I never got to the memoir-writing weekend workshop! Bertie came down with canine cough the day before. Poor boy he sounded as if he had something stuck in his throat and had been smoking Gauloise cigarettes! Apart from the hacking cough, he brought up endless amounts of frothy mucous – sorry too much detail – which he managed to deposit on my bed, his bed, the living room rug, carpets and floors. Luckily that phase of the virus has passed but he’s still coughing and so dog parks are out of bounds (canine cough is highly contagious) as is contact with other dogs. Try telling that to a two-year old… We sneak round the block for a very much reduced version of our normal walks, madly dodging other dogs by criss-crossing the road. And, before you ask, yes he was vaccinated but, like human flu, there are lots of different strains which can slip through the net.
As I couldn’t leave him with the dog-sitter (she has two dogs of her own), I tried to get someone to come and look after Bertie at home but it was too short notice. So that was that: workshop plans aborted. Although I had been very much looking forward to the weekend, I was pretty philosophical about having to cancel. Que sera, sera – and things often have an uncanny way of working out. In fact, the prospect of a weekend at home with no plans or deadlines was pretty attractive. Regular readers will be familiar with my ranting on about time or lack of it and my seemingly never-ending to-do list. So here was a chance for me to slow down a bit.
Needless to say, I filled up my time and studiously avoided writing. Because the truth is that I can’t think how or where to start with Project Rewrite! So I took myself off to a shopping mall, something I do very rarely – I think the last time was August 2014 – armed with the $50 voucher I received in lieu of soon-to-expire air miles. I needed some new winter boots and found the perfect pair on sale. While I was at it, I bought some heavily reduced pumps and sandals ready for next summer – there’s nothing like planning ahead. I also got some bits and pieces in a closing down sale and treated myself to some speciality teas, my favourite a crème brûlée black tea, and purchased new hair dryer at Kmart for my Airbnb guests
I also had a bit of a cook-up – soups and stews and poached fruits, all perfect for chilly autumn days. On Sunday night I invited a girlfriend and made slow-cook lamb shank soup which we ate with crusty bread. For dessert I stewed apple and blackberries which I served with the plum ice cream I had made over Easter; a perfect combination even if I say so myself!
On Monday I got in touch with the workshop facilitator, Spiri, who offered me a refund or the option of having a one on one meeting with her about my book and 3-4 follow-up phone or email mentoring sessions. I toyed with the idea of engaging a mentor a while back but then saw the workshop and booked on that instead. In truth, a few individual sessions will probably be far more valuable to me than a more generic group approach. What a bonus! Thank you, Bertie, for bringing that about!