Friday, February 22, 2013


Two birds flying high,
A Chinese vessel, sailing by.
A bridge with three men, sometimes four,
A willow tree, hanging o'er.
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands.
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song.

Once there was a wealthy Mandarin, who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-se. She had fallen in love with her father's humble accounting assistant, Chang, angering her father (it was inappropriate for them to marry due to their difference in social class). He dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart. The Mandarin was planning for his daughter to marry a powerful Duke. The Duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bearing a box of jewels as a gift. The wedding was to take place on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree.

On the eve of the daughter's wedding to the Duke, the young accountant, disguised as a servant, slipped into the palace unnoticed. As the lovers escaped with the jewels, the alarm was raised. They ran over a bridge, chased by the Mandarin, whip in hand. They eventually escaped on the Duke's ship to the safety of a secluded island, where they lived happily for years. But one day, the Duke learned of their refuge. Hungry for revenge, he sent soldiers, who captured the lovers and put them to death. The Gods, moved by their plight, transformed the lovers into a pair of doves

The new window display at Rainy Day Books has been arranged by local botanical artist, Jeanette Bird and contains some lovely Chinese artefacts that tell the story of the Willow pattern china that originated in England in the late 1700s together with some interesting books that cover all aspects of the topic. 

Don't miss seeing this delightful display.

Monday, February 11, 2013


With the upcoming Family Day to be held on the 17th February at Como Gardens, Rainy Day Books' window this week highlights the art of Ikebana.  

Melbourne Ikebana will be participating at the Como Gardens Family Day, together with many other great highlights, including Rainy Day Books!

It doesn't matter what particular interest you might have, Rainy Day Books can supply all your reading material on that subject.   If it is not available at the bookshop, then Meryll can, with her worldwide network, obtain it for you.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


It seemed as though all cars headed for the Hills early this morning.  Hundreds of women (and a few brave men) met at the Burrinja Cultural Centre in Upwey, to hear Kerry Greenwood speak.   An enjoyable brunch started the morning, and then Kerry Greenwood was introduced.

What an entertaining couple of hours awaited us.  Kerry held everyone spellbound with her anecdotes of childhood and how she realised her talent in telling stories.   Spiced with much humour, she held everyone in suspense waiting to hear what else she had to say.    Her ventures into research expanded most of the audience's perception and knowledge of what is entailed in setting a background for a book.

Kerry told the audience how Phryne Fisher came into being, and how just after three chapters in the first book Phryne had actually taken over completely, leaving Kerry in a place where she had to comply with Phryne's wishes.   Phryne very soon had shown Kerry that Phryne herself would dictate how she was to be filled out as a character.

Questions were accepted following Kerry's talk, and these revolved around the filming of the second series of Pryne Fisher Mysteries as well as Nathan Page (the handsome Detective Jack Robinson).   Keep an eye out for Nathan riding a motor bike in a forthcoming episode (at some time in the future).

The Burrinja Cultural Centre presents Australian authors and artists on a regular basis.   Their Darnell Collection of beautiful clothing complimenting many writers from the early 1900s has been an overwhelming success and finishes on the 17th February.

(All photographs are covered by copyright - Rainy Day Books of the Basin).   Photo of Nathan Page - copyright ABC Australia).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Girls" School Stories from the early 1900s to the 1970s

This month Rainy Day Books is alive with Bookworms. Not the wriggly kind but the 2 legged variety. There are several book collecting clubs in Melbourne and 2 of them sometimes meet at the bookshop. 

The Chalet club are collectors of the Elinor Brent Dyer series of boarding school stories set in Switzerland and The Abbey girls are collectors of the Elsie J Oxenham school stories set around a school and an abbey in Wycombe, England.

Both series are warm and uplifting and enjoyed by readers from 8-80.

Meryll has meeting, membership and club information at the shop and is happy to talk “school stories” with anyone who enjoyed them as a girl or who still enjoys them.

Abbey series website