In many respects, April, as a month, wasn’t that flash.
Weather wise, it’s been a mixed bag. It rained all Easter and when I say it rained all Easter, I mean it RAINED ALL Easter. It pelted down. Since then it’s been gloriously sunny and (thankfully) is cooling down at night.
The sun isn’t coming up until after 6am these days so we’ve been starting our walks in the pitch dark and watching the sun come up while we have our post-walk coffee.
Work-wise (ie day job) it’s been busy. But enough said about that.
There have, however, been highlights – and they’ve been pretty high highlights. So, let’s wrap this month up.
Although she finished her degree late last year (Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Hons)) Sarah’s official graduation was in April. She was so proud and we were proud of her and for her.
It’s been a big month for telly with new series of my favourite shows: Masterchef and Great British Menu.
Grant and I also inhaled the latest series of Unforgotten. Not only is the writing amazing, but each series just gets better. We’re also working our way (slowly) through Line Of Duty, but are still three seasons behind on that one.
I just started watching Mare of Easttown on Foxtel. Kate Winslet is just fabulous in this one. It’s bleak, taut, and very watchable.
It hasn’t been a great month on the reading front. I think because of the afore-mentioned day job anxieties, I’ve had trouble focusing on anything not real. For the first time this year there was a book that (according to everyone else who read it) I should have enjoyed, but just couldn’t finish. It did, however, help me fall asleep. Once I realised that I’d read just a few chapters in a week I decided to put it away – perhaps until I’m in a better frame of mind, perhaps forever. In any case, I won’t be naming it in my round-up.
Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle, an author I normally love, left me feeling flat. It was, however, one of his earlier books so I’m forgiving him.
Audible had Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I as their free book so I grabbed it and had a listen. While I loved Bridgerton, I was left cold by this one. I think if I’d been reading it, I would have put it aside. Even listening to it, it felt as though it needed a good edit. While my characters shrug a lot and raise their eyebrows a lot (as evidenced by the yellow highlights in my edits), Quinn’s cock their heads (and yes, I know exactly how that sounds). Anyways, I shouldn’t be so judgemental – millions of people obviously disagree with me and that’s millions more people than buy my books. In any case, it wasn’t for me – and I hate saying that.
The three books I did enjoy were all foodie related, with my read of the month being Bella, by Annabel Langbein, closely followed by Tom Parker Bowles’ new one for Fortnum & Mason, Time For Tea. How could I resist that title?
Anyways, I’ll post a full rundown of my reading month on my author site during the week.
Bella – My Life In Food, by Annabel Langbein
Seeing Other People, by Mike Gayle
Hiakai – Modern Maori Cuisine by Monique Fiso
The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn
Time For Tea, by Tom Parker Bowles
Okay, this has been one part of life that has been productive during April. I’m almost done with the rewrite for The Café At Beach Road, which means it’s almost ready to go off for structural editing.
I’ve written lots of words in the first draft for It’s In The Stars – and deleted or rearranged most of them. I’m midway through and have an ending (unusually for me) – but am missing the beginning chapters and a way of getting from the middle to the end. No, it doesn’t make much sense to me either.
I did, however, get a post up nearly every week on the author page. I chat about my process – and my progress in an (almost) weekly writer’s digest. You can find them here.
Because the day job has taken up so much of my brain space this month, I’m running a long way behind on tasks such as organising print covers for Escape and doing all those other little things that need to be done for me to actually sell what I’ve written.
It’s a public holiday here tomorrow so if I get a chance I’ll sit down and make a list of what I’m behind in – and set some targets for May. Heavy sighs.
I’ve spent this last week in Hervey Bay with Sarah. Sure, I’ve had to day job, but I do enjoy the change of environment and the opportunity to spend some time with her. While we need to drive to get to our beach, hers is at the back door – literally – and it’s lovely working away with the sound of the waves lapping at the seawall.
It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with a bloggy friend, Debbish. Our catch-ups are always one of the highlights of a visit to the Bay. This time we caught up over lunch at Hervey Bay General Store. I had roast pork bao – that’s them in the pic below.
Sares and I headed across to Fraser Island for the day yesterday, but given that happened on May 1, it will be included as a highlight in May’s wrap-up. I will, however, post something on it during the week, but for now, here’s a teaser…
In the Kitchen
I didn’t bake nearly enough in April and am itching to get my hands into some flour. Baking always relaxes me and for a few reasons I didn’t do nearly enough of it in April – and my mood has suffered accordingly.
I did, however, manage some posts on BKD:
- A couple of instalments in the Nigella Diaries series – one on risotto and one on the carbonara I wrote about in Escape To Curlew Cottage
- A classic cookbook review – Wild Harvest, by Nick Nairn – and a recipe for Tarragon Chicken
- A review on Annabel Langbein’s Bella and a recipe for jam drops and choc chip cookies
- A midweek fave in Chez Tracey – San Choy Bow
Inspired by my current bookclub read – Bronte’s Agnes Grey – I baked a soda bread. The recipe is yet to be posted.
And, not to be outdone, Grant dug deep into his Scottish heritage and made a batch of teeth rattling Scottish Tablet. The recipe is also on the way for that one.
May is busy busy busy – on all fronts. I’m also FINALLY heading into Sydney and will spend a few days in the office. I haven’t seen any of my colleagues since November 2019 and have been wondering whether that disconnection isn’t contributing to my mood.
More importantly, most importantly, I’ll be seeing family and catching up with a couple of friends – although on this trip family is the higher priority. I haven’t seen my parents since March last year – and they don’t do the zoom thing (more’s the pity) – so am very much looking forward to that.