Review: A Year in the Mud and the Tea and the Toast, My (Semi) Rural Kind of Life – Georgie Brooks

A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears

Georgie Brooks

Bad Apple Press

ISBN: 9780648556916

RRP$27.99

Description:

After buying an old cottage in the Adelaide Hills, Georgie and her young family are transfixed with dreams of becoming hobby farmers, tending chooks, sitting by log fires, growing their own veggies and generally immersing themselves in the joys of nature. However, a stubborn cow named Ginger, acres of mud, a feral crop of artichokes, the coldest winter of the decade and a husband whose job means he is away from home most of the week but leaves him time to repeatedly bog the tractor on the weekends does not make their introduction to rural living ideal. Surely things can only get better from here …?

 

For anyone who has either made the escape from city living or dreams of doing so, A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears is an entertaining and humorous story about a tree change with more than a rocky start.

 

My View:

This is the perfect tonic for these trying times. There are many genuine laugh out loud moments and situations that I could identify with. Let me share a few with you:

In this instance the water pump has stopped working ( the house relies on a rain water tank for its water supply) After unsuccessfully trying to solve the issue herself Georgie rings her husband who is at work (a doctor): pps82,83

Husband: “OK where are you?’

Georgie “Out by the water pump thing.”

Husband: “Have you turned it off and on again?”

“Yes,” through clenched teeth.

“Right, well, you’ll need to check the valves. Go and find the black most westerly valve on the eastern pipe.”

‘Trumping through the long grass looking desperately for pipes.’ “I can only find one pipe.”

“Is it far east?”

“I don’t know which way is east.” ( Yep that’s me 😊)

“Is it pointing to the big pin oak?”

“It sort of points between the two pin oaks?”

“Okayyy….” Muffled sigh. “Can you see a valve on it?”

“There are two black plastic turny things.”

“They control the valves. Can you turn the westerly valve off?”

Wait for it….I can just imagine having this sort of conversation with my husband…😊

“I don’t know which way is west.”

 

And so on…you can tell this is probably not going to end well. 😊

 

Then we get to the story of Portuguese Millipedes.  I thought this phenomenon was only local to the Perth hills and south west of Western Australia, I was wrong, South Australia suffers from them too.  “The millipede is small, black and shiny and looks a little like a centipede (except its named for its supposed thousand legs, rather than the centipede’s hundred legs). You have to peer very closely at it to work out the front form the back, but there’s a tiny pair of black antennae differentiating the front engine of the millipede/ Millipedes are about 2 centimetres long with a dense row of grey legs, and a little moustache like, underneath. They are attracted to light and to white things and when disturbed roll into a spiral. At first, we thought just see a few millipedes.  In fact, the baby is munching on the odd millipede and spitting it out in horror as she makes her way over the floor tasting everything in her path, is the first way I realise that the millipede is coming. Millipedes have a horrible smell and when you crush them this becomes even more potent. The baby soon stops putting millipedes in her mouth. Apparently, the millipede’s terrible taste and smell is part of its cunning plan for world domination, as nothing else on the planet wants to eat the millipede. They don’t seem to have a part in the food chain or any reason for their existence, except as a reminder of how minor irritations can overwhelm your life…It is as if some seasonal signal has awoken a zombie army of millipedes. They literally swarm into the house…”  (p92/93)

This problem is real. I feel Georgie’s pain as I sit here typing in the almost dark, too frightened to turn on the light in case I am assaulted by a million tiny wriggly legs… every morning walking around the house with a dust pan and brush (or vacuum cleaner) to sweep up a carpet of these pests. I hear you Georgie 😊

 

And then we have stories of uncooperative cows, gardening 101, the driveway (or rather ski slope to the road), renovations etc etc. But its not all hilarious gloom (if there is such a thing I think Georgie invented it) , Georgie peppers the tales with laughter, a good dose of Aussie self-depreciation, and with observations of the beauty of nature and her new life in the country.

 

This read is the perfect pick me up, the laugh you need right now. Thanks Georgie for sharing your warts and all tree change story.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Reads of 2019 – Non Fiction

Most of the books in this category will shock your with their honesty, their rawness, their personal story of struggles and sometimes, their successes. I hope you find something here that will stimulate your mind and tug at your heart.

