Our amazing Friday sunset in Canberra.
Today is the 175th anniversary of the first publication of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The book was written in only six weeks, and had sold out by Christmas Eve.
Canberra’s sky this week.
We started the week so well! Temperatures in the 30s, sunny days. And then the rain hit. It’s so odd to have rain in Canberra at all, let alone a number of days in a row.
The first Formula One race of the year is on in Melbourne this weekend, and it is the first time in about a decade I haven’t gone. We gave up our (crazy-expensive) premium seats after the race last year. The corruption in the sport was a real turn-off. Little did anyone know that new managers would sweep in and fire sleazy, misogynistic, Putin-loving boss Bernie Ecclestone soon afterwards!
However, all those thousands once spent on the F1 can now go to more trips to Europe!
There is something stirring in Belarus. If there’s one country in Europe people care even less about than Ukraine, it’s their neighbour. On Saturday there were protests; there’ve been mass arrests in Minsk – demonstrators and journalists alike (it is estimated about one thousand people were arrested); the riot police were out in force. The country’s opposition leader was arrested shortly before the protests began, and one woman was even put in a mental hospital for daring to protest.
This is Soviet-level stuff.
It looks like the stirrings of the 2013-14 revolution in Ukraine. Frightening, but important.
in other news, this story (below) yesterday was… even after reading it, I still don’t understand:
Estonian children in a forced settlement in Siberia in 1952.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the beginning of the Kremlin’s mass deportation of 90 000 Baltic people (mostly women and children). They were sent to forced settlements in inhospitable parts of Russia, and most were never able to return.
I was on Westminster Bridge only three or so weeks ago (the photo above is from this month). The terror attack this week was… not unexpected. Sadly, I’m surprised it has been so long since something like this happened in London.
Some people have been saying: ‘Why should we care so much about London? How about (insert world conflict here)?’
Um… as if anybody cares about Yemen etc. any other day of the week! I wish they did!
People are allowed to care about London AND other things!
However, while everyone was distracted by London, Russia did some absolutely awful things in Ukraine this week. They assassinated a Russian Putin critic in the middle of Kyiv in broad daylight. They blew up the Ukrainian army’s biggest and most important munitions factory (the image above), heavily hampering their ability to fight the invasion. They killed more people in their war.
This is an amazing – and funny – account mocking Putin, and if you have Twitter, you should follow it. Last year, the Kremlin actually bribed Twitter to ban it for a while – so much for freedom of speech! So they deserve support.
It seems bizarre that this week the US and the UK decided to put bans on electronics on aeroplanes, citing the need to stop terror attacks. The following day, a home-grown terrorist committed the London attack – without a Kindle, a laptop, a camera, OR a plane. Me not being able to take my Kindle when I fly through the Middle East twice more this year sure didn’t stop what happened in Westminster.
Travel is becoming exhausting. The ridiculous liquids ban on international flights was meant to have been lifted years ago. Instead, here we all are, still carrying lip gloss in little ziplock bags for no particular reason, and now we can’t even read a book during our flight!
I had to go through airport security FIVE times just to get home a few weeks ago. I wish there was a way I could do aeroplane-free travel, but it’s a bit of a problem, living on an island!
O-kay… I think the ranting is done for the moment.
The view down Doughty Street.
Charles Dickens lived in many different places in his lifetime, but this house near my old home in Holborn, London is the one that has been turned into a museum about his life (and was recently – expensively – renovated).
Even though I lived and worked within a short walk of this house for a couple of years, I never actually visited. And so one chilly day at the end of February, on a short break in London on the way home from Italy, I marched from Covent Garden to pretty Doughty Street to finally pay a visit.
It is an interesting house in its own right, a recreation of middle class life in the Victorian era. I am not a fan of Dickens, the family man (or should I say, Dickens, the man who abandoned his family!), but there is no denying the impact he made on the world.
Naturally, the museum errs on the side of worship, rather than presenting some of the less savoury facts about his life beyond his books.
Dickens’ writing desk.
This is the bedroom where his teenaged sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, died unexpectedly. Dickens had a rather unhealthy obsession with this girl and her “purity”, which would carry over to a fascination with other very young women throughout his life.
And, of course, the day wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to my old home – Red Lion Street!
Double birthday today: Charles Dickens’ – and mine!
I have my reservations about Dickens, the man, but there’s no mistaking the influence of Dickens, the author on the world and on people’s perceptions of the Victorian era.
Here are three pictures of our AMAZING Canberra sunsets this week. I haven’t touched the pictures up; this is just what it looks like here in summer!
It’s nearly Christmas, and I’m not getting anything done! It seems there’re a thousand people one has to have lunch with in December, which means I’ve spent more time hanging out in the city, or at pubs in various parts of town, than I have actually achieving stuff!
Can we STOP talking about TIME Magazine like Hitler and Trump were the only monsters they picked, like Stalin and Putin weren’t also some of their “winners” who they named “Man” or “Person” of the Year?! Four maniacs, and TIME thinks it’s cute and cool to feature them like that. (The year after Putin was given the “honour”, he started invading countries – Georgia first.)
By the way: TIME only changed it from “Man” of the year to “Person” in 1999. That’s pretty disgusting. Only a few years ago…
I got my hands on a review copy of one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 this week, and no way was I waiting until next year to start it! I’m only 25% in now, and I love it, but I cannot understand why they have that female model in the terribly-fitted gown on the cover, when the heroine is supposed to be a stunning blonde…
However, READ THIS SERIES. It’s one of my favourites – ever. Even if the author thinks Stalin is a turn-on.