Miles Franklin award to Kim Scott

West Australian author Kim Scott was last night awarded the 2011 Miles Franklin Literary Award for his novel That Deadman Dance

Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.

The novel’s hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native


What is on your reading shelf?

I often have more than one book on the go at once. Depending on my mood and mental state, I will choose one or the other each night. At other times, I am drawn deeply into a book and must, must read it without pause. At times, to slow down my eagerness to know how a book ends, I will read the last chapter to stop the anxiety and slow down the reading process. It has never worried me knowing how a book ends, if it is a good read!

These are the books I am currently juggling. I am afraid I am not a great reader of fiction, though I have been drawn to fiction of the nineteen thirties and forties in recent months. I know – a librarian who doesn’t like fiction. I blame my undergraduate degree – to much analysis and deconstruction!

Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds by Lyndall Gordon

Emily Dickinson is regarded as one of the greatest poets of all time, but she has come to us as an odd and helpless woman living a life of self imposed seclusion. Lyndall Gordon sees instead a volcanic character living on her own terms and with a steely confidence in her own talent; a woman whose family feuded over a hothouse of adultery and devastating betrayal and a woman who had her own secret. After her death the fight for possession of Emily and her poetry became the feud s focus. 

Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster by Alison Weir

The life and times of the remarkable woman who was mistress and eventually the wife of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, third son of the charismatic and accomplished king of England, Edward III. Through John and Katherine Swynford (1350–1403) descended centuries of British sovereigns, including Queen Elizabeth II.


At the peak of her fast-paced career as a news presenter and interviewer Selina Scott bought a house in the Tramuntana hills of Mallorca. It was a dilapidated old farmhouse without even mains electricity or water, but the beauty and peace of the surroundings promised an idyllic escape from her high-pressure job and unwelcome tabloid attention

Corvus: A Life with Birds by Esther Woolfson

Esther Woolfson’s daughter rescued Chicken, a fledgling rook sixteen years ago. Amazed by their intelligence and personalities, Woolfson became fascinated by corvids. Chicken, Spike the magpie, and, most recently, Ziki the Crow, have formed sibling relationships with Woolfson’s daughters and with each other; cached food in her kitchen wall and laid eggs in her living room; called to her at dawn, and perched companionably on her knee of an evening; and taught her more than she ever expected about birds and about human beings.

Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols

An unusual gardening book that discusses flowers and gardens in a non-fictional novel format, telling the story of a deserted garden that is transformed into a paradise

Chasing the Big Yellow Taxi again – thy passenger is health

I have been battling with blood pressure issues for several years now. First, it was one medication, then two, and now the doubling of one of those medications. Of course, now my body is having to adjust to more medication and the last couple days have been a real struggle for me.

Yesterday, I did donate blood and that may have contributed to some of my issues, but I really don’t think so, today. I have had lots of liquids and good meals and rest, so I would think a little less blood wouldn’t be a big issue. Not the way I am feeling.

Some of this is obviously genetic. My Dad had heart issues and suffered from TIAs. Some of it is lifestyle. I am loud and clear about my aversion to exercise. You expect me to move?

Some of it is anxiety and stress.  SURPRISE! I can work myself up about just posting a letter! I think this is also inherited to a degree from a very, very, very anxious mother, who fears everything and anything.

Some of it is lifestyle and choices. Show me the fatty, creamy, sugary food and I am yours, dahling. Exercise, as mentioned previously, is moving from one end of the couch to the other.

A very dear friend, the same age as me, suffered a stroke a year or so ago due to high blood pressure. She has recovered remarkably well, but will always have some issues. Other people do not recover, they do not survive. I want to live to be 102.

So, while I  working with conventional medicine and my lovely doctor to control this issue, I have to admit there are a  few things I need to do for myself:

1. Go for power walks

2. Breathe deeply

3. Pick potassium-rich produce

4. Read food labels for sodium

5. Indulge in dark chocolate

6. Take a supplement (Doctor suggested fish oil, which I do take from time to time, but not often enough)

7. Drink alcohol—but not too much

8. Drink tea – more?

9. Work (a little) less (!) Maybe that should be “worry about work less”.

10. Relax with music

11. Drop a few kiolograms.


Some of those things I am already doing. I  don’t think it is physically possible to drink more tea than Mr FD and I consume in a day . We have started to have a glass of red every night with dinner too. Just one glass. However, this now links to a small anxiety as alcohol has been linked to breast cancer (an aunt is a breast cancer survivor).

