Australia · Changes · family · gardening · grandchildren · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · Tweed Valley · winter

Approaching the middle of winter

It’s a glorious time of year in the subtropics! Each night is cool enough to warm the house with our fireplace, I can wear cosy winter clothes for a few weeks, and on Monday I spent the whole day gardening without breaking out in a sweat at all.

Today we had our third day of rain for the week, so gardening has been put on hold. It wasn’t too difficult to stay indoors to keep dry and warm though. The valley – and most of our garden – has been hidden by mist all day, so todays photo of Mount Warning is one I took last week.

It had been overcast weather all day, then as nightfall approached, in the distance, beyond the mountain and grey sky, a strip of light sky appeared. It was a stunning sight, and something a bit different to our usual sunsets.

“Life” has taken up more of my time than usual recently. What with final university assignment writing at the end of semester 1, and various family events, my blogging, and visiting blogger friends’ sites had to be put on hold. Also, my son, daughter-in-law and two of my grandsons have moved in recently. They sold their home, put a deposit on a new home, but when the building report on their prospective new home wasn’t up to par, they pulled out of the sale.

Meanwhile, houses in our area are in high demand. With more people buying than selling, house prices are on the rise, and Covid 19 is the culprit. People are selling up and leaving the capital cities, where covid “lock-downs” have become a regular occurance. Many people are relocating to areas such as ours where we have been virtually covid-free from the beginning of the pandemic, searching for freedom.

The changing market has forced many locals into a similar situation, so they simply have to be patient. The right house will become available for my son and his family eventually. In the meantime, I can enjoy grandson-cuddles every single day, which isn’t a bad thing at all! ❤

I have one last photo for today of a pair of kookaburras, taken last month, looking at something that obviously caught their eye. They are gorgeous characters, these birds. 🙂

Hopefully by tomorrow, the weather will have cleared and I will see the mountain again!

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 · gardening · Mount Warning · photography · Tweed Valley · winter

Cane Fires at Dusk

I spent some time in the garden today, weeding a few flower beds, as well as reading some more of a lengthy novel for one of my university units. It was easy completing the set tasks this week, being the first week of semester. Next week I expect will be more challenging, but as long as I don’t get behind in my weekly work the semester won’t be too difficult to keep up with.

Taking photos every day of Mount Warning will force me to take some time away from study during the next few months. I know from past experience that while it’s temping to keep plugging away at tasks, especially when assignments are due, I am far more productive if I take a break. Keeping a daily photographic journal will force me to take at least one break every day.

It’s worth taking some time out to admire the valley every day at this time of year because there are so many fires now down in the cane fields of the Tweed Valley. Today there were several cane fires, with plumes of smoke billowing then receding throughout the day.  Then later in the day, just before dusk, I heard the crackling of a fire starting close to home. Just past the rear boundary of our land the earth drops away suddenly into the valley, so I knew I would have difficulty seeing the flames of the fire with it being just beyond the drop. But just before nightfall I did catch a tiny glimpse of the flames glowing amid the foliage of some trees, which can be seen – taken on full zoom of my camera – between the trunks of two tall palm trees.

Seven minutes later, at sunset, the smoke had dissipated slightly. The sky lit up in pinkish-orange tones and frustratingly, as usual, my camera did not duplicate the intensity of the magnificently coloured sky! I still think it’s a very pretty picture of the sunset though.