More August reads

The Women in Black by Madeleine St John

What a delightful story set in the 1950s in Australia.

“Sydney in the late 1950s. On the second floor of the famous F.G. Goode department store, in Ladies’ Cocktail Frocks, the women in black are girding themselves for the Christmas rush. Lisa is the new Sales Assistant (Temporary). Across the floor and beyond the arch, she is about to meet the glamorous Continental refugee, Magda, guardian of the rose-pink cave of Model Gowns.

With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence.”

The Women in Black is a classic.  A happy read.

There is a movie and stage show “Ladies in Black” based on the novel.

 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This book is about the mysterious 1986 fire that gutted Los Angeles’ landmark Central Library. “The Library Book” re investigates the fire and recounts the rescue efforts by hundreds of Los Angeles residents who raced to the stacks to save books from smoke and water damage.

The author brings to life legendary characters from the library’s past and present, and reveals L.A.’s passions and obsessions.

“The people in shipping know all the trends, they can tell when a book was recommended by Oprah, because they will pack dozens of copies that have been requested all over the city.”

“They know that the day after any holiday, the load will be heavy: Apparently everyone in Los Angeles gets on the computer right after Thanksgiving dinner and makes requests for diet books.”

That is just a couple of examples of the anecdotes included in the book.  This is an informative book and as a retired librarian I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The aspect that sticks with me most is the fact that the library is used as a safe haven by those who are perhaps homeless or have nowhere to base themselves during the day.  Also the role of the library is constantly changing and it continues to be extremely relevant in today’s world.  The sad part is that governments in some countries continue to cut funding to libraries and also close down libraries.  So sad.

A Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill

I last read a Sulari Gentill book in 2014, Gentlemen Formerly Dresed.

I found two of her books, which I haven’t read,  in our library when I was browsing the shelves.  I have read them in quick succession.  I will leave the second one until my next book posting.

A Murder Unmentioned

“The black sheep of a wealthy grazier dynasty, gentleman artist Rowland Sinclair often takes matters into his own hands. When the matter is murder, there are consequences.

For nearly fourteen years, Rowland has tried to forget, but now the past has returned.

A newly-discovered gun casts light on a family secret long kept… a murder the Sinclairs would prefer stayed unsolved.

As old wounds tear open, the dogged loyalty of Rowland’s inappropriate companions is all that stands between him and the consequences of a brutal murder… one he simply failed to mention.”

This is the sixth book in this series and I am still thoroughly enjoying the characters and the plots. Gentill has the historical facts, the atmosphere of the time, the mix of fictional and real characters all written beautifully. She obviously spends a great deal of time on research. Her husband is a history and English teacher and he helps edit and research her work.

If you haven’t read any of her books I suggest you start with number one in the series. A Few Right Thinking Men

Some remedial work in the garden

We have a problem with moss on the so called lawn in our garden and my husband has tried to get rid of the moss but with no success so we have decided to get rid of the lawn instead.This photo gives you an idea of how poor the lawn is so we are making garden beds with pathways instead.

I started out by extending the original beds slightly

and then putting a couple of beds in the middle of the lawn.

I have only cut out the shapes and haven’t done the digging yet on this side of the garden.

This is the other side of the front garden before I started work.

I have managed to get a bit more done on this side. This is it marked out ready for digging.It is tough going as the soil is compacted and full of couch grass roots and moss.  Good exercise for me.

This is what garden websites have to say about couch grass which doesn’t get enough sun or water.

Couch lawn, however, can become straggly, form bare patches and look very poor if it does not receive enough water or nutrients (fertiliser), or is growing in the shade, which is too heavy for the lawn to tolerate.

Couch is also an invasive grass. It will require garden edging to ensure that it doesn’t begin to grow into and overtake garden beds. This is easily done through regular garden maintenance by pulling out any runners which have crept into the garden. It’s when we do not do this regular maintenance that we can begin to find Couch that may have grown excessively into our shrubs and bushes.”

One bed done, three to go.  The pathways will be done in eucalyptus chip so the finished result should be less maintenance for us.  We have ordered soil to top up the beds so they are raised above the level of the pathway.

