Just back on Waiheke after a whirlwind visit to Melbourne which included a book launch, several school visits, at least six kids' basketball games ("Go Redbacks!"), a spot of gardening in the country, and not a single antique shop nor garden visit. How did that happen? Ripped off.
Poet (and friend) Judith Rodriguez very kindly launched The Pirate's Revenge upon the world at Readings in Port Melbourne. Everyone stared at me. My mother didn't cry. What a waste. Must try harder next time.
My brother got back from Nepal safely on Sunday, with 750 gorgeous photos. About 500 of them include a glimpse of Everest. I'm so jealous. Any hint of that famous plume of snow blowing off the summit and I'm a goner.
There are a few other things that are compulsory for any visit to Melbourne for me: driving discreetly past our house; buying more white and black Bonds t-shirts; and sneaking into my favourite secondhand bookshop, The Old Bakery Cottage in Warrandyte. I did manage all three this time, and picked up a couple of books in a relatively brief and uncharacteristically restrained spree: The Cruel Way, Ella Maillart's 1930s trek from Switzerland to India; and - at last - Prospero's Cell, Lawrence Durrell's Corfu memoir. Those old Faber paperbacks really are the sexiest book covers ever. I still