and white children’s book of the past. I just loved it.

I was going to add the books I’m travelling in this week but as this is starting to become long I will post a part 2 soon.

In the meantime, I will leave you with a couple of bird photos I took during the last 10 days exploring nature reserves with friends.

Superb Blue Wren also known as fairy wren. He was singing his heart out.
Welcome swallow.

All the best for the coming week.

A Very Miscellaneous Week

Sunday night, looking to another week upon us. Isn’t this year just sailing by.

It’s been a real mish mash this week but I am into two books and I feel the need to read upon me. Some snippets from the week.

Visiting Hours

Our dog Ollie injured his cruciate ligament and had a big surgery on Thursday. Those of you who know dogs will know how much care a post surgical dog takes. One rough coated Jack Russell who is used to having his own way most of the time and never holding still. One who is now confined to a pen with a cone around his neck and enough pain meds to stop a horse. Forget our bank balance. Thank goodness for pet insurance is all I can say.

Birding Without Borders : An Obsession, A Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World - Noah Strycker

One day last week I was invited to go on a morning photography excursion to photograph birds. I haven’t done specific bird photography before but I do have a long lens and with two friends we spent a lovely morning hunting birds. Photographers can be divided into two types of people. The hunters and the fishermen. The hunters stalk their photos, walking for miles or climbing hills looking for the photo. Fishermen sit still for hours waiting for the photo to come to them. Thursday we started out hunting but ended up fishing. I got a good shot of a silver eye and several more of swallows. Ever try to photograph swooping, flying swallows? It’s very difficult but fun trying. Will share a photo of swallows in another post but here is the silver eye.

We met three old men taking their morning stroll on the track we were walking on. One asked if we wanted to photograph 3 old buzzards. Then another one told us he had just seen a “red headed blackberry picker” up the track. They were just full of it. Nice to see them enjoying themselves.

Once home I pulled a birding, travel book off my shelf and began it. Birding Without Borders by Noah Strycker.

The blurb states: Noah Strycker set himself a goal: to become the first person to see half the world’s 10,000 species of bird in one year.

With an itinerary covering 41 countries, spanning all seven continents, and armed with a backpack, binoculars, and a series of one-way tickets, he sets out on the greatest adventure in the birding world. Along the way he meets a colorful cast of fellow birders—and discovers a world of blood-sucking leeches, chronic sleep deprivation, floods, war zones, ecologic devastation, and conservation triumphs.

Vivid, charming, and full of wonder, Birding Without Borders is a celebration of passion, exploration, and the birders’ ethos that, if you keep your eyes and mind open, you never know what you might see

The other book I’m reading and enjoying is Atomic Habits by James Clear. I wanted to read something that was motivational to fall in line with motivation for my health and fitness. I enjoy my weight class and fitness work …..once I am there. It is getting there with enthusiasm I need to work on. I’d heard a lot of good things about this book and I am not a self help book fan but I am enjoying this very much. I am listening to it on Audible and have it on whenever I’m in the car which lately has been a lot.

For the foreseeable future…. My plans are to continue to get my book enthusiasm back and make time for one day a week to do more bird photography.

When attending university in Michigan years ago I took an ornithology class as everyone there had to do at least 2 yrs of basic courses before deciding on a major and minor. Part of the final exam consisted of 25 tape recorders and sets of headphones of bird calls that had to be identified. I have always wanted to be able to identify more birds and their calls in Australia, especially the small ones. This could very well be a bonus to the photography. We’ll see how it goes. I know a lot of American birds but now I might learn about more Australian ones.

The other night I went to see the book launch of Heather Rose’s newest book. It was to begin at 5:30 pm. However when I arrived, there was a cast of thousands, many seats reserved by her so the rest of us had to sit in the back, overcrowded with recording equipment and cameras and very bright spotlights. This particular room holds 80 people but there must have been twice that with very few wearing masks. Heather continued to make her way around a myriad of people, chatting, hugging. More chatting and more hugging. Well that day Ollie had his surgery. I had been on the photography excursion in the morning, later having discussions with the vets. I was tired and I couldn’t cope with all the mayhem around this particular book launch.

