Sunday, October 18, 2020

Two New Books and a tawny owl in a pear tree

 It's a beautiful day in mid-Autumn on Skye and I'm not sure where the year went. This house came with an enormous walled meadow, which my neighbours use to keep their sheep in, and an ancient orchard. About seven years ago the orchard was flooded, and we lost all the redcurrants and gooseberries and rhubarb and such, but most of the trees survived, and there are apples and plums and pears still growing on them.

I'm very aware that on Skye, beautiful weather can be replaced by weeks of rain and gale-force winds, so I went down to the orchard and clambered up a ladder, and picked all the pears I could reach, disturbing a tawny owl, who flapped off somewhere it wouldn't bothered by people randomly climbing its trees.

And now I'm sitting and writing this outside. It's too chilly really to write outside, but it's possible, and it won't be possible soon, and that means a lot.

There are two new books out -- one came out last week, one comes out this week.

PIRATE STEW was published first, illustrated by the genius Chris Riddell. Here's me reading the opening and talking about how the book came into existence...

It's only published in the UK and UK-related territories (like Australia and New Zealand) right now. (It comes out in the US in December. This is, oddly enough, because of Covid.)

This is Amanda with Pirate Ash (she read Pirate Stew to his school for today's Dress Like a Pirate Day). After many months of trying to be able to return, it's looking like I'm going to be able to get back to New Zealand to be with them. If it happens, it's still many weeks away. Fingers and everything crossed.

And the other book (to published on Tuesday) is:

And this

The UK edition is the blue one, the US is the grey one. Both are beautiful books, and otherwise the same.

The nights are getting longer, here on Skye, and the sun sets noticeably earlier, week to week. I've been here since April, and things are finally looking hopeful for getting back to my family (Amanda and Ash are still in New Zealand. I wasn't able to get back to them, as only New Zealanders are allowed in. That's loosening up, and the New Zealand Immigration authorities are starting to permit families to reunite.)

It was a friend's birthday the other day, and I asked what they wanted, and was told, a voice message about "Something that makes you feel better when you're down".

And after I sent it I thought, well, there are a lot of us who need cheering up right now, so, with their permission, I'm putting it up here too. 

This may work, although I'm still blogging with Blogger, which these days is a lot like blogging with a charred stick and a hank of bearskin, for all the functionality it gives one, so it may not.

(Lots of behind the scenes jiggery-pokery happens that only sort-of works. Eventually I give up and go over to Soundcloud files, and attempt to embed them.)

(These are audio files.  Play them both, one after the other, and perhaps they'll cheer you up too...)

   This was the first that I recorded...

And when I'd recorded that, I went outside and recorded this:

Labels: , ,