Writer’s Digest – Sunday November 28

The last of the jacaranda flowers

Okay, it’s been a few weeks since I did one of these. The day job has been particularly messy as I’ve coordinated one interstate office move and am knee-deep in planning another. Plus, every spare minute I’ve had has been invested in attaining my word count targets, so apologies to anyone whose blog I usually read and comment on. It’s not you; it really is me. Anyways, apologies. I can’t promise I’ll be better next week – at the blog reading and commenting thing – but I will try.

Speaking of word count

My nanowrimo total as of now (7am on Sunday morning) stands at 43000, just 1200 shy of where I should be. I’m hoping to catch that up (plus today’s target) today.

You can track the busy days by my word count graph – although, to be fair, most of the words written in November have been written in short grabs whenever possible. Plus, I like the story and think I might have an idea about whodunnit. Maybe.


The jacarandas have finished flowering, and the poincianas have started.

Nothing says Christmas is coming more in our part of the world than poincianas with their fabulous flame-red blooms. Like the Pohutukawa in NZ, they really are the Christmas trees of southeast Queensland.

Christmas trees

Speaking of Christmas trees, ours went up last weekend – a couple of weeks early, but Sarah was down for the weekend, so we took advantage of that. 

Our Christmas tree goes up with some ceremony each year – usually the first Sunday in December. 

Grant makes potato scones and pinwheels; we open a bottle of champagne, and we trim the tree.

Each year we buy a new decoration and as we put them on, we reminisce about when we bought certain ones or what they mean to us. Of course this means that nothing matches, and that’s okay – it’s very us.

This year’s decoration is a squirrel bought because:

a) it’s cute and

b) we’re keeping our fingers crossed for October 2022 in England.

Hervey Bay

I’ve spent the last week staying with my daughter in Hervey Bay. While I was day-jobbing as usual, I was also there for the final clean and hand back of her old rental unit. I’ll miss the views, the sea breeze and the pool in the complex, but not the noise from the weekend and holiday rentals, or the damp problems, dodgy furniture, and lack of space in the unit itself.

The heat and humidity have been off the scale, and I’ve been endlessly whining (to anyone who’ll listen) about how hot I am and how I can’t think clearly because of how hot I am and how I can’t sleep because of how hot I am and how there’s a massive cane toad (so gross) obviously just under my window making a weird, repetitive quacking noise over and flipping over all night. I’m home now, and all I can say is hallelujah for ducted aircon. (I’m such a princess).

On the upside, one morning while out walking I saw this osprey having his breakfast on the jetty…

and found a new (to me) place for coffee. If you’re ever in the Bay, check out Cody’s Place on The Esplanade at Torquay. It’s quirky, and has great coffee.

I saw a pirate ship,

had a dinner catch-up with Debbish, wrote some words at my favourite bar for writing words,

had brekky at my favourite place for having brekky (Hervey Bay General Store),

breakfast quesadillas

and helped trim Sarah’s first Christmas tree – where everything matches.

In the kitchen

Just like poincianas, nothing says Christmas like a good annual round-up list – and this week they’ve all been coming. Lists about the people and events who marked 2021, best books of the year, must-watch TV shows…that sort of thing. The lists I’ve most been keen to see though have, of course, been the cookbook lists. 2021 for all its continued covid madness has been a boom year for great cookbooks and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more and cook from them.

I normally bake a Christmas cake (I use Delia Smith’s recipe every year) but half of last year’s cake went in the freezer as our anticipated visitors were stuck on the other side of the border so as Grant is the only one who really eats it, I won’t be doing one this year. (Although I might do a Dundee cake instead…watch this space).

I did, however, make these orange and cinnamon biscuits as my first Christmassy bake. They filled the house with an amazing smell and I’ll post the recipe on BKD when I finish today’s word count.

On Friday our book club (Donna, Sue and Deb) had our end of book bake. This time around we went for something different – Pears Belle Helene. Normally it would be served with ice cream but we had none. As always there was a lot of fun to be had and if you want the recipe, you’ll find it here.. We’re currently reading Charlotte Bronte’s first book, The Professor, and I suspect I’ll be heading back to Yorkshire for something festive for that one. 

Okay, that’s it from me… off to tackle that word target.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

33 thoughts

  1. Happy Sunday to you. Wow, you’re doing amazing on your NaNoWriMo considering the day job is so crazy. Hope you manage to catch up.

    I’d never heard of poincianas before, but I think they’re beautiful!

  2. Great work with you NaNoWriMo goal! The pictures you shared to highlight your post today are lovely. As an aside, I like your blurb introducing yourself on the side of the page.
    Thanks for the virtual coffee.

  3. Those red blooms are stunning! We just put up our tree on Friday (we always put it up the day after Thanksgiving since my guys are around to help on that day) and we have always bought the boys a new ornament each year since they were born– a tradition carried over from my parents– so our tree is all mis-matched and full of memories too.

  4. Fabulous round up Jo! Love that first shot of the poincianas – stunning!! You’ve certainly had a lot going on hopefully it settles down soon but well done on your word count, you are amazing.

