Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Winter warmer

Winter warmer

August 31st, 2010

OK, the last day of winter is nearly over. Just over three hours to go. It was the coldest (by ten years) and wettest (by three years), according to today's weather report. Hmmm. Enough about the chilly climes, what about tomorrow, the first day of Spring?

I will be going for a jog in my new joggers. Slightly embarrassingly, I had to buy mens’ in the end; the ladies’ did not go up to a large enough size. Honestly, in this day and age? It's not as if I have huge feet. Just big feet. I should be a water skier, but without the skis ... let's hope the shoes work, and make me run faster and longer! 

During Spring, I'm also going to be thinking about blog content that I want to write about. I've already started a bit of a list. I want to write about something Alexander McCall Smith mentioned at one of his literary talks he held in Sydney last year. He spoke about the importance of penning a memorable opening line to a novel. That is so true, isn’t it? A bit like meeting a potentially new friend: what you experience during the first encounter will make you want to find out more, or the exact opposite - and then the opportunity to enthrall someone is lost. For authors, it's could be the difference between high and low book sales. Alexander McCall Smith quoted one unforgettable example: "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills." Incredible. It immediately make me think of the book and the movie ... So, I am going to browse through my bookcase and pull out some of my favourite books and explore if they too have legendary first lines. Here is one: "Mary Ann Singleton was twenty-five years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time." (Tales of the City, volume I). And another: "Passing off, thought William. Spanish sparkling wine – filthy stuff, he thought, filthy – passed itself off as champagne." (that last one was Alexander McCall Smith’s - Corduroy Mansions!). As you can see, I am going to have some fun with that idea! Suggestions are of course MORE than welcome. Best one gets a prize!

Another topic I am passionate about and thought would be of interest is a one-stop-shop blog about Melbourne designer Grant Featherston. He was inducted into the Design Institute of Australia's Hall of Fame in 1996. Every time I get an eBay alert that one of his pieces is on sale, I have the (very) unrealistic hope that it might sell for - what Elliott considers to be - a reasonable amount. Dream on. I am clearly more inclined to part with lots of cashola for a masterpiece than he is ... "Eeks, it's a chair." The Eleanor is so beautiful, but more on her and other models later. I have already started researching on Google and am surprised that information about him is not that readily available. Maybe I will build the courage to approach his widow for an interview . . .

I also love nisse or tomte, the Scandinavian Christmas elves. To me, they represent very fond memories of early teenage visits to Denmark with my oldest friend Antonia and her Mum Eva to see MorMor, Eva's lovely Mum. A visit to Illums Bolighus in Copenhagen was like love at first sight!. When we met with Antonia Nick and Mabel in California two years ago for a joint holiday 'alf way', Antonia and I ventured out to Solvang to explore a town created by Danish settlers. One of the shops was dedicated entirely to Scandinavian Christmas ornaments and I had to practice some serious self control, as you can imagine . . . There were little friendly nisse everywhere, each wanting a new home in Sydney no doubt! Quite a few lucky ones made it, too! Poor Elliott ...

As you can see, I could go on forever and I am sure the list will grow and become a whole new beast with its own name!!

Anyway – am off to bed. Elliott is out with clients and I am going to tuck in with my latest book – The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller (opening line to the prologue: “They gathered in the dark long before the train arrived at the small station”; and opening line to Chapter One: “In years to come, Laurence Bartram would look back and think that the event that really changed everything was not the war, nor the attack at Rosières, nor even the loss of his wife, but the return of John Emmett into his life”. Good reference back to the title, at least!

So, there you go. That was the last winter posting, to warm your night! Only 2.5 hours to go before Spring ...

Sweet dreams,

IL x x

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hello . . . out there!

Blog #1:
Note to loyal readers out there (if there are any!):  I have copied and pasted the original blog post from the wordpress blog here, with links to the book and mook I referred to, so that all my blog posts can now be viewed in this one place . . . sorry, it is just that after a day of browsing blogs I have come to realise that this format is more user friendly and easier for me to track the blogs I like too!

August 2010

Hello, out there …

A few, very different, friends have started blogging and sharing thoughts, ideas and random insights on their blogs – most of which have entertained or intrigued me when I am surfing (on-line) . . . so I thought I would add to the mix!

