An Iron Rose by Peter Temple (Australian crime fiction)

When I heard that Peter Temple was the first Australian crime writer to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award I jumped at the chance to read one of his novels.

I don't normally read crime fiction, but I really enjoyed this. It was a tightly constructed, tense read; a first person narrative from Mac Faraday's perspective. Mac Faraday who has retired from city life and is working as a blacksmith in a rural area. He is living the quiet life; spending time with friends, drinking at the pub and playing with an appalling football team. His world is turned upside down when his best friend Ned is found hanging one night and he becomes the carer for Ned's grandson. Instincts from his old life kick in when he comes across press clippings of a young girl's gruesome murder in 1980's, near a facility for wayward young girls. When he begins to investigate this further he becomes mixed up in a dangerous and confusing web of criminal activity. As people from his past start coming back to haunt him he finds that his life is in grave danger.

The style of Temple's writing is hard boiled, a style epitomised by authors such as Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler. The writing is short, sharp and gritty.

The great thing about An Iron Rose is that this books adds a very Australian flavour to this style of writing. Temple provides us with an insight into the Australian language and lifestyle that is very authentic (which is not surprising from an Australian author, albeit one originally from South Africa).

Temple successfully paints the picture of a country town where a lot of the inhabitants know each other well and take their civic responsibility seriously. People share beers at the pub and have a laugh together at the footy. Some people might accuse Temple of stereotyping the Australian lifestyle, but I do think that this is very typical for a lot of people. I especially liked the way that Temple dealt with Ned's Aboriginality. It was mentioned in passing and then not mentioned again. Ned's background wasn't important in that sense, he was accepted as part of his community not because of his Aboriginality and not despite of it. It just wasn't a big deal. Acknowledging his Aboriginality without making anything of it within the story gave the book a more contemporary feel.

An Iron Rose is a wonderful mix of crime, noir and literary fiction and I can absolutely see how a book by Temple has won Australia's premier literary award. It is a very dark book; there is a sense of evil lurking under the surface that sends shivers up your spine.

Summary

What kind of read is this?
A very tense crime novel. It is an easy read but a tense one.

Do I recommend this book?
Yes definitely. I recommend it to everyone. I recommend it to people who love crime fiction and want something a bit different, and to people who don't really like crime fiction but want something a bit different.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
If you like re-reading crime fiction then yes, but you could probably borrow it from the library and be equally as satisfied.


Star Rating

6.5 / 8

Really enjoyable and well written. I couldn't put it down. I would recommend it.


That's a Wrap - June 2010

That's A Wrap - June 2010

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAY - PLEASE JOIN IN THIS FUN MEME!

Book Reviews

I can't believe that the year has flown past so quickly. It's is already half way finished - craziness. I had the biggest month of reviews that Page Turners has ever seen! I hope you get a chance to have a look at some that catch your eye:
Again, not as many Australian books as I would have liked but I will try and pick it up if I can. There are just so many good books out there from all over the place it's hard to choose the next read!
 
Page Turners First Birthday
 
Page Turners celebrated it's first birthday on 22 June 2010. I can't believe it, it has gone so quickly. Check out my celebration of all of my firsts here at Page Turners. There's some interesting things there. I had an Australian book giveaway to celebrate and these were the winners.
 
Challenges
 
I completed the Chunkster Challenge and aimed to join in with the Summer at Hogwarts read-along although I haven't been doing it all that well.
 
Literary Discussion
 
I listened to my first audiobook this month, Pride and Prejudice. It was a great experience and I discussed my experiences here. I also had a very intense reading experience with We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver that really disturbed me. 
 
Memes and Miscellaneous
 
I completed and Australian questionnaire and provided a link to a hilarious video clip of librarians dancing around to their own song!
 
I also participated in my usual memes (It's Monday! What are you reading? and Teaser Tuesday) and posted my usual features (Light's Camera Blog Action and Book Beginnings on Friday). You can see them by clicking on the relevant label in the sidebar.
 
And that was June! Thanks for coming back again and again, I love sharing my book obsession with you all.

Book Beginnings on Friday

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Becky at Page Turners. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence. (Thanks to Rose City Reader for inspiring this meme)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornetts Nest by Stieg Larsson

I am really getting into this book:
"Dr Jonasson was woken by Nurse Nicander five minutes before the helicopter was to land."
Nothing very special there I will admit, but then, it's not a particularly literary book so I don't suppose I can expect wonders!

What about you? Leave a link to your Book Beginnings on Friday post in the link below.


Lights, Camera, Blog Action!

This is a special feature dedicated to spreading the word about the other great blogs that are out there! I have found a lot of great blogs through such features and I want to be able to share some book blog joy too!


If anyone would like to participate email me at pageturnersbooks@gmail.com.
 
Today I am featuring Melanie from The Book Nook. This a relatively new blog that I have really been enjoying since it started. Melanie is a fellow Australian who has really good taste in books and can write a really good review. There's barely a book she's read that I haven't though to myself "I want to read that too". So please make sure you have a look at this great blog.
 
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1. Tell us something about yourself

I live in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. I love reading books, talking about books and now blogging books.

2. What was your favourite book as a child or young adult, and why?

I remember when I was 13 I absent mindedly selected a copy of Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” from the shelves of the school library. I could not put the book down, and remember most of it to this day (some 23 years later). It gave me a sense of great satisfaction when I started blogging, a couple of months ago, to learn that many book bloggers cited Rebecca as one of their all time favourite novels.

3. Why do you love to read?

Hmmm that is tricky isn’t it? I know I do a lot of it. I guess I read to recapture that same sense of exhilaration I experienced when I read that first “grown up” book all of those years ago. I read for the sheer joy of being transported to another place and time and some other human drama. But then the really good fiction also reveals something to me about myself and the common human experience. Too deep? Well, I also just really love the look, smell and feel of books.

4. How do you choose your books?

Now that is a somewhat random affair. I still indulge in the ad hoc perusal of book covers and blurbs for inspiration, but probably less so these days. I like to read equal amounts of new publications and books that have stood more of a test of time. The typical “classics” but also novels that made a splash in their day and are no longer much discussed. I do read a lot of reviews and make some selections from these.

5. If you had to narrow it down - who would be your 3 favourite authors and what would be your 3 favourite books?

Well, du Maurier of course, I have read everything of hers just about, including her short stories. Sue Grafton for her reliable and charming alphabet mysteries and Tim Winton, an Australian writing master.

My three favourite books, goodness this is difficult, let’s just say that the following three would feature strongly in the top ten: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. And I am going to mention one other (naming three is impossible for someone as imprecise as myself) which I have just read and has catapulted into top ten status, The Master, by Colm Toibin.

6. When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog in April of this year. I wanted an outlet to put down my impressions of books I am reading. I don’t think it was a real plan. I am also currently fascinated with this apparent explosion in different ways to enjoy books, from ordering services like Book Depository, to digital print books and audiobooks. Like most things with me, starting the blog was a bit of a whim and I found I really enjoyed it.

7. How did you choose your blog's name?

The Book Nook is a common enough bookish expression but derives from a quote by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books.”

8. What do you love about book blogging?

Everything!!! I really enjoy reading posts on other blogs. Finding out what people are reading and enjoying.

9. What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?

I am not sure that I have been doing this long enough to offer advice. I can say that I pretty quickly decided to write my reviews in my own voice, using a format I am comfortable with. Some of the book blogs are spectacularly good and I think starting out it can be a bit intimidating to set something up in comparison. So my advice would be not to compare and just have fun with it.

                                                            *                *             *

I am one of those people who lists Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier as one of their favourite books as well. I was of a similar age when I read it for the first time, maybe 14 or 15. It was actually a school text and I devoured it faster than anyone in the class. I re-read it at least once a year usually, it really is a great book. I do find it a bit strange that you list Wuthering Heights as one of your favourites. I read it earlier this year and have to admit to having mixed feelings about it. Everyone was so horrible I didn't know what to think! I also choose my books randomly. I have never been able to plan what I will read next like I see a lot of people do. It all comes down to how I feel.

Anyway, thank you for participating Mel, it was great to learn more about you and I hope that everyone else takes the time to have a look at the wonderful Book Nook.

George Orwell's Collected Essays: Bookshop Memories (1936)

I haven't read the entire of George Orwell's Collected Essays, just this particular essay that caught my attention: Bookshop Memories (1936). It caught my attention because it is a secret dream of mine to open a second hand bookshop one day. I accept that it is something that is very unlikely to happen, but we all have to have dreams don't we?

Anyway, back to Bookshop Memories. In this essay, Orwell recounts his experiences working in a local second hand bookshop. His experiences are largely negative. His chief complaint is "the rarity of really bookish people". He recalls that many of the people who attend second hand bookshops are people looking for companionship and a place to spend time more than anything else. He decries the patrons that order books they never collect, that request books of which they cannot recall the title or author and those that would rather read Ethel Fell than Hemingway or Wodehouse.

Orwell doesn't just focus on the wide variety of people who attend the bookshop, but also the content of what they read. He puzzles over why people are willing to buy Dickens, but wouldn't look twice at his works if they are included in the bookshops's lending library. He laments the unpopularity of short stories, although notes that DH Lawrence's short stories always seem popular.  I particularly liked his comment about male readers:
"It is not true that men don't read novels, but it is true that there are whole branches of fiction that they avoid. Roughly speaking, what one might call the average novel - the ordinary, good-bad, Galsworthy-and-water stuff which is the norm of the English novel - seems to exist only for women. Men read either the novels it is possible to respect, or detective stories. But their consumption of detective stories in terrific".
Orwell concludes that ultimately, he couldn't make a career of working in a bookshop. He states that the real reason he wouldn't choose to be in that job for like "is that while I was in it I lost my love of books."

I really enjoyed reading this brief essay. Despite his negativity, it hasn't put me off opening my own bookshop one day. I appreciated Orwell's honesty, and it made me think about selling books from a perspective that I haven't thought about before. It seems foreign to me that you could lose your love of books by spending time with them all day, but then the longer I think about it, the more I understand how that could be the case. Work is work. When your one true interest becomes your work, I can see how it might lose some of its shine. I was particularly disturbed by a comment he made about having to lie about books all day when you sell books. That's very true. If you were selling books and someone approached you for an opinion about a book you hated, you would have to tell them how great it is in order to get the sale. That could become depressing. My only complaint was that Orwell sometimes seemed a little condescending about people's choice of books, disparaging people who preferred Elliot to Boswell for example. But then, I suppose someone like Orwell is allowed to be a little disparaging, he has earned the right.

All in all, a wonderful essay that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Teaser Tuesday: An Iron Rose by Peter Temple

Tuesday Teaser is great meme hosted by Should Be Reading and is a great way to find out about new books.Here are the guidelines: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

An Iron Rose by Peter Temple

I chose to read this book in honour of Temple winning the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the first crime novel to win. Although it might seem like this teaser contains spoilers, it doesn't. Here is the teaser:
"Ned had parked within two hundred metres of Dr Barbie's consulting rooms. Two days later, Ned was dead. Hanged. Two days after that, Dr Barbie was dead. Hanged.
The wind was coming up, moaning in the chimney, sound like a faraway wolf. The dog and I went out to the office in search of a telephone number I hadn't used in years."
The style is very spare. Short, sharp sentences. It was a bit annoying at first, but I am used to it now and I am really getting to the mystery.

Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin

This was my book club's June selection and from my perspective it was a great choice. It was a really lovely story, if a little sad, and is also a book that I would never choose to read on my own. I have to admit that I didn't realise how much I was enjoying the book until I had closed the book, and still felt like I needed reassurance that Charley was ok.

Lean on Pete is written from the first person perspective of Charley Thompson, a young 15 year old American boy who loves football. He has been dragged from place to place by his well intentioned but neglectful father and largely left to fend for himself throughout his childhood. The book begins just after the two of them have moved to Portland, Oregon for his father to work in a factory there. Charley misses his previous school, where "at least he had friends". His father leaves him to care for himself, and in order to feed himself he takes a job at a local racetrack with a local named Del Montgomery who runs horses into the ground. Sadly, disaster strikes for Charley and he eventually finds himself traversing America with a horse, Lean on Pete, searching for the only person he has left in the world, his Aunt.

The best part of this book was the character of Charley. Charley is a such a wonderful young man, you can't help but want to hug him. He is so strong and resilient in the face of everything that he has to deal with. Despite being neglected by the one person who should be caring for him, being mistreated and taken advantage of by his employer and then finding himself all alone with no where to go, Charley is able to face up to his challenges and meet them head on. The way in which he is able to do this, though, is to distance himself from his problems. When reading Lean on Pete, you get this real sense that the way in which Charley is able to handle such big challenges is by distancing himself from them. Charley focuses on what he ate for his last meal, what he watched on television, what movie he saw. We hear how people let him stay with them and give him ice cream and arrange meals for him. Very rarely does he ever really give in to the despair that he should legitimately feel when her considers the bigger picture. It is a self protection technique that serves him well during his cross country journey.

The best things about Charley is that despite being so resilient, he was still so vulnerable. My heart bled for him at the end of the story in his final conversations (I won't say with who). It tore out my heart when he asks himself why it is that seeing something nice can make him so sad. I wanted to comfort him myself, just bundle him up into my arms and tell him that everything will be ok. I

The unique style and language Vlautin uses to tell this story really helped to create the feel of Charley and his journey. The language was very sparse. It is written in short sentences. It is very straightforward. Although I found this style rather irritating at first, I did get used to it, and in hindsight I think that it served it's purpose in really emphasising Charley's situation. When Charley is upset, he says "And then I cried." There is no mucking about. The sparse language lent the story and the character a really authentic feel.

The only problem I had with the language, after I got over the initial irritation with it, was that the whole time I was reading the book I was confused about the genre. It felt so young that I kept thinking I was reading young adult fiction. But there was nothing on the book to suggest that it was. I know that in theory it shouldn't matter what the genre is, only whether I enjoyed it or not. But it did matter, it actually bothered me the whole time I was reading it. I now know that it is adult fiction, not young adult. But I think that it would work better if approached as a young adult novel, and if I were to recommend this book to someone, that is what I would recommend it as.

Charley's father was also a complex character I found really interesting. He was very much guilty of neglecting his son, and exposing him to things that so child you be exposed to. And yet, I like to think that he loved his son and that he really thought that he was doing his best by him. He had good intentions, but couldn't put them into practice. He could have abandoned his son at any point, but instead he chose to raise him and to support him as best he could. More than anything, I think this is a comment on the situation in many communities, where lack of education, employment and support networks really effects people's lives.

The whole story was an interesting exploration of the reality of the daily lives of people from low socio-economic backgrounds. The little portraits that Vlautin draws of the various characters that Charley meets along the way are (I believe) so accurate that it really makes you stop and think. You see the alcohol, the drugs, the sex, the unemployment, the lack of education. It is a really bleak picture, but Vlautin doesn't dwell upon the bleakness because the story is told through the young, hopeful and vulnerable eyes of Charley.

The plot itself was a little far fetched. You really have to suspend reality to picture Charley trekking across America with a horse in tow and jumping hurdle after hurdle in the way that he does. Fortunately, it was my belief in Charley that allowed me to suspend by belief in what he was actually doing and I really enjoyed the book.

After re-reading this review I have a post script: despite what seems to be a glowing review, I didn't love this book. It was good. The things that irritated me (the language and the unclear genre being the main two), outweighed the good things. So I can't say I loved it. Can't say I hated it. It was was just ok.

Summary

What kind of read is this?
It is an easy read with very simple language, and can be quite heart breaking. It's almost a young adult version of The Road by Cormac McArthy (with a person apocalypse rather than a world wide one).

Do I recommend this book?
Yes, especially if you like young adult fiction but want some more serious content.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
No. Borrowing it would suit.


Star Rating

5 / 8

Good and worth reading if you have the opportunity, but there's no need to prioritise it.

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday, what are you reading? is now hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is a chance for us to share with other book bloggers what we have just finished reading, what we are currently reading and what we are reading next.

Just finished

I have recently finished two books. The first is Murder on a Midsummer Night by Kerry Greenwood, an Australian crime/mystery novel. It was a wonderful read and I will definitely be looking for more of this author's books. The review will be up in about a week I imagine.

I more recently finished We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This was the most full on book I have ever read without exception. You can read about my immediate reaction to the book here, and I hope to have a review of it soon.

My review of Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin is scheduled for 4.30pm AEST today.

Currently Reading

I recently wrote about Peter Temple winning this years Miles Franklin award with his book Truth. Whilst I don't own Truth, I do own a couple of his other books, so in honour of his won I am currently reading An Iron Rose. It is a crime novel, which is not my usual read, but I am quite enjoying it.

I am also reading The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka when I get a chance. I am enjoying it, but it is somehwat unusual and I am not quite sure what to make of it at the moment.

Up Next

I really have no idea at the moment - whatever takes my fancy when I finish An Iron Rose and I stare aimlessly at my bookcase thinking to myself "what will I read next?"

An Australian questionaire.... don't ask.

I found this fun Australian game at And the Plot Thickens... seemed like a bit of harmless fun, so I thought that I would test out how Australian I am. As you can imagine, coming from Australia, I will be pretty Australian.



How many of these things have you done?

Heard a kookaburra in person: YES, all the time. I grew up in a house that backed onto national park and we had them on our back fence all the time. One ate my pet blue-tongue lizard once. I have never liked them since.

Slept under the stars: YES, when I've been camping.

Seen a koala: YES, in the wild and in captivity.

Visited Melbourne: YES, a few times. I like it, but

Watched a summer thunderstorm: YES, but I don't make a habit of it. There are thunderstorms all over the world though, not sure how Australian this is.

Worn a pair of thongs: YES, what else would you wear in summer?

Been to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock): NO, travelling around Australia is too expensive.

Visited Cape York: NO

Held a snake: YES, at the zoo or a wildlife park

Sang along with Khe San: YES, Oh yeah, loud and way out a tune! That's the only way to do it! For those of you who have no idea what we are talking about here, check out this link!

Drank VB: YES, Ummmm..... I am Australian aren't I? I think this gets a bad wrap, Carlton Draught is heaps worse!

Visited Sydney: YES, On a daily basis - I live there. 

Have seen a shark: YES, bu only if you count at the aquarium thank god. Don't jinx me.


Have used Aussie (and NZ) slang naturally in a conversation: YES, strewth... what do you take me for? A galah? Some kind of drongo? Or are you just troppo? You're such a dag.

[Please note there was a question here I had to delete, it was a bit offensive]

Eaten hot chips from the bag at the beach: YES, How else do you eat them?


Walked/climbed over the Sydney Harbour Bridge: NO, No way. That's for tourists. I drive across it a couple of times a week if that helps.

Used an outside dunny, and checked under the seat before sitting down: YES, wouldn't sit on one before I checked.

Seen Chloe in Young & Jackson’s: NO. Have no idea what this means.

Slept on an overnight train or bus: YES, to Byron Bay and Port Augusta in SA (which took over 24 hours)


Been to Sydney’s Mardi Gra: YES, in fact I have marched in the parade on my (non-autonomous) university float. So much fun. 

Have gone bush-bashing:YES, as part of a school trip. I got so scratched. Not something I would recommend.

Taken a sickie: YES, who hasn't, Australian or not? (PS. a sickie means calling in to work sick when you are actually out enjoying yourself)


Been to see a game of Aussie Rules football: YES, once, and never again (although the players were kind of hot).

Have seen wild camels: NO

Gone skinny dipping: YES, in Thailand of all places. 

Done a Tim Tam Slam: YES, and STOP, you're making my mouth water.


Ridden in a tram in Melbourne: YES, and I DIDN"T BUY A TICKET (insert evil laugh here)

Been at an ANZAC day Dawn Service: YES, when I was a kid. I no longer have the fortitude to get up that early though.

Held a wombat: NO. Where on earth can you hold a wombat? That sounds crazy to me.

Been on a roadtrip of 800km or more: I have no idea. I haven't ever thought to measure km's. 

Seen the Great Australian Bight in person: NO, one day though.

Had a really bad sunburn: YES. Can we please no re-live horror? 