  5. Jo my head is spinning with how busy you’ve been. You’ve done amazingly well with your writing with all that’s been going on. I’ll look forward to the biscuit recipe. They’d be great for His Xmas lunchbox. The poincianas are stunning.

    1. Yeah, there’s a bit on. I’m hanging out for February when things should settle down a tad. Have a great week.

  6. Beautiful images as usual, Jo. Well done with your writing, too. I hope your plan to be in England next October comes true. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

  7. What a lovely tradition you have with your Christmas tree decoration! Some really nice photos in this post and the food looks delicious.
    Can’t say I can relate to the hot and humid weather because here we’re just recovering from a storm and we keep a fire going in the evenings! But I know all about hot and humid weather from our fantastic stays in Italy.

    1. We have a long summer but are normally ok on the humidity front until December. Not this year lol. I’ve been watching pictures of all the snow from last weekends storm and envy your scarves and beanies…

  8. Hi Jo – sorry about the hot and humid – we’re swinging between rainy and hot atm – weird weather indeed. Glad the unit is sorted and Sarah has a new place (and so do you). I put our Christmas tree up on the weekend – I got rid of my old one and I’ve pared right down to a led light birch type one with minimal decorations – and I’m loving it – so pretty and such a change. I’m planning on putting a pic up on my blog’s FB page soon. Good to see you’re writing is on target despite the ups and downs xx

  9. That osprey shot is magnificent! What a bird!
    As for the tree, I genuinely only found out a few years ago (remember I’m almost 1000 years old) that some people themed their tree decorations. I genuinely thought every had a mix of random items from holidays and stuff the kids made in preschool and kindy (in certain states of decay due to age). Our tree looks so weird but I love it all the more for it. I was perplexed by an article on ‘This year tree decorations theme colours’. So your tree is 100% what I think a tree is meant to look like, #Lifethisweek

    1. I know some people with fully themed trees – and one who even gets their kids to put it up and then, after they go to bed, moves everything to where she thinks it should go.

  10. Those biscuits look really good…. and though I hate to say it, Sarah’s tree leaves yours in its wake in terms of aesthetics….

    Of course I’m not even going to bother to the few decorations I usually put up this year!

  11. I love your Christmas tree, which looks the way ours usually does. In this heat I am likely to wait for the arrival of my grandchildren before I put one up – otherwise there will be pine needles all over the floor. A Dundee cake sounds like a good alternative to the traditionally rich fruit cake at this time.

  12. Hi Jo. My – I want to be on the list when you decide to host a real face-to-face bloggers lunch. All these goodies. Maybe Grant will whip something up for us too. I’ll bring a bottle of good Italian Chianti to share and we’ll have a great time.

  13. owzers! You have been busy, I don’t know how you do it! Tree(s) look fab! We collect ornaments from our travels (not that we’ve been doing much of that lately) so nothing matches on ours either. Your biscuits look fab, I can’t wait to get stuck into Christmas and baking I like to give homemade gifts. I have every confidence that you will smash your word target – go you!

  14. That delicious dessert almost makes me wish I liked pears. I bet dipped in chocolate, I would like them much better. I think it is great fun that you gals are reading and baking (or dipping) together.

    Sounds like there were lots of cons to Sarah’s apartment. Glad she was able to find something better. The views, though, were unbeatable. I will miss your photos of Hervey Bay from the patio, glass of wine and good book in hand.

    Our tree is a mix of all kinds of things but heavy on snowflake ornaments as I absolutely love snow. We have been picking out an ornament to represent the year for a couple of Christmases now. We were all so hopeful that 2021 would be Covid free and all of our freedoms would be restored sans masks. But alas, we are still masking up here in El Paso, and our cases are climbing again.

    Nice to catch up with you. Reading one of your books. Just started but so enjoying the pictures you paint with your words.

  15. Luckily for me, dinner isn’t too far away as you’ve made me hungry with all your luscious food porn. The jacaranda trees around here in Auckland, and I assume Tauranga have just started to put on a pretty show. Tauranga is the Jacaranda Captial of New Zealand, a bit trivial for you 😉

  16. Time is a racing! I remember (I think) you packing up the Christmas tree in Castle Hill?? Our Christmas tree is now a small one I got in 2018 and we have our huge one – that every grandchild bar the one unborn in 2013 got to help decorate. I love a tree full of memories. But with 7 little people all getting a NEW tree decoration from the time of the first one back in 1996, I eventually did a box for each of them to have for their home Christmas trees. Love is letting go as they say and I did and have a few memories still with us and that includes the Fisher Price Nativity Setting. Air Con is NOT only for princesses, its for anyone who needs it. Our first pre-requisite in renting is ducted air con. Every house we lived in since 1978 has had it bar one and that was awful. Your job sounds hugely stressful and very complex but you sure must impress them doing it via distance. Glad you have found your own place to work well for Sarah!
    It was great reading your post today after linking up for #LifeThisWeek on my blog. Thank you! I can’t believe we are in December! Now “only” 3 more Mondays for #lifethisweek in 2021. See you next week too I hope. Denyse.

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