Friday, August 31, 2007
My friend Lou rang me this morning to ask if I had finished this book yet, as she just had and was reeling from its conclusion. I spent time doing so today and have just finished. (We are reading it for the book club we attend once a month.) It is classed as 'young adult' fiction, and is a very powerful story. As I reached the last chapter I had an inkling of how it was going to end, but was madly wishing it wouldn't. I won't tell you anymore, just in case you pick it up to read.
The following is part of a review written in 'the Age' newspaper about the book last year:
Irish writer John Boyne's fourth novel is the first he has written for children. It's a touching tale of an odd friendship between two boys in horrendous circumstances and a reminder of man's capacity for inhumanity.
Bruno is a nine-year-old boy growing up in Berlin during World War II. He lives in a five-storey house with servants, his mother and father and 12-year-old sister, Gretel. His father wears a fancy uniform and they have just been visited by a very important personage called the Fury, a pun which adult readers should have no trouble deciphering. As a consequence of this visit, Bruno's father gets a new uniform, his title changes to Commandment and, to Bruno's chagrin, they find themselves moving to a new home at a place called Out-With.
When Bruno gets there he is immediately homesick. He has left his school, his three best friends, his house, his grandparents and the bustling street life of urban Berlin with its cafes, fruit and veg stalls, and Saturday jostle. His new home is smaller, full of soldiers and there is no one to play with. From his bedroom window, however, he notices a town of people dressed in striped pyjamas separated from him by a wire fence. When he asks his father who those people are, he responds that they aren't really people.
Bruno is forbidden to explore but boredom, isolation and sheer curiosity become too much for him. One day, he follows the wire fence cordoning off the area where these people live from his house. He spots a dot in the distance on the other side of the fence and as he gets closer, he sees it's a boy. Excited by the prospect of a friend, Bruno introduces himself. The Jewish boy's name is Shmuel. Almost every day, they meet at the same spot and talk. Eventually, for a variety of reasons, Bruno decides to climb under the fence and explore Shmuel's world.
Bruno's friendship with Shmuel is rendered with neat awareness of the paradoxes between children's naive egocentricity, their innate concept of fairness, familial loyalty and obliviousness to the social conventions of discrimination. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is subtitled A Fable and, as in other modern fables such as Antoine de St Exupery's The Little Prince, Boyne uses Bruno to reveal the flaws in an adult world.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
After we had got the business out of the way we walked down to David Jones in the hope of viewing the new floral display. This year’s theme, ‘The Fabulous Festival of Fantastic Flora,’ is inspired by Graeme Base’s famous and much-loved children’s book ‘Animalia’. Unfortunately we were 2 days too early, but what was already on display was incredible.These photos were taken on our phones, so the quality may not be great.
And we had lunch at the 'Noodle Bar' in David Jones' food hall section of the store.
Outside I managed to have a free hug. You can read about free hugs here.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The kids and I, along with most of the world I presume, enjoyed the lunar eclipse last night.
I love the fact that the kids are old enough to appreciate this sort of phenomena now.
The moon is expected to turn anything from a yellowish brown to a blood red in Tuesday night's total lunar eclipse.
The eclipse, visible to the naked eye anywhere in Australia, will begin at sunset when the earth, the sun and the moon fall into perfect alignment.
The moon's surface will darken as the earth's shadow creeps across it to create a partial eclipse from just before 7pm (AEST), with the total eclipse visible one hour later.
Although it will be a total eclipse the ring of light around the earth's edge is enough to illuminate the moon's surface.
If there is enough dust in the earth's atmosphere the surface will appear blood red.
An eclipse occurs when the earth passes between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun's light. It is rare because the moon is usually either above or below the plane of the earth's orbit.
"It is a pretty sight and it's an unusual sight so it's worth looking at," said Professor Mike Dopita from the Australian National University's School of Astronomy.
"The moon gets this sometimes quite blood red colour and it's quite an interesting sight to see although it is of no astronomical importance at all."
Prof Dopita said it was hard to predict exactly what colour the moon would be.
"It really varies. Sometimes it's a kind of a sunset yellowish colour, sometimes it looks quite red. It depends upon whether there's been volcanic activity.
"When there's more dust it turns redder. After Mt Pinatubo Volcano (in the Philippines) erupted (in 1991) there was lots and lots of dust in the atmosphere but that has all settled.
"It might be anything from a yellowish earthy colour to a really dull brownish colour passing through red and in between, but an unusual colour to see the moon anyway."
The last total lunar eclipse, visible in Australia, was in July 2000.
Prof Dopita said total eclipses were relatively infrequent.
"There's usually about two of them a year but they are usually partial - a total one is a little bit rarer," he said.
The next total lunar eclipse visible in Australia will occur in December 2011.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Today was a perfect day for a BBQ. The sun was shining, the air was still, and the temperature was very mild.
