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AusReadingMonth 2017 week 2


Where are you reading your books?

  1. I took a long weekend to the Frisian Island Vlieland
  2. …and read my Australian books there!
  3. I took the boat trip (1,5 hrs) from Harlingen to Vlieland.


  1. The boat makes 3 trips a day to the island….
  2. Here is the boat arriving at Vlieland under a rainbow!

It was a chilly day at the beach….but a wonderful time to contemplate….how good life is!

Weather on the North Sea  is at times…..dazzling!

…but we all know…the sun will come out again!


No island is without a lighthouse!




Q&A AusReading Month 2017


Tell us about the Australian books you’ve loved and read so far.

  1. I joined AusReading Month 5 years ago @Brona’s Books.
  2. I was clueless about the country and knew of only one author:  Nevil Shute.
  3. Brona was there for me ….providing tips,  book lists and suggestions to get me started.
  4. Now I can’t STOP reading  Aussie!


Reading list:  2012 – 2017


ASTLEY, Thea.    Girl With A Monkey
ASTLEY, Thea.    The Well Dressed Explorer
ASTLEY, Thea.    The Slow Natives
ASTLEY, Thea.    A Descant for Gossips
BARRY, Bernice.    Georgiana Molloy: The Mind That Shines
CANAVAN, Trudi.    The Magicians’ Guild
FRANKLIN, Miles.    My Brilliant Career
RICHARDSON, Henry Handel.    Australia Felix
WATSON, Don.    The Bush
NIALL, Brenda.   Mannix
LAMB, Karen.   Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather
KAPLAN, Gisela.   Bird Minds: Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds
JONES, Gail.   A Guide to Berlin
KENT, Hannah.   Burial Rites
SHUTE, Nevil.   On the Beach
SHUTE, Nevil.   Trustee from the Toolroom
WHITE, Patrick.   Voss
LAWSON, Henry.   Past Carin’ (poem)



Most favorite Aussie books:   These books made a lasting impression on me

  1. Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather (K. Lamb)
  2. All of T. Astley’s books:
  3. Girl With a Monkey
  4. A Descant for Gossips
  5. The Well Dressed Explorer
  6. The Slow Natives
  7. Birds Mind: Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds (G. Kaplan)…amazing!
  8. Past Carin’ – (Henry Lawson) –  stop and listen to the poem….the hard  life in the Outbush.
  9. A poem which records the lament of a bush woman whom hardship and tragedy have made ‘past carin’’


Past Carin’ (1899)

Well, up and down the sidling brown the great black crows are flyin’
And just below the spur I know another milker’s dyin’.
The crops have withered from the ground, the tank’s clay bed is glarin’
Yet from my heart no tear or sound for I have grown past carin’.

Through death and trouble, turn about, through hopeless desolation,
Through flood and fever, fire and drought, through slavery and starvation,
Through childbirth, sickness, hurt and blight, through loneliness and scarin,
From being left alone at night I have grown to be past carin’.

Our first child took in days like these a cruel week in dyin’,
All day upon her father’s knees or on my breast a-lyin’.
The tears we shed, the prayers we said were awful, wild, despairin’
I’ve pulled three through and buried two since then, and I am past carin’.

‘Twas ten years first, then came the worst, all for a barren clearin’,
I thought, I thought my heart would burst when first my man went shearin’.
He’s drovin’ in the great North West; I don’t know how he’s farin’,
And I, the girl who loved him best, have grown to be past carin’.

My eyes are dry, I cannot cry, I have no heart for breakin’,
Where it was in days gone by is empty dull and achin’.
My last boy ran away from me; I know my temper’s wearin’,
But now I only wish to be beyond all signs of carin’.
Past bothering, past carin’, past feeling and despairin’,
And now I only wish to be beyond all signs of carin’.


Least favorite Aussie books:  I felt I wasted my reading time.

  1. The Magician’s Guild (Trudi Canavan) fantasy
  2. Georgiana Molloy: The Mind That Shines (B. Barry) non-fiction
  3. A Guide to Berlin (Gail Jones)  fiction
  4. Weak point: the writing was repetitive, lacking creative imagery and just dishwater grey.


