Apologies for the ultra-boring blog of yesterday. I now realise that a list of book titles is not the most interesting of reads. As mentioned, though, I have included in this blog a pic of the current two books I am reading. "The Mind's Eye", by Oliver Sacks, eloquently relates yet another series of studies of unusual, interesting and (often) amazing neurological disorders, giving each a personal touch.
On the other hand, the "Bedtime Stories" offered by Phillip Adams, although also giving insight into people's personalities and foibles, has an extremely wide ranging subject base.
Here's a small portion of one encounter:
Phillip had invited the singer/actress, Julie Covington to be his guest on (the radio show) ‘Late Night Live’. He was totally flummoxed when Ms Covington flatly refused to join in any conversation he tried to initiate and answered not one question. To Phillip’s dismay, asking about her film career was met by… “A stony silence, reminiscent of limestone. I asked her about her role in and as Evita. An even stonier silence, now evoking solid granite. Further responses elicited the igneous, the sedimentary and the metamorphic. Little wonder our brief time together felt like a vast stretch of geological time.....” Poor Phillip. (He never discovered why he was treated that way).
My book pile
After reading an excellent new blog by Caroline (in U.K.), (www.bookword.co.uk) where she shared notes on books in her book pile and how she came by them, I was reminded about one of the reasons I began this blog - and it was to talk about books I was reading. So, here, pictured, is MY current book pile.
Having just been on holidays, I have not only read more books than usual, but have accrued quite a few more as well. Holiday reading included the two John Grogan books: "Marley and Me" and "The Longest Trip Home". Easy and relaxing reads, both bought for me by my son (in UK, where books are cheaper!). Then I read Robert Drew's "Monte Bello", which I had given to my son..
Browsing in a second-hand book shop in Queensland (where I was holidaying) I found a copy of Debra Byrne's memoir, "Not Quite Ripe", which was an interesting, though worrying book to read - and I praise her courage for writing it. I have started on the two books given to me by my daughter. They are "Law, Love and Life" by Michael Kirby (love him!) and "The Lady and the Peacock", Peter Popham's book on Aung San Suu Kyi. Both of these are fairly heavy books (in more ways than one) and I have decided to wait until the holiday spirit has left me before I get "stuck into them", and really appreciate some excellent and informative works.
Currently, I am reading (as usual, two books at a time!) Oliver Sacks's, "The Mind's Eye" (I enjoyed "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat") and Phillip Adams's "Bedtime Stories", tales from his time as broadcaster of "Late Night Live".
These two books do not appear in the pic. of my book pile as they were hiding on a side table by my reading chair. I will put a pic. of those in my next blog, where I will continue to disclose what else is in my current pile of books and even how they came to be there.
PS: I cannot imagine what life would be like without a couple of (commodious) book shelves and a "pile of books" - and yet I am only too aware of houses that have neither.
The fire that didn't arrive.
The sky was black, then yellow; the sun a strange coloured spot in the sky and bush fires were about 30 kilometres away. Warnings on the radio told us to prepare. We had to decide whether to “stay and defend” our home or to leave for safer ground.
We chose to stay.
All dry leaves and sticks were raked from the yard. Containers of water were placed around the perimeter of our house. Two heavy ‘beaters’ were made of strips cut from an old woollen rug fixed to short wooden poles. (These would be used – wet – to beat out any live embers that dared to land near us).
Valuables were gathered together in an overnight bag and placed by a door.
Disposable nappies were put ready to block downpipes for when the spouting was filled with water – a chore aimed for a bit closer to danger time.
We examined our house, caravan and sheds to see the best places to be, should the worst happen and the house start to burn.
We knew that it was radiant heat that could kill us rather than actual flames and that we needed a solid wall between us and the horrendous heat (should it come), so we chose the hand-built rock shed as our place of last resort.
We discussed the use of woollen blankets to cover us and the ability to lie on the damp paved floor of the shed, if (heaven forbid) we found ourselves having to shelter there.
