These images, taken on the 15th of April, 1912, show survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic arriving at and being helped aboard the RMS Carpathia 107 years ago.
Six years later the Carpathia was torpedoed by a German submarine.
Penguin Bloom is an extraordinary true story full of hope and courage, featuring Cameron Bloom’s exceptional photographs and a captivating narrative by New York Times bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greive.
Penguin the Magpie is a global social media sensation. People the world over have fallen in love with the stunning and deeply personal images of this rescued bird and her human family. But there is far more to Penguin’s story than meets the eye. It begins with a shocking accident, in which Cameron’s wife, Sam, suffers a near fatal fall that leaves her paralysed and deeply depressed.
Into their lives comes Penguin, an injured magpie chick abandoned after she fell from her nest. Penguin’s rescue and the incredible joy and strength she gives Sam and all those who helped her survive demonstrates that, however bleak things seem, compassion, friendship and support can come from unexpected quarters, ensuring there are always better days ahead. This plucky little magpie reminds us all that, no matter how lost, fragile or damaged we feel, accepting the love of others and loving them in return will help to make us whole.
Despite the title, this is a book about an Australian magpie (totally different breed to magpies in other countries) called Penguin, who was adopted by a family as a baby and then went on to become famous.
The (true) story went “viral”, and is soon to be released as a Hollywood movie.
I came across this book while on holiday at the coast, and read it in one sitting, though it was surprisingly long and with a lot more text than I was expecting – I was initially in it for the cute bird pictures!
Speaking of those pictures, they’re brilliant, and there are lots of them. The book is worth it for the photography alone.
However, there’s more to this story.
The mother of the family had an accident in Thailand which left her disabled and confined to a wheelchair. The book is as much about her coming to terms with her disability (which also left her without her senses of smell and taste) as it is about the bird, and the book begins with a chapter written by the husband, and ends with one written by the wife.
I’ll admit: the attempts to tie the relationship with Penguin to the woman’s personal journey were pretty flimsy. I doubt the bird actually had much at all to do with it, but I was willing to forgive it.
I’ve been living with a local family of magpies for years. Each spring they bring their babies to us, and they hang out on the front and back decks, singing, sleeping, occasionally attacking other birds in their territory. Never would I ever let one into the house, though twice a bird has sneaked inside, which was… interesting…
Which leads me to… it’s madness to keep a magpie inside. They make the most disgusting mess (yes, what you’re thinking). I was wondering about this family and their magpie, and it turns out that after a while they came to the same conclusion, and they moved her outside.
I’m dubious about the family’s behaviour taking the bird in in the first place. Once they leave the nest, baby magpies live on the ground for some time. Every spring, wildlife organisations beg people to leave them alone – they don’t need rescuing. Animal shelters fill up with “rescued” magpies that didn’t need rescuing in the first place, leaving vets completely frustrated.
However, my doubts aside, the story is an interesting one, and the photographs of the bird interacting with the magpie are brilliant. Australian magpies have a terrible reputation, as there are a few violent birds who attack humans in their territory in springtime. However, most magpies are lovely creatures – especially if they know you – and this book goes a long way to proving it.
We visited the Rome exhibition at the National Museum of Australia on Sunday afternoon (a tip: go late in the day and you won’t have to wait in a queue for an hour – but there’ll be some fingerprints on all the glass cabinets!).
Here are a few more shots:
The entrance (with me!).
The Emperor Augustus, who looks suspiciously like Vladimir Putin!
And I was SO happy to see they’d labelled Crimea as Ukraine, despite what Russia is currently up to.
What happened to me after Christmas?
We left the Canberra heatwave two days after the holiday, and spent several days on the New South Wales South Coast (the *northern* part of the coast). However, we weren’t staying near the beach, but up here, high up in the escarpment, on an incredible property with acres of rainforest, wallabies, birds galore – all for us.
It was an isolated, amazing place to unwind at the end of the year.
The hundreds of thousands of poppies to mark one-hundred years of the end of the First World War have gone from other sites in Canberra (Australia’s capital city), but the 270 000 handmade poppies at Australian Parliament were still here until the end of the weekend.
I drove past last week, but on Saturday we actually stopped and took some pictures.
As part of the British Empire, Australia committed to the war in mid-1914 – before Britain even declared it. Most of our contributions are hidden; because we were part of the Empire, our troops are often recorded as “British” (as were New Zealand, Canadian etc. contributions to the war effort).
I’m glad we’ve done some beautiful things to commemorate the event.
Some pictures from the Great Wall near Beijing, Jinan, and the Zibo district in China last week.
These past few months have been crazy. From winter to like-winter weather in Europe, to warm weather, to a heatwave in Canberra, to freezing China, to another heatwave in Canberra. I’m so confused where I am and what season it is! Now I’ve done my Christmas shopping (just in case things didn’t arrive in time), I sort of feel like it’s time for the year to end!
Thousands and thousands of handmade poppies at the Australian War Memorial for Remembrance Day, and a hundred years since the end of the First World War. Australia committed to the war before Britain even declared it, and Canberra turned on a sunny, hot, blue-skied, beautiful day for the occasion.
Because I live in Canberra, love history, and have a military father, I visit the War Memorial quite often. However, today was special, and because I’ve been overseas for much of the past few months, and today was the last day to see all the poppies before they go, (there are poppies at Parliament House, too, but they’re there for another week), I had to visit.
Because I live in Canberra and have a former military father (and love history!), I spend quite a lot of time at the Australian War Memorial.
I went with my father today, half because of the occasion (one hundred years since the First World War ended) – to see the thousands and thousands of handmade poppies in the garden out the front (today was the last day for the exhibition), and half because I’m currently working on the memoirs of a Military Cross-winning Vietnam veteran (my father’s commander in the war), and he was heavily involved in the Long Tan dedication ceremony.
Long Tan is by far the most famous (infamous?) battle in Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, and my father knows people in the iconic photograph.
The cross arrived at the War Memorial not all that long ago, and this is the first time I’ve seen it in its special new room. Unfortunately that room – as they tried to make it a quiet place for reflection – is practically hidden, and I think most visitors will miss it…
From the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
The last shots to be fired before the armistice on the 11th of November, 1918. The end of the First World War.