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Writer's assistantThis section of my blog is for general comments about life at Farside Farm: the animals, my writing, other happenings. Thunder, my ocicat, will supervise to make sure I don’t forget something important, especially if it has to do with him.

1 March 2018

At the end of last year the gaggle produced six goslings. Four have gone to a friend, but two have remained with the family. I keep meaning to do something about finding them a new home, but they seem to have fitted in, their father, aunts and mother don’t seem to mind being seven instead of five, and I don’t mind either. I’m not making any definite decision as yet, but I have a feeling I now have seven geese. And when I say everyone seems happy, I exclude the last caller who got halfway up the lawn this morning to ask me if I wanted to buy something – or so I assume. He was carrying some item which he never got a chance to reveal. The gaggle didn’t know him, didn’t want to know him, he was barred, banned, and backed up, and he should leave now. He did – which suited me since I didn’t know him either, and I’ve started the new book. So if you plan to drop in on me, remember, you need to be known, if not, call ahead.

31 January 2018

lemon tree very loaded as well right now. A wet winter/Spring, and a hot summer seems to have seen it producing like a fountain. not that I mind. But it is keeping me busy. Yesterday and today I have delivered – half a dozen to my friend next door. 20 to a friend down the rod, and half a shopping bag to another friend. My house manager departed bearing a number of lemons. And this afternoon I delivered half a bag to our health clinic for the waiting room lemon basket, and two large shopping bags’ full to the dairy – where they now appear in an even larger carton with a sign, $2 a bag. (the money going to our health clinic.) And if anyone wonders, this is a Meyer lemon – I wouldn’t have any other – it’s almost 30 years old, oh, and I forgot the last lemon. A small one that fell off when I removed its big brother, Thunder has that and is currently batting it about his cat park. I tell you, lemons here get around!

20 January 2018

and it is, talking to various friends, some in Auckland, some in Wellington, I am assured that it isn’t any better where they are. Here we may be getting a reasonable amount of rain (over 3 1/2 inches for the month to date) but the heat has stayed right up there, and all the wet does is add humidity. It isn’t that bad in the daytime, but it makes it almost impossible to sleep many nights, and the reply to someone asking of I’d ever thought of moving to Australia, was “When I die I may be going to hell, why would I want to move prematurely?” Because, yes, from reports I’ve seen, it’s a lot hotter there and I’m not up for that.

12 December 2017

I was asked the other day about my time in hospital, and for those that heard something, yes, I spent 10 days – the latter half of November – in hospital. I finished my latest Holmes, shot that off to my editor, and realised I didn’t feel great. I had the acknowledgement of receipt next day, and heaved a sigh, right. THAT was done. Now I could afford to notice that I was unwell. I took my concerns to the doctor who agreed. I was very snartly removed to the hospital 75 minutes away by ambulance, where I had a kidney stone lasered to powder, and spent 9 more days recuperating.
Since then I have dropped back twice to add books to their (originally very meagre) ward library. I feel better, (and annoyed, as being in there with something else set back my dental surgery which was supposed to take place right in the middle of all that. Sigh. I’ve been ‘re-scheduled.) And while I felt fine on my return I found that I also had less energy than usual, so decided not to start the new book until New Year. It isn’t as if I have nothing to do, I have two anthology invitations, an article and two book reviews to write, Texas friends coming to stay over Christmas (Wheeee) and umpteen cards and presents to get done and posted. So all is well, my schedule remains full, and Thunder is very very happy to have me home! (So are the hens who are just starting to lay again, having all gone on strike in protest at my absense/the appearance of two other people they didn’t know, whose presence feeding them and egg collecting left my free-range flock quite miffed and blaming me.)

Not that I’m panicking yet, but here we’ve had no rain at all this month so far, and while the place is still solidly green because of all the rain in previous months, I’ll start to worry soon. Our area tends to the medium. Others get floods, we get a lot of rain, others get droughts, we have a dryish season, but we don’t usually get it as hot and dry as early as this. I only hope the weather breaks this week as it’s supposed to do and we get an inch or two. On the other hand, I’d like a dry Christmas Day if possible – and if anyone is listening.

7 November 2017

or at least – back. On the 21st I was hastily removed to hospital with a kidney stone. That was lasered, after which I was initially fine for a couple of days, then deteriorated abruptly. However I was sent home 9 days later, and a week out of hospital and after that,I think I’ve mostly bounced back again. However I plan to take it easy for the remainder of the year just in case. I’ll shift to my usual writing schedule once it’s New year, and my energy levels return. Meanwhile I’m very happy to be home again – and the cat is very happy to have me home.

22 September 2017

Yup, onto my scooter around midday and down to our local school to exercise my franchise as I’ve done every time since 1967. And I suspect that once again I’ll be wondering about those that scream over the results – many of whom didn’t bother to vote. What part of, if you don’t vote you can’t influence the results, don’t they get?

31 August 2017

A few months ago I had a new book out, and wanted extra copies a.s.a.p. Quickest, easiest method I thought, would be to pick up a couple from Amazon. Go there, find the book, buy a couple, go to pay and – find they don’t have pay pal, or not as anything I recognise. Chase my tail around the site for ages, no sign. Do they or do they not accept pay pal?
So I ask their help section. I click on the first of two questions on that – and get nothing that even refers to PP. Click on the other and ditto. I give up. A month later I try again for several books by other authors. Same result. Today I try for the third time. And yes, same @#$%^&* result. I still have NO idea if I can pay that way, what I do know is that I won’t be bothering to try again.
What use is a site where I can’t even get an answer to a very simple question. Next time I want to buy a couple of hundred dollars worth of books I’ll go to the Book Depository UK who are great, or I’ll get them direct from my publisher. (I only didn’t because with me being on the other side of the world, shipping and postage are complicated.) But they can’t be as complicated as trying to buy on Amazon…

4 August 2017

So July finished on 156mls of precipitation, yes, the whole place is soggy, that’s something over 6 inches of rain, and we’ve had so much this year it’s not all soaking right in any longer. Got firewood delivered the other afternoon, and the driver had to use FWD to depart my lawn. Sigh. And a night of -5′ with several more of -4′, have NOT made me happy, or rather my damaged leg, the rest of me would have been mostly fine if it hadn’t been for that screaming about the current chill. And August looks as if it may not be too dry either, it’s 3 days in and we’ve already had almost an inch of rain so far. (21mls.) Oh, well, we’re on the upswing towards summer – when it becomes too hot. However, roll on late spring/early summer when I’m expecting American friends, and then Autumn which is my favourite season, not too hot/cold/wet/dry, or too busy on the farm. Ah, autumn, just right.

26 June 2017

Trying to persuade my computers to cooperate while doing final revision was interrupted last week. I’d posted two blog items and was about to add a third, when my pal rocketed in from next door in to say “Peter’s on fire!” assuming (rightly, thank heavens) that she meant the neighbour’s place and not the chap himself, I shot out after her to find that, yes, yes indeed, Peter’s WAS on fire. In fact I have rarely seen a place so throughly on fire. The house, various sheds, and stacks of salvaged timber, polystyrene panels, and other flamables was ablaze, flames reaching to 30-40 feet, and as we collected together and moved cautiously closer, there was a hollow boom, and the front shed fireballed. (Propane/gas cylinders was my bet – firefighters later agreed.)
About then the house roof fell in, planking was falling from the walls and blazing up, and only a few studs remained, they followed soon after however leaving nothing but the old chimney. Luckily the beautiful fluffy tortoiseshell stray cat he’d been feeding, being a cat and not that stupid, had removed herself to the barn, where she was extracted by local cat carers and taken to a safe place. Luckier still, Peter was away visiting family for a couple of weeks, but it’s not going to be fun for him dealing with the aftermath.
But it certainly enlivened my morning. Just a pity that one of my last Holmes books used a ‘fire plot,’ or I could have pinched that,

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