Posts Tagged ‘Australian’
I follow Marieke Hardy on Twitter, she says things I’m thinking but wouldn’t dare say and does interesting things so when I found her book it had to join my To Be Read pile.
When I finally pulled it out I wasn’t surprised to find it eminently readable. It’s about a class of media students, some of whom actually get on with each other and some who don’t. By the end of the year we see how they’ve come together as a group and are able to work together to an end, I won’t say what type of end but it is amusing.
This has been adapted from the series of the same name also written by Hardy. I have yet to see the series as it aired in 2002 long before Twitter was even thought of. It has themes familiar to most students, bullying, dating, fitting into a new school…or not and regular classroom ‘stuff’.
Until today I hadn’t noticed the sentence on the front cover ‘From the outrageously funny television series’ so I was assuming it was standalone but in my minds eye I could see the scenes unfolding in the school corridor or the classroom, the ones I had more trouble with were the ones within people’s homes but I think that’s more to do with Hardy’s focus on the characters rather than the homes. While I like a bit of description I feel if you describe too much it ruins the effect, I’ve actually stopped reading books before because the descriptions were too detailed so I think Hardy gets it about right.
I wouldn’t bother recommending it to your young reader as they might enjoy it and we can’t have them enjoying what they read.
Today is the Australia Day holiday, we celebrate on the 26th of January but if it falls on a weekend we then get a day off to turn it into a long weekend. We’re good at that sort of stuff.
Australia Day celebrates the day when white men hit the shores and claimed Australia as their own totally ignoring the current inhabitants of the land. They then took possession, ignoring anything the natives were doing as they assumed if they didn’t build anything or couldn’t speak English then they mustn’t be human and proceeded to slaughter them if they got in the way or tried to fight back. They brought in animals, birds and plants from England, in some cases they have destroyed many parts of the environment. So, what with the Aboriginals and the environment I have a real problem with Australia Day, it’s something I don’t really like to celebrate but as with last year my kids were in the Australia Day Parade so I went along as a dutiful mother, cheered them and took photos. I contributed to the economy by buying food and just enjoyed getting together with friends and watching my kids do their thing.
I spent some of my time while watching the parade thinking how we should really change the focus of the day and celebrate multiculturalism, making sure to learn about each culture. I was upset about the lack of Aboriginal involvement, I saw one man playing a digeridoo and one stall selling boomerangs and stuff, but I understand why they wouldn’t want to be involved in this kind of day as we’re celebrating the death of their people and culture. I’ve seen attempts to change Australia Day completely, put it on a different day and celebrate the multiplicity of cultures in this country, I think that’s a good idea, it just doesn’t feel right to be celebrating the death of another culture.
I want you to all sit carefully now as I have something I consider really special for Mondayitis today. I’ve been honoured to talk to Grug and be able to posit some questions to him, not that he actually answered them but I did ask them all.
Why do you read?
Grug can read.
Grug is reading.
Grug wants to read to everyone.
Grug is very proud. He has an alphabet book to help him read, it is called a Dictionary!
Grug can dress up. He can dress like someone else.
Grug can wear a cloak. He can dress like a wizard.
Is Grug a wizard?
Grug is happy.
Thank you Grug for putting on a cloak and being a wizard, it was wonderful to have you here for Mondayitis. An especially big thank you to Ted Prior for bringing Grug to the world.
‘Twas Captain Beaky!
Way back in the 1980s there were a few quirky songs on the radio one of which was about Captain Beaky. He was tremendous, he had…a band! It was a fellowship and they went around the countryside righting wrongs then telling everyone about it! *gasp*
You can hear the song here:
It’s only audio but you can get a really good idea of the song. The ‘singer’ is Keith Michell and he’s a well known Australian actor who spent many years acting in England. I remember him best for his rendition of King Henry VIII in the TV series screened in the 1970s, he did a very good job and makes it hard for anyone else portraying the King. He had very good diction and spent some time with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company.
The song is gorgeous, I loved it then and still do. While we were in Barwon Heads recently I happened to visit an op shop (shock, horror, an op shop) and found a paperback copy of the book with the poems about Captain Beaky and other like minded souls, it was written by Jeremy Lloyd with very sweet illustrations by Michell himself. I’ve bequeathed it to a family member who was delighted beyond belief but before it went to a very good home I took a photo.
Posting anything at this time of year is problematic. There are so many more parcels and letters in the system that it can take far longer than expected. I saw some SendOutCards go out in early December and some of them took over a week to arrive, things are even more congested now so if you’re buying something online right now then expect it not to arrive in time for Christmas; if it does you can be pleasantly surprised.
I will be hearing horror stories very soon about presents not arriving in time for Christmas, or birthdays if their birthday is any time from now to early January. If it is and you haven’t ordered anything yet then I wouldn’t be taking the chance but would be trying to brave the shops and buying in person. The other thing you can do is exactly what I did and buy vouchers. Many vouchers can be ordered online and then come as an email. I ordered a voucher from Minotaur and was given the option of printing it myself for wrapping or having it emailed to the recipient. The option for gift vouchers with Minotaur can be found in the middle of the front page. I also ordered vouchers from Of Science and Swords, this I had to do by phone and I had the choice of either travelling into the shop to pick them up or letting the recipient get them; I chose to let the recipient do the work.
