Phew and breathe! I’m home again and loving it – even in the rain and cold!
The world feels like a very small place sometimes. I sit here tip-tapping away on my laptop and this time last week I was in Kowloon in Hong Kong, enjoying the sights and smells of such a vibrant, busy city. My last week in New Zealand was wonderful. Auckland was very kind to us in terms of weather and it made working and exploring truly wonderful.
I did the Good Morning TV Show on the NZOne network, with the lovely Jeanette Thomas. Jeanette was fabulous. We spoke so much more during the ad breaks than you see on screen. She was funny, warm and gorgeous and is definitely top of my list of people to drink wine with when I return in a few months time!
The Major and I discovered new areas of Auckland that we had been too busy to explore a few months ago. We went to the arty Ponsonby with its plethora of cafés, bars and fabulous vintage shops, the lovely Eden where I climbed the sides of Mount Eden Maungawhau, the 'Mountain of the Whau tree' in Māori.
New Zealand is the most serene place. I watched fascinated as a flight of Swallows swooped in beautiful formation down into the basin and back out repeatedly. It was stunning and moving. I couldn’t tear myself away. As ever, it was wonderful to see my books in so many fabulous stores: Whitcoulls, Paper Plus, Arcadia and The Women’s Bookshop in Ponsonby.
HarperCollins kept me busy, whisking me from one engagement to the next. The highlight was probably a dinner with all the key Kiwi booksellers, where wine and good book banter flowed, ending in a heated discussion that flew back and forth about what books were better as films! The list wasn’t long, trust me, but we decided that probably the works of Ian Fleming and Roald Dahl were the winners. My own particular favourite being the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which I still love (not so keen on the re-make!)
I’ve been back for a couple of days, just long enough to reacquaint myself with the boys and tackle the laundry mountain that awaits after any time spent travelling. Back to earth with a bump. This morning I jumped up and set off early with my shopping trolley to go and stock up on fruit and veg from a lovely local shop that has the BEST produce for a fraction of the supermarket prices. I arrived early and filled my arms with oranges, avocados, blueberries, a pineapple, a big fat Galia melon and other goodies. I paid and the sweet man helping me opened my shopper trolley, only for us both to discover that my kids, while I was away, have used my trolley as a laundry basket. No, I don’t know why either. But I was mortified, standing with a queue behind me while I tried to hide their pants, pyjamas and grubby jeans and stuff my produce in my bag. Grrrrr….
I’ve been beavering away on my novel ‘Christmas for One’, which comes out… at Christmas – who could have guessed? It’s a romantic romp set in New York. I am really enjoying writing it and it is lovely to re-visit the special places in the city that never sleeps. I’ve seen the first copies of Will You Remember Me?, which is out in July. I know you shouldn’t have favourites… but I think this one has knocked Clover’s Child from top spot. Hope you like it too.
It was our wedding anniversary yesterday and the Major took me out for a wonderful supper. I feel very lucky to be married to my best friend and as we laughed our way through our special dinner, we reflected on our funny old lives. I’ve gone from army wife to author, endured times of separation and total skintness and now we are just about starting to find our feet. It’s been a real life adventure. I wouldn’t change a single second of it and there is no one that I would rather share life with than him, but don’t tell him. Treat ‘em mean and all that…