Australia · books · family · history · memories · native Australian birds · new year · pets · piano · renovations

The things you find under the carpet!

Mr Magpie Lark disappeared from my garden for a while, but he’s returned for the new year.

As this is my first post for 2022, first of all, I would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. Hopefully, this will be the year that the world regains some form of normality. But let’s not talk about that.

I made a very interesting discovery yesterday which I would like to share.

Since the last of my children moved out of home (then moved back again – twice – with promises that it was definitely his last move home,) we have progressively renovated the house. Last year, the old kitchen was completely ripped out and replaced. We have also repainted rooms, replaced the old, worn carpet with wood-style planks, and installed deeper, older style skirting boards in each room.

The latest room to have a spruce up is the lounge room. Over the years when the children were little, I told them the lounge room is otherwise known as the quiet room, and they have all adhered to the rules – no boisterous playing and no food in the room. It is in this room I have French polished furniture which I bought many years ago when we lived in Sydney. It is also the room with the most bookshelves, so could also be known as the library. The antique piano lives in this room, so if anyone feels inclined to make a noise, they are welcome to play the piano, gently.

Before Christmas, we repainted the lounge room, so all the room needed was new floor coverings, and yesterday was the day the installers arrived to continue the wood-style flooring into the last living area of the house. Exciting!

The bare cement slab after the old carpet was removed.

One installer, Zac, had been to my house before, to replace the floor coverings in my office. They had only been here long enough yesterday to remove the old carpet when Zac asked, “was this house built in 1994?” I told Zac that we had built the house then and had lived here ever since. He told me he had found some newspaper under the carpet, dated March 1994.

Apparently, before real newspapers were mostly replaced by online news subscriptions, it was common practice for carpet installers to put a current piece of newspaper under the new carpet so future occupants of the house knew either when the house was built, or when the last floor coverings were laid.

Bronte checking out the new floor.

The carpets were laid throughout our house before we moved in, therefore, I hadn’t known the installers had slipped a tiny piece of history under the flooring, to be found at a later date. But of course, I insisted Zac leave our find in place!

We now have a new, tightly secured floor, except for just one plank. Zac left the fifth plank along the north-eastern wall loose. If he had glued the plank in place it would have destroyed the paper, and that just wouldn’t do!

A little piece of history.
book review · books · fiction · reading · University

Book Review

Today the weather has been dismal, all-day-long. Nothing but rain, rain, and more rain. Oh, and mist, so there’s no Mount Warning visible to take a photo of. So today, I will talk about a novel I have just finished reading – Never Let Me Go.

The first required reading for one of my Semester 1 units, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, is a novel I had never heard of, nor did I recognise the name of the author. The blurb describes the novel as being about a group of school children and “the fragility of life,” which really doesn’t give away much at all, so I read this book without having any preconceived ideas.

This morning after I’d finished reading the book, I felt quite overwhelmed by the depth of emotion Ishiguro conveyed. Never Let Me Go is not a genre of book I am usually drawn to. Even defining the genre is a challenge, but I think I will describe it as speculative dystopian sci-fi, with a twist.

Here is the review I wrote for Goodreads

“Someone who reviewed Never Let Me Go (on Goodreads) advised prospective readers to avoid reading any information or reviews on the novel, therefore they chose not to say anything about the novel’s content. Their five star rating speaks for itself.

I reiterate this reviewer’s advice. This is a novel best read from a place of relative ignorance. That’s how I read it, and discovered that once past the confusing first couple of pages at the beginning, the story unfolds beautiful as the first-person narrator, Kathy H., reveals her tale. At surface level, the story appears to describe a dystopian world, yet a message of hope can’t help but shine through the overwhelming narrative.

Never Let Me Go is an unforgettable novel containing strong themes of love, trust, hope, commitment and acceptance, a novel that will leave a lasting impression on every reader.”

This week, Never Let Me Go is the topic of discussion for one of my units, and I’m looking forward to hearing what other people who have read the novel have to say about it. And if you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.

 

 

Australia · books · clouds · farewell · fiction · memories · Mount Warning · spring · Tweed Valley

Sean Connery

Windy Monday

It isn’t often that I’m dreadfully moved to hear of the loss of a famous person. Sure, it’s always sad to hear of someone passing, I think of their family and friends, and how the loss will affect those who are left behind.

And then yesterday the news came through of the passing of Sean Connery.

During my last uni semester, one of the books we were asked to read was Dr No. I have never been a huge James Bond fan, but besides reading the book, I watched the movie for one reason only – it was in Dr No that Sean Connery first stared as James Bond.

But it was when I watched another movie, several years ago, that I became a huge Sean Connery fan. So today, I will add a short YouTube video of one of my favourite scenes from the 1986 movie Highlander.

R.I.P.

Sir Thomas Sean Connery

1930 ~ 2020

 

Australia · blessings · books · family · freedom · memories · Mount Warning · rain · reading · spring · sunset · Tweed Valley

Monday Musings

5:45am in the valley.

