Happy New Year

Well here we are, 2016. For six whole days now. As usual at this time of year we’ve had a bit of rain, some wind, some lovely fine days, some more rain and then another fine day. Not too hot yet and windy enough to dry the washing. When I was young the weather settled down into summer when we went back to school at the end of January. February can be humid, especially in Auckland, not so much in Putaruru and March is stunning.

I was awake at midnight on December 31st, not having a drink or singing with anyone, but awake and I said “Happy New Year” to Chloe and she gave me a special 2016 kind of meow.

We’ve had our ups and downs lately, she has a shredded pad on her paw and a distinct limp so she has come-a-cropper. But she is healing now and still as fond of her food as ever. Staying inside more and sleeping in her chair, the lazy-boy I once sat in, briefly.

It’s a funny time of the year because I often think of Mum. It still seems weird that she’s not here when I’m dealing with medical issues. I inject myself in the stomach every evening with insulin. It doesn’t hurt and I’m not unhappy about doing it. But I was needle phobic for years and had to be persuaded to go to the doctor in case there was an injection involved. I guess I had so many needles when I was a kid and then suddenly I decided I didn’t want any more. I grew out of it, thank goodness. But I can still remember her holding my head so I looked at her and telling me a story.

And in 10 days I go up to Auckland for an MRI scan on my heart. At some point before the end of the month I will have a balloon valvotomy on my pulmonary valve or, if necessary, a valve replacement. It won’t hurt either and it will give me a better quality of life and more oxygenated blood…but still, someone will be meddling with my heart and Mum’s not here, for the first time. That is when you know you are all grown up and you need to ‘suck it up’ and get on with it.

I’m also deep in the planning for the launch of ‘Rachel’s Legacy’ March 7th at PaperPlus in Cambridge. For reasons that will become clear on the night I have to compile a list of 170 real people and their fates in WW2, plus my characters, some of whom are real and some of whom are not. And make lists of food. And plan a competition. Lily, a genius who works at HarperCollins in Auckland, will create invitations and posters and things like that for me. Every book has to have a magic launch, it’s part of the whole sparkly bit of being an author. (Did I really write that?)

I saw President Obama talking about gun control today and he impressed me. At least he’s trying to do something about the insane situation with guns in America. I also watched him with Jerry Seinfield in a car and drinking coffee and that was great. Seinfield started to ask, “what language..” and Obama just said, “English…mainly.” It was dry and funny and he seemed a very regular guy.

If you like books about cops and slightly futuristic stuff, have you ever read the “Death” series by J.D. Robb? It’s Nora Roberts under another name and it is set in 2060 in New York. I am on my third audio book in the series and only have around 35 books to go to listen to them all. The links between them in characterization and situational references are really interesting, the kind of thing readers like when they read a series. It shows me how much I have to finish off and explain in “Levi’s War.”

Hope you have had a good New Year and hope 2016 brings you all you hope for. As some well known sports brand would say, Just Do It.


Seeing in 2012 with Miranda Hart

This is the one time of the year when it feels a little weird to be living in New Zealand. It’s 2012 here and has been for about ten hours but in most of the world it’s still 2011. New Year’s Eve was damp here, after a week of fairly heavy rain in most of the country, so some of the celebrations were cancelled. I suspect it was a fairly quiet one. I could hear a few fireworks at midnight and I tried to tweet RIGHT on 12am, not really sure why.

Before the bewitching hour I had laughed myself silly watching an omnibus of episodes of Miranda on TV. Miranda Hart, hands down the funniest female comedian ever. I’m not sure why she amuses me so much but I suspect I see myself in some of her situations. If you want to laugh, PLEASE have a look at this. Maybe I’m just silly but it makes me cry with laughter.


New Year’s Day to us means horse races, the BIG race day at Ellerslie in Auckland. My bro has three horses running, two in one race. So it will be a day in front of the telly for Mum, comfy and relaxed, no need for hat, makeup or glam dress and as she said this morning, “My slave can bring me food.” I have no idea who she means.

 Sad news from the garden, Phyllis went to seed and had to be removed, but Mavis is still in the ground because she has TWO new heads growing. I had no idea that broccoli could grow new heads after you’d cut the main one off, it sounds vaguely like some weird genetic experiment. More Pak Choi and silverbeet this evening and the lunchtime salad may well feature the first lettuce fresh from the vege garden.  

Book downloads hurtling towards 11,000 and I am waiting to see if “The Secret Keeper” will make 7000 for the month of December on Amazon, doing well on Sony as well.

Once again Happy New Year! Good morning 2012, we are here….