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 Four months on …

 End of September, that was my previous entry – no wonder I feel ashamed of being so slack. But what a four months it has been.

The long-anticipated, much-planned trip to Scandinavia fell into a mighty hole when I was diagnosed with pneumonia two weeks before departure. First my own doctor, then the chest specialist he referred me to, were adamant. Definitely no travel. Not only was that a source of great sadness; all those plans, the places we’d booked, the return to Tromso, the glass igloos in Finland, the people like my dear friend Lotte in Germany we’d arranged to spend time with … not only these gone – but, because it was too late to cancel these bookings and get any return, it was a massive financial loss. We are still now, four months later, doing battle with RAA Travel Insurance to recoup these losses.

            So a very different December from the one we’d planned!

            To comfort ourselves, we arranged a two week trip to Tasmania. At least, we consoled ourselves, it was ‘overseas’! Well, we did take our car with us on the boat, and set off on the Spirit of Tasmania for a time that proved both really interesting and very enjoyable. Best of all, I resumed my old travel practice of writing a poem a day. So rewarding, to be writing again – it added an extra dimension as we explored the ancient forests of the north west, the mighty rivers and mountains of the centre, the convict remains in Sarah Island and Port Arthur, the quirky fascinations of the MONA gallery, gold-panning as part of the Western Railway experience, the delights of whiskey distilleries like Hellyers … so much to do.

           But back to Melbourne for a planned five days with friends and relatives, only to find on the first morning there that, to our shocked dismay, we were testing positive for Covid. After avoiding it for four years and with five vaccinations, this did come as a nasty surprise. No Melbourne time and another set of plans foiled. Straight back into the car and home for two weeks isolation in Adelaide. Beginning to feel jinxed, but at least we’d had the Tasmanian holiday.

            Now it’s into full-scale planning for the launch of the new book. Melbourne artist Stacey Zass has created a lovely cover design for the front, and it’s all falling into place for the launches of Finding Emma. The first, with West Torrens Mayor Michael Coxon as host, and Matthew Williams, SA Consul for Germany as guest speaker, will be on March 20, and next week invitations should be sent out. In April, another launch at the Jindera Pioneer Museum, with Albury Mayor Kylie Cook as the speaker, and then two days later an Author Event at the Albury LibraryMuseum. By then Emma will be well and truly out in the world – it will be interesting to see how she is received. Fingers crossed. I’m hoping to see many people, friends old and new, at these events. It’s all both exciting – and also a bit apprehension-creating. I’m really hoping this book gets a favourable response …




Again, time passes

How quickly months pass never ceases to amaze me. I look back and see that my last entry in this ‘Latest News’ page was back in April – and suddenly it’s September. So ‘latest’ may be true, but there’s a lot of ground to cover.

 It’s been as always, a busy time since the launch of my recent book, ‘Witnesses’. Many public speaking events, with one of the pleasantest an author event at The Ark bookshop on a spring day in the Barossa Valley. People gathered in the courtyard between historic buildings in the glorious morning sunshine, almond tree in full blossom, birds singing, to listen to me talk about my life as a writer and the twelve books I’ve had published over the last fourteen years. However, most of my public speaking has been about Oberammergau and my book ‘Passion Play’, still much in the public mind following the 2022 five-month season of the postponed 2020 play. The more than forty talks about this famous event that I’ve given during the last years shows that interest in this famous Oberammergau event is still high.

 Between this and travel, the months have flown by swiftly. We made a very satisfying five week trip north, driving first to Queensland for oldest son Nick’s sixtieth birthday (now that a scarey moment when your children reach ages like that!) followed by a long slow meander down the south-eat side of Australia on what we labelled a ‘people tour.’ And it was. Our travels became a series of catch-ups with relatives and friends, some dating back to our early years. Many Brisbane friends, of course, from my eight years there, then family in places like Lismore, Sydney, Canberra, Bawley Point, Albury, Melbourne, and a final visit to Ballarat as we made a reluctant return to Adelaide. The sort of time one looks back on as utterly satisfying, with nostalgic moments and much reminiscing.

 But now my attention is fixed on two future moments – our long-anticipated return to Scandinavia, this time to the glass igloos in Finland, (maybe this time we’ll get a better look at the Northern Lights) then on north to board a coastal steamer for the trip down Norway’s west coast with a three day stay in Tromso, a place we loved within the Arctic Circle. Back on board to continue south to Bergen, next a flight to Hamburg, and travel north again to stay with dear friend Lotte in Schleswig Holstein. Home for Christmas.

 After that the second future moment will need full concentration on planning for the release of next year’s book, currently being edited at Wakefield Press in readiness for the March 20 launch. ‘Finding Emma’ is another historical fiction novel, a companion piece to the 2019 ‘In Search of Anna’. Put the date on your calendar because I hope to see many old and new friends at that launch.




This entry is much better than the long stretches last year when this page was unattended!

So much has happened in this time that it’s a pleasure to write about, especially the terrific book launch for ‘Witnesses’ on March 16. The invitations I was planning to send in my last entry did go out, and the responses were way beyond my optimistic hopes. Everything was set up for the Hamra Auditorium at the West Torrens Library, but soon I was getting phone calls and emails from people eager to attend, but finding it booked out. The maximum of 100 for the venue had been reached. Problems.

A great suggestion from the West Torrens Mayor, a lovely man: “Why not use the Thebarton Community Centre?”  A quick look at that magnificent building convinced me, so we had a bigger and better venue for the 150 who attended. A great night, with excellent wines from my sponsor winery, Jericho Wines (thank you) and the usual outstanding catering by my Immanuel Lutheran Church friends (a huge thank you). Kevin Richardson, always a polished MC, was followed by Dr Lynn Arnold, a spell-binding guest speaker who showed me qualities in my book I hadn’t seen before. Then I had fun talking about the book’s background and reading excerpts from it. Great support from the friends who managed the drinks and food tables, and a well-patronised sales team on the cash and credit card desks. Lovely to have grand-daughter Ali managing the card machine with aplomb and efficiency. A very satisfying night.

Now it’s on to the hard work of marketing the book, with good responses from my radio contacts and newspaper and magazine friends. Review copies have gone to all the usual journals, so I wait to see what publicity I might get. Waiting also to see what the reaction of Wakefield Press is to “Finding Emma.” Always a nail-biting time ….

But we take a break now and go to Norfolk Island for some much-anticipated R & R time. Making plans also to revive the travel that Covid cancelled back in 2020, and venture north  later in the year to mid-winter Finland to stay in the famous glass igloos, then travel by coastal steamer down the west coast of Norway. Fjord time. Back to our beloved Tromso, and hopefully dine again at Emma’s, one of our favourite restaurants. South to Bergen, then Hamburg, and a week with our dear Lotte in Schleswig Holstein. Seems a long way off, but the months will pass all too swiftly.


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