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Benedict reviews Jasper Jones

Benedict reviews Jasper Jones


Hospital corners and other domestic madness

I am particularly partial to a well made bed. In fact, some might say obsessed. I love a good cotton blanket, proper pillow and have been having an ongoing love affair with my latex (oo er) mattress now for many years. I would have clean, ironed sheets and pillow cases every day of the year, if I could keep up with the laundry or have enough money to pay someone who would do them for me to my exacting specifications.

Lovely, well made bed, how I love thee

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It’s me.com … now with added me!

The macinalia getting the me.com groove on

I’ve made a subtle but significant shift to this blog.

It is now self hosted. I know, I know you like the old stuff better than the new stuff.

Soon, you won’t notice a thing, it will look exactly the same.

In the meantime, I will work away quietly tidying up in the background.



On writing

When I first started using Twitter, I noticed the hashtag #amwriting quite often. I even used it once or twice. That was before I understood well, what it meant. Real writers, who write as a job, for pay, use it. I felt ridiculous using it once I realised that and I immediately stopped.

This is not to say that I know nothing of writing. I do. I have a 70, 000 word dissertation under my belt. I am accustomed to solitary hours, trapped at my desk, polishing sentences, planning, forcing ideas to come.


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Besieged by advice

One of the great things about being pregnant is that lots of people give you a barrage of advice.  All of which conflicts with the last book you read or what the last person you spoke to told you. Some of it is laughable and some of it is reassuring. Some of it useful and some of it just bloody annoying. Breast feed, don’t breast feed. Sleep with your baby, don’t sleep with your baby. Massage your perineum, don’t massage. Pick up your baby. Don’t pick up your baby. Let your baby cry. Don’t let your baby cry. You get the idea.


Besieged by advice

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Sydney adventure – the book launch – part one

Read this first. Here is my ever cavet on a blog post. This post is massively self-indulgent; don’t say I didn’t warn you. Also, if you are on twitter and I fail to mention you, and I did in fact see you – I cannot apologise enough. I should have kept notes, but I didn’t. Sorry in advance. Please don’t be mad. Note also that I have referred to peeps by the Twitter ‘handle’ so you can look them up.) It will be in two parts – because it is so long and is taking a long time to write due to ‘fact checking.’

When you have a very intense experience, and you pack a lot into 53 hours, it can be hard to write about. Where to start? Favourite bits? Chronological order? Funniest bits? Best alone in a big bed bits? Best I’m away by myself and I couldn’t be more pleased bits?

I have recently returned from Sydney, the town that I know and love. I went by myself. I left my lovely man and my love child to fend for themselves. I left NO notes. They will figure it out, I reckoned. After all here’s what the Commentator General had to say about it:

Preparations well under way for three days looking after baby with no @ . Surely 16 months is old enough for pizza and DVD night
Robert Gotts

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Motherhood … it is relentless

A while ago, in February, I wrote some very black words about motherhood. Black in a way that made it painful to read. I didn’t publish them. I was writing about a black time, from a positive position, but about the very blackest time in my career as a mother. Or what I thought was the blackest time. It seems that I was wrong about that. The black periods come and then recede and then they come again. This is how I experience motherhood. Occasionally, dark storm clouds roll in.

Benedict 6 days old

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Friday – this week I am grateful for … simple pleasures

Gin & Tonic



Sometimes, it is the really simple little pleasures that make life great.

A cuddle from a child who adores you.

A splendid late blooming autumn rose.

A kiss from your beloved.

A cup of tea in bed.

A good book.

The little things. Sometimes they make me come unstuck. Sometimes they make life worth living.

This week I am grateful for the little things. Like a perfect gin & tonic. Plenty of ice. Plenty of fizz in the tonic. Lemon slice. A nice fine rimmed glass with a heavy base. Served with warm company and a broad smile.

No more eleventh floor

You walk across windswept and perilously stark polished granite to an intercom box. Dial the number. Bells ring somewhere high above you.


Hi, it’s us.

Come on up, eleventh floor.

High above ordinary suburban Canberra there is an apartment. It is all boxes and suitcases. There are only four toys now. The last minute details of a life are being finalised, completed and packed. This apartment has been home to some very special people. Read More

Coffee – a love story

Last Friday, I confused the coffee folk. On my return to work I was delighted to discover that the coffee shop I usually frequented during work hours, had opened an annex – even closer to the office. Result!

I stopped in on the way to the office on my second working Friday, I ordered two low tide lattes, one here and one take away. ‘You mean piccolo’ she said. Well yes I did, but my test run of the size of the glasses in the annex lead me to think that ‘low tide latte’ was actually going to give me the coffee I wanted. This was the most unclear order the waitress had had for a long time. Read More

Friday – this week I am grateful for Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He wrote a series of Meditations, or thoughts addressed to himself, for his own self improvement.

Wisdom comes in many forms

One of the aphorisms contained within these writings is translated as:
‘if you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment’.

What I am grateful for this week is having imposed upon myself the mental discipline to remain silent. I have revoked the permission I had given to certain situations and recent injustices to cause me pain. I refused them access to me and to my family. In short, I controlled how I responded by not rising to met these challenges with anger or upset or distress. I met them with a cold, dignified silence. I did not respond.

What interests me is the reaction of others to this. When expecting a certain response from another, to not get it is far more unsettling than getting it. Consider how you feel when someone doesn’t laugh at one of your jokes. In a scenario involving heightened emotion, controlling your response tightly so that it is calm and non-reactive is immensely powerful.

In the face of some potentially uncomfortable and infuriating situations this week, I was cool. I was calm. I was courageously silent. It was powerful.

This week I am grateful to the Stoics. You can only control how you respond. Be calm.

Friday – this week I am grateful for … season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Japanese maple

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.


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