To begin the Christmas season, here is an amazing holly-themed muslin gown from the 1820s.
It is in the Met collection, and I discovered it via Dr Kate Stradin‘s amazing fashion history Twitter account.
I wasn’t aware a new movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma had been made! Here’s the trailer – the film is out early next year.
Monday pictures from the capital of Georgia.
I’m a cat magnet, and this kitten on top of a mountain nearly came home with me! Such a big purrer! Then there was the random dog on the stairs up – followed by a random DUCK.
Tbilisi’s skyline shows the city’s history as a crossroads between Europe and Asia, with some Soviet architectural scars to boot. So many beautiful old buildings are falling to pieces.
And then there was the mountaintop Soviet-style entertainment!
Some pictures from yesterday in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The traditional architecture (the first one is from our kitchen window), the Peace Bridge, the receipt from the supermarket – with all that Georgian writing!, and lunch. I’ve eaten a lot of great Georgian food in Ukraine, but eating it actually in Georgia was a first!
Some images from the last few days in Romania. From the capital city, through Wallachia and Transylvania, to the gorgeous little city of Sibiu.
Our final night in Bucharest:
On the road:
Our “home” in Sibiu +the view from my bedroom at dusk and dawn:
Recently I was able to get a copy of an advanced copy of The Landowner’s Secret, due out from Escape Publishing/Harper Collins. The blurb from the publisher:
“When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.
It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.
What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can…
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The amazing Brindabellas that surround Canberra, at the end of last weekend.
The mountains are one of the inspirations for my book.
A crazy collection of noisy miner birds on Friday morning.
Busy week. I tried to get a lot of writing and editing done, but also this:
I swear, there is nothing more frustrating in this universe than trying to organise documentation and get through the red tape of a former (or current) communist country! The hoops you have to jump through are maddening, and I’ve done it twice in less than twelve months, first with communist China last year, and this week in preparation for two months (from August to October) in the former USSR. And it’s that difficult even with me knowing the staff at the embassy here in Canberra!
Why do I do this to myself? I’m not sure of the answer at the moment!
I got mansplained at by a twenty-one year old English guy this week. Not knowing I was Ukrainian, he spewed a whole lot of revolting Russian propaganda at me (what’s with the resurgence of under-thirty tankies?! It’s no better than being a Nazi.).
I was “informed” that Ukrainians want to be part of Russia (they don’t), that Ukrainians love Russians (they don’t – ethnic cleansing and genocide tend to sour people’s feelings). He also “informed” me that there’s nothing wrong with re-forming empires, and that England should be doing the same thing. I was further “informed” that Putin hasn’t done anything wrong (he has), that he wants good relations with the West (he doesn’t), and that it’s only the mean behavior of the EU that’s stopping Russia being good (uh, no).
What it all boils down to is that the whole world is capable of outrage about anything and everything that happens in the United States, but tens of thousands of dead Ukrainians don’t matter.
You know the term “seething with rage”? That’s what I was doing a few days ago.
I have a cover for my book! I can’t share it yet, but it’s FANTASTIC, and I keep randomly opening the file to look at it. I had to fill in a multi-page cover brief to give the designer an idea about what to do, and I was cautiously optimistic, but it is SO much better than I could have hoped for.
The last day of autumn in Canberra.
So, now it’s winter in Australia. However, we’re still having such beautiful days.
The coming week is A BIG ONE for me. The Battle of Binh Ba 50th anniversary commemorations are going to take up all of my time (the 6th of June is the big day), so any plans to write/read/blog won’t happen. I know it’s the same date as the D-Day commemorations, but this battle was much more significant for the Australian military.
Binh Ba was one of Australia’s iconic battles in the Vietnam War, and my family is heavily involved in all aspects of the anniversary. (I know “iconic” is a bad choice of word, but I don’t know how else to describe it.) My father is one of the organisers of the whole thing – obviously, he fought in the battle – and I am going to have a chance to talk with the man who won a Military Cross for Binh Ba, a man whose book I am currently helping to write.
I am actually “moving into” a hotel here in Canberra for the duration of the events.
I’m sure everyone has seen the footage of Notre Dame in Paris on fire.
I have spent a lot of time in Paris – much of that time on my own. I used to walk to Notre Dame on many days, and simply sit in the cathedral for a while, occasionally attending a service, even though I’m not religious.
I thought it was terrible when far-right “activists” would go in there and shoot themselves at the altar to protest abortion or whatever. I thought that was as bad as it would get.
There was scaffolding on the part of the building that caught fire. Restoration work is so, so dangerous for historic buildings. Something very similar happened in Belfast when I was there last year.
Pretty much every romance reader and writer I’ve ever met has read at least one of Jane Austen’s books (or seen the movies/TV shows) and every one has their own opinion of them. I read most of them years ago and loved them (on the whole 😉 ), she had a sharp wit and a keen take on societal mores of the time.
I know little about her life, though, and am always interested in finding out people’s backstory (yeah, okay, I’m nosy!!), so on a recent flying visit to England I took a trip with my sister to the Jane Austen Museum in Chawton. Jane lived there from 1809 to 1817, just before she died at the young age of 41 of an unspecified illness (although researchers in the 1960s think it may have been a form of lymphoma). She wrote Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey…
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