Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 28, 2011

Tuesday, 27th December 2011 – a couple of ‘Christmas gift’ books opened up!!

With Christmas Day falling on Sunday, an additional public holiday was allocated for today, not that it means a great deal of difference to my routine, now being retired. After a reasonable sleep following last night’s program, I woke at 8am, and was pleased to hear that one of our regular weekday presenters was on air this morning, Christine with her program. In the meantime, I completed one of the books I was given on Christmas Day – from Jodie and Ash, it was a collection of short, easy to read fictional stories by popular Australian author, Rachael Treasure, whose novels seem to be based around Australian farming people, horses, etc, with a strong romantic aspect to the storylines. This collection went under the title of ‘The Girl and the Ghost-Grey Mare’ [which was in fact the first short story in the book] While in general, the stories provide quick and easy reading, and were broadly interesting, of the 19 separate tales, I actually only found about three of them really inspired me in any way and/or created much in the way of an emotional response. The cover described the author as Australia’s favourite rural story teller – perhaps true, and maybe I should read one of her complete novels before I pass complete judgement [there are four of them, and they have been good sellers – I asked for this particular book as I thought it might be a good introduction to her writings.

 If the couple of stories I read and enjoyed are an indication, yes, perhaps the praise is justified, and certainly the description that the book ‘features stories full of warmth and heart and humour, and with characters as diverse and colourful as the Australian countryside itself’ is an accurate depiction.  I just didn’t walk away with the usual warm feeling that ‘I want to keep reading this author’! One day when I feel like another quick and light read, I might try one of her four novels!!

In the cricket, just before today’s scheduled lunch break, Australia were all out for 333 runs, thanks to another good effort by our tailenders, the bowlers!!  By stumps, the Indians had batted themselves into a strong position at 4 down for 214.

I’m reading another book at present [which was in fact a present – from Jodie & Ash] named ‘Worse Things Happen at Sea’ and written jointly by husband and wife team William McInnes [Australian stage and screen actor, and author] and Sarah Watt [AFI filmmaker, photographer & animator], and published a few months ago  –  described as ‘Tales of life, love, family and the everyday beauty in between’.  This book celebrates the wonderful, messy, haphazard things in life — bringing home babies from hospital, being a friend, a parent, son or daughter, and dog obedience classes. It’s about living for twenty years in the family home, raising children there, chasing angry rabbits around the backyard, renovations that never end. It is also about understanding that sometimes you have to say goodbye; that is part of life too. It’s illustrated throughout with Sarah Watt’s photographs of family life and beautiful, everyday objects.  On the back cover of the book, each has the following to say.

‘I don’t think anyone really understands that idea [that the fun begins] until you do give up a part of yourself to another person or people. It’s not even about having children or a family or even having a long-term relationship. It is simply about sharing yourself with people’ [William McInnes]

‘William and I have been living together for more than two decades in the same house. In that time we have been growing happiness in the same measure as collecting grief’ [Sarah Watt].

Sadly, Sarah Watt died from cancer, at the age of 53, in November, a few months after the book was published.  The family published a tribute in The Age newspaper, saying she “died peacefully at home filled with the love she gave to those who adored her – her family”.  “A life of courage humour, intelligence, generosity, honesty and grace.”  She is best known for her feature films Look Both Ways, and My Year Without Sex, which combined her distinctive animation style with live action film.  Watt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and secondary bone cancer in 2009.  So when the book was being written, and then published, the authors must have been well aware, the time was running out for Sarah.  I shall return later to comment on my view of the book – expect to finish it in a day or so. Meantime, I am enjoying the read, because it is much in liking to my own style of ‘biographical’ writing, though of course at a much more elevated professional level. I read a few more pages in bed tonight – went there much earlier than usual, feeling unwell, but not really sure why. Restless for a few hours, for that reason, but later slept for a few hours with an early start due, next morning.  

Another ‘book’ I’m trying to gain something from is a ‘Diabetes Cookbook’.  I want to improve the food I’m preparing, mostly for myself these days, with Susan seldom home, and in this particular book, there are over 250 recipes for all meals of the day. But everything has to be so damn complicated, or involve a range of ingredients, half of which I’ve never heard of!! It so often just seems so much effort to go, simply to prepare a meal or two for myself.  In the end, I gave up trying top prepare a soup from the book – went out this evening and brought a few extra vegetables, etc, to add to what I already had in the house, and prepared one of Bill’s ‘famous’ home made vegetable soups.  I honestly believe that will prove just as beneficial  to my health without the addition of the various extra ‘exotic’ items that the book recipes want me to include, and it will provide for at least two meals over the next day or so!  Just about cooked as I type – will allow it to simmer and breathe  for a while, before  adjourning it to the fridge, for tomorrow’s tasting!!




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