Thursday, 29 July 2010

Books, ghouls and dinner with Felicity Collins

Great evening last night at the Edithburgh Hotel, hearing author Felicity Collins speak about her extraordinary life, and about the process of authoring.

The night was introduced by Helen Stockings who gave kudos to the main local organizer Shirley Thompson, librarian of the Yorketown Community Library. Everyone present was delighted by her imaginative setting up of the venue. Quite spooky ... ghosts and spiderwebs around the room, and gargoyles on some tables, ours anyway! Not sure about the others. Because, of course, the second book in her Oracles series for young and young-adult readers, has lots of weird and scary adventures of the Penny family who were met with in Book One, Labyrinthus.
Michaela took the pic of Will with Felicity who tactfully scrooched down to make me look the taller.

This wasn't the formal book launch which isn't until Sunday in Adelaide, but it was a sort of pre-launch. The new book, which was available seen-for-the-first-time, is called enigmatically The Gargoyle Prison and the World of Eahtotha. You can read more about it at the publishers' site Bliss Out Books

My companion for the evening was another writer, locally well-known Gwenda Quinn, past winner of the Ericksen Award for her stories and verse. It was a privilege for me to be able to introduce these two scribes who seemed to hit it off right away. And I also got  to meet Felicity's clever publicist Michaela Andreyev, plus other book-appreciating folk like Lesley May, the Bilney and Menz family representatives, plus 50 more. I'm new in the district - this is only my eighth year. Everybody else seemed to know everybody else already.

 Right: Gwenda Quinn (foreground), with Peter and Meg Bilney

Monday, 26 July 2010

Bush Balladeers, RFDS, and more Crop Circles

Yesterday 70 in the audience enjoyed an afternoon of finger-pickin' bushsong singers, held in the Minlaton Golf Club rooms. The event was called the Second Minlaton Music Muster. Main organiser was local man Dave Croser, one of the said singer-guitarists, and Dave Pearce from Kadina was also key to rounding up the pack of fellow balladeers, from Adelaide, Blanchetown and elsewhere.

The main purpose was fund-raising for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. I learn this morning that $2,000 was raised. Good effort.

My friend Owen Waters has this link to the Crop Formations which I rave about from time to time. Hence I will give it as a free plug for his site and the links to his own writings, notably his popular book The Shift .
Like me, Owen is a fan of the work of Steve Alexander who - among others - beautifully photographs the crop circles. See his pictures by following the link above.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Christmas in July

A local social event is the annual Christmas in July lunch run by the fun-loving Countrywomen's group. I was invited so that our male singing trio could sing, right after the Christmas pudding. I've heard of singing for one's supper but this was ridiculous.

Denis's recovery of health continues. It would take a lot to prevent him from playing a role in the song-making. And Don was also doing the Santa Claus thing, from long practice. I had only the pudding-eating to contribute, which I did well. What's more, the kind organisers even provided me with a vegetarian meal, alone among a roomful of carnivores, many of them hearty farmers' wives.

If you care to learn why they celebrate Christmas in July (as well as the other one), you must ask someone else. I have no idea.

The mail today brought me from England the last Terry Pratchett Discworld novel Unseen Academicals (of which I saw the stage version some months ago). The NEXT Pratchett book is to be launched in a few weeks' time; fourth of the Tiffany Aching series, I Shall Wear Midnight (great title!). I have lent his hilarious yarn Maskerade, to Gwenda who seems to read several tomes each week, and she will appreciate its fun-poking at the world of theatre and opera: it's a Discworld whodunnit with a setting evoking Phantom of the Opera.

On the way home from the lunch I detoured to Lake Sunday so that I could walk off some of the pudding. I  often enjoy a there-and-back walk for exercise along the shore, and the lake is never the same from one visit to the next. Right now it is unusual and scenic. There's water in it. Those who live in wetter climates may not be familiar with places where the labels 'lake' and 'river' do not necessarily imply permanent water.

