What I Did On My Holidays (What Holidays?)
It's back to school week here in Tasmania, for the beginning of the school year, and traditionally that calls for an essay on "What I Did On My Holidays", so here goes. First of all, I'm pretty sure I didn't have any holidays. The kiddos turned up from Melbourne, and that was marvellous and fun. Four of them all here together, plus The Girl's partner, cooking up a storm, playing poker, making candles (The Girl and Red), sewing cloth masks (The Girl). They all spent a rainy afternoon playing with their childhood lego. Then one of The Girl's friends came over and when I looked into the lounge room there were four of them all doing embroidery together.
I asked Red to embroider a patch for me to cover up the logo of the snooty company that made this great sturdy canvas tote which once belonged to one of the girls, but is now my library tote. I hate being free, walking advertising for companies that are snooty and expensive, but now I am thrilled with my excellent, free, logo-free library bag:)
The Girl's partner is a mad keen cook (The Chef), which is absolutely my kind of house guest. They did a lamb roast, which they turned into soup a couple of days later. Cooks who use up their own leftovers are the best.
Then I asked for help with a ham bone which had been lurking in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Left to my own devices I would have produced pea and ham soup, but The Chef whipped up ramen, made over the course of a whole day - first roasting the ham bone, then simmering it for several hours with onion, garlic etc, then sieving it and chopping up the ham, then adding the fixings, including steamed dumplings. It was amazing - so much more enthusiasm than is usually seen in the kitchen around here.
Another exciting development was the cocktails that The Boy and The Chef came up with, based on whatever I had in the cupboard. Vodka with soda water, lime juice, lemon, ginger syrup and a twist of mint went down nicely, as did the gin with soda water, breakfast juice, ginger syrup, lemon and mint from the garden.
In between other fun I have rewritten my rejected novel once, and now I am doing it again. Once I started rewriting I saw all its flaws. This may take some time.. Tomorrow, for the first time in a year, our writing group will be meeting again. I am so excited about this. While we are incredibly fortunate here in Tasmania to have been out of lockdown since last July, and covid-free this whole time (well, down to management, obviously, rather than luck), there are still many groups that have not been able to meet due to restrictions on how many people are allowed in a room for meetings. We will be meeting in a large room at the library tomorrow instead of a small room at the museum, and it will be wonderful to be back with fellow writers.
Plans for this year:
Rewrite that novel until I am happy with it.
Keep writing for Earth Garden. This is so fun. For the summer edition I wrote about garden weeds for first aid, and for the coming autumn edition I have penned an article about idling in the garden, something we should all do more of.
Learn French - my parents gave me some money at the end of last year and I have booked into a whole year of French lessons with Alliance Francaise. My friend Shirley and I will be parlaying francais all over the place. I learnt French at school but it wants a good wash and brush up. Paul used to pop over to France for the summer every couple of years, and we plan to do it together when that is possible one day. I may get at least two years of French lessons in by then..
I started doing yoga, via the lovely Adriene on YouTube for about two weeks, then stopped. It will be interesting to note if I ever do that again. It is nice and stretchy, but also very much hard work on the old bones.
The garden - I have pulled out half the vegie garden and I will be turning it into a dry native garden which I won't water after it is established. I have struggled for four years against all the tree roots and the shade, and now I am convinced it isn't worth it. I will intensify my gardening efforts in the lowest garden, and stop fighting nature. I will be helping Paul to establish a vegie garden at his place, so there will still be vegies galore. First we have to make the space into a very large possum proof cage, though.
Here are the empty garden beds that will be filled up with beautiful local greenery in the autumn.
I think that I have managed to make plans for the year that are not New Year's resolutions. You know how New Year's resolutions go - they seem like a good idea at the time, but less so as the days and weeks wear on. But i have built in fail safes. I have to go to French lessons, because Shirley will pick me up and drive me there. I WILL finish that novel, because it would be so embarrassing not to. If I do yoga, it will be extraordinary, and anything will be better than nothing in that department, so not possible to disappoint myself there. And visiting that native plant nursery and planting up the garden? Keeping me away until autumn will be the hardest part..
Tell me about your plans for the year, and whatever sneaky machinations you have devised in order to bring those plans to fruition..