Sunday, July 28, 2013

Just finished reading

The Brooklyn Follies - Paul Auster

I was mildly embarrassed for not knowing who Paul Auster was when two people in different countries told me to read his books.  I came to the conclusion that as I wander further and further from the path of librarian to facilities slave, my knowledge of books and authors is drifting away.  This does not for one moment indicate any reduction in my love of books and literature, just a waning intense knowledge.  I guess something has got to give and now I am the 'customer' reliant on the knowledge of my colleagues and friends to extend my reading menu.  Thank god for librarians I say.

Apparently The Brooklyn Follies is considered by many as a step away from the usual Auster subject matter and accessibility but still holds the essence of his writing which is well awarded and much loved.  I thought the story of Nathan Glass, 60 something, moving to Brooklyn to live out the last years of his life was a sweet story.  The lessons of life, making plans and  reconciliation were rolled up into a tale of men trying to find a way to a meaningful existence, a purpose and value, I think.  The neighbourhood setting and characters created a very embracing safe place to grow, make mistakes and live.  I expected something a little sharper and no way was I expecting a 'happy ending', you be the judge of if it really is.

A very nice book to while away the hours with, interesting characters, good back stories and of course pretty perfectly written.


Saturday, July 13, 2013


umm, what to say?  50 has arrived.  Feels pretty good, looks better than it might have but 'could have done better' and as I am often heard to say, 'lucky to be here, many don't make it'.  Being away on my work adventure on the day meant I probably didn't spend as much if any time thinking about the meaning of '50'.  There are plenty of reasons to fear it but for me it is liberating and for that I am grateful.  Putting aside the hell that is living in the post eq situation, I can say it feels great to be here.  Happy, healthy and really excited about what might be coming next.  Always looking out and looking up, grasping the beauty and turning my face to the sun.

No party!!  A birthday without a party is just not right, but there is time yet.  Reflecting on my past 50, just want to say thanks to all my lovely family and friends.  Front and centre, the best thing in the world.  Would never have made it on my own


Library Love on my 50th

Helsinki revisted

In all fairness Helsinki did turn out to be a pretty nice place.  The kindness of the people really did make up for my first impressions and I did have a pretty good time on my last day in town.  Now I have finally got my photos off the bloody iPad I can actually get them onto the blog.

Sunday on Suomenlinna Island

Leaving the port on a sunny Sunday

The beach on Suomenlinna Island

Fortifications on Suomenlinna
Best find on the island...not the Toy Museum but the cafe with the best apple cake and custard ever
Wandering around the island

Back in port

Friday, July 12, 2013


Helsinki and I didn't get off to a a great start and I am tainted by that first day still.  However, the weather is stunning and the people are very friendly  when you talk to them.  I am not a loner by any means so I am finding the lack of friends in the town to be very challenging and have had some major dips in my mood, once again confirming with no hesitation that I do have FOBA and that is never going to change.

As you might know I love Saturdays and although I didn't love yesterday, I did recognise that it had all the elements of a great Saturday.  Sun, market, people, water, activity and food.  No family or friends but that is expected on the other side of the world.

With the sun up and high in the sky so early in the morning you are compelled to get out there eagerly and enjoy it.  It is also great coming home from the movies at night in the light.  Funny seeing drunk people staggering around at night but actually in the daylight and I am sure I saw an illicit drug exchange going on from the tram last night too. 

Helsinki is not pretty.  The architecture is grim in some places, perfunctory in others and with a flash of gorgeousness in the form of churches and a few civic buildings.  There are some trees and a few civic gardens but it lacks the charm of many other cities that I have visited.  My guess is that 5 months of snow per year limits what you can do. However, there is as much joy, happiness and colour around the place as you would want.

Interestingly, the women seldom wear black like we do at home.  Every colour of the rainbow is worn and there seems to be scant attention paid to fashion as such although the shops are full of clothes.  Things are casual and individual here and the women do no fake tan or cover themselves in make up. It is refreshing.  The Russian tourists take the form of high heeled made up beauties to  dumpy middle aged women. 

The Finnish language is totally  incomprehensible to me although I have the basic hello and thank you sorted I think. Everyone speaks English which helps but the bus timetables, signs and announcements have no resonance at all. The words are so long and they just all blend into one.  And on top of that there is the Swedish version of everything too so you have to have your wits about you.  I do seem to have some sense of direction and awareness of the city so am finding my way around easily and even in a tricky situation with the tram being diverted due to a parade yesterday I worked out an alternative that worked so was pleased with that
This is the end of this post as I am having a nightmare with the iPad and editing so am going to leave it at that.  Will post some photos in a separate post.