the solace of showers

It’s such a shame that water is such a precious and limited resource.

Coming home from a long day at work, or after any emotionally taxing day, there’s nothing better than a nice long shower – hot in winter, and ice cold in summer.

For me, I don’t think it’s as much about the feel of the water on my skin as it is about the complete immersion in the sound. Sure, the cooling/warming feeling (as the season requires) is soothing, and certainly helps to ease the tension from my body, but what I’ve come to realise is that the sound – the noise – is paramount.

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sought & found

After a dreadful week-end of hot and humid weather where the very thought of going outside, away from the comfort of aircon can make you sweat profusely, it looks like maybe we’re finally getting some relief.

On Saturday, I went to the bi-annual Lifeline Bookfest, which is thankfully held in the pleasantly air-conditioned Convention Centre. As I still have many books from previous years that I have not yet read, I made a short list of wanted titles/authors, and set out determined to stick to this self-imposed limit. Now, before you all go and predict the obvious outcome to this, let me tell you that there were only eight things on the list, and at the end of the day I came out with only five books. Amazingly, one of the books was from the list. So, overall, I’d say that’s not too bad…

For those who are interested/curious, the listed novel was “Never let me go” by Kazuo Ishiguro. He was actually on my “authors” list, so I was quite excited when the one Ishiguro novel that I (eventually) found was the only one that I’d actually heard of before. However, as soon as I picked it up and saw that it had the film cover, I swear the change in my expression must have been plain as day. For one, I don’t like book covers with pictures of people (especially if they’re photos of real people), and secondly, I just don’t like movie tie-ins. As much as I try to not be judgemental of book covers, I will admit that these two, very superficial things are enough of a deterrent to make me put down a potentially very good book. Well, almost enough.

I did actually have to phone a friend on this one. Of course, by “phone a friend” I mean I messaged a friend who I thought could understand my dilemma (apparently there aren’t many people these days who like talking on the phone). So, ever the voice of reason, she asked me if I want to look at it or read it. That was easy enough to answer; totally put it in perspective.

The other four fortuitous acquisitions were “Wool” (Hugh Howey), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (Truman Capote), a Readers’ Digest “Select Editions” book which included “The Rosie Project” and “Six Years” together in the one tome, and “Catch 22” (Joseph Heller). Strangely, the one that I’m particularly stoked about is “Catch 22”, even though that’s the one novel in the list that I have read before. The reason I was so excited to find it was because, as you may (but probably won’t) recall, that was the one book that I had really wanted to find a few Bookfests ago. After a fruitless search, I then despaired that I would never be able to find a second-hand copy, as no one who had read it would just give it away to charity.

I did buy a new copy after that time, but I subsequently lent this to a friend who, shortly thereafter, moved to the other side of the country… Not to worry! I have another copy now! Well, I had another copy; I’ve already lent this one to a friend as well. In truth, however, I’m not too fussed about getting it back any time soon. After all, I have so many other novels to read before I get back around to re-reading it!

As I’ve been typing this, we finally got some rain – some refreshingly cool rain. The only unfortunate thing is that we have to keep the windows closed when it rains, and hence miss out on the cool breeze. Summer rain also seems to bring mosquitos. Sorry, usually I’m more of an optimist, but this heat has just been positively stifling! But now, as I finish this post, the rain has stopped, which means it’s time to get the windows open again, and let the cool air in! I’m looking forward to not waking up in the middle of the night feeling like I’m in some sort of gigantic slow-cooker.

rainy days

Last day of Spring today, which means first day of Summer tomorrow, which means more and more rain. I think it rained all morning today. It’s stopped now, though.

I pretty much only like rain if I’m indoors while it’s raining or if I don’t have anywhere urgent to be (and provided that I’m not wearing good shoes that could be potentially ruined by rain/mud). Sometimes I’ll go for a walk in the rain for the sole purpose of walking in the rain (with an umbrella, of course).

Was talking to a friend the other day about how rain can be quite calming and soothing. And, yes, I agree with that. As I watched the rain this morning, I had a thought that it would be quite relaxing to go for a drive in the rain – not to anywhere in particular but just around.

What I don’t like about rainy days is that I find them kind of de-motivating. I just don’t feel like doing anything. Can’t go for a run (well, I could if I really wanted to and didn’t mind getting my shoes/socks wet), can’t go cycling, can’t do the laundry (I refuse to use a dryer – not that we have one, anyway). Everything is darker and gloomier.

Well, I suppose it’s not that bad. I still kind of got stuff done today, despite sleeping in late-ish (I was still up by 9am but that’s late for my standards).

I do like how green everything is after a good bit of rain, though. Plants just look more alive. And there’s nothing like rain with a cool breeze to, well, cool everything down. Can’t believe it was 36 degrees yesterday. Well, actually I can because I had an early finish at work yesterday and went outside in the early afternoon.

Rainy days make me feel like wearing bright colours. I like wearing bright colours anyway, but even more so on rainy days. It’s like I feel obliged to help balance out the gloominess.

I suppose that even though I tend to tell people that I don’t like rain – that I may even hate rain – I really don’t mind the odd rainy day.

and… I’m back!

Home, sweet home.

There’s not really much to say about my trip to Melbourne, but I’ll go over a few things. I reckon every time I go back there, I notice something different, or I see things in a different way.