Today’s musings are about a book I am reading at the moment (not the book club choice yet, sorry girls, I just wanted to fit in a quick story first) about a prostitute and part-time model living in early Florence. Near the beginning of the book (The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorate, also the author of The Glassblower of Murano), she poses for Botticelli as a favour to one of her clients, and ends up stealing a small copy of his Primavera painting when he treats her badly at the end of the sitting . . . and so starts the adventure! Right now she is trying to figure out why three people – linked to her client and Botticelli – have had their throats slashed (including said client) . . . and she is on the run. Understandably, it is hard to focus on work just now as I am wondering what the hidden secret in the drawing of the painting is, so just thought I would quickly set up a blog and share that thought with you!

And, also wanted to share that I am thinking about the putter club cover I (lovingly) knitted for El which he left (or lost?) in Edinburgh last month. At least he said he wants me to knit him a new one, so I am hoping it was a genuine loss, and not a real moment of deliberate forgetfulness!! He will be choosing a new colour tonight (maybe the red one I knitted previously was too bright?).

Am also thinking about Kate and Dumbo feather, and hoping that she will soon ask me to write or proof read for her again . . . I have loved working with her so far!

So, that’s it. For now. Ciao from dreamy Firenze (I wish!) x


Spring . . . is in my step

Blog #2:
Towards Spring:

August 2010

Hello, again ...

Am feeling a bit more shy about adding to my blog the second time around! Makes it all feel so OFFICIAL. So please bear with me. Must be because I am approaching 40 rather quickly – yes, I am a Leo with only one year left before that big decade!).

I've been thinking about Spring. Not only because it finally means the end of the cold and rainy weather, but also because I failed so miserably at my New Year's Resolutions this year. Like most previous years. It's like being given a second chance, and I am going to take it! I’ve included some links to the things that I talk about, on the condition you read my whole blog first, before getting distracted and clicking on the links! OK?

To start with, I have decided I am going to abscond from half of my FAVOURITE past-time: (a) browsing through bookshops and (b) actually buying books. (b) is going to have to stop, for Spring. Gulp. To make it bearable, I am going to give myself one exception: I can only buy the books that our book club has chosen to read during this season, unless I already have the book - a good possibility, given the rate at which I have been buying books over the last few years!. I think I am going to suffer, and be sorely tempted on MANY occasions, but at least I still get to rifle through bookshops (a) which is at least half the fun! I'll just keep a list in my gorgeous kikki K diary (the new 2011 edition is out, Jane said. That doesn’t count as a book, does it?!).

Anyway, back to the "Spring" in my step. I am also going to attempt at least a 5km jog, at least once a week. Probably on Sundays, so I have all day to recover. I've already done two jogs in the last fortnight (with water drinking breaks at Jane's), but I run all the way there (2.5km) and all the way home. Will try and shorten the break in the middle, and run faster. Anything to tackle that jelly belly!

AND, I am going to indulge in other past-times MORE (in addition to reading in bed): more knitting, which I love (Mum gave me a beautiful book for my birthday called The Knitter's Year - 52 Simple Seasonal Knits - by Debbie Bliss, a great knitwear pattern designer. It is lovely and has lots of projects, large and small, to entertain me. I particular, I love the Christmas decorations (imagine little hand-knitted Christmas trees, and snow-white pompom garlands!) and will be focusing my attentions to making quite a few (and hopefully completing some). Which brings me to my next project . . .

Last but not least, and trust me, this Spring drive could go on FOREVER, I am going to finish the Shepherd’s Bush "Harry's Stocking" Christmas stocking cross-stitch project which I started when Zack was one. I only have a few hours left to do on it, and then I can ask the shop (Needlecraft in Mosman) to send it to one of their granny sewers, who will take my Christmassy delight and turn it into a beautiful stocking by attaching the felt/paisley back! Can't wait to finally see it finished, and I will then start on Sam's stocking. Will hopefully finish that one in time for next year!!!

So, those were just some top line Spring thoughts. I could add more, but may need to do so in another blog, as I actually need to do some work!

Hope you enjoyed my musings. I certainly enjoyed Jan's latest letter to Susan and also Germaine Leece's (Some Home Truths) latest post on Maggie O'Farrell.

Bye for now, make sure you inject some Spring into YOUR step!