Feb 3, 2017

Friday Drinks #7: Hot Tea Yoga. The Teacher'. Other Things.

First there was beer yoga.  

Now may I present...

mug of Barry's tea yoga?  The scene was the morning after one of those sleep disrupted nights at SSG Manor 2.0 which left me feeling like a zombie with tense shoulder and back muscles when I woke up.  Then Preschooler SSG decided to wake up an hour earlier than usual.


A gentle yoga sequence punctuated with sips of soothing tea or the hug of your favourite purple monkey if you happen to be Preschooler SSG.

I could have blamed my rough night on work or a preschooler who didn't sleep through the night but that would be bare faced lying.  The real reason I was up all night was because I was racing through this novel, 'The Teacher' by Katerina Diamond.

Before I go any further in my discussion of 'The Teacher' I'd like to forewarn you that the main themes of the novel are quite distressing 'trigger' topics involving domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse.  The graphic nature with which some incidents are described may also cause distress.  The current Australian context of the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse may also make reading 'The Teacher' especially harrowing.


Described simply, 'The Teacher' is a mystery thriller which links the gruesome murders of several high profile men in and around an English town.  What connects these deaths to a mousy young woman called Abbey who abruptly abandoned her university studies to work as a taxidermist in a museum that was mysteriously gutted by a fire more than twenty years ago?  

The detectives assigned to solving these cases are DS Miles and Grey who both have their own dark secrets and demons to deal with.  Told in a series of short story like chapters, 'The Teacher' is narrated from the perspective of victims (of the present day murders as well as of the shocking assaults that precipitated the revenge killings), relatives of victims and the detectives themselves.

What I found fascinating about this novel is the way Diamond managed to convey the atrocity of the sick crimes committed while also developing the perpetrator characters as such believably outwardly normal upstanding members of the community.  We are told repeatedly by the media of crimes such as these yet  it can be so hard to believe how a person can live this kind of perverted double life for so long while remaining in the public eye in fields such as education, medicine and business. Fear, intimidation and money basically but Diamond does shed light on how it plausibly could (and sadly does) happen.  

There are two sets of abuse crimes at the heart of the plot with two separate plans of revenge for each.  It's a complicated structure upon which to build a novel and coupled with the complex narrative structure, it's a testament to Diamond's skill as a writer that this novel was as easy to read as it is.

That second strong themes 'The Teacher' is that of of revenge was explored from a unique perspective.  What happens when victims are able to exact a 'punishment' upon their abusers that befits the crime?  How does it feel to receive that much longed for apology (admittedly with the abuser on their death bed)?  What goes through the minds of abusers in those final moments?  Does exacting revenge empower the victim or help cleanse them of a lifetime of shame and self hatred?

As terrifying as the subject matter is, 'The Teacher' had this surreal 'feel good' factor of justice being served.

I also found that 'The Teacher' is a novel best read with lots of forced interruptions.  Telephone calls, household duties, parenting responsibilities... any distraction that forces you back into the reassuring normalcy of your own life really does help you deal with the horrors that inhabit the world of this novel.

'The Secret' is the second novel in the DS Miles and Grey series and while it appears to have a similarly dark plot to 'The Teacher', I'm going to be making a start on it this weekend.  Aside from the gripping pace of the first novel, the chemistry and back story of Miles and Grey are another draw card for me.

Beyond the darkness that my bedtime reading seems to be occupying right now,

I had my first session on jembe at Preschooler SSG's music class this week.  There's something about beating drums with feeling and singing in a different language whilst doing so.

I've been eating one of my favourite salads on the daily.  It's the Chang's Crispy Noodle and Cabbage Salad whose recipe is on the back of each and every packet of Chang's Crispy Noodles.


Here's what you need to look for the next time you're at the supermarket.  Once you've found it, simply turn it over and shop for everything on the list for the salad recipe.  Then add fresh mint and chicken if you're so inclined.  That's what I do.

And that's all from me for today.  The weekend beckons and with it shopping lists, coffee, preschooler toys and almost continuous activity from the moment we wake up until that last restless tug at the doona at bed time.

Have a lovely weekend!


  1. I always love your book recs SSG.
    I did a drawing for mindfulness class last night, probably has similar effects to bongo drum playing.
    :D xx

  2. Thanks SSG - another book to add to my reading list AND a new recipe to try! I do like the sound of that Chang's Crispy Noodle and Cabbage Salad! Yum! :-) #TeamLovinLife


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