House with a (Boat) view

Fairfield Park Boathouse & Tea Gardens
Fairfield Park Drive Fairfield

On a gorgeous sunny day in late December, baby girl and I found ourselves heading down a scarily steep path on the way to meet my friends for our fabulous KK Christmas catch-up.

That was the only downhill we encountered that day. Everything else was rad.

If I haven’t already mentioned it, I love Christmas-time, I love catching up with the girls, and I love Summer. And food. And coffee. Combine them all for a truly fabulous mix that coincided with a pretty fantastic view.

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After mine and baby girl’s steep descent towards the Boathouse sitting along a river named Yarra, we were on time and I took the best seat on the reserved table out on the verandah just so, because I could well damn it.

Shortly the rest of the girls joined me, and we started in our food orders.

The Boathouse in Fairfield is set up a little different. Not bad, it just may have been difficult if let’s say we all had bubs with us there. Fortunately for baby girl who got ALL the attention, even the other mother’s there had left their kiddies at home, and fortunately for me, I had people to help me out when it came to ordering. When you order drinks or coffee/tea, you go to the drinks section to pay, and then pick up your drink (which is made fairly quickly); likewise with the food, you go to the grill section, pay and order, and are given a little buzzer that goes off when your food is ready, to let you know you can go and pick it up. I had to feed baby girl fairly soon after arriving so when I went to pick up her food (after the buzzer buzzed) I had to contend with carrying her on one arm (she didn’t want me to leave her) while carrying a tray holding her plate of eggs on toast in the other, outstretched so she wouldn’t reach out and grab it. Fun.

But like I said, I had friends there and they helped with the rest of my ordering. However, if you’re with a bub, make sure you have a spare hand, on hand.

I didn’t get a photo of baby girl’s meal, but fairly basically it was just two fried eggs on two pieces of bread. I was excited as it was the first meal out I’ve ordered for her, and she enjoyed it, even imitating the way I dipped the bread into the yolk for her, and getting herself into it by getting her fingers right into the yolk. Lovely.

However I took a photo of my starting drink which was this:

Purple heaven: A fresh vegetable and fruit juice of carrot, beetroot, celery, ginger and apple

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(Penguin cookie not included with juice!)

Now I don’t usually do juices (look up my tag of coffee on this blog and it’ll start to paint a picture) but I just went ‘yes!’ after reading the description, even though I don’t like celery. Sure enough, it looked amazing and tasted really fresh. Two of my friends also had it, being tempted by the purple colour, however they weren’t big fans. I don’t know, but it appealed to me, even though I could taste the celery. And I don’t like celery! I think I fell in love with the idea of a fresh, healthy juice, and I certainly was buzzing for hours later and felt really energized (nothing to do with my subsequent coffee I guess 😉 )

Now, for lunch. My friend ordered for me (thank God) and the food was already on the table after I came back from changing baby girl. I stupidly ordered this:

Boathouse Beef Burger: relish, aioli, tomato, lettuce, bacon, cheese, with chips

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Now let’s be clear: I wasn’t stupid about the burger. It itself was very wholesome and hearty. No, I was stupid because I ordered like I was born a Mum yesterday. Like seriously, who in their right mind orders a massive burger that they barely manage to manoeuvre with both hands, while their bub sits nearby waiting to be entertained on her high chair? Should I add here that this was the same high chair she fell in earlier? She fell off the freaking high chair! She actually fell off the f^$king high chair, like seriously. And then I order a burger, so that both my hands are full, of burger. Not baby.

So anyway, due to some miracle, baby girl actually was really good while I ate this burger. I totally forgot to take a photo of my meal before I started eating, which explains the above photo. Also, I totally demolished the burger, because

a) I was hungry
b) Baby girl was sitting nearby in high chair she had recently fallen down with (see she didn’t fall out – the WHOLE thing tipped over)
c) I actually couldn’t let go of the burger once I started (see above)
d) I was really hungry

I loved the fact there was plentiful aioli, and the burger tasted really good too. There was lots of bacon, and even after taking out all the fatty strips there was still plenty of fleshy-meat bacon in there (which is great because when I usually remove all the fat there’s one tiny strip left). I took the long toothpick out too early though, and somehow, though I struggled for a good while with sauce all over my hands and mouth, I ate it in a somewhat clean fashion… four napkins later.

