After nine months ...!

by on 03 February, 2023 with 0 Comments


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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