Thursday, 1 October 2015

A Slow Month Blogging-wise.

I realise it has been almost a month since my last blog post.  I reread it to see where I was then and I noticed that I did say I might be slowing down until Christmas. I hope to get back to it before then.

I had that silly virus that has been going around Australia where you cough and cough, every time you talk too much or get too much activity going. I thought it was gone, did a lot yesterday and back it has come. Sleeping a lot trying to get rid of that. It also presents with a good dose of fatigue.

Then there is the spring activity where a beautiful day comes up, you race to the garden store, buy lots of potting mix and plants and haul large planted pots around the yard. I woke up the next day and couldn't walk due to the strained back.  I seem to do this every year, you'd think I'd learn.

I have been reading though. A lot. Every book, magazine article and blog post about Photoshop and Photography. Our Photographic Society has these wonderful challenges each month. I have the creative ideas in my head but don't have the skills to implement them.

The six month photoshop course I signed up for is going well and I am learning but my goodness, that program has so many complex variations to it.  I promised myself I would prioritise all things photography until Christmas. I did manage to finish the de-cluttering of the house project in July and August and the tip and op shops benefitted hugely. My husband also completely de-cluttered the garage too. This really has been a year of down sizing possessions and study. But it feels great to clean up the rubbish, make so much of it disappear and learn new skills that take us into new directions.

I am also in a writing group that is new to me. That has been great fun and it also comes with its own challenges. Next week a 200 word (exactly) piece is due that has a sting in the tail.  I have a few ideas but have not put it on paper yet.

Really enjoying this book. One
gutsy lady.

The book I am reading is All the Gear, No Idea by Michele Harrison. I love travel writing and this one is a really interesting one.   Michele is a 31 year old English woman who has worked in banking for 10 years and is now tired of it. She is in a relationship that she doesn't know where it is going.

She decides to take a course in riding a geared bike as to date she rode a Vespa scooter. She goes to India for one year. She buys a 500 cc Enfield motorcycle and spends the time dodging trucks, animals in the road and the heat.  It is a wonderfully gutsy story told by an interesting young woman. I am enjoying it very much.

If only I was 40 years younger.

I have also discovered Zinio for Libraries app on my Samsung tablet and that allows me to download quite a few different magazines from the library.  I have been reading up on photography and have a course scheduled to begin in November for 6 weeks that is supposed to teach me how to use all the buttons on my Canon 700D.

I am trying to get things organised in the yard and I am really loving being able to play frisbee in the front yard with my dog Odie and watch the plants I have planted in the last few years begin to bloom. I am looking forward to getting a good knowledge of Photoshop and camera usage under my belt and get the garden organised a bit. Then Christmas will be here that for us is quite low-key.

Our beautiful Odie with his beloved frisbee.  
I am thinking ahead to 2016 already where my reading plan is to get stuck into some Penguin books on my shelf that I really want to read. I also want to read some good classics with books paired up for the narration and follow along in the book. I find when I read a harder book, having the sound with it as I follow on the page really brings the characters to life. I did that with Moby Dick and Middlemarch and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Summer will be here at Christmas time and the bike riding season should also be in full swing. I want to pack up some camera equipment and head to the countryside for some photos and maybe a bit of camping on my big scooter. I would like to learn the new 600mm lens I have which ways a ton and is on a tripod, to look up into the air without falling backwards out of the chair I am in.

Lots of plans. Bear with me while I take a bit of a break from recording everything in my blog. I will leave you with some photos while I continue to be in study mode at the moment.

I hope you enjoy them.
One of the natives I planted last year to encourage
bees, butterflies and birds. I only plant
animal/insect friendly plants
I forget the name of this plant in my front yard but it
is now full of flowers. The colours are beautiful.
The bees seem to fly around it a bit too. We need
more bees.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Walking The Nile and Some "New" Penguins

This month is pretty busy. There is the Tasmanian Reader's and Writer's festival starting on Thursday. I am signed up for 6 sessions. There are interviews to watch, a master class to participate in, an opening with champers and some books to hear about.  I am looking forward to it.  I will try to put up some posts and maybe a couple of photos over the weekend or the following week. I will certainly be taking notes.
Happy Spring Australia

My blogging is slowing down a bit until probably Christmas. I have signed up for a Hobart Photography society membership.  Now I need to catch up to the skills of the other people in the class. One woman recently won top first place prize in an international competition of several thousand people. You can see what I'm up against.