2. When you think of Australia, what are the first five things that pop into your mind?

  1. Kookaburra
  2. Sydney Literary Festival (May 2018)
  3. Nevil Shute
  4. Foster’s beer
  5. Dragonfly airplane (De Havilland)


3. Have you ever visited Australia? Or thought about it?
  1. I would love to visit someday…but now only in books!
  2.  What are the pro’s and con’s about travelling to/in Australia for you?
  3. ….long flight (con)  …visit towns/places I’ve read about!  (pros)


4. If you have been or plan to visit, where will you be heading first?

Green Island off the coast of Carins
5. Do you have a favourite Australian author?
     Thea Astley –  Please, take the time to read her biography, you won’t be disappointed!
6. Which Aussie books are on your TBR pile/wishlist?

Australian fiction and non-fiction list:

  1. The Hate Race – M. Clarke
  2. The Other Side of the World – S. Bishop
  3. Portable Curiosities – J.Koh
  4. Dying in the First Person – N. Sulway
  5. The Redemption of Galen Pike – C. Davies
  6. Secrets Between Friends – F. Palmer
  7. The Eye of the Sheep – S. Laguna
  8. The End of Seeing – C. Collins
  9. The Neighbor – J. Proudfoot
  10. Talking to my Country – S. Grant (NF)
  11. The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their CraftTom Griffiths (NF)
  12. One – Patrick Holland
  13. Seeing the Elephant – Portland Jones
  14. That Devil’s Madness – D. Wilson
  15. Soon – Lois Murphy


7. Which book/s do you hope to read for #AusReadingMonth?

  1. Aunts Up the Cross by Robin Dalton – NSW
  2. Power Without Glory  by Frank Hardy – Victoria
  3. Salt Water – Queensland
  4. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton. – Western Australia
  5. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute – Northern Territory
  6. Into the Heart of Tasmania by Rebe Taylor – Tasmania
  7. The Grief Hole by K. Warren – ACT ( author is from Canberra)
  8. The Element of Need: Murder and Memory in Adelaide by James Bradley – Southern Australia
  9. A Boat Load of Home Folk – by Thea Astley overseas setting (Pacific Island) – FREE


8. It came to my attention recently that our overseas friends view Australia as a
land full of big, bad, deadly animals.  Can you name five of them?
  1. Five??   only one  Dingo


What about five of our cuter more unique creatures?
  1. Kookaburra ( …thanks to Gisela Kaplan)
  2. Galah ( …thanks to Gisela Kaplan)
  3. Kangaroo
  4. Shrike-tit bird ( …thanks to Gisela Kaplan)
  5. kangaroo desert rat (…thanks to Don Watson)


9. Can you name our current Prime Minister (plus four more from memory)?
No googling allowed!
  1. I have no clue!
  2. I do remember the female PM….
  3. I can see her face, hear her voice….
  4. but the name escapes me.


10. Did you know that Australians have a weird thing for BIG statues of bizarre animals and things?
Can you name five of them?
I’m guessing…
  1. Kangaroo
  2. Gold Rush equipment ( Miners Gold Cradle)
  3. Kookaburra
  4. Dingo
  5. Gumtree

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts!





Love My Garden…the autumn colors

14 October 2017


The autumn garden: (De herfsttuin)

  1. Heuchera Indian summer the most intense colors can be found in planters on the fence.
  2. These plants can even survive the winter!
  3. Pink Scotch Heather (heideplanten, Calluna vulgaris) is another sturdy winter plant
  4. …that will give the garden color.
  5. Chrysanthemums (bolchrysanten) (yellow and white)….my birthday flower!
  6. The other planters are filled with tulip, crocus, grape hyacinths bulbs
  7. …that will start flowering January through May 2018!
  8. #LoveMyGarden














