Weekend Coffee Share 14th January, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

If you were to come over to my place for coffee this weekend, I’d be apologizing for the preponderance of crates, and random flotsam and jetsom all over the loungeroom , and recommend we head out for coffee today. I’m sure you know how it is. Once you let all that compressed clutter loose, you have a monster on your hands and it’s a massive effort to divide and conquer and finally get rid of the piles. It feels like this is all I’ve been doing in January, but that isn’t quite the truth. At least, I hope it’s not. What a way to spend the Summer holidays!

dog beach zoom

Dog Beach: my daughter inscribed this with a stick in the sand.

Just in case you’re living in the land of snow and ice, you might want to get changed into something a little more comfortable, and we could well head for the beach. If you’re feeling energetic, we coud also take the dogs…Lady, Zac and Rosie. Zac and Rosie are 6 month old border collie x kelpie pups and they’ll definitely raise your heart rate. They love running and are so sleek, graceful and beautiful to watch speeding through the sand. From this, you’ll understand that they’re off the leash and truly able to let themselves go. Fortunately, they are well attached to us and haven’t disappeared chasing a seagull down the far end of the beach. It happens often enough down there and it is quite a challenge to retrieve your charge. .

We’re not planning to foster any new pups at the moment. The new school year starts in a fortnight and I’m working flat out to get the kids and the house ready for the new school year. Can we get it sorted this year? We’re in much better shape than previous years, when we’ve arrived back from holidays the night before and winged it.  That was much easier back in primary school, when the kids were younger. Our daughter starts high school this year and that’s all new uniforms and we’ve had to wait for the skirt to come in. Yes, I have made myself a note. With so much going on, I’m sure my brain’s run out of RAM.

I don’t know if you’re into research at all. However, as much as people talk about being focused to succeed, research is more like following a random goat trail through the wilderness. That said, you need to leave some flags, markers or pebbles along the track, so you can find your way back to the fork in the road where you darted off.

This week, I’ve dug out my research on the Johnston’s of Islay, which I haven’t touched much for the last 15 years. This is an exploding file and I’ve achieved quite a lot on this line. Yet, there were still quite a few deadends all those years ago, which were worth revisitnig now that so much material is available online.

Of most general interest, the Johnstons of Islay were whisky distillers, and dare I suggest, heading back into the not so dark ages, that they were whisky smugglers as well. Now the story is really starting to get interesting, especially when you start hearing about distilling operations concealed in deep limestone caves. No pirates required. These were my ancestors. By the way, the Johnstons founded Laphroaig and Tallant Distilleries.

I’ve never been to Islay and a trip isn’t on the cards any time soon. So, I’m doing my best to try and get a feel for the place. Part of that, as an Australian, is getting my head around what it’s like to live in a small island community, when we live on an island CONTINENT…a land of sweeping plains.

Image result for Islay historic photos

Above: Map of Islay, Scotland. Ireland is to the South.

Trying to get some appreciation of Islay’s size, I did a bit of a comparison. Islay has an area of 619.6 km² Now, here in Australia, we think Tasmania is small. It’s also an island and Geoff’s grown up there and so we have a reasonable understanding of what it’s like to live there, adjcent to the Australian Mainland, and infamously being left off the map. Moreover, when we were taught to draw the map of Australia, I’m pretty sure that Tassie went into a one cm gap. That’s small. It’s much larger when you get there and realize there’s a hell of a lot squeezed into that deceptively small space. However, compared to Islay, Tassie’s a giant…a whopping  68,401 km². Not a useful comparison after all. Even Bali’s  more than double it’s size at 5,780 km². This leaves Singapore being the closest size comparison, measuring in at 719.1 km².

Aside from chasing whiskey smuggling ghosts and trying to get ready for the new school year, I did watch a great movie…It’s A Wonderful Life. I hadn’t heard of it before but it was on display in the supermarket and I’ve been enjoying re-watching my stash of DVDs, some of which, have never made it out of the plastic.

Have you ever seen the movie? Despite my ignorance, it’s considered a classic Christmas movie and one of the most watched American films. Well, I’m Australian so maybe that’s why I haven’t seen it. Or, perhaps I’ve just been living under a rock. ore likely, I was out celebrating Christmas, and not stuck at home watching the box. After all, Christmas is in Summer here.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t focus on the Christmas aspects of the film. I was more interested in the plight of George Bailey who is among the town’s brightest and can’t wait to leave this one horse town and explore the world. He has big dreams of world travel, going to college and he worked dime by dime to put the money away, but there was the competing pull of the family business and helping people out. This is a pull I relate to myself. The need to be here and look after the family versus writing, travel and becoming all that I could be in myself, which could very well come at a high price. Relationships versus achievement? Do we have to make a choice? Or, can we have it all? That, I believe, is one of the great questions of our generation.

