Absent friends

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything on my own website, the template I used has become obsolete. So I’ve upgraded to a new version, Libre 2. Which is kind of apt. I’m embracing a new version of me, too. Free from my beautiful house, which now has new, happy owners. Free from Tasmania, an island I will always think of as home. And free from my Antipodean friends and family, who, of course, I love and miss.

After 14 years I decided, like a bird, to uproot myself and travel to the northern summer. You could say I have truly learned to let go. My travels are revolving around catching up with old friends and family in London, and seeing things that inspire heart and mind (wild flowers in a footpath; exhibitions and museums that excite; libraries and bookshops that welcome writers).

Australia still calls. My latest story, on the restoration of landscape artist John Glover’s home at Patterdale, Tasmania, is published in the Australian Financial Review‘s Life & Leisure section, and online, this weekend (April 10, 2019).

I wrote a story on Sarah and Andrew Ryan’s Hillandale garden in the Central Western Tablelands of NSW for a Special Edition of Gardens Illustrated magazine, with stunning photographs by Claire Takacs, author of Dreamscapes and Australian Dreamscapes, published by Hardie Grant. And, we team up again in Gardens Illustrated July 2019, with another amazing Antipodean garden.

After finally completing the first draft of my second book, I am currently looking for a publisher. One who might get my slightly whimsical, spiritual take on learning to live in tune with a sense of place – truly, madly, deeply.

I’m not sure how many of you are left as ‘followers’ or even if these mutterings will be interesting to anyone other than me. That is the nature of the beast, and how we steer our way between vanity and relevance. While people say personal websites are less in vogue these days, I plan to practise journal writing here. Knowing there are readers will help me sharpen a sense of interest.

Then, when the northern summer is over, I’ll make a new nest – one that hasn’t found me yet.

I’ll leave you with a quote that made my heart sing in an exhibition at Burgh House, Hampstead, featuring stories about famous and artistic women who live or once lived in the London village. It’s a wonderful venue, full of inspiring people and a beautiful place to write. This, from Katherine Mansfield’s Journal, 10 October 1922.

“By health I mean the power to live a full, adult, living, breathing life in close contact with what I love. All that we mean when we speak of the external world. A want to enter into it, to be part of it, to live in it, to learn from it, to lose all that is superficial and acquired in me and to become a conscious, direct human being. I want, by understanding myself, to understand others, I want to be all that I am capable of becoming.”

And cheers to all that!