 

The Little Girl on the Ice Floe

Adélaïde Bon

Maclehose Press

Hachette Australia

 

Imperfect

Lee Kofman

Affirm Press

ISBN: 9781925584813

 

Bowraville

Dan Box

Penguin Random House Australia

Viking

ISBN: 9780143784395

 

 

The Hormone Diaries

The Bloody Truth About Our Periods

Hannah Witton

Wren & Rook

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781526361462

Best Non Fiction Read/Listen in 2018

This was a very easy category for me to decide as two books immediately came to mind – both have left a lasting impression – their stories poignant and engaging.  In no particular order, my favourite non fiction reads/listens of 2018 are:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
And Evil Has A Name:The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation by Paul Holes,Jim Clemente,Peter McDonnell 
Evil Has A Name





Fathers Day Is Just Round the Corner, it’s Friday Freebie Time Again.

On the 2nd of September this year we celebrate Fathers Day in Australia.  It is a day for people to show their appreciation for fathers and father figures.  Is there a special person in your life that you know would appreciate a story of  “a grandson’s story of an ordinary man’s war…. an incredible tale of survival and the indomitable Aussie spirit”?

I have 2 copies of this heroic narrative to give away. It easy to enter, you must be an Australian resident and in the comments section on this post tell me the last book by Hachette you read or that want to read. Entries close on the 24th of August 2018.   https://www.hachette.com.au/hachette-australia/

 

 

***Winners have been notified** Books will be posted this week.

The BullDog Track

The Bulldog Track

Peter Phelps

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733639777

 

This is the story of Tom Phelps and the ‘other Kokoda Track’. Seventy-five years later, Tom’s grandson, award-winning actor and writer Peter Phelps, is sharing this inspiring tale of resilience and survival.

March 1942: The world is at war. Too old to fight and with jobs scarce at home, Tom Phelps found work as a carpenter in the goldfields of the New Guinea Highlands. No one expected the Japanese to attack in the Pacific. But they did.

Tom and his mates weren’t going to hang around and wait to be killed. With escape routes bombed by the Japanese, their only option was to try to reach safety by foot, through some of the most rugged terrain on Earth – the Bulldog Track.

Back home in Sydney, Rose Phelps, their son, George, and three daughters, Joy, Shirley and Ann, waited for news of Tom’s fate. George watched the horrors of war unfold on newsreels knowing his dad was ‘over there’.

Travelling by foot, raft, canoe, schooner, train, luck and courage, Tom Phelps, half-starved and suffering malaria, would eventually make it home. His stories of New Guinea would lead his son and grandson to their own experiences with the country.

The Bulldog Track is a grandson’s story of an ordinary man’s war. It is an incredible tale of survival and the indomitable Aussie spirit.

Brenda’s Top Ten Aussie Author Reads of 2016

It has been a great year for Aussie authors and readers alike. Here is guest reviewer  Brenda’s Top Ten picks of 2016. In no particularly order ( click on links to see Brenda’s reviews on Goodreads.)

fear-is-the-riderFear is the Rider

Kenneth Cook.

 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1506198294?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

scared-to-deathScared to Death

Rachel Amphlett

 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1774526984?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

red-dirt-odysseyRed Dirt Odyssey

Kath Engebretson

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1819270982?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

the-last-crocodile-hunter

The Last Crocodile Hunter

Bob Irwin and Amanda French

  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1795309647?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

fearlessFearless

Fiona Higgins

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1696711298?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

the-chocolate-tin

The Chocolate Tin

Fiona McIntosh

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1654937999?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

the-art-of-keeping-secrets

The Art of Keeping Secrets

Rachael Johns

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1682401798?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

the-wifes-tale

The Wife’s Tale

Christine Wells

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1613736070?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

the-game-you-played

The Game You Played

Anni Taylor

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1622987075?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

Darkest Place

Darkest Place

Jaye Ford

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1476681496?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

Thanks Brenda, there have been some awesome books written by Australian authors this year, it must have been a real task to choose just ten. 

 

 

 

Doesn’t Time Fly?

Here it is December 2016 already.  I cant believe it – this year has flown by, life has been busy; a grandson was born and he is now 8 months old.  Recipes have been tried and tested and many books have been read and reviewed – around the one hundred seventy mark thus far.

I am enjoying sharing the joy of reading with my grandson (with  appropriate titles) – it is never too early to encourage a love of reading.

Recently I invited a couple of ardent readers to share some of their favoruite reads on my site – to broaden the type of book reviews available here.  I hope you find some new favourite books and authors.  Thank you Bec and Brenda.