David and Sophie, Stephen and Oliver
We celebrated Sylvia (Andrew's mum) and Ruth's (aunty) birthdays.
Boris especially enjoys a BBQ.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
This morning we all went out to do a big supermarket shop - tomorrow Andrew's family are coming around for lunch and we needed lots of supplies.
One of the big drawing cards (for the kids) of going to the supermarket is the chance to maybe have a milkshake. They were lucky. We decided to stop and have morning tea in one of those large open eating areas found in shopping centres everywhere.
Mmmm... just what we needed - a thick, cheap china mug.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Last year I was looking through a favourite magazine (the type that shows fabulous houses with designer pieces) and I saw this tree. I fell in love with it but never imagined that I would ever find one. However, earlier this year I attended a trade show for home decor and saw it!! My friend Vanessa brought it around for me a couple of months later. It has now become a feature in my lounge room makeover. I love it!! It ties in beautifully with the fabric from IKEA that I used to make the curtains. When the room is finished I'll take some more photos.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
A very excited girl.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I was just reading Laurie Anne's blog about washing, and remember why I was at the computer again - I am avoiding the plie of clean clothes that need folding! I just commented on her blog that the folding and ironing of clothes is one of the daily tasks I dislike the most (hence the pile that has not been touched for days).
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Move forward a couple of weeks, and Sylvia (my mother-in-law) produced this book yesterday, which is fascinating. She thinks she may have bought it as a gift for someone, but decided to keep it as it was so interesting. The book talks about William Pitt, giving a background to his 'unspecified poor health', and it seems that he probably drank himself to death.
Here is a blurb about the book from the ABC shop website:
Throughout history, one thing has been certain: even famous and important people suffer embarrassing, painful and even debilitating illnesses.
What's not been agreed is exactly what medical maladies have tormented many of them. In Mere Mortals, Jim Leavesley has delved into the history books and attempted to solve some of the world's most baffling medical mysteries, offering priceless snippets along the way.
For instance, could Joan of Arc in fact have been John? Was Adolf Hitler really a chronic farter? Why did Van Gogh so favour the colour yellow? Frighteningly addictive, Mere Mortals will have you hooked from the start.
Jim Leavesley is a retired GP, author and regular contributor to ABC Radio National's Ockham's Razor program. In 1993 he was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for sevices to medicine, in particular to medical history.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Unfortunately my computer seems to have crashed!! If I try to connect to the Internet it states that there is a Winsock problem. However, I have discovered this morning the problem is worse than that. My computer won't even recognise a 'ping' command.
I'm at a friend's house checking my emails at the moment. Please don't be offended if you don't hear from me for awhile.
I don't think I will last long without a computer.
Mmmmm... I think I hear the sound of money draining from my purse.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Recently I have been falling in love with Finnish fabrics and homewares. The more I see of them, the more I am impressed by them. As you may have noticed I have a link to Marimekko fabric in my sidebar.
I have just been browsing through an online gift shop - FinnishGifts.com. The following is the blurb they have about Marimekko:
Vivid colors and large scale patterns helped Marimekko establish Finland as a source of cutting-edge style in the 1950’s. Some of those same innovative and bold patterns have led to the resurgence of Marimekko in the design world today. Once again at the top of fashion, Marimekko's unique style reaches across generations.
I recently bought a piece of fabric on Ebay which I am going to stretch out as a canvas for our lounge room wall (it is undergoing a makeover at the moment)."Lumimarja" by Marimekko
Saturday, August 04, 2007
We went over to visit my sister and Brad this afternoon. All are doing well. Zac is still to learn that night = sleep, but that takes a while.
The kids had not held him yet so they had a turn, then I grabbed him to have a big cuddle.
Friday, August 03, 2007
This incredible photo was sent to me by Al (a friend) this week. Incredible because he was there, and he took it!! Here is a part of the letter attached so you know what you are looking at:
The handy thing about watching the Tour in Paris is the stage finishes with eight laps of the Champs Elysees. This is helpful, ‘cause the peloton flies by in under a minute. Eight times the pack went by, each time the experience was better.
I’ve got lots of photos, but I’ll limit it to one for now. It’s not great, but the attached photo shows Team Discovery on the first lap – you can see Hincapie, Liepheimer, etal protecting Contador, and, somewhat poetically, Cadel Evans from Predictor/Lotto blurred in the background. Gee Cadel rode well – a clean rider, his is a phenomenal Australian sporting achievement.Andrew stayed up every night to watch the Tour de France. It was on very late at night if you wanted to see it live.
And in other racing news - the girls had their athletics carnival at school this week. Not as high pressure, but they were both nervous about the day as I dropped them off in the morning. By the time I arrived back at school to watch they were enjoying the day.
Lauren and Madeleine are both on the far left in these photos.Oliver got to race too. A special preschool sibling race. He is on the far right.