366 days of gratitude

January 27, 2016

Once I started a book I used to keep going.

Now if I can’t get into it I give up, preferring to spend precious reading time on something I enjoy.

That said some books are read-once and forget, others go into the favourite category to be read and re-read.

At this time of year I always re-read some of my very favourite books and today I’m grateful to the authors whose work gives enduring pleasure.


Quote of the day

December 16, 2015

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. – Jane Austen who was born on this day in 1817.


Quote of the day

September 14, 2015

. . . Liberally sprinkling a book aimed at youngsters with foul language – of a kind that not so long ago would have led to arrest – is no way to increase anyone’s literacy. Certainly not that of teenagers.

Writers have plenty of perfectly good expressive words in the English language to choose from, without reducing literary and language standards to the lowest common denominator.

While bad language may be the norm in the playground, you can bet it isn’t tolerated in the classrooms of teachers marching to the freedom-of-speech drum.

And why are young males from “educational deprived backgrounds” taught that swearing is a good way for them to communicate? Does this mean they are written-off as knuckle-dragging proles?

Youngsters need inspiration, guidance and discipline if they are to engage fruitfully, communicate decently with each other and make their mark.

They don’t have many role models, not if the swearing heard on buses and around bars and cafes is anything to go by.

There’s no need for it…Charles Dickens didn’t do it that way – and he knew about deprived backgrounds.Jock Anderson


Quote of the day

July 6, 2015

We do not belong to those who have ideas only among books, when stimulated by books. It is our habit to think outdoors — walking, leaping, climbing, dancing, preferably on lonely mountains or near the sea where even the trails become thoughtful. – Friedrich Nietzsche.

Hat tip: Rob Hosking in a post on walking – ‘that suspensive heaven’ which is topped by a stunning photo above Lake Wanaka and that anyone to whom walking, thinking, and just slowing down appeals and noticing will enjoy.


Isn’t every day Book Day?

April 23, 2015

Every day is Book Day for me.

It doesn’t mean I read at least a few chapters of a book every day, though there was a time when I did and at one stage it was several books a week.

It does mean that I love books and feel discombobulated should I not have something to read at hand should boredom or the opportunity to lose myself in the pages present itself.

I’ve read a few electronic books but still prefer real books with pages that turn and which can be passed on to others when I’ve read them.

Anyway, World Book Day was March the 5th but in support of my contention that every day is book day, it’s being celebrated in Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct  today.
Oamaru's Victorian Precinct's photo.


The Farm At Black Hills

April 20, 2015

The Farm At Black Hill is the story not only of the farm and the families who farmed it.

It weaves in the history of the Hurunui District, merino wool and the Romney and Corriedale sheep breeds

Most of all it is a memoir of the very full life of Beverley Forrester, a woman who, as she quips to one of her staff, is not afraid of hard work.

Beverley was brought up on a farm on Matakana Road, near Warkworth, by parents who modelled a strong work ethic and taught their family the importance of community involvement.

She trained as an occupational therapist and soon after graduating was appointed charge OT at Templeton Hospital.

While working in various posts as an OT, Beverley continued to follow her interest in coloured sheep. An invitation to judge at the Cheviot Show led to a meeting with Jim Forrester and she moved to Black Hills.

The marriage was a happy but short one. After just 10 years Beverley was widowed and found herself in charge of the farm.

Eventually she had to accept Black Hills was too big for her and she sold most of it to focus on other work.

She and her staff undertook the restoration of the farm’s historic limestone buildings which became a tourist attraction.

She also followed her passion for wool. English cousins helped her set up a shop in Henley-On-Thames. She exports to several countries, has her own fashion label and her clothes have been shown at New Zealand Fashion Week.

Beverley writes in a matter-of-fact style on everything from dagging sheep to meeting royalty.

I finished this book in awe of what she has accomplished.

You can find out more at her website Black Hills.

The Farm AT Black Hills, Farming Alone in the Hills of North Canterbury by Beverley Forrester with John McCrystal, published by Penguin Random House.

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All royalties from the book are being donated to Rural Women NZ.


Open Season

March 31, 2015

Dave Witherow’s book, Open Season, An Angler’s Life in New Zealand, sat on my to-read shelf for weeks.

I know little about fishing and my interest in it is no better than my knowledge.

But I picked up the book last week and was not only hooked but reeled in by the tales of fishing, fishers and their adventures.

As Kevin Ireland says in the forward:

. . . The sheer pleasure of Dave’s abilities and craftsmanship always save the day. His writing has the same relaxed, discursive and illuminating brilliance of his conversation. . .

This is why he managed to keep someone with little interest in fishing reading. He writes well, keeping the reader engaged with the adventures and escapades he and his mates have enjoyed.

This includes crossing a flooded river on a raft constructed from lilos and building his own plane to enable him to get to good fishing spots more easily.

Open Season is an easy and entertaining read which will appeal most to anglers and other outdoor adventurers, but could also hook those like me who know little about the sport.

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Open Season, An Angler’s Life in New Zealand by Dave Witherow, published by Random House.

 


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