A Bunch of Fives #20
Bunch of Fives August 2020 SPECIAL GUEST
Hello again! How are your restrictions going? Getting into newsletters? I hope so! Thanks for taking a look at our little corner of the net and lets talk about what we’ve been up to over the past couple of months...what we have been reading, watching and looking at. Big news is that we have a special guest this edition...Jane Tyrell has joined us to give you some fresh new perspective on our 5 topics. Thanks Jane!
Also, shameless plug here but if you read Ambers piece below about the beauty of our very own Weddin Mountains National Park, you can now have a little bit of that experience at home with my new candle, Weddin Mountains Bush Walk. Fresh, herby, a little bit eucalypt, a little bit pine and a wildflower or two thrown in. Its available on the website if you click www.quandiallacandleco.com.au
From My Bookshelf:
I’ve just finished reading “The Yield” by Tara June Winch. This one is a story that settles in the back of your mind that you cant quite shake. August Gondiwindi, an Aboriginal girl from a country town in NSW comes home for her grandfather’s funeral and slowly discovers what’s been keeping her away. The gentle unfolding of the family’s story is sad and heartbreaking as you read the dictionary meanings that Augusts grandfather was compiling for a book so that his language wasn’t lost. I loved reading the Wiradjuri meanings for words that were so complex, not just their pronunciations but the actual definitions. It touches on the children who were removed from their families from 1910 until the 1970s in Australia to try and erase language and culture from the indigenous communities. Something I never knew happened until I was 20 when I did a subject of Aboriginal Studies at uni. I really urge you to read this book as an Australian, and especially if you are living on Wiradjuri land. You might just learn a few traditional words for thing right under your nose.
I have recently joined a book club but I am struggling to read the chosen books cause I have a bedside table (aka kitchen bench)stacked with books I have been buying over the past 6 months that I am desperate to read first. However, this month we read one that has been hanging out amongst said stack See What You Made Me Do; Power, Control and Domestic Abuse by Jess Hill. I haven’t finished it yet because it is really tough going; it’s one of those books you physically need to put down and walk away from because of all of the harrowing and heartbreaking first hand stories from survivors of domestic abuse but it is a necessary read. These testimonies, combined with Jess’s forensic research, opens up a necessary conversation around the social and psychological consequences of abuse within the home and the inadequate responses to this national dilemma by our legal system and social organisations that are supposed to protect these victims.
Firstly, long time reader, first time writer! Thank you so much to Sarah for asking me to be a guest contributor to Bunch of Fives. I’ve loved this newsletter since it first came out, and am so excited to be part of one of them. This newsletter is basically a copy of the conversations that Sarah, Amber, and I have together. It’s pretty special one of these conversations is being put out into the world. Thank you again, Sarah.
Like everyone else, there’s been a lot a reading going on in these parts. Here are my top two from the last six months:
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt: The story of Frances and Malcolm, high society mother and son who leave New York for Paris along with their cat who houses the spirit of Frances’ dead husband. It was absurd and darkly comic and full of odd balls. I loved it.
Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton: Without exaggeration, this is the best Australian work of fiction I’ve read in the last decade. This is a saga of a novel covering true love, crime, brotherhood, unlikely friendships, and family. Just magic.
Anyone of my vintage will say “That’s not old timey!” but take a look...these were printed in 19...So Old Timey they IS.
The World Book. Anyone who did primary and secondary school before the internet will no doubt have a stack of these in the shed or maybe their Grandmas house (or if you aren’t hoarders like my family, the tip). You could buy these reference books from travelling salesmen and they were the 80s version of Google. This is where you went for information on Finland for the CWA poster competition of 1986. That’s pretty much all I used them for each year and sometimes for a school project on a famous person or thing. Some of the information I’m sure was made up by the staff of the World Book when they weren’t sure. I mean, who was going to check? Nobody ever used the Encyclopedia Britannica, did they? I still have this set in mint condition and they won’t be going to the tip...I might need to know the major export of Chile in 1980 one day.
It isn’t that old timey but having the radio on before school in the morning instead of the TV has had me reliving my youth. When I was a kid we used to have an old radio on every morning whilst we got ready for the bus listening to “2LF: the hits from the seventies, eighties and today”. I loved hearing the birthday announcements and hearing the ‘secret sound’ and it was here that I started my love affair with music. Yesterday, whilst the girls were getting ready for school Don’t get Me Wrong by The Pretenders came on and I was back in the kitchen in the home I grew up in eating salty porridge and pulling on my fluro ankle socks and apple pie sneakers. The more things change the more they stay the same only the catch phrase has been adjusted to “Roccy FM: hits from the 80s, 90s and today” which is quite frankly starting to make me feel old. And starting the day with a bit of soft rock beats watching the daily horrors of the news on the telly.
This little porcelain wall hanging was in my grandparents’ house until they both passed away about 10 years ago. It’s one of the sharpest memories I have of their home, a big old sprawling Queenslander in Brisbane, and I was lucky enough of it to be passed on to me.
Piet Hein was a Danish mathematician and also a poet, who wrote hundreds of these little verses known as grooks. This one is relevant to me (being one of the more impatient people to grace planet earth) and also to the time we all find ourselves in, where we don’t really know what’s happening from one day to the next. 2020 has certainly been a year to remember, and to forget.