Visited an Aboriginal community: Sadly, no.

Seen a redback spider:  YES. Seen many and had one on me once. Thank god I didn't panic. I could be dead right now. I was a kid and as soon as my dad got it off me, we got outta there.

Have watched Paul Hogan: Sadly, yes. 

Seen Blue Poles in person: NO, don't even know what this is. 

Wandered barefoot in the bush/outback: NO. God no. Who does that? 

Eaten Vegemite: YES, on a daily basis. In fact, in all of my overseas travels I have taken a massive jar of vege with me and carried it in my back pack. Can't live without it. 

Thrown a boomerang: YES, but it didn't want to come back. It half made it back. 

Seen the Kimberleys: NO

Given a hitch-hiker a lift: NO

Been to Perth: YES, for a wedding, once. Nice place. One of my good friends lives there. 

Have tried Lemon, Lime and Bitters: YES. I didn't even know this was an Australian thing?

Tried playing a didgeridoo: NO. Traditionally the didgeridoo was only played by males. And I am not Aboriginal. Nor male. Wouldn't be appropriate. 


Seen dinosaur footprints: NO

Eaten Tim Tams: YES

Been to Darwin: NO

Touched a kangaroo: YES

Visited the Great Barrier Reef: YES, and been attacked by evil jelly fish


Listened to Kevin Bloody Wilson: Not that I know of

Killed a Cane Toad: NO

Gone to a drive-in theatre: YES, I used to love this when I was a kid.

Have read and own books by Australian authors: YES, I try really hard. 

Visited Adelaide: NO

Know the story behind “Eternity”: NO, but I do know it annoys me

Been camping: YES, lots. Used to love it as a kid but not so much as an adult. I am growing too accustomed to my luxuries. 

Visited Brisbane: YES, sadly. 

Been in an outback pub: YES

Know what the term “Waltzing Matilda” actually means: YES

Gone whale watching: YES


Listened to Slim Dusty: YES, but not deliberately

Own five or more Australian movies or TV series: YES


Sang along to Down Under: YES


Have stopped specifically to look at an historic marker by the side of the road: NO, not yet anyway

Eaten a 4′n’20 pie: YES, and please don't remind me again.

Surfed at Bondi: NO, Ive been but I don't go in the ocean if I can avoid it, let alone go surfing


Watched the cricket on Boxing Day: YES, I have even been to see it live at the MCG

Visited Hobart: YES, very beautiful



Eaten kangaroo: YES, so healthy for you

Seen a quokka: NO


Visited Canberra: YES, sadly


Visited rainforests: YES

Used a Victa lawnmower: NO, I've never mown a lawn


Travelled on a tram in Adelaide: NO


Used a Hills hoist.YES, thats a clothes line by the way.

Visited Kata Tjuta: NO

Used native Australian plants in cooking: NO


Visited the snow: YES

Chosen a side in Holden VS Ford: YES. HOLDEN ALL THE WAY

Visited the desert: YES, and camped in it. Boiling during the day, freezing at night. 

Been water skiing: NO

Read The Phantom: NO

Visited Parliament House: YES, as a child. I barely remember it.


Gone spotlighting or pig-shooting: NO. Is this even Australian? Pig shooting? What pigs? What am I missing?

Crossed the Nullarbor: NO


Avoided swimming in areas because of crocodiles: NO

Listened to AC/DC: YES

Called someone a dag: YES, all the time. You dag.


Voted in a Federal Election: YES


Have been swimming and stayed between the flags: YES

Had a possum in your roof: YES, shudder. Noisy sh*ts.

Visited the outback: YES


Travelled over corrugated roads: NO


Hit a kangaroo while driving: NO

Been well outside any mobile phone coverage: YES


Seen an emu: YES

Have woken to the smell of bushfires: YES. In fact my childhood home backed on to the bush and we were almost evacuated on New Years Day about 9 years ago. The water bombing helicopter smashed our windows with its noise and vibrations. They are scary. 

Subscribed to RRR: NO

Patted a pure-bred dingo: YES, but at a zoo obviously


Seen the Oils live: NO, but I have a DVD of them live.

Oh my goodness, that took forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Feel free to join in.