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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Another Post!

I want to come back as a cat who has an owner like me...

one who spoils me rotten, lets me sleep on the bed whenever I want and also allows me to rule the roost!.

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I've finally hung a couple of prints that I've had for quite some time.  I'd asked the complex manager if I could hang them and he consented but suggested using hooks that stick to the walls and can be removed without damaging the paint work.  Unfortunately, it's taken me all this time to remember to buy these!  They are now hung rather than taking up room on the dressing table inn my bedroom.

There's a bit of story as to how I came by these prints. When I was working in the eye clinic, some years ago the practice manager had one of his redecorating urges and decided to replace all the pictures around the waiting rooms and in the specialists' offices.  I came across these ones and was immediately taken with them.

I went to see Peter, the practice manager, and asked him what he was going to do with them.

"Throw them out!  Why, do you want them?"

"Ooh, yes please!"

"Help yourself.  It saves me having to get rid of them."

I was delighted and hurriedly took the two prints back to my office.  I showed my colleague who then asked me if there were more to be thrown out.  Upon hearing my "yes", she rushed out, coming back a little later with three that had appealed to her.  We were so pleased with ourselves.

These are numbered prints painted by Kenneth Jack.  The one on the left is in acrylic of a derelict farmhouse in Tatong, Victoria and the other is mixed media of a street scene in Rochester, also in Victoria.

I love Australian paintings and my favourite artist is Darcy Doyle whose paintings are so evocative of life in the country during the 50s and 60s or thereabouts...and he paints the flowering jacarandas so well.

I was at a young friend's place for a barbecue some years ago and noticed she had a small framed print of his.  I commented how much I like Doyle's paintings and my friend agreed with me then casually announced she had the original in the bank!   I nearly fell over as his paintings are extremely popular and not cheap to buy.  Her parents had bought the original for her as an investment when she was born.  Since Darcy Doyle's death not so long ago, my young friend now has an extremely healthy legacy sitting in the bank!

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Book Review:

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do, Allen & Unwin 2010

I bought this book when it first came out and a couple of days ago felt compelled to re-read it.

For those outside of Australia, Anh Do is one of our most loved comedians and tv presenter. His parents fled Vietnam, arriving here when he was two years old and this story tells of their harrowing journey.  They were attacked twice by pirates, almost lost their lives in a storm and survived starvation and thirst after their meagre provisions were washed overboard.

Anh tells of growing up in the suburbs of Sydney and of his parents' wonderment and gratitude of life in Australia compared with Vietnam.  Told in Anh's inimitable way, this book will make you laugh out loud, cry and shake your head in amazement at the humility and fortitude portrayed throughout.  It's one of the most inspirational stories I've read, underlining once again the strength of the human spirit against almost impossible odds.

What I love about this memoir is that Anh Do writes the way he talks.  I watch anything on tv that he's either in or presenting and can hear him speaking as I read.  To me, that is the mark of a great storyteller and it's apparent Australia thinks so, too, as his book has won several awards.  It's available on Amazon for Kindle download at $A14.24 if you're interested in reading Anh's story.

I have another friend who was also a refugee from of the "boat people" as they were called then.  I recall commenting to Son (pronounced "Shahn") that it must have been terrible growing up in a war zone.

Her reply, "We didn't know any different" shocked me to the core and I realised then how lucky we were to grow up in a country not torn apart by conflict, able to be safe wherever we went and not have to worry about where our next meal was coming from.  I also felt ashamed of my complacency and of taking so much for granted when there are others, even today, suffering as we've never known.  It made me think...

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Wow! Two posts in a week...that has to be some sort of record for me nowadays, unlike several years ago before I got into Facebook!

I've just had a phone call from a close friend inviting me for coffee and cake.  What a lovely surprise for a beautiful Sunday!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Cheers!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Here Comes the Sun, Also Bushfires, Drought, Storms and Cyclones...and Poetry Writing

If you're thinking, from the above heading, that Australia's weather is'd be right! It's spring at the moment and that means bushfires, continuing drought inland and very little rain.  Summer brings humidity, storms and cyclones...and continuing drought inland if the monsoon rains only stay around the coastal areas.  It's a harsh climate, unpredictable in its severity but I, and most of my fellow countrymen, love Australia regardless.

The pictures below were taken about 9 am yesterday morning.  I'd gone for my walk a little earlier as storms were predicted for late morning.

 Above:  No clouds let alone a sign of any storm.

Yep, I actually wet my feet and the water was surprisingly the shallows!

I also wriggled my toes in the warm sand and it felt so good!

One of the large old casuarina or she-oaks lining the shore...welcome shade in the heat of summer.

As for the storms...I heard thunder in the evening, there were a few spits of rain and that was it for where I live.  They were small scattered cells and pretty localised to a few select suburbs on the coast.

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Our next writer's meeting is on 27 September and we were asked to submit a poem. Nerida, our wonderful facilitator and leader, likes to give us various genres of writing to keep us on our toes!

One example of this was last year's anthology entitled "Hauntings: Dark Tales of Truth and Trickery".  I don't write horror and don't really like reading it either.  Fortunately, we were given leeway in that our attempts didn't have to be true horror but could be fantasy, whimsy, humour and even true tales from strange events we may have experienced.  

And so to poetry.  I'm not a poet...unless it's a naughty limerick.  "There was a young lass from Nantucket"...on second thoughts, maybe not.  I put it off and put it off...procaffinating as one wit on Facebook called it.  Procrastinating while drinking coffee...very apt in my case.

During the weekend I put my newly acquired poet's cap on and set to work.  I was mildly pleased with the result...a poem about writing a poem!   I'll put it in a post after the meeting and you can let me know what you think.

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To more mundane things.  I emptied my freezer.  I do that my frozen meals and other supplies down before refilling so I don't have food stored for months on end. Of course, that means I have to defrost and clean it.  Fortunately, it's only a small chest freezer which fits nicely under the bench...big enough, plus the freezer in the fridge, for my needs.  

Anyway, it's all defrosted and clean ready for my new supplies of meat which I'll pick up this afternoon.  I feel quite virtuous now.

On that note, I shall end.  I hope your week is not too arduous and that you have something nice planned for your weekend.