Again, if you’re a Mum, don’t be stupid. But it was a great burger. Came with fries, which baby girl also enjoyed. Give me a kid that doesn’t like salted chips.

I really needed a coffee after that hard work of eating the burger, and walking up and down the pathway amongst the tables with baby girl, looking at pigeons, the view, and talking to other lovely diners. It’s hard work. And can you believe it…

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I had my cappuccino warm. I know, I’m still getting over it too. And it was really good, hit the spot.

All in all it was a great outing: from being an eating-out milestone for baby girl, having some much needed girl talk, and doing our exchanging of pressies for Christmas (and this year our group of girlfriends grew as one has recently moved back to Melbourne) – we had plenty to celebrate, and be thankful for. The river view made it all the more wonderfully serene.

Food: 7/10.

Coffee: 8/10.

Ambience: Really relaxed and chilled. It’s hard not to be when you have such a lovely view. Also the order-up-front, pay and pick-up thing they have going gives it more of a casual vibe.

We were seated on the verandah as I mentioned, however there was also an indoor area that was empty – maybe used for night time, or busier times? There was also some outdoor seating right near their grilling station, and we could see another little section further down below, right near the river where there appeared to be a Christmas party happening. All in all, very outdoorsy, very cas.

Staff: Friendly and accommodating. I mean, we only really dealt with them when they cleared the table since we picked up our own food, but the waitress who seated me took a photo of us and that’s always nice when they do it with a smile and take an extra five. 🙂

People: Families, older crowd. The Christmas party was a younger 20-30 something crowd bringing them through. It seems to be a real family, get-together place, and places like that always have a really nice homely feel about them, this one no exception.

Price: I think on the up-side, and I don’t know if it’s because we were in Fairfield, or maybe the location and view that made it that way? Baby girl’s two fried eggs on toast were a tad much, and likewise my coffee of $4.60 was more than I expected, more than in other places anyway. My burger was about on the money of $22.50, but I guess when the food presentation is fairly standard, I have to wonder where the justification of some of those prices comes from? I enjoyed it all though, and would go back again.

Advice: Definitely book if going on the weekend (just so you can get a nice table looking out at the Yarra!) and also because as I got there the waitress immediately asked me if I booked. So maybe it’s a thing. Anyway. And if you have a baby, or child, make sure someone with free hands can assist you, with ordering, paying, picking-up food, and feeding you a burger if need be. Just don’t get the burger if you are alone with child, I beg you.

In a nutshell: Thank you Boathouse, for a most spectacular day. And thank you Melbourne, for the gorgeous weather. Once again you made a 23 degree December day feel like 30 in the shade. Thank you muchly 🙂 

Merry KK.

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You can FLY!

Something to think about on the very eve of this Christmas Eve.

I came across this on facebook a while back. I immediately fell in love with the thought.

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It’s a fairly simple, inspirational sentiment. It plays on that voice we all have, that inner-critic, that doubtful, insecure part of us that just doesn’t know, just isn’t sure, and is just scared. Scared to try. Scared to fail. Scared to fall.

I have a fear of falling. I have a fear of steep inclines. Through much in-depth research via family recollections, I think it may have originated from an incident that occurred when I was a toddler, and went stumbling all the way down the flight of stairs we have leading to our back yard. Dad says, despite my fall, I ended up with no scratches on me.

It took a lot of willpower when I first went skiing years ago. I tackled the easy slope in a heartbeat, and after half an hour was bored of doing the same trek up, the same basic ski down… until my sister pointed me to the next, devastatingly scary slope. It was very steep, for me as a beginner anyway. Seeing how far down I had to ski, at that angle, terrified me to no end. Even now, I don’t know how I did it. Was it my teenage no-care guts? The fact that it was this, or the boring slope? Or her words to me: “Don’t look ahead. Just stare immediately in front of you, and it won’t seem so scary when you’re skiing down.”

Her advice worked. I fell a couple of times, yes, totally stacking it when I ‘accidentally on purpose’ looked ahead and quite frankly, shit myself. But it was nothing insane. I fell. Got tangled in my skis. Struggled getting up at times, but each time, I got up. And then, I skied down again. And I got better at it.

