Winter Wake-up


Winter - Carol Hopkins photo

Aw, yes, the winter season is upon us. Waking at 6 a.m. to the sound of a snow plow scraping snow off the pavement. There is no sleeping through that grating sound, or the incessant beeping of a vehicle backing up. It is the most discordant alarm clock – one I would do without, if I could. Being jarred out of a sound sleep is not fun.

On the other hand, I am thankful for safer streets; for not having to drive through built up snow. We haven’t had a lot of snow. At least not yet. But it will come. Even worst is the freezing rain that turns city streets into ice rinks and causes traffic to move at a snail’s pace. I am grateful that there are city employees up at the crack of dawn to make our city streets safer to drive on. They leave warm beds…

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The Artist as Traveller, the Sketchbooks of Eugene von Guerard by Ruth Pullin (Author event)

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful event at the State Library of Victoria.  Ruth Pullin is the author of The Artist as Traveller, the Sketchbooks of Eugene von Guerard and the SLV (who part-funded the publication of the book) hosted her in conversation with Alison Inglis.  This is the blurb that lured me into the city to be there:

Dr Ruth Pullin is the curator of the exhibition Eugene von Guérard: Artist–Traveller  (Art Gallery of Ballarat, 25 March – 27 May 2018), and the author of The Artist as Traveller: the sketchbooks of Eugene von Guérard. She was co-curator of the National Gallery of Victoria’s 2011 travelling exhibition, Eugene von Guérard: nature revealed, and principal author of the exhibition catalogue. Her research on von Guérard’s sketchbooks has been undertaken with the support of a Creative Fellowship at State Library Victoria and has been published in…

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Landscape in Perspective, Jill Kempson’s Oeuvre, by Patrick Le Chanu, translated by Karine Le Chanu

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

One of the pleasures of retirement is being able to join the University of the Third Age, known everywhere as U3A.  I belong to the Glen Eira branch, where I have learned—at last! to do cryptic crosswords, and I’ve also done a bit of teaching myself (Indonesian for Beginners, and a couple of fill-in ESL lessons for adult learners).  But my favourite thing to do with U3A is being part of the group that visits Melbourne galleries to see current exhibitions. The group is coordinated by Lee Hirsh who is herself an artist (see here) and we have seen some wonderful art this year…

Our most recent excursion was to the Embroiderers Guild Art Deco exhibition where I was in heaven admiring the amazing needlework of these talented artists.  My photos aren’t great because they were just taken with my phone, but you should be able to see why…

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Not as Scary As I Hoped, but Cute Lesbians?: A Review of THE DARK BENEATH THE ICE by Amelinda Bérubé


Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

This review is just in time before the spooky Halloween fall season turns irrevocably into the winter holiday season. The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé is a kind of paranormal queer horror YA novel by this Ottawa-based debut author. It’s definitely the kind of book meant to be read on a long dark October or November night.

The Dark Beneath the Ice was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t. Let’s talk about one of the good things first! This book is set in Ottawa, which I found quite different and refreshing. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book set in the Canadian capital! Having never visited Ottawa, it was fun to get a chance to experience a novel set there. In particular, the Ottawa river that is such a prominent feature of the city plays a…

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Stuart McBride to launch Granite Noir festival @GraniteNoir @APArachel ‏



Granite Noir, Aberdeen’s crime writing festival is all set to launch its third festival programme at a special event at His Majesty’s Theatre this weekend.

Highly renowned local crime novelist Stuart MacBride will join the team behind Granite Noir to share the secrets of the festival’s 2019 programme and mark its official launch.

Granite Noir Fest 2017

Granite Noir 2019 will take place from Friday 22 – Sunday 24 February and is the most ambitious festival yet. This event will be the first time the line-up of Granite Noir 2019 will be revealed, with announcements involving some of the biggest names in crime fiction, as well as news on a packed weekend of workshops, film screenings, exhibitions, noir inspired music and cabaret and much more.

The launch is supported by Granite North gin ( how excited am I by this news!) and Mackie’s who have created a very special Granite Noir ice…

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Just Venice~

I will not lie. She is way too crowded, and these are some of the reasons why.

These are ceiling shots of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco which opened in 1478 and was named after the patron saint of plague victims. The scuola (school) was a brotherhood of citizens devoted to charitable welfare.

Tintoretto was eventually a member of the brotherhood, and his paintings cover much of the interiors.

How this happened is interesting. There was a competition among artists (including Veronese), to determine who would paint the interiors. They were asked to submit sketches. While the other artists busily worked on their sketches, Tintoretto, installed one of his completed paintings in the scuola. (1) The result is history!
Titian also has artwork here.

This is the adjacent Chiesa San Rocco, a Venetian version of a modest little chapel.

They take churches very seriously in Venice. There are 139…

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Venice Reflected~

Oh Venice, you are so wonderful, and so overcrowded with tourists!

It is hard to fully appreciate you, amongst the hordes.

Avoiding the main tourist draws is the only way to be alone in Venice, and it is still quite a challenge to find quiet spots.

We were here in the first week in April and the crowds were significantly problematic. I can only imagine summertime.

I would recommend visiting Venice, if you want to, in the off-off season.

Several years ago we visited in winter and there were no crowds, even in Piazza San Marco. It is also much less expensive.

It is cold in winter, but so lovely to see Venice as she should be seen, in all her solitary glory, with locals who are actually happy to see you.

Cheers to you from amazing, but crowded Venice~

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