An Australian icon leaves us.

One of Australia’s icons, the beloved Margaret Fulton, food writer and cook, passed away yesterday at the age of 94.

I think I probably came across her recipes for the first time in either of the magazines, Womans Weekly or New Idea.  She was the first female Australian cook to introduce us to the flavours of other nations.

I used many of her recipes when our children were young as the recipes were simple and easy for a working mother to follow.  Both of our daughters cooked from the Margaret Fulton Encyclopaedia of Food and Cookery when they were still school students.  Vegetable pie, first cooked in 1992 by my elder daughter, and  cinnamon teacake by my younger daughter, were both family favourites.

Back in 2017 I read her memoir, I Sang for my Supper – memories of a food writer, and I felt I knew her after reading it.  If you get the opportunity borrow the book from your library to learn more about this amazing Australian treasure, who incidentally was born in Scotland.

I have also reposted a post I wrote a few years ago when I was using one of the recipes from the encyclopaedia.

 

 

A wonderful surprise in Bairnsdale.

I was walking through a little arcade in Bairnsdale, on my way to the dentist, when I came upon this wonderful little shop.

I had no idea it was there.  It certainly wasn’t there the last time I went through this arcade.  I found out that it only opened recently so that explains why I hadn’t seen it before.

The window display enticed me inside,and the interior of the shop was just as interesting as the window display.

You can see some jars in a basket resting on the floor.  The owner has provided free jars so you can fill from the bulk containers if this is your first visit and you would like to try.  You are encouraged to bring your own containers so there is no unnecessary packaging.  You can also purchase glass containers in the shop.

There is a variety of products in the shop and I will certainly be visiting it again.

I bought these two items and some bulk shampoo.  The website of Nicholson River Soaps gives you the option of buying online.

It is so good to see a local artisan doing so well with their business after time spent selling her products at local markets.  Well done.

Lots of sport available

At the moment I have so many choices of what sport to watch on the television. My three favourite sports will all be on at the same time in the next few weeks.  I have had many late nights over the last couple of weeks watching the games leading up to the finals of the World Cup Cricket.  I am happy that Australia has managed to get to the semi-finals but disappointed that Afghanistan has had such a poor tournament.  My favourite player is Rashid Khan as I have watched him in the Big Bash League here in Australia.  It is Afghanistan’s first time in the World Cup so no doubt they will improve.

Wimbledon has also started but I have not been watching that.  I will watch it when it gets closer to the finals.  I am hoping that Ash Barty does well.

The Tour de France starts on Saturday so my late nights will be continuing for another three weeks.  I get a bit of knitting done when the Tour is on.  I love all the interaction on social media with #couchpeloton and #tolldj and I have my ipad going as well as the tv.

I bought the guide as soon as it was available so have read up on all the information.

My favourite team is Mitchelton Scott and the Australian riders in any of the other teams.

We are fortunate that we can access an app called SBS Tour Tracker which gives you all the latest information as the race progresses.

We also have the rugby Championships starting soon with Australia’s first match against South Africa.  The first match is on 21st July.

As you can see I am delighted to have such a selection of sport to choose from.  I think I may be using split screen on the television so I can keep an eye on two events at once!

 

What to do with e-waste.

We recently discovered that for the month of June our local council will take all e-waste without a charge to the resident as long as you deposit it at a local drop off point.

The reason I mention this is the fact that my husband has collected computers as a hobby for many years but since moving to our present residence the collection has remained largely untouched in our back shed.  I managed to convince him that now would be a good time to get rid of it rather than leaving it for our offspring to get rid of when we are no longer able to.

You can see by the amount in the back of the ute how much stuff he had.  This is only some of the gear, we will need to do a second trip.  By getting in the back shed it made me look at some of the other gear that is in there and it prompted further culling of the contents of the shed.  I have several items ready to take to the charity shops now.

I should mention that I now have some empty boxes that my husband no longer has a need for so I will need to find things to put in them! I do have lots of wool in my stash so I will be able to sort the wool into various categories in the recycled boxes. 🙂