On this trip, it rained every single day. It didn’t rain all of the time, nor was it pouring rain (mostly), but it did rain at least a little bit every day that I was there. This is mainly significant because I can’t remember the last time I saw rain in Melbourne. It usually never rains when I’m there. Just all of my bad weather-associated luck coming out at once, or so it would seem.

Not that that mattered a great deal, since I was indoors most of the time – relatives’ houses, shopping centres, restaurants, function venues… Plus, we drove everywhere. I didn’t get the chance to hop on a tram or catch a train (not that those are particularly exciting if you’ve done them before many times). From what I’ve seen of Melbourne, I think it’d be quite hard to live there without a car, unless you’re really lucky and your home and work were both situated on convenient public transport lines.

I reckon it’s mostly that Melbourne’s so big – everything’s so far away from everything else. There were some days when it felt like we spent half the day just driving. Don’t even want to consider how long it would’ve taken by public transport. I probably did more driving in that one week than I’ve done all year in Brisbane.

As usual, it was cold in Melbourne, even though it’s almost summertime. I think the weather reports kept saying it was colder than usual for this time of the year (?). Still a bearable cold, though. I’ve just come to expect Melbourne to be at least a little bit cold regardless of what time of the year it is. I was quite amused at all of the beach/swimwear shops around the shopping centres. Don’t suppose locals have much use of their wares. Although, I suppose most of their holiday destinations would include beaches and warmer days…

So, the big question: which book did I take? [drum-roll…] “The Book Thief” (Markus Zusak)

I was already about halfway into the book, so it just seemed to make sense to take it. I still haven’t finished it, though – didn’t get that much time for reading. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I even had a dream one night that a friend was telling me what a great book it is, and I told them that I knew because I was reading it.

what a change

Well, what a change this has been… Yesterday I was out enjoying the beautiful sunshine and unseasonably warm weather at the Regional Flavours Festival, feeling like it was Spring time already, and today the weather has completely turned around so that it’s back to being freezing cold and wet and bleary.

I’m certainly not complaining, though. It seems to be far too often that there’s miserable weather over the week-end, which only clears up with Monday morning sun. It’s kind of nice to have perfect Sunday weather that only turns sour after the week-end has been thoroughly enjoyed.

However, to be fair, although rainy days can sometimes make me quite restless, I do like to use them as an excuse to stay at home, curled up with a good book.

The book I’m reading now is ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ (Patrick Rothfuss), the sequel to ‘The Name of the Wind’. Actually, I’m kind of reading two books at the same time because ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ is way too big to be taking to and from work every day, so I’ve been reading ‘Great Expectations’ (Charles Dickens) on my commutes and lunch breaks instead.

I have read ‘Great Expectations’ before but it was such a long time ago that I can hardly remember anything about the novel other than the fact that I really, really liked it. And so, I decided it was about time I re-read it.

I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I don’t usually read more than one book at a time, but I’ve found that it’s been ok reading these two together. I assume it’s because they are so different that it’s easier for me to switch my mind between the two. I really want to finish reading ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’, though – not only because it’s due back at the library soon, but also because it’s such a good read. Sometimes I find myself marvelling at how much clever detail is in the characters, the places and the story itself.

have I mentioned that I hate rainy week-ends?

It has been raining non-stop today. I was going to go for a bike ride if it wasn’t raining… and then my back-up plan was to go for a run if it wasn’t raining that much… But, no such luck, so I just settled with going for a walk instead.

There’s a creek near my place that runs through a few parks and floods them whenever it rains enough, so I thought I’d wander over that way and check out the flooding. To be honest, I hadn’t expected it to be quite as flooded as it was, so I didn’t bring anything to take photos with (i.e. my phone), which is kind of a shame because my closest park was probably as flooded as I’d ever seen it.

I’m not too good at estimating distances, but I guess the water had gone 30+ metres from its banks, completely submerging the footpath that runs kind of parallel to it. I vaguely recall one time a few years back when I was coming home from uni/work and I’d just gotten off the bus and was walking down the hill to this footpath… only to realise that it was several centimetres under water.

Well, you’d think that this miserable weather would keep everyone indoors, holed up in front of their various technological devices, but, no, there were plenty of people out and about. I think most of them were kind of like me in the sense that they wanted to check out the flooding and/or they wanted to go for a walk. (Some of these people, however, didn’t have rain coats or umbrellas, even though it definitely would have been raining when they left their homes. It is something that totally perplexes me. Do these people just not own umbrellas? Do they want to get drenched in rain?)

There were quite a few people who just drove to the park and sat in the dryness of their cars to observe the rushing waters of the creek. (It might seem silly for them to be scared of a little rain, but at least they make more sense than the umbrella-less people.) And there were also quite a few people out walking their dogs. That’s good dedication.

I also saw many worms washed up on footpaths. Being considerate even of worms, I thought I’d try to move them off the footpath and onto some dirt so that they didn’t get stepped on or washed away and drowned (not sure if worms can actually drown, though…) or plucked away by a bird or left to bake and be eaten by ants once the sun came out (assuming the sun actually does return sometime in the near future).

Alas, the worms were not very receptive of my efforts. Most of them have (surprisingly) big reactions to even being touched and spasm away and try to escape. I never knew worms were so defensive(?), but I suppose even a worm knows when it needs to fight for survival (although technically I was trying to help it).

So I quickly gave up on rescuing the worms in the park, but there were plenty of worms around my back yard that were slightly more receptive to being air-lifted to safer ground (i.e. into pot plants). I have quite possibly saved about five lives this afternoon.