16 May 2020

Tulip time

Time for planting, that is. Now that I live here, I can hardly have a garden without tulips, can I? After all, the famous Bowral Tulip Festival (sadly cancelled this year like many other crowd-attracting events) draws thousands of visitors to admire the blooms in Corbett Gardens. 

 Image from Southern Highlands Welcome Centre, Mittagong.

Bulbs are mysterious and clever. Already the flowers are stored in the dormant bulbs, just ready to burst forth once the conditions are suitable. It's an exciting time and I'll be planting these beauties this week, direct from Tesselaar's garden to mine. 😀

Natives of Central Asia and Turkey, tulips were imported to Holland in the sixteenth century. They looked different to every other flower in Europe at the time and soon became collector's items, which led to speculative dealing and subterfuge in the market. "Tulip mania" was a wild time, when prices of the bulbs shot up and many people clamored to own them. This demand crashed in 1637.

Four centuries on, tulip bulbs are easily available for reasonable prices. Lucky us!

30 April 2020

My book of the month: April

Well, really a trilogy. The Crimson Lake trilogy by Candice Fox, to be exact.

We are Candice Fox groupies in this house. We've been to three of her author talks over recent years and love her stories. They are dark and disturbing but the characters are so well-developed and strangely relatable, even when they are taking vile actions we would never dream of.

Book one is Crimson Lake, book two is Redemption Point and book three is Gone by Midnight. Highly recommended!

You can read more about the Crimson Lake trilogy on Goodreads.

23 April 2020

Flowers in detail

I love taking close-up photos of flowers and plants. The detail is always astonishing - the shapes, patterns, and colours never cease to amaze me.

This is a cyclamen that I bought last weekend at the garden centre. As I unloaded my basket of seedlings, my eye was caught by these streaky flowers near the entrance. It was a last-minute purchase I had to have!

After I arrived home, I took photos from different angles because there was so much to admire. Look at those pink streaks and the elegant stems of the blooms ready to unfurl.

There is so much detail in this photo. I wondered how it would look if I used a Prisma filter on it? This is the result: my original photo altered with the Thota Vaikuntam filter.

Have you tried the Prisma app? It has a basic set of filters in the free version plus extras if you want to pay. I find the free version satisfies my need to play.

Isn't nature astounding?

21 April 2020

Motivated? Not me.

Motivation, what's that? I don't have any of it. I drift around the house and garden, doing a little of this followed by a little of that. No concentration at all.

I force myself to go for a walk in the fresh air. I don't really want to but once I'm outside and start putting one step in front of another, I'm glad I did. When I see trees like this one, as I did on today's walk, it cheers me.

How's your motivation? Are you making it through the days OK? Let's just do the best we can and keep walking.

30 March 2020

We still need stories

Reading is like breathing to me - one of life's essentials. I stopped reading print books at the beginning of March. I returned my last lot of library books because I didn't like the idea of what germs might linger on them during this virus-ridden time. Now most public libraries in Australia have closed their doors anyway.

So what to do? 

1. Check if your local bookshop will deliver.
My local bookshop will and it's a great service to those who want to buy print books and are loathe to leave home. 

2. Buy e-books.
I don't buy print novels at all anymore because I don't want them filling my house. If you saw how many old novels I discarded before we moved house, you'd understand why! E-books are the way to go for me because I can download them instantly. I'm happy to buy new novels in this format.

3. Borrow e-books from your library.
Most libraries have e-books for loan for free. You will need your library card number and have to download the relevant app. Look at your library's website to see what they offer. I have placed several reserves on e-book titles from my libraries (I belong to several).

4. Borrow magazines from your library.
Many libraries have digital magazines you can download. I highly recommend PressReader, if your library has access, because it has thousands of local and overseas newspapers and magazines for free. RB Digital is another source that your library may have. Again, you will need your library card number and have to download the relevant app.

5. Watch and hear stories for kids.
Story Box is a fabulous website, where you can see and hear great storytellers read aloud. Aimed at preschool and primary aged children, this Australian service is subscription-based. Check if your library has a subscription, or subscribe yourself. You can see a free story if you want to try it out first. 

So there are plenty of reading opportunities for us all, even if we are housebound. We will always need stories in our lives.  

23 March 2020

My book of the month: March

My book reading has stalled this past month. I've had a short attention span and have found that magazine articles are easier to absorb. I think that's due to all the unsettling news that is constantly bombarding us every day.

However, I've still found time to read a few novels. The one I've enjoyed most is Just One Wish by Rachael Johns.

Gosh it was a good read. Three generations of women in a family, all wondering about the paths they had chosen for their lives. This sounds like a familiar theme for a contemporary novel but in the experienced hands of Rachael Johns it's an engrossing modern family drama.

You can read more about Just One Wish on Goodreads.

21 March 2020

Being rosy

How is everyone feeling today? I've run away from the daily news and have been cutting roses from my garden instead because it lessens my anxious feelings.

Surround yourself with beauty and small pleasures, people, because sometimes that's the best we can do. ❤️ We'll get through this. Stay safe.