Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. I had an ace day in the Yarra Valley last week (much wine, a superb lunch at Tarra Warra, and my first visit to Four Pillars distillery where the sales staff probably made their monthly quota after our visit – specifically ‘Espy’ Gin, breakfast negroni, and because I love negronis, this). Continue reading

Bluebottle by Belinda Castles

At a glance, Bluebottle by Belinda Castles seems straightforward – a novel about family relationships – and yet Castles has layered every element of this story with vivid detail. The result is a mesmerizing and immersive read and one that, like the title suggests, looks pretty but has a sting.

The story follows the Bright family – charismatic and temperamental Charlie; his wife, Tricia, the nervy peacemaker; and their three children, Lou, Jack and Phoebe.

There were eruptions, sometimes squalls, Charlie’s mood building and breaking and building again over several days like summer weather. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. You know when the reading of one book prompts the reading of another? There was a passing reference to Florence Broadhurst in the book I just finished (Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover), which made me pull one of the most beautiful books I own off the shelf – Helen O’Neill’s biography, Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret & Extraordinary Lives. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01.  Mrs Roth, with her dextrous but controversial Continental knitting style scares the hell out of me.

“…prepare their needles for combat…”
“…something on her needles all the time, from ladies dresses to men’s cardigans…”
“You can tell the temperament of the woman by just how she’s knitting.”

What I want to know – WHO WON?! Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. I went to a couple of MEL NYC dinners last week. The winner was the Starward Distillery’s whiskey cocktails and ‘street food’ event. Cocktails were spectacular, food delicious and the venue was superb.  Continue reading

A Zoo in my Luggage by Gerald Durrell

I’m always astounded by the television program, Border Security. I’m not interested in the immigration issues or drug busts – it’s the people bringing fruit, vegetables, live seafood and meat into Australia that is fascinating. Invariably, they’re in the ‘nothing to declare’ line when airport officials open their suitcases to find kilos of unidentifiable meat, plants and seeds, and they feign surprise. For my overseas readers, you basically can’t bring ANYTHING into Australia – we have the world’s strictest quarantine and biosecurity laws (remember Johnny Depp’s dogs?).

So it was with a mixture of interest and amazement that I read Gerald Durrell’s memoir, A Zoo in My Luggage. It’s an account of Durrell’s trip to what was then the British Cameroons in West Africa (now part of northern Nigeria and Cameroon), during which he and his wife captured animals to start their own zoo. The book concludes with their return to England, and how he managed his menagerie while he found a permanent home for them (they lived in his back yard and then later in the basement of a department store). Continue reading