RDP: Book


Although I have a Kindle now which I find very handy when I travel or for reading in bed I still own a lot of books. I like all kinds of books, some science fiction, detective stories, biographies, history and even some of the genre known as chick lit. I also have a small collection of doll books. Although I do a lot of my researching online those books are very handy to quickly look something up and I enjoy the illustrations a lot more in a book.

Identifying Barbie

When David and I lived in South Australia there was a big second-hand book sale two or three times a year at the Dom Polski Hall in Adelaide and we always went, the proprietors got to know us by name over the years. When we first visited in the late seventies or early eighties, the cheapest books were fifty cents each. We were very hard up at the time so it was great to spend five dollars and come away with a big pile of new reading material. In later years I mostly spent a little more to buy nice hardcover books. I can still remember how we would browse the many tables of books for a couple of hours. I don’t think we ever left empty-handed.

Some old travel books from my bookshelves

However,  these days lots of people seem to be ditching their books because they are downsizing. We get lots of them donated to the Op Shop and keeping the bookroom in some kind of order has become one of my pet projects. It’s a small room and there is never enough room for all the books. We do have our regular customers amongst the locals and we sell quite a few books to holidaymakers too. They often come in for books, jigsaw puzzles and board games to pass the time with.

A stack of Sidney Sheldon books at the Op Shop

There are other ways to dispose of unwanted books too. At the Botanical Gardens in Hobart, there is an area called The Burrow. It’s a small room with shelves of donated books which are available for visitors to the gardens to read and even take home if they wish. People often drop donations of books and magazines there too.

The Burrow, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens Hobart 2015

There is also the Little Free Library Organisation.

According to their website, they are the largest free book sharing network in the world.  There are a couple of registered libraries in Tasmania and I suspect there may be a few unofficial ones as well. I am pretty sure I’ve seen one in Geeveston although I’ve never used it.

Some people use books to create art too. At Maker’s On Church Street in Geeveston, you can buy paper flowers and other items made from the pages of old books.

I still enjoy browsing in secondhand book shops and there are a couple of good ones in Hobart. The one pictured is my favourite kind, cluttered and you never know what you will find.

Deja Vu, second-hand bookshop near Salamanca Place, Hobart.



RDP: Picture

Pictures In My Mind

For Sunday’s Ragtag Daily Prompt Gizzylaw asks.

Do you have pictures in your mind? Do you have places, sounds, smells, people that live in your mind? Mental pictures of your life?

For me, the answer is yes. I try to capture the special places and special moments in my life with my camera. We all have those holiday photos, fun family photos and pet pictures that remind us of good times. Of course, you can’t capture everything in a photo. Sometimes the picture is like a marker and looking at it prompts memories of when and where it was taken.

I don’t really like having my photo taken that much. I didn’t even when I was much younger and looked better than I do now. I’ll never join the selfie craze but there have been times when I’ve wanted one for the album.

These were three that I asked David to take of me on our big overseas trip in 1990.   Two are with landmarks, the other because it was a day, a time and a place that I wanted to remember, one of the best days of the holiday even though all we did was go for a walk. We were in Scotland amongst the lochs and the mountains and it was somewhere I had always wanted to go.

View from a tower

This picture, which I took while visiting the Great Wall of China doesn’t look like much but when I look at it I remember the walk I took. I had got separated from our tour group and walked on much further than everyone else until I had got away from the crowds. This picture brings that memory alive for me again, I remember the still air, melting snow on the steps as I climbed, some distant booming sounds. For me, that short walk is my favourite memory of China.

There are some things you can’t take pictures of though, and things that even if you photograph them you can’t do them justice. Sometimes it is better to put the camera or the phone down and just take in the scene. Photograph it with your eyes so you will never forget. We visited Wellington, New Zealand on a beautiful summer Sunday when we cruised in 2016. I took a lot of photos trying to capture the essence of that day and although the pictures don’t quite do that I do remember the sunshine, the icecreams, the street pianos and the exuberant donuts the pilot’s boat did to wish us farewell.

A lot of my memories are in picture form, I see the much younger me running along a platform at Adelaide Station, so anxious to see an approaching steam locomotive, or Naomi and I seeing a favourite band in concert. I see David and me in the car playing “Road to Nowhere” at the start of a road trip, the faces of people who I used to work with on the railways and our past dogs chasing balls on the beach.

Then there are those mental pictures that just come into your head. Naomi and I get this quite a lot. Our sense of humour can be quirky and sometimes we see funny pictures in our minds of ordinary things. For example, once a workmate was talking about his trip to the USA and that he had been to Disneyland.  Naomi said that she had to try very hard not to laugh. I knew it was because she was seeing this rather serious man looking something like this.
The Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers Sharon Baird 1956

RDP: Coast

Life on the edge

I’ve always been attracted to the sea ever since our childhood holidays at the seaside. It’s hard to say what it was exactly but there was something fascinating about standing at the edge of the land and looking out to sea and wondering what was on the other side of the water. There are so many other things I love about the coast though.

I liked the old fashioned seaside towns the best, the ones I remember from my childhood, towns that had a beach with a row of huts where people made tea and read the paper. There would be shops that sold buckets and spades, postcards and fishing nets. On the beach there would be Punch and Judy, donkeys to ride, a pier with amusements and maybe Butlins, that was England.

