Now here’s the rub (Hamlet: To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!)
Choose three favourite books. So I did. Then I thought about it and chose three different books. I thought some more and chose three more. “This is silly” thought I. “Just choose three favourite books”. Nope, it doesn’t work. There are always three more that are just as favoured. I check my bookshelves. Three more! Three more! So, choosing becomes a confusion.
Discombobulation. discombobulate |ˌdɪskəmˈbɒbjʊleɪt|
verb [with object] humorous, chiefly North American
disconcert or confuse (someone): (as adjective discombobulated)
Discombobulate is not necessarily acceptable in academic writing. Trust me, I tried and I know.
Before I fell in love with Elvis, before I fell in love with Leonard Cohen, I fell in love with Laurence Olivier – there, I’ve said it.
A post on a friend’s timeline reminded me about my mumpy experience. We had not been long in Australia, only four or five months, and had just settled in Perth. We drove across the Nullabor in August, the three of us in a small blue Laser with all our worldly possessions. We had been in Hobart for a couple of months, including my 38th birthday. On the ferry from Tasmania back to Melbourne, I held someone’s baby for her for a little while. I can’t remember why, probably so the mother could have a break and cup of tea. In retrospect, I guess that is when I caught the disease. This is in the early 1980s. Vaccine was available. The ‘measles, mumps and rubella’ vaccine was certainly available in Southern Africa in the 1960s. My daughter had had the vaccination there – it didn’t work though – as she also caught mumps soon after I did. As an aside; so the story goes, the vaccine sent to Africa was defective.
When I was a child, we were only vaccinated against smallpox and, a little later, polio. In those days (early 1950s) there was no sugar cube! We were inoculated with live vaccine by injection. One needle for many children – until the needle got too blunt to penetrate our tender skin. We all lined up for the needle and it was not pleasant.
Our decision to settle in Perth, Western Australia, is a long story, which I won’t go into here. However, within a couple of weeks of arriving I became very ill. How distressing to get so sick in a strange place, knowing no one and not really knowing where I was. In the event, I didn’t care, I just wanted to die. Roland found a doctor nearby and we went along. The diagnosis? Mumps. I understand that mumps is a notifiable disease in Australia, whether the GP I saw notified anybody is moot.
September that year is a month I lost, it is a month I will never get back. I believe I was too ill even to be stressed. Come October, once I was healed, I managed to get a job in the retail book trade and that was the beginning of my working life in Australia.
Please vaccinate your children. Mumps as an adult is dreadful and I can only imagine how a child would suffer.
The Women’s Pages covers an era with which I am familiar. Starting in the 1960s, the story of Ellis unfolds through the eyes and dreams of Dove, the novelist. The place of Wuthering Heights in the plot is physical as well as conceptual. The story speaks to the emancipation of women in Australia and the feminist movement. The casual denigration of women as acceptable, indeed, inevitable. There is a mention of Germaine Greer. I wonder if Ita Buttrose influenced Debra Adelaide in regards to Ellis’s character? The clichéd vice-president, “a cigar-chewing, pot-bellied man with a cheery geniality that barely cloaked his contempt …” could this be Kerry Packer – with a nod to his father, Sir Frank Packer?
Plot driven or character driven? the plot is quite convoluted but even so, the final denouement was barely a surprise – although the back-cover blurb calls it ‘astonishing’. One thing that will stay with me is how accurately and how beautifully Debra Adelaide shows the strength of the women.
Colin, our friendly mobile mechanic, is here today to service my car and Roland’s Rocky. Well-loved Rocky I have to say! Colin spends most of the morning here and there is a lot of chattering going on. I keep well away – this is secret men’s business. Roland likes to keep an eye on the servicing of our vehicles, which is why he doesn’t take them to a service centre. The mechanics at a service centre do not appreciate an old bloke telling them what to do! Colin is also an old bloke so they are well matched.
I am just grateful that I don’t have to organise any of these things – the whole car-thing is a mystery to me. I do get stressed when I think I’m going to run short of fuel or the battery is playing up. Punctures are a problem too. Other than that, if the car is reasonably clean (Roland is quietly obsessive about having a clean car), the brakes and lights work, the car is comfortable and economical, well that suits me fine.
One thing is for sure, I will never, ever buy another dark coloured car. This Camry of mine is dark green. It is too hot and dangerous so I have to drive with the headlights on most of the time.
Surprisingly, after a few false starts, I enjoyed reading Now is the Time to Open Your Heart It is not a genre that usually appeals and it is fragmented – especially at the beginning. I was thinking to myself, “what is she (the author) smoking?” Anyway, if you’re reading this, persevere as there are some good insights.