Author Heather Rose and Tim, Owner-Manager Fullers Book shop

Fullers are very good at keeping launches from 5:30 to 6:15 then time for questions and out the door just past half past. Most authors who are well attended have a party or large gathering elsewhere or just stay on after the launch but this had already begun. This author would leave the room, come back, sit down and chat some more to old friends and acquaintances. At 6:10 I’d had enough. Tim, the manager of Fullers was herding cats. There were so many people, many who were quite elderly all waiting for her to start and she just didn’t. There has been so much hype about this book. Anyway, I walked out at 6:10 and went home. I’m sure the talk would have been good but I really think she should have just begun earlier and then talked to everyone who wanted to talk to her or she wanted to catch up with after the event. Many people there were not friends of hers. I like to keep perspective. It’s a book launch for one book not the coronation of King Charles. I thought it was ridiculous but others may disagree and I was tired and it was hot in the room. So moving forward.

Well, I guess that catches you up on the week. Here’s hoping I enjoy the books, Ollie continues to heal and get rid of the cone and none of us catch the new strains of Covid. I won’t even mention the cruise ships that have been dumping people on our shores this week. With Covid people quarantining on board the ship.

I hope everyone is staying well and enjoying books and anything else of interest to you. I’m also enjoying a few days of 20 degrees C and NO rain. All the best…..

The silver eye who is very camouflaged.

Be Able To Be Alone. Lose Not The Advantage of Solitude -Thomas Brown (1605-1682)

From my shelf…….

Today I am going to share a recently purchased book with you. It’s not the regular type of book I buy but I think it will be lovely. That is why I want to share it with you.

These Ranunculus brighten anybody’s day.

How many of you are familiar with the Danish magazine FLOW? I subscribed to it or just picked it up when I saw it. It could be quite difficult to find. Then with all that’s happening in the world they stopped printing it in English and the library I only had Danish copies. The editors have a love affair with books, bookmarks, cooking lovely treats, paper in all it’s forms, self wellness, little trips, big trips and beautiful art work. I have kept most of my back copies simply to cut apart for my art postcards I share with others around the world.

But it disappeared for a long time. Then walking through my home away from home, Fullers bookstore in Hobart, their little icon caught my eye at a book as I passed it. I stopped in my tracks , grabbed it off the shelf before I saw they had more than one copy tucked away behind the display book. I loved it.

It has been designed to continue sharing everything I loved in the magazine. It has postcards in it, a nature journal to fill up, a biscuit (cookie) recipe and a page of lovely tear apart bookmarks.

It gives fun advice for dealing with darker moods. Not full on depression but those days when one feels lethargic, out of sorts and full on contrariness. It recognises compassion, loneliness, self image and encourages activities for doing the small things in your community to get out of your own head as we deal with global warming, war and Covid to name a few. Little things to just get you moving that is guaranteed to get you out of your head on those funky days. Go to a museum, have a coffee and chat to someone, exercise with a walk in your neighbourhood or in nature. Pick up some colours and draw. Get back in touch with enjoying child like wonder. It is completely illustrated with beautiful artistic illustrations. It really is a happy book, impossible to leaf through without perking up and having a few, “I could do that”, “awwww” and “that looks yummy”. Bottom line….just MOVE!

I’ll leave you with some photos and as I progress through it on the days I’m so sick of rainy days where I deal with wet, muddy dogs, standing at the bus stop with the sound of rain on my hood, on those days I can’t get out with my camera…..this little book just may pop up again as I consider their advice and get moving to counteract the annoyances of our world.

I’d enjoy hearing about a book or activity that pulls you out of the doldrums. Stay well.

The Book Events I’ll Be Attending…

For the most part. I am looking forward to meeting a lot of interesting writers in the coming months. The authors here will be of interest to Australian readers but I’d like to encourage readers in other states to attend author events.

There are always a lot of speakers one can go to but I find writers are the most interesting. The authors speak for 30 to 40 minutes with 15 or 20 minutes for questions. Fullers time keeping is impeccable and I appreciate that.