Age is Just a Number


  1. Do you know how it feels when you give up ?
  2. I always thought I would never give up….but I did.
  3. After fitness training with a personal trainer for 7 years…..I stopped.
  4. At first I felt elated.
  5. No more aching muscles, no more pushing  yourself  to the limit.
  6. Then after a year….I felt my body change.
  7. I lost muscle strength and …gained a few pounds
  8. … and worst of all….I lost my drive to stay healthy.
  9. It took me another year to finally realize fitness is not an option…
  10. …it is a life long project.
  11. Since we all are living longer and at home….I have to keep fit.
  12. I cannot depend on others to lift heavy bags of cat litter
  13. …take out the garbage and do house- and gardening work.
  14. I have been inspired by many women …for example:

100 year old Ida Keeling who started running at 67….and is still running.

Read her story HERE.

82 year old garden architect Penolope Hobhouse

garden writer, designer, historian and lecturer….still works the soil 5-6 hrs a day!

Here is one of her beautiful creations!

Leontine van Moorsel:  Olympic athlete (Dutch)  and international champion

  1. At the end of 1993 and beginning of 1994,
  2. …it seemed Leontien’s career would come to a premature end.
  3. Health problems developed as a result of an eating disorder.
  4. Leontien tried to keep her weight down….particularly for the cycling climbs.
  5. Leontien was tired both physically and mentally —
  6. …it became the lowest point in her life.
  7. Then it changed when she met Michael Zijlaard.
  8. Michael was a competitive cyclist.
  9. He is credited with teaching Leontien to live healthily and eat properly again.
  10. They married  in October 1995.

All these women are proof that age is just a number

  1. …and  physical and mental strength can be achieved.
  2. Now I have decided to get back to my training.
  3. I know I can do it with the help of   Sport Met Hart
  4. It starts today @home  with 2 weeks  walking, stretching
  5. …plank exercises, push ups and perhaps
  6. …later some jogging.
  7. My diet is varied and I am following the advice of  Dara Torres.

  1. Her meal plan looks like something I can live with!
  2. It all starts with a different breakfast every day!
  3. My plan is on the kitchen counter….and I’m ready to go!
  4. I will keep  you updated on my progress….because
  5. I know this is going to be tough
  6. …and it is going to hurt!

Breakfast plan:




Saturday cocktail: Brandy Crusta


  1. It’s a summer Saturday afternoon.
  2. The sun is still warm yet I notice even now
  3. …the days are getting shorter.
  4. Time to continue searching for the perfect summer cocktail.
  5. I’ve added a new item to my home bar….ice crusher.
  6. It is the greatest little gadget!


  • The Brandy Crusta was first created  in the 1850’s by an Italian.
  • Joseph Santini opened his ‘Jewel of the South‘ Saloon in New Orleans.
  • The recipe has 4 basic ingredients + lemon juice.
  • 45 ml  brandy
  • 14 ml  Maraschino Cherry liqueur
  • 22 ml Grand Marnier (or Cointreau)
  • 22 ml  lemon juice
  • dash of bitters ( I used Fernet-Branca)
  1. I poured the ingredients in a wine glass filled with crushed ice.
  2. Others use a cocktail shaker..shake with ice, strain and serve.
  3. I prefer to leave the ice in the glass….to keep the drink cool
  4. …and not TOO powerful.


  • The taste is exquisite…
  • …a perfect after beach drink.
  • Just sit back, sip and enjoy the sunset!




Hug your dog start reading!

Illustration:  M. Ulriksen in his book Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly


  1. Lists were my downfall in June.
  2. I was drowning in them…..trying to come up for air.
  3. After many weeks reading where my mood took me
  4. BARTENDING at La Floridita Bar in Havana (for Hemingway)
  5. CHASING  a corrupt  wheeler-dealer in New Jersey (CF)
  6. WATCHING  history unfold during the Civil Rights Movement 1960-63 (history)
  7. TIME-TRAVELING back to the Middle Ages in the middle of The Plague (SF)
  8. …it is time to get back to some structure in my reading.
  9. Brona@brona’sbooks posted her LONG AND SHORT OF IT comments
  10. and now I will choose a few books from her lists…and start reading!


