Seasons Greetings 2020

Hasn’t this been an odd year. A difficult year! Who would have believed twelve months ago that we would face a choice between being locked in our homes – Australia, or being left to die in the hundreds of thousands – USA. We Australians were lucky in our State Premiers, I’m not so sure Scott Morrison, our undeservedly lucky Prime Minister and Trump sycophant, on his own would have been as wise or decisive.

I wish you all, all my friends around the world, a happier and safer 2021.

The photo I have chosen to represent Xmas this year is of my new grandson, born in April, out camping. Just with his mum and dad this time, a month or two ago, but often too with his multitudinous siblings who I think have already taken him white water rafting. Ok, joking, but definitely canoeing. I got to hold him in June when I got back from Darwin, then not again as interstate trucking and the situation in Victoria took me into indefinite isolation. Which ends, for a few weeks anyway, tomorrow, Xmas Eve.

So, on to the wadholloway Best Blog Post for 2020

First, there are two runners-up. Kim Kelly, last year’s winner, made a mad dash for the post at the last minute and very nearly pulled it off with a subject dear to my heart – “how can we try to ensure our fictions are steeped in useful, meaningful truths?” (here)

The other was Naomi at Consumed by Ink for a post on Book Spine Poetry compiled by her and her kids (here). I had a shot at it for a poem encompassing our year, and it’s much harder than it looks. Too few verbs!

Diary of a Bad Year

White House boys

A bunch of ratbags


Force and fraud



Something happened!

Crime and punishment

For the term of his natural life.

Wishful thinking, I know, but on to the 2020 winner. For an amazing effort continuing throughout the year, the ‘prize’ goes to Karen of Booker Talk for her series on how to deal with the new block editor and with WordPress generally. It will be a reference for years to come. (A-Z of Blogging here, more links at the end).

For my favourite post of my own I generally choose one that I think has been a bit of an orphan, and surprisingly (to me) my recent Ursula Le Guin post is in that category. But let’s go with the one that was the most fun to do, reading Chris Tsiolkas’ The Slap with Melanie of Grab the Lapels.

Elsewhere on the internet, I continue to follow Guy Rundle in the Australian newsletter Crikey, and the doings of the crime family in the White House in The Palmer Report, and also while it’s cheap, in the New York Times.

Going back for a minute to our sleazoid Prime Minister, you might remember his response to the Black Lives Matter movement coming here:

Scott Morrison has warned against “importing the things that are happening overseas to Australia” after protesters gathered in Sydney to denounce the killing of George Floyd in the United States and to rally against Indigenous deaths in custody.

Guardian Australia, 4 Jun 2020 (here)

As it happens, as I set out at the time, Black Australians are far more likely to be arrested than Black Americans, and the rate of deaths in custody is a national disgrace, and proof, if any were needed of our systemic on-going racism.

Morrison also famously said Australia had no history of slavery. This story from National Indigenous TV, 10 things you should know about slavery in Australia (1 Sep 2020) puts the lie to that.

What can I say about all the exciting new books released this year? Nothing. I’m not sure I’ve read a single one, and if you include 2019, which after all most of the prizes do, then that still only gives me The Place on Dalhousie, by Melina Marchetta about which none of you were enthused, and Jess White’s Hearing Maud about which many of us were. Maybe next year I’ll be allowed in bookshops again.

Despite all these days at home I’ve been struggling to read but yesterday I knocked off Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends in one sitting, so I’d better find time to squeeze a review of that in, and an EOY 2020, and get ready for AWW Gen 3 Week Part II 17-23 Jan, 2021. Look at those dates – I go back to work on the 14th. But we’ll manage! Have a good Christmas (and if you haven’t seen, Jackie/Death by Tsundoku had a baby girl on the 17th).


Booker Talk’s blogging tips:

A-Z of book blogging (here)
WordPress retires Classic Editor (here)
Latest changes, thumbs up or thumbs down (here)
Ask me a Question (here)
Getting blog traffic from Facebook (here)
Getting blog traffic from Pinterest (here)
How to solve the headache of image alignment (here)
Changing my WordPress theme (here)
Three ways to add colour to your blog (here)
How to use WordPress to get free photos (here)
Avoid blogger burn out (here)

35 thoughts on “Seasons Greetings 2020

  1. It’s so wild that I remember when your newest grandson was born, but there he is, sitting in a chair and camping. I didn’t think you guys would be allowed to light a fire in the oven, let alone outside, after the wildfires over there. We got so many sad thirsty koala pics in the U.S., and they’re hard to forget.

    I’m exciting to do my last post of the year. It’s coming just before the new year.


    • The photo was taken in early Spring, after a wet Winter, so no danger of fire. And my daughter and son-in-law are experienced campers. No koalas were harmed in the taking of this photo, nor quolls, nor bilbys.
      I look forward to your EOY roundup. Xmas is my big season for blogging because I have a few weeks off work.


      • What adorable critters you have in Australia! They look like mishmashes of other creatures. That’s nice that you get a few weeks off, and I hope you spend them in a delightful state of contentment, if not total happiness!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Gulp!!!!! I’ve just about picked myself up off the floor Bill. What a surprise. So sweet of you to think that my blogging tips merited this recognition. I better get cranking out some new topics now ….

    Love your grandsons photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not many women call me ‘sweet’, especially not Milly, nor Mum, so thank you. I think you put up 35 posts of tips, so it was a major effort, and super helpful with WordPress bulldozing through the new editor after ‘misspeaking’ about retaining the old one.
      I’ve been very lucky that my daughter has been putting up on Facebook a series of photos of my grandson every month, so I’ve been able to keep up. He is always grinning hugely so it almost goes without saying that just as I go to pick him up tomorrow he will start teething.