We all have that fear in us, of failing, of falling. The sad thing is when that fear actually takes over, and disables us, paralysing us into no action. That is a terrifying concept. Staying where you are, static and unchanging, because of your fear that you will not make it.

We need to take that chance. Really, there is nothing to lose. The worst that will happen is you will have to try, and try again. Not doing anything won’t bring you closer to what you want, so really, all you really do is GAIN from the experience. At the very least you come out with more courage, capability and in some cases, a great story to tell in hindsight.

You know what I really love about the above poster?

‘But baby, what if you fly!’

!

There is no question, despite the second part being an oppositional thought to the first. There is no question of flying. It is just such:

‘fly!’

Nothing but an exclamation of thought.

You will fly!

This is the best bit

I am so excited.

Giddy.

Happy.

Hopeful.

In delightful anticipation.

I put on Michael Buble’s Christmas album on the way in to work today. (Yes. Yes I did.) In fact I’ve discovered I love the guy more after realising he too, is a Christmas fanatic as am I. I mean, if I had his money/connections/voice, I would also do Christmas specials every year.

How great would it be, to actually have a Christmas special, of your own. Wow.

It is a glorious day. Outside it is still, the sun is shining, and as all great starts to the day, coffee is at my left hand.

Like Summer’s Spring, and Saturday’s Friday, today is also such a day. It is Christmas’ Eve, and tonight I will go home, bake cupcakes for tomorrow, paint my nails a festive red, and enjoy the beautiful sight of all my ready presents all ribboned up under the tree, with the sounds of carolling coming from the TV.

I will sit and relax, and enjoy. And happily anticipate.

Happy Christmas Eve. 🙂

Happiness Is… #8

“When I’m on holiday, you’re not cooking – and I’ll only cook if I want to.”

This is what Hubbie said to me a couple weeks back in regards to his upcoming Jan holidays.

I spread my arms out: ‘Praise the Lord.’

“Seriously,” I said, “You don’t have to buy me any Christmas presents. You’ve done it, just there.”

(But I happen to know he’s jacked up the credit card walking into a very lovely shop by the name of Mimco… so all is good there 😉 )

Meeting Santa

This is the tale, of a little girl who met Santa.

My little girl. My baby girl, in fact.

She had actually ‘met’ him at the photo op during last year’s Christmas lead-up, when coming up to the big festive day I had popped her on his knee and stood back to grin at the stunned expression on her face as the camera went snap snap snap.

She was 4 months old then. She didn’t really know what was going on, let’s be honest.

Over a week ago we went to the same shopping centre, to see the same Santa. This year baby girl is grabbing at the Christmas tree and baubles we have at home, running into the presents underneath, and currently she will not, EVER go into the arms of someone she doesn’t see often, as unbelievably friendly as this girl is. Bar my Mum and MIL, it’s a no-go for her.

These thoughts were all going through my head as we stood in line to meet the man in red. I picked her up and told her to wave at Santa, telling her that he’s the guy that brings her presents. But presents, to a 16-month old? The thing she loves about presents is ripping the paper, that’s about the best present in the world for a 16-month old. She watched though, and listened. She looked at Santa, and pointed to the huge Christmas tree behind him. She gave me hope.

When it finally came our turn to go over and meet Santa, I was feeling really anxious. “Say ‘hi Santa! Wave to Santa!'” I said with as much excitement I could muster, trying to swallow my nerves.

We inched closer and Santa said hi to her. Now that we were within a metre of him, her eyes widened. She really stared at him, hard. And as I wondered, how the hell am I going to get her on his knee, she grabbed at me, turning her head towards me and clutching at my shoulders for dear life.

I said to Santa “I think she’s going to cry.”

And Santa said “well Mum the only way to do it is for you to get in the photo with her.”

As I went to sit beside him, baby girl started to wail. Like a real decent cry out.

Silence across the room. Time hung in the air as I plastered a smile on my face.

“Hey, baby girl, it’s ok,” I said, trying to soothe her, not daring to look up and see the pitying faces around me. I shifted her from arm to arm, finally positioning her so she was farthest away from Santa as possible, and amazingly, she calmed for a fairly decent photo.

We actually came up good.