 

The reading year has not yet wound up – there is a blog tour ahead; the launch of Rachel Amphlett’s new police procedural series, Scared to Death. There is a   Q & A with debut Perth writer Anthea Hodgson, a Christmas menu to compile and share and a series of “best of 2016 reads” for you to comment on and…more reviews.

scared-to-death-blog-tour4-19-23-dec

 

Seasons greetings to you.

Christmas pavlova

 

 

Post Script: The Last Crocodile Hunter – Bob Irwin with Amanda French – Guest Reviewer

“Anyone who has ever heard of Steve Irwin should read (this).”

the-last-crocodile-hunter

The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father & Son Legacy

Bob Irwin with Amanda French

Allen & Unwin AU

ISBN: 9781760292379

 

Description:

‘When the world lost Steve, the animals lost the best friend they ever had, and so did I. But he’s still here with me and knowing that means that I am able to gain strength from him, and harness the same passion and drive that he and I both had together. There are so many people who have been inspired and are still being inspired by Steve Irwin and that makes me feel really, really proud.’ – Bob Irwin

Bob Irwin grew up in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia, where his passion for wildlife and its environment was born. A near-death experience while working as a plumber made Bob realise he needed to follow his dreams, so he and his wife Lyn uprooted their young family and moved to Queensland where they opened a Reptile and Fauna Park on the Sunshine Coast.

Bob’s passion for reptiles grew with his ever expanding collection and he soon became involved with various venom labs, for which he would catch the snakes that were later milked for the production of life-saving anti-venom. Growing up within the Beerwah Reptile & Wildlife Park, and with Lyn caring for orphaned wildlife at home, passion for the environment and all animals was a way of life for the Irwin children. This unique upbringing had a profound impact on his son Steve, who followed in his father’s footsteps and along the way became famous around the world as educator and wildlife warrior, the Crocodile Hunter.

Bob nearly didn’t survive the sudden death of his adored wife Lyn, and could have gone under again when a routine filming session for Steve’s TV show ended in his tragic death in 2006 at the age of 44. In each instance was the natural world and the animals within it which helped Bob to keep going, and since then he has continued to fight for his beloved Steve’s legacy of protecting the wildlife, environment and planet on which our own survival depends.

Entertaining, moving, impassioned and inspiring, The Last Crocodile Hunter goes to the heart and soul of a great Australian character, father and fighter, and raises issues that are crucial to us all.

 

Brenda’s View:

The Dandenong Ranges in Victoria was where Bob Irwin grew up, and his love of the Australian wildlife and surrounding bush was in him from a very young age. As the years passed, Bob became a plumber and worked with his father. But eventually Bob knew he was no longer happy in his job, so after much discussion with his wife Lyn, in late 1972 they headed for Queensland with the children. The Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park began on just three and a half acres of land; the hard work was done by the family as they slowly built it to where it could be opened to the public. The family survived on the bare minimum as neither Lyn nor Bob had an income, but they had a passionate vision of the future.

Bob and Lyn’s three children, Joy, Steve and Mandy, all shared their parents’ love of wildlife and conservation, but Steve was a sponge, soaking up everything his father taught him and always wanting more. Bob took Steve on his camping trips when they were contracted to remove crocodiles from particular creeks and rivers – Steve loved it. The two of them had a unique relationship; not just father and son, they were best mates as well.

As the Park expanded Australia Zoo was born – Steve’s famous Crocoseum became a world-wide attraction. But all the while, the animals were the top priority – teaching humans about the lives and habitats of the wild animals we live with was Steve and Bob’s ultimate goal. And they made a difference…

The Last Crocodile Hunter is the most comprehensive, interesting and heart wrenching memoir I have ever read. Emotional, profound and deeply moving, Bob Irwin’s words and memories have come to life with the help of Amanda French, who travelled with Bob throughout the outback, visiting old sites he had been to with Steve, chatting and imparting it all around the campfire. A quiet man, never one for the spotlight, son Steve was the complete opposite – they complemented each other well. Now seventy seven years of age, Bob Irwin continues his fight to preserve the legacy left by Steve for the well-being of our planet, the environment but mostly for the animals on it. The Last Crocodile Hunter is a memoir I highly recommend, and one I feel anyone who has ever heard of Steve Irwin should read. I very much enjoyed this 5 star read.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.