I have signed up for a photography class that goes six weeks beginning in November. I will learn how to use all the manual settings on my Canon 700D.  Last time I took a photography class was in the early 1970's and digital DSLR cameras had not been heard of. Had I only known.

I am also taking a six month online Photoshop course from America. There are 13 sessions, they tell you you'll learn everything (EVERYTHING!!) about photoshop in the six months you have to finish the course.  So far I have learned how to make a preset template under File : New:  Select a template: Save it. Moving right along as you can tell. I am trying to devote four days a week to the study of all that.

I have a MOOT mindfulness class starting on Monday through Future Learn website. They have heaps if free classes.
Hopefully that will teach me how to settle down and concentrate on everything else. It's hard not to be scattered when the flowers are blooming and spring is in the air.

My current book is Walking the Nile by Levison Wood. I love travel and adventure books and walking is one of my favourite methods of travel (in other people that is.)  This is a remarkable tale. The man begins in Rwanda walking north along the 4000+ mile Nile River to Egypt.  The history of the countries he travels through is very interesting although so violent. The guide who goes with him is an interesting man and certainly has his own opinions about the trip in general and the tribes he talks about.
No one has ever completed the entire journey before.  The swamp lands are enormous. The heat, the insects, the animals, the jungle, the terrain are all extremely difficult to deal with. The writing is good and as the story is true it is most interesting.

He writes so well I feel like I am travelling along beside him as I sip a cappuccino, curled up in my warm bathrobe in a comfortable chair. I love to endure arduous adventures with other people.

I was not familiar with this series. Need to research it a bit.
There has been quite a bit of Penguin hunting. I was driving home a couple of weeks ago and something inside said,  "Turn here", "Turn here". It was the road to the tip shop. I had been there the previous week and knew I wouldn't find a thing. Well I turned. I like to think I listen to my inner voice. Sure enough I walked back to the bookshelves and everything looked the same. Until the attendant walked up, pushing a trolley and it was (YES!) full of Penguin books. I could not believe it.

Is there a God? and does he help one look for Penguins? The thought did cross my mind. He won't stop the Syrian war but helps me find Penguins? I don't think so.

A couple of PG Woodhouse books I did not have.
So I will share some of them here and also I found two hardcover Penguins in a series I had not seen before in a second hand book store I go to regularly.  I need to find out more about them before I write more but I have included their photo.

Also there is a new book out about the Lane brothers I just wrote and turns out Allen Lane was not the kind man I believed him to be.  Also the story about Allen Lane getting his inspiration from standing on a train station platform and thinking small, cheap paperback books is a lot of bunk too. That made me sad.

The book is scathing of the man and the ABC radio ran an interview I accidentally heard late one night with the author. The author was hired by the daughter of the other Lane brother who Allen allegedly ripped off big time.

If you click on these I think you get a larger photo. A PL series
with the plays and the L series with the old classic.
I  walked into my local, Fuller's book shop and the owner, Clive put the book into my hand. Had to laugh. I am in that bookshop so much they call out "See you tomorrow" when I leave.  I will have to write another feature on Fuller's  in future as they have new front renovations and it looks lovely.

That's me for today. Moving along quietly. There is a virus that has been going around here that is a nasty cough and fatigue and you cannot shake it before a 3 week period of time has gone by. I am speaking from personal experience.  So no big time scootering going on here but the other interests have been fun.

Lots to look forward to and I will try to keep everyone updated. Happy Springtime Australia.

I have most of the King Penguins but was delighted to find the
Crown Jewels that is this one. Two Penguin classics that are
not vintage but I collect them because they are such fine books.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Nothing Literary But Had Fun with Cameras, Bob & WWII

Yes, I know I am behind with a post. It is way overdue.  I haven't read much that I thought anyone would be interested in though a couple of books stood out. They were both non-fiction and I enjoyed them.

