My Christmas-ish newletter-ish blogpost!
Ah, that time of sparkle and glitter.
But do I mean summer or Christmas?
It’s summer for me because here in Australia, summer means family, friends and fun for 3 or 4 months. Christmas is just another day in our summer as mentioned in a previous blog post on why I love summer more than Christmas.
This year of course, we celebrate with our little 17 month old grandson who, whilst still not understanding what it’s all about, will certainly understand presents and toys. And the food! We babysit once a week and it’s the highlight of our week. We laugh all day and I can honestly say that he is the happiest and most amenable child I’ve ever met. We’re awfully proud of him and he’s a credit to his mum and dad and their parenting skills. I simply can’t wait to share summer with him.
This year’s also been a year of writing. I’m now happily writing a new historical fiction – one based on relics and a little priory in twelfth century France. Its working title is Shredded Silk , but that will change – they always do. I dread choosing titles – a feature I think I might share with novelist Matthew Harffy. It’s the first moment that a writer has to hook a reader and if we miss that bite…
The new book invites characters from my previous novels back into the fold. Tobias, Michael, Henri de Montbrison, Archiveque Reynaud de Forez and so on. It’s been a meeting of old friends (and enemies) and the story will take place ostensibly between Lyon and Esteil.
My dear friend and resident French researcher, Monsieur B. Cobb of Lyon, has been sniffing through documents and the Esteil ruins and has unearthed gems for me which make my imagination sing.
I’m even more motivated to write this novel after its precursors, images below, won Chanticleer Chaucer Awards over the last two years.
If I was a ‘commercial’ novelist, I would be offering a chance for merchandising to be handed out with the published book in late 2020.
But what? A piece of ‘byssus’, a fabric so rare that its continued availability may die with the passing of its current weaver? A tiny bottle of frankincense? A miniature Book of Hours? But no, I’m not a ‘commercial’ novelist. There is nothing I would wish to hang on my work except the knowledge that readers have been entertained for a time and that they might want to read more of my work. So! Ever onward with wordage!
As the year has progressed and as those who follow my blog and Facebook know – I’ve been rampant in my gardens, both the tiny city Matchbox and the much larger coastal garden with its orchard, berries and vegetables. It’s a way to switch off, to allow the mind to regird and maybe channel new creative streams. I’m simply a #writerwhogardens.
I’ve also been stitching. Always. Meditation in motion. Crewel, stumpwork and the new thing – #1000Hearts. Click on the link to find out why I’m making so many hearts. That’s been one of the most satisfying activities of the year and a project built completely on compassion and loving kindness.
Then there’s ballet. Begun (or returned to after a gap of 50+ years) to strengthen my permanently lost balance and to ease arthritis in the neck. Exhausting, demanding on many levels, but I love it and its worth every minute.
Farming-wise? Goodness. We survive. We’ve had irrigation which is just as well, given we’ve had little rain in 12 months and last month, we were told our purchased water rights were being cut by 50% because of ‘issues’. That would take a whole blog post to explain but the result to date is that farmers in our district have worked extremely hard to lobby and retrieve up to 80% of what they paid for. Given that our area is filled with vegetable, fruit and wine growers as well as meat and grain farmers, there has been a huge investment made to keep the city fed. If we lose our water, we lose the food we’re growing and city folk will pay through the nose. Perhaps a point #Liberalpoliticians (#Scomo) should consider in these tough times.
And currently swathes of Australia are burning catastrophically. Tasmania joined the list with an almost two weeks-long fire burning just north of where I sit. Climate change? Of course it is. And yet the #Liberalgovernment (#Scomo) doesn’t want to know. Holy Hell!!!
But back to less emotive things. Cooking?
Lots of it at this time of year. The usuals: truffles, gingerbread, shortbread, Christmas cake etc. But my favourites are always the cookies which I make all year, and yummy Triple Choc Berry Brownie. If you would like any recipes, just message me through the website. Happy to share. Also, in summer and courtesy of an overflowing veggie garden – masses of meals from the River Cottage Veg Book. And not to be outdone, my husband is the jam man of the house and he’ll tackle the berries, the cherry plums, apricots and nectarines. He’s a brilliant jam-maker.
Finally, Icebreaker Swimming which I mostly managed from April through winter to a few weeks ago with a brand new wetsuit. I’ll do it again next year but from now on, we’re in warmer water all day every day with family and friends.
Which brings me finally to summer. It’s an indulgent time and at my age, I choose to indulge heavily. On the beach, in the sea, swimming, boating, the odd kayak if neck and shoulder allow (I need a cortisone shot!). Finding empty beaches along the coast only accessible by boat. It’s the same almost every day for 3-4 months and honestly, it never ever becomes boring.
The proviso is that I take time EVERY day to write. I’m actually at my most productive during summer. Maybe the right headspace? Pickled with saltwater?
Anyway – that’s my newletterish-blogpost.
So let me take this moment to wish all of you a super end of year and may your new year bring you peace and hope.
Thank you so much for your interest in me as a writer, and for following my blog. I’m very grateful.
Cheers and fond regards!