We’ve had almost no rain at all this year…but two days
ago it rained. Some places in the state received about 30mm of rain, but we were happy with our 3mm. Such an exciting time for us (and our garden) that I took a photo of the rain falling on the back steps. It’s impossible to see the actual raindrops in the photo but you can see, by the wet steps, that there was, indeed, water around. And then, yesterday, it rained and rained. It rained all night as well and when we looked at the rain gauge this morning, there was well over 30mm in it.
And so now the grass has a chance of becoming green again; the half dead shrubs are already looking brighter and not quite so ‘dead’. I don’t think there are degrees of ‘dead-ness’ but many plants have been looking almost dead, even though there is often life hidden deep down near their root systems.
And now I am wondering about myself. How is it that I can write a whole paragraph about the weather? How is it that rain drops have become something to be excited about? It’s not all to do with getting old. I think it’s more to do with the relief that this terrible time of unusual and destructive weather events (brought about by global warming/climate change) has not condemned our little part of the world to permanent drought.
Currently reading the biography of Michael Kirby, 35 years a federal judge in Auistralia. I'm not going to comment about the book but merely quote from Michael Kirby himself.
He says: "What is the absolute bedrock of human rights, of our legal system, of striving to have order? Why are we here today and tomorrow, and what does our life mean?
Well, love has a lot to do with it. If you've had a life like mine, with a loving family and loving parents, siblings, good friends, and then a loving companion over such a long time, then you're very lucky. The foundation of so much of that is love and I've never been ashamed to say so". (Michael Kirby)
What more can I say? No wonder he achieved much good in his life.
These two little people, aged 9 months and 7 months, are sharing a book. Both looking at it correctly and turning pages. And yet, they are only babies. This pic was taken over two years ago and these little boys have both recently turned three. Neither has ever torn a book or treated one disrespectfully and both love to have stories read to them. It won't be long before they are reading. It's never too early to start children with books. And children who are brought up with books - and are read to - usually have a burning desire to read by themselves and usually achieve such a feat quickly. It's easy!
In my capacity as a eulogist I have occasion to go into many private homes. It astounds me (though I would never be rude anough to comment) that so many houses are devoid of books. No books, No bookshelves. So, I have come to the conclusion that there are "book people "and "non-book people". I think I'm a book person.
My talented nephew has been sending me samples of his writing. He has a (recently discovered) gift for writing and I am enjoying reading his work. The last piece her wrote was a beautiful tribute to his late grandpa (my father) and gave me a reminder of some of the reminiscences I have written about my childhood days. So, in the non-fiction pages of this site, I have included a little remembrance of a day involving me (as a child) and my Dad. It's caled "Autumn Saturday". Please read it.
NIGHTMARE IN FIFTH GRADE AND THE WRONG SOCKS
(A story from my school days, of long ago)
When my Year Five school year arrived, in horror I discovered that the dreaded Miss Lamrock was to be my teacher. The tales of her (mis)treatment of girls unlucky enough to be snared in her class, were known to all and I trembled at the thought of a year spent in a room with this harridan.
So much for the happy anticipation of finally having legitimate access to the Victorian Readers’ “Fifth Book”, with all its wonderful tales of Australian life. Despite the inclusion of some of the poetry from the Grade Five Reader, the stories of adventure were largely ignored by Miss Lamrock and we studied, instead, a tedious book, entitled “Lad, a Dog”. The story may have been quite a good one, but all I recall is the boring way in which we read snippets, (mostly aloud, in turn
- another reason to squirm). There would be questions on what had been read and then the book was put away until “next time”.
Certainly not my idea of how to read a book.
Miss Lamrock was a strict disciplinarian.
We were not allowed to utter so much as a squeak or move a muscle, without her directing us. Our times tables had to be known perfectly and we were tested on them regularly. Oral spelling bees were a feature and misspelling a word was tantamount to committing murder.
We were classified into groups, tactlessly (her cruelty coming to the fore) labelled “flowers” and “weeds”.
I was terrified of Miss Lamrock.
The classroom was part of a very old building; draughty, dusty and uncomfortable. There was no heating.
In the very cold winter months, we were instructed to bring along small rugs to place over our knees. As for our teacher, she kept a large hot water bottle under her breasts, resting on her abdomen and thighs as she sat behind her desk.
When safely out of ear-shot, we joked about the probability of Miss Lamrock being able to stand up and keep her hot water bottle securely in place, anchored by the weight of her pendulous breasts.
During that particularly cold winter of my Year Five, Mum bought me some warm grey woollen socks. They were actually boys’ socks - thick, ribbed and long, reaching to my knees and held up with home-made elastic “garters”.
