Friday, January 30, 2009

"Kreativ Blogger" Award

Ana and Jo-snazz both gave me this award! Thankyou very much, both of you! I felt so blessed and honoured when I found out. :-)

Now, the rules are: thank the person who gave you the award, then pass the award on to ten other people, and let them know they have been awarded.

I award:


Miss Jen


Lady-bug Laurie







(Ana and Jo already nominated Jessica for this award, but so what! Jess, you've been awarded three times over!)

Current mood:  Gloomy

(Not really gloomy. . . just a little. . . gloomy!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Panic. . .

I don't think I ever really understood the meaning of the word until now! It is so scary to wake suddenly in the middle of the night and start coughing, gasping, "whooping" myself hoarse, desperate for air but unable to breathe. Whooping Cough, I am so over you! I just want to get better now. Please!!

It's usually not so bad during the day. It's just at night when I have these dreadful coughing fits. It is most alarming when I am alone, in the dark. If there's someone with you, you don't tend to panic so much.

School starts today. This year, I hope to remain on speaking terms with my maths book. I will happily read and/or write all day, but when it comes to mathematics. . . *heavy sigh*

I have been enjoying watching the Australian Open. Especially Joe-Wilfried Tsonga. He played magical tennis last year when he made it to the final against Novak Djokovic, but this year he's been even better. Definitely one of the most entertaining players today! But as for the cricket. . . *headhitskeyboard* I have temporarily given up on Australia's cricket team. 

I am currently reading Louisa May Alcott's Jack and Jill. From what I have read of it so far, I would have to say it is one of the worst Alcott books I have ever read. It's still pretty good, though! A nice place to escape to - 1880s New England in winter, covered in snow, full of adorable rosy-cheeked little girls and mischievous young boys. I wouldn't mind a bit of wintry weather just now - it's been very hot and humid these last few days. We've spent most of our time inside with the air-conditioner on.

Hope you all have a great week!


Current Mood: Thoughtful

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It arrived!!

Lizzy and Darcy. . . 

I bought myself a copy of Pride and Prejudice 1980 on DVD several weeks ago on eBay. For the last fortnight or so, I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival. I was just beginning to get a bit worried, until it finally arrived on Thursday!

My brother teased me about it a bit - he seems to think it's absurd that I find it necessary to have not one, nor two, but THREE different version of P&P on DVD. 

I've been telling my brothers and sisters that they wouldn't like P&P80. In the past, I have found this to be a somewhat effective method of getting them to watch and enjoy my favourite DVDs. I tell them they won't like it, so to prove me wrong, they sit down and watch it, and more often that not, they end up liking it in spite of themselves. In this instance, my plan wasn't so successful.

The opening credits begin, with hand-drawn pictures of Regency ladies and gentlemen doing various activities in the background. "Oh, is this a cartoon version of Pride and Prejudice?" says someone. The first episode begins.

"Lizzy and Jane look ugly."

"Mr. Darcy looks weird."

"Mr. Bingley looks duhhh. . . "

"Mr. Wickham has BLOND HAIR!?"

"This is boring."

They all deserted the couch, one by one, except for one or two of my sisters.

The general consensus among my siblings seems to be that a.) This version (1980) of P&P is boring b.) The 1995 version is much better c.) Mr. Darcy in the 1980 version has funny hair.

I tried to tell them that the actors looks (or lack thereof) were not important, neither were the ugly costumes and wigs; the acting was good, and it stuck faithfully to the book, etc. etc. Unfortunately they weren't convinced. One of my sisters enjoyed it with me, but the rest of them weren't impressed. *Wry smile*

Oh well! I enjoyed it! I bought it with my money for my own enjoyment, if my brothers and sisters don't like it, that doesn't matter.

*Laughs evil laugh--Mwuhahah!* I'm going to make Janeites out of them all yet! Just wait and see. . .

~To read my review of P&P80, click here

Current Mood: Devious

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Austen Cats

"When Mr. Bennet arrived, he had all the appearance of his usual philosophic composure."

(Photo from

I found this website via Austen Blog.