The radio bulletin informed us that the danger would come when the wind changed - and that wind change was predicted to arrive very early the next morning. It was a sleepless night as we listened for any sign of a severe wind approaching.
The day dawned cool and grey. Even the smoke of the previous day had seemingly disappeared.
We breathed a sigh of relief and yet weren’t able to relax completely until later on in the day when we could see that the weather would not be hot and windy as we had expected. And, then, up in the hills, where the fire was still raging, raindrops began to fall.
But summer is far from over and we will not forget our plans.
Pawpaws have gender?
Was intrigued by the advertising of a "red female" pawpaw. Had no idea there were male & female varieties of the fruit. Searched the Internet and was still none the wiser. It seems there are both male and female plants, but, as for the actual fruit? I don't know about that.
Here's what I found in a gardening advice column:
"For a successful crop, ensure you have a bisexual tree or otherwise you’ll need
to grow both male and female trees. It’s impossible to tell the sex of a plant until the tree starts to flower, so plant multiple seeds".
Really? All very intriguing!
Do you notice anything odd about this sign? Someone has gone to the trouble of putting the professional looking "Aussie Mangoes" wording and then messed up the rest of the sign. Is it just ambiguous - stressing the '4' as 'FOUR' or is it a misspelling of 'for' as in 'four for $5'?.
Who would know? Anyway, a bit of fun to relieve the pressure of waiting to see how, where and when the latest bush fires will pop up.
BTW, the mangoes were in a market in Queensland.
Fire in the sky
Yesterday I was raving on about the beauty of Australian trees and today I am wondering just how many thousands of them have burnt beyond redemption. This photo is the scene from our front yard at midday today, looking towards the fires that are burning out of control. So far 440 thousand hectares have gone up in smoke. Several houses have been burnt to the ground and one man has lost his life. Yes, the trees are beautiful, but the land is dry almost beyond imagining and the threat of more fires to come is very real. The trees might survive but will take many years to be beautiful again. But we are safe...for now, anyway.
And some people are still saying that there is no such thing as global warming? Come on!
A favourite tree
As I travel up and down the east coast of Australia, I am often filled with wonder at the beauty of Australian trees. This is one of my favourites, that we see when stopping off for lunch in a park. I love to gaze at the smoothness of its trunk; devoid of bark and silhouetted against a perfect blue sky it is so beautiful.
And now I am wondering if I will see it many more times, as the trips up north and back again may hopefully be dwindling due to the fact that we have had a potential buyer for our house visit today. If this person decides to buy our house, then we will, one day, travel north and settle there. But I will still try to visit this, my favourite tree.
Faulty Towers in Gippsland?
On the long drive home from our holiday, we stopped at an inviting-looking country
café/restaurant to indulge in a last “holiday mood” bought lunch. On walking inside to inspect the ‘menu board’, we found, displayed amongst other lunch ‘suggestions’, “Sandwiches, with choice
of three fillings”and an “Avocado and salad wrap”.
I asked the woman behind the counter if I could please have a salad sandwich.“No, sorry, we don’t make those,” was the answer. I pointed to the “Sandwiches with choice of three
fillings” sign and asked if that might include salad. “No”, said the woman, “We don’t do salad sandwiches, but you can have an avocado and salad wrap”.
Noting that the wrap was more expensive than the (mythical) sandwiches, I asked if I might have, in a sandwich, what was in the wrap. “Oh, you’d get exactly the same in a sandwich as what’s in the wrap”, was the reply. “Well, then”, I said, “Could I please have a salad sandwich?” “No”, said the woman, “We don’t do salad sandwiches”, and looked at me as if I (the ever-so-slightly demented) customer was asking for something utterly impossible. My confused silence, followed by one last ditch effort at requesting a salad sandwich was met by a withering glance and a repeated, “We don’t do salad sandwiches”.
So I settled for a wrap, as I couldn’t be bothered with any more Monty Pythonesque discussion. Though I have to admit I did glance around for a hidden camera focussed on me. Sadly, there
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.