Photo © Steve Daniels (cc-by-sa/2.0)
Photo © Steve Daniels (cc-by-sa/2.0) Helter Skelter Clacton Pier

When we came to Australia I found the coastal towns very different. The beaches were bigger, the sand more golden and they were not usually as crowded as the English beaches I’d been to although there would be some exceptions to that in larger cities.

Watson's Bay Beach, Sydney
The beach at Watson’s Bay, Sydney.

Then there is the wildlife, you might be lucky to see dolphins swim along beside you if you are on a ship, or a colony of Little Penguins, there are a few places in Australia where you can visit them. There are seals who visit the fish farms in the estuary of the Huon River much to the annoyance of the owners and at the right time of year, you might even see a whale playing in the water off the coast in many parts of Australia. There are birds too, the Ibis who will practically take your lunch out of your hands in Sydney, gulls, sea eagles, pelicans.

pelican, Sydney Australia
“A Wondrous Bird is the Pelican, His Bill holds as much as his belly can.”
White Ibis – Sydney 2012
Juvenile Southern Black Backed Gull

Eudyptula minor Bruny 1

Of course, there is more to see and photograph at the coast than just the beach. It’s interesting to visit a working port and see the shipping whether it be local fishing boats, ferries, pleasure craft, cruise ships or even commercial shipping.

Ships in port Singapore.

The other thing I like, or I should probably say, used to like, about coastal towns is that they often have interesting old buildings, grand hotels, beach bungalows, sheds with sawtooth roofs and long ones where emigrants took their first steps in a new country. Sadly many of these buildings are being pulled down to make room for resort hotels and high rise apartments.

RDP: Laundry

Wash and Iron

I don’t really enjoy doing laundry more than anyone else does but I don’t have a lot now that there is just me. I have a front loading washing machine and a dryer although I prefer to hang washing outside and let it dry naturally. The dryer is good for our wet winters though. There are still a few things I iron. Most people I know don’t iron any more and it’s not a favourite job of mine either. I usually wait till I have a basket load and then do it in front of the TV watching a movie or a favourite series.

Time to wash the sheets.

Sometimes I bring things home from the Op Shop to launder. We don’t have the facilities to wash things at the shop and occasionally something comes in which has a stain or is yellowed from age but too good to throw out. As I am on town water and probably have more time on my hands than the volunteers who have families I bring them home to wash and iron.

Op Shop tablecloths on the line.

On one occasion we were given several old tablecloths, they were very nice but stained and wrinkled from storage. I looked online to see if there was a way to save them and ended up boiling them in a pot on the stove, probably similar to the way that our mother’s boiled things in the copper. It improved several of them quite a lot and I even ironed them all. We sold the lot.

One of the many items I ironed this week.

RDP: Haze

Smoky Haze

Smoke from nearby fires discolours the sky.

Regular readers of this blog will know that during this past Australian summer Tasmania has had many bushfires. In January after a big storm hit, there were lightning strikes all over the place and fires started. They were hard to control as many started in inaccessible forests and before long populated areas were under threat.

A haze of smoke hung over our valley for weeks and as the fires spread the air quality deteriorated. Many people left their homes even if they were not in the at-risk areas because of the difficulty in breathing.

I went away when it seemed that the fires were coming too close to Geeveston but the haze was widespread because there were other fires burning too so there was nowhere to get away from it really. I read that the smoke even reached New Zealand.

Sun through smoke tinged clouds.

It is very frightening to think of what might have happened as the fires encircled Geeveston. A few homes were lost but no lives which is the important thing. Now the fires are finally under control and we are all recovering and trying to get back to normal.

I have included a YouTube video of some scenes from the fires.

RDP: Book

The Book

It’s funny that today’s word is “book” because I spent most of Friday surrounded by books.

I was at the Op Shop. I don’t usually go on Fridays but one of the other volunteers was away so I was helping out. It can be a big job for just one person. Anyway, there were not a lot of customers so I decided to continue tidying in the book room which had become very untidy. It’s a tiny room and as boxes of donated books had been dumped in there to be sorted out it was getting very hard to browse comfortably. I’d spent a couple of hours on it earlier in the week but this time I wanted to tackle a particularly messy corner.

It’s always best to work in there when it is quiet because there is not enough room in the aisles to pass anyone. A few customers came in to look at books but apart from a few interruptions, I was able to sort most of the donations that would not fit on the shelves into boxes and label them alphabetically. This will make it easier for me to restock the shelves as space becomes available.

We also keep CD’s, DVD’s, cassette tapes and computer games in that room and these too, were a terrible mess but by culling most of the games, I don’t think games for Windows XP sell much these days, I was able to create space for the boxes.

Non-Fiction books at the Op Shop

I was feeling satisfied with my day’s work when ten minutes before closing time a customer asked me if we had any books by a certain author. There were none on the shelves but I knew I’d see one when I was sorting. He was determined to have it and at closing time he was still rummaging in the box it was in. He found what he was looking for but I didn’t want to go back in there and see what sort of mess he might have left.

If I hadn’t tidied up I would not have known we had that book.