I wouldn’t dare to publicise either of these wonderful shops…much. I was actually looking at Think Geek and wondering about vouchers from them but before I started the ordering process I looked through their catalogue and found many of their products available at Of Science and Swords, Minotaur or the ABC Shop and decided the recipients could go and squee in the shop rather than squeeing on the computer, much easier on my nerves.
So, I got these vouchers on the Friday and we wanted them for the next day. Having spent a week procrastinating about the presents I had the whole lot sorted in minutes without leaving my computer and without having to worry about postage. Yes, it would have been fine if they’d made it here on the Monday but chances are with the added postage for Christmas they wouldn’t have made it here for another week and the time for giving would have been past.
Squid comment: What a pleasant fellow. And such delicious cake!
Don’t ask how a squid can eat cake when he’s sitting on his mouth.
Certainly an interesting week. Tuesday was a very special holiday for Melburnians and it seems to have spread to various parts of Victoria. Melbourne Cup Day is much revered and we get a public holiday to celebrate, many people take the opportunity and have the Monday off as well making a four day weekend, we took this time to have a much needed break in Beechworth. Loving my new mobile phone I was able to tune in to many of my favourite internet haunts using the tethering facility and as I don’t tell people I’m going away you might not have noticed until Tuesday morning when there was no blog. Squid Ink might be making an appearance tomorrow but for the next few days I’ll be scribbling a few words about Beechworth.
Beechworth can be found in north east Victoria, it is a beautiful place with much history behind it. At one stage it was very much a gold town and one story has the candidate for the election in 1855 riding a horse shod with horseshoes made from gold.
We bought the Golden Ticket which gave us entry to many of the tourist features of town. Our first stop only moments after buying the ticket was the walking tour. Our guide took us around town pointing out a lot of history, giving us many anecdotes and tied the local history into the larger history, it was well worth the money just to do this tour. We tried to do all the sites including walking around the lake, I will expand on some of these places with appropriate photos and maybe even the odd video.
Many books have been written about Beechworth and her famous residents, I didn’t buy any of them. They include books about the history, Ned Kelly, Robert O’Hara Burke and gold.
Talking about the outside world reminds me about the other interesting things happening this week. I don’t know why everything happened on Tuesday, it seems to be a very good day for some people. There was a very big draw on Tuesday night’s Tattslotto with four people winning $27 million each, we didn’t while I do have to go back for my winnings we didn’t even break even so I won’t be retiring any time soon. Tuesday is also the American election and as I write people are speculating as to who won, we’ll find out in due course and I hope the result is good for the world.
Tom O’Toole is the founder of The Beechworth Bakery and this is his story. It’s part autobiographical and part inspirational…about three quarters of each and I loved it.
Tom was born and grew up in Tocumwal, undisciplined, in a financially poor but loving family with an attitude problem, he was very angry. He started working at a very young age and by the age of 11 had bought himself and his brother a bunk bed so they could stop sharing a bed, at 19 he bought his first business and at 32 he started rebuilding himself emotionally after his first wife walked out on him leaving the children with him. He’s an amazing man and is the first to admit he failed kindergarten, doesn’t know his alphabet nor has he used a calculator.
I don’t normally review business or inspirational books on this blog but I’m making an exception for O’Toole as he’s just so out there and I feel everyone needs to read it. It’s not just for businesses but also for everyday life. He’s got a zest for life that is very infectious and this book shows that in great depth.
This book also gives us some details of the bread industry in Victoria and how some of the big companies tried to take over the small companies or put them out of business, it also gives brief details of the 30km zone so I began to understand why we can get one brand of bread in one place but 50km away it’s another brand. The government put legislation in place to stop the big companies taking over all the small companies.
O’Toole talks about esteem and how he didn’t have any, he had to build it up step by step starting with a chance comment from a friend when he helped him out with a baking problem and was told “Geez Tom, you’re a bloody good baker.” Basically, take a compliment and hold onto it build yourself up from there.
If one of his staff did something outrageous he put them out on the front line. The first time they did pyjama day one guy was standing in the kitchen in an apron with a bare backside, when Tom realised it was made of rubber he put him out cleaning tables. People loved it and came in their droves. He listens to his staff and his customers. If his staff tell him they’re better off with him outside the building then he listens and finds something to do to promote the business as a whole.
He was shellshocked one day when The Beechworth Bakery won a prestigious tourism award. It was something he hadn’t been expecting and he got up on stage to take the award and rather than give a good speech he just invited everyone to Beechworth. I think that’s his secret, he doesn’t just think of himself and his business but he thinks of the whole area.
We’re spending a weekend in Beechworth in a few weeks. We’ve been trying to get away since January but it’s been a mad year and when my OH suggested Beechworth I said ‘why not’ and we booked. We’ll definitely be dropping into The Beechworth Bakery and I hope I’ll be able to meet Tom O’Toole to tell him how I loved his book and how much he’s changed me just by reading it. I did send him a card just in case I don’t see him.