Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

#bestreads2012

I am joining John Wiswell from The Bathroom Monologues in a blog hop about our favourite reads of 2012.  Not necessarily published in 2012, just books we first read this year which for one reason or another we loved.

Regular visitors here will know that I read a lot.  And, as my side-bar will attest, I read quite a wide variety of things.  I almost always have at least two books on the go at any one time.  Usually one is fiction and the other non-fiction.  My fiction choices could come from almost any genre.  Sadly (for what it says about me) murder mysteries seem to be my comfort read of choice.  On the nights when something is churning around in my head and preventing me from sleeping, I turn to murder and mayhem for relief.

My non-fiction preferences are diaries, letters, autobiographies and some biographies (curiosity killed the cat).

In no particular order, five of my favourite books for 2012 are:

The Book of Margery Kempe:  Margery Kempe



This book is reputedly the earliest surviving autobiography in English.  Margery Kempe (c1373-c1440) could neither read nor write and dictated her story late in her life.  I am fairly certain that if she were alive today she would be considered mentally ill, and would probably be locked up for her own protection.
She went mad following the birth of the first of her fourteen children.  Religion arguably restored her reason.  She had regular conversation's with God, with Jesus, the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary.  She saw visions and heard voices.   She went on pilgrimages to Europe and the Holy Land.  Her fellow pilgrims found a woman who wailed and wept uncontrollably and flung herself to the ground in churches difficult to handle.  Which I could well understand.  One area where I thought she was not only sane but smart as a whip was her efforts (ultimately successful) to convince her husband to adopt a vow of chastity.
Not always a comfortable read - but fascinating.

The Freedom Writers Diary:  The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell


I think that teachers are under appreciated, undervalued and underpaid.  And no, I am not and never was a teacher.  This book starts with a teacher fresh out of teacher training being essentially set up to fail by being given a room full of 'unteachable, at-risk students'.    Not only was she set up to fail, so were her students.  She managed to thwart both expectations.
I found her determination and ingenuity inspirational. 

someone has to set a bad example:  an Ann Taintor collection


This was a gift from a very dear friend and arrived at a shall we say 'challenging' part of the year.  Essentially the book is pictures of women in fifties garb, plus captions.  Some of them are laugh out loud funny.  Others (medicated and motivated for example) made me wince in rueful recognition.



Walter the Farting Dog:  William Kotzwinkle and Glen Murray



This is another book that came into my life just when it was needed, in a very ugly patch indeed.  At a time when I was uncertain whether I wanted to weep or swear, laughter was a wonderful alternative.  And the pictures are wonderful too.  I bought it to give to my great-nephews, read it, and re-read it several times, chuckling all the while.  I have yet to succumb and buy my own copy - but I will.

Letters Between Six Sisters The Mitfords:  Edited by Charlotte Mosley


 I have a passion for the Mitford sisters and have read their own writing and a variety of biographies about them.

They didn't seem to understand the concept of moderation.  In anything.  One or other of the Mitfords seem to know everyone - counting among their friends Adolf Hitler, Queen Elizabeth, President Kennedy, Evelyn Waugh, Charlie Chapman, Dr Spock, Julie Andrews, and the list goes on.  They loved each other, they hated each other and they wrote to and about each other.   And they wrote well.  This was a weighty tome, coming in at nearly 1000 pages, but I devoured it.  Sadly there is now only one Mitford sister still alive, or the letters would assuredly still be exchanged to the delight of nosey voyeurs like myself.

There could have easily been more books on this list, but I decided to stop while I could, and before this became a fifteen page post.






Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sunday Selections #100

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  This is the one hundredth edition of Sunday Selections - which is quite amazing.  I have contacted Kim, and she has said that she would try and join us again today  I do hope so as her photos are always a quirky delight.

The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Like River I generally run with a theme. Earlier this week we were interrupted in our mid morning cuppa by a very, very noisy bird.  It was a baby Currawong, a bird I am fond of despite its (at least partially deserved) bad reputation.

It was sitting in the tree outside our living room window begging.  And begging.  And begging.  Its long suffering parent was giving it bits of apple.  Each bite was swallowed quickly, and the begging began again.  I am sorry that the bird's beak is partly covered in the final photo but I included it because it showed the wooliness of baby feathers.  (As always, clicking on the photos will enlarge them).




It is a remarkably unmusical bird at this stage.  And ungrateful too - its long suffering parent had given it (another) piece of apple and gone back down to get another when it flew away.

video

And, because it is after all very almost Christmas....

video






Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Thought

A little while ago I came across a pithy phrase while browsing in the blogosphere.  I cannot remember whose blog it was, so I apologise for not giving you the credit due.

At the time I chuckled ruefully, acknowledging that I was guilty of the sins it covered, and put it out of my mind.

This week between Christmas chaos and medical mayhem I have bitten off rather more than I want to chew.  And the saying came back to me (and bit me rather hard).

Don't pet the sweaty stuff, don't sweat the petty stuff.  

Sadly I do both.  I get bogged down in those bit of my life that are less than ideal, and I make a rod for my own back and beat myself mercilessly over things which really don't matter.  It is really time that I learned to let both the sweaty stuff and the petty stuff go.

Are you guilty too?


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.

The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Like River I generally run with a theme.  Earlier this week I visited Linda Starr and fell in love (all over again) with her ceramic leaves.  I started to think about the vast variety of colour, size, texture and shape that leaves come in - and this is my theme for this week.  All the leaves shown are from our garden.





















Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.

The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Like River I generally run with a theme. Today I am responding to a request from Laloofah.

A while ago I posted some photos of the devil cat (Jazz) on the fridge - one of his favourite perches.  Laloofah requested a post about the fridge - specifically about its over decorated state.  I cannot remember how long it is that people have been giving us fridge magnets.  Jazz knocks them down and destroys them at intervals, but there are still rather a lot on display.  Magnets from places we have been, magnets from places other people have been.  Cat magnets, fish magnets, bird magnets, beautiful magnets, seriously ugly magnets...  As always, clicking on the photos will enlarge them.



Just below the handle you will notice some velcro - this is part of the child proof lock we had to install when Jazz learned to open the fridge - and taught Jewel.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Another Antarctic post

Some of you will remember that some years ago after my mother's death I spent significant amounts of my inheritance on going to Antarctica.  It was probably not the most prudent decision I have ever made but it was a dream come true, I loved it and I don't regret it for an instant. 

I have recently been asked by others who have found my blog more recently whether I would repost some photos.  Of course I will - with pleasure.

I spent my three weeks away with my jaw dislocated on a daily basis as I oohed and aaahed at the wonders in front of me.  There are regulations about how close you are allowed to come to the wild-life, but no-one told them that.  I had a baby seal gumming on my knee and penguins pecking at my boots.  I was appallingly sea-sick, and it didn't matter.

And I swam there twice, on the principle of never letting a chance go by.  All these memories are things are hug to myself on dark days and darker nights.

Enough rabbiting on - the photos can speak for themselves.  Some of them I know I have posted before but I think (hope) that they will stand the repetition.

Adelie Penguin

King Penguin in its first moult




Blissed out Elephant seal


Chin-strap Penguins






King Penguin rookery - with baby King Penguins to the front


Gentoo Penguin








Magellan Penguins