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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.




Oh dear!


 Now I discover that another eight months have gone by since my last entry into this News & Events page, and one could wonder if anything has happened since the start of last September. Yet so much has occurred, visits from interstate family, the Adelaide Festival months, including Writers’ Week, and much much more.

Our annual boat trip with a group of friends in a houseboat on the Murray River, a Christmas that was at the same time a fraught family time (why is it that, as they tell us, Christmas is always a time of family disturbances and stresses?) but at the same time a season of rejoicing.

The great pleasure of having my eleventh book, Witnesses, accepted by Wakefield Press for publication late this year/early 2023.  And the writing, a long-term project, of my twelfth book, Finding Emma, a sort of parallel to In Search of Anna, and now completed in first draft but needed close and careful editing and revision.

Through it all, the ongong saga of Covid, with masks still mandatory as we dutifully fronted up to vaccinations: number one, two, three at the specified intervals, and finally my fourth, given by special permission a week before legally allowed, so that I’d have had four before leaving for Europe.

Because yes, I am still going to Germany (tomorrow, in fact) for the postponed 2020 Passion Play. My invitation as an Australian press representative still stands, and the play will indeed go ahead – a decision only finalised in March. What a travesty it would have been after all the rehearsals, the implementation of the Hair and Beard decree on Ash Wednesday last year, and all the PR, if it had not been produced.  I’ve contributed my bit to the publicity, with two full page articles in South Australia’s main newspaper, The Advertiser, and lots of public speaking. Many more events as guest speaker after my return …

But not accompanied by David, whose doctor warned that, after his bout with aggressive cancer two years ago (now fully recovered, DG) and all the associated chemotherapy and radiography, his immune system was still compromised  - so going to a possible super-spreader event like the Passion Play with its opening day of 5000 people from all over the world in a vast undercover auditorium would not be a Good Idea.

So, instead, he is sending my daughter Sam in his place (her third time at the Passion Play – and ironic, in that her father paid for her to go in his place to the 2010 Play, before he died – but as she says, this time it was medical prohibition, true, but not another death …

Tomorrow we leave, flying to Doha then Munich. Very exciting. On the trip home, Sam will return to Adelaide from Doha, while David will fly there from home, and join me for two weeks in Kathmandu, to see Felicity, whose three year appointment as Australian ambassador to Nepal is almost half over. How fast that goes! So at least there he will be, presumably, under better conditions in the embassy, rather than wandering around Europe, so it’s acceptable to his doctor. Her Excellency has planned for us a wonderful two week stay, and after two years of no overseas travel this will be a terrific experience. Roll on, tomorrow. It’s going to be interesting to see what international flights are like by now, after years of none – though I view with fear and horror the idea of twenty hours flying – in the mandatory mask! Is anything worth that? Of course it is!



Well, what a delusion that was! Better? At best, it's been more of the same. More truthfully, it's been worse. In 2020 we still believed it would all be over soon. It wasn't.

I've not added to this News blog for so long that it's gathering cobwebs in cyberspace. But in the last eight months, we've seen disaster on disaster. World-wide escalation in an out of control pandemic, with countries fighting for vaccine supplies and an unbelievable surge in anti-vaxxers. Madness. Any casual glance at the death tolls among the unvaccinated makes the bogey of blood clots seem slight, and the idiocy of freedom rallying "We have the right to say 'No'!" staggers anyone rational. In Australia, lockdowns in our major states that seem never-ending, an economy that is showing disaster for so many small businesses, families in deprivation as governments attempt to provide support for basic needs, all make our vaunted 'safety in isolation' claim look feeble. Meanwhile, it's hard to recognise each other in this masked world, and the automatic check-in with QR codes in all places we enter has become second nature.

Add to that the nightmare spectre of climate change in a country where leadership seems to bury heads in sand, despite a world of natural disasters with record-breaking temperatures, out-of-control bushfires, massive flooding and polar warming, and it's little wonder that we seem to have lost our way. Now, the events in Afghanistan, with the heart-breaking losses of all the hard-won freedoms after withdrawal of US and Australian troops, and the horrific scenes of desperate people trying to escape the victorious return of the Taliban, with its promise of Sharia law  -  all more than we can cope with.

Any compensations?  Yes, lockdowns brought a curious freedom. No meetings, events, responsibilities in public life. Just the chance to live peacefully bunkered in our homes. Time to write, so I managed to finish the historical fiction novel, and then get on with a long-cherished plan: a second volume of my 2014 book 'Bystanders'  with its new perspective on Biblical characters. Or, in many cases, people who might have been there -but, until now, weren't! I've now completed sixteen more of these: eight from the Old Testament, another eight from the new. I've loved this project. The research into so many different eras has been fascinating, and the creation of these characters, telling their stories in their own voices, is the writing I most enjoy. The basic stories are now finished. Next the introductory preambles to each, needed in an era where Biblical literacy is low at best, non-existent for many. Then the Study Guides for each story, as I found the first volume was often used as study group material by church organisations. The stories nearly all raise relevant social issues of today's world - so have been popular with church home groups.

Apart from that, great rejoicing at some lovely reviews, just received, from the Studio Journal reviewer, who says they will be published in coming editions. I've put them on this website - you can find them by clicking on the latest reviews for both 'In Seach of Anna' and 'Marking Time.' The sorts of reviews that make you keep writing even when rejection slips make you wonder why! A few poems published, and so life goes, somewhat hesitantly, on.