First things first though.  I signed up with the Hobart Photographic Society. Wow! Are these people good.  I did photography classes ages ago in the 1970's but of course that was simply SLR.  Now it is SLR DSL. Not only do I need to learn the workings of my Canon 700D SLR but then there is the software.  Photoshop is silly to purchase for the amateur photographer unless you want to remortgage the house.

So I am using Photoshop Elements 13. It is a very good program and I have been taking You Tube lessons for the past two weeks.  Fortunately the lessons range from simple to complex and then I need to practise what I learn.  I am really interested in learning composite photography because then the Penguin can visit some of the locations of the books I read.

The two books I have read are A Streetcat Named Bob by James Bowen.  Non fiction- James is a down and out drug addicted, homeless, street musician going nowhere fast.
Then Bob, a lovely ginger cat shows up on his doorstep. Emaciated and sick.  They develop a wonderful relationship and sometimes this cat is so smart I had to check to see if he was really, well, real.

The story takes place in 2007. Now suddenly it has erupted online everywhere and the film is currently being produced. I googled it all and found they are still together.

James has turned his life around, thanks to Bob and amidst all the hype and glam it really is quite a remarkable story.  There are some tense moments when Bob disappears into the crowds of London street scenes but all ends well. I don't think I am giving anything away about the book because you would have to live in a cave to not know this story lately.  I admit though, I did read the last few pages to make sure Bob was alive before I started this book. I do that with all animal books. Don't want any nasty surprises.  World War II stories are okay with planes being bombed out of the air but don't hurt the homeless cat in London.

Speaking of World War II the more significant book I can heartily recommend is Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. This was the choice of my Facebook Class of 68, Grand Ledge Michigan book for September discussion.
Lauren also wrote the true story of Seabiscuit.  I have not read that book but certainly know who Seabiscuit was.

Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamparini and his immigrant Italian family in the USA. The time period is the first half of 20th century America.  Louis was the son in the family and was really nothing but trouble. But he had incredible experiences, those experiences that would kill most of us but he survived.

It started with his school days and stories of his thieving in the town he lived in were quite entertaining. Then he becomes an Olympic runner. Yes, just like that. From a chubby couch potato to Olympic fame. The first Olympics he was destined for were cancelled as it was 1940 and Europe was at war. No Olympics to be held in Germany that year.  He does compete in the following games after the war.

The majority of the book focuses on his days in the Pacific as a pilot during the war. There are lots of facts and figures about flights during the war and I admit I was very surprised at how many pilots and crew died because the American planes they were flying were as dangerous as the war itself.

Just when you think nothing more can happen to this guy it gets worse. Much worse.  I don't like war stories and I would not have read this book except for the group that picked it. It is very blokey.  It is very true.  It is an awesome tale and I mean that word for the definition it really is.

It is well written most of the time, the story moves right along and I felt like I was with him through all of his experiences. It really is an incredible book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good war tale or a tale about inspirational, motivating people. This really is my least favourite genre and I loved it.

So.... I have been on the streets of London playing guitar with a cat, preparing for photographic challenges and flying over and in the Pacific Ocean over the past few weeks. Is it any wonder I haven't had time to catch up on these blog posts?

Good news to come though.... The Tasmania Reader and Writers festival is in two weeks and I have signed up for 5 events. I will happily share them with you and I am looking forward to it. There are authors coming from all over Australia and overseas.  It is my first festival to do with writing and it is going to be fun. So stay tuned. I will try to get photos too.

Anybody else in a war over the past two weeks???

Sunday, 9 August 2015

I Unveil My Vintage Penguin Book Collection

I have completely redone the Penguin Library. I have pulled old books out of the closet, replaced reprinted books with First Published and am able to proudly display the Penguin ephemera collection which I continually add to. 

You can peruse the copies of books I own in this library at the top of this page. Click on the link to see the books collected in each series. I am updating it all the time.

