Or, as in the case of the largest group of those who follow this blog, Autumn Newsletter!
I can’t believe that its spring here in the southern hemisphere.
It seems no time at all since I wrote a ‘kind of winter newsletter’, which is another name for a long blog post.
You see, I don’t have a mailing list…
I hate having my own email in-box choc-full of ‘stuff’ and so I rely on my blog to reach those kindred spirits who may be interested in my goings-on and my booklist. This, my friends, is one of my four loooong epistles of the year.
Today as I stare out the window at the bane of my life, the blooming wattle (harbinger of Australian spring and my bronchitis … awful tree!), I hear my husband drive off to check the lambs.
It’s a tough time for stock, flock and farmers as new lambs drop every hour. When they survive and one sees them with their little heads pointing to the sun, it’s the best feeling. Not so much, when you see their lifeless bodies succumbed to wind and rain. But when one farms, one has to accept the good with the bad, else it would be impossible to continue.
But on to happier things…
It’s getting warmer!
I folded the thicker winter woollies away over the weekend, and already there’s been long and short-sleeves with no goose-bumps or warmer layers over the top. That’s not to say I find winter awful – on the contrary. I love having the coast and beaches to myself, with the hoards away doing city things. And I don’t mind the cold either. One just pulls out well-worn and familiar sweaters and jackets. I’m not a big clothes-shopper, you see. So things are unfolded from previous seasons.
But orange is my colour de jour and so there has been a purchase or two in different shades to space with quieter colours. Orange makes me inordinately happy!
The garden comes into its own at this time. Floral growth, leaf-burst, delicate as well as overpowering scents. And because the ground is softer, we can now plant trees in the orchard which we’d like to turn into a micro-climate. So along with the existing fruits and almonds, there’s more olives, a Chinese elm, pittosporum eugenoides and an oak to go in this week.
In the vegetable garden, weather pending, the potatoes, snowpeas and microgreens will go in.
In the berry house, the new strawberries and raspberries have all taken and the established berries are all bursting into leaf. Can’t wait for fresh berries and then, with all the frozen pickings hopefully we get jams and such. My husband’s a super jam maker!
Bird sounds at the moment are delicious – magpies, wood pigeons, plovers, starlings, tiny bush wrens – and the ever-present cry of seabirds. It’s an ongoing orchestra outside, nothing jarring and all very sympatico.
My stitching continues apace. I’ve almost finished Anna Scott’s Mountain Goat which in my case is Merino Ram (I need to fatten his chest and jaw). After completing the work, I’m not sure what to do. I might have to flick through Pinterest for some ideas. But gosh, I’d love to gird my loins…
…and try something from this delicious book.
In the kitchen, I love to cook sweet things. This week, it’s been chocolate cookies of two different sorts.
Last week it was raspberry chocolate brownies (berries from the freezer). Next week it might be banana/chocolate cupcakes.
But let’s not be coy about this. Not everything works. I tried to make a strawberry cake this afternoon and it came out raw. Utterly! As if the oven hadn’t even been on! Bad biorhythms in the kitchen today!
My closest friend and I trotted off to the cinema to see Palm Beach, last week. It’s a story of Australian baby boomers which we enjoyed. It smacked of people we know, maybe even ourselves, and luxury setting aside, it was a movie about the human condition. In the next week or so, we hope to see Downton Abbey – the Movie because we’re devotees of Maggie Smith’s cutting wit. And in a week or two, another friend and myself shall put on our glad rags and go to see The Russian Imperial Ballet performing Swan Lake.
In between times, OH and myself have indulged in Nordic Noir and spy thrillers on Pay TV. We’ve also just finished watching Sasha Baron Cohen in The Spy – an amazing piece of 60’s history on the Syrian/Israeli conflict. Cohen was startlingly different to what we know. Brilliant actually. Then there’s the third series of Jack Whitehall’s Travels with My Father. It’s been a hoot for the last two. And then onto Below the Surface – more Nordic thrills.
But above all there’s writing!
What a week it has been! Something inspired me to get on with the job! And not just one but two jobs simultaneously. I’ve heard of many other writers doing this but have never been able to do it myself. Time will tell if I can pull it off this time.
I’m continuing with The Cabinet of Curiosities but have also begun A Small Thread of Silk. Those who know my work will know that Cabinet is a hist.fantasy and Thread is a hist.fiction. The WIP’s will hopefully continue strongly, ready for release this time next year. Summer is coming though, and it really does push my self-discipline to the limits.
Reading-wise, I’ve almost finished Tinney S. Heath’s Lady of the Seven Suns. A beautiful read about Giacoma, ‘brother’ to Francis of Assisi. I’m not finished yet but even on what I’ve read I recommend this to any hist.fict aficionado.
The other book is an audiobook, my first time listening to an Audible book via my phone. Oh my gosh – my car trips are fab! So is the ironing! Normally I would listen to audios via CD or my computer. But realising my phone is always with me, I bought the Audible app and yes, I know! I’m late to that particular party! The book is Matthew Harffy’s Storm of Steel about Beobrand of Ubbanford, set in Anglo-Saxon Britain. It’s the brilliant quality I’ve come to expect from Harffy!
And on that literary note – here ends my seasonal newsletter-ish blogpost. No sales pitch at all. Just the hope that you’ll stay with me as I float across the seas of this writing world. There’ll be little posts in between the seasons of course, but only four of these epistles a year.
Aren’t you glad?