  3. I could not agree more about your choice of Booker Talk re Word Press. I love the campfire scene of your grandson looking at the camp fire. I wonder what was going through his mind. Hearing Scott Morrison’s name makes my blood boil up and bubble. Don’t forget how awful he was during the fires also. I will always remember the woman who refused to shake his hand and he reached down and took it as she pulled away. Spoke volumes. Let’s hope 2021 gets rid of these despots one way or another. I do look forward to seeing what you get up to next year. I enjoy your posts very much. All the best for Christmas and 2021! 🤠🐧🎄🎄🎄


    • I think we’re stuck with Morrison for the next few years and soon the newspapers (chaired after all by Rupert Murdoch and Peter Costello) will start persuading us that he is our lovable uncle, just like that old cutie, John Howard.
      I’m glad you like my posts, though I feel like I’m settling into a rut. The business of running Perth-Melb has been going so well, that I’m losing the opportunity to do more interesting work up north.
      I hope you and Mr Penguin have worked out who is cooking Xmas dinner. All the best to you too.


  4. Merry Christmas, though I am picking all my blogs up late here so Merry Between Times. I hope you’ve been able to have a lovely Christmas with lots of good eating, company and reading. We’ve done OK here and I’ve been able to see a few friends outside while running, and family over video calls.


  5. I agree Bill. Karen’s book blogging tips were fabulous – a gift that keep in giving.
    Glad you enjoyed your festive season. We now have a weeks holiday where I’m hoping to catch up in reading – 3 almost finished books I want to finish before NYE!!


    • I’m annoyed that being ill – sleepy mostly – has kept me from a lot of the traffic in my inbox. I am reading (and slowly writing up) some general fiction and also making a start on my posts for Gen 3 Week part II, but not at the rate I anticipated. Tomorrow with a full stomach, I’ll be a new man.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Aw, I hope you’re on the mend now. Rest does wonders. It’s good that you’re taking care and sleeping as much as your body wants you to. Loved reading your yearly reflections here–and I hope you have even more pleasant memories for your 2021 post (and perhaps fewer references to public health crises, which seems like a reasonable goal for you, given the strength and courage demonstrated by your governance there–but of course there always has to be a balance of things–it can’t ALL be good)! Naomi’s bookspine poetry was terrific and you’re putting on a good show too!


    • Thankyou for noticing my book spine ‘poetry’. Given that I don’t read it I probably shouldn’t try and write it either. I’m still getting used to your shock and awe approach to commenting. Rest does do wonders, and I will spend this morning catching up on my blogging correspondence, including all of yours.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe that’s exactly why you should try to write it…free of influence etc. 🙂

        You made me LOL with that description. It’s all too accurate and it still makes me giggle, a couple of weeks later and in-between, whenever I have been sitting down to look after something online in a binge-y burst-y kind of way. My vision issues are aggravated by screen usage, and so I occasionally find pockets of time when I’ve not been using the screen for work during a day, and then I try to cram in as much as I can, in a completely unreasonable (and perhaps irresponsible way)!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I missed this Bill, because I was engrossed with our southern visitors, including one very active, very inquisitive, very fun toddler who had us going 24/7 for 5 days. They left on Monday and we are starting to recover! Seriously though, we loved having them, and seeing him in person after over 9 months gap.

    I enjoyed your end of year post. Karen deserved your reward because her serious on blogging tips was and is a mighty effort.

    I’m sorry to hear that your Christmas time was spoilt by a bug, but hope you can enjoy the rest of your tie off.

    And, of course, I must say a huge thanks to you for your mighty effort in helping me with my blog over some dark times. I think you know how very much I appreciated it, and what a huge difference it made to my sense of well-being. Truly. (I will mention it in my early New Year blogging highlights post)


    • I saw some of what was taking up your time on Facebook. I’d better put up a couple of photos of my own. Karen’s put up a new ‘tip’ post on cleaning up Categories which I must a) read; and b) follow.

      I’m still sleepy – flu probably, arising from how little I’ve been in contact with other people until the past week.
      I assure you, I’m not feeling under-appreciated. But after all I just rounded up the usual suspects to tip in a post each. And they’re all bobbing up again for Gen 3 Week (including Jess whom I left off your roster because I knew she had work to do)


      • Yes I saw that post and started reading it, and then got distracted. I work hard on categories and tags so I look forward to reading what she has to say.

        Still, you rounded them up and that takes time and thought! Great that they are bobbing up for Gen 3.

        We’ve had a full on Christmas. The toddler is adorable but exhausting too.


  8. Happy New Year, Bill! Today marks my first day back to blogging since before Christmas (I took an extra week this year since the kids also had an extra week), and I find this wonderful surprise! I’m so glad you liked my book spine poetry! That one, I think, is my favourite of all the ones I’ve done. And yours is great! How perfect that you had “Diary of a Bad Year” and “White House Boys”! One of the reasons I like book spine poetry is because it’s the only way I’ll ever get to write any at all – it gives me a little something to work with that my brain wouldn’t be able to do on its own. Ha!

    I hope you’re feeling much better by now. And hopefully this year will be less ‘eventful’ – and that we’ll get to see our families more! 🙂


    • You can lend me child #3 if you like – writes poetry AND washes the kitchen floor! Summer holidays here of course so kids still home (and teacher son loose in Melbourne). Tonight, my last of ‘freedom’, I get to take them out for (ethical) hamburgers. Tomorrow I resume work and at least one more spell of isolation. Melbourne has had 7 covid free days but Western Australia insists on 28 before it removes the ‘hard border’. Problem is of course that it works.
      I’m sure your southern neighbour still has some ‘events’ up its sleeve, but yes here’s to seeing more of family – some of our blogging friends in the US and UK in particular must be getting on for a year without being able to visit freely.

      Liked by 1 person

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