Month: November 2016

London – Bloomsbury 2

The two protagonists, Connie and her sister-in-law Flora, in Liz Byrski’s “Family Secrets” (see previous blog), stay in a hotel overlooking Russell Square. The view from their hotel window takes in the fountain in the centre of the Russell Square garden.



London – Bloomsbury 1


While in London recently we stayed in Cartwright Gardens in Bloomsbury. Cartwright Gardens just happens to be at the northern end of Marchmont Street which is the setting for the last part of Liz Byrski’s novel “Family Secrets”. This family drama features Connie, who travels to London after her husband dies to meet up with her husbands’ sister Flora. Connected to the story are the staff and owner of Judd’s bookshop in Marchmont Street. The current bookshop, while not quite as atmospheric as the one depicted in the novel, has a good selection of new and second hand books covering fiction and non-fiction.



Council House Perth – Cow Parade

There are 40 painted cows in various locations (see previous post) in the City of Perth and surrounding areas that make up Cow Parade Perth 2016. This one which is outside Council House in St George’s Terrace has a literary connection, and is titled “Laozi’s Cow and the Excellence of Water”. Artist, Gregory Pryor, has referred to the famous Chinese philosopher, Laozi, who was known to ride around on a cow or water buffalo. Laozi’s text, the “Tao Te Ching” contains many famous sayings, including the following one which refers to water.

“The best people are like water, which benefits all things and does not compete with them. It stays in lowly places that others reject. This is why it is so similar to the Way.”


State Library of Western Australia – Cow Parade

In the foyer of the State Library, opposite the bookshop, is a painted cow which is part of Cow Parade Perth 2016. Originally painted in 2010 for the Margaret River Cow Parade, this cow is titled “Books Moove Me”, and is the work of eight artists, all of whom are members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. There are a lot of details painted on this cow, all relating to children’s stories published by WA authors.

Cow Parade Perth is a public art event not to be missed and runs until 11 December 2016.


State Library of Western Australia – Children’s Books – Kyle Hughes-Odgers

At the exhibition of children’s picture books featured on the previous blog we were pleased to see the work of one of our favourite artists, Kyle Hughes-Odgers. You can see his outdoor public art in lots of locations around Perth and Fremantle, including this large painting on a wall inside 140 William St, a complex of shops and cafes above Perth Underground station.

Kyle Hughes-Odgers has also published four books for children, all with Fremantle Press. One is a colouring book and one, “Ten Tiny Things” was done in collaboration with Meg McKinlay. His two latest publications, “On a Small Island” and “Can a Skeleton have an X-Ray” are all his own work.



State Library of Western Australia – Children’s Books


“A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day” is the title of an interesting exhibition at the State Library of Western Australia in central Perth. This exhibition celebrates 40 years of picture book production at Fremantle Press. Both adults and children will enjoy the art work from a wide variety of stories, and can also sit and read the actual books.


The exhibitions title comes from an award winning book by Ellisha Majid and Peter Kendall. We liked the art work from “Cat Balloon” by Palo Morgan, which tells the story of a cat who tries to reach the moon.


This exhibition is on display until 31 December 2016.



London – Shakespeare 8

Only mentioned in passing on the self-guided “Shakespeare’s London” walk, is the actual former site of the Fortune Theatre. It is on Fortune Street which is hidden away in the Golden Lane Estate, north of the Barbican. We stumbled across it by accident while looking for Bunhill Fields Cemetery (which will be the subject of future blogs). When we passed the Shakespeare Pub on the corner of Goswell Road and Fann Street, we knew we must be near something Shakespearean.


London – Shakespeare 7

The stained-glass window mentioned in the previous blog is a memorial to Edward Alleyn, who was an actor and theatre owner and contemporary of William Shakespeare. The window remembers his role as a generous benefactor to the poor. He had almshouses built in the parish of St Giles without Cripplegate, which were unfortunately destroyed in World War II. He also founded Dulwich College.

Alleyn’s second wife, who he married in 1623, was Constance Donne, daughter of the poet John Donne, who at that time was Dean of St Paul’s.


London – Shakespeare 6

The Fortune Theatre, which was a contemporary of Shakespeare’s Globe, was established near St Giles without Cripplegate in 1600. The Fortune which was, like the Globe, an outdoor theatre was built by Philip Henslowe and his son-in-law Edward Alleyn. The two theatres were apparently quite similar, being built by the same carpenter with the same half-timbered construction, although the Fortune had a square shape.

The Fortune Theatre is depicted in a detail of a stained-glass window in St Giles without Cripplegate.


London – Shakespeare 5

St Giles without Cripplegate is one of the few buildings from William Shakespeare’s time still standing in the City of London. The church survived the Great Fire of London in 1666, which damaged more than 30 other City churches which were never rebuilt, and also the Blitz which left the surrounding neighbourhood razed to the ground.

The church’s long and colourful history includes some connections to Shakespeare’s family. His brother Edmund, who was also an actor, lived in the parish and his two sons were baptised at St Giles. Tradition has it that William Shakespeare was chief witness at the baptisms of his nephews.