Bite Size memoir No.11: Holiday Reads

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

Books have always been a large part of my family life. My parents were both avid readers and I can remember the regular parcels coming from James Thin Edinburgh with first editions of novels for my father long before the book would become available in Australia.

When we moved house and occasionally at other times it was my job to check the library of books for silverfish and to remove dust from the top edge (head) of the book. Each volume would be removed from the shelves, the pages opened as though shuffling cards (looking for signs of silverfish) and a big breath exhaled to blow the dust away before moving onto the next book.

My brother followed in my parents footsteps and could certainly be called a book-worm. Although I too enjoyed books and was never without one on the go I was far from having my nose constantly in the tome. As a child I loved to play but as we were isolated my games were often solitary. It was not till adulthood that I really began to lose myself in books and my reading would range through all genres and authors depending what time of my life I was at.

My holiday reads now are books  I can access on my ipad or leave behind on completing. I always take too many and end up reading few. As a child holiday reads were a bone of contention. Our beachside holidays would consist of  the other members of my family laying in bed all morning reading their books and eating their Xmas chocolates whilst I annoyed them all, agitating to go to the beach. Books during the day did not hold me, not when there were sand castles to build and surfing to partake of. I pleaded for everyone to arise but even threatening to hang myself moved no-one from their books except my brother, who stirred out of bed to watch. It only gave him something to crow about as my attempt failed because I tied a slip knot in my noose. Luckily, I had not yet read “How to tie knots”.

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About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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18 Responses to Bite Size memoir No.11: Holiday Reads

  1. M-R says:

    Either The Ginger Tree was puzzling you or you needed to be wearing specs, you wicked young woman ! 🙂 But it’s a really great photo !!!


  2. Lisa Reiter says:

    A fabulous whole family context for Holiday Reads Irene! You must have been so bored living with a bunch of bookworms when there was the whole beach to explore! Great photos as ever – I especially love the sulky one of you with Dad standing over – were you being forced into the family habit?! Lx


  3. haha…if looks could kill, Irene! The photo of you with your father is truly priceless! Sun and fun or books – what WERE they thinking?!? Be well. ~Karen~


  4. What wonderful old photos! I especially enjoyed the punch-line of your bite-size bit of memoir. This was a completely enjoyable blog to read – well done Irene.


  5. An interesting observation of a life with words! I also grew up in a family in which noses were usually in books…the exception being my brother. Now that he is older, he’s succumbed to the lure of the written word as well. Books ARE Christmas presents.


  6. Charli Mills says:

    My family was the opposite so I had to sneak off to read. Enjoyed your photos, too and marvel at how tan you all were. Maybe the phrase should be reading like a silverfish as it sounds like those critters are more likely to live in books! Great bite and glad you hadn’t yet read how to tie knots!


    • I read a memoir called “bite your tongue” where for religious reasons books were not allowed in the house. It was a traumatic tale of wanting to read, having to do so surreptitiously and punishment. I hope yours wasn’t that severe but it really gave an eye opener into a world without books.


  7. Sherri says:

    Irene, I’m so glad you hadn’t yet learnt how to tie knots!! What a story, and that photo of you and your expression is absolutely priceless. I understand just what you mean about not wanting to read in the day like that, where there were outside activities to enjoy. I used to enjoy curling up in the evenings to read. Still do but just fall asleep! Of course, the whole idea of going to the beach on Christmas Day is something I just can’t imagine. Although in California when it was 80 degrees F outside and with all the snow decorations inside it made for a rather strange contrast to say the least! Love this post, as always, really enjoy reading your memoir bites. Hope you are having a great day my friend 🙂


    • Thanks Sherri. I’m glad I didn’t know how to tie knots then as well. I’m the same – I struggle to stay awake now to read as much as I want to. Until recently we celebrated Xmas in the traditional English fashion which really didn’t suit our days temperature of up to 40degrees. There has been a move away from this generally and the Aussie Christmas has now been born. No effort, casual and relaxed and somewhere you can keep cool. Hope you are having a good day also. Cheers Irene


      • Sherri says:

        It makes sense for you to do that for Christmas. Must take so much of the pressure off!! I tried to keep the English way of Christmas as much as I could for the kids in California but it was a little easier there as even though it was quite warm, it was winter, or supposed to be!! The Christmas pud and cake went out of the window though, nobody else liked them 😉
        This reminds me of a film I watched years ago about a British family living in Australia but the family were very well to-do and insisted on this fully English Christmas, roaring log fire and everything. One of the women fainted from the heat (it was Victorian times) and then utter chaos reigned. It was absolutely hilarious but to this day I have no idea what that film was!!!
        Thanks Irene, got a few things accomplished today, hope for you too as you wind down for your nighttime.
        Nite nite my friend, see you tomorrow 🙂


      • Sounds like a fun film. 🙂


  8. Pingback: Holiday Reading | Lisa Reiter - Sharing the Story

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