Okay, Monday again, and it’s a grey Monday here on the Sunny Coast. This morning I was lying there at 4.30am waiting for my alarm to go off (as you do) and the rain came pelting down. Once upon a time I would have turned the alarm off and pulled the doona up but these days we just get up and go – regardless of the weather. I mean seriously, once you’re wet you can’t get any wetter, right?
We have not missed a weekday morning this year. Sure, there were those couple of weeks where I couldn’t walk far due to the calf injury, but we still got up and went down to the beach. I have the attention span of something that doesn’t have a very long attention span so for me, it’s all about the routine. Habits – at least the good ones – tend to form slowly for me but can be broken just like that.
Anyways, let’s get on with the five:
It was fabulous to hop on a plane for our flight to Cairns. In these covid times, air travel is different, but I’m aware of how lucky we are that intrastate travel is possible. Also, I’ll never get over how fabulous it is to see the Great Barrier Reef from the air.
I’ll tell you more about what we got up to in Cairns during the week.
2. New life
In Mooloolaba there is a pair of ospreys that nest on a pole at The Spit. We say hello to them each morning. (The pics below are by Helen, one of the regular early morning walkers.)
Each year they hatch a couple of chicks and this morning the babies were out of the nest and having some wing lessons. Last year we were lucky enough to see them ready to leave the nest.
Also spotted out and about are the first of the scrub turkey chicks. These little guys don’t have anything like the parental support the ospreys give to their young – something which makes their survival even more impressive.
Male scrub turkeys build a massive compost heap to impress the females who will lay their eggs in it. The heat of the mound incubates the eggs and while the male guards the “nest” the female goes on her merry scratchy scrub turkey way.
When the babies hatch they have to be able to fend for themselves with the first gauntlet they need to run being to get past their father. I don’t have any decent pics yet this year, but they are very cute indeed.
Anyways, I love how nature sends us these little reminders from time to time regarding cycles and perspective.
3. Festive reading festival
As far as I’m concerned, it’s perfectly acceptable to begin planning for Christmas once Melbourne Cup (run on the first Tuesday of November) is done (not that I follow the Melbourne Cup these days, but that’s another story). My festive reading festival, however, kicks off after Halloween, ie the 1st of November so is already underway and three of the four books I’ve read already have been absolute winners.
4. Nanowrimo update
Because we were in Cairns for the first two days of the month, I was late in starting nanowrimo. (For those who don’t know what it is, essentially it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. I posted something about it on my author page.)
A busy day in the day job had me also register a zero day on Thursday so rather than being 1667 words a day that I need to chase, my target is now closer to 1900. That being said, I scored good word counts on the weekend so am a smidgeon off 10,000 words so far.
I don’t have a title for this book yet, but it’s a sequel to Wish You Were Here and Happy Ever After. It’s also set in Queenstown, so I suspect I’ll be messing about with some classic Kiwi slices and baked treats over the next couple of months while I’m writing the first draft.
In other news, I’m almost decided on the cover for Escape To Curlew Cottage and have now received the copy edits back from my editor. Over the next week or so I’ll confirm a release date, but it’s looking to be March. I’m also having the cover of Wish You Were Here done in the same style and will re-release that (complete with a few recipes in the back) prior to publishing Escape.
The covers will be more “cutesie” than I’m used to but this fits in well with the UK market for this style of novel and given that both are set in The Cotswolds it makes sense.
Finally, I’m not making a hoo-ha about this, but Careful What You Wish For is out on the 14th. There’s a pre-order link on my author website. It will be available in Kobo and other retailers by the end of the week, but print is still a couple of weeks away.
5. In the kitchen
I’m loving Ottolenghi’s “Flavour” and this week made a smoky aubergine cream for the Caesar Salad we had the other night. The recipe is here.
While on the subject of vegies, this platter of tomatoes with a tarragon (from my garden) and balsamic dressing was the centrepiece for a barbecue with friends the other night.
While I made Nigella’s chocolate and raspberry pavlova for dessert (and ice cream with the 6 egg yolks left from the pavlova) I haven’t done much other than business as usual cooking in the kitchen over the last week.
Hopefully I’ll get my hands into some flour this week.