Sunday, March 28, 2010

Misery, Fruit Bats and Computers

Some weeks turn out to be just plain miserable and this seems to be one of them. Nothing works out the way it should. Take the bats, for example. Our town now has a colony of fruit bats, driven south by the floods up north. Everyone can see them at dusk flying overhead but to me they are quite invisible. Surely my eyes aren't so bad that I can't see a bat. Or perhaps I don't have the right kind of trees in my area. They say blind as a bat. Perhaps one's skill at viewing bats could be used as a test for the aging of eyes. Then there's the computer software. I used to pride myself with my skills with the computer. But pride cometh before the fall and lately I've had great difficulty sorting out disappearing files, and files which stick on the screen and refuse to let me move on to greener pastures. Even the Help files seem to be less helpful. Still, when things get too frustrating at the moment I in descend into Alexander McCall Smith's "Friends, Lovers, Chocolate", such a lovely, gentle, meandering, novel. If ever they make a movie of the life of McCall Smith I can really imagine Stephen Fry in the lead role.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Postmistress

Newly published, I've read about 100 pages of this book and I begrudge the time that I spend away from it. I am thoroughly enjoying it. Beginning in 1940 it portrays the effect that the war is having on both sides of the Atlantic. An American woman in London is helping to broadcast a daily report on the bombing of London whereas the various inhabitants of a small town on Cape Cod hear the broadcasts. Emphasis is on the women characters and from the back cover I know that among the threads of the story is the effect of holding back a letter which has been entrusted for delivery.

I always wonder when books are not set in the lifetime of the author how accurately the past has been portrayed. All the small details which form the backdrop of the story. For example, in this book I was brought to a halt by a reference to a zipper in a man's pants. An Englishman in  1940  London? I am fairly sure that in Australia it was a post-war phenomenon - the influx of American servicemen into Australia mid-way through the war brought trouser zippers to the attention of Australians. Google searches tell me that they were in use in England as well as America. But were they in everyday use or just in the upper end of the market at that stage ?

A fascinating book and one I am sure which will be added to many Book Group lists.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Choice of Title

In days of old ladies would keep a journal; a place to write down their thoughts. There's no reason why I shouldn't keep a journal but I thought I would try a blog instead. Just a place to occasionally write down my thoughts.

So my thoughts today have been on choosing appropriate names. I'm rather a private person and didn't fancy flashing my own name around so what should I choose as a nom-de-plume ? I enjoy my own company and spend much of my time on my own but most words such as solitary and all its variations sounded too harsh. So I turned to my schoolgirl French and came up with diamant, a diamond, a solitaire, a solitary.

Of course there's Twitter for communication if you have something momentous to report. Facebook is useful for sharing day to day trifles with a group of friends and in some ways is taking the place of e-mails. Family and friends have their own special areas of interest. And now a blog.

What are some of the things I think about ? Reading is high on the list, Australian news and politics, TV shows, why my house is never tidy, embroidery, why the pothole in the shopping centre carpark hasn't been fixed, etc.

And so I launch this into the ether. Perhaps I will find some other blogs of people with similar interests. I might even find out why so many of the retirees of my acquaintance won't join Facebook !