Here are afew great quotes from the movie:

Pop: I know it’s soon to talk about it.
George: Oh, now Pop, I couldn’t. I couldn’t face being cooped up for the rest of my life in a shabby little office…Oh, I’m sorry Pop, I didn’t mean that, but this business of nickels and dimes and spending all your life trying to figure out how to save three cents on a length of pipe…I’d go crazy. I want to do something big and something important.
Pop: You know, George, I feel that in a small way we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge. It’s deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace, and we’re helping him get those things in our shabby little office.
George: I know, Dad. I wish I felt…But I’ve been hoarding pennies like a miser in order to…Most of my friends have already finished college. I just feel like if I don’t get away, I’d bust.
Pop: Yes…yes…You’re right son.
George: You see what I mean, don’t you, Pop?
Pop: This town is no place for any man unless he’s willing to crawl to Potter. You’ve got talent, son. I’ve seen it. You get yourself an education. Then get out of here.
George: Pop, you want a shock? I think you’re a great guy. [to Annie, listening through the door] Oh, did you hear that, Annie?
Annie: I heard it. About time one of you lunkheads said it.
Clarence Oddbody
  • Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?
  • [Inscribed in a copy of Tom Sawyer] “Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence.”

Mr. Henry F. Potter

  • [to George] Look at you. You used to be so cocky. You were going to go out and conquer the world! You once called me a warped, frustrated, old man. What are you but a warped, frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk, crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help.

Anyway, I clearly enjoyed the movie and got a lot out of it.
Any thoughts?
Well, it’s Sunday night here and I have one pup chewing a pencil to bits and the other up on my lap. He’s managed to cohabitate with the lap top and is draped over the right arm of the chair while the laptop is perched on the left with a good gap from my cup of tea.
This has been another Weekend Coffee Share. Eclectic Alli is hosting a coffee share and Here’s the link up. Come on and join in!  We’d love to have you along!
How  has your week been? I hope you’ve had a great week and I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to in the comments.
Best wishes,

9 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share 14th January, 2018.

  1. pensitivity101

    A Classic to be sure. Every time a bell rings, an Angel gets his wings. I love it. We had it on video, and once saw a DVD copy that had been enhanced to colour. I wish I’d bought it as I haven’t seen it since and our video bit the dust a long time ago. I loved Jimmy Stewart in the Glenn Miller Story which we still have on DVD. I cry every time.

  2. Rowena Post author

    I picked my copy up in the supermarket out here in Australia and I hadn’t heard of it before. So, it might be worth keeping an eye out or even looking online. I’ll try to check out the Glenn Miller story. Thanks for the tip.
    Hope you have a great week!
    xx Rowena

  3. Tails Around the Ranch

    Most definitely a classic in the states and is rebroadcast throughout the holiday season. Jimmy Stewart at his finest. And the above reader is right, if you like Jimmy, you’ll enjoy the Glenn Miller story. Great Big Band sound…I can practically hear the clarinet tones from it now. Enjoy the holiday time off and watching the pups race around the beach. The ‘Little Miss’ is starting high school? Gulp…where did the time go? Happy week.

  4. Sandra Conner

    I do love “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s certainly one of my favorite movies, and I can still remember the very first time I saw it. I was in college, and I was going through a very difficult time emotionally. That movie was a very healing experience and really helped me. I’ve watched it myriads of times since then. And it’s true that here in the States it is an all-time classic. For many decades, we could watch it on TV several different times on several different stations throughout the Christmas season. However, in recent years, that’s changed in some places, TV networks now vie for exclusive privileges for showing it. In my area, during the holidays, we can see it only one time and on only one TV channel now. Of course, with DVD’s and Internet, that problem is easily solved. 🙂

  5. Nancy

    We definitely should walk and absolutely take those puppies. They sound like a lot of fun. While we walk we can talk about your new favorite movie which is one of my old favorites. Here in the U.S. It isn’t Christmas without “It’s a Wonderful Life” although it didn’t set out to be a holiday film from what I understand. Another little tidbit you might be interested in is that the film is based on a short story called “The Greatest Gift”, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1945. My husband bought me a copy last year and it’s a very sweet story. I think I love the film not only because of the message it sends about the importance of all the lives we all touch and affect each day, but also because I love Jimmy Stewart and feel his performance is spot on. So glad you discovered it. Thanks for the coffee and the dreams of warmer weather. It’s only eighteen degrees here!

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Nancy. Your husband sounds like a thoughtful man.
    I also appreciated the movie for it’s deeper meaning. It’s very easy for us to forget, or not even be aware of how we have helped others or made a difference in some way, possibly even saving their lives.

  7. Rowena Post author

    It’s interesting that it has such a cult following in America, but not here. It;s Summer here for Christmas so we’re usually out and about. I watched a few movies after Christmas because of the heat. The rest of the family was also away so I could watch what I wanted to watch, which is a biggy around here.
    On the other hand, I think “It’s a Wonderful Life.” is so much more than a Christmas movie. It’s about life, dreams and what happens when they hit the road and don’t work out the way we wanted them too. Have you ever read: “Tuesdays With Morrie?” I feel that’s a most encouraging read and have read it a few times. Morrie was an incredibly wise man.
    Anyway, time to wish you goodnight.
    Best wishes,

  8. Rowena Post author

    Now, you’ve really sold me on the Glenn MIller Story. The claranet is beautiful.
    BTW Little Miss isn’t the only one growing up. Our son has shot up recently and his shoulders are broadening out and I think he’s caught up to his father. We’ve always known he was going to be tall but it’s another thing for it to happen and realize that it’s no longer a case of looking down to him and saying: “hello young man”. He now is a young man. You should’ve heard the gasps on Christmas Day. That was probably the most telling.
    I need to head off and sneak some rubbish on the throw out pile across the road for council cleanup before I go to bed. Wishing you and the dogs a happy week too! xx Ro

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