Latest News


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.



I’m appalled to find that my last addition to this page was during last May, just before daughter Sam and I set off for Germany and the Passion Play at Oberammergau. Now, having been so remiss for so long, I really will be struggling to reconstruct so much of 2022. Here goes!


            The Passion Play was, as always, a deeply moving experience, and the little town of Oberammergau as charming as even. Wandering down familiar streets, spending afternoons in our favourite coffee shop, the Café Krönner in the Dorfstrasse, sharing sumptuous German cakes with Sam this time instead of David (really sad he was missing it all), meeting old friends, and valuing those who came from various part of Germany to see me, and enjoying the valued experience of being the official Australian press representative at all the Opening Day events …   it was all a delight. Since being home, I’ve written and spoken about this amazing production to so many groups that it’s now deeply embedded in my mind. It truly is one of the world’s most remarkable events, and to have seen it change and develop during the four decades I’ve been attending has been fascinating. After 400 years it’s as relevant today as ever, especially with the 2022 emphasis on social issues and the way Christ speaks to these.


            From Germany, a reunion with David in Doha, then he and I flew on to an equally- anticipated two weeks with oldest daughter Felicity in Kathmandu. She is now into the third year of her appointment as Australian ambassador to Nepal, and the experience of life in the embassy was a revelation. No sinecure job, this, but a hard-working way of life in a role that she fills with consummate skill. I heard plaudits for her from everyone we met, and watching her in public engagements was a pleasure. A glow to a maternal heart, and I basked in reflected glory. Delightful also the sight-seeing in the capital, and the trips to heritage cities like Bhaktapur and magnificent scenery of Pokhara. The flight around the Himalayas (desperately trying to check which peak was Everest) was another unforgettable experience.


            Hard after all this to come home to what turned out to be a packed and hard-working rest of the year. My life turned into a flood of public speaking engagements, with everyone interested in the Passion Play and its dramatic history and, of course, a chance to publicise my 2014 verse novel, Passion Play, about travellers going to the performance. Pleasingly republished by Wakefield Press, with a new more relevant cover, in time for this once-a-decade event. It’s good to see it selling again, and I’m still getting 2023 bookings from clubs, libraries, organisations, to talk about Oberammergau and its play.


            Being on the speaker circuit has taken a lot of the last year; so too has the revision of Witnesses, and the planning for its launch in six weeks’ time. I’m fortunate to have Dr Lynn Arnold to launch the book, which he’s enthusiastic about, and support from place like the Hamra Auditorium and Jericho Wines, who will provide the wine for the event. Now it’s time to send out the invitations.


            In with all this was a splendid family Christmas, with everyone home with us in Adelaide. Son Nick and wife came from Queensland a few weeks earlier, as did David’s son and his partner, but the three girls with assorted grand-daughters came from interstate, and even Felicity on a week’s private holiday from Nepal. Having them all around the Christmas dinner table was a joy. Especially as, as week earlier, we’d had builders and scaffolding in the house as a glass roof section and a big head-of-stairwell window were replaced. Finished just in time.


            Looking back it’s small wonder that my writing life has suffered. Fortunately going to regular meetings of the five poetry groups we belong to has provided the impetus to keep writing, and I’ve been pleased to have had a number of poems published in various journals during the year. Yes of course, a bit of writing based on Kathmandu and mountains – how could that colourful city and those spectacular mountains not have stimulated writing!


            Now I wait to see, when the Witnesses launch is over, how Wakefield will feel about publishing Finding Emma. Fingers crossed.


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