Aussie Read:

Waiting  by P. Salom – shortlist Miles Franklin Award

Philip Salom is well known as a poet and believes this background helped create the mischievous narrator for his acclaimed novel Waiting.

Waiting revolves around four central figures. Big and Little, two of the world’s marginal people, live in a rooming house in inner Melbourne. Jasmin is from another world. She teaches semiotics at a university. Angus, the landscaper who ost his house in a fire in the Adelaide Hills.


UK Read : 

Lincoln in the Brado  by G. Saunders –  longlist Man Booker Award

Now 58, Saunders has written four short story collections and one full length novel: Lincoln in the Bardo, which explores the short life and death of US President Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie.



The Bloody Mary Book

  • Author: Ellen Brown
  • Title: The Bloody Mary Book
  • Published: 2017
  • Trivia: National Bloody Mary day is January 1
  • ….I’m a little late celebrating!
  • #20BooksOfSummer



  1. Well, here is a book ‘HOT OFF THE PRESSES’
  2. If you ‘google’  around the internet you will probably
  3. …discover  the same
  4. anecdotes I have included in this blog post.
  5. Let’s see if Ellen Brown had something new to say!


Remedy for hangover:

  1. Salt and spices replace lost electrolytes
  2. while the vitamin C, vitamin B6
  3. …and lycopene ease the havoc that
  4. overindulgence has wrought on the body.
  5. You are better off with a ‘Virgin Bloody Mary’
  6. on the day after!



  1. I like a Bloody Mary quite simple, lots of ice, a garnish of with celery
  2. I’m not crazy on the wacky garnishes you see – bacon, prawns and the like.
  3. I do like a vodka Bloody Mary
  4. …which is definitely the more standard version.



L/R:      Hemingway and his wife Mary, Nancy Hawks, Spencer Tracy, George Jessel, unknown.

  • There are many stories about the origin and naming of the Bloody Mary
  • …as there are variations on the recipe.


  1. Pete Petiot:  bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, 1921
  2. Story:  Petiot named the drink ‘Bloody Mary’ after a woman who sat at the bar for
  3. …long hours pining for a boyfriend who seldom kept appointments with her.


  1. Colin Field: head bartender of Ritz Paris’s Hemingway Bar, 1950’s
  2. Story: The doctors had forbidden Hemingway to drink.
  3. Mary his wife  had taken this seriously and placed Ernest under close watch.
  4. Stealth and cunning were needed…and the bartender devised the ingenious mixture
  5. …a drink packed with alcohol that could not be detected on the writer’s breath!
  6. Hemingway was so pleased that he got the better of his ‘bloody wife’ that he
  7. …named the drink after her, Bloody Mary!


  1. History: Queen Mary
  2. Story: Some attribute the name to notorious Queen Mary Tudor
  3. who executed hundreds of Protestants in the name of
  4. Catholicism during her short five-year reign from 1553 to 1558.


Entertaining trends:

  1. Look at this appetizing display in a café bar  for DYI  
  2. Virgin Bloody Mary’s    (no alcohol)

 Here is a Bloody Mary at the Breakwater in Stonington Connecticut….
…I’ll have to work on my garnishes!  Thanks Kathy for the snapshot!
Bloody Mary Cocktail
  • 50 ml vodka
  • 100 ml fresh tomato juice
  • Dash balsamic vinegar
  • 6 drops of Tabasco
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 shot fresh lemon juice (15 ml)
  • 2 pinch ground pepper
  • 2 pinch  salt
  • Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into an
  • ice-filled long drink glass garnish celery and lemon wedge!

First impression?  

  2. ….and I LOVED  the sound of a real cocktail shaker
  3. filled with ice…and ingredients!
  4. It was just exciting!
  5. ps….I just finished my cocktail
  6. …and would love a second one…but I will restrain myself!
  7. Next week…..a new cocktail…a new blogpost!

