The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

The first DIY Woman book review – I hope it will open up a discussion about books that helps create a connection for those who love to read.

I’ve wanted to read The WeekendCharlotte Wood‘s latest book – ever since I heard about it on Radio National’s The Bookshelf. Its basic premise – the 30-year friendship of four women, a weekend away after the death of one of them – was one that appealed to me.

Book cover of The Weekend by Charlotte Wood including the silhouette of a dog
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Beating the Isolation Blues

A few Saturday nights ago – a lifetime away – I had an epiphany. 

 I was in a form of self-imposed isolation due to a cold I had picked up from some visiting relatives. It was early on in the unfolding of the coronavirus catastrophe to come. According to the Nurse-On-Call, I didn’t tick any of the boxes that would have entitled me to coronavirus testing. So I was erring on the side of caution. And there was something seductive about cancelling all social engagements and staying in on a Saturday night. Especially with Hugh Grant for company. A Very British Scandal was showing on iview, so my pyjamas and I settled in for episode one.

Isolation in front of the TV with slippers
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They cancelled Eurovision

This year would have marked the 65th anniversary of Eurovision.

Sixty-four years of big hair, wind machines and pyrotechnics up in smoke. For this year anyway – the year I made the decision to experience firsthand the highs, the lows, the costume reveals and the money notes. The year I sweated over three laptops simultaneously logged in to the second round of ticket sales and won and lost tickets in less than five heartbreaking minutes. And won again.

Three laptops open at the Eurovision booking page
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Ageing audiences a privilege to play for

In an excerpt from his book Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More in the current issue of Limelight magazine, Stephen Hough wrote of his reaction on seeing an elderly man being wheeled into the concert hall where Hough was about to perform.

‘My heart instantly lifted,’ he wrote. ‘It struck me as wonderful that he was here to hear Beethoven and I was the one who this evening was to bring that music to life.’

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Resourcefulness and resilience rise from the ashes

Amidst the hardship and heartbreak of the recent bushfires, acts of kindness restore faith in the future of this wide brown land.

It was wonderful to read about the generous responses to the bushfires of sports people like Nick Kyrgios, international celebrities like Leonardo di Caprio and Elton John, as well as local heroes like Chris Hemsworth.

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Late bloomers: flowering later in life and loving it.

Pink late bloomer roses on a red and white checked tablecloth in front of a yellow chair

Australian women are amongst the most long-lived on the planet.

Current statistics tell us we can expect to live to an average age of 85: twenty years beyond what used to be called retirement age. For some, the prospect of filling in those extra decades is daunting. For others – the late bloomers – it’s an opportunity to achieve the goals they set out to reach before life got too busy or too messy.

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Travel: Of Mothers and Daughters and Safe Returns

When I was four years old, my parents moved their young family from the bottom of a park to the top. My parents never moved again.

The sun setting through the trees overlooking a park

Half a century later, my mother still lives there, surrounded by all five of her children within a ten kilometre radius. Her dreams are of forays into her beloved garden, not of travel adventures abroad. Everything she needs is within her castle walls. She left Australian shores only once and didn’t see any benefit in doing so again.

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Career changing later in life: From croquembouches to creative writing

I spent the first 25 years of my working life as a caterer.

Objects of a past career (whisk and rolling pin) and of my new career (writing pad, fountain pen).

In my mid-40s, I simultaneously lost the passion for my cooking career and gained a love of writing. I decided to use the skills accumulated throughout the previous quarter century to work for me in my new writing career: the ability to match menu to client, the organisational skills to run a small business and a willingness to learn.

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