Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Book BagLady: UNDER AN AFGHAN SKY:A MEMOIR OF CAPTIVITY (MELLISS...: "Mellissa Fung, thirty-five-years-old, has been a long time journalist for CBC's 'THE NATIONAL' in Canada. As she was reporting on the effect..."

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Remembering Australian Literature

A.B. “Banjo” Patterson
One of my recent book finds is a book of writings by Banjo Patterson so I had a quick read and it renewed by interest in Australian literature.
Banjo Patterson was born in rural New South Wales in 1864. At the age of 31, he achieved two milestones in Australian writing. He composed his now famous ballad “Waltzing Matilda” and his first book, “The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses,” was published.
Every Australian claims ownership of Banjo. So much that “Waltzing Matilda” was once even consider for the Australian National Anthem. For those of you who have never heard the poem, here is a short sample.

Oh! there once was a swagman camped in the Billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree;
And he sang as he looked at his old billy boiling,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water-hole,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee;
And he sang as he put him away in his tucker-bag,
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"

And here it is put to music at the magnificent Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Okay, now for the translation. A swagman is an old fashioned term for an unskilled itinerant worker who carried his few belongings  rolled up in a sleeping bag on his back and a jumbuck is a sheep. Billabong is another term for a waterhole. 

Once Australia had decided it was grown up enough to have an “Australian” national anthem, the hunt was on for something to replace “God Save the Queen.”

“Waltzing Matilda” was a popular choice. We all know the words and have sung it enthusiastically at every school across the country, at the cricket, football or around the barbecue after a few drinks.

In the end, common sense prevailed. National anthems should be patriotic. About growth and the future. We could hardly have a song about a sheep stealer who in the end, jumped into the billabong and killed himself when pursued by the law.

I think Australians rest comfortably with “Advance Australia Fair” as our national anthem.
In my belief, Banjo should not feel discarded for not having made it to the national anthem. He resides on the $10 note, which will still buy you a burger and a drink for lunch, a ticket to the movies on “cheap Tuesday” and a cheap t-shirt with a slightly ugly picture on the front.


For sale on ebay this week I have a book of Banjo's stories and sketches. Check it out.

It is probably not proper for me to finish this little insight into one of Australia's legends without providing a link to the song that pipped "Waltzing Matilda" at the post. Funnily enough, I don't even know who wrote it. 

"Advance Australia Fair"

Which one would you have voted for?


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

For the love of bookmarks.

When people ask me why I have a love of bookmarks, they usually have a fairly sceptical look on their face. Maybe they wish they hadn't actually asked the question but alas, for them it is too late.

I am not very keen on the practice of turning over the corner of the page to make your place. In fact, I think it is deplorable and is defacing the book. Most of the books that I read are from the local council library and there is nothing I like more than getting lost there for a few hours.

However! There is nothing as special as opening the cover on a brand new book from the bookshop or just unwrapped as a loving gift. For me, that book will be treated with great care so that the next reader can have that "opened for the first time" feeling.

Hence my love of bookmarks. In my time, I have used just about anything - tissues, knitting needles, old envelopes, bills that could have just magically disappeared into the pages of the book. Maybe? I hve tried it but it has never happened.

My range of bookmarks is expanding and I am excited by the interested. The most popular are my butterflies, that  hover above the book. They are very pretty.

Next in the line of favourites are the "Hello Kittys." They are so cute and quite delicate and popular amongst young girls.

My latest arrival are the "Happy Men." They are just a little bit cheeky. What do you think?

My range is growing daily. Check it out on

Friday, 6 May 2011

Can you ever have too many books?

We have just spent a lovely weekend away. Your whole outlook changes when you have the chance to take some time out together to enjoy the weather, eat, sleep and read.
Inevitably, I came home with more books. I picked up some unusual and interesting books. My intent was to sell them on ebay as it is a way to justify my need to collect stray books and surround myself with reading material.  
Of course, none of them have been listed on ebay but I promise they will be today. I will just have a flick through them first.....
Check out my ebay store to find them: