Tag Archives: Albury LibraryMuseum

#62 Take a 30-Day Challenge

Every time something like Feb Fast, Movember or a so called ‘fun-run’ comes around,  I’m itching to join in the party, but so far, I haven’t found any cause that’s grabbed me enough to want to commit to it. Being an extremely light drinker would make Feb Fast way too easy, Movember is out for obvious reasons and I refuse to be involved in anything whose name reads to me like an oxymoron.

While the idea of giving up chocolate for a month is too ridiculous to contemplate, an opportunity did present itself recently when I came across a small box in a trendy gift shop that suggested I

#62 Take a 30-Day Challenge,

pick up my phone, and shoot a photo a day, following their suggestions for the topic.

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like,” David Alan Harvey’s quote on the back of the box exhorted me. What a way to improve my skills, I thought:

It was only after I’d bought the little box that all was revealed. Hidden in the small print – once I’d ripped it open – was the awful truth. This was an Instagram challenge. Or should I say, #Instagram #challenge?

Now I made quite derogatory comments about this particular social media activity in an earlier blog #50 Find the App of Your Dreams and discovering that the first four days’ suggested shoots were

– all a bit self absorbed, trivial or pointless –  didn’t help my frame of mind. That’s it, I thought. This is not the right challenge, thanks very much and even though I’ve spent money for the box.

But then I realised that maybe a challenge should be a bit uncomfortable. So with that in mind, plus the encouragement of a younger friend who promised to ‘follow’ my Instagram posts and who’s the bee’s knees with social media (she makes top class podcasts for a Sydney Arts Organisation, do you mind!) I plunged in.

I’m up to Day 15 already, dutifully following the daily instructions my little box of surprises throws up, and what began as a task akin to making a silk purse from a sow’s ear has morphed into a most enjoyable, although not always easy, challenge.

What’s a novel way to present a #selfie? Is there a new interpretation of the ubiquitous #coffee photo? And how is it possible to depict #texture in a two-dimensional picture?

#Instagram cleverly allows you to apply filters to your photos, which makes them look almost professional. A website titled Your Instagram Filter Cheat Sheet by Lucille Zimmerman has been a marvellous help for artistically-challenged folk like me.

So here are a few of my posts to date:


Albury’s own LibraryMuseum


They can change your life


a sing-a-long to the Vegemite song is mandatory


Just practising Instagram techniques, now!


Glorious little parrot painted by my friend Heather one afternoon recently

I’ve managed to garner a few ‘likes’ and even a few ‘followers’ over the two weeks I’ve been posting to date, but everyone using Instagram seems so young and gorgeous and uber successful.

But that’s its beauty, I guess. As long as I never post a shot of myself, I can pretend that I’m twenty or thirty-something, beautiful and just like them!






#24 ‘Stand Up and Cheer’ at a Book Launch

Writers penning opinion pieces for highly reputable sites – like The Times or The Conversation –  will often have a disclaimer after their by-line. Something along the lines of: ‘Thomas Fotherington-Smythe does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.’

So in the spirit of full disclosure, I must declare an interest in my next fun and frivolous activity:

#24 ‘Stand Up and Cheer’ at a Book Launch

The truth is, I have familial ties to the author of the book in question. I even did a spot of editing during the early drafts. So,

I did work for –

I did consult with –

And I do have affiliations with –

the author, so am duty-bound to declare my interest, even though the cheque must still be in the mail…

Naturally, it was exciting to help organise its special regional launch recently at the Albury LibraryMuseum, and as you can see, I even made matching bookmarks to accompany the gorgeous art-deco design of the book.


Did I mention that the book’s title is Stand Up and Cheer?

And I’m proud to declare, with a possible hint of bias, that it’s a thrilling children’s novel based on a true gem of Australian history that we should all celebrate, namely the rescue, by the people of Albury, of the Dutch DC-2 plane, the Uiver lost in a fierce thunderstorm over the Riverina during the Great Centenary Air Race from London to Melbourne on the night of 23rd October 1934.


A Douglas DC-2, at the Albury Aerodrome during the Open Day in October 2014.  Although not the original Uiver, it’s one of only a handful of surviving DC-2 planes in the world.

Written for 8 to 12-year-olds, and enjoyed by everyone who loves an exciting and true aviation story*, Stand Up and Cheer is set in Albury at the height of the Great Depression and tells the story of the Uiver’s rescue through the eyes of the 10-year-old hero, Jack, the son of the local ABC radio announcer who plays a pivotal role in organising the townsfolk help the plane find a safe place to land.

Of course, helping organise a book launch isn’t the only fun and frivolous entertainment to be had around books.

A friend of mine was visiting her family recently in the Northumberland region of the UK when she noticed that Tim Winton, Australia’s highly decorated author, was reading from his latest book, Eyrie, at a small pub nearby. Not knowing how these events work, and concerned that she may be asked questions if she attended, she dutifully read the novel beforehand.

Now apparently, Tim Winton isn’t quite as well known in the north of England as he is here, so only a small group of people turned up to listen to him read in a cosy, intimate setting. And my friend was the only one to have read his latest book and have thoughtful, relevant questions in mind.

So that’s how she came to spend a marvellous evening chatting one-on-one with the charming Tim Winton on a cold night in the north of England.

See how fun and frivolous activities can often lead to so much more?

* The Australian adventurer, Dick Smith wrote: ‘I stated reading Stand Up and Cheer and couldn’t put it down – it’s such an exciting aviation and adventure tale. I think everyone will want to read it.’