One day I might hear about Antarctica. Another day I might hear how another writer came up with the fantasy idea that is in his or her novel. Sometimes it’s political or environmental. Often times I have enjoyed an artistic conversation or seen some wonderful photography.

Writers encompass all subjects and thoughts and I often walk away from these events having learned something new to this old brain. Writers make me think. Sometimes I disagree with their points of view but I hear about the issue in a different way. Many times I am entertained such as hearing the music of the late Archie Roach.

There are author events in many cities around the world and if you are fortunate enough to live near these events I’d encourage you to attend, even if you aren’t familiar with the person. It is an inexpensive way to support your local book shop and have a different kind of an evening.

Australians will appreciate the agenda in Hobart this next month.

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” — James M. Barrie

Our cat enclosure we call the lockup.

I am back and hope to be back again sooner this time. I had a great many things to catch up on in life and I gave films and books a complete miss for almost a month. I just put my head down and moved forward with a myriad of chores, new structures, health jobs and all that’s worth doing around here.

Now I look ahead to the rest of spring and summer with more spare time and a new reading area in our back “lockup”. Our lockup is a lanai type area behind our house and we enclosed it with lattice panels and laser light ceiling. It has a large passion fruit vine just cut back a bit as it was taking over. It is a lovely area for our cats to be outdoors as we don’t believe in letting cats roam outdoors, especially in Australia where so many native animals are small and cars are often driven by hoons.

So this post is pretty book free….but not entirely. I bought a small electric folding bike and I need to learn to ride it. Approaching age 73 next month, my balance is not great and although I work on it in the gym and at home, I think riding a bike will help. Waiting for a mirror to arrive as I hate being on roads around here without a mirror. I never understood why bicyclists don’t use mirrors like motorbikers.

I have done a bit of photography and magazine reading but no books. I have attended several book launches.

Today I received a lovely, short book by Sarah Bernhardt called In The Clouds from my Renard press subscription. I think I will ease back into reading with this 95 page novella published in 1878 to the utter dismay of Gustave Flaubert, when it replaced his.

I hope everyone has stayed well and has been enjoying hearing about the Booker Price announced today. The Sri Lankan book looks very interesting as were the other books it was up against. They were certainly different from each other. I would hate to be a judge.

Well that is me for the moment so I am happy to be online again.

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think. (Harper Lee)

This past week was really busy with all kinds of “catch up” appointments such as eyes, teeth, gym, events. I did manage to get a bit of reading tidied up.

What I finished reading this week:

I finished Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book . It was written 1000 yrs ago from the perspective of a lady at the imperial court of Japan. It is described as a “crazy quilt of vignettes, opinions and anecdotes” of the times.

Our book group will discuss it on Wed night. It was a real eye opener to see many of the issues in that book were the same as the ones we deal with now.

There is also a lot of humour in the book. I laughed out loud at this quote:

Old fashioned people put on their gathered toursers in a very time consuming and awkward way. They pull the front panel up against the stomach and proceed first of all to tuck all the layers of robe in under it, leaving the back strings dangling till they’ve got the front completely straight and tidy, then they bend forward to reach for the back panel, gropping behind them with both hands. They look like monkeys with their arms tied behind their backs, standing there fumbling about with the strings like that. You can’t imagine how they could ever get dressed and out the door in time for any urgent appointment.


Infuriating things: A guest who arrives when you have something urgent to do, and stays talking for ages.

Or a very ordinary person, who beams inanely as she prattles on and on.

Or a dog that discovers a clandestine lover as he comes creeping in and barks or a baby who cries when you’re trying to hear something.

The entire books is made up of many observations of life.

Audible book finished this week.

How to End a Story: Diaries 1995 to 1998 by Helen Garner.

I enjoyed her narration of the book but she is in so much pain as she ends her third marriage and she doesn’t leave much out of this book of how she feels.  It continues how people can write about the extreme angst they might have in their life for the world to see.  It seems she’d want to keep it private but then who am I to know how others handle their grief. We’re all different. 

