Okay, that’s January done and dusted, so without further ado, let’s wrap it up.
I read 6 books over the month – and yes, I’m including Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat in that list because the joy is in the words as much as the food. I reviewed it here.
Also read were:
- The Break Up, by Tilly Tennant
- Moonflower Murders, by Anthony Horowitz
- Settle The Score, by Nicki Edwards
- Becoming America’s Food Stories, by Antoinette Truglio Martin and
- Under A Mackerel Sky, by Rick Stein
My stand-out read for the month was Moonflower Murders – Anthony Horowitz is an absolute master. A book within a book, I am in awe.
A close second was Stein’s memoir. While he is one of my foodie heroes, he’s also an amazing writer – something which I knew from reading his cookbooks (really reading them), but which somehow still surprised me. There are passages where he has really shown himself in a less than favourable light, remarking from time to time what an insufferable and selfish prig he must have been, and other parts where one gets the impression that things have been glossed over to protect the feelings of others, but for all that it’s a good read.
I now also know what a mackerel sky is – it’s one where clouds form a ripple pattern, almost like ripples on the water or scales on a fish. According to weather lore it means a change (of some sort) is coming:
‘Mackerel sky, mackerel sky – never long wet, never long dry.’
Becoming America’s Food Stories was a real treat & right up my alley – even though my own Australian upbringing was very different. There are so many parallels though in the stories of Italian Australians as well and anything that combines history with stories and recipes is a winner in my book (no pun intended). Thanks, Donna, for the recommendation.
I’m yet to read a novel by Nicki Edwards that I haven’t enjoyed and Settle The Score was no different. I’ve loved how in her most recent outings she’s really challenged the cliches. This time around her protagonist was an ex-player with the Women’s AFL – and it was a real winner (pun intended).
Not much – other than the new series of Death In Paradise I’ve been mostly re-watching old faves like Brokenwood Mysteries and (of course) Midsomer Murders.
New episodes of Desert Island Dishes and Gary Mehigan’s A Plate To Call Home. Plus I’ve recently discovered Sentimental Garbage which is about, well, I’ll let the blurb tell you what its about:
Sick of feeling guilty about the books you should be reading, but aren’t? Annoyed that the books you read don’t seem to “count” as literature? Join author and journalist Caroline O’Donoghue as she discovers the chick-lit classics her guests were raised on, from schmaltzy romances to family comedies to bodice-ripping dramas. We talk to authors, fans and cultural critics about what makes chick-lit tick, and investigate why it’s so often overlooked.
I’ve finished my first draft of The House By The Lake (although doubt that title will stick) and will now give it another run through before sending it through to my editor. I’m also in the process of scheduling 2021 edits – the deadlines will help me get my head down and hands on keyboard!
Escape To Curlew Cottage is ready for formatting and that one is available for pre-order now on Amazon with the release date March 12. You can find the link here.
Look at me including this sub-heading!
Seriously though, while international travel is off the table (well, obviously) and interstate travel is still a tad on the uncertain side, I’ll be celebrating every short break and opportunity to explore Queensland.
Okay, so mostly it will be up to Hervey Bay to spend some time with Sarah, and I’ll mostly be working when I’m up there, but you know what they say – a change is as good as a holiday.
And, as it happens, I spent a week up at “The Bay” during January and, because I’d worked additional hours during December, even took a few days off. Bliss.
I helped Sarah move in, settle in, and fill her freezer. I also walked, swam, wrote and explored. I had no transport so had no choice but to explore by foot and it really is a great way of seeing a place. It’s a fabulous town that I’m looking forward to getting to know better.
Experiencing and Imagining
It was a great month for going a bit more with the flow and I booked two tours when in Hervey Bay – one to go snorkelling and the other a cultural walk. I learnt heaps from both and blogged about it here.
The tides provided me with endless fascination as I watched them – when you stop or slow down for a bit the cycles of nature are truly awesome – and that’s before you factor in the ripples and patterns in the sand left by water, rays and crabs.
Also this month I tried my hand at a pottery class. I’ll post separately about it, but so much fun. I never knew just how meditational working with clay could be – especially when combined with wine.
So, confession time…I lost 11kgs up to March of 2020 and over 2020 managed to find a number of them again (thankfully not all and double thankfully none of them brought friends to stay). I’ve had a bit of a rest in January and waved goodbye to 1.5kgs, but am buckling back down in Feb.
In case you missed it, in addition to the posts I’ve linked to above (and the weekly round-ups) I published the following:
- My annual Closing Ceremony
- My year in books
- My word of the year
- Slipping through My Fingers – something about my “baby” leaving home
- Another in my France posts – this one on the Cimetière du Père Lachaise
My Author Blog
Brookford Kitchen Diaries
A few things – thanks for asking…
- We’re off on a little train ride in the Mary Valley on Saturday
- Sares and I have a glazing session booked in for next time she’s home to finish our pottery masterpieces
- I’ll probably work out of The Bay for a week mid-month
- Fingers crossed I’m hoping to get to Sydney to see Mum and Dad at the end of the month – assuming borders remain open.
So, for a short month, there’s plenty happening!
Okay, I think that’s all I have to tell you about…how was your month? What are you looking forward to in February?