Shot glass:





  • Keeping the celebration simple!
  • A good French wine….
  • Boeuf Bourguignon and
  • …and home-made Clafoutis avec cerises!
  • Vive la France!






#6 degrees July 2017

Picnic (1955)

  1. Brona’s Books religiously posts her
  2. #6degree meme  (read her post here)
  3. and I always promise I will try to
  4. write a post as well….I never do.
  5. Why?
  6. I hate to make the connections, have no talent for it.
  7. So, I will join Brona this month because  I know that interaction with bloggers
  8. is important to keep the ‘writing’ juices to flowing!
  9. I let her do the hard work (connections)
  10. …and I’ll just add my 2-cents.
  11. PS – #6degrees is a monthly meme hosted by Kate Books Are My Favourite 


Picnic #1 – eponymous play by W. Inge ‘Picnic’ 

  1. I have it on my TBR list.
  2. I was swept off my feet by the movie version (1955).
  3. The hot and steamy chemistry between Madge (the ravishing Kim Novak)
  4. and William Holden (Hollywood 1950’s hunk) fogged up my glasses!
  5. The dance scene at the picnic is my absolute favorite.
  6. If you watch femme fatale Madge and  drifter tough guy Hal
  7. sashaying and listen to the movie’s theme song
  8. …Moonglow by De Lange (words), Hudson and Mills (music).
  9. I dare you not to get skin shivers…it is so  good!


Picnic #2 – Sound of Music…. based  ‘The Story of The Trapp Family Singers”.

  1. If you haven’t seen this or read the story….you’re from another planet!


The Gilded Age NY society – That will have to be Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

  1. This was very popular in the 1970’s but I had just shipped off to  The
  2. Netherlands and landed into a world very distant from the NYTimes best sellers list.
  3. I was in survival mode…no time for books yet!
  4. It won the National Book Critics Circle  Award for fiction in 1975.
  5. Not really a Pulitzer….but close enough.


Pulitzer connection:   – Angle of Repose

This book surprised me.

  1. Many readers love this book and I keep asking myself why?
  2. I too was drawn into the book in the first pages…but soon lost interest.
  3. The writing was not ‘powerful’….it was seductive.
  4. Stegener uses pathos that appeals to emotion to ‘bamboozle’  me.
  5. I was not impressed.


Forgotten classic: – The African Queen by  C.S. Forester

  1. My mother did not like movies  but I was addicted to them.
  2. There was one film she would watch with me…and we watched it a zillion times!
  3. This was ‘our’ movie.
  4. I decided to read the book….just for old times sake!
  5. Charlie: free-spirited libertine; drunk; loner.
  6. Rose: well-educated, snobbish; head-strong; bossy; devout tea-teetotaler
  7. This combination was explosive….and  yet a very tender love story.
  8. …another ‘classic’  movie from the 1950’s with Oscar winning  Bogart and Hepburn.


Existential hero –  The Sheltering Sky by Paul  Bowles

  1. The existential despair and determinism (fate) was dripping off every page!
  2. This book review will be posted soon…but take it from me
  3. …this was an exhausting read!


Road trip –  Walking the Nile  by Levison Wood.

  1. You probably know I love to travel and learn about the world
  2. …but I hate to leave home.
  3. #WorldFromMyArmchair  started by Paul Halfbook, Halfman was just
  4. …what the doctor ordered!
  5. This walk  with phython snakes, croc’s an hippo’s, red mites, insects and feral dogs
  6. …was an adventure pur sang!


  • Now there you have it….my #6degree connections
  • …with a little bit of help from a friend, Brona…who really travels!
  • Have a look at her second blog  Four Seasons!



Slow down…


  1. I can collect all the LISTS in the world.
  2. I can join a million reading challenges.
  3. But a book all comes down to my mood.
  4. At the moment…I’m in a rant  mood.