If you haven’t found @theamazingtrollman yet, you haven’t really laughed. This guy disguises himself online as customer service for various shops, brands and services and basically takes the piss out of people who complain (apparently they’re called Karen according to my son). It’s hilarious watching the customers get completely irate when he refuses to listen to their gripes. Just go and look. You’re welcome.
I am loving seeing all the photos and vids from visitors to the Weddin Mountains on @adventureweddin page. I grew up at the base of this beautiful place; it was the backdrop to our farm and it still feels like home when I drive out that way to visit Sarah. As a child I spent numerous weekends there scrambling about the place back when you could actually go into Ben Hall’s cave, when there were no toilets, bbq’s or proper campsites, just a clearing to park your car. If one good thing has come from Covid it’s people embracing nature and getting their kids out amongst it. I am desperate to get back over that way before the water stops running although with the fantastic recent falls we have had I’m pretty sure I have time. Something tells me this spring is going to be a magnificent chance to explore the area. Follow along on Instagram @adventureweddin
By now I am sure you’ve watched Normal People on Stan, which has taken the world by storm over the last few months. If not, you need to watch immediately. A beautiful, heartbreaking story of young love, that was so beautifully made.
If you’ve seen the show, you know what I am talking about when I mention Connell’s chain, something that most of us thought went out of fashion some time ago, but on Connell, it works and makes all women I have discussed it with a bit hot under the collar…
A very clever person has created an Instagram account called simply, @connellschain, and it’s just that. Photos of Connell wearing his chain. It’s amassed 187K followers in three months. It’s hilarious and makes a happy change from all the horrible news that 2020 has presented us with.
Again, if you’ve not watched Normal People yet, do so immediately.
I could bang on about loads here because with lockdown there has been a hell of a lot of TV and podcasts being consumed but Ill grab one for all of you looking for something the whole family can watch. Togo (Disney Plus) was found by accident and now even my husband is googling the Serum Run of 1925. Togo was a lead dog of an Alaskan sled team that brought the Diphtheria serum through blizzards, hurricane force winds, frostbite, and zero visibility to a small Alaskan town where the children were rapidly dying. Willem Dafoe plays the sled driver so nuff said. We were all on the edge of our seats going “Oh my gosh, how does a dog do that?!?” You won’t complain about those frosty Australian mornings after seeing this.
I have been bingeing Justin Long’s podcast Life Is Short at work and loving the ease in which he talks to his guests. He gets kind of awkward and stuttery (e.g his star struck interview with Kevin Bacon is gorgeous) which is very endearing but he never comes across as sycophantic or saccharine as many are wont to do. Almost as entertaining as the main interview though, is the last quarter of the podcast where he and his brother dissect what has “just happened” and do some fact checking. I think Justin’s brother, Christian, just likes to use it as an excuse to give him a bit of shit for being a bit of a dork and saying and asking stupid things. Find it wherever you get your podcasts if you're after some light entertainment.
The West Wing: How I missed this when it was released in 1999, I have no idea. But my gosh I loved it 21 years later. Following fictional US president Jed Bartlet and his senior staffers. Aaron Sorkin’s writing takes a lot to beat, and the cast are all outstanding. If you missed this like me and have been contemplating watching it, do it! Seven seasons, each with 22 one hour episodes, it’s the perfect long game binge.
Schitt’s Creek: After the magnificence of The West Wing, I tuned into Schitt’s Creek for something a little lighter. Following a family who suddenly go bankrupt and the only asset they have left is a small town named Schitt’s Creek. The first season was a bit of hard watch but after that I adored every minute. It was witty and warm and Moira Rose, played by the legendary Catherine O’Hara, is now one of my top five characters of all time.
I’m moving my studio! I’m packing up the old café I’ve been in for the past few years in the village and setting up a workspace in the little house Trev and I lived in on the farm when we were first married. It’s a plain little transportable home but it has heating, cooling (and electricity!) so I’m a wee bit excited. I’m hoping to have a little showroom type setup where you can come and buy candles but mainly it’s going to give me space to pour candles and to pack and label orders. I also think it will be a great space for my book club to meet so there’s that too. Shoot me a message if you want to come out to say hi or to pick up some candles (hoping to have a Christmas candle launch there this year if Covid allows too!)
This is going to be short and sweet and very random. I am looking for Khaki Campbell ducks. I desperately want some but I cannot find them for love nor money; they are, quite literally, as rare as hens teeth so if anyone out there can help me please get in touch. I am also very willing to travel to pick them up unless you're in Victoria, I guess. Or Queensland. OK, I have my limits but you get my drift. TIA.
Along with too many books, watching too much television, and spending far too much time on Instagram, I’ve also been listening to music non-stop since our worlds changed in March. Here’s a little list of the tracks on high rotation:
- Lost in Rome – Perfect Moment
- If You Want Blood (You Got It) – ACDC
- Call on Me – Siberian Tiger
- Say Hello, Wave Goodbye – Soft Cell
- Legend – Twenty One Pilots
- Somebody’s Baby – Jackson Browne
- Always Alright – Alabama Shakes
- I Heard A Rumour – Bananarama
- Dogwood Blossom – Fionn Regan
- Too Late To Turn Back Now – Cornelius Brothers