Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Ya Readin': On Books Read (Lately)

I wanted to do a separate post on some books I have read and am currently reading, but seem to have run out of time. So, I shall be succint. Just before I left Sydney I read Northanger Abbey. Loved it. My favourite Jane Austen. I think it has one of the most brilliantly witty novel endings ever!

I am currently reading "The Victorian House" which is a very well written history of how the Victorians ran their houses. I also have "The Welsh Girl" on the go, I believe it was nominated for the Booker last year. I can see why, as it is on an interesting subject - German POWs in Wales in WW2- and written from several perspectives. Worth a go.

Finally, I have just started the latest Phryne Fisher mystery "Murder on A Midsummer Night" - it is up to Kerry Greenwood's usual standard. I saw it on the 3 for 2 at Borders about 10 days ago but managed sufficient self-will not to purchase it immediately. I finally succumbed yesterday when I was in town. I should have bought it the first day as I know resistance to Kerry Greenwood novels is futile. I love the Phryne Fisher character too much. Who could resist a titled Lady Detective investigating 1920s Melbourne mysteries!

On Checking In

Well I just thought it would be worthwhile checking in and letting everyone know what has been happening for me - I haven't had access to the internet for a while.

I finished up at my job in Sydney last Wednesday. On Thursday the removalists came and packed up all our belongings, and on Friday the boxes and furniture were packed into containers and we waved farewell to all our wordly goods for the next three months. We will next see them when we move into our Melbourne home in early February. Fortunately I have already secured a position in Melbourne so I don't have the 'no job' problem looming over me.

Friday night we flew out to Perth to spend a week with my parents. We brought the dogs with us, as they will be cared for by my parents while we are in Europe. Abby and Monty seem to be settling in reasonably well, though their arrival has been slightly traumatic for my parents' elderly dog and cat. I can not believe how much my dog Bella has aged since I last saw her. But then I recall she arrived when I was thirteen so is now almost 12 years old. We have enjoyed having a week in Perth to catch up with family and friends. Coming home always reminds us how far away we are on the East Coast.

I can't believe we fly back to Sydney tomorrow, and then leave for Europe on Saturday. The week (and year) has just flown by. We fly into Germany on Sunday. We are starting our trip in Frankfurt, then visiting Heidelberg, Wurzberg, Nuremberg and Munich. We then go to Austria where we will visit Salzberg and Vienna. Next to the Czech Republic for Cesky Krumlov and Prague. We then return to Germany to visit Dresden and Berlin. I can't wait.

After our central Europe experience we are off to England to spend Christmas with DH's parents just outside London. Then the whole family is going to Turkey - Istanbul and Gallipoli. We then have about 10 days to spend in England - mostly with relatives.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On the Weekend

We have had a really hectic weekend. On Saturday we went into the city to see an exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW. Monet and the Impressionists is on tour from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I love impressionist art and I thought the exhibition was excellent. After that we popped into the Lindt chocolate shop for truffles and then on to Marmak for lunch. Marmak is a favourite city cafe which specialises in malaysian street food. As usual our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we coudn't eat all we ordered. We spent the afternoon window shopping in the many city travel and camping shops trying to decide what we need to buy for our upcoming Europe trip.

Saturday night we went to our annual church quiz night. The night is to raise funds for our church's extensive youth programmes. We did really well, with our table finishing third. Only 5 points behind the lead. We were particularly pleased with our performance given that the age spread at ours was just early to mid-twenties.

Sunday was another busy day. We went back to the city to actually do our travel purchasing. DH got some really nice polar fleeces and a large day-pack. What gets me is that the men actually have much more choice in travel gear than women do. I got one polar fleece, a couple of fine merino jumpers and some solid walking shoes. When we got home the two little girls next door came for a visit with the dogs. We didn't end up getting lunch until 4pm! We capped the weekend off with church in the evening.

Last night we went to a Services reception at Government House. It was a very swish affair and we were very pleased to be invited. I certainly wouldn't mind being the Governor one day as Government House is in the middle of the Botanic Gardens and just gorgeous. DH was one of the more junior officers there but we managed to find some of his navy colleagues from ADFA to chat to.

I am off for a residential management course for the rest of this week so will be unlikely to be able to post until the weekend. So, hope you all have a great week and shall check in soon!

