Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Falling off the edge of the world

It just feels like I am falling, or rather it feels as if I am in the process of doing so. In actual fact, I am preparing to travel from the far edge of the Antipodes to the middle of the earth or at least Europe. I'm doing the Jaeckels' voyage in reverse and much faster. Whenever I get anxious about the prospect of 24 hours in a plane with a clutch of children, I think of months at sea in a creaky wooden boat with the distinct possibility of not arriving intact in body, mind and soul. I may not be intact in those areas myself by the time we arrive in Germany, but I will have been reasonably speedily and efficiently delivered by an elongated flying tin can. I may even have been fed, entertained and if the stars are aligned, have snatched some sleep.

The "to do" list is diminishing. We have passports, international driver's licenses, plane tickets, car rental, accommodation arranged and friends contacted. I catch myself chanting a little mantra while driving -- "Keep to the right unless overtaking" -- in some kind of attempt to overwrite ingrained driving habits. I'm hoping the mantra doesn't take effect till I am actually out of Australia or else I will suddenly become newsworthy in a bad sort of way.

I don't know what kind of internet access we will have while we are away but I do promise eventually photographs of Marburg, Germany. I want to walk down the street that the Jaeckels' bakery is on and imagine the smell of fresh bread in the air. I want to see if I really want to rewrite the book or what to do with it. I want to be able to see if I can see them there. If so, perhaps I can see them properly in the book. It's not as if I believe one has to go to places about which one writes -- after all who could write sci-fi then -- but that I need to sort out for myself what I want to do with the book.

I can't decide if I should just be thrilled that I managed to write an entire novel, whatever happens to it. As part of that, I've asked a couple of erudite friends (my lovely literary ladies -- sorry but I couldn't resist the alliteration) to read the manuscript and give me their frank opinion. Then I can decide what to do and when I do, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The frog marks the spot

Wandering around outside with the camera the other day after taking pictures of the gloves on the washing line, I leant over to smell the yellow and white frangipanis that are the first to flower in summer. We also have a twisty old lichened pink, yellow and white frangipani and a brand new baby dark red frangipani (or so we are told as I have yet to see a flower). It was but $1 at the markets so I won't feel too cheated whatever the colour.

I admit that I moved the gloves on the washing line to get a better picture. Once you've taken this step, other little "adjustments" come more easily. So I decided to take a picture of the frangipani and removed a few wrinkly brown flowers to "improve" the image. There was a small green spot on one flower. Hand hovering over the flower I saw that it was not a spot but a tiny frog.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Preparing for change

Today in Marburg, Queensland, Australia: 30C (86F), perfect blue sky, puffy clouds, light breeze, dry grass rustling, laundry moving gently in the breeze.

Today in Stuttgart, Germany: 12C (53F), light rain, thermometer moving southwards.

Today in Salo, Italy: 9C (48F), fog, humidity 100%.

Today in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA: 7C (44.6F), overcast with a forecast for sub-zero centigrade temperatures later in the week.

Similar temperatures in Boston, New York City and Chicago -- all on our agenda.

In only three weeks I'll be explaining to the children the purpose of those odd items hanging on the washing line today. And they'll be glad of the ski jackets, beanies and scarves hanging next to the gloves. I wonder if in years to come they will think white Christmases so romantic. And yes, we are planning to visit the original Marburg. Maybe my writing life will be reinvigorated by a wealth of visual detail. At the very least it will be fun to see again the places where I've placed the Jaeckels.