She made my childhood magic.
She gave me a lifelong love of reading, writing, Cornwall, mysteries. Her books were loved over thirty years later by my own daughter who wanted stories (not to be lectured to on worthy topics). So bored with all the Cancel puritans judging artists from a previous time on current thinking and mores. My own Poet’s Cottage book was inspired by Enid Blyton’s two daughters having varying accounts of their childhood.
I recently began re-reading Five On A Treasure Island and was instantly transported back to Kirrin Island, shipwrecks, secret maps and castle ruins. Thrilling stuff!
Normally never a summer lover, I hanker for misty mornings, gloomy rainy days and snow. But this year I cast aside my Scorpionic affinities for winter and embraced Summer. Throughout the holiday break we didn’t leave Sydney and although I sighed wistfully when viewing friends’ social media accounts of their holidays abroad, I enjoyed the hush in the streets surrounding our inner-city home – a break from the constant jackhammering on the building site next door. Instead we embraced more peaceful streets that looked like they belonged in the 1950s, and a half-empty shopping mall. Throughout the lethargic summer days there was time to plan the year ahead and explore Sydney’s breathtaking beaches. A new favourite this year was Bundeena and also Cronulla. I loved this area where a vibrant mix of cultures gathered to escape the heat wave and enjoy the spectacular views of the popular surfing beaches.
The school year is now well under way and my life is filled with notices, appointments, homework and in the midst of the whirl – writing my new book. I’m really enjoying crafting this mystery which once again examines the ripple effect of murder across three different time periods in a Tasmanian village. My agent is happy with the early chapters she has read.
Daisy writing at Cronulla
Mercury Retrograde has ended and with its departure heralded welcome news from Spain. I adore Poet’s Cottage’s poetic and Cocteau sounding Spanish translation – La Casa del Poeta. The cover is one of my favourite interpretations – so atmospheric and really conveys the story. I hope La Casa del Poeta is enjoyed in Spain. It’s always a joy to think of my Tasmanian murder mystery being read in different countries.
Tomorrow we will spend five days on the Great Barrier Reef. With no technology for distraction I’m taking only a notebook, books to embrace the endless blue sky and sea. I can’t wait to feel sand beneath my feet and see some baby turtles being born. I’m packing here a massive amount of flowers for my hair, tarot and Angel cards – all the essentials!
Thank you for visiting and I wish you creative and magical days.
Love and Light,
A most frustrating week.
On the weekend I travelled again to the mountains, obeying the bush call to research and write. That was the high point.
My computer ate a bad frog and had to be rushed to the machine doctor AGAIN.
We had teacher’s day at my daughter’s school, athletics carnival and all the life interruptions that make it difficult for mothers who work from home.
We approached the Winter Solstice and I became overwhelmed with finding it difficult to live in the small brick house and became convinced I had to move right now and ran around househunting before facing the grim reality that the gentrification around us has left us stranded.
But I will plant a little offering in the garden and watch it grow. As Thomasina from Poet’s Cottage would snap at me, ‘Make Lemonade! ’
And in a most surreal night I attended a book club that was not my own and the book of course was Poet’s Cottage. It was a lovely night and the hostess not only lived in almost my dream family home (she had grown her own pumpkins and had proper sized rooms!) but she had named her chickens after characters from Poet’s Cottage!! Here is an atmospheric avante garde shot of the chickens.
And I was saddened to read about Johnny Depp’s split from his wife, Vanessa Paradis. Just at the Winter Solstice touched us.
It was a good week to remind myself of the following quotation which I posted on my Facebook Author page
The reward doesn’t necessarily go to the biggest, the brightest, or the best. It goes to the one who has the courage to keep trying until success is inevitably achieved.” —Dr. Robyn Silverman
, and here is a lovely photo that I took from the Facebook Vivien Leigh page of Vivien and Larry in 1940’s London. So much glamour and cool amongst the debris and chaos. So unflappable and as stylish as ever.
I loved the following quote taken from the same source that Noel Coward said about his friend Vivien. So tender and poignant really.
“Vivien, with deep sadness in her heart and for one fleeting moment tears in her eyes, behaved gaily and charmingly and never for one instant allowed her unhappiness to spill over. This quite remarkable exhibition of good manners touched me… very much. I have always been fond of her in spite of her former exigence and frequent tiresomeness but last night my fondness was fortified by profound admiration and respect for her strength of character. There is always hope for people with that amount of courage and consideration for others.” — Noel Coward
Thank you for visiting me. And in one final surreal moment of this Winter’s Solstice week, on a chilly and grey Friday I was contacted by the gardener of the real Poet’s Cottage in Stanley and he also helps out with Marguerite’s garden (who I partly based some of Birdie Pinkerton in the book). I was most impressed by Marguerite’s garden in real-life and so it was a thrill to meet the gardener behind that work of art. xx
We’ve now entered winter in Australia which is my favourite season.
