Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sydney sojourn and other treats

I have just finished reading a wonderful book - Geraldine Brooks' "Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women". It's a fascinating account of the stories of Islamic women encountered by Brooks during her six years as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. It's told with compassion and intelligence, frustration and clarity. Brooks' overwhelming desire to understand the women of the Islamic world and to tell the stories of their lives has given me an understanding of their beliefs and the effect of a beliefs system that extends to governance and power over every aspect of their lives. Prior to reading this book, I had almost no knowledge of the Islamic world, now I feel that I know a little at least and would like to learn more. This book is a window onto another culture. Brooks makes effective use of her access to both powerful and powerless women; the result is informative and challenging. I highly recommend it.

The impact of this book is such that I had to begin this blog with a note about it, even though we have also had a very exciting and enjoyable long weekend in Sydney. We flew into Sydney on Thursday to celebrate Zoe's 11th birthday. We stayed at the Sir Stamford, where Zoe was given a special welcome gift of chocolates and we had complimentary cocktails. Luxury! We tripped around the city for three days, delighting in visits to the Art Gallery of NSW, the National Maritime Museum, Woollahra, Chinatown, the gardens, Circular Quay and Kirribilli. We also walked across the Harbour Bridge and climbed a pylon for a wonderful view of the harbour. Each afternoon we swam in the rooftop pool. The weather was as beautiful as Sydney. You can see a photo journal of our holiday in the link.

I did manage to complete something for Project Spectrum: Fire - a ski hat for Zoe that was almost complete and just needed some tassels. Quirky but cute, hey?

We have had wild winds this afternoon - one of the pots at our front door was knocked over and smashed and one of our fences fell down. Poor Greg had quite a task to prop it back up. Across the city, trees were uprooted, bringing down powerlines and brick walls, and smashing onto cars. We got a little bit of rain and there is supposed to be more but it has not eventuated yet. It's the rain we need - the wind raised dust storms across the state and made the sky a dirty, dusty colour this evening.

I am learning more about how to blog - hopefully The Littlecote Times will improve as I gain more skills.


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