a capital autumn

I had written up a short post on Saturday morning, and I thought I’d published it successfully from my phone, but now I cannot find it amongst my published, draft, scheduled or discarded posts, so I have no idea what happened to it.

But, whatever, there wasn’t much in it. Just that this week has been a bit busy. Add to that an impromptu trip to Canberra, and it hasn’t left me much time to blog. Even so, I’m not ready to break my long-standing post-per-week streak (as tempting as it is, I think it’s also a matter of pride).

Hopefully back to “normal” next week.

And by “impromptu” I mean I booked the flights on Thursday night, and I was on the plane Friday morning. Don’t worry, it wasn’t for any serious emergency, unless you consider providing emotional support an emergency (although I think the trip did me just as much good as it did for my friend).

As it turns out, Canberra is really pretty in the autumn. My favourite sight was the trees with a gradient of leaves from green in the lower branches, to yellow then orange and red and brown at the top. Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to take a photo at the time, but I got a few other magnificent landscapes. Here is one for now:

I suppose to most people autumn is a lacklustre time when everything and everyone is preparing to enter some kind of dormancy or hibernation, but autumn is actually my favourite season. To me, it’s full of amazing colour, vigour and vibrancy.

Seeing trees aflame with deep red leaves, or shimmering with golden sequins, or even to see ghostly bare branches casting intricate patterns across the sky – these are the sights that evoke wonder and intrigue.

Borodin

Earlier this year, when I was listening to ABC Classic on the radio, the presenter gave a very brief account of the life of Aleksandr Porfirevich Borodin. They said that before Borodin was a composer, he was a chemistry professor. It was actually while he was quite ill, and could not go to work as a chemistry professor, that he did a lot of his composing.

I found this interesting for two reasons: First, the fact that music essentially had the status of “hobby” for him — something he did in his spare time, away from work — but he managed to do really well, and became quite famous for it. I wonder if this was his real ambition, or if he just composed music for himself, and somehow realised he was actually good enough to do it professionally. Continue reading

All the Light We Cannot See

I bought All the Light We Cannot See (by Anthony Doerr) a few years ago, after seeing it mentioned on a blog. (I think I also had some loyalty points to use, or maybe a gift card, but that’s beside the point.) However, as always, I had too many other books I wanted to read first, so All the Light just stood on my bedside table for ages, held up between two book-ends and a number of other novels.

Last month, after I finished reading The Idiot, I felt a bit disorientated, and wasn’t sure what to read next. It was also a time when a lot was happening — a very close friend was moving interstate, several other close friends were taking extended holidays to travel, work was getting busier, and I was exhausted in every sense of the word — so I was finding it hard to become absorbed in reading. I actually tried to start two or three other books before I picked up All the Light.

Once I got started, though, it was really hard to put down! I can’t remember the last time I read a book so quickly (I mean, quick by my standards). I suppose it helped that we’ve had a few long week-ends and public holidays recently, but even so… Probably the last book I was so enraptured by was Anna Karenina — not that I read that that quickly, but I was positively besotted by the story and the characters and the writing. Continue reading

mirrors

In the last two years, I’ve listened to more and more classical music. I don’t go to concerts or buy records, but if I’m at home, I’ll probably have the radio on ABC Classic. I used to always listen to that station in the car as well, but I tend to spend more time listening to my Persian/Farsi lessons now.

It’s interesting, though, that after all this time listening to classical music, I don’t feel like I know much more about it. I can recognise the names of a lot more composers, but if you just played me a piece of music, I probably would not be able to tell you who wrote it (except maybe Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which is quite distinct, but you’d have to play the right part for me to recognise). Continue reading