Friday, November 7, 2008

What Ya Readin': Trying Things Twice

I have been reading Jan Struther's Try Anything Twice. You may know Jan Struther from her famous novel Mrs Miniver - made into a movie of the same name. Or, as I do, from the well known hymn "When a Knight Won His Spurs". I love the Libera version of it, and you can see and hear it on Youtube.

Try Anything Twice is a collection of essays. So many have captured my imagination but "Ainsworth-Zazoulian" has to be a favourite. I am very much a list person. I write them, revise them and make lists of my lists. Each morning I make my daily 'to do' list at work, and towards the end of the day make my "to do" list for the evening. "Ainsworth-Zazoulian" is about Jan Struther's re-writing of her address book. It starts off with a wonderful ode to list writers.

"There are people who never make lists, relying upon their memories or upon their friends' reminders; there are people who do make lists, but grudgingly and without relish, as a means to an end, like a Puritan making love; and there are people to whom making lists is an end in itself, a pure, abstract and never-failing delight.

To the third class I am happy, though not particularly proud, to belong. Not proud, because I know only too well that the habit of list-making, carried to excess, can waste a lot of time: many is the letter I might have written if I had not first made a list of the letters I intended to write. Happy, because - unlike most pastimes - it is cheap, harmless to other people, and independent of your age or your income. When I was eight I made lists of all my toys, of all the cooks we had ever had, of all the plays I had ever been to - not counting pantomimes, which I scorned - and of all the languages I claimed to know (the last was a longish one, because a single word of each was enough to count, and I had a good many uncles in foreign parts); and when I am eighty, no doubt, I shall still be at it, making grim little lists of all the things I meant to learn and all the places I never went to see.

As a day with a dry-fly on the Kennet is to a fisherman, so to a list-maker is the moment, all too seldom recurring, when he feels justified in treating himself to a new address-book. Address-book-making is the pinnacle, the fine fleur, of the listmaker's art. For one thing, it is not a flimsy, ephemeral affair, like a shopping-list, no sooner made than it begins to be marred by smug ticks or triumphant crossings-out: an address-book is a permanent masterpiece, to be superseded perhaps, in a year or two's time, but never, if you have any proper feeling, thrown away."

Well, I must away I have a book to add to my read book list!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

On Tins

Well, it has been an interesting week.

A new President of the United States...

And, a stress fracture in the foot for me! I spent yesterday afternoon at the local hospital having a bone scan done. A fascinating process in itself. But, the end result was the diagnosis of a stress fracture in my second metatarsil (sp!) - for those that are as unfamiliar with anatomy as me, that is the bone coming up from the toe next to my big toe. The prognosis is good. Just 6 weeks of more dancing or lunchtime walks for me. Hopefully it heals by the time we go to Europe in 3 weeks time.

In other news.... the staff shop at work stocks Crabtree and Evelyn products. I wandered in there today and saw some lovely tins containing christmas treats. I loved the boxes so I contacted my husband and asked him if he would mind me purchasing a couple of them because I would love to have them as biscuit and tea tins. I wasn't so interested in their contents.

He agreed. I am sure you will all think they are lovely too!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On Ironing

I quite enjoy ironing. It is all about having the right frame of mind. It can be quite theraputic if the pile is not too large, you are not rushed and you have a good movie or TV show on. Sadly, have found that Gilmore Girls (my all time favourite TV show) doesn't work for this. The character speak too fast to catch all the dialogue if you are focussed on getting a particular crease out. TV shows that I have found do work well though are Spooks, Midsommer Murders and Army Wives (a new favourite). Listening to music, a radio interview or an audio book also increase the enjoyment factor. Unfortunately, I am yet to find a way to read a book and iron at the same time.

I am quite fastidious about things being ironed. There are five items which I insist on being ironed which my husband thinks I am nuts for even putting near the heat - pillow cases, tea towels, hankerchiefs, nightwear and around-the-house clothes. Consequently, I have to do them all, both his and mine, myself. At least they are all quick and easy to press.

A couple of weekends ago we went to our local fair and there was a lady selling handmade ironing board covers. I fell in love with one. My darling husband agreed to let me get it. It has dancing . costumes on the outside, is padded and lined with pink gingham and, is making ironing even more enjoyable!

For those who might be concerned. We actually have two ironing boards - this is a military family after all. My husband will continue to do his ironing on the one with the plain, blue cover!