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December 8th, 2018


08:08 pm - 30th
My thirtieth school anniversary was hysterically like actual high school. I arrived and spotted someone i knew walking towards us (ie. still see occasionally), called out and was totally blanked.

Exactly like high school.

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November 27th, 2018


07:28 pm - Ethel Turner, Little Mother Meg, 1902
Ethel Turner, Little Mother Meg, 1902

Technically, a 20th century novel, I have nonetheless sneaked this into my nineteenth-century reads, as it is the sequel to the 1894 classic *Seven Little Australians*.


Ethel Turner had never set out to be a children’s author and she struggled with her editors about being forced into that box. Although she needed cash and had to write about the Woolcotts again, she was always pushing the boundaries and trying to sneak in a bit of writing for older audiences. The focus of *Little Mother Meg* is, as the title says, squarely on growing up.


Meg is married to boring Alan and living in a cottage and taking care of ‘Little King Baby’ which is, frankly, a bit naff. Nell was reformed in the previous book, so she now has a mild, mild flirtation and then accepts the courting of a character even more boring than Alan. I literally can’t remember his name. And the flirtation is so mild that he almost kisses her cheek but is then revealed to be a cad who flirts with other girls. Pip is studying to be a lawyer and has zero adventures of any sort. Bunty and Poppet get the most interesting sequence, as they buy two bicycles together.


So, not a lot of plot in this one. Except that Turner has to fix Meg’s finances which she does by writing a gothic interlude where Nell rescue a small child from a fire and then Alan nurses the kid back to health and is showered with cheques.


However, what Turner is good at is characterisation. There’s a chapter where they are discussing whether to have a dance party and how to pay for it – and the characterisation of all of them is so good. Nell, eager to entertain. Pip, guilty that he didn’t share his money with Bunty and Poppet when they bought their bikes. Esther, disorganised but kind hearted. Bunty, torn between generously offering up his pocket money and worrying that there won’t be enough food.


Turner’s strong point is always characterisation, and it shows through even in this book that she did not particularly want to write, in this genre she did not particularly want to write.

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November 25th, 2018


07:19 pm
The doctor thinks Ruby's fits of vomiting are a sign of migraines. That is less than optimal, but as long as the MRI doesn't turn up any more tumours it is alright. We have sourced gluten free pain killers for the school in case she has another turn before the end of the school year.
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November 20th, 2018


07:17 pm - electrickery
Oh thank goodness, my most recent bill for a two month period was $218. I used 588kW, compared to 2,289kW the time before.

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07:05 pm
Two thumbs up for Ruby, the most stoical child in the world.


Given that she has had massive fits of vomiting five times so far this year, my Mum and I had agreed that the next time she should be taken to the doctor. The doctor referred her off for comprehensive scans of her insides. When I met up with them, Ruby was passed out in the waiting room of the scanning place, having thrown up 17 times in an hour. She was too weak to walk but had, as she told me later, made herself go to sleep because that is always the best way to get better. She was a pretty disgusting little mite, covered in a sticky layer of bile, because she does keep vomiting while she sleeps. When she woke up, she had lots of cuddles.


She was super good while being scanned and then recovered quite quickly at home. Off school today but enjoying herself with DVDs and art.


We will get the results of the scans at the end of the week.


I would very much appreciate it if my children could stop being sick.
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November 19th, 2018


07:36 pm - Children
Ruby had a terrible bout of vomiting again, third time in eight weeks. The doctor says 25% appendicitis, 50% chance migraine, 25% something else.
I hope she is not about to start a life of regular migraines.
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November 3rd, 2018


12:51 pm - October books
It was a John Christopher kind of month. I also tried the 1980s TV series, but the special effects were a little too... 1980s BBC.

Jean Debelle Lamensdore Write Home for Me: A Red Cross Woman in Vietnam 2006

Jeff Gunn Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson 2013

John Christopher The White Mountains 1967

John Wright et al The CSIRO Home Energy Saving Handbook 2007

Mary Grant Bruce Captain Jim 1919

Jennifer McIlwee Myers Growing Up with Sensory Issues: Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism 2014

Benison O'Reilly and Kathryn Wicks The Australian Autism Handbook 2013

John Lanchester How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say and What It Really Means 2014

John Christopher City of Gold and Lead 1967

John Christopher The Pool of Fire 1968

John Christopher TheGuardians 1970

AnnieRaser-Rowland The Art of Frugal Hedonism 2016

Mary Grant Bruce Norah of Billabong 1913

LA Graf Extreme Prejudice 1995

Gerald Durrell The Bafut Beagles 1995

Griff Rhys Jones The Nation's Favourite Poems 1996

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November 1st, 2018


07:36 pm - 19th century books
While Catherine Helen Spence’s autobiography was published in 1910, I have sneaked it into the nineteenth century challenge on the grounds that is outlines her long nineteenth century life.

Spence’s life, as described by herself, was one of constant stimulation. After emigrating to South Australia in 1839 with her family after her father was ‘ruined’ financially, she appears to have lived very happily as a single woman involved in everything. She went everywhere and met everyone. Her list of acquaintance is like a who’s who of the nineteenth century. She knew the Australian Federalists intimately because of her decades-long advocacy for preferential voting. She ran for the Federal Convention in 1897, being Australia’s first female political candidate (came 22nd of 33). She met with Harriet Tubman, Susan B Anthony and Mrs Fawcett because her work for women’s votes (which she regarded as part of the larger problem of fair voting). She wrote novels and met with George Eliot.

She was a tireless crusader for improvements to children’s homes, and an inspector of the State’s charity for the elderly. At different times she was a theosophist, an agnostic, a Unitarian and a rationalist. She was the first woman to run for office in South Australia. She had opinions on everything. She believed Mrs Oliphant to be superior to Eliot in style and theme. She designed better menus for orphanages. She lectured on Barrett Browning and Baconism (the theory that Shakespeare’s works were written by Bacon). She was a journalist and a teacher. She wrote text books. She was the first woman to read papers at the South Australian Institute. She delivered sermons in Church. She had radical ideas about tax reform.

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October 30th, 2018


07:11 pm - Energy use
Notes on my energy use, according to the measuring device I borrowed from the library.

My room – 76 watts for the light, 21 watts for the computer. Air conditioner could not be measured.


Sophia’s room – CD player – 3 watts, light 6 watts, heater 2,344watts (2.3KW). Conclusion, heater not to be used.


Kitchen – Could not get a reading on the fridge. Why?


Phone – 3 watts, internet router 3 watts.


Lounge – TV (not on) 1 watt. TV (on) 24 watts. Could not get a reading on the air conditioner.


Margaret’s room – fan 43 watts, computer 14 watts, light 3 watts, CD player 3 watts, heater 1,041watts (1KW)


Outside – Freezer (would not register because I realise I had it set to watts, not kW). Washing machine, varied enormously throughout washing cycle c.200 watts.

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October 20th, 2018


05:15 pm - work
My favourite sort of Parliamentary Question is definitely ‘Questions without Notice of which some Notice is given’.

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