Yesterday after singing rehearsal we watched (Swedish Director) Kay Pollack's 2004 film As It Is In Heaven. Moving and compassionate, funny at times, bit of a tear-jerker finish, musical theme. I'd seen it on first release, but like all good drama it only gets better on subsequent viewing. Thanks, Isobel, for your hospitality; and Lois for the DVD access.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Well, lots more rain. Which is good, because I planted out various flower and vegetable seedlings that I'd bought in Ardrossan on the Gulf St Vincent coast. I have to clarify the geography since, as we know, the REAL Ardrossan is still back where it should be, in my native Scotland.; on the Firth of Clyde.
Having dealt with that vital matter, and caught yet another mouse, fielded several phone calls about persons returned from Canberra and cousins from Queensland soon to arrive in Adelaide, I can reveal that another striking crop formation was documented in England  in the past 24 hours.

It's HERE. The design follows a recent theme of "3D geometry", and people cleverer than I am speculate that the "circle makers" (whoever they may be) have esoteric messages for viewers of the formations. Is the intended viewing audience the whole human race? That is one suggested possibility. The means by which formations of this complexity are produced remain unknown. By what or whom . . . also unknown. The meaning . . . subtle and intriguing.

As before, I note that this review-link is to The Crop Circle Connector people. You can subscribe to their website

Friday, 16 July 2010

Sunset over Glenelg Beach

Hi. Is it really a week since I posted? Darn. Got home a couple of hours ago from the past three days in Adelaide - and Murray Bridge on Thursday - with a pleasant mix of weather. Rain, sun, cold overnight but a lot milder today.

My personal good news was an all clear from the eye quack so he won't want to see me until January 2011, unless of course any drama arises. We shall see (that being the whole point of the exercise!).

Julie and I had a buffet lunch at the Casino. It's cheap, and pretty good fare. Intended to lure the gaming clientele, hence cheapskates like me can enjoy food subsidised, in effect, by the pokies crowd. We went to see the movie, at the Palace Cinema, Being in Heaven written produced directed and performed-in by Michael Domeyko Rowland, who used it as a vehicle to deliver a somewhat preachy lecture on his version of The Law of Attraction. Pity, the opening 15 minutes promised a much more energetic storyline.The young gun character who returns to Sydney from a disastrous career setback in the U.S. becomes a mere foil for Rowland (as himself) explaining his ideas over a restaurant meal, while, as Julie pointed out, forgetting to eat his getting-cold curry. J. was newly returned from the trip with her  Korean teacher pal, via the Ghan to Darwin, returning by stages ... Katharine Gorge, Alice Springs then the side trip Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). Now she is imminently off to India to collect items that she appears to have left dotted around the sub-continent during her nearly thirty previous visits (so she sez). Sounds improbable to me, but what do I know? She used to teach English to them as wished to learn, and survival Hindi to backpackers and other strange people.
Caught up with the Murray Bridge denizens yesterday, then back to the city for a very pleasant three hours in the company of Rebekka mostly at the southern end of Glenelg promenade and a sort of picnic tea followed by a walk on the beach and jetty, admiring a picturesque sunset.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Danebury near Nether Wallop

Yes, Nether Wallop in southern England is a real place, not a location for a stately home in a P.G. Wodehouse Jeeves and Bertie Wooster story.  This crop formation appeared there yesterday. You are invited to take a look and maybe scroll down then click on "Comments" for one investigator's ideas in a partial interpretation of the design

Leaks and Rattles

Wild weather for the weekend, and I am happy to record that the mended guttering appears to have fixed the leak problem. No need to go to bed with an umbrella any more (just kidding). On the other hand, last night the bedroom window rattled in the turbulent wind. I am going to do something positive regarding extra insulation via a DIY plastic-type sheet which simulates a double glaze effect for window insulation.

