The Thorn Birds

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I recently acquired a small library at a wonderful used book store in Qualicum Beach.

Deciding to go big or go home, I dove into The Thorn Birds first.

I’d read it in the late 70’s.  (I was a voracious reader as an adolescent, and my mom provided a steady diet of novels.)  Rereading The Thorn Birds as an adult, I can only assume she hadn’t read it before giving it to me.

The Thorn Birds is one of those massive, sweeping novels I used to love.  (I read Roots and Gone With the Wind around the same time.)  Would a brick-like novel spanning over fifty years be able to keep my attention now I’m used to an intellectual diet of headlines and tiny bites of information online?

You bet!

I couldn’t put it down.  It’s been a long time (too long!) since I got carried away by a novel.

As well as being a compelling story, The Thorn Birds is easy to read.  Unlike so much contemporary lit, it’s told in chronological order with a reliable third person narrator.  This works for me.  I lose interest when books flip around between character and time before I’ve had time to get invested in the story.

I learned something about myself as a reader, and this knowledge should help with future reading choices.

I rate The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough four paws up.

 

 

 

The Golden Time

The best thing about having an old, slow computer?  The treasure trove of photos saved over the years!

These gems are from a long ago camping trip with my Boy.

We were at Willingdon Beach (best camp site anywhere!) and we’d scored a coveted spot on the beach.  (This was shortly before I learned cougars are strong swimmers and have been seen paddling in the ocean next to our flimsy tent.)

N, who lived just up the hill, stopped by to help us light a fire.

That evening my Boy read, and N and I huddled near the spitting fire talking about nothing and everything.

Soon after N went home, the rains started.

It rained so hard, a kind fellow camper covered our cheap Walmart tent with a tarp.

Instead of lazing around on the beach reading, my Boy and I watched a movie (inside a nice dry theatre) and went swimming (pool water is warmer than rain!)

We ended up leaving a day early due to inclement weather.  Once home, I had to spread the camping gear in the backyard to dry so it wouldn’t go mouldy when I put it away.

If you’d asked me how the trip went, I would’ve told you it was a disaster.  I would’ve complained about everything from damp sleeping bags to frizzy hair and a shivering Chihuahua.

Now, eight years later, those memories of a visit with my late friend N and a holiday with my adolescent Boy, who was still willing to camp with his mom are golden.

What do you do when it seems like all your good times are in the past?

 

Et Voila!

The painting’s done and the kitchen’s been re-assembled.

It was a bigger job than I anticipated, so I’ve put my plan to paint the counter on hold.  I need a DIY break.

The process went fairly smoothly, and I think the results are pretty good–as long as you don’t look took closely.  (I’m a bit of a messy painter!)

 

 

The Shopping Frenzy

I haven’t felt the shopping bug for a while.

Last weekend, it caught me hard.

I spent about five hours at the mall in Nanaimo, and I didn’t leave empty handed.

As well as a book in Chapters, I bought an entire bag full of clothes at Reitmans (a dress, a pair of pants and bright pink floral blouse unlike anything else in my closet.)  Then I went to Pier 1, and got lost in their world of perfect homes.  I bought four mugs I don’t need, a table runner I don’t need, tea towels I don’t need (anyone sensing a theme here?) and a “garden flag.”

My Boy took one look at the flag and said, “Don’t put that in the front yard!”

When did he become the voice of reason to my wild decorating ideas?  Oh, I remember–when he refused to paint the garden shed hot pink last spring.

Hang loose and keep those good vibes flowing!

Wanna Hear a True Secret?

Back in the day, I compulsively read books on writing.

“How to write” books had their own section in every book store.  Browsing wasn’t an option.  I always left with one or two treasures.

Last weekend I decided to pick one up.  I want to get back into writing fiction and a little inspiration is in order.

I was shocked to note the Writing section has disappeared.  (Most likely pushed out by the ever-growing area on Minimalism.)  The few remaining writing books are crammed into a generic Reference section (three narrow shelves!) with an odd assortment of How-to books that don’t fit into Self Help or Cooking.

I rifled through tomes explaining how to land a plane and how to write your own will (which I’d need if I ever attempted to land a plane on my own!)  If I ever need to fix a truck get divorced again, I know where to find the book for that.

Although those other books were tempting, I managed to limit myself to just one:  The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg.  I may have read it before, but who can resist a juicy secret?

 

The Hobby?

I went to a glorious outdoor market in Qualicum Beach.  (Google Qualicum Beach–it’s a seriously gorgeous town!)

The market, which spread over most of the village’s outdoor areas, included antiques, crafts, farm produce and locally produced wine and spirits.

There was even live entertainment!

I didn’t buy anything, but I came away with something way better than a bunch of radishes or half a cabbage.  I discovered what I want to do when I retire:  Clog Dancing!

Have you seen Cloggers in action?

They have snappy music, noisy shoes, and a leader who calls out the moves as the dancers go through their routines.

I can see myself happily clogging through my golden years.