Feb 27, 2017

Life This Week 27/2/2017: Taking Stock.

Can you believe we're at the tail end of February already?  Not only that but summer will also be gone for another year as well.  Denyse's current theme for Life This Week is 'Taking Stock' so that's exactly what I thought I'd do with this post: take you briefly through the happenings of my life at the moment.  Mostly unexciting but there you have it.

I'm reading The Dry by Jane Harper.

'The Dry' won the Victorian Premier's Award for an unpublished manuscript in 2015.  Then Reece Witherspoon (who has an astute eye and feel for contemporary female writers at the moment namely her work with 'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed and 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty) optioned the novel as a film.

As an aside, I've started following Reese's Instagram account because she often posts about novels she's reading.  With her track record, I don't think I could ever go too far wrong with trying her suggestions.  Okay, that's it about Reese (whom I do not know personally so really shouldn't be this familiar when discussing her but Instagram being one big happy social network and all...), let's get back on topic.

'The Dry' is a murder mystery novel that I can only read from the safety of my bedroom.  With both bedside lamps turned on.  And after I've double checked on Preschooler SSG and that I've locked all the doors and windows.  It's not the best novel to be reading when you're the only person awake at night but that sense of aloneness in the still of night only adds to darkness brewing in Kiewarra, a tiny farming town that both shimmers under the relentless sun of an outback Australian summer but is also slowly dying as one farm after another runs into serious financial trouble precipitated by droughts.

Aaron Falk is a Kiewarra boy who 'made good' in Melbourne as a federal policeman.  His area of expertise is in the area of suspicious financial activity.  He's back home for a few days to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend Luke Hadley.  Luke was discovered in his own ute with his face blown off, his shot gun by his side.  There were no signs of struggle and his body was only found after a parcel delivery man stopped by the farm and discovered Luke's wife and son dead in pools of blood.  Strangely, baby Charlotte was found alive in her room, the only part of the usually welcoming and happy house not to see the violent brutality of the apparent murder suicide.

There are so many questions about so many people in this small country town.  Aaron gets drawn into an 'unofficial' investigation and decides to stay in Kiewarra just a bit longer.  Along the way, he reflects on his relationship with Luke.  Luke was always charismatic, persuasive and larger than life.  When the boys were 16, Luke persuaded Aaron to create an alibi for the both of them.  Luke obliged and then he discovered that their good friend and fellow teenager Ellie was found drowned in a creek.  Her apparent suicide note featured Aaron's name on it and the date of her death...

Jane Harper is an astute observer of those little interactions between people.  You as the reader could almost be at the country school or the pub where her characters are struggling to deal with the deaths on top of the growing menace that farms going under mean to a small rural town.  Harper writes of a different kind of rural Australia to what I usually come across in my reading and the fairy tale type notions I carry in my mind.  While there is an abundance of natural beauty and the goodness of the people of the country, there are also the very real fears and repercussions of the issues that touch urban Australia such as suicide, financial stress and the turmoil of adolescence.

Have you read 'The Dry'?  Drop me a comment at the end if you have.  If you are from rural Australia yourself, how did you feel about Harper's portrayal of life there?

I am wearing

my trusty hiking shoes.  Yes, it's urban explorer time of the year again in Sydney.  The rain's pretty much always torrential and our footpaths and roads are slicks of oil and water.  Autumn for me always begins with these shoes being dusted off and then as we head into winter, I debut my large collection of polar fleece vests and jackets as well.  Glamorous, as always.

My favourite piece of domestic technology is

my tumble dryer.  See previous paragraph.  Aside from its superior performance in drying my towels, I also love the 'industrial tumble' sound it makes.  So soothing when the rain's beating down on the roof and the morning's outdoor exercise has therefore had to be cancelled.

I am a bit nervous about

receiving this quarter's electricity bill.  After a couple of bills where our household has actually been able to reduce consumption to the average for our area, things aren't going to be as average this forthcoming quarter, I suspect.  I have rediscovered my Parlux and I tend to use it daily these days.

I am using

all my green coloured pencils on a new page of my adult (always feel the need to be defensive about this hobby, hence the 'adult' but that also makes it sound a bit X rated) colouring book.

I am persevering with

yoga home practice.  Slow and steady with small gains.  I'm getting much better at relaxing and clearing my mind during the five minute shavasna.

I'm trying to quit

lazing around in bed as I read things on my iPhone.  I usually do this with horrible posture and it quickly undoes any gains I've made with physiotherapy and stretching exercises for my neck.  I am very tempted to get one of these bean bag sofas from Muji as a compromise.  Or I could just ban myself from reading my phones at certain times of the day.  I need willpower to confront years of forming this habit.  The ban is probably the best place to start.

I'm enjoying

my online course for work.  So much so that I've already signed up for the next unit with one of my work besties.

 Are you taking stock of life right now?  What have you achieved and what still needs working on?


  1. While I don't have much time for reading I do recognise that feeling of reading something and needing all the lights turned on - some stories can be very gripping. More than movies I think, as you use your imagination more. It's harder to skip or look away from the really scary bits though, haha! It sounds like an interesting book.

    I think we are going to get the autumn rains and cool weather soon, or I hope so anyway! It's still a little humid.

  2. It sounds like you have things pretty well balanced. Well done you!

  3. Really enjoyed The Dry - it has a great sense of foreboding. Louise

  4. I can nearly do a Toes to bar (crossfit movement).
    And I am following your lead of having home cooked meals and healthy shit like that.

  5. I'm looking for a new book to read! The Dry sounds intriguing to me!


  6. The Dry sounds like something that I would really enjoy.


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