As we walked off Santa gave baby girl an Elf hat with pointy ears on the side. As we were waiting in line to pay, I popped it on her head and she promptly ripped it off, and one of the pointy ears as well.

So that’s our second Christmas.

O Come, All Ye Thickened Cream

I came home from work yesterday, to the beautiful smile of baby girl and the expectant and relieved glances of my parents. They love their bonding times with her when they babysit, but after entertaining baby girl for 11 hours, I know they need to just go home and relax.

I quickly went into the kitchen to drop off my stuff and organise a few things, to find a container of thickened cream sitting on the bench. I touched it, and it was still cold.

I asked my parents about it, and Mum said she’d been walking up and down the street with baby girl when an older woman caught up to her carrying her groceries. She told my Mum she’d bought an extra lot of thickened cream, and offered it to my Mum. In my Mum’s humorous words, she just wanted “to be rid of the woman,” looking after baby girl and all, so she took it.

I could see it definitely hadn’t been opened: it still had that ring part fastened underneath the lid. But still, I said to them “don’t use it.”

My Mum had wanted to see if I in fact wanted it, even though she was going to advise me of the same thing – not to use it. We had a brief to-and-fro about how it’s best to not take things from strangers, and how it’s better not to risk your health than save $2 before I promptly threw the entire thing in the bin.

This however, made me sad. Maybe 20, 30 years ago, you would have trusted the woman walking down the street who offered you an extra item from her grocery bag. You wouldn’t have questioned its authenticity, or her motive. It would have been a thoughtful and kind gesture from a neighbour, a generous and impromptu token absent of any ill intentions or malice.

Instead. Instead we’re living in a world where you could go into a coffee shop to buy your daily caffeine fix in between work, and suddenly be in the middle of a hostage situation, with the eyes of the world fixed intently on the café you are in waiting to see if you’re going to come out alive.

That was the terrible reality of yesterday. A man, a lone wolf, using God’s name to justify his unearthly and inhumane actions to hold many people hostage in a cafe on a beautiful Monday morning in Sydney. I, as many others, was glued to the screen, watching the rolling coverage unfolding in Martin Place live on TV. I kept it on up until midnight, in the meantime thinking of how fortunate I was to be safe and warm, in my home, with Hubbie and baby girl sleeping peacefully upstairs. I knew where they were and they, in their dreams, knew where I was.

I thought of the poor hostages. They were not safe. They were not in their homes. While I was getting ready for bed, they were experiencing anxiety and terror like never before. They were wondering if they were going to ever see their families again. I put myself in their shoes for a moment, and felt the stark horror of their situation. I thought briefly, of how horrible it would be, to wonder if I were ever going to see my husband or daughter again. It made me feel so, so sad, and also so sick. I hoped there was not a Mother being held hostage. Not to say that a Mother was any more worthy than another individual, more underserving of being a hostage, but I could only think that, because I could relate. Someone to separate a Mother from her children… it just breaks my heart.

I went to bed, praying that when I woke up, they would have captured the selfish bastard keeping these innocent people hostage.

As soon as I got up this morning, I got baby girl, and I carried her downstairs. I turned on the TV immediately. I gasped at the headline I saw: “Three dead as siege ends.”

I almost cried. I did, when I heard one of the victims was a Mother, of three young children. The other victim was the café manager, and the third was not a victim. He had brought it all on himself, so that was expected.

How was this incident, any different to any other that had befallen innocent victims? Why was I hurting so much? Why did the thought of going out and doing my weekly grocery shop with baby girl make me feel sick? Why did the thought of finishing up my Christmas shopping this week suddenly seem so insignificant?

There had been fear and terror in other parts of the world. People being held hostage, acts of terrorism, and I can’t believe this word is even in existence in our day and age, but, beheadings. I had felt sadness, and anger, and bewilderment when these things had happened, but not like I experienced today. Was it because it was happening on our front door? Our neighbour, Sydney, being rocked by such tragic events? Was it the simple act of going into a café that threw me? A simple task so known to me, so familiar, a part of my routine while out and about and at work… to think, something you do so, so often, could become the last thing you do. Was it all of these things? The patriotism I felt ran deep. I think to live in Australia, being of such easy-going and friendly nature, all of this just didn’t feel right. This wasn’t meant to happen. It was never meant to happen, anywhere, but here in Aus it felt truly out of place.

