Word of the Year – June Check-in

I almost wasn’t going to post this month – after all, my biggest achievement over the month was finally testing negative on a RAT. Yes, folks, I spent the middle two weeks of the month locked away in covid isolation.

According to the rules of where I live, I could have begun getting out and about after seven days but didn’t feel right about doing so until the second line had disappeared on that pesky little bit of plastic – and that took almost two weeks…which was about as long as it took for me to feel up to leaving the house.

It wasn’t even as if I was incredibly sick – it really was (thankfully) just like a heavy cold and because I’m asthmatic all heavy colds end up on my chest. And the virus did hang about much longer than it was welcome to do so. I’m still struggling to breathe at times and fatigue easily. Heigh-ho.

The time, however, wasn’t completely wasted. I took two days as sick leave from the day job and blessedly had no calls on my scheduled days off which left me free to loll about reading and catching up on binge-worthy telly. Luxury indeed. Anyways, I told you all about that last week. Aside from the occasional wave of tiredness that takes me by surprise, I am, however, feeling much better.

Weather-wise the nights have been cold and the days stunning. It really is the best time of the year here.

Also on the good news front, NZ has changed its pre-departure covid test requirements just in time for Sarah and my trip to Queenstown next week. I had been tying myself in knots stressing about:

  • Testing negative and
  • Because we’re flying out of Sydney, working out how to schedule a supervised RAT (no more than 24 hours before our scheduled flight) and lodge our NZ entry declaration between landing in Sydney on Monday afternoon and flying out on Tuesday morning.

Now that worry is gone it leaves room for worrying about more appropriate things – such as having a good time.

Okay, that aside, onto the round-up.


Yeah, about that. The month started great and then covid came to visit. For two weeks I scarcely got above 3000 steps a day – and found the effort of walking the 6 steps up to our bedroom and my office quite exhausting. It’s going to be a long road back – cardio-wise – which really peeves me given how hard I’d worked at that cardio fitness over the past year. Now it feels as though I’m back to square one.

Anyways, have been back doing my 5 at 5 this week (5kms at 5am). Because it’s the middle of winter the sun isn’t up until well after we’ve finished walking, but we’ve been treated to some beautiful pre-sunrise skies as a reward for getting up, rugging up, and moving.

Fun Stuff

We had a lovely day out on a Hinterland mystery picnic before both of us succumbed to the spicy cough just a day or so later. Other than that? 

We did, however, get out in the winter sun last weekend – winter really does look like this on the Sunny Coast. 

Authory Stuff

No new words were written this month – I blame covid brain fog.

The cover for Philly Barker Investigates has been signed off, the blurb written (oh how I hate writing blurbs) and it’s now up for pre-sales. The link is here.

When Chipwell antique dealer Philomena Barker spies a nineteenth century painting of Whitby peeking out of a box of odds and sods at a York auction centre, she knows there’s something special about it. What she doesn’t know is that the painting holds a deeper secret – one that someone else would prefer to stay hidden.

When her shop is broken into and an elderly customer violently assaulted in his own home, Philly joins forces with Inspector Robbie Dawkins to solve the mystery before anyone else is hurt.But does Philly have what it takes to uncover the truth – or will her amateur sleuthing put her in harm’s way?

Love Agatha Christie, Midsomer Murders and Antiques Roadshow? Then this brand-new cosy culinary crime series featuring Yorkshire antique dealer Philly Barker is just what you need!

It’s In The Stars is off being copy edited and will then be sent out to my little band of beta readers. 

I’ve also begun researching the new Philly Barker and will commence writing when I’m back from NZ. 

I had scheduled a free promotion with Hello Books for Happy Ever After, but Amazon wouldn’t come to the party and price-match as required in time, so I missed that slot.

On the Blogs

I wrote something about our mystery picnic, told you what I’d been reading, and this month’s edition of What’s on Your Plate was all about pimped-up instant noodles

On BKD I revisited Delia Smith’s Summer Collection, baked a chocolate banana and tahini loaf that’s an absolute winner, and made marmalade scones in honour of Her Maj. I did have a post ready to go about Ella Risbridger’s new cookbook that’s so much more than a cookbook but had to stop and make something else from it first. The pie below is from the book.


As for a selfie of the month? Here you go…complete with hat hair and Grant in the background carrying the rest of the picnic things…

On the last Friday of each month (Southern Hemisphere), the co-hosts of What’s On Your Bookshelf hold a link-up for readers to share their reflections and actions inspired by their Words of the Year (or goals/intentions for 2022). SueDebDonna and, of course, myself are looking forward to you joining us and sharing how you have focused on your WOTY during the previous month. The linky is below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

12 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – I am so glad that you are feeling better and have tested negative w9th no pesky faint lines left. Good luck on your well-deserved travels with Sarah. Oh, and I’m super excited about reading It’s In the Stars and the next in the Philly series (no pressue of course). I have my reading glasses on and am ready!! 😀

  2. Hi Jo, such a beautiful smile to start my day so thank you! Great to hear you are on the mend and in time for your trip to NZ. Enjoy your time with Sarah and your friend in NZ and look forward to some pics. I would love to do the Mystery Picnic with Mike so thanks for the info. As an avid fan of your books I’m always excited to hear about progress and when we can read the next one! Take of yourself and start moving slowly – you know the drill – listen to your body and have a great holiday xx

  3. Ugh; that is so hard! I felt the same way about exercising after recovering from my surgery in 2020 and it was so hard to build myself back up to where I had been pre-surgery. But just take it one day at a time. That sunrise photo is so vibrant and pretty!!

  4. Hello Jo. I’m glad you are feeling better and got your negative test. Once again, your photos are wonderful. Enjoy your trip to New Zealand!

  5. So glad you are feeling better and also glad NZ has lifted the Covid testing – my husband spent an afternoon in Canberra organising one. Hope you have a wonderful trip over here – it is cold so bring your gloves and hat!

  6. I hope you continue to improve post covid. I was largely asymptomatic but the fatigue is stretching into that long covid territory for me unfortunately. Enjoy the holiday to NZ.

  7. What a month you’ve had despite the Covid iso party! I love your cover of Philly Barker and can’t wait to read the next one and It’s in the Stars sounds like a great read too. I’m so pleased you’re off to NZ with Sarah and that you’ve started feeling better – don’t over do things though! I am loving the weather up here and can’t believe we’re heading home this weekend to the freezing cold, I’m going to whinge so much you’ll hear me over in NZ :). I love your sunny selfie (see what I did there?) and your adventure picnic sounds so much fun. Thanks for being a great co-host and I’m pleased you ended up writing a post after all. Have a great time away!

  8. NEXT week you are travelling again…how exciting for you and S. I do hope the airports behave…so happy for you to do what you love again…AND be well!! Take care, Denyse.

  9. Hi Jo – glad you’ve kicked the dreaded covid to the kerb and that NZ is playing nice with letting you in for a visit. Enjoy your time away and I’m sure we’ll see some beautiful photos appearing soon. I totally understand the feeling of your fitness sliding away when you can’t do all that you could do before – at least you can still do your 5 at 5. I’m lucky to do 1km a day atm (limping along like an old chook…..sigh….)

  10. Jo, our Dr. told us we could test positive for up to a month or two and that really had me in a tailspin. Fortunately, I saw a negative result around day 14. Malcolm was much earlier, but he took drugs, which I highly recommend. Although his brain fog lasted longer. Looks like you have managed to carry on quite well in spite of the setback. Your energy will return (take things slowly) and you’ll be ready to have a great time in NZ. Enjoy your weekend.

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