Some of them are very clever - I got a laugh out of them, anyway! Click here to view the "Purr & Petulance" photo gallery.

And I came across this personality quiz this afternoon. Personality tests are fun, even though each one I take manages to come up with a different personality for me. At least the questions in this one are fairly easy to answer.

Your Personality is Very Rare (INFP)

How Rare Is Your Personality?

Your personality type is dreamy, romantic, elegant, and expressive.

Only about 5% of all people have your personality, including 6% of all women and 4% of all men

You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving.

Current Mood: Weird

Friday, January 16, 2009

New blog header!

Tell me what you think! I was searching for a painting to use - I was pretty much at my wits end! - then I thought "Yeah. . . I'll try this one, just to see what it looks like. . . " -- I think it looks pretty good, myself! But let me know what you think of it!

The painting I chose - Miranda - The Tempest by John William Waterhouse, is a picture that has been very special to me for a long time. A few years ago, the calendar hanging in our lounge/dining/school-room featured artworks by popular 19th century painters - mostly Impressionists. One masterpiece for each month of the year. They were all very beautiful, but there was this one painting that particularly captured my imagination, and it was the same one which you now see at the top of my blog. This was before I knew who John William Waterhouse was, and before I had heard of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream - and yet this beautiful painting held me enraptured.

So, it seemed fitting that it should now feature as a part of my place in cyberspace! 

Current Mood: Satisfied
EDIT: I was eating my breakfast this morning, and I suddenly remembered that I had said that this painting is a scene from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM???! Arrghh!! I can't believe I said that! Did any of you notice my error? Perhaps you were to polite to point out my mistake to me. Oh well - it's The Tempest, most definitely not A Midsummer Night's Dream. Whew, glad I've cleared that up now. My apologies to "The Bard" for this great dishonour I have done him. :-(   30 Jan 09

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jazzing up my blog

Young Woman in Boat, by James Jacques-Joseph Tissot -- from [Don't you just love the little dog in this picture!]

So, I'm kind of getting bored with my generic blogger blog background. . . any of you have any tips for adding a bit of flair to my blog? Some of you use pre-made blog backgrounds - I've had bit of a look on "The Cutest Blog on the Block" - they've got some gorgeous designs, but somehow, none of them seemed "right" for my blog. You see, I like the paintings and pictures in my posts to take centre stage - colourful, detailed backgrounds may look nice but they might draw attention away from the pictures. I don't want anything too crowded or busy -- very simple but also pretty and elegant is what I'm after, I guess.

Some of you design your own blog backgrounds. How do you do it? What's involved with making your own blog design?

I suppose something quick and easy I could do would be to find a picture and add to my blog title at the top of this page. But first I'd have to find the right picture. . . 

Any of you have any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

Current Mood: Creative

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Secret Garden 1993

While we've all been sick with whooping cough these last few weeks, we've been renting quite a few DVDs - mostly animated films, of which I thought the most memorable were: Flushed Away, Horton Hears a Who, and Kung Fu Panda -- Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie was also okay. Last week, we rented - amongst several other movies - The Secret Garden.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post concerning Frances Hodgeson Burnett's classic book. Considering that I've recently been re-reading The Secret Garden, renting the DVD just now was especially timely! Here are a few of my thoughts on The Secret Garden movie, in relation to the book, and as a movie in and of itself. I'm assuming most of you know the plot. :-)

I think the overall message put across by the film is one of healing - both internal healing, and, in Colin Craven's case, external/physical healing as well. Four hurting people are thrown in each other's way, and they each, in some way or another, contribute to the healing of the others. Ten-year-old Mary Lennox; Ben Weatherstaff, the crabby old gardener; Mary's cousin, Colin, also ten years old; and Mary's uncle/Colin's father, Archibald Craven, still desperately wounded ten years after the death of his beloved wife.

