A book review

Life at the end of the Rainbow, by Jenny Andrews


Poetry is like art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But, while art can be very subjective, poetry often has a special meaning, to both the writer and then the reader.  In turn, for each of us readers, a poem will have a different meaning, some will see what it represents, and others may not.

And, whilst I have not read a lot of poetry over the years, that changed recently when I subscribed to several blogs and discovered this whole new class of literature.

This view was strengthened when I came across a volume of poems by Jenny Andrews, titled Life at the End of the Rainbow.

For me, each poem is an insight into an extraordinary life, where the author sometimes lays bare those raw emotions, which, at times, we will find ourselves drawing parallels.

In a sense, I think we have all been to this mythical place called, The End of the Rainbow, and sometimes need a gentle reminder that it took a lot of ups and downs to get there.

This is, to my mind, a remarkable piece of work.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next stage of the journey will be.


Is it possible we can make a better world?

I’m not sure what started me off in pondering this almost imponderable question.

It was probably the endless bombardment of political advertising, leeching out of every form of media, and reaching saturation point.

Yes, down here in Australia, we have federal elections, where one of the two major parties are hoping to be in control, and all of the minor parties are hoping they will be in control.

You see, here, you don’t have to have a majority in the lower house, called the Representatives, you need to have the numbers in the upper house, called the Senate.

And the Senate is where the cunning voters make it so that no major party can go berserk and introduce a whole lot of policies that benefit one group or the other.  Sort of like sticking up for the rich, and keep the poor in their place, or sticking up for the poor and taxing the rich, who, apparently, don’t pay their fair share of tax.  That gem of information comes from one of the parties.  As if any of us didn’t know that to be the case anyway.

Only that doesn’t work out so well, because the leader of the splinter party gets a whole lot of stuff for his electorate, and we, the rest of the people, get shafted.

As for me, I’m sitting on the poverty line, neither rich nor poor enough for either party to help.  Me and about 65 per cent of the rest of the population.  We used to have a middle class, but tax and bad political management have slowly eroded the middle classes so that most are now living hand to mouth at best.

No one can afford to save, and when we do, the interest, what little of it there is, is taxed, so, no incentive to save.  Both parents have to work if they want to have any sort of life, and more so if they have children.  Childminding costs are horrendous, Medicare fees are equally so if you want to have adequate medical care, and the thought of owning one car, let alone two which is a necessity for families, costs a small fortune when you take into account buying the car, upkeep, petrol, and the governments grab for registration.  They say it’s for road maintenance, but let’s not talk about roads, but the maintenance of two Boeing 737’s just to ferry politicians around.

And instead of telling us what they intend to do to make our lives easier, the ads are about dredging up the opposite party’s previous mistakes.  We already know what they are, what we want to know is what they intend to do to fix all the problems.

Sorry, just being a grump.  I know my one person rant doesn’t matter one fig, but I had to get it out of my system.

I also know my one vote doesn’t really matter much in the greater scheme of things but if I could just influence another 500,000 to vote with me, wow, think of what we could do.

Maybe I should run for parliament, or not.  I don’t think I could survive the evenings in the parliamentary bar, the free lunches, or being chauffeur driven.   And flying first class everywhere, I just might get used to it, and the retirement fund, that’s just too much money to think about.

I’ll just stick to being the poor, cynical voter that I am.



I was going to write a movie review but…

It seems nostalgia got in the way.

It’s school holidays on this side of the world and we decided to treat our grandchildren to a film.  Being 8 and 11, it was always going to be one of those children’s films that we either didn’t understand, had minions, monsters, or bratty children.

This didn’t, but it had a baby elephant with large ears.


Saw the cartoon version, read the book countless times at bedtime, but live action?  I suspect with the advances in movie technology, anything is not possible, even flying elephants.

Yes, and somewhere in the film was the byline, ‘making the impossible possible’.

I guess only Disney and a handful of others could do that.


What interested me the most was the train at the start, the circus winter home, and the manner in which the great circuses moved from town to town throughout the midwest, and other areas of e continental United States.

I may live on the other side of the world, but the magic and mystery of circuses has fed my imagination since childhood, and the notion one day that I might see the circus arrive, led by the steam calliope and followed by a parade of circus performers and animals on their way to the first vacant field.

And the thought of seeing that huge big top tent.

It never happened.

Except in the pages of a book I received one Christmas when I was about 7 or 8, called Toby Tyler first published in 1880, a boy who saw such a circus arrive, and hating his foster life on the farm ran away when the circus left town.

My only other memory of that story, Toby being called ‘the death-defying daredevil of the lemonade stand’ after being promoted from the concession stalls to bareback horse riding, for reasons I cannot remember.

But, today, seeing the film’s opening, it all came back.

Was it a good film?  For kids, yes.  It has the usual message of good triumphing over evil, and that you should follow your dreams.  For those older people like me, well, it will bring back a few other interesting memories, some of which will not include running away from home to become a circus performer.

And the fact they don’t make circuses like they used to.