On this day: the Battle of Amiens

In Times Gone By...

The iconic Battle of Amiens, later to be known as the opening chapter of the Hundred Days Offensive that ended the First World War, took place from the 8th to the 12th of August, 1918.

This painting, by Australian official war artist Will Longstaff, is titled 8th August, 1918. It shows a column of German prisoners of war heading in one direction, while horse-drawn artillery heads in the other.

The painting can be found in the collection of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

8th August, 1918 (oil-on-linen, 107 cm x 274 cm, 1918-1919) by Will Longstaff, Australian official war artist. Depicts a scene during the Battle of Amiens. The view is towards the west,

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International Cat Day

The 8th of August each year is International Cat Day.

Cats appear as side characters in plenty of books, from the companion of bookish heroine Amy in Toni Blake’s Willow Springs, to the kittens (and, later, grown cats) in Anne Gracie’s Chance Sisters series, to the stray that moves himself into Lucas Maxfield’s apartment in Easy and Breakable, to those in Beatrix Hathaway’s menagerie in Lisa Kleypas’ Love in the Afternoon.

So, celebrate the day with a book with cats in it!

By the way, the cats at the top are gorgeous stray Jemima, who moved herself into my late-grandmother’s shed in 2014, and two of her three kittens: grey scaredy cat Charlie, who was terrified of everything, and his smaller sister Pheobe, who looked after him (she’s hugging him!). It was lucky we found a home for the two kittens to go to together.


I’m sorry to people who follow this blog for the book reviews (those who get an email every time a post goes up), but this week begins with another non-book post! I want to write about the insane car accident I was sort-of involved in yesterday afternoon.

My family decided to go out for a drink yesterday, and my father (who is not young, and I mention this for a reason) picked us all up to head to a café/bar. Even though it’s nearly winter, the temperatures are still in the twenties, and it was warm enough to wear summer clothes.

I want to say: PLEASE follow the road rules! What I saw was an action movie-style car crash up close, and it was awful. We were parked at the traffic lights, and suddenly an SUV was flipping over in the air and about to land on top of us. It hit the traffic light pole, so we escaped the impact.

The car had decided to race through orange turning lights. However, the traffic going through got a green light a moment later, and then…

6th May 2018 Woden Intersection Major Car Crash Flips DC Car Australia Canberra

The image above was taken about an hour after the accident and published in the newspaper (not by me! It would have been horrendous to pull out a camera at the time!), but nobody there then saw what happened. The tail end of another car involved is on the far right (the white one). What you can’t see is how bad it is. It’s totally destroyed. There’s also a third car involved that’s not in the picture.

My father joined about ten others trying to push the car back on its wheels, but it was uphill (you can’t see the gradient in the picture), and it wouldn’t go. The driver was trapped, but she couldn’t climb up to get out. Eventually my father dragged her out the roof, and then climbed into the wreckage to get her licence etc.

What was so amazing about the whole, horrible incident was the people. Only seconds after it happened, dozens of people abandoned their cars and came running to help. Some parked a hundred metres away up side streets and rushed to the scene.

Luckily, the intersection is steps from Canberra’s main hospital, and an ambulance happened to be a few cars behind us.

I will never forget watching a car hurtling through the air towards us.

Everyone: PLEASE just follow the road rules. Speeding is not worth it!

The Week: 18th – 24th September

Spring Flowers Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 21st September 2017 Garden Nature Red

Spring in Canberra

Mostly gorgeous week here. We had temperatures up to 30 degrees, which makes it nearly ten degrees warmer than Barcelona a couple of weeks ago. The difference? In Barcelona everyone dresses for summer. In Canberra a lot of people dress like it’s mid-winter. People are weird.

We booked a group family trip to Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains this week. We’ll be going over New Year. It will be summer here, so hopefully the mountains won’t be too snowy at that time of year!

Yesterday the highway between Canberra (as in Australia’s capital city) and Sydney (as in Australia’s biggest city) was closed because of a bushfire. We knew people who had to turn around and come back to Canberra.

In September.

Just after winter.

We also had the hottest September day in history, and they are predicting a catastrophic bushfire season (yes, here “bushfire season” is actually a thing) for us. But – hey – climate change doesn’t exist…?!

Floriade is in full swing, but I haven’t been this year (so far). I really need to go earlier one year before half the flowers have died!

New (AWFUL!) cover for Lisa Kleypas

My review of Amish Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids

Hunger Games and Twilight are getting theme park lands in South Korea


Pride and Prejudice Anniversary