The Penguin Library and Reading Room

These books are from the main Penguin series numbers 1 - 3000 plus. I will never have all of them
but will enjoy spending the rest of my life looking for them. Most of them are first published. I have stopped
collecting reprints and now try to only buy first published or replace the reprints I currently have. 

This shelf holds several of the other Penguin series, listed at the top of
this page. I continue to look for first published books. Almost all of these are.

One more bookshelf of first published Penguin series.  These are the King Penguins,
The Penguin Poets and the vintage Classic Penguins. The top shelf has some
boxed sets and a collection of the Penguin Travel Books a local man was selling. 

Penguin Ephemera (always looking for more)

If you wanted to order a book decades ago you would send in a postcard. You
could find these in the new books at the time.

This is a picture of the Penguincubator. You would find this little machine
in train stations.  Put in your coins and a Penguin book popped out. The original
machines would be worth a fortune. Sadly I only have a photo.

The 50th anniversary celebration in the Penguin News paper 

An original paper bag that your new Penguin would be wrapped in.

A replica of the Penguin trucks that would deliver these books to the bookstores.

The Institute of Contemporary Arts held a display of Penguin
book cover art in 2013. London

If you want to send a Penguin book you could get cardboard
mailers to wrap your book in and off it would go in the post.
This one says:  A Penguin To Greet You

Bottom right hand: The booklet advertising the 75 Popular Penguins
produced 5 years ago. The publisher announced a photo shoot in
all major cities of Australia.  I showed up at the Hobart shoot in
Orange Converse sneakers holding a matching orange Penguin book.
75 people were picked nationwide to be in the publicity book. That is
me on the upper left hand side holding the Popular Penguin - Scoop.

A more modern Penguin greeting card I picked up on sale.

This is a Penguin postcard.

The watch produced for the 60th anniversary of Penguin. 
Yes it works.

The Penguin poster I talked a book seller in Hobart into giving me. 
The Popular Penguin poster for the 75th anniversary.

I also talked the bookseller into getting me a bag too.

These vinyl Penguin covers were produced in different
colours. My old mate Brian found one in an op shop and
gave it to me. What a find for Hobart.

This is a page from Good Reading magazine in Australia
featuring my Penguin collection. I was pleased they asked me.

This is the poster advertising the Great Ideas books
that were published several years ago for another anniversary.

These were distributed by the members
of the Penguin Collector's Society in England with
their publications.

Another Penguin newspaper about the 50th anniversary. It looks
nice on the shelf.

I don't usually buy the new Penguin products but my friend
knew how much I love stationary and they were a present.
We are always looking for
more books to add to our collection.
Contact me if you have some you
want to sell or donate. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

N is for Walking The Dogs in a NEW place......

......... that they have not seen before complete with photos.

About a week ago we had a beautiful winter's day. The temperature was mild and the sun was out. It was time to take our dogs Odie and Molly on a walk to new ground.

If you walk up the avenue I live on and turn onto the fire tracks you can walk right to the top of Mt. Wellington. We live at the base of it.  I generally take the same path but this day we made a left turn onto another track. I don't usually take that route because it is a steady walk uphill.  I also don't walk it in the warmer weather because of the highly poisonous tiger snakes. They are currently in hibernation so a good time to go bush.

It isn't until the very end we get to start walking downhill to our home.  I thought I would share the photos. I enjoyed the day with my best friends and they could not get enough smells of possums, wallabies and pademelons into their highly sensitive noses.  What a good day it was.

It was nice today as there weren't any screaming downhill mountain bikes to watch out for.

Molly doesn't get tied up in scents but Odie's dad was a Beagle.
He just can't help himself.

I could barely see Molly on the trail but Odie is off and running after another scent.

Odie decided to be a bit social and stick to the trail for awhile.

This area was peppered with wallaby droppings. So much to smell.

Odie assumes the position of King Odie Tracking Wonder

The view of the river in the distance towards the city.

When we were away on holiday in May/June there was a lot of rain. This must
have been put up during that time. Now it is just a trickle down this trail.

The path heading slowly downhill and towards home.