366 unusual things: days 284 – 288

10th Oct – This morning I typed for an author writing about an ancient document written in gold, emerald and purple.  Tonight I translated a passage about an ancient manuscript written in gold, azure and purple.

11th Oct – Read that almost half the population of the Pacific region is living in poverty.

12th Oct – Got locked out when I was doing some gardening.

13th Oct – Today I completed the first draft of my first book translation.  Woo hoo!

14th Oct – A Sydney teacher has just received a Guinness Book of Records award as the oldest active teacher in the world.  He’s 99.

366 unusual things: days 279 – 283

5th Oct – Heard this morning that Rwanda has more females in parliament than any other country – about 56%.

6th Oct – At the clothing shop where my son works, several members of the Rebels bikie gang came in to buy jeans, black only.  And shirts, also black.  And long-sleeved – “Don’t wanna look like a faggot.”

7th Oct – Today I read a blog written in three languages.  http://lespetitspasdejuls.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/oh-my-god-im-a-teacher/

8th Oct – Met a girl today in the flesh.  I’d previously claimed I hadn’t met her, though we’d been introduced on Skype.  Can you say you’ve met someone if it was on Skype?

9th Oct – Asked 2 libraries to get me books from interstate; both of them charge $16.50 for 2 weeks’ borrowing.  But I’ve also found the books for sale online and can buy second-hand copies for less than the library charges, and they won’t take much longer to arrive from overseas than books from interstate.

366 unusual things: days 274 – 278

30th Sep – Listened to a beautiful voice singing ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ to the tune of Bette Midler’s ‘The Rose’.  This can also be done with ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and the theme from Gilligan’s Island.  Keep the tunes, change the words.

1st Oct – Watched one of many episodes of a documentary about the Amish.  It’s unusual that so many thousands of people manage to remain separate from the rest of the Western world.  But for a safe and healthy life, the price is living with motorless transport and gas lanterns and fetching water.  Not to mention hands-off courtships.

2nd Oct – After watching several episodes about the Amish, I chose not to drive my car today because I have a perfectly functional pushbike.  I didn’t regret riding it.

3rd Oct – An author I work for always closes the door to the room where we work in her house, even though no one else is there.

4th Oct – Read about King Solomon’s 1000 women.  ‘Solomon held fast to them in love,’ the writer of 1 Kings tells us.  For a thousand nights he could hold fast to a different woman each night, then start again.  Wonder what the Amish think about him…

366 unusual things: days 269 – 273

25th Sep – My son recited pi to 81 decimal places.

26th Sep – My Chinese student gave me a box of Moon Cakes to celebrate mid-autumn (in mid-spring).  Normally they have a dried raw egg at the centre – that’s the moon.  Mine are moonless.

27th Sep – In my husband’s car, a song title, incorrectly entered by someone in the process of ripping my CD, appeared on a digital screen in the centre of the dash, in big letters, as “Chest of Draws” instead of “Chest of Drawers” by Jenny Biddle.  It’s one of my favourite songs so I looked out the window until it was over.

28th Sep – Read on a French news site that J.K. Rowling’s new novel was released in English on Thursday and in French on Friday.  That’s confidence in her writing.  And the translator’s.

29th Sep – At the National Portrait Gallery today, saw a new and amazing portrait of the Queen in a reflective mood, painted by an Australian artist, Ralph Heimans.

366 unusual things: days 264 – 268

20th Sep – Looked at a lagoon and a lizard on a log.

Frill-necked lizard, Korora Bay, NSW

21st Sep – Saw four dead gum trees on the clifftop boardwalk in front of a mansion with million-dollar views.  A huge Council sign says:  “These trees have been POISONED”.

22nd Sep – After 14 months of searching for an out-of-print book, I’ve obtained an 1867 edition, its spine broken, back cover torn, but entire.

23rd Sep – Heard on a documentary that enough sunlight falls on Australia in two days to power the whole world for a year.

24th Sep – An author sent me a manuscript to read and is eager to know if I’ll translate it.  Oh yeah!

366 unusual things: days 259 – 263

15th Sep – At a chocolate shop/café my cup of coffee came with melted chocolate dribbled, apparently decoratively, down the outside of the cup.  It ended up on my fingers in a great mess.

