Hosted by daughter Emma and her husband Carson, this Christmas was quite possibly the best ever... Here's the photographic evidence... Pappy and Andy helping to prepare bugs (lobster) in the kitchenAn impromptu four generations choir accompanied by our guitar hero, Thomas... and below, happy me...
I've always loved those sleepy, reflective moments in the afternoon when people examine presents more closely... in our case there were quite a few cook books.
And then... chatting by candlelight at the end of the day...
Brisbane is famous for its thunderstorms in late afternoons in summer and on Tuesday we had a beauty. Vicki and I were in the city doing last minute gift shopping and we were shocked when we came out of the stores into almost total darkness.
E was at home taking photographs of what was going on in the heavens. Apparently it was quite spectacular.
Now, the Christmas preparations are well underway. Tomorrow we'll all be heading to Emma's where Andrew and my Mum will join us. Last night we made a late journey to the seafood markets and the esky is full of oysters, bugs (lobsters) and prawns (shrimp). It will be a cold Christmas lunch with salads and seafood and a baked ham for us. I've made a mango trifle (courtesy of a fab recipe from even fabber Marion Lennox) and V was up till midnight making shortbread. Just a few more presents to wrap... another social gathering with friends... a possible trip into the cathedral tonight... and Christmas will be here.
I hope you all have a wonderful day... whether it's quiet or hectic... I hope there are many special moments, and I leave you with a photo of this year's Christmas Creek sign .
After the book was sent last Tuesday, I spent a few relaxing days at Noosa, and I'm now in Brisbane, having a lovely time catching up with sisters, daughters, my mum and old friends from my single, flatting days (and being spoiled rotten with the most scrumptious food). Vicki and Matt below are our fab hosts.We're staying at their lovely flat at Red Hill and this spot is full of nostalgic memories for me. Just down the road on Enogerra Terrace is my very first library (I started with reading a series about twins who lived all over the world --The Dutch Twins, The Eskimo Twins etc... and I fell in love with a story about a girl whose family lived above their shop.) From here I can see my old primary school and the church where I was married, and that distant gap in the hills is the suburb of The Gap, where I went to high school.
Am v happy in this lead in to Christmas. Hope you are, too.
Then we continued driving south and came to Miriam Vale where we always stop for the most delicious fresh crab sandwiches... and you know, I'd never noticed the old fellow on the roof before, but these days I'm totally atune...
Now we're in Noosa and I've finished my book, so I'm officially on holidays. I was sad to let these characters go, actually, but last night E and I had a divine dinner at a restaurant right on the edge of the sand to send them off in style. Can you guess what we talked about (at least some of the time?) yeah... my next book.:)
We are now in Rockhampton, halfway down the coast of Queensland, on our way to a southern family Christmas. Yesterday we were on the road for ten hours. It's a big state!!!!!!!!! Be warned, if you're an overseas traveller. We're driving, rather than flying, because we want to use our car while were in the SE and we'll be away for too long to make car hire an option. We've made this journey many, many times, so we know the ropes. Yesterday, our morning tea stop was Bowen (where much of the movie Australia was filmed). That's Cape Gloucester in the background. They now have big posters boasting about how much Hugh Jackman loved Bowen.For some reason (which I think is peculiar to Aussie country towns) we have big plastic statues of the local product. There are big bananas and big pineapples. In Bowen there's a big mango. Bowen mangoes are truly sensational, possibly the most divine fruit in the world, and we bought a whole bucketful -- that's fifteen mangoes for eight dollars -- and we got to keep the bucket!! (Green ones down the bottom)One of my writers friends from Victoria was recently thrilled that she'd bought mangoes for $1.78 each to make a mango trifle -- (pretty much traditional trifle, but with lemon jelly and slices of mango -- sounds yummy, except it's never become a staple in our household because I have a husband who doesn't like custard and a son who doesn't like jelly, sigh). Here in Rockhampton, we're in the heart of beautiful cattle country, so there are cow statues everywhere. I'll try to get a shot for you.
Interesting marketing strategies... have resulted in totally different packaging for the same story. My next book will be released in the UK and North America in March. It's set in Australia's Cape York, in wild, rugged and very distinctive tropical coastline that's described in a fair amount of detail in the book.
In the UK it's called The Cattleman's Adopted Family and it's in a 2 in 1 with Margaret Way's Outback Bachelor (lucky me) and looks like this.
In North America, it's called The Rancher's Adopted Family and looks like this.
My editor loved the setting I described, but obviously marketing has its own way of thinking... I hope American readers won't feel conned.
The saga of the guinea fowl continues… Can’t show photos at the moment as I cleverly left my laptop and its attachments behind in T’ville!! It had to happen one time, but why did it happen when I’m on deadline? Arrgh! Anyway, to start with – good news. Young Lazarus/Gloria is thriving. After being hand fed the whole time we were in Townsville last week, it’s nearly twice its size and last night spent a night back in the main coop, sleeping inside one of E’s flannelette shirts. Also, we’ve discovered that Icarus, the young male who kept flying up and hitting his head on the roof, was actually being pecked by the other more dominant male. On further observation, we felt so sorry for him that we decided to let him out and he now lives quite happily outside the pen, although he often calls to the females to follow him. One female seems keen, I must say. Today, for the first time, we’ve let all the adults out to explore our block and they’re having a wonderful time, constantly pecking, presumably at insects. Sometimes they’re in pairs, but often the dominant male lures both females to wander with him and chases poor Icarus away, so we’re giving serious thought to the best way to manage Icarus’s romantic interests, and we’re very much hoping that the young keet is Gloria. Alpha males are more trouble than they’re worth. On the writing front, I’m in the final part of my book, (bless E for letting me use his laptop) and tomorrow I’m having another gathering of NQ romance writers, which should be fun.