3 Apr 2011

Inspired by the Saturday paper

This is the first weekend we've spent at home since the floods. I must say that it has been nice having some time to just relax and be a family.

I've read and delighted in Mirka Mora's marvellously eccentric autobiography, Wicked but Virtuous, knitted a few inches of my blanket, watched a video of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Jemimah, been ably wined and dined with friends, watched Shaun Tan's Oscar winning short film, The Lost Thing on telly, arranged little nosegays of lovely autumn roses by each bedside, worshipped morning and evening at our local church for the first time this year, listened to the wonderful French songs of Jacques Brel and just generally recuperated and recovered. I've even read a good percentage of The Saturday Age.

I can get amazingly excited by the Life&Style section of The Saturday Age most weekends, and this edition was particularly inspiring...

The Book

I'm inspired to read Sebastian Faulk's new book, Faulks on Fiction: The Secret Life of the Novel. As you probably know, I love literary criticism, provided it is not too erudite. According to The Age, this is a book "about lots of books a lot of people will have read, arranged under section headings. Heroes, Lovers, Snobs, Villains - what could be more user friendly?" Sounds like my kinda literary criticism!

There's a BBC series of the same name. Wonder if it's coming to Australia any time soon?

The Quilt

How can I have never have heard of the Rajah Quilt until this weekend? Apparently it was sewn back in 1841 by a group of convict women on their five month journey from England to Van Diemens Land on on board the ship Rajah. Hence its name. There is an inscription on the border that says:
of the Convict ship committee

This quilt worked by the Convicts of the Ship Rajah during their voyage to Van Diemans Land is presented as a testimony of the gratitude with which they remember their exertions for their welfare while in England and during their passage and also as a proof that they have not neglected the Ladies kind admonitions of being industrious

June 1841
Oh, I would so love to see this quilt one day, but I'm happy even to know of its existence. Those of you in Canberra can see it at the National Museum until July 31. Jealous...

The hotel

Oh wouldn't it be just sublime to stay at Le Pavillon Des Lettres - Paris' first literary hotel! Imagine a hotel that pays homage to the known and hidden talents of both French and international literature. Oh my...

I would like to stay in the Hugo room, please. During the mornings I will lounge in the hotel library, where I will read my copy of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, purchased, of course, from Shakespeare and Company. Later I will leaf through some lovely old second-hand books that I will have discovered amidst the tacky Eiffel Tower statues in the bouquinistres that line the banks of the Seine. Sounds just about the perfect holiday to me.

Care to join me? What room will you chose? What book will you read?

Have you been inspired by your reading of the paper this weekend?


  1. Welcome home! I can tell you feel both excited and relaxed to be home.

    LOVE that quilt. Even though I'm not a quilter myself, I am very inspired by them (and any other art people make in their daily lives).

  2. Pleased to hear your weekend has been a blessed one.

    No inspiration from the paper this weekend (because I didn't read one) but I have drawn inspiration from two books 'Hidden Art' and 'The Complete secrets of happy children'.

    Nice to hear about your weekend. xxx

  3. Just a flying visit, but I HAD to click on the link to Le Pavillon ...magnificent!!!!!!!!!! Deserves an exponential number of exclamation marks! I couldn't find a clue to the range of rooms, that must've been in the article, but can only imagine from the sample on the website that they'd all be splendid. Perfect for the literary retreat I sometimes dream about! I can imagine writing the best novel ever in such a room.

    Thanks for sharing. Sorry for gushing ;)

  4. Thankyou for telling me about the quilt as I might go and visit it while on holidays later in the month. I often get ideas for stories via the paper - as part of my job I read 4-5 a day!! At the moment I am reading book 1 of the Mitford series, something lite.

  5. Love Jaques Brel! Also Charles Trenet (Boum!), Piaf, and more recently Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Maginifique!

  6. What a Truly Scrumptious weekend you have had!

    I didn't click through as I'm on my ancient computer fighting to get the carnival posted. If the Russian writers in exile are represented, I'll stay in the Turgenev room and we can hit all those book stalls on the Seine together.

  7. Hope you are doing ok. That quilt is beautiful--thanks for sharing it!

  8. Jeanne, I'm back in Sydney and back in techno land again where I am catching up on all my favourite blogs! Thanks for a GREAT day in Geelong and hope I didn't offend you by my initial questions about your home? I am truly sorry if I did.
    BTW, Ron said to let you know about this blog by Stephen Mansfield as he thinks you may enjoy reading it - he is a book lover like you:)


  9. If you do end up in the Hugo room, I want to know if you skip the entire chapter he devotes to descriptions of the architecture of paris. I confess to skimming. And yawning. (and eventually whining about authors who are too conceited to edit :P ) It would not have been such a crime, but that the rest of the book was worth pursuing.

    Actually, you could just take me with you, and we could discuss his literary merits over a pretty croissant. :D

  10. So excited to see you'd posted something! Hooray for a weekend at home too! Love the sound of your weekend...slightly jealous - mine consisted mostly of watching games of soccer and then washing soccer clothes! I am off to read about that literary hotel...and drool. I like the quilt...we will be in Canberra...one day late! Mel xx

  11. I just clicked over from Hopewell's blog and am reading yours for the first time. I'm very excited to discover a fellow homeschooling Australian who also loves books. I'm particularly excited to see your ongoing "Australianised" version of Ambleside. I've home educated for 10 years and my biggest frustration has been the overwhelming American content in the curriculum we've used.

    My biggest compliment to you is that I'm reading your blog with my library catalogue open in the next tab. Thank you for so many great suggestions. I've discovered so many great books through blogs like Melissa Wiley's, Hopewell's and The Common Room. Wonderful to see that you also read there.



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