Breathe Deep, Seek Peace…
We left House (our miniscule cottage by the sea) to live the split life of city/country, about 6 weeks ago. Since taking up the urban lifestyle (the farm is only 30 minutes from the city and 30 mins from House) we have rushed.
Rushed to spring-clean (I know its autumn but we spend all spring and summer outside), rushed to re-carpet, rushed to rip through the townhouse like a tornado to strip it of all un-necessaries and make it as like to House as possible.
Twice we have prepared for shearing but the changeable weather has put the shearers behind on other properties because of wet sheep and thus we have been placed down the list. Each time, I’ve done buckets of cooking and over time, we’ve ended up eating what was meant for morning and afternoon smokos.
We’ve caught up on dentists, doctors, hairdressers, drycleaners, vets and podiatrists, car services and friends. I’ve been to embroidery classes, OH has had business in Papua New Guinea and through it all, we’ve moved sheep, he’s fenced paddocks, we’ve gardened and kept things tickety-boo.
On this latest shearing delay, I turned to OH and said ‘Now what?’
He said, ‘Let’s go to House until shearing.’
I said, ‘Okay!’ (As if I needed to be pushed!)
And so we’ve been here for a couple of days and shearing begins on Friday. (Stops over weekend and begins again next week by which time it will be raining – for sure! More delays.)
Meanwhile the sun has shone. Once again I blessed the original owners of House who picked this perfect spot facing north where the sun shines into every room. At this time of year, light in House comes into its own, lower in the sky, so bright, so warm – I could put on my swimsuit, lie on the floor with the dogs in the sun and get a suntan!
So whilst OH has been doing his thing, I’ve been attempting to write love scenes for the new book and posted about it. It’s generated a bucket of comment on the Hist.fict authors’ site on Facebook and some comment here which has been rewarding.
A Thousand Glass Flowers has secured a five star review with the highly regarded Readers’ Favourite site and my cover designer has come up with a spiffing new cover design for Gisborne: Book of Pawns. It is ostensibly for the print release but will of course be uploaded for the e-books. (I hope to release it for viewing tomorrow).
Tinney Heath sent me a wonderful map of Genoa in the late twelfth century for reference purposes and I found a slightly later one of Famagusta … all grist to the mill of Gisborne: Book of Knights
I was also awarded a Golden Arrow by mainstream hist.fict writer, Angus Donald, (Click on the link and watch for the arrow. Turn your sound up!) for promoting his exceptional books and now I simply must become an archer! And I’ve also discovered that the fellowship of writers internationally is a marvellous thing, but especially the fellowship of Indie writers.
But apart from all of that, I’ve also walked the dogs along the beaches, fossicking amongst the mess thrown up by the heavy easterly storms last week. I found a small bright green fish, unusual species, probably only seen when diving. I found a seahorse, or perhaps it’s a pipefish. I found an egg of some sort. It looks like a sand dollar but isn’t and I’m yet to identify it. Sadly these creatures were dead and so are now in our boatshed drying out, losing their smell so I can put them on display in a few months time.
But the most stunning thing I saw was a heron, perfectly and completely white. He stood quiet, elegant, utterly beautiful as he raised his head toward the autumn sun and I thought he symbolised everything about these few days: quiet, solitude, time to take stock … or in the words of Dinotopia … ‘breathe deep and seek peace’.
Congrats on the great review and living through a move. Always way more stressful than we anticipate.
Thank you, Anne, it’s nice to have reviews at any time, but right now it boosts the old morale!
I always adore your posts about House, Prue. I think it is because i love my own home so much that your words resonate for me.
I hope the weather stays clear and those sheep get their haircut next week!
Many congratulations on the 5 star review – richly deserved.
Thank you, Bolly for all your comment.
Perhaps it’s quite odd to bestow a personality on a place but I have done that with this little gem and it has a huge responsibility in my life: it’s my healing place. No pressure for the poor dear thing!
The weather is female I have decided, and quite the DIVA at that. Throws tantrums at the crucial times! We’ll get the ewe lambs done tomorrow and possibly all the rams (which the shearers hate because they are so big – stunningly roman-nosed Border Leicesters). But then three-four more days with the wether lambs and the pregnant ewes after that. I’ll try to take pics.
Loved this, Prue, and strongly identified with it – except for the sheep-shearing! If it’s any consolation, it’s pouring in Scotland too. So much for our brief period of sunny days. Ann xxx
That’s why I feel such a sense of place with your web-letter.
We are probably almost on the same latitude south as you are north. (Rain, sun, warmth, cold) We are 42 degrees south latitude and in respect of winter have only had one or two cold bursts. I’m still wearing light cotton long-sleeved shirts and cotton layers. And shamefully, when its truly cold I rarely wear wool sweaters (traitor to my wooly girls). I tend to opt for woolen socks under boots and piled-on winter coats and scarves.
But it’s early days yet. I bet you have a divine summer … you’re on the gulf stream, aren’t you?
No, no! The Gulf Stream runs up the west coast of Scotland and we’re on the east coast, fully exposed to the weather coming in from Scandinavia and Russia. And at the moment we have a leak in the roof which the roofer can’t sort out. Our Victorian house has a roof which is a chaos of intersecting angles, so it’s baffling.
Shame on you for not supporting the wool industry by knitting sweaters! There are so many fascinating patterns around these days. Sweaters knitted top-down, knitted sideways, knitted at different angles. At the moment I’m knitting a Swirl, which has to be seen to be believed. Support sheep farmers! Knit!
I know, I’m a disgrace. But it’s all to do with me not feeling the cold. I just get too hot and bothered in woolen sweaters. Don’t forget we don’t get snow (only way up in the highlands) and ‘cold’ averages 10-11 degrees Celsius. That said, I can’t wait to wear my Broughty Ferry scarf!
I try to support the industry by using woolen blankets not doonas, woolen socks, woolen overcoats, woolen scarves, pure wool carpet, and most important of all for me, embroidering woolen rugs with Australian-made superfine embroidery wools. My wooly girls will just have to forgive me.
I’m sorry about the lapse re east/west. I became confused with Pilcher’s oft-mentioned gulf-stream. The Swirl sounds amazing and I imagine we’ll see it in your next web-letter?
You’ll see it next time IF it’s finished. I’m also making a lace stole with woven-in sequins to wear at the Gaudy and designing an evening bag to match. I have to finish the green knee socks and am also making some curious socks with sideways cabled cuffs.
The Swirl comes from a pattern book called Knit, Swirl by Sandra McIver. The one I’m making is not the one on the front but the one called Wild Thyme. The construction is quite extraordinary and she’s an amazing woman. After graduating, she bought a piece of land in California and became a self-taught wine grower. After 25 years and huge success she sold up and turned to her other love, knitting. Astonishing, particularly when you see the patterns, which are like nothing else on earth! They include a gorgeous one in white silk and beads which she made for her daughter’s wedding.
All of this is displacement activity while I wait to hear from New York about you-know-what. Supposedly by 11 June. Are you still keeping those fingers crossed?
Totally crossed. Eyes as well.
That’s my girl! You can relax the eyes – wouldn’t want to do you permanent damage. Time you went to bed. Think of those sheep tomorrow. ‘Night.