The story is told primarily through the eyes of a child, Mary. I first saw this movie many years ago, when I was a very small child myself. These two factors combined made viewing the movie again the other day a deeply moving, somewhat nostalgic experience. This film does not in any way push a sentimental Victorian view of childhood - all of the children in the story are very real and very imperfect. The scene where Mary is dreaming/reminiscing was particularly moving and heart-rending to watch. We see a very young child, only two or three years old, walking with her mother. Suddenly, the mother is swept away - by the wind, or some unknown force (it's a dream, remember) - and the child is left deserted - by herself - utterly alone and unprotected in the world, with no mother to nurture her, care for her, love her, protect her. This is symbolic of Mary's loss - not so much the death of her mother, but rather her mother's failure to play a role in Mary's life while she was still living. When her mother dies, Mary, at the age of ten, didn't - couldn't grieve for her mother, because she never knew her. Mrs. Lennox was always totally absorbed in her own life - she barely seemed aware of her daughter's existence.

The other major theme of the story is new life springing up in place of death. As the Spring comes, and the Secret Garden comes to life, so does life seep back into the hearts of Mary, Colin, and eventually Mr. Craven. Colin, previously spoilt rotten and harbouring a morbidity in his mind unnatural in a child of ten, is jolted back to life and reality by the presence of his cousin, Mary, and their friend, Dickon - a precocious boy with a passion for animals and the moor.

Mr. Craven, traversing Europe in search of peace of mind and some relief from his heartache, is startled by a dream in which he hears his late wife's voice calling him. . . "Archie. . . Archie! In the garden! I'm in the garden. . ." He rushes back to his Yorkshire estate, where he eventually makes his way back to the garden which he and his wife tended together, so many years ago. No longer is the garden empty and unoccupied - he finds in it a glory of flowers, trees, all in full bloom. He finds his niece, Mary - the daughter of his darling wife's sister, the little girl whom he had previously ignored - and he finds his son, Colin, who desperately loves his father, and has been anxiously awaiting his return. New life and healing has come at last, in the hearts of three people, now finally together as a family.

Whew - sorry if I rambled a bit, there. I just had to get that out of my system. :-) The psychological aspect of this story has struck me as being particularly profound and insightful and full of symbolism, especially so for a children's book, published almost a century ago.

If you're wanting to watch this movie, I should warn you about a couple of scenes. This film is well and truly a product of the '90s - by this I mean that it follows the [at the time] fashionable trend seen in other 1990s childrens movies (such as A Little Princess 1995, and even Disney movies such as The Lion King and Pocahontas) of emphasising the spiritual, and even hinting at some distinctly New Age philosophy. There are slightly disturbing New Age-y undertones to one scene in particular in The Secret Garden. We usually just fast-forward through this bit.

That being said, I highly recommend this film for anyone, except perhaps very young children, for whom some scenes may be too disturbing.

I didn't like some of the changes made from the book. I felt that there was plenty of room to develop the roles of some of the secondary characters - especially Ben Weatherstaff, and Mrs. Sowerby, who doesn't even get a mention in the movie! It all seemed a little bit too rushed - I would have been happy to sit through another 30 - 40 minutes, if it would have allowed them to include more details from the book. I don't know, maybe because it was a children's movie [though in reality it makes excellent viewing for adults as well as children] they felt that they had to keep it short so as not to lose the attention of their young viewers. (?)

Still, it's a wonderful movie. The guy who played Mr. Craven seemed a bit too creepy - what's with the hair?! But the acting from all of the child actors was first-class. The soundtrack is absolutely beautiful - very emotive, and perfect suited to the film. It was beautifully filmed, fully capturing the untameable beauty of the moor, the eeriness and mystery of Misselthwaite Manor, and the glorious wonder-filled atmosphere of the Secret Garden itself.

4 out of 5 stars. :-)

One more thing -- have any of you seen the BBC 1987 adaptation of The Secret Garden? Was it any good?

Current Mood:  Annoyed

VERY annoyed with myself!!!! Aarrgh! There was an item on eBay which I was keeping an eye on, and guess what - I completely forgot about it while writing the above post, so now I miss out! >:-(

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Hello. . . time for a long-overdue post!! I have been somewhat distracted of late - myself and all seven of my siblings have had a nasty coughing virus for the last few weeks. That is - some of my brothers and sisters have had it for some weeks, I have had it for a few days. We're not sure whether it's whooping cough or not - whatever it is, it's horrible! :-(

I have been doing a lot of reading over the last few days. Yesterday I finished Jane Eyre - it was the first time I had read it. I thought it was wonderful - I enjoyed it very much! Now I think I'll read something a little lighter - some Janette Oke, perhaps - before starting another classic. 

