29 July 2015

45 Days: Walking the Bibbulmun Track

Although I have no intention of reviewing my own book, I can tell you a bit about it.

45 Days: Walking the Bibbulmun Track, published on the 28th July by AoE Publishing, is an account of a Walk I did with my son Jonathan. The Walk, along the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia, began in Albany and ended in Kalamunda, just outside of Perth.

The total distance walked was around one thousand kilometres.

We walked through all kinds of terrain and all kinds of weather, and, when we finally reached Kalamunda after 45 days, we would have been quite happy to turn around and walk back to Albany. The difficulties we met along the Track, including very bad weather, track diversions and, at times, actually losing the Track, paled when compared to the elation of being so much one with nature. The stillness and the silence were indescribable, and we later found it difficult to reconnect with the rush and bustle of civilization after so many weeks in isolation.

The book will soon be available from a range of online book retailers. For information about purchasing the book, you can visit my website.

21 July 2015

The Rings of My Tree: A Latvian Woman's Journey by Jane E. Cunningham

In parts harrowing, at all times honest, The Rings of My Tree not only sheds light on atrocities that, for many, have remained hidden for too long, it also gives an insight into the strength of the spirit and the power of optimism.

At the centre of the story is Mirdza, who, by 2004 (when the book was published), was an elderly lady living in America. Mirdza, like so many others, was forced to flee her country, Latvia, during World War II, and, after spending time in Germany, she was eventually accepted as a refugee by America. For many years, her story remained silent until her friend Jane Cunningham decided to give it life.

The story is written in the first person, and it is easy to imagine Mirdza sitting in her living room, relating her life story for Jane Cunningham, who is writing it all down, word for word.

The photo of Mirdza and Jane (taken in 2012) is from

14 July 2015

Nine Lives Illustrated Playing Cards by Annette Abolins

This week I decided that instead of a book review I would post some information about Annette's Nine Lives Illustrated Playing Cards.

Many of you would already be familiar with Annette's Nine Lives Tarot Cards, which have proven to be astoundingly successful. The playing cards - or, at least, the royal cards in each suite - are based on the same images as she used in the tarot cards. The design work is exceptional, and the cards themselves are beautifully printed and presented.

On both her blogs (links above), Annette has posted a lot of very interesting information about the creation of her cards as well as information about tarot cards and playing cards in general. Both these sites are definitely worth a visit.

07 July 2015

The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville, Australia, 1999

I really enjoyed this book. In essence it is about everyday life where nothing much happens; yet it is also about all those important 'nothings' that together make up life as we know it.

Beautifully written, The Idea of Perfection is set in a small country town called Karakarook, situated somewhere in NSW, Australia. The people are the ordinary people one would expect to meet in such an environment. The town is definitely not perfect, and the people living there are not perfect either. In fact, no one and nothing is perfect, and yet everyone – even the town – is striving, on some level, for perfection.
The story concerns an old timber bridge that is slowly rotting away. The powers that be in Sydney have decided that the bridge should be replaced; the town's heritage society, intent on saving all things old, wants to save the bridge as it is. Douglas is the engineer sent from Sydney to do something about the bridge (preferably pull it down and build a new one). Harley is a part-time consultant at the Sydney Museum of Applied Arts, who finds herself in Karakarook setting up the Karakarook Heritage Museum, and who gradually becomes entangled in the controversy over the bridge.

Both the two main characters, Douglas and Harley, have pasts that forcibly impact on their ideas of perfection, until they reach a point where they are able to put their pasts behind them.

One of the other characters, Felicity, is focused almost entirely on attaining superficial personal perfection, while Freddy, the Chinese butcher, oozing self-confidence and sex drive, believes that he has already found it. Douglas, on the other hand, may lack Freddy's self-confidence, and he may be hampered by the past, but he does have an intuitive understanding of perfection. Even Harley, large, rough and 'unbeautiful', has this understanding.

In the end, it appears that perfection is the complete antithesis to what Felicity is searching for in her jars of creams and moisturizers. Instead, it is tied up with intangible things like the unadulterated love Harley received from her grandmother, Douglas's ability to completely prioritize another person's needs over his own innate fears and, finally, the recognition of the innocent part a patient dog can play in helping someone understand the essence of life itself. Things that appear broken are not necessarily imperfect – it is all a matter of perspective and a willingness to try new tangents. Perfection may not necessarily be an attainable reality, it may simply be an idea.

The photo of Kate Grenville is from