See what I mean, I can manifest an anxiety for all occasions (thanks, Mum!)  Working on that…

Working on it all, one day at a time.

What has been your experience, or a family members’ experience,  with chronic blood pressure?

something, someone

Coco Chanel (photographed by Man Ray), c. 1935

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone   – Coco Chanel

.Wearing one of her creations of course!

My flippant comment aside, I must admit that since I let go of worrying about being something other people or society expected, but to be the person I am, to indeed be someone, I have experienced growing contentment.

It feels so damn good. A perfect fit, in fact!

And it anyone wants to gift me a Chanel original, I will be more than wiling to wear it as I am someone!

The Sun in Winter

Winter Solstice (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

2011 June 22, 3:16am

The Sun in Winter The Sun in Winter : Artist: Frey Micklethwait. Source: Museum Victoria.

On the day of Winter Solstice, Earth’s south pole is tilted away from the Sun. The Sun rises north of east, sets north of west and reaches 28 1/2° above the horizon at noon. This is, usually, the shortest day of the year.

Spring is coming!


The leaves of life keep falling one by one

When we moved to Brisbane we found a family medical practice in the adjoining suburb. I liked the fact that there were a number of female doctors sharing the practice. Over the years I have settled on two women in particular as my personal doctors. Two because they work staggered hours and are not always available, so I moved between the two women, depending on who was available that day. I feel equally confident in both doctors.

Last year, one of my doctors developed cancer. We were all devastated as she is a wonderful woman, who has spent time in remote Aboriginal health before moving back to the city. She has teenage children, her son suffered a life threatening disease of his own, just prior to her diagnosis.

Monday morning, when I was in the office for a check up, I asked how her illness was progressing and was told the heart breaking news that she was in palliative care. Final stage.

I feel so sad. I feel sorry for her, and her family, and I feel sorry for her patients who are being robbed of a caring and supportive doctor.

Life is not fair, and death is inevitable for us all, but sometimes, the cruelties of life and death just make me want to shake my fist and curse.

the day that comes betwixt a Saturday and Monday.

We had a lovely Sunday afternoon wandering around the trendy inner city suburb of New Farm. I did take my camera in anticipation of taking some exciting photographs to share with you, but I forgot to reload the battery which was left  in the charger at home. However, we won’t allow that to deter us, will we? We shall just resort to google images!

Daughter 2 had a desire to see Bridesmaids, so we went to an early session of the movies at the Palace Cinemas in James Street. I was able to get a really nice coffee to take into the movie with me. So many suburban cinemas now make you choose particular seats when you purchase tickets, so it was a little strange to be treated like an adult by just wandering in, and choosing one’s own seat!

The movie was very enjoyable, a romantic comedy that actually had a story line. Once again, the female lead was a baker, the “in career” for a thirty something romantic lead. That aside, it was laugh out loud fun and we came out feeling bubbly, which is what a chick flick should do for one!

After that we went to Campos for lunch. I believe Campos has won awards for having the best coffee in Australia and I must admit was a good coffee. Though, that was after a very generous glass of a very smooth cabernet sauvignon and a very nice steak sandwich, but I don’t think that influenced my opinion all that much!

Campos is a little café down a lane. In fact, some of the seating is in an alleyway outside the café. When I say seating, I mean upturned plastic milk crates with seat cushions made from hessian coffee bags, around small tables under umbrellas!  We were seated inside, which was nice, as it was a little chilly in the shady alley. It was busy and we had to wait about 10 minutes in the alley for a seat, but in all it was a very enjoyable experience

same milk crates as these, however hessian coffee bag cushions on show today

After lunch we popped into the James Street Markets as D2 needed some fruit and vegetable. James Street Markets, and in fact most of New Farm is, as I mentioned, a very trendy area, frequented by professionals, and an area particularly favoured by gay couples with high incomes. So, the markets are quite high end with a range of items not available in suburban supermarkets. One would need a professional salary to shop there on a regular basis! I believe there is even a cookery school housed in the building.

It was fun for an afternoon. I found some of it a little pretentious. I always find boutiques with 6 dresses hanging on hangers placed artfully about the store, a little hilarious. I mean, it is just retail, dahling. They are just trying to part us from our money! That aside, I did enjoy the movie, I did enjoy the meal and the coffee and the wine, and most of all I enjoyed the time spent with our very beautiful daughter.

Of all the days that’s in the week
I dearly love but one day
And that’s the day that comes betwixt
A Saturday and Monday.
~Henry Carey