I've been getting out each day, making sure that I walk to The Parade in Norwood, grab a coffee and speak to people - even if it is just at the checkout in Coles. Complete author isolation would drive me batty; I need people to energise me.
On Tuesday afternoon I walked to the bakery on the corner and on the way back I decided to have a closer look at the sculpture in the middle of the very large median strip in Osmond Terrace. It's a series of circles and inside there are stories. Although I suspect to the passing motorists I may have looked a little strange as my head followed the great big loops, the stories are wonderful and tell snippets of Norwood's history from local residents. One tells of a well to do couple who stayed at a local hotel. The wife was devastated to find her jewellery gone one evening and reported it to the owner. A chamber maid was accused of the theft and sent off in disgrace. Some time later the owner discovered a magpie's nest with a an outstanding collection of jewels.
On Wednesday I had the pleasure of talking to two groups of students from Norwood Public School at the beautiful old Norwood Library. Mary Wilson came to collect me from the apartment. The sky was finally a dazzling blue and the warmth after quite a few chilly days was heavenly.
The children and teachers were a most enthusiastic and appreciative audience and I loved sharing stories with them, answering questions and doing some drama. Cutest question of the day was, 'do you play any sports?'
'Yes, I love to play golf,' was my response.
'Wow, you're the first girl I've ever met who can play golf.'
I didn't realise I was so unusual.
There were some great actors among the classes and they really got stuck into the group audition process.
Mary and I then headed back to drop off the bulky gear at the apartment.
Before I go any further I have to say that Mary Wilson is an extraordinary woman. She's one of those people who exude warmth and kindness - and wisdom. I have loved spending time with her and look forward to a few more visits before I head home. I wish I could have met her husband Ian too - he really sounds like the most extraordinary man and I'm sure they must have made an indomitable team.
As it happened, when we arrived at the apartment, another of the committee members, Jacquie Holdich telephoned to check on some arrangements for next week. On the spur of the moment we organised to meet her in Norwood and have a bite of lunch in the sun. It was great getting to know more about Jacqui's career and her recent travels. Mary and I then headed off down The Terrace to the corner where I was meeting Eliza, one of my former Abbotsleigh colleagues in the Development Office. It was great to see her too and hear about her new life in Adelaide.
Today I've struggled a little bit. I had to finish off an edit for my US publisher and so had my head back in Alice-Miranda At Sea yesterday afternoon and evening and then again first thing this morning. I have found it hard to get into the rhythm of things. I was also cross with myself for being a bit of a cranky pants yesterday. I know I'm missing Ian terribly and can't wait for him to arrive tomorrow night. This afternoon I received the most beautiful email from a reader, Violette - who certainly cheered my day. I've inserted an extract below:
It was very timely. Kids have told me that often when they find themselves in a bind, they will ask, 'what would Alice-Miranda do?' I need to take their advice. I know I've got the passion, but Alice-Miranda could teach me a thing or two about grace.
This afternoon one of my former Abbotsleigh colleagues, Jane came and picked me up and we went and had coffee in the city. It was wonderful to see her and catch up on all the news.
Tomorrow I need to make serious headway on the book. The threads are all there - it's just a matter of pulling gently and seeing how they unravel. I would have loved to be finishing the last few thousand words but that's a little way off yet - not too far, I can almost see it.