Workers at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London remove scaffolding from the Victoria Tower. The image appeared in The Illustrated London News on the 20th of March, 1954.
From The Londonist, via the British Newspaper Archive.
It’s easy to lose track of everything with this virus taking over the world, but today is St Patrick’s Day, and my Irish surname demands I acknowledge it!
A picture taken in Dublin during my last trip to Ireland: a Guinness truck with a reflection of the famous Ha’penny Bridge:
I’m in Brisbane for a few days. We were late arriving last night because – after Canberra Airport was closed the day before because it was surrounded by bushfires – yesterday planes from Sydney were diverted to Canberra because of a storm!
We flew around that storm on the way up to Queensland, and it was pretty spectacular sering all that lightning from the sky.
Here’s this morning’s view from my apartment.
The only thing on many Australians’ minds as the year comes to an end is that our entire country is on fire. Canberra is finishing the year blanketed in smoke and suffering through a severe heatwave, and for some of the day we had an out of control bushfire five minutes from us.
The New South Wales South Coast, where many (most?) Canberrans either have holiday homes or have visited many times, is ablaze, with people evacuated to the beaches and the entire landscape burnt away.
We need a miracle for 2020.
You know summer is on the way when the noisy friarbirds reappear in the garden! They are such funny-looking birds, but their calls are so weird they’re cute. They’re constantly chatting to each other.
It’s late Sunday morning here and I’m (sort of) working on edits for an upcoming book. It’s probably not something I should admit, but I’m pretty bored with the story at this point!
A wrecked bus is photographed amongst the destruction in Coventry, England after a German Luftwaffe air raid on the night of 14-15 November, 1940.
Coventry suffered heavy damage in the Second World War. The city’s famous cathedral was one of the casualties of the “Coventry Blitz”, which killed many hundreds and left thousands without homes.
We visited Bran Castle – allegedly Dracula’s castle, but really a royal residence – yesterday. It’s like a Disney house!
After visiting the enormous, almost abandoned citadel at Rupea earlier today (picture below), we arrived in Brașov this afternoon. It’s a beautiful place, but when we arrived at our rental apartment in the historic centre there was a little black cat behind a nailed-closed wooden shutter on the floor below us, reaching out to us with both paws.
We didn’t think much of it, but every time we came past the cat was still there. And then when the sun set, and the mail still wasn’t collected from that doorstep, and no lights came on there, I went back down to investigate.
From what my rudimentary Romanian reading skills told me, the letters were all “final notice” electricty-type bills, and the last two were dated the 10th of September (it’s the 17th here).
The cat is trapped, and is STARVING, and even more desperate for water. It can’t meow anymore. We took some sliced ham and a bottle of water down and got as much to it as we could (which wasn’t much through the shutters).
Two young Romanian men in a car stopped and came to help, but nobody here speaks English, and even though my family is Ukrainian, the two countries (they’re neighbours) only have about two words in common in their languages.
I let one of the guys into the courtyard and he knocked on the apartment’s door and talked to the neighbours and tucked a note into the door, and the other mentioned calling the police – because what if the cat’s owner is hurt or dead in there? However, when she heard the word “police”, the maniac neighbour lady came out and yelled at all of us and shooed the men away.
I guess I’ll try and feed the cat for the next few days, and then get our apartment’s owner to help when we leave? If the cat’s owner has been missing over a week…?? I can’t just leave it…
Maybe we’re overreacting. Anyway, here are some pictures:
The ENORMOUS, tourist-free citadel in Rupea:
Brașov’s old town, complete with a Hollywood-style sign on the hill above:
There are stray cats everywhere. They’re gorgeous, and most people in restaurants etc. feed them:
It’s starting to look and feel (and smell!) like spring in Canberra.
Goodbye to winter! It’s spring here, it’s sunny, everything is blossoming! I have allergies, of course – as ever – but that’s fine.
I need to have a little fangirl moment: a few nights ago one of my absolute favourite historical romance authors “liked” my author page on Facebook, and that made an otherwise appalling week pretty bright for a few hours! My page doesn’t have much there yet, but will after my book comes out.
I worked harder this week than I’ve ever worked in my life, and that includes back when I was a ballet dancer. I’m about to send the sequel to The Landowner’s Secret – out in two weeks! – off to my editor, but the process has not been without drama.
The hours I’ve been putting in these past few days have been unbelievable. I thought 13.5 hours on Monday was bad, but then Thursday happened. I started working at 4am and didn’t stop until 11pm (that’s NINETEEN hours). I slept on the couch for two hours, started working again at 1am, and then emailed my editor at 4:30 in the morning in a state of panic!
What happened, you ask? Well …
In the past fortnight I decided to completely rework the structure of the second book (totally my idea – I can’t blame my publisher for this!). I got myself into such a situation that the timeline and continuity were completely messed up. Every change I made to one scene meant I had to change every other scene in the book.
The process was … not … fun.
With me heading off to Europe on Saturday, I had to get this book done NOW.
I haven’t been reading, replying to emails, or even eating or sleeping this week, and now I’m drifting in the sort of weird, exhausted haze caused by of one of those mega 40+ hour international trips Australians often have to take – but worse.
With spring in the air in Canberra, we’re having a bit of a currawong invasion at the moment (that’s just a few of them!).
It’s deafening around here. Those birds are freakishly loud, especially when they fight, which is what is happening nonstop now!
Another busy week. I’m heading overseas VERY soon, and I have a book to finish before then. Packing also has to happen at some point!
The other day I found this on the American HarperCollins website. I can’t believe I’m turning up alongside these authors!
And here’s a bit of Derbyshire history for you (it’s an amazing part of England, and I’m so glad to have spent time there last year.)