  1. I’ve been so disappointed with a few classics on
  2. Modern Library’s  list of best 100 novel…so dejected.
  3. Who puts three James Henry books on  the list
  4. one was more than enough?
  5. Light-weights….
  6. The Postman Always Rings Twice,
  7. From Here to Eternity, Kim, Catcher In The Rye
  8. USA by Dos Passos and The Magnificient Ambersons
  9. …are good but not TOP 100 novel-ish.
  10. So I have decided to replace the Books I Dread
  11. with some books  I really want to read.
  12. Terry Pratchett was a very wise man…..



  1. I took the time to think for myself and choose books
  2. Some are diamonds…some are glass…
  3. but most important
  4. ….they are all books I want to read


Science fiction:  Fahrenheit 451 – R. Bradbury

  • I always thought that science fiction was just mumbo-jumbo.
  • How wrong I have been.
  • In 1953  SF moved from magazines to the novel genre.
  • There was a market for these books filled with veiled
  • commentary on the times.
  • Bradbury touches on  destruction of culture (book burning by Nazis)
  • public’s addiction to TV, the power of advertising and McCarthyism.
  • This is just the first SF book I will read.
  • I want to learn about all that I have been missing!


Science fiction:    The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula Le Guin

  • I hope Ursula Le Guin wins the Nobel Prize one day.
  • It should be soon because she is 88 years old.
  • What is her strength?
  • She gives us a view from the other side…
  • showing us that that our perception of reality may be incomplete.
  • The author M. Chabon says Le Guin gave 21st C writers new tools
  • to work in the “borderlands,” the place where the fantastic enters literature.


Biography:  Orwell – M. Shelden

  • I found this book by accident.
  • Again…dreading books by George Orwell I thought
  • if I learn more about the man….reading his books would be easier.


Fiction:  1984 – G. Orwell

  • Ironically after reading the introduction to the  Orwell the biography
  • 1984 is a the only book from my ‘dread’ list that
  • …I am keeping on my list.


Fiction:    The Slow Natives – T. Astley


Short Stories:   several collections

  • I need a quick read  while
  • …drinking my morning coffee with the cats.
  • Short stories  have  never lost their artistic value
  • …but I seldom read them!
  • I am going to choose stories from several collections:
  • The New York Stories  – Edith Wharton
  • The Early Stories – John Updike 1/103
  • Complete Stories of – Dorothy Parker
  • The Rendezvous and other Stories – Daphne  du Maurier
  • Collected Stories – Katherine Mansfield
  • Complete Stories of – Flannery O’ Connor
  • The Collected StoriesWilliam Trevor


Crime fiction:    several choices

  • I will try yet again to read more crime fiction.
  • Le Carré – The Perfect Spy
  • Len Deighton – Berlin Game
  • Rex Stout – Some Buried Caesar – READING
  • Olen Steinhauer – An American Spy
  • D. Sayers – Strong Poison



  • I have several books written ‘about books, authors and plays’.
  • In the past I never allowed myself the time to read them.
  • Now it is time…to slow down and enjoy these books.
  • Approaches to Teaching the Plays of August Wilson – S. Shannon, S. Richards
  • Introduction to the American Short Story – M. Scofield
  • The Figure of the Detective – C. Brownson
  • Seamus Heaney – H. Vendler
  • The Politics: in Shakespeare’s History Plays – U. Kizelbach


Magazine:  The New Yorker

  • I have been reading this magazine since grammar school.
  • The literary content was beyond me at the time
  • …I just loved the cartoons.
  • Now every week the magazine arrives…and I ignore it.
  • Why?
  • No time to read it….I say to myself.
  • Now I’m making time to…
  • enjoy one of the best magazine in the world!
  • Issue 26 June 2017 – READ  cover to cover –  03.07.2017


Afbeeldingsresultaat voor terry pratchett quotes


  1. I find the slower I go…the more I want to do!
  2. Terry Pratchett said something that really stayed with me:
  3. “So much universe…so little time.”
  4. Clive Jones  poems Sentenced to Life is a book I cherish.
  5. In his title poem he said:
  6. “No birds touch down in the trees without me seeing them.
  7. I count bees.”
  8. A True lesson in slowing down…
  9. and end of rant.