Three Things #12

THREE THINGS started back in June 2018, an idea from Paula Bardell-Hedley of Book Jotter under the headings READING LOOKING THINKING and it seems I am the only participant left standing.

Thus I have decided that I will write an even dozen—non metric 12and call it quits. Not because I don’t like the idea, it’s just that now I tend to write posts without the need for an overflow outlet. I try to keep my patter short (cough) and practice slick (cough, cough) editing which mostly works. GBW.


READING

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: THREE CENTURIES OF WOMEN TRAVELLERS

Author: Dea Birkett with foreword by Jan Morris
Published: 2004
Publisher: Hardie Grant Books Australia
Pages: 144
Includes: 120 Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN: 1740662180

This book astounds in more ways than one. An enduring record of women in past centuries who did not stay home cooking and cleaning. From exotic, lesser known locations and fascinating old photos, to women around the world who had the courage to explore and travel alone. As Jan Morris said in the Forward “What they all had in common was their gender and their guts”. It offers the young millennials something to think about—survival without the internet.

Writing was one of the few careers that had long provided women with professional status, more so perhaps than other forms of artistic expression”.

Off The Beaten Track: Three Centuries of Women Travellers

My particular favourite is on pages 94-95. It starts with a quote “The pictures of the pen shall outlast those of the pencil, and even worlds themselves” Ephra Behn, prologue to “The Luckey Chance” (1687).

Below, left, is a vintage bromide print (1902) taken by an unknown photographer which shows traveller Ina Sheldon-Williams dressed in white frills, painting two tribesmen with a horse and foal, in rather genteel surroundings. Unlike fish collector Mary Kingsley (1862-1900) who suffered overturning canoes, leeches and crocodiles in West Africa, and her thick skirts saved her when she fell into a pit of pointed spikes.

The photo on the right follows the biography of Ethel Mannin (1900-1984) an English woman who lived the stuff of literary dreams. Ethel was 23 years-old, had abandoned an early marriage and with one suitcase, a portable typewriter, a child of three and six words of French she went to the south of France in search of the violet fields, olive groves, vineyards and orange trees. Later, her writing enabled her to purchase a home in fashionable Wimbledon.

Ethel’s prodigious writing and her travelling were intertwined and she wrote fiction and non-fiction providing the reason for her travels. Ethel described herself as “An emancipated, rebellious, and Angry Young Woman”. I just love her 1930 B&W National Gallery portrait—a strong look, perhaps later copied by young Wednesday in “The Addams Family”. GBW.


LOOKING

New Farm Park, Brisbane, roses after rain © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

Unlike cultivated New Farm Park, I have been looking out my window with a certain amount of glumness and a large dose of embarrassment, at the backyard garden (read overgrown jungle) which has proliferated after recent steady rain. Autumnal April, an odd time for such rainfall. It fell in south-east Queensland but not enough in the water supply dam catchment areas.

Even in the 21st century we are dependent on water falling from the sky.

There was a campaign for recycled water during our big Millennium Drought but it never caught on.

I believe Las Vegas, Nevada, has used recycled (reclaimed) water for many years. It’s a mental thing, isn’t it? People are dubious of water others have already drunk and worse…

Getting back to riotous grass, the lawnmower men and gardeners are booked solid so unless I can find an old man with a hay scythe, I will avoid looking out the windows for another week or two. GBW.