And we’re cycling into a long weekend for the Queen’s Birthday. I have taken the image below from the wonderful Rachel Van Asch’s blog HERE,
which I was browsing around today falling in love with all sorts of treasures that she makes. I’m a bit in love also with her skull and flower cushions and her Clara Bow cushion below.
I’ve been frantically busy editing for Currawong Manor and forgot to mention that these beautiful audio books compliments of Bolinda publishing arrived in the post a few weeks ago.
It’s a very surreal experience to hear Poet’s Cottage being read. The actress is the very fab Jennifer Vuletic and I’m so thrilled to have the lovely audio. Bolinda really do such a quality product and it’s even more special to me as my middle sister has retinitis pigmentosa and is battling blindness. My sister loved Poet’s Cottage which was a relief as she’s very plain-speaking (her favourite character was Thomasina, which was no surprise ). My youngest sister’s favourite character was Birdie. The week the book came out, my sister had her eyes scraped for cataracts and so was able to read the paper version. I was thrilled I was able to create a shadow play that she believed and a story she could fall into, as nobody knows you like your sister, but she allowed me to lead her down the streets of the sea-fishing village of Pencubitt and into Poet’s Cottage. She called it ‘my Tasmanian House of the Spirits’ which was so lovely as she’s a HUGE Isabel Allende fan and now my Poet’s Cottage is actually resting in her house against The House of the Spirits. Hopefully Isabel’s book will merge magical cells into Poet’s Cottage to help its sales!
My sister even rushed out and bought the perfume Shalimar after reading it and wanted to decorate her house in a 1930s style. I was very moved she loved the book to that extent.
I also went to see The Woman in Black this week on a very grim and rainy night. I was meant to be going with Artschool Annie but she pulled out at the last minute due to the weather and I was in the unfortunate position of being about to see a VERY scary movie on my own. Luckily, I ran into another friend who was with her husband on their date night and they let me tag along!
The movie was good, visually very beautiful but lacked the true creepiness of either the book by Susan Hill or the two stage versions I’ve seen in the West End and in Sydney. I can still remember years later the audience screaming in the West End at ‘that’ scene in the nursery.
Still it was an enjoyable movie for a rainy night in Sydney.
Wishing you a magical, wonderful, creative weekend and Happy Birthday to Queen Elizabeth. Thank you for visiting me. xx
Some cheering news this week: Poet’s Cottage is now being reprinted – extremely gratifying to know it’s kicking its legs up out there. Thank you to all who have bought a copy, asked your bookseller to get in copies – or have been kind enough to drop me a line to say you enjoyed it. You are all appreciated so much every day.
Here’s my daughter on her way to NIDA for Drama on the weekend. She loves her fake furs and swiping my vintage bags to walk around the streets pretending she’s a big girl.
And the postman delivered two special letters this week. One from an English teacher from Oatlands District High who was delighted to see my book and bought a copy. She was lovely enough to enclose in her letter a photograph from when I was at school. The world seemed such a different place then. No computers, endless time and a million paths to decide upon.
The other beautifully wrapped gift is from Tasmanian artist Jacqueline Rodemann, who sent me the loveliest necklace and brooch from her fabulous Etsy store, Under the Shade of a Bonsai Tree which you can find HERE as a thank you for me sending a copy of Poet’s Cottage to her artist mother for Mother’s Day when the stores had run out. I feel I am wearing a very special blue rose part of Tasmania now.
image from Under the Shade of a Bonsai Tree
Thank you very much to both ladies. It is heaven to receive gifts in the mail rather than bills. The penny in my rather blurred photograph is a 1940s penny I have near me in my writing shed. Anything that helps me to channel a different time period I’ll use.
And I am editing away on Currawong Manor as the air in my courtyard garden slowly grows chillier. This morning in the park, the mist clung over the wetlands.
It was a beautiful way to start the day. Just before dawn the angels are walking with swans.
the beautiful Belinda Alexandra
is not only a wonderful storyteller but also happens to be an angel when it comes to helping out wildlife and animals. And so when she requested I help to try to place this very pretty rescue cat, Rainbow I couldn’t resist.
I’d take her myself except my Smuchie cat would never speak to me again. If you live in Sydney and could provide a loving home for Rainbow, then all the information you need for her is HERE
I was sent this beautiful photo today of Poet’s Cottage at the airport. And friends have been kindly sending me photos of when they see my book out in the wild making her way.
Here’s a link also to a recent radio interview that I did with Penny Terry of ABC Tasmania if you would care to listen HERE.
And apart from that – it is school holidays. I have been busy with playdates, cinema and trying to finish the first draft of my latest mystery.
Tonight it is raining in Sydney. The weather has suddenly become crisp and cold and I’m heading to bed with Agatha Christie. xx
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – from The Lorax by Dr Seuss