There were storms about last night – plural. Thunder with no rain during the afternoon, which subsided. A rain storm between around 6pm to 8pm, which also ended. Then overnight, another storm. Bowie cat, I discovered, is scared of storms and slept all night cuddled close to me.

I didn’t know what to expect in the valley this morning, but I woke to a very pretty misty fairyland scene, even if Mount Warning was hidden behind mist and clouds.

Each day since uni ended I catch up on a neglected chore, yesterday I pressure-cleaned the front veranda and part of the driveway; today I spent ironing.

Ironing is a pretty brainless task, and as anyone old-fashioned – like me – knows, whilst ironing and alone, your mind wanders off in all directions.

Today, I contemplated the risk I took in deciding to take photos and add a post to my blog every day, while I studied. It was a risk because I wasn’t completely sure I’d have time to post something every day, but I did. (Except for that one night when my sister called, and we stayed on the phone until after midnight. That was worth missing a day of posting.)

I decided to take that risk and make the committment, another committment – but an enjoyable one – which would distract me from the tunnel-vision I am prone to while studying and writing assignments. As much as I enjoy the study and writing, it drains me. I needed a distraction.

My conclusion at the end of the three month semester is that it paid off. Forcing myself to take time out each day to walk outside and take photos gave me something else to think about. It was a very worthwhile distraction. And even more rewarding has been my reconnection with blogging friends, most of whom I have known now for many years. The risk was worth the effort in many ways.

I’m not much of a risk taker though, which led to another thought. I feel content right now, I’m getting my home and garden back in order, and I am looking forward to Christmas. Through into next year, and when semester 1 of uni starts back, I will continue blogging. Decision made. But I also know I want to hold on to my peace of mind.

Here in Australia, there is a state election on Saturday. It’s not for my state, but the outcome will directly affect us as we live so close to the border. And next week, there’s the big election in the U.S., the outcome of which will have an impact on Australia. I’ve decided though, that this week, I will not listen to any news. Regardless of my opinions, the outcome of both elections will be whatever they will be, so I will save myself the agony of speculating on “what might be”. When the outcome of both elections are known, regardless of which party wins and which one loses, the world will keep on spinning.

Another thought I had was about the year – 2020 – which the multitudes seem to consider is the worst year ever. I understand why many people feel that way, but I don’t. Last year was more difficult when my husband and I had to organise aged care for his parents then sell the home they had lived in for twenty years. In 2015 my first grandchild, baby Samuel, was born, but never took a breath. The next year, baby Braxton, now aged four, was born, but we wouldn’t have Braxton if Samuel had survived. 2002 was an incredibly trying year when my husband had a serious accident and could have lost his life. He survived. I thought my world would end when my mother left me in 1993. The world kept spinning though, and her absence gave me the opportunity for the next five years to develop a closer relationship with my Dad.

My point is, life goes on. I thought a lot about that today, whilst ironing. I can’t control the world, my country, my state of residence, my town – I have no control over the actions of anyone other than myself, and it is my responsibility to be the best version of myself that I can be.

Making that decision feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I think also that if I stay away from watching television this week, I will get a lot more reading done. 🙂

Husband and I have been planning a renovation of my kitchen, so tonight he called me into the kitchen to discuss the height my new rangehood should be installed at. The discussion had to wait though. I looked out the window, and after all the rain, and storms, and mist we have had, look at the sunset sky! ❤

Australia · books · in my garden · Mount Warning · pets · reading · spring · subtropical weather · Tweed Valley

A Happy Garden and a Day Spent Indoors

Not a happy gardener, because it’s too wet for me to do any gardening today. My garden is extremely happy though, due to a good, solid soaking of rain that has hardly let up all day.

When I saw a magpie, a currawong, and two kookaburras outside my kitchen window this morning, my first thought was one of amusement – they are social distancing! Then I thought, but this is the way birds always act. They never get into each other’s space, they wait patiently, distanced from one another. No, not social distancing at all. I believe birds understand – they have always known – that they each need their own “personal space”.

There’s nothing to see today where the mountain can usually be seen sitting in all her splendour. Nothing but mist and rain. I took all of my outdoors photos today from either inside, or standing on my back veranda. It’s too wet to venture any further.

I have spent most of today indoors, sorting through masses of papers which have littered my desk for the past three months while I have been engrosed in uni study and assignments. I plonked a grey blanket on top of my sewing table a few weeks ago, and Miss Tibbs seems so happy with it being there that I haven’t had the heart to move it. Now, she sleeps on the blanket, and when she’s not sleeping she’s kneading the blanket! That’s why one of her paws is blurred in the photo – up and down her little paws went, kneading away as happy as could be.

I’m pretty happy too – just look at my desk-top! No really, look at it, because you can! And I can too! This is a rare event! I usually have so many piles of this, that and the other on my desk, but today they have either been thrown in the recycle bin, or put away where they belong. Bliss! ❤

I have another blissful sight to share too – a pile of books that I have been collecting over the past months of uni. I’m reading two book now, and will work my way through these, and others, during the next few months.

In another week’s time, I think I might have my life sorted and back in order. 🙂