Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Town Like Alice

Hi Dear Folk,

The thunder is rolling around, It rained fiercely but is now gently raining, and I'm happy because I do not need to go out and water the garden, and it is deliciously cooler again.

I have been immersing myself in A Town Like Alice, I found the full 1980 series on YouTube, it is one of my most favorite stories.  So after watching that I had to go and read the book.  It seems appropriate to read it in the heat of summer, because so much of the story is based in warmer climates, Malaya and the Gulf Coast, Queensland.

The series has a lot of verbiage right out of the book and follows it quite closely with a few minor changes.  The book fills you in on more mundane story line, but still very interesting.  In the series Joe Harmon was played by Bryan Brown, he is tall and dark haired, where as in the book Joe Harmon is described as five foot ten and stocky, with blond hair, clear skin and very blue eyes, which would be a fair description of my father when young.  So all through reading the book it was easy to visualize my father,  who was a very down to earth man and good to have around in a bad situation.  Jean Paget was played by Helen Morse and I think she fits the description.

Jean and Joe meet in Malaya during WWII when it was under Japanese rule.  Joe is an Australian prisoner of war driving the trucks transporting metal rails used to build the infamous railway lines they built during their occupation, with one prisoner of war dying for every sleeper laid.  Jean is with a group of English women and children being walked all over Malaya, because the Japanese do not know what to do with them.  Eating very little and getting no medical attention.  Joe thinks that Jean is married as she always has a baby with her and Jean thinks that he was executed by the Japanese for stealing the commandants black chickens, to give them a square meal.  Six years later 1948, both find out that the later is incorrect, so they both go looking for each other, and that's the very basics of the story.

Joe is a ringer in the Gulf Coast managing a thousand square miles cattle station, but it is very remote, not the place for a women, straight from England.  Willstown the nearest town has nothing to it, just the usual hotel and bar, few businesses of necessity.  The description in the book, of the house that he lives in on Midhurst homestead, is actually so much nicer than was depicted in the series, more like the house depicted in Road from Coorain if you ever watched that, which I cannot find on YouTube and wish I could.

The homestead was a fairly large building that stood high off the ground on posts, so that you climbed eight feet up a flight of steps to reach the veranda and the one floor of the house.

Since the book was written in 1950 by Neville Shute, some expressions I do not think would be politically correct now, or may not even be used anymore, obviously such as Jap and Abo, but other terms are "Too right," "Crook place," and one which Joe says frequently is "Oh my word." And other such Australian terms.

Last week I visited my friend Candyce, her MIL was from Australia, and we went through her photo album, which came into their possession after her FIL died.  He was in the American Army Air force as it was called in WWII, stationed in Australia and that is where they met.  So it has been a WWII Australian era immersion over the past couple of weeks.

Today I got a blood test, as I was bit by a tick and unfortunately in this day and age you can catch all sorts of nasty things from tick bites.  I asked for two tests one to show if I have recently been exposed to Lyme disease and the other to show if I've ever been in contact with it.  There is a lot of controversial thought as to how one should treat past exposure.  Current exposure is treated with a one month course of antibiotics, but past exposure is not treated.

A pot of tea on the patio with my book.

We haven't been away on vacation this year, so last Saturday treated ourselves to a South American meal.  The restaurant here Tierra Columbiana was recommended by a friend.  It is in an area of Philly that one would not want to be in after dark.  But the restaurant is very nice.

Rob had a Columbian meal.  Rob had a sunny up fried egg on his meal, which rather reminded me of the outback Australian breakfast of eggs and steak.

Bob had Cuban.

I had Dominican Republic.

I wore my Indian jewelry, which seemed appropriate with such a meal, if jewelry actually goes with a meal.

We treated The Boy to dinner and he treated us to Mango Marguerites, which he said were the best he had tasted.  Portions are good so we all had left overs to take home.  Yummy!



  1. I loved that series so much! Years ago I listened to a great audio version, and I just loved all those messages from the airplanes (I hope I'm remembering that right). Recently I bought the DVD and look forward to seeing it again. I believe the two main actors were (are?) married. She showed up in Doctor Blake!

    1. I will have to try and get the audio version, sounds good. I watch Dr. Blake so will have to look out for Helen Morse.

  2. Your Indian necklace is perfect and so must have been the mango Marguerite's. Looks a fabulous meal.
    Saw a town like Alice many years ago. A classic

    1. Thank you, I do enjoy Indian Jewelry, it is one thing can call truly American. Nice to be together. The drinks were good.

  3. Nevil Shute one of my favourite authors and that is one of my favourites of his. I started off with him at school with Pied Piper another favourite. Lovely to have a meal all together. It does look good. Your jewelry is beautiful too.

  4. Don't believe I've read that book...will have to look for it. Your dinner and drinks look fabulous as does your jewelry - love it!

  5. I am just catching up and was so happy to see this post. A Town Like Alice is one of my favorites. I also loved Pastoral by Nevil Shute. I did enjoy going through my MIL's photo album with you.


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