Friday, July 23, 2010

Fabbo Friday and Fab Flick Enid

This is the first movie I've ever watched that I had taped to view later and straight after viewing it ordered from Amazon. It was always going to be a winner with me for the following reasons.
Helena Bonham Carter.
Enid Blyton.
The frocks. Yes, I know thanks to the post on The Washerwoman's Blog that they're not authentic vintage and are Cath Kidston's but I still loved them.
The mystery of what was the 'truth' in the Enid Blyton story.
Enid Blyton’s two daughters, Imogen and Gillian, tell vastly different stories of their mother. They may as well be describing different women. I found that idea so fascinating that it formed quite a large part of the plot of my mystery novel, Poets Cottage. I've always been interested in families’ varying points of view and how that can shape and alter future events . The family unit is such a potent dynamic to work with even when things seem to be in balance - when they're not, it's gold for a Tale Peddler.
The Scribe loathed the character of Enid in the film and some of the scenes are painful to watch. In particular, the scene where Enid has her tiny fans around to enjoy romps and a Blyton tea whilst her banished daughters look on from a distance longingly.
It's interesting to know that the film had to wait to be made until Gillian (daughter who always loved and supported her mother) had died. This left more control to Imogen (daughter who was much harsher in her judgements of Enid).
I am far more forgiving of Enid than the Scribe, who wasn't raised on a diet of Blyton books as I was.
I adored Enid with a passion that I still have to this day. I get misty-eyed thinking of midnight suppers in boarding schools, scummy food with chocolate cake, boiled eggs and lashings of ginger beer. Rabbits holding cosy tea-parties in trees. Fairies hiding in dolls-houses. Talking tea-pots, smugglers, gypsies, wishing-chairs, French-mistresses, argumentative teddy bears. spoilt children and Cherry-tree farm. When I see the words Kirren Island, my heart gives an excited thump.
She gave my childhood (which wasn't always idyllic) some magic, mystery and excitement.
Enid knew full well the power she had on young minds around the world. She took that responsibility seriously. One of the great things about being a mother is I get to revisit all the Blyton worlds and watch my daughter falling under the Blyton spell. Daisy has adored her books from about two. There isn't another storyteller who holds her interest as much as Enid Blyton.
I have no doubt that Enid neglected something to enable her prolific writing (about 700 books in all).
Which raises another question I've been musing over - do you neglect your own children if you know you can make millions of children around the world more joyful, imaginative and caring beings? Which legacy is ultimately more important if you are a writer who has this talent to awaken the imaginative mind?
Have you seen Enid? Let me know if you have what you thought of it. Love or Loathe Enid Blyton? I thought Helena was inspired casting for Blyton. She's English to the core and watching her walk, the manner in which she spoke to people in the film – it was very true of a lot of writers I've met.
Here's a link to a newspaper article on this topic. There was a rather good article on this on the UK Telegraph several years ago but it's been removed.
And my favourite new Blog for the week is a Swedish woman by the name of Chez Larsson. She has a stupendous Blog if you are interested in organising, culling and making life neater around you. I badly need her services. Her post on magazines was particularly impressive. Here's a link.
Signing off for another week with the incredible duo of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp.
Enjoy your weekend. Hope it is filled with family, fun and lashings of ginger beer. xx
"Mothers were much too sharp. They were like dogs. Buster always sensed when anything was out of the ordinary, and so did mothers. Mothers and dogs both had a kind of second sight that made them see into people's minds and know when anything unusual was going on." (The Mystery of the Hidden House.) - Enid Blyton
images of enid film source
johnny depp and vanessa source

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chit-chat Wednesday and Spike

It's raining today and the world looks bleak from my window. We had a lovely weekend where not a lot happened but it was perfect in its simplicity. I went to the op-shop and found a Shirley Barber board game for five dollars which we played all weekend. I found some time to read magazines and the weekend papers in the garden. Spike, our cactus, who had grown to a precarious height (18 feet) and was swaying dangerously for months threatening low-flying planes, finally got a haircut.
Hard to believe that a few years ago, I carried Spike home along King Street, a tiny baby cactus in a pot as a gift for the Scribe.
When Daisy was born Spike celebrated the occasion by sprouting his first flower (he has only ever had two).
Today I am working on a crime short story, based on a real-life incident that happened to me. Outside I can see cars covered in rain, a grey sky. Cars are swishing past boxes on our verandah filled with spiky body parts

