Doing nothing and everything

5 December 2010
I crept out of bed early with the sound of rain still falling, put the kettle on for a cup of tea while I let Alice out, then in again, made the tea and came to the computer. By the time Hanno was awake, I'd already watched Dr Finlay that I recorded the night before. I really love that program. I vaguely remember it being on back in the old days but the 60s, 70s and 80s were too full of other things to watch TV so I haven't seen it till now. Now it mesmerises me with ladies embarrassed and hushed discussions about their husband's snoring (gasp!) and seemingly sweet and gentle Janet who, I think, is as sharp and cold as a steel pin, sails through it all with the perfect expression of 50s morality. I got another cup of tea, there is so much tea drunk around the doctors' kitchen table I feel left out with empty hands.

The rain always slows things down. Rain is not commonplace here and steady soaking rain makes us stop and notice the weather; we watch and we listen to it. The pattern of rainfall on the tin roof makes me feel that we are all safe, we can slow down and take it easy and with Sunday as an added bonus, the hours are ours to do with as we please. Well, I didn't stay in that relaxed mode for long because I was back at the computer, writing again, for much of the day. For those lovely readers who sent thoughtful messages about the book, the plan is to have it on the shelves in February 2012. My deadline for the first draft is March 1, then we have two months of editing, then it is sent off to the printer in May 1. I am thrilled to be working with Penguin and a wonderful editor, Jo.

When there was a break in the rain, Hanno tidied up in the garden but rushed in and asked me to follow him outside. He was removing the trellis the cherry tomatoes had been growing on and there, amidst the chick weed in the softest green nest, sat Lucy, our stately English Game hen. She sat on six eggs and only moved when the entire trellis came down around her. I wish we could give her chicks to raise. She had a brood of chicks when she came to us - a motley crew of a white leghorn, two bantam Australorps and a green legged rooster of unknown breed. But we're not set up for tiny chicks now and I fear they'd be lost to the snakes and feral cats.

Soon after breakfast I removed the sourdough starter from the fridge and fed it. After mixing in the new flour, I transferred the entire living mass to a clean jar and left it to come to life for a loaf later in the week. Washing up done, I tidied the kitchen and went back to my room to start writing again.

Late in the afternoon I made caramelised apples, to use up some excess apples, and banana cupcakes for morning teas during the week, although there are still a few biscuits left. I'll probably freeze some tomorrow. Sunday night's tea was ham and salad. The rest of the time, when I wanted to relax, I knitted. I'm knitting baby wash clothes at the moment, they're nothing fancy, just practical bamboo and cotton square cloths suitable for the most beautiful of grand babies.

There is so much that is new and exciting happening right now. These changes have brought reflection and growth but mainly a feeling that everything is right and as it should be. There is always work to be done, but that keeps us active and engaged and we enjoy most of it. Sometimes I look back to my younger years and remember good times when I thought it couldn't get any better. But it did. It got better. It still does.