I recently discovered through a friend a fantastic website, which some of you may already be familiar with: BookMooch! It is one of the largest book-swapping websites in the world. I'm still a bit amazed that I hadn't heard of it before - but I'm glad that I have now found it.

Finally, for all you art fans: I stumbled upon this website just this afternoon - The Art Renewal Center. I haven't had a lot of time to look through it, (I only found it half an hour ago! :P )but it looks very fascinating. The ARC is radically anti-modernist, dismissing most 20th century art as inferior, including such revered artists as Picasso, Matisse, and Pollock. Hm! I wouldn't dismiss all modernist art so lightly, but I do admire them - the ARC, I mean - for championing the art of many forgotten 19th century masters. 

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with some more substantial posts during the week to come! *cough cough cough* I'm so sick of coughing. . .  :-(((

Current Mood: Nerdy

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Books to read. . .

Antique Bookcase I, by G. Piana. Image from

Several of my blogging friends have compiled lists of all the books they want to read in the year ahead. I thought it looked like fun, so now I am doing likewise!

I probably won't get through half of the books on list. And I will no doubt end up reading many, many books that aren't on my list.

Well - here goes. . . [no particular order, of course. . . ]

1. Ben Hur - Lew Wallace
2. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Wives and Daughters - Elizabeth Gaskell
4. Lady Susan - Jane Austen
5. The Watsons - Jane Austen
6. Sanditon - Jane Austen
7. Belinda - Maria Edgeworth
8. Evelina - Fanny Burney
9. Middlemarch - George Eliot
10. At the Back of the North Wind - George MacDonald
11. The Princess and the Goblin - George MacDonald
12. The Princess and the Curdie - George MacDonald
13. Um - as much Shakespeare as I can manage
14. Freckles - Gene Stratton Porter
15. The Inheritance - Louisa May Alcott
16. Daniel Deronda - George Eliot
17. Educating Rita - Willy Russell
18. Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
19. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
20. Charles Dickens. . . thus far I haven't read much Dickens at all.

+Plus I want to re-read all of Austen and The Lord of the Rings. (I know, I'm being a bit ambitious, but there's no harm in setting a few goals for myself. . . I want to read Northanger Abbey one more time while I am still sixteen - the same age as the heroine!)


So, yeah. . . that's a start. Do any of you have any suggestions or book recommendations for me? Are there any books on my list that you have read and wouldn't recommend?

Bearing in mind my enthusiasm for 19th century classics, and the fact that I have loving parents who are fairly picky about what I read, what books would you recommend that I read over the coming year? I'm open to suggestions! :-) 

Current Mood: Happy

Thursday, January 1, 2009

And so another year begins. . .

The Drone, by Arthur Hacker - from

Hello everyone - I hope you've all been enjoying the holidays as much as I have. I've been having a nice time, just relaxing, reading, listening to music, watching cricket. . . even though Australia lost! *Sobs* Oh well. . . South Africa played well and deserved to win, I suppose.

I am honoured to be the recipient of two more blogging awards! Emily from Songs I Sing nominated me for two awards. Thankyou so much, Emily! :-D

The qualifications for this award -- you give this award to five bloggers who:

1. Inspire you
2. Make you smile and laugh
3. Give amazing information
4. Are a great read
5. Have an amazing design
6. And any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

Rules of the award are as follows:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing! ***if you don’t have 5 that’s okay.***
3. Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
4. Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

I nominate:

The Superior Scribbler Award!

I nominate:

Joanna gave me this award! Thanks, Jo! :-) If you are a recipient of this award, you have to pass it on to 10 other people!

*Takes a deep breath*. . . well, that was quite some tagging marathon!!

P.S. - if I give you an award which someone else has already given you, please accept my apologies. Take it as a compliment - you evidently have a lot of fans! :D

Current Mood: Contemplative