Sunday, 29 May 2016

Big as a cherry

BEWARE: Tick haven!!!
When I was small I used to sit in the back of my parent's car singing 'it was as big as a cherry la la la la' with the Saltzman brothers. It always gratified me that these brothers would sing along because the song was all about me. Well, about a tick my mum found on the back of my neck while at a Sunday school picnic. It had been there a while because I remember playing with it in bed and I  only told my mother at the picnic because (a) all the caramel paddlepops had melted and (b) I wasn't getting enough attention. It was quite the sizable beast and everyone was suitably aghast. The doctor suggested I not host a tick for quite some time after.

Well, I have finally played host again. This time on my hip. I didn't even notice it for a while because I thought it was a scab. Then when I noticed it still wasn't healing, I realised my scab had legs. Unfortunately I did not go about its eviction in the right way so there is still the tiniest speck of its head hanging in my hip. It is a little itchy and red but I don't believe it is infected so I am kind of waiting for it to get pushed out like a splinter.

The joys of rural living. Snakes - 3. Ticks - 1.

 I am waiting for a wild boar to tear through my backyard. Hopefully it will snag me a truffle on its way and I can retire on its riches.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Fireflies have started appearing in my garden. Beautiful, fragile things, flitting between the olive trees. Like fireworks for ants. I love them. Often I sit outside in the grass and watch them dance about me until it is time for bed. Apparently Tuscan children try to catch them in jars and their parents give them coins for the ones they manage to catch. It isn't easy work and they release them in the end ( thank goodness) but it does conjure up a wonderful image of children playing and laughing amongst the cypress trees

I often see fireflies on my walk home when I am too late for the last bus. I have a rather steep climb up to my town but have found a short cut through an olive grove which literally buzzes with these beautiful creatures whenever I pass through. Even though the walk can be exhausting at the end of a long day, when the moon is full and the fireflies dance it makes it all worthwhile.

Last Saturday evening I had to do just this after I missed my connection from Florence. I had been at an all day writers' conference in the city and my feet had simply lost their rhythm by the close of the day.  The conference was the usual mix of awkwardness and enthusiasm which seems to colour these things but it was good to identify myself with my writing again.  It's time to ride that pony again.
One thing that became very apparent to me though was that I need to start working on my blog again (oh and I need to finish some stories.) I did manage to meet with a publisher ( who doesn't accept unsolicited manuscripts but had read some of work and  said some really wonderful things) and the first thing she said to me was ' you need to get an agent.' I found this both insightful and amusing since she made it sound like something you just pick up at your local grocery story.

'Um a bottle of red wine, three tomatoes...oh and one agent please. Preferably a good one!'

A good agent though, I suspect, is a bit like a firefly. A beautiful, lively things that can bring such joy into your life...but damn hard to catch.

Time to get some bigger jars.