2019 – it was another good year.
Happy New Year to all!
Back to last summer. I worked hard on my new novel during my break from university. By the end of February and the start of a new university year, I had ticked off almost everything on my list of things I wanted to do in my new novel. After a few weeks more, All Manner of Things was on its way to its first beta readers.
March arrived. Once again, I was juggling the balls of a busy life. And I mean busy. Sometimes too busy for words. But that’s not surprising when your balls include family, tutoring, writing, managing two university writing journals, and not forgetting coordinating the Eltham Library’s annual Women’s History Month Event. Now the library’s international Women’s Day event, it has gained a new name for 2020. From this time on, it will be known as the Women Writing History Event.
The weeks sped by. We celebrated family birthdays, and then headed off for a long weekend at Ballarat for their Begonia Festival. All was going well until I ended up entertaining my family (especially my two-year-old grandson) by riding my bike into Lake Wendouree. I re-emerged all muddy and dripping to take in my grandson’s wide eyes, and great worry. “Is the swan okay?” he asked. The swan in the lake was okay, but I was bruised, limping and also wondering what I had done to myself. My research trip to England was looming. I returned home crossing everything that my ankle would recover in time for my trip.
By the time I left for London in May, I was no longer hobbling. LOL – but that was short lived. Second day in London, a lovely view of the Thames captured my attention, and distracted me from watching where I was going – and I tripped and fell to the floor. I hurt my ankle and knee – and now faced surviving three weeks of a planned research trip which involved hours of walking each day. I was lucky. While the first days of my trip had to be adapted to cope with my reduced mobility, by day four, I could manage a fair amount of walking on my sore ankle and knee and get back to ticking off my field research for All Manner of Things.
I trained down to Peterborough Cathedral to meet with one of the organisers of the Katherine of Aragon festival, and of course made time to visit a queen:
I caught a bus to Lambeth Palace and spent a day at their great library – where I was entrusted with looking through a 16th century book, and came back with a treasured library card, which I do not need to renew until May, 2021.
A friend and I enjoyed visiting the beautiful Fulham Palace – a place where Katherine of Aragaon stayed a couple of times during her time as an unwanted princess.
I suffered for my art by spending a day of my life at Hampton Court, hanging out with a king and queens – and boating it back to Westminster.
I journeyed for a day to Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral – and wished I had more time to explore.
I relished in an amazing day of important discoveries at Ludlow Castle.
Time after time, I was swept away by the generosity of strangers and dear friends who all made this research trip unforgettable, and so worthwhile.
I stayed with my dear friends Tim and Claire Ridgway in Spain – who, along with their lovely family, looked after me so wonderfully. At that time, Tim was the publisher of my third novel, so I ended up being interviewed during my stay with them:
I visited one of my most favourite places on the planet with Claire and her lovely daughter – and s0aked in The Alhambra on an unrushed, divine summer day.
I flew down to Santiago de Compostela and experienced four wonderful days with my friend and fellow author Kristie Dean in this beautiful old city. We both want to do it again one day in future.
I came home in June yearning to do it all over again.
Other 2019 highlights?
With great pleasure and delight, I launched Anne Casey’s brilliant second collection of poetry:
I set up another of my novels for publishing under my own imprint.
I had more writing life excitement when I saw ‘The Problem with Philosophy, my ten-minute play, performed at Bendigo Theatre’s Tenx10. This was the third time my play has been staged since I wrote it three years ago – so it was a very special time for me.
There is much more I could write about, but it is the last day of 2019 and I think it is time for me to enjoy its last hours. I am especially happy that today is not the fearful summer day of yesterday, when the heat and wind made us watch with worry the nearby fires burning too close to home for comfort. Today is cool , and the emergency conditions have lifted. Alas, the same cannot be said for far too many in my country at the moment.
I wish you all a safe, happy and magical 2020 of so much love.