Reading a lot…

I am still not online at home, so am only around the blog when I take my laptop to visit a free wifi somewhere. Fortunately there are a lot around.

Meanwhile I have really been digging back into the e-Books — over 2,000 in my Calibre library. For some reason I am revisiting D H Lawrence in a big way, including just lately the famous Lady Chatterly’s Lover, which actually is rather good. Really! Currently I am reading this:

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Yes, The Rainbow (1915). I suspect it is around fifty years since I last read it.

Also been reading The Book of Mormon. Politeness restrains me from giving too blunt an  opinion, beyond the fact that it must be one of the greatest unacknowledged works of 19th-century American fiction.

Been reading more besides. Alberto Ambard and  Amelia Mondragón, High Treason (2012), which I got free from Smashwords, is well worth discovering.

This passionate novel mixes the recent history of Venezuela, from the moment Hugo Chávez took power until he consolidated power. The novel helps understand the terrible situation Venezuela is experiencing today and it is an intimate image of the emotions felt by Venezuelan society in response to the radical changes the country has seen.                                                   

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Ypres 1917: from my e-Books

I have been reading many e-Books lately. More on that later. Today I focus on one: Thomas Hope Floyd, At Ypres with Best-Dunkley .

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Lieutenant Colonel Bertram Best-Dunkley VC (3 August 1890 – 5 August 1917) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross. I note he was before the war a teacher at Tientsin (Tianjin) Grammar School in China. At the time of his death he was with 2nd/5th Bn XX Lancashire Fusiliers.

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I found this from Thomas Floyd’s book quite memorable:

We were joined by more prisoners as we went down. German prisoners have only to be told which way to go and they go. They are quite sociable people too—many of them bright-eyed boys of seventeen and eighteen. They are only too glad to carry our wounded men back; they need no escort. We got on very well indeed with them. I suppose that in a sense we were comrades in distress, or, rather comrades in good fortune, in that we were all leaving the field of horrors behind us! Yet they were the very Boches who, an hour before, had been peppering us with those bullets. One would never have imagined that we had so recently been enemies. One of them asked for water to ‘drinken;’ so I let him have a drink from my water-bottle. About half a dozen of them drank, and they appeared very grateful.

“Germans are not half so vile as they are painted…. They are only doing their bit for their Empire as we are for ours. The pity of it is that destiny should have thrown us into conflict. It is a great pity. How fine it would be if we could let bygones be bygones, shake hands, and lead the world in peace and civilization side by side! If we can fraternize so speedily on the battlefield, why cannot those who are not shooting each other also fraternize? It is a cruel insult to humanity that this thing should go on. War is hell, and the sooner some one arises who has the courage to stop it the better. Somebody will have to take the lead some time. I myself believe in peace after victory—but we are not yet going the right way about achieving victory; and, unless Sir William Robertson speedily changes his plans, we might as well make peace. This killing business is horrible. The present policy of the General Staff is: see which side can do the most killing. A far wiser, and far more humane, policy would be to win it by strategy. I believe in out-man[oe]uvring the enemy and taking as many prisoners as possible; make him evacuate territory or surrender by corps and armies; it can be done if we go the right way about it, but this bloodshed is barbarous.

Today: the 50th NSW Higher School Certificate!

And I taught the first one! See If the jacarandas are out, the HSC must be coming… and HSC 50 years on.

Sheep Husbandry was not on offer at Cronulla High School where I as a newly minted English teacher fronted what would be the first 3rd Level (i.e. bottom) English Year 11 class in 1966. So strictly speaking this year it is 49 years since that first HSC, which was sat in 1967.

I did return to Cronulla back in 2011. See these posts: How young we were! (and do read the comment thread!) and Here I am at the Cronulla High 50th!

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Revisiting Cronulla High in 2011

See also 2017 HSC written exam timetable and HSC begins for 70,000 NSW students. There were 18,000 in 1967.

On mental illness in Wollongong

I was shocked by this on last night’s local WIN News.

Hundreds took part in Wollongong’s Walk for Pride this morning breaking down the stigma and starting conversations about mental health.

Currently, one in two people in the Illawarra is struggling with a mental health condition.

That Walk of Pride looks as if it was a good event. I didn’t see it as I was at home doing overdue laundry.

It took years for Woonona’s Madelaine Dunning-Baker to speak out about her mental health issues, but now she’s leading the charge.

The 21-year-old was the ambassador for Wollongong’s fifth Walk of Pride on Thursday – an annual event which promotes acceptance and understanding.

She led hundreds of Illawarra residents with a mental illness, their carers and supporters, and local service providers in the walk which culminated in an expo in Wollongong mall.

The theme of this year’s event was ‘Share the Journey’; something Ms Dunning-Baker said has helped her to finally fight her demons….

South Coast Private Hospital CEO Kim Capp said such events not only helped stop the stigma of mental illness – which will affect one in four people at some point in their lives – they helped raise awareness about the supports available.

‘’For me this is a very important event for the community, for people who live with a mental health condition, their families and service providers,’’ she said.

‘’We know how very difficult it is for people to navigate the mental health system – so the expo provides them with a one-stop-shop to find out about all the services available in the community.

‘’Of course as well as educating our community about what’s out there, it’s also a celebration of well-being.’’

As part of the awareness month, Wollongong City Gallery is hosting an exhibition of artworks by patients from the Wollongong mental health hospital.

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South Coast Private Hospital, Wollongong

It is a fact that when you walk or bus from Wollongong Station one of the biggest complexes between the station and Wollongong Central is that private hospital and clinic. Makes me wonder about Wollongong! But the “one in two” quoted in the WIN story does seem a bit much! Compare Health Stats NSW.

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