I went and I did my grocery shopping. And at the beginning of my trip, I went past the Santa photo set-up where kids line-up excitedly to tell Santa what presents they want this year before smiling happily before the camera.

Instead, I found a primary school choir setting up, their teacher coaching them while Santa ran around passing gifts out to the children watching on the sidelines with their parents. I did my usual bit with baby girl, exclaiming excitedly “look, there’s Santa! Can you see who that is? Wave!” Santa spotted us and a few others as newbies to the scene and came and gave us a gift. I was so happy, watching baby girl receive the present and smile shyly at Santa. Meanwhile the choir started up their rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful” to photo flashes going off in front of them, Santa continuing her trek through the crowd,
spreading joy with her generosity and also by posing for photos and chatting to people.

I watched the scene, and listened to the school kids (their correct pronouncement of “Sing in Exultation”), getting very teary eyed. While Sydney mourned, here we all were getting into the festive spirit. Santa was in full swing attending to every single child and baby there, carols were in the air, and everyone was smiling and laughing. It was a beautiful sight that I had unexpectedly walked into.

We soon walked off, and I had to pull over to the side and gather myself. I felt like crying my eyes out, sobbing in fact. I was overwhelmed. I was so touched by the display I had come across, and yet was sad for the victims and their grieving families in Sydney. More than anything, I was happy that my faith and hope, though not absent had been wavering, was now fully restored. Australians are a beautiful people, and we have an unwavering, fighting spirit. Terror may try to come here, but anything that tries to shake us will only make us stronger.

I am so proud to live in this lucky country. I am so, so inspired by the genuine reaching out of humanity I have witnessed recently. Yes, there is bad in this world. But there will always be more good. The willingness to keep going and keep up, keeping positive and helping out your fellow human, will always win out.

I hope, that one day soon, we can accept some thickened cream from our neighbours. Just because.

R.I.P. Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.

Sightings of People as Passionate about (Addicted to) Coffee as I am (SOPAPACAIA) #4

SOPAPACAIA Sighting #4

A shopping centre in the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne

Sighted: Me

Now before you go accusing me of being all narcissistic, I will let you know that

1) I despise narcissists, having had the unfortunate hand of having to deal with one such stellar example all too closely in my life, taking me to the scarred-for-life point-of-no-return dimension, and

2) I was actually NOMINATED by a passer-by. With the observation “You’re on a mission! With a trolley, and a coffee… and a baby!”

Yes sir, indeed. You have no idea. Explaining now.

Last week I was charging through my local shopping centre, with coffee in one hand, the other manoeuvring the shonky trolley which was only 1/3 full (you all know how shocking the trolleys get once they are full – well envision a packed trolley with a toddler in there too). The coffee was too, too hot (bittersweet scenario in fact), the trolley was moving from side to side, I was trying to entertain baby girl as well as I could while passing the too-hot coffee from burnt hand to burnt hand, manoeuvring said trolley between hot hands in between, and aware of the time factor, and HUGE shopping trip I was just beginning.

If the shopping takes too long, baby girl starts to get irritable. No one wants an irritable littlie around Christmas time.

This huge man started to walk by me, and with big eyes poked his head in my direction and said the above, with an incredulous, Islander accent.

I rest my case.

Dead on Time

Unlike my previous estimation, in the past week and a half I’ve attended 3 funerals. Not really a record I wanna be making, or breaking.

Death has been not only a present factor in my life, but in the lives of my family and friends. Two functions this month have been cancelled because of said Deaths, with one notably being scaled-down due to a family members passing.

Throw in some other bad news from the media, also of a ‘Grim’ nature, and it just feels like the start of what’s meant to be a very festive month, has started off very, very sad. I don’t know what’s happening, but it’s been affecting everyone. It has to be planetary, it’s too much of a coincidence.

Something occurred to me while I was at the most recent funeral (and which I’m hoping was my last). I had entered the service only a few minutes after the start time, but the Italian priest was already well underway into his piece. He was speaking with such conviction, that I wished I could understand what he was saying. It sounded important, and like it might just change my life. Nevertheless I kept listening, trying to remember what I could of the language I’d dabbled in at high school when I was 13.