Monday, July 19, 2010

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and A Manifesto

Hello, here's some powerful words to start the week from the Blog Whitehot Truth. Hope they inspire you as much as they did me. I particularly like the lines about service people. I remember being in a department store once when a friend who is really into new age philosophies came in to buy an item for his girlfriend. He looked around at all the staff with a puzzled, slightly contemptuous expression and said, 'Don't they get they don't have to be here?"
Eer, yes dude but then be grateful they are because who is going to serve you your girlfriend's knickers?
Anyway, I digress. Here's the manifesto. Let's spread it around and start a bushfire. xx

right now:
There are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness.
Someone you haven't met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.
Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.
Nuns in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all of God's children.
A farmer is looking at his organic crops and whispering, "nourish them."
Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you. Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favourite food is, and treat you to a movie. Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you -- for free.
Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on.
The next great song is being rehearsed.
Thousands of people are in yoga classes right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth.
Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.
Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they'll be thriving like never before. They just can't see it from where they're at.
Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to ARRIVE, will get precisely what they want -- and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in it's reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter their memory of angsty longing and render it all "So worth the wait."
Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche -- this luminous juju is floating in the ether, and is accessible to you.
Someone just this second wished for world peace, in earnest.
Someone is fighting the fight so that you don't have to.
Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time, and that you are generally safe. Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.
Someone is regaining their sanity. Someone is coming back from the dead. Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Someone is curing the incurable. You. Me. Some. One. Now.
charles blackman and arthur boyd art image source
baby, Hardy and woman/door image source
lauren child and clarice bean image source

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fabbo Friday and Fab Buys - Fab Books

I bought a few fab things in Blackheath.
More Witchy shoes from the local op-shop.
And from the Antique Centre this floral vintage print: I couldn't resist the little flowers peeping out.
Apricot gloves from the 1950s (which I have already worn to the Opera House).
Vintage Chic by Cabbage and Roses, filled with beautiful photographs. The Scribe also bought Exploration Fawcett, the true life adventures of an explorer who disappeared into the Amazon in the 1920s. He recounts tales of giant anacondas, piranhas and ghosts.
Daisy picked herself out a Shirley Barber book which has Barber's usual stunning fairy illustrations. And to prove that one person's junk is another little girl's treasure, this yellow plastic Walt Disney Belle which she happily put her vintage Minnie Mouse back for. You can see Belle with her new friends in the picture above.
And as mentioned earlier, my holiday read was Lisa Jewell's The Truth About Melody Browne which is very engaging and romp along. Lisa has a real talent with creating engaging and sympathetic characters. I first found this writer when she was interviewed in Red magazine and really loved her warm, witty and clever style.
At times I felt my heart was going to break when reading this book for Melody.It reminded me of a little of a Cinderella or Harry Potter story in that the heroine who appears to be leading a mundane and pretty beige existence turns out to have an entire other story happening which she was unaware of. When she does discover her hidden past, she discovers an entire different dimension to herself and her own perceptions of how she views herself and the world alters. It's Lisa's talent that she really does make you believe and care about her characters.
And a book I have also enjoyed recently (thanks to my neighbour and friend) is Lovesong by Alex Miller.
I hadn't read any of this much acclaimed Australian author's books but found his writing captivating. Lovesong is set between a Tunisian cafe in Paris and Melbourne and braids two different stories. In the Paris scenes is a love story between an Australian man and his North African bride, who yearns for a child. And in the Melbourne scenes is an ageing writer who meets John in the future and listens to the story of what happened to John and his exotic bride. It's a memorable, sensual and poignant read. Parts regarding ageing and the narrator writer's relationship with his daughter are so tender that it almost hurts to read.
The Paris segments have a different rhythm but you easily slip into both worlds and find that not only is the language elegant but the story keeps you turning the pages. Moody, bittersweet and as sharp as a guillotine's blade. You can almost smell the spices and curries in the air. I can promise you'll never look at a tomato seller at the food markets in the same way again.
I find the author fascinating as well. It's commonplace these days for writers to do the usual university course route but Mr Miller (who wasn't published until his early fifties ) has had a range of jobs from stockman to cleaner at Myers. A writer from my tribe, in other words. There's a link to an interview here if you are interested in such things. I do really get so excited when I find new writers to love and so a big thank you to my lovely neighbour friend for introducing me to this wonderful Australian talent.
As for Fab Blog posts this week, I've really enjoyed a new Blog from a very talented Danish woman, smilerynker
She has a beautiful eye for pattern and colour. Here's are a couple of her lovely images above.
And signing off for the weekend with the magnificent Johnny Depp. I have a sick daughter at home this weekend. We have all been battling the winter bugs in Sydney.
Thanks for visiting me. Enjoy the weekend with your loved ones. Stay cosy and keep creative. xx
When I first went to writers' festivals — they used to have this thing that they did to us, which was (and they maybe still do it occasionally, I haven't seen it happening here anywhere, it may happen still) but they used to say, 'When did you first realise you were a writer? What was the earliest book that you read?' So Salmon Rushdie or Louis De Bernieres or whoever it was that was sitting next to you would say, 'I found Stendahl's le Rouge et le Noir under my mother's bed when I was three.' And I used to think, 'Shit'.
Alex Miller interview
lisa jewell image link source

