Out to sea

The Pirate’s Revenge is now afloat in the bookshops, after a minor flurry of radio interviews and a bit of breath-holding until reviews appear.
But this week my focus is on Welsh Black cattle and building barbecues at my day job. Sometimes the dichotomy gets a bit surreal. Two weeks of the month I read books like A History of Sheep in New Zealand, the next week I read a few kids books either for fun or for study, or history books for fiction research, and then if I have a few days “off” I get to read something sensible like a travel narrative or a grown-up novel. Occasionally, as with Tales from the Country, some of these aspects of life overlap: now I’ve stopped weeping at Brian Viner, I’m onto Chris Stewart’s Apple Blossom Appreciation Society, which is part travel book, part escape to the country memoir.
Then on Saturday it’s off to Melbourne for my niece’s birthday, school visits, another launch, and another world altogether. I have a little place of my own in the country there, a hundred-year-old church surrounded by sheep paddocks and filled with stuff. My stuff. Very important stuff, like my great-aunt Myrtle’s fly rod and a wide range of old agricultural implements. And a whole shelf of those marvellous 1950s Readers’ Club or Book Circle hardbacks about somebody or other’s fascinating adventures among the natives in the Amazon or the New Guinea Highlands or perhaps Kent; all with fabulous dust jackets, bought for 50 cents each at Alexandra Op Shop and perfect for weekends in the country.
Although by the time I get there, I might be reading Mrs Wishy Washy or Vikings, Lords of the Sea. Or A Short History of Gum Boots in New Zealand.

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