My windows, at 100 years, are so old - true - that the glass has distorted and visibly slumped. You probably knew, or read somewhere, that glass is actually a FLUID, as a fact in physics. It flows, but very slowly. A hundred years is about right for starting to notice the effect. This has little to do with the insulation issue. It mostly means that if I sit having breakfast in the front room and somebody walks past on the footpath, they definitely look wobbly through the wavy window pane. Here is one of a number of articles refuting the "urban legend", as its author labeled the idea, that glass is liquid in its molecular structure. The writer says that "even apparently intelligent people" have been fooled by the idea. I invite the person to come and have a squizz at my windows. The article is from the mid-1990s so perhaps the science community has made up its mind by now. I have made up mine, and I wouldn't want anything as trivial as newly emerged facts to get in the way.

I was last up to date architecturally in1961/62 when the apartment I lived in in Sweden, up north near the Finnish border, had triple-glazing and central heating. Pretty much it's been downhill since then. Not to worry.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Don's Party

Don's Party. No, not the Australian movie of that name, set on a Federal election night long ago, well, a few decades back.
At the Warooka Hotel, into which I had hitherto never set foot, forty guests of the generous birthday boy celebrated his 86th with a fine meal overseen by chef Ian Whitfield. Gwenda and Elsie performed the song in Don's honour with topical words (of course). Denis was well enough to attend despite a full day yesterday, including our concert given in Minlaton. Isobel and Maureen did a kind of joint MC act.
 I drank one Cascade Premium as a nostalgic gesture for the South Hobart house I sold fours years ago - bad move - which was a fifteen minute walk uphill from the Cascade Brewery (and walking distance to the Hobart CBD). I'd intended to retire to the Apple Island!  Yvette received from me, as courier for June, the music sheet of "The Harry Lime Theme" from the film The Third Man, and tonight I have listened to the piece beautifully played on the zither, as originally in the film, on the DVD kindly given to me by Margaret. That is the DVD of an Andre Rieu open-air concert at Schoenbrunn Castle, Austria.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

This Mouse Was Not Caught

Back to wet weather, and happily my new roofing fixer Keegan came last  night to look at the gutter job, returned this evening with  materials, and says he  and his assistant will be here in the morning to proceed, even if I  have already left. They have access to an outdoor power outlet.

 I will be meeting June in Minlaton, then we take my car to the Parsons Beach singing rehearsal prior to the afternoon concert at Melaleuca Court Nursing Home. Today was a full practice in Warooka both for that performance and the main (public) one at the end of August. Elsie who was not singing because of  hosting her visiting family - including great grandchild Lachlan - nevertheless called to deliver the birthday cake for Don, with a mere four candles, being 82 candles short of the correct number. Don demonstrated his clever "mouse trick" using a rolled handkerchief, which greatly amused 6-year old Lachlan for whose benefit it was performed.

In between rainy episodes I've been thinning the thicket of swamp she-oaks partly for a tidier effect and partly to use for firewood. As was established some weeks ago, the wood of that species does burn well provided it is added to an already hot fire. As kindling it's - literally - a non-starter. Three half-decent logs will  keep the fire going overnight.

Last Sunday I had lunch with Gwenda at her kind invitation, and afterwards we watched her DVD of the 1950s now-colourized movie Frankie and Johnny, with Elvis Presley as the doomed Johnny, based on the well-known ballad ending with the fatal shooting of a supposed cheating  lover; the gambling action being set on a Mississippi riverboat. G. said she wanted ideas for a sketch-script. Didn't get any.
 This local clan of galahs find the neighbour's dead tuart tree a handy lookout. The tree will soon be a danger.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Croppie Comments

I have noticed that there are numerology-type comments now added to the crop circle webpages to which I linked the other day. You  need to scroll to the foot and click on the heading Comments; or else go here. By contrast, the Field Reports heading merely took me back to the first images which were posted, showing the White Sheet Hill formation of 25 June.