Bookish Event of the Week: 

My friend and I attended a book launch at Fullers this week. The book is:

Nine Lives For Our Planet:  Personal stories of nine inspiring women who cherish Earth by John Watts. It is described as “Here are nine personal stories of brave hearted women defying the greed and corruption smashing Australia’s environment, including its farmlands. 

John Watts introduced s to women who light up the darkness of the climate and extinction emergencies with their flair and stoic commonsense. Each has acted to take on the gas frackers, coal miners, native forest loggers, wildlife killers, water profiteers and their political agents.

(quote by Bob Brown, acclaimed author, photographer and life long activist).

The author was interviewed by Bob Brown and the discussion was very interesting. The women are not well known celebrities of any kind but those who work to make positive changes in their own quieter ways.

One of the women was Simone Marsh and she was also part of the three person panel.

There was a lot of head shaking and discomfort hearing what the big corporations and politicians have done to no advantage of the environment or people living on the land.

Penguin’s Choice:  Last week I announced the random draw of the week was the short story, Christmas in Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor. I began it but I just couldn’t face another story about war.  I have read and heard much about the atrocities of war in the past two years and I am over it.

I decided to pass it back to the box, maybe for another time and I spun the wheel again and a Roald Dahl book was chosen. It is A Taste of the Unexpected. I have no idea what it is about but it should be a bit cheerier than the war books.

Life as it happens

The coming week is not going to be as hectic as this past week was. A couple of weight classes at the gym, maybe a long walk, if the weather changes from cold rain to something more pleasant. I have the shared reading book Monday of the Kafka stories and Wednesday will be the book group discussing the Pillow Book.  I think there will be a big variety of opinions about this book. Thursday night there is a book launch that I’ll be attending. That should be enough to keep me socialising and exercising this week.

From the Photo Archive:

Here are two more photos of beach scenes from the south coast of NSW.  It was a lovely day to be out with a camera. Such a shame it seems like it was such a long time ago.

Stay well, until next time….keep moving, catch up with people and stretch your brains.

Live your life by a compass…

I have returned from a lovely trip to see friends in NSW. Almost 10 days down the south coast from Sydney in New South Wales and the northern beaches of Sydney. Then followed by meeting up with another friend for 5 more days in the city. It was great to finally get off the island we live on and see more of Australia.

By the way, the quote above is what was printed on my license plate frame on my scooter.  While I am no longer a motorbike rider I still hope to enjoy the intent of this quotation.

What I’m Reading: 

I am working my way through Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book . It was written 1000 yrs ago from the perspective of a lady at the imperial court of Japan. It is described as a “crazy quilt of vignettes, opinions and anecdotes” of the times.

Our book group will discuss it in the first week of September. She discusses the many issues she encounters in her life and it is interesting so many of them are relevant today. Relationships with men and friends, communication with others in the palace, much of it through written poetry that everyone wrote back and forth and following the young Empress who over sees daily life in the palace. 

It is not a book I’d pick up and read in large chunks but I try to read 15 – 20 pages a day and that is enough. The author lived in the Heian period that translates as ‘peace and tranquility’.

The periods stretched from 794 to 1186. 

My copy is a black Penguin classic and the introduction and addendums take up as much space almost as the story itself. It is certainly different from what I usually read and I am enjoying it more than I thought I might.

Audible Book on the Go at the Moment:

How to End a Story: Diaries 1995 to 1998 by Helen Gar

ner narrated by. Helen Garner. I listened to her first two diaries and this is the final one in the trilogy. It is described as:

“The third instalment of diaries from the inimitable Helen Garner covers four eventful years in the life of one of Australia’s most treasured writers.
Helen Garner’s third volume of diaries is an account of a woman fighting to hold on to a marriage that is disintegrating around her.

Living with a great writer who is consumed by his work, and trying to find a place for her own spirit to thrive, she rails against the confines while desperate to find the truth in their relationship-and the truth of her own self.”