16th Sep – Went to a church in this seaside town where we are holidaying.  It looked conservative from the outside but the music was hypnotic, the last song line repeated 16 times, and the preacher didn’t preach;  he prayed for troubled souls until they fell on the floor.  I’ve heard of this but never seen it before.

17th Sep – Walking to the beach we passed a refugee and his sons.  We smiled and said Hi;  he hesitated, nodded ever so slightly, but didn’t smile.  I wondered what he was thinking.

18th Sep – Found out that a short piece I submitted to a magazine has been published, including two photos which I had taken for this blog.  Only, they attributed the writing to another Trish!  The editor promised to place a correction in the next issue.

19th Sep – Went to the porpoise pool and got kissed by a dolphin and a seal.

366 unusual things: days 254 – 258

10th Sep – Early in the afternoon, went to a beach where there were 4 people on the sand and 3 in the water.  Late in the afternoon, went to a Point recommended for its sunset, where 4 people were watching it and 3 were gutting fish.

Zenith Beach, Port Stephens, NSW.  The figure on the sand is me.
Sunset, Soldiers Point, Port Stephens, NSW.  The figure on the rocks is a stranger.

11 Sep – In a park, beside a sign declaring it an alcohol-free zone, a group of people were drinking tallies under an old fig tree.

12 Sep – Currently reading or listening to 4 novels:  The Brothers Karamazov;  The Pickwick Papers;  Spiridion;  Le Bouclier rouge.  Sometimes I confuse the plots.

13 Sep – Had coffee in a converted church called ‘The Flying Nun’.  The woman behind the counter looked like a man and the man looked like a woman.

14 Sep – On a small truck with ‘Outback Queensland’ plates:  Bugger this. I’m goin piggin.

366 unusual things: days 249 – 253

5th Sep – When the door of my student’s house opened to me, I saw her waiting, her long blond hair plaited down her back.  Her mother, also with long blond hair plaited down her back, was standing behind her brother, plaiting his long blond hair.

6th Sep – In 2 books in 2 days I’ve read that I should take my time when reading, don’t go too fast, have the time to read, ask why the author chose one word over another.

7th Sep – Went to a jazz concert with my son.  Never done that before.

8th Sep – At a professional development session about Aboriginal English I had a long conversation in French.

9th Sep – Today we drove to our holiday destination.  Arrived at the moment of a wide, horizontal orange sunset identical to the one in the ad for this place.

366 unusual things: days 244-248

31st Aug – In a café I had a choice of sitting inside with people, heating, loud music, louder voices, coffee grinding and crockery washing, or of sitting  alone in a cold, outer room.  Which I did.  Like a hermit.  It was quiet.

1st Sep – Watched  a young neighbour skip rope vigorously, a cigarette firmly held between her lips.  Without removing it she dropped the rope and flipped into a  handstand.

2nd Sep – A violent movie is playing in this room;  I have my back to it.  Earlier, when I approached the armchair to watch it, my young adult son cautioned me, ‘Oh, Mum …’, and I took the hint and walked away.  Not many years ago it was me warning him!  Perhaps the censors should create a rating for parents like me:  FG – Filial guidance recommended.

3rd Sep – Outside the library while I was waiting for someone another woman was waiting for someone;  she was red black red black in a brief red top, black trousers, red socks and black thongs.  After a long while she gave in to the cool air and put on a cardigan, pulling it up over the right shoulder but not the left, which was tattooed.

4th Sep – Sticker on a small tradesman’s truck in front of me:  A work horse, not a show pony.

366 unusual things: days 239 – 243

26th Aug – Found out that lactose-free cream can’t be whipped.

27th Aug – A 10 year-old told me about a scorpion.  It’s a dirt bike trick where the rider throws his body up off the seat, curling his legs up and back like a scorpion’s tail.

28th Aug – Taught English to an ambassador.  That’s a first!

29th Aug – Read that some of Marcel Proust’s lines are the longest in English literature.

Illustration of a sentence by Proust, from ‘How Proust can change your life’, Alain de Botton, pp. 32, 33

30th Aug – My students never write in cursive (running writing).  One 13 year-old said he had one-hour cursive writing lessons once a week when he was in Year 3 (8 y.o.), but he didn’t like it and prefers to print.  What is truly amazing to me is that teachers give them the choice.