Sitting there, I suddenly realised that with all 3 funerals, I’d been, we’d been, late. Not by much, only a few minutes past the hour for the commencement of the service, but still. Few minutes past, and we were late.

I thought of other occasions held in churches, not of a sad nature. Weddings never started on time. Christenings, you could bet your life they’d be running late, babies being surely unpredictable and all. These joyous, happy, memorable occasions never ran to schedule. Arriving as a guest, LATE, you would be forgiven for not being on time… because the guest-of-honour would most likely not even be there yet.

Life. Death. The living are late… and the Dead don’t wait. They don’t wait for no one.

These thoughts kept circling in my head. The living are late: we have all the time in the world, yet really, it’s the one thing we all complain about – lack of time. And the deceased have no where to go, yet they are punctual. On time. For what? The afterlife?

So maybe, we should keep complaining. Keep running late. Running late, we have somewhere to go, someplace happy to be. Someone to see, and company to laugh with.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.

Scared to go Asleep

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S.J. WATSON – Before I Go To Sleep

“I would have a day of grief and pain, would remember what I miss, but it would not last. Before long I would sleep and, quietly, forget. How easy that would be (…) So much easier than this.”

That is one of the terrifying concepts explored in this exceptional thriller. What do you do when every morning you wake up, and can’t remember how you got there, what is going on, and who that man is in your bed?

Christine Lucas is a 47 year-old woman who deals with this extraordinary scenario, every single day. Having had an ‘accident’ that eventually developed into amnesia, she is unable to form new memories, as well as remember ones that have occurred in the last couple of decades. Her memory is wiped clean when she falls asleep, and on many days not only wakes thinking she is still a teenager, but also a child.

The horror of not remembering the last 20-30 years of your life I just find unimaginable. But the terrors don’t stop there. Oh no. Watson in his first novel, delivers a fine range of mind-f^&king shocks that make you truly feel sick, and lonely.

*What do you do when you can’t remember anything? How can you trust your mind, any memories that do come to you, when your mind has already failed you?
*How do you blindingly trust someone that you can’t remember?
*How do you deal when sudden and faint memories don’t match up with what you’re being told?
*And like the above opening line, what happens when you do remember something, but the pain is so harsh and frightening, that you’d rather forget it all ever happened?

The events that start to set things in motion for Christine is the presence of Dr. Nash, a neuropsychologist she’s started seeing in secret, and a journal she begins to keep in order to help her remember who she is, when she wakes each day. Her meetings with him are a series of tests to help strengthen and test her mind, to see whether there are any remainders of memory left in there, while her journal serves as a great narrative tool, not only propelling the story forward with its presence during most of the book, but it assists Christine by helping her to discover and compare what she is told day by day. Is an amnesiac a good person to take advantage of, when you know their memory fails them every morning? Hell yeah.

I learnt of this book a couple of years ago, from a work friend, who told me his mate in the UK had had his debut novel picked up and was going to be turned into a movie. Yep, a friend of a friend. Pretty cool. I didn’t get to pick up a copy at the time, but having returned from maternity leave and my work colleague asked if I’d gotten to it, I decided now was as good a time as any, buying it within a few days. It is, or recently was out in cinemas, with actors like Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth starring… you may have heard of those names. 🙂 The casting of certain actors actually made me change my opinions of some of those in the book, as it is quite common that actors have a certain reputation, and usually fit in quite nicely into the role of good-guy, bad-guy, avenger, or the romantic lead, to name a few. The casting of Colin Firth as Ben, Christine’s husband, threw me off what I was reading, but that’s all I will say. No I won’t. I’ll go as far as to say that I accidentally read the last line of the novel, and was spewing because I was only half-way through the book. But even that, although very clear, wasn’t what ended up happening as I expected, to some degree, even though the last line, and who says it, is fairly telling – BUT DON’T READ IT!