I was fairly sure that they were not “regulation” school wear, but I couldn’t not wear them. They were socks on which my mother had spent precious shillings and had gone to great lengths to find.
As we lined up outside our classroom on that first new-sock morning, I shifted from one foot to another, anxious to get inside the classroom before the socks were noticed.
Suddenly, “Come out the front, Dianna,” Miss Lamrock ordered. My heart thumped with terror as I complied with the order.
“Everyone, look at Dianna’s socks.”
They all looked.
My head shrank further into my trembling shoulders.
I waited for the axe to fall.
But, “These are the sort of socks you should all be wearing.”
I could hardly believe my ears. She thought my socks were alright. Miss Lamrock went on to sing the praises of “such sensible, warm socks” and advised the girls to request their mothers to seek out similar ones for them.
Of course, they wouldn't and they didn’t.
My socks were already not the “in” socks preferred by most other girls and now that Miss Lamrock had placed her seal of approval on them, they had become even less desirable for every other girl in Grade Five.
In fact they may as well have had “idiot” in red embroidery up their sides.
Well, the Lucky Bamboo plant didn't work its magic...well, not yet, anyway. The people who looked at our house, with the intention of buying it, decided against it as "there was too much garden". Is this what we're turning into? Human beings who don't like gardens or gardening? It's just too much trouble, apparently.
The house that these people chose instead, is a bland white weatherboard place sitting almost right on the road, with some grass at the side and not a garden in sight!
Well, it wasn't meant to be this time. Back to more de-cluttering of the house and surrounds - and lots more writing for me.
Thinking I would add another item to my Weebly page, I decided to include the original true story that gave rise to me writing a children's story titled, "The Red Silk Kite". Well, as I hadn't added another 'element' to my site for some time, I had completely forgotten what to do - how to instal a new page, that is. After an hour of sweating and swearing, I finally had it there, but, at the cost of havng to re-write my main page and being left wioh two "untitled" pages that simply have nothing on them. I still don't know what I did or what I didn't do, but am not about to 'fiddle with it' any further.
Please check out "My Father's Kite" as found (hopefully!) in the non-fiction section of my Weebly page.
Oh, and by the way, we have not sold our house...or not yet, anyway.
We were given a "Chinese Lucky Bamboo" plant.
Our house is for sale. Not being superstitious at all, I jokingly said to my daughter that when the next house "inspection" took place, I would put the Lucky Bamboo in a prominent position. She replied, "Hang the house keys on it", to which I just laughed. But...as the time neared for the prospective house buyers to arrive, I did place the house key (out of sight) on the Lucky Bamboo plant.
The house "lookers" said that they liked our house very much but still had another two houses to inspect. That would have happened by now.
And now a friend has suggested I kiss the Lucky Bamboo plant to ensure the luck stays! What!? Kiss a plant? But, as the people had shown genuine interest in our house and, as I am now wondering about the effect of the key placed in the Lucky Bamboo plant, I think that I must at least 'send' a kiss to the little plant before these people contact us again.
But, I'll keep you posted.
Every afternoon I take a walk in the forest and the little dog leads the way. Although she sleeps away most of the day, with only the occasional stirring for something to eat, she lets me know when it is time to walk. At nearly nine years old and, although seemingly quite lazy, can walk in the forest for a mighty long time. The scent of a rabbit or hare will send her scurrying through the undergrowth and the SIGHT of a rabbit ot hare turns her into greyhound. A surprise to see this fluffy little white creature run faster than a rabbit. (She has caught a few - baby ones they may be - but catch them she can).
I am writing part of a eulogy for a 90 year-old mountain cattleman who died last week.
He is to be buried in a coffin made from a tree from his farm.
Here’s an edited version of what I wrote.
It’s a story worth sharing. (I’ve called him “Bill” just for this blog).
Sixteen years ago, when Bill was leaving his farm in the high country, he had a big birds-eye stringy-bark tree cut down. It was milled by his mate and made ready to be Bill’s coffin.
The magnificent coffin which you see before you is the result.
It was made and has waited for Bill for 16 years.
And now its purpose is fulfilled.
But fulfilled in an even better way than many of you would know, as the ashes of Bill’s loved wife, Dorothy, who passed away 13 years ago, have also waited, in the coffin, for Bill to join her.
They are now together forever.
While a bat (actually a flying fox) electrocuted itself on an electric wire in Melbourne two days ago, creating havoc for the eastern suburbs' rail system, by mucking up the whole signal operations and making commuters on those lines spend hours longer than usual travelling on slow trains - and waiting for trains, we had our own lttle bat problem here at home.