THINKING

Fasten seatbelts, get ready for my stream-of-consciousness…

I have been thinking about the legacies we leave behind. Good, bad or unintentional. Of course, there are hundreds of ways a person leaves a legacy; flamboyantly, quietly, cruelly, some not necessarily acknowledged, but they will be there just the same. From the tangible to the ephemeral, the loved to the hated, a universal legacy or a small one-on-one, we leave our mark. Be aware of this legacy, this part of you which I believe you will indelibly leave behind in some form. Use it wisely so those who receive it, directly or otherwise, will know where it came from and decide if it is worthy of keeping, if it will become part of them—although some legacies are hard to shake. Many people are no-fuss, low-key individuals and that’s fine, however, they may not know it but they will intrinsically leave a legacy. A legacy is more than an amount of money or property left to someone in a Will. I believe it can be found in a good book or website (thanks Paula) but rarely in texting or social media. A legacy transcends time. Think about it. I bet you can recall a parent, sibling, teacher, partner, child, best friend or workmate saying or doing something you have not forgotten. Basically it’s the essence of that person you experience and instinctively preserve. A legacy can be as big as a skyscraper or a single gentle word, both of equal value, and both can leave a remembrance. If it is bad, destructive or no value, it should be dismissed and a life lesson learned from it. In turn you can pass on a better legacy so others will benefit. That’s what a legacy is! Sometimes you don’t know until years later (sometimes never) that your legacy of word or deed was appreciated. And it doesn’t matter if you hold a very special legacy close because you will inexorably create your own for someone else. Make it good. GBW.

Bon Voyage Three Things!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Wales Readathon 2019

If you’ve never read a Welsh writer’s work, now is your chance!  I’ve been to the library and collected my copy of Under Milk Wood, the radio/stage/film drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas to get me started.  Read all about Dewithon19 on Book Jotter’s blog….Mwynhewch ddarllen! (Enjoy reading!)
Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Book Jotter

1st-31st March

Wales DragonWelcome to the first ever Wales Readathon (aka Dewithon 19), a month-long event beginning on Saint David’s Day, during which book bloggers from all parts of the world are encouraged to read, discuss and review literature by and about writers from Wales.

For more in-depth information on this reading jolly, head over to DHQ (Dewithon Headquarters) – and should you wish to take part in the official readalong, please follow this link. You can also share your thoughts and posts on Twitter by using the hashtags #dewithon19 and/or walesreadathon19.

Here we display your Dewithon-related posts. Please leave your links in the comments below or drop me a line with the URL.

Mwynhewch ddarllen! (Enjoy reading!)

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DEWITHON POST PINBOARD

FEATURES

Dewithon Logo Daffs

You may use the Reading Wales/Dewithon logos with a link…

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24 Stories: of Hope for Survivors of the Grenfell Tower Fire

My emotions overcame me when I read this piece…read for yourself…

Book Jotter

by Kathy Burke (Editor)

24 STORIES COVERMy routine was much as usual on the morning of Wednesday 14th June 2017: I arose early for work, fed the chickens, settled myself at the kitchen table for my first cuppa of the day and switched the TV on to watch BBC News.

For several seconds I stared vacantly at the screen, unable to comprehend the shocking nature of the images I was seeing. There was a man sobbing incoherently to a reporter and then emergency services vehicles were shown illuminating huddles of grim-faced onlookers in their flickering lights. It began to make sense when the picture jumped to a high-rise block of flats of the sort you find in cities throughout the UK, except this one had taken on the appearance of an immense Chinese lantern burning uncontrollably over a sleeping city.

This was Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey Brutalist-style construct in North Kensington…

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DHQ: Wales Dewithon19

My foray into reading Welsh authors began with Jasper Fforde (Thursday Next) Paula Brackston (Shadow Chronicles) and Bill James (Harpur & Iles) and now, thanks to Book Jotter Paula Bardell-Hedley and Dewithon19, I have a wonderful list to continue reading in more depth.  “dw i’n hapus iawn!”

Find more about reading, writing, reviewing Welsh literature on Dewithon19–––

Book Jotter

#dewithon19 logo

1st to 31st March 2019

Welcome to DHQ (Dewithon Headquarters), the nerve centre for Reading Wales 2019!

The people of Wales celebrate St David’s Day annually on 1st March – the date of our patron saint’s death in 589 CE. In honour of this traditional anniversary, and also in recognition of the time of year when daffodils (the national flower of Wales) explode into bloom, we will hold the very first Dewithon – Dewi being the diminutive form of the Welsh name Dafydd (David).

Throughout March 2019 the international book blogging community will be invited to write about the literature of Wales. This will include reviews and articles about novels, non-fiction publications, short story anthologies, biographical works (by or about Welsh writers), travelogues, volumes of poetry (or single poems), essay collections, or indeed any texts with a meaningful connection to Wales.

You may write in either Welsh or…

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