Monthly Archives: March 2013

A walk into town

I’m preparing for our overseas holiday. Purchased a nice little camera that can send pics to my tablet. That’s because we’re traveling light – no laptops. So this morning I decided to walk into town and play tourist. It’s about 3.5 kilometres from home to town with lovely coffee shops at the end and I can always get a lift home.
So this is my post done without any wires or computer.

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This is pretty much what it looks like from home to town.

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And here is the little town.

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Here’s John my ride home

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Funky Fungi

So, been reading some blogs from the other side of the planet where they’re a bit over winter and looking forward to summer. So were we about 6 months ago, but we had no idea what sort of summer the planet was about to give us. It was not much fun – scorching heat, torrential rain, killer winds, bushfires, floods and so on and on. I’d like to ask Nature for my money back or a replacement summer at the very least. (Actually, I’m taking the Responsible Adult on a 4 week holiday to Asia soon, so we’ll have a second crack at summer there)

 

My observations in the paddock during summer have shown that plants are a bit confused by all this weird weather. Plants can’t work out whether to grow, run to seed or what to do. Some trees I planted made heaps of leaf growth at the expense of root growth. They looked good, but failed to survive the wind and rain. Others started to make flowers then dropped them before they were properly formed.

Among all this weirdness we get to see some pretty funky fungi. I happen to know very little about fungi as I once worked with a fungi expert who gave me a peek into this world. That peek was enough to let me know that it is a big subject. Anyway, here’s one we don’t get often – I’ve only seen it once before and I thought it worth sharing.

I’d be happy to slice it, fry it in butter and serve on toast, but I’m not convinced you would survive the eating of it.

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John Irving A Widow for One Year

The worst thing about reading a John Irving novel is that you know there is one less to look forward to.

This is a love story. The first quarter of the book could be a stand alone short novel. Typically, Irving has stories within stories and plenty of coincidences – (who would have thought that a Dutch policeman would happen to be a fan of 4 separate American authors who happen feature in the novel). The narrative gives its usual predictive hints of whats to come, and we end up with a sprawling tale of some complexity. But don’t let that put you off – you’re in the hands of a master story teller at the top of his game and the novel never becomes confusing. 

 

Some frustration arises with unexplained character actions – one witnesses a murder which does not have a profound effect on her – one suicides but we aren’t quite sure why – the lovers stay apart and alone for 37 years. But the writing is clear, humorous and the characters are quirky and outspoken which makes this a great read.

I think the quote should come from the lovestruck younger man:

“I try to see the whole woman,’ Eddie said to Hannah. ‘Of course I recognize that she’s old, but there are photographs – or the equivalent of photographs in one’s imagination of anyone’s life. A whole life, I mean. I can picture her when she was much younger than I am – because there are always gestures and expressions that are ingrained, ageless. An old woman doesn’t see herself as an old woman, and neither do I. I try to see her her whole life in her. There’s something so moving about someone’s whole life.”

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Boingaroo in the paddock

The wallaby family popped over for a visit the other day which is great. Last time I saw one in the paddock, its poor tail was in the jaws of the neighbours bloody dog. The dog let go of the poor old thing before I managed to get within booting distance. Otherwise that dog would have had extremely sore testicles.

Anyway, it’s nice that they’re back. Not being an expert, I would guess that these are red necked pademelons (the red fur on their neck being a giveaway) This is a species that generally like to hang out in rainforests. With all the rain we’ve had there is plenty of grass to spare and they do look rather pretty so welcome wallabies hope you stay awhile.

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The great Date Roll disaster

Woke up feeling blah. Had breakfast and fell asleep again. Woke up again still feeling blah. Decided to make date roll. Followed my recipe precisely. Stuffed it all in the tin, then into a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Date Roll exploded. Double check of recipe revealed quantity was for two Date Rolls. Oh silly me. Moral of the story: if you are feeling blah then forget cooking – go to a nice little cafe.

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Here’s the mix – all good at this stage

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Into the tin – no sign of the impending disaster.

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Aaaargh!!!!

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Got a couple of nice slices – still tastes good

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Justin Cronin The Twelve

I heard this guy being interviewed a few years ago. He had published a couple of literary works and recounted being asked by his daughter to write a vampire novel. He did – a novel called The Passage, which was to be the first book in a trilogy. The Passage was a big hit and movie rights have been taken for it. You don’t have to have read The Passage to read The Twelve, but you may wish you had.

Now if you like your vampires to look like brooding young English guys, this may not appeal. Cronin’s creatures are monsters – really nasty monsters. The novel perhaps borrows from the zombie genre as most of the population of America is either dead or converted; the story is about survival for the small remaining human population. Both novels move nicely through time from the period just before Zero day to around 100 years after. The books feel quite epic in scale with well drawn characters that attract the readers sympathy. Cronin can be quite ruthless with his characters. This adds to the suspense as the reader cannot assume that their characters will make it to the end of the novel.

For me, both The Passage and The Twelve are ripping yarns told really really well. I was totally engrossed and stayed up way past my bedtime enjoying reading a nice bit of extremely well written horror.

Here’s a quote: “Kittridge closed his eyes. So, the end. It would happen instantaneously, a painless departure, quicker than thought. he felt the presence of his body one last time: the taste of air in his lungs, the blood surging in his veins, the drumlike beating of his heart. The bomb was dropping toward them.
“I’ve got you,” he said, hugging Tim fiercely; and again, over and over, so that the boy would be hearing these words. “I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I’ve got you.”

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