On opening the door to call the dog in for the night, a bat - not a flyng fox, but one of those very small bats that look a little like a mouse with a wing-span - flew into our living room. For a while it hid (where, we do not know) and then it began to make the odd flying frenzy, zipping around the room at an amazing speed, before hiding again.
Well, we know bats use a sort of radar to navigate their way around, but we also know that they don't like bright lights, so we turned on all the lights and waited for it to come out of hiding.
Which it finally did and proceeded to fly in ever increasing circles, at a seemingly ever increasng speed, towards the open door, but not out of the open door.
So, there I was, with a feather duster, leaping around, flinging feathers at the bat, never managing to be anywhere near it, as it flew so fast as to be almost invisible, except for a flash of black.
Finally, the poor exhausted creature settled in a corner of a book shelf. (I, too, was exhausted by this!) I fetched a small towel,and my brave husband slowly and carefully covered the little bat with the towel and carried it outside. We watched it (happily?) fly off into the night and hoped that no neighbours were watching our feather duster dancing, flinging and leaping.
A strange "work-out" at 10:30 at night.
Here’s something to think about:
In most developed countries the “….actual prime of life is age 7; after you turn 7, your risk of dying doubles every 8 years.”
This piece of information was gained from the book, “The Thing About Life is that One Day
You’ll be Dead”, by David Shields.
Knowing that theory makes me think I must be like the cat with nine lives, to have reached the age that I have. But, what a scary thought to think that one’s risk of dying increases at such a rate.
Of course, it doesn’t mention what the death rate is for a 7 year-old, to start with.
I mean, WHAT is it that actually doubles? Is this a real theory? Or is it just a piece of fiction?
On another tack…if you are reading this, (and it’s a true fact) then be thankful that you have reached this far in your life!
Just another amazing fact to store in the recesses of your brain.
Reading an interview with an enterprising woman who had set up a restaurant in the country, she was quoted as saying (with a sigh!) that when people first came through the doors, they wanted “toasted sandwiches and Devonshire tea” and she had ..”…let me see…shiraz-glazed squab…”
I suppose that’s fine for those who want that sort of thing, But, especially out in the country, what’s nicer than a lovely fresh salad sandwich? Or something similar? Do we really need the likes of “shiraz-glazed squab”?
Saw a commercial for the next episode of “Master Chef” (I don’t watch it) which stated that the chefs were going to “re-invent the Sunday roast”. Well, sorry! The Sunday roast is popular – and has been for probably centuries by now – because people love their Sunday roast.
As it is!
Why try to “re-invent” it?
Has eating gone crazy?
These are usually quite popular items to sell on eBay, but do we call them doilies, doyleys, doylys or even d'oilies? Many different spellings are to be seen, but, as they were (supposedly) named after an 18th Century London draper by the name of Mr Doily, I guess they are doilies (plural) or a doily (singular).
However, I'm sure that some ladies in the 1940s (or thereabouts) were convinced they were of French origin and called them d'oilies. Or was that d'oyleys?
Obviously my observations on what I am reading and from where I sourced my reading matter have struck a chord with my blog readers and they have turned off. Hello? Where have you gone? So, apart from mentioning one small comment from Phillip Adams commenting on (so-called) celebrities, I will no longer speak of reading things unles they are more enlivening than the past couple of blogs.
So, to Phillip Adams, who refuses to interview "celebrities" and asks, "...does not a celebrity fart? and do poos and wees? Does not a celeb blow his/her nose...." and on he goes. I couldn't agree more. I simply "don't get" celebrities and the worship of them by the masses.
And there ends my comments on books...for now, anyway.
I am currently back on my other vice of selling things on eBay. What a great way to de-clutter! As of today, I have 12 things for sale on eBay, ranging from a Mambo T-shirt to some antique plates that had belonged to my husband's grandmother and were mouldering away under the bed. So, what to do? sell them. Good fun!
Having finished reading Phillip Adams’s "Bedtime Stories", I have chosen another book to read “in tandem” with the Oliver Sacks one. It must be very obvious by now that I enjoy true life stories, whether they be biographies, autobiographies or simply books told of true happenings. From time
to time I branch out into fiction and really enjoy it, but, for now, I am on a biographical bias.
The latest book I have chosen to read is “The Thing About Life is that One Day You’ll be Dead”, by David Shields. I think I found this book in an op shop. It looked interesting.
Here’s a sample from the first page: “This book is an autobiography of my body, a biography of my father’s body, an anatomy of our bodies together – especially my dad’s, his body, his relentless
Wish me luck!
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.