(How do you accidentally read the last line of a book? I do this thing whenever I start reading a book and get right into it, where I want to know how many pages there are and how far I’ve come in comparison… further to the look-at-the-book-from-the-top-and-see-how-far-the-bookmark-travels-through-the-spine thing I continuously do as I’m reading, I flick to the last page, and try to find the page number while trying to keep my absurdly insane and curious but don’t-wanna-know-any-spoilers contradictory eyes AWAY from the contents in the middle of the page. This time I failed. Hard when the page number was just below the last line. Damn)

It’s a fantastic premise, with real life amnesiacs having been the inspiration behind Watson’s idea. The twists and turns keep coming, and the hooks arrive quickly keeping you glued to the pages, as you’re just waiting, hoping that Christine discovers what she needs to know about her past, the broken pieces that will help her piece it all together. The last 80 or so pages I read in one go, as I just had to know how the book ended and couldn’t go to sleep until I did.

I’ve always thought of my parents and the older generation, and how it must feel for them, to know the things they know, and want to do some others, but be unable to because of their age. A young mind in an old body. This is Christine’s realisation when she wakes every day, and she sets about her day coming-to-terms with what she learns, reading her diary, and making decisions… only for it all to be reset the next day.

That’s tough. I did find it amusing how every day Christine had to read what she wrote previously, as well as write in her journal. It would take forever I thought, but it was something Watson thought of with mentions of her just skimming through certain sections. Lucky. He covered himself there.

It’s a scary thought though. There is one deliberate mention, where Christine comes back to her journal after writing of her intention to go out with Ben. She writes:

“I cannot say. I didn’t write it down and do not remember, despite it being only a few hours ago. Unless I ask Ben it is lost completely. I feel like I am going mad.”

Having to rely on others, who can be unreliable, or your journal, which if lost or you fail to write in it you have nothing to rely on, is a very lonely and scary concept. You are truly alone, with only yourself, yet no memories to back you up.

I loved his metaphorical mentions, external descriptions that expressed the real undertones happening below the surface, reminding me of what I try to do in my novels. Christine has just discovered a shocking secret and is looking at the TV:

“A remote-controlled submersible craft was exploring an underwater trench with jerky twitches.”

There is sadness too, not just with Christine wanting to forget some things she’s learnt, but with the thought: how does your family deal with you? How difficult would it be for your loved ones, if you were scared of them every day, and they had to talk you through your history, every single morning? A very sad thought emerges when Christine is having dinner out with Ben one night, and when he says he loves her, she doesn’t respond. He says “I know you don’t love me,” and Christine later thinks:

“He is a stranger. Love doesn’t happen in the space of twenty-four hours, no matter how much I might once have liked to believe that it does.”

Christine’s point-of-view is written in a very spell-it-out fashion, but I believe this is so due to the case at point – amnesia making her want to record everything, and not miss a thing. Watson’s ability to write on some very telling matters, in specific scenes, like a woman, is impressive. It makes me think he had a real good go-to girl for those points. Either that or he’s a superb transporter.

The one thing that wasn’t explored, also the one thing my cousin asked after I told her about the book, was the thought of trying to stay awake. One thought I intermittently had was why doesn’t she try to stay awake? I guess there was nothing too pressing to stay awake for, but wouldn’t it be something you’d want to test? If your memory was wiped clean every morning, would you perhaps consider only letting yourself sleep a couple of hours, to see how your memory responded then, and then only have short bursts of sleep to get through the day? I try to stay awake when I have a million jobs to do, let alone if I knew my memories would be gone the next morning!

The surprises and shocks keep-a-coming, way after you think they’ve stopped… so beware. My notes all over the second half of the book reveal how many radical theories I had, and I started to very subtly guess at what ended up eventuating, with one other main thought/hope coming true. Even so, I was on the edge of my bed every step of the way.

One line towards the end of the book, one question… it equals Terror. Pure Terror. I remember the hairs on my body standing.

Must read thriller!

Please let me know your thoughts on Before I Go To Sleep in the comments below, I would love to discuss with you 🙂

Happiness Is… #7

Three nights ago, putting up the Christmas tree. Listening to Buble and Mariah in the background, doing their own equally fantastic versions of ‘All I Want for Christmas,’ decorating the branches, putting up festive expressions of cheer throughout the house… so freaking excited.

Yes, I am that person who enjoys Christmas songs. Suck it.

I get all happy and nostalgic-emotional at this time of year when I enter shops and they’re playing Christmas tunes… bless.

Christmas + Summer + Holiday Season = Good Times 🙂

(How do you Winter Christmas-goers cope? With lots of warm alcohol I bet 😉 )