Every year I’m asked how I’d like to spend my birthday.
Heavens’ knows why because it’s an unbroken tradition that I go to Maria Island for the day with my husband.
There is an internationally recognised art facility in town – MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art.
Till now, my husband and myself have always found other things to do than visit this fine collection. People would say ‘You haven’t been yet?’ and we’d sheepishly say, ‘No…’
Cold Christmases? Snow? Robins sitting on a yuletide log whilst carollers sing with lighted lanterns?
It’s such a perfect picture and one that I grew up with courtesy of books, Christmas cards and fledgling TV programmes.
I remember at primary school when we made our own Christmas cards and I couldn’t WAIT to get hold of the glitter to sprinkle around because the glitter would be the winterlight dancing off the snowflakes that I was contriving to design.
But our reality here in Australia is really so very different…
I’m a light sleeper.
But lately, owing to a brief illness, I have been sleeping like the proverbial log. My head laying on the pillow, eyes closing and the next morning, waking to not a wrinkle or fold in the bedding from a tempestuous night.
Tonight, however, is more like old times…
In a writer’s case, a nom de plume.
In conversation with writer Ann Swinfen, she tells this story;
‘The fourth writes romance and was dumped by her publisher. She was taken on by another, but only on condition that she write under a nom de plume, with a totally invented biography..’
It prompted me to not just wonder at the odd ethics of the publisher, but to wonder what I might call myself – other than myself. And not just that, what biography I might create for my new persona. Goodness, one could almost write a book about said fictional person!
See how blurred this pic is?
That’s how my eyes felt after reading the books. I’m learning about Byzantium in the pursuit of Tobias’s journey to find the rare dye, Tyrian purple in 1194 AD.
So today, I spent the day outside at the farm – you know how I get cabin fever.
Took a day off this week from the book and the farm to have a picnic in the Derwent Valley which we had heard always looks beautiful in the autumn. But we’d never managed to get there before leaf fall. I love amber and topaz, garnet and shiraz, pinot noir and chartreuse. (Colours I mean, not alcohol!) And was determined we’d catch the colour before it dropped…