Two things involving words that I have not done for a while: I haven’t written a blog and I certainly have not sent off any Christmas cards. So here I sit on a Friday night, deciding to kill two birds with one stone.
Looking back at this last year, I must say it is a vast improvement on some of the recent previous. We lost Mum in 2016, and it took a while to get used to not having her wonderful presence around. Last year I wrote my longest self-published book ‘Auckland to Orkney’ after spending weeks roaming Scotland. I figured I’ll have a go at jotting down the significant events of this year, which (unbelievably) is nearly over.
February: The week long camping trip up at Kai Iwi lakes. This is a wonderful summer tenting holiday–usually–and although my sis and I got a few days of swimming in the clear fresh water and reading, the winds began to howl around us, and the rain threatened, so we packed up and went North instead. Visited a few places I haven’t been in a while and stayed in motels or B&Bs.
saw the weather more settled and a small but heartwarming gathering of our small church to see the sun rise for Easter morning.
May and June
: Helen (sis) and I headed off for six weeks to the UK. We hung out for a few days with our dear friends in Bournemouth visiting some of the local sites.
We flew from London to Tirana, Albania, to meet up with some folk from small house church gatherings along with other women from the UK, USA, Canada and the Netherlands. It was glorious.
Then we went to Paris for a couple of days, staying in Montmartre.
We took the fast train to the south of France, and stayed in St. Remy, Provence, going out each day to visit various of the many quaint picturesque spots nearby. Every day was full of glory, from a clear green river that poured out of a mountainside, to the Van Gogh sanitarium where he spent many years, to the Roman ruins just outside St Remy. Two weeks of enjoying Provence- and we even found an early field of lavender.
We flew direct from Marseilles to Dublin, where Helen experienced Ireland for the first time, and I saw how much it had changed since I saw it thirty years ago. Our trip to Ireland finished with a trip out to County Wicklow.
, and we were well and truly back in wintery Auckland, both of us at new jobs. Mine was as a PhD Administrator for the School of Engineering, Computer & Maths Sciences at AUT University. I am working three days a week there, but it is busy, and the other two days are spent even busier at home. I had found out the day before we left to go to the UK that my first fiction book – An Unexpected Highlander – was accepted by a publisher, and so I came home and began my second historical romantic fiction (of course!). Somewhat surprisingly, my strongest supporters turned out to be a group of engineering tutors and supervisors who I got to know going up to level 6 to make my coffee in the morning. I became known as ‘Enid’ in honour of Enid Blyton. But of course, truly, my largest band of encouragers are the many friends I have made through the Outlander fandom, who all love well – Scotland, history, adventure, romance, and a good yarn.
And so the long winter months progressed:
, I completed the final edits on my new book, and in October
it was published and for sale through Boroughs Publishing Group (LA) or Amazon. Needless to say, I was and still am, excited and thrilled.
Also this month, I received an intriguing request from someone I didn’t know. Initially I ignored it until the person identified themselves as a child who I had taught back in 1980, in my third year teaching. They had organised a meet up at a local pub, and to my delight and surprise, a small group of ex-pupils from Edendale Primary School were there, and one of the teachers I had taught with. A happy reunion indeed!
Mid-October I flew to Brisbane, and was picked up by a fellow Outlander fan and her husband, and stayed the night with them before Amanda drove us on a lengthy day-long journey down to Glen Innes in NSW for a ‘Through the Stones’ Outlander Gathering. Here I met up with a wonderful boisterous bunch of mainly women from the ANZOFs group (Australian and New Zealand Outlander Fans), and we spent three days delighting in all things Scottish and Outlander, even meeting David Berry, who plays Lord John in the show.
I sent my second novel to the publisher and am currently awaiting the response. I am halfway through my teen novel about a boy who is transformed by a magical pearl and can breathe underwater.
It is now December. Endless functions rounding up the year have happened at work. I have taken to cycling the three days I work in town, to try and improve my exercise – if the weather is not too bad. Have even managed to cycle a couple of times with my older brother and younger sister, which was great. We are all looking forward to summer, which has only hinted at being here. Christmas is a couple of weeks away, and then the true holidays begin.
I hope you who are reading this, have a peaceful, festive, fun season, and can face 2019 with hope and cheerful anticipation, as I am.