Daily Archives: December 31, 2009

Miss D’s big New Year Celebrations

You might remember that I’ve snaffled myself a copy of Miss D and Miss N, edited by Bev Roberts.- and yes, you’re still waiting for a blogpost that reviews it.  So, how did Anne Drysdale see in the New Year?  Well, definitely her New Year celebrations on the ship out were the feistiest she wrote about!

January 3rd 1840- New Year celebrations

I feel very thankful that all the rejoicing days are over.  Monday the 30th December was the 6th anniversary of Mr and Mrs Gibson’s marriage.  On that account the Capt ordered a better dinner than usual & the gentlemen had an extra quantity of wine & grog.  The consequence was they all got tipsy.  Mr Baird very drunk.  There was a great deal of fighting.  Mr Clark &  the Dr. revived the subject of their duel, which they still intend shall take place when they get on shore.  The drinking this day was a beginning of what was so soon to follow on New Year’s morning, & such a scene that was!! The ship was running right before the wind at 7 1/2 knots.  Whenever 8 bells rung, intermediate & steerage passengers rushed into the cabin with bottles of spirits & all who were in their beds were roused out, then such a noise & drinking went on.  Passengers of all ranks & sailors fighting & flying about. It was fearful.

The 2nd mate was I believe the only sober man on board, mercifully the wind was aft & [the ship] drove before the wind as there was none to manage it. While it was yet dark one of the steerage passengers discovered a ship close to us.  The 2nd mate got a light put up & we escaped & have great reason to be thankful that all passed over without any serious accident.  Nearly all are cut and bruised more or less & their cloathes in tatters, but it might have been worse.  (p. 50)

Her partying days over,  and it’s God, church and work from here on:

1843 [January] Monday 2nd- strong resolutions

Yesterday wind variable, thunder & a little rain.  All went to church except myself. Made strong resolutions, with the grace of God, of amendment for the future.  This day fine, wind S. Men finished reaping wheat & oats.  Armstrong worked with pegs for hurdles & lounged Betty. Dr & Mrs Thomson & Jane came to dinner.  Capt. P… (p. 154)

Made strong resolutions, eh? Hah! don’t we all?

1844- Monday January 1st

Yesterday all went to the chapel, Mr Smith preached.  In the evening, Dr B gave us a beautiful & most impressive address on the necessity of being regenerated.  All the men & the shearers attended.  This day fine. Shearing lambs began. Robert gone to look for horses…  (p. 179)

1846 January 1st Thursday- An unfortunate day

Storm of thunder & lightning all day with heavy rain.  Ned kept holy day but rode to Corio to know if Mr Cunningham’s cattle had come.  Mr Sproat came to dinner.  Robert came up from the marsh & announced that Di was killed by the lightning.  Colin also died & 18 young turkeys & chickens were drowned in the pen. An unfortunate day… (p207)

No, I don’t know who Di and Colin are either.

1846 Thursday 31st [December]- All things richly to enjoy

Gloomy, hot & a little rain. Again we have come to the close of another year & by the blessing of God, are still surrounded with comforts & have all things richly to enjoy.  We have indeed much cause for gratitude.  May we continue to grow in grace & in love to God & our neighbours.  Ned & Robert jobbed, Moylan went. Henry remains. (p. 215)

And so say all of us.

Oh, alright then…

Everybody else is doing it, so here are my eleven top reads for 2009. Why eleven? Because I had three 10/10s, one 9.5/10 and the rest were 9/10 and it seemed churlish to omit one just to get to ten.  I notice that I haven’t read as much this year as in previous years- 53 compared to over 100 in other years.  I shall attribute this to actually doing some writing on my thesis (as distinct from reading away merrily in the meadows of literature) and an improvement in health in the second half of the year.  Both thoroughly good things.

So here they are, folks with links to the posts if I’ve written them:

1. Nam Le  The Boat 10/10

2. Leo Tolstoy War and Peace 10/10

3. Richard Holmes The Age of Wonder 10/10

4. Grace Karskens The Colony 9.5/10

5. Peter Godwin When a Crocodile Eats the Sun 9/10

6. Richard Flanagan Wanting 9/10

7. Kate Atkinson Case Histories 9/10

8. Louis Nowra Ice 9/10

9. F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby 9/10

10. E. P. Thompson Whigs and Hunters 9/10

11. Wendy Moore Wedlock 9/10

Not a bad little list, if I say so myself.  A few of the classics there- Tolstoy and Fitzgerald; three recent Australian fictions – Le, Flanagan and Nowra; and a historian/biographer or two- Thompson, Holmes, Karskens.