On the Plane

I love being on the plane. There’s so much to look at.

People with kids are always a source of interest when one is kid-free and flying. There was only one noisy baby on today’s flight, and it* was erractically rather than continuously grumpy. And I had Foundling: and Lamplighter: Monster Blood Tattoo to keep me emotionally separated from the angst that creates.

I sat beside a lovely lady who had been on the move all day. Travelling from East Gippsland to Perth, she** has traversed the nation from east to west today – quite literally. Bet is visiting her sister in a town east of Perth***. She hasn’t seen her sister since January, when she flew to Perth on a whim. As we talked further I discovered more and more about Bet and her family. The reason that she flew to Perth in January was that her daughter’s birthday is in January. Not so unusual, except that her daughter died from secondary breast cancer a year and a week ago. Bet’s son-in-law had gone on holiday with their kids, and she was home alone and feeling blue. So a quick hop over to Perth was in order.

Now, I’ve already mentioned that it was a year and a week since her daughter died, and that was part of the reason for today’s trip to Perth, but there was an ulterior motive – Bet and her sister have booked tickets to see ‘Our Boy’ – Damien Leith! She was as pleased-as-punch to be spending 2 weeks with her sister, and it was obvious that seeing Damien Leith was going to be a highlight.

Boab trees. Bet’s sister, Denise, has recently moved from up north, the Kimberley area. She and her partner, Peter, used to own a boab tuber farm. They grew the tubers for sale to people to grow****, but also to use in cooking. I know! Cooking! Denise made boab chutney, boab cookies (really!), and they sold the tubers to restaurants around the world. Apparently they are similar to water chestnuts. Who’d a thunk it?

Bet was great to sit next to. She was interesting to talk to, but also let me go back to my audiobook when I felt like it.

Thanks, Bet! J

And I found it really interesting to watch four tv’s at once, playing Limitless with Bradley Cooper, while listening to Monster Blood Tattoo. Surreal.

* I was going to write ‘she’ but as I didn’t really know the gender of the baby I thought that might not be fair.

** We didn’t exchange names, so I’m going to call her Bet from now on.

*** I don’t know Perth at all, so I’ve already forgotten the name of the town.

**** Who needs a boab tree in their back yard?!

Travelling

In the past I have been a bad traveller on planes*, turning up in the nick of time, waiting anxiously in the queue to check-in, cursing the idiots who leave it to the last minute to turn up and ask questions.

But you can’t travel like that with kids.

And so I am a converted traveller. I am writing this while sitting in the lounge of Gate 3 in the Qantas Domestic terminal at Tullamarine. I am at the airport THREE HOURS EARLY. This may have something to do with my last two flights being with Tiger**, but just may be to do with an increasing level of maturity. Turning up at the last minute in a total panic is a crappy way to fly. Being suspended in the air in an enormous lump of metal is stressful enough, but if you get on the plane in a total flap, then it multiplies the level of angst to the gazillion.

Hence my super early arrival. I also decided to park my car off-site this time, which added an extra element of anxiety, as I’ve never used that option before. The brain is a wonder of imagination, but sometimes it can be over-active. I can recommend parking away from the airport, and I can recommend booking your car into A1 Airport parking. Very easy, courteous people, fast***, and right to the door of the terminal. And all I have to do when I get back is ring them up and they will come and get me! And two days for $20 through RACV, not $77 at the airport in ‘long term parking’.

I’ll see how I go at the other end when I fly back to Melbourne out of Perth, a city I’ve never been to before. I’ll probably be there even earlier!

* Just the arriving part. Not the actual flying part. I LURV that!

** *shudders. Four horrific, delayed, crowded, delayed, dirty flights. Don’t do it.

*** We were definitely speeding.

Not Enough Hours In The Day

It amazes me how much I manage to fit into each day, and at the same time it’s frustrating how much I don’t get done.
Each day usually involves some sort of new learning – reading a new book, learning how to create labels using the library software, making a new recipe; always involves my family – cooking, driving, loving, helping, sharing; meeting friends around town; getting from A to B; checking my online information – blogs, Twitter, Facebook, iGoogle, Feeds; finding new and interesting ways to interact on the interweb; and so much more.
And yet today I wish that I had had time to; vacuum and mop the floor, change the sheets on my bed, finish my current YA novel, do just one more load of washing, visit my parents/ sister/ brother, clean up the cat hair on the couch cover, get my haircut, etc, etc, etc.
It’s no wonder we (I) sometimes feel totally over-whelmed. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some of the backlog of draft reviews I’ve got ready and waiting, I’ll finish all the reading I’ve put my hand up for (idiot!), I’ll have some space in my brain to think about other books I’ve read over the years and add them to my list, get a haircut, maybe take the kids to the dentist, see family, celebrate a birthday, etc, etc, etc.
Would that there were just a few more hours in every day.

Review: Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery

Violet Mackerel's Remarkable Recovery (Violet Mackerel, #2)Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery by Anna Branford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery, the second in the Violet Mackerel series, is just as wonderful as the first, Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot.
Violet and her family are beautifully drawn, both in words and pencil, and the feeling and thoughtfulness that is poured onto the page rebounds into your heart.
Recommended as a a great book for parents to read aloud to their young children.

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Review: Girl Saves Boy

Girl Saves BoyGirl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The bittersweet story of Jewel, Sasha, Little Al and True, "Girl saves Boy" opens with 18-year-old Jewel saving Sasha from drowning – something that she wasn’t able to do for her older brother ten years ago. Each of the main characters has been touched by death. Each has issues that they need to deal with. Jewel’s action is the catalyst for a whole lot of changes, for all of the characters.
All of the characters are well-drawn, and even the ‘bit players’ are nuanced and thoughtfully ‘fleshed out’.
The main gripe I have with this novel is the number of ‘issues’ that are dealt with. By the end I felt a bit like, "Well, what’s next?!". But. I was moved to tears by a single scene, and that makes this book a winner for me – that I was ‘made’ to care enough about the people and their stories that I cried.
Recommended for older readers.

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Review: Liar

LiarLiar by Justine Larbalestier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will mess with your brain, turn it inside out and upside down, and then mess it up a bit more. It’s one of those books where if you say ANYTHING about the plot or the characters you’re going to give something away.

So I will say nothing, other than, this is a superlative work of fiction – unusual, interesting, challenging, wonderful.

Do yourself a favour and read it.

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