Hello? Taps on camera to see if it is on. Hello? Is there anyone there? Or have you all gone away to follow someone who blogs more regularly? I do try. I know it has been far, far too long…oh, just get on with it!
Well what have I been up to? Lots. Life has been busy, I know when life is busy because I have no time to garden or do housework and I get by with the ‘basics’ – dishes, washing, ironing, bed making, cooking. Once again I need the housework fairy and the garden fairy, but once again they are nowhere to be seen. Sometimes I think that’s why I watch Downton Abbey, because I envy them all the servants.
On the writing front things are progressing well. I juggled a few projects and waited for one to race ahead and yell “pick me, pick me!” and one did. So, I’m enjoying it and it is flowing well and it’s not the one I expected. I write early and I write late and sometimes I write in the afternoon, but that’s a little dangerous as I often wake up at the computer and the writing really isn’t that boring, I just need a Nana nap.
I have my US tax number and that is a cause for much celebration. My withholding tax in the US has gone from 30% to 5% and I shall get a whack of money back from the IRS for the tax I have ‘over-paid.’
I’ve also been doing some speaking engagements, Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton, to a variety of audiences and I really do enjoy that. People are so interesting and they ask such great questions and afterwards they come up and tell me fascinating things. I’ve met a school teacher of mine I haven’t seen for over 30 years, I’ve met a nurse who was probably in the theatre when I had my heart operation, I’ve met friends of my Mum and Aunt and the mothers of girls I went to school with etc.
And over the last few weeks I’ve been involved with the St Andrews Floral Festival. I joined the organising committee in February and was responsible for the publicity. It grew into a three-day festival in the church and the parish hall, with over 30 different exhibits and art and entertainment, food glorious food, and all available for a gold coin donation with the proceeds going to St. John. It was weeks of hard work and the outcome was magnificent. The arrangements were just gorgeous and each one was different from the other. The Leamington Brownies did sand saucers and each one had a name on it (in tiny writing they did themselves) and people got to vote for the best. Zara’s one was simple and elegant and I found myself counting lots of votes for Zoro. Next year they must have bigger names (note to self).
The thing I enjoyed most about the festival was the way the whole congregation pulled together and helped. I’ve made some wonderful friends among these lovely people and I do so love spending time with them. They are funny and warm and wise and they have such a positive outlook on life.
Mum is well, very well in fact. She’s strong and happy and everything inside is working and is relatively pain-free. She came and had a look at the flowers the day before the festival opened and loved each one more than the last. She comes home regularly and we have lovely days watching TV, listening to opera, having a ‘fry-up’ lunch and having manicures and pedicures. I am under no illusions about how precious these days are and how much I shall look back and thank God for them. She has a hundred ways of saying ‘yes’ and each means something different. She’s given up cleaning the bathroom when she goes to the loo and now just draws patterns in the dust. Sometimes we laugh till we cry.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing, baking for the festival, writing, visiting Mum, speaking to crowds…
Oh and I have to tell you, ‘people’ are interested in the dramatic stage rights for THE KEEPER OF SECRETS because they want to write an opera. I am trying not to hear strains of ‘Springtime for Hitler in Poland.’
And I got a box of the Dutch edition the other day and, no, I didn’t kiss the courier who delivered it. The book is bigger than the English version and the production values are lovely. I adore the cover. They sold 4000 in the first month of release and are re-printing so they don’t run out of stock. It is quite strange to look at a book you wrote and not understand a word, except for the names. There is a Dutch nurse at Resthaven and she is reading it for me and will let me know what she thinks, she has read the English version.
My writing calls so I am away, see you soon, I PROMISE.