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

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