I can’t say it is pleasant to listen to but at times is interesting. I don’t know why so many people want to publish a ‘warts and all’ diary for anyone out there to see, but it seems to happen with regularity.

I wonder what her ex-husband thought of this publication as it certainly doesn’t shine a good light onto him. It also isn’t hard to discover who the unnamed husband in the book is either. But it is a rather short book and as I found her first two diaries interesting I wanted to see how it all ends up. 

Bookish Event of the Week:  

I attended a lovely Fullers book shop event last Sunday with a friend. Carmel Bird launched her wonderful book  Telltale with a fun interview with author Danielle Wood. There was accompaniment by a Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra member, Michael Fortescue, who played the beautiful double bass as she read aloud passages from her book. 

We really enjoyed it and I look forward to reading her book. Carmel Bird really identifies with the peacock and not only does her book have a beautiful cover featuring a peacock, she was dressed in the gorgeous colours of a peacock herself. The room was full of appreciative readers and we all went away feeling most uplifted. 

Penguin’s Choice:

The Penguin 70s bookish project begins.  Our facilitator of our book group is going off on maternity leave in October and that month will see our final discussion. We won’t meet again until March of 2023 and not only is she going to give us recommended reading for the summer, I will be attacking the books on my shelves that lie unread. I will also be getting into the 70’s anniversary Penguins from the boxed set.

Kicking off the random draw is: No. 16- Christmas at Stalingrad by Antony Beevor. More on this little book next time.

Life as it happens…..  the coming week has me getting out of travel mode and back into the regular routines. Medically, especially with the old eye, things are looking up. A bit of vision has returned, and I have been instructed by the ophthalmologist to go to the optometrist and get fit for some new lens in my glasses. Although the vision will never be great in that eye, the improvements do make it easier to read and drive. The glasses will hopefully increase the vision a bit and now we just hold steady to see what progresses in the future.  So now, the eye discussion is at a close!!! Such a boring topic. 

Back to the gym this week too and that should be a laugh as I stumble my way back to fitness with a good sense of humour. I expect to be quite sore for a few days but feeling good.  Old age is hard to face but it helps to keep oneself in as good of physical (and mental) shape as possible. So on we tread……sometimes clumsily.

From the Photo Archive:

Melting Sydney Opera House

So far I have not downloaded and edited all of my photos from NSW. I do have some interesting filters to add to Photoshop and Lightroom which I am playing with. Although a steep learning curve, I am getting a bit of success. I will share the two photos I have entered in to our club challenge. One is a open theme of which I submitted the Sydney Harbour bridge with a vintage touch. The second theme is about taking something we all know as familiar and changing the way it looks but still keeping it recognizable.  I decided to fantasize what the Sydney Opera House would look like if global warming increased to such an extent it would melt.  It was an interesting exercise. 

What the Penguin did this week:

Penguin and I were thinking about aging. He has travelled on six continents with me and he still looks as good as ever. I think I am feeling the older years more than him.

But I heard some very good advice and I try to live by it now.   1. Exercise.   2. Socialise with others. 3. Learn something new.  That should keep us going in the right direction for a while.

Stay Well.

Classic′ – a book which people praise and don’t read. (Mark Twain)

I guess Mark Twain didn’t follow book blogs.

What I’m Reading: 

This week I finished a fascinating book called Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery.

This is a fascinating tale of the first woman to ever walk the Appalachian trail in the 1950s from Georgia to Maine. The blurb is as follows:

“Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than twhundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, sixty-seven-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. By September 1955 she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin, sang “America, the Beautiful,” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”

Driven by a painful marriage, Grandma Gatewood not only hiked the trail alone, but she was also the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times. At age seventy-one, she hiked the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail. Gatewood became a hiking celebrity and appeared on TV with Groucho Marx and Art Linkletter. The public attention she brought to the trail was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction.”

Author Ben Montgomery interviewed surviving family members and hikers Gatewood met along the trail, unearthed historic newspaper and magazine articles, and was given full access to Gatewood’s own diaries, trail journals, and correspondence. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk shines a fresh light on one of America’s most celebrated hikers. 

