Grey and quiet morning, at first no birds at all, then:

White faced heron
Raven
Starling
Currawong
Lorrikeet

Undie got in a dog fight.

On the way home I saw a coffin being carried out of a house. I’ve never seen that before.

On Sunday I went up to the library looking for a memoir.  I’ve started thinking about writing more seriously and Carmel Bird in Writing the Story of Your Life, (another book I’ve borrowed) advises reading a memoir and taking notes. She says:

It is very important that you read at least one memoir you have admired, or one you hope to admire, and that you study how it is constructed and what it is that appeals to you about that particular book. You must WRITE DOWN your observations about the book you read; make notes on its structure and its preoccupations. You must do this as you read, or as soon as you have read the memoir, not relying on your recollection.

I initially thought that I’d reread Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals, which I’ve read many times and think is hugely funny. Then I thought I should read something a little more modern, contemporary even, and close to home.

So I went up the library and chose Emma Forrest’s Your Voice In My Head. I’m not quite sure why: could be that it is quite a short book, or that it is written by a woman who is not a sportsperson or a politician, or that it is about dealing with grieving, or that the author is English living in the US. Or all of the above.

Initially I found it hard going, the writing is good, vivid and clever, but the subject matter is tortuous, but the last quarter of the book is very alive and hopeful. Uplifting even. Lovely.

I was surprised when I found Emma Forrest’s blog that she’s just been in Sydney for the Writers’ Festival. Not that I was here, but it’s nice.

Needless to say I haven’t written up my notes yet.

Willie Wagtail
Pigeons
Ibis
Starlings
Indian Mynahs
Magpie
Currawong
Raven
Dove

Spur Winged Plover
Willie Wagtail
Swallows
Magpie
Indian Mynah
Starlings
Raven

Woke up this morning to the roar and rumble of planes, a siren, a train rattling in the distance, the neighbours’ paper being delivered … Yep, we’re back in Marrickville.

Misty morning.

White faced Heron
Rainbow Lorikeet
Currawong
Starlings
Swallow
Pigeons
Indian Mynahs

A later walk this morning. Saw:

Ibis
Pigeons
Willie Wagtail
Swallows
Raven
Currawong
Indian Myna
Wattle Bird
Starlings
Pee Wee
Dove

Walking the dog at Henson Park this morning I saw:

Pigeons
Willie Wagtails
Currawong
Raven
Indian Mynas
Starlings
Noisy Miners
Rainbow Lorrikeets
Pee Wees

A beautiful, cool, crisp, clear morning.

We’re going to Mattias’ Birthday Brunch this morning and I rashly offered to make a cake – an orange and almond cake. So on Friday I did a bit of research and found that Claudia Roden’s recipe is widely acclaimed. I scanned the ingredient list, bought 2 oranges, 6 eggs and a packet of ground almonds from Banana Joes, brought it all home and forgot about it.

Until this morning.

I woke up, got Claudia out of the bookshelf, checked the recipe and she says “… boil the oranges (unpeeled) in a little water for nearly 2 hours …”.

“Oh,” I thought, “damn. I don’t have 2 hours for orange boiling.”

So, I’ve made the cake my way: zest of the 2 oranges into the beaten eggs, add the sugar and the juice of one of the oranges, added the almonds and the baking powder and then cut the remaining orange into small segments and distributed them across the base of the cake tin and poured the batter over the top. We shall see how it turns out!

On Friday I laid the paintings out on the studio floor and took some photos. Indicative only, JD will take much better photographs tomorrow.