23 January, 2013

Happy times

There are a heap of things I could write about today and life in general at present. It's been a happy day. In fact things are generally going along pretty well for our household at the moment and I'm savouring it.

Everyone at the dinner table tonight could think of at least one thing to "celebrate". I'd love to tell you about some of them, but I've clearly run out of time today to write anything much, or anything that makes a lot of sense. So I'll cheat and quote someone else.

We're having so much fun reading a series of books after dinner that is very close to my heart. The Billabong series by Mary Grant Bruce. Back a while I blogged this:
But back to what my eldest is reading now. He's picked up the Billabong Series by Mary Grant Bruce (written between 1910 and 1942). It is a series that was given to me by my grandparents during my tween and teenager years (usually one for my birthday and one for Christmas). I brought all 15 books with me to Japan. They probably hold the status of being the books I've read the most number of times. Every time I received a new one, I'd re-read all the books I'd previously received. It is good writing. I re-read it again last year before we went back to Australia. It had me in tears a number of times! 
I don't think it means too much to my son that he is reading books that his great-grandparents gave to me, but it does to me. Add to that how precious these books are to me and how Australian they are, and I am stoked (translation - elated).
Well, my son didn't get through the whole series back then, so I've decided to read them myself to everyone. Being about 100 years old, there is vocabulary in them that the boys have never heard of, and plenty of other things that need explanation too. However, there is plenty of action, drama, and humour to keep us all entertained.

The understated Aussie humour is hilarious, especially in the repartee between characters. But the author also has fabulous phrases every now and then. For example, this phrase that tickled our 13 y.o. so much, he went to school and quoted it to his English teacher:

(The story is set on a property in rural Victoria and they have a city-cousin visiting them, who lost his seat on the horse while mustering cattle.)
"When the rescuing party extricated Cecil from his involuntary botanical researches he was a sorry sight."
And here's a conversation between three teenagers, commenting on how much two of them have grown:

 "Ill weeds grow apace," quoted the latter gentleman (Wally) solemnly. "Jim's a splendid example of that proverb. 
"M'f!" said Norah, "How about yourself?"
"I'm coming up as a flower!" Wally replied modestly.
"A Christmas lily, I should think!"—whereat Jim murmured something that sounded "More like an artichoke!" 
Both of these sections had boys practically rolling on the floor laughing.

I love it! It is something special to have books that I treasure, be enjoyed by my kids. And in reading them aloud for the first time, I'm gaining a fresh enjoyment of them too.

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