I found this book fascinating and would recommend it to anyone who might enjoy a different kind of travel narrative and nature. The themes are memoir, travel/walking, history, domestic violence. She also raised 11 children. Bookish Event of the Week:  

The most exciting event was seeing Geraldine Brooks launch her recent book Horse, at the Theatre Royal interviewed by Heather Rose in conjunction with Fullers Bookshop. The recently built studio theatre was a great venue. The event was sold out and she was generous to sign books in the theatre foyer after the event. I gifted her a small cloisonne black cockatoo pin in a little felt like bag for her to put somewhere in her horse stable when she gets home. She seemed to love the small Tasmanian gift.  I always think authors must get so tired of book signings and repeating themselves over and over during their tours. I did not take my book to be signed just to give her hand a rest. 

She told us about this obscure piece of American history in this book which in the end I loved. I wasn’t sure at the beginning I was going to enjoy this book but as I went along, I just kept reading and reading.  I will never forget this tale. Horse racing was built in America on the backs of slaves in the 1800s before the civil war. The book combines that history of the 1800s. It also has two other periods of time the story includes. The 1980s of the New York art worlds and the current times of the science of preserving skeletons at the Smithsonian.

The author talked at length how this book was successfully finished after the sudden death of her husband three years ago. It got her back on track as her grief was deep.

The research into the art and slavery issues were well researched. She talked about how as a Caucasian she talked to many African Americans about writing this book about their culture and history. She was encouraged to do it on all fronts, and she consulted with the African American community regularly. 

I admire the research skills she displays in the writing. She is an experienced former foreign correspondent and journalist and her writing displays that. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in these topics.  It finishes with a current race event of the 21st century of America and the impact is greatly felt.

She also made mention of a little-known law in Australia that I think would surprise people. She would like to come back to Australia at some time. As she has lived in American, married to an American man since the 1980s or so, she mentioned her biological son can get dual citizenship with Australia however her legally adopted Ethiopian son cannot. She and her husband adopted him at the age of five and raised him as their own. He is an American citizen now through the family adoption. Australia really does need to get their act into gear. (My letter was the lead opinion piece in the Saturday paper.

Many are surprised by this little-known law. So, one day I wrote a letter about how discriminatory it is and sent it to the Opinion page of the Hobart Mercury, and Tasmanian Senators Jacqui Lambie and Andrew Wilkie as well as the federal minister for Immigration.  I felt better but no idea if anybody will respond or open their eyes a bit. Other families must be affected by this I’d think.

Off the Shelf: 

When I get back from my upcoming trip to New South Wales I have some new books to share with you that I am enjoying very much.

Penguin of the week:

I have also rolled the random di and have a 70th anniversary Penguin picked out of the boxed set collection. That too will be shared later.

Life Happens: 

Life is starting to pick up. Thursday I am flying to Sydney to begin an eight day road trip of photography down the coast with a good friend. We will travel south of Sydney for some seascape days and then inland for some photos of areas I’ve not been to before.

Then I will have a ‘rest’ when another friend arrives, and we will spend 4 nights in Sydney visiting all the places we love. We are going to the Opera House one evening to see A Comedy of Errors.  This week I researched the play as this is a play by Shakespeare, I am not familiar with.  It looks like it will be fun and quite comical. We won’t forget the bookshops either.

Photo(s) of the week: 

Last Sunday our photography club went south of Hobart to the Wooden Boat centre at Franklin. We spent time photographing whatever we wanted for a couple of hours. I’ll share a couple of the photos at the end of this post.

It was a beautiful day and not as cold as it’s been. We really enjoyed the day and followed it with hot coffee in a local café afterwards.  It felt like life was normal again. 

I’ll be back here after 20 August sometime. Need to get over the two hour jet lag I’ll experience. I have not been off this island since 2019. 

What the Penguin did this week:

Outside of hasseling politicians I am packing.  I will see that our Penguin is on the road again with me as well. Long term followers will have seen him visiting other countries previously.  He is looking forward to this trip as much as I am.

Stay well everyone.