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chit-Chat Wednesday and Blackheath

Blackheath is a little town high in the Blue Mountains. Originally named Hounslow, it was renamed by Governor Macquarie in 1815 because he thought Blackheath better suited its 'charred, wild, open heath appearance'. Charles Darwin visited the Scotch Thistle Inn in 1836.
Sometimes in winter it snows but sadly there was no snow when we visited. However the air was so cold that it blew a bad migraine out of the Scribe's head within half an hour of arriving.
We had no television in our little cottage. Daisy loved the very large backyard which had a magical fairy glen and a swing. We read books in front of the fire. I read Lisa Jewell's The Truth About Melody Browne (review due on Friday).
There were lots of leaves lying everywhere and we spent hours in the terrific Victory Theatre Antique Store. I bought a few things which I'll also post on Friday. Once it was an old-style picture palace; now it's floor after floor of fabulous finds and an always busy cafe.
And I fell in love with another house. Toured the house and came up with yet another book idea. It's heartbreaking to fall in love with houses; that's why I keep writing entire books around them. My first fantasy series I set partly in the mountains.
I’d love to move to the mountains, breathe that fresh pure air and watch the leaves fall forever.
There was even a small lion in the form of a cat that Daisy christened Purrdey, who adopted us the entire time we were there. When I close my eyes, I can hear his purr from here.

victory theatre antique centre image source

Monday, July 12, 2010

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday, A Winner and Secrets of a Lumpheart

I'd like to dedicate today’s post to all the Bloggers who inspire and move me. This most likely involves YOU. There are many things I dislike about the modern age and technology. Sometimes I feel panicky that we're all moving too fast, forgetting to look upwards at the stars. That silence, kindness and reverence is being lost.
Blogging, however, is filled with creative, supportive, mannerly, stylish, fab and whimsical folk. I always love the way that small moments become magical through the Blog.
I normally feel more at home as an observer rather than a participant, but Blogging is a round table where differences and observation are appreciated.
Thank you all who visit me whether you comment or leave quietly. I appreciate you all. Thank you to all my special Blogging pals around the world. You know who you are.
You fill me with a sense of awe about community and a powerful affirmation that the human race is filled with surprising and whimsical beauty.
And the winner of my first giveaway is -
Kat from the lovely Blog Secrets of a Butterfly. My Daisy was so impressed to draw a winner with such a Blog name and wants to call her Blog when she's a 'big girl' - Secrets of a Lumpheart. That's probably a better name than Tale Peddler.
Congratulations Kat. I shall be in touch with you.
Thanks for visiting me. Stay creative. xx
vivien leigh image source

Monday, July 5, 2010

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and Lions in the Snow

The city is crushing me at the moment. We are going to the mountains for a few days to read books, look for snow, mountain-pixies and possibly lions.
I am going to drink hot chocolate and not leave the cottage.
I'll leave the giveaway until our return at the end of the week. For anybody who has not entered, the draw will stay open.
The photographs are of my daughter who stayed home sick from school last week. You can see how ill she was (ahem).
I need to breathe fresh air. I do hope it will snow.
snow images from weheartit

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fabbo Friday, Arty Shots and Online shops

I'm smitten with the photo shoot of father-and-daughter team Barry and Miranda Otto (Australian actors) in Australian InStyle magazine (July issue). I love the bohemian, eccentric flair - and the brick kitchen which is a little like mine! I always enjoy articles on creative families.
And I'm also loving that two of my favourite Blogging friends have started online shops. Simone from Beach Vintage sold out virtually as soon as she announced her new shop was open. I managed to score the sweetest vintage handkerchiefs and gift-tags but the cupboard was bare by the time I got there.
And the gorgeous Isabelle from Suzy's Vintage Attic has started Suzy, Gaby and Maude. No stock yet but it will also sell as soon as she goes online. So keep these two sites bookmarked if you love vintage items. They both have a wonderful eye and style.
If you follow Cherry Menlove's amazing Blog, which celebrates Domestic Artistry in the most stylish, prettiest, fabbiest way, you will already know Cherry and Robert just had twins. Congratulations to you both. They have not had an easy run with plenty of heartbreak when it comes to conception. I didn't have time to get permission to use a photo from Cherry Menlove but if you go to this link, you'll see plenty of photos of a radiant Cherry and her lovely new babies, Ned and Anais, including the most precious photo of the newly born twins holding each other.
And of course, another fab shot to end the week of Johnny Depp in Secret Window. Don't forget my giveaway, which includes this fab thriller amongst other goodies. Giveaway closes midnight Sunday!
Enjoy your weekend. We are all sick at home with a mysterious bug and so it shall be a quiet one for us.
Thanks for popping in. xx