Monday, 5 March 2012

life's a beach again

Funny old weather - but we are into autumn, so anything goes. However, perfect walking temperature on Flaherty's Beach on Sunday arvo. Tide in, so for once there were no acres of sand flats, and amazingly no dogs either giant or small, galloping from half a kilometer away and posing the question: is it going to lick us to death or merely swallow in a single gulp.

The beach seems to bring out the beast in, well... beasts. The one thing dogs have in common, by this time of headlong galloping to meet one on the shore, is that they are well and truly, and with great delight, beyond an owner's control. But as I say, yesterday's dogs were surprisingly non-existent.

I have enjoyed a borrowed read of Heather Eldridge's excellent book, Mosaic, a local, recent and photographically illustrated history of the Minlaton district here on the Yorke Peninsula. It is based firmly on recorded interviews with several dozen individuals who reminisced to the author about their families and themselves, often with anecdotes from seniors, along the lines "my grandmother told me". The result is a rich mix of authentic memory, first hand and second hand, covering much of the century up to the book's publication in 2011. Obviously a real labour of love.

My other reading this past week was Sir Terry Pratchett's fourth novel in the Tiffany Aching series - I think I mentioned this before - complete with its cast of the kilted Nac Mac Feegle clan. The title is: I Shall Wear Midnight. Supposedly aiming at young-adult readers, Pratchett glares at the human race by dealing implicitly with important questions, wondering why it is our societies come to a point in their various histories when we burn people alive. Think witch-hunting. Ah, but the books are set on a fantasy world, So that's all right; can't apply to us. Pratchett's books have sold 75 million. You knew? The man was knighted three years ago, for services to literature, and is dealing somewhat remarkably with his encroaching Alzheimer's Disease. One distinguished reviewer said of this book (there's an even newer one, Snuff, sitting on my shelf waiting its turn) that it shows a writer at the height of his powers, and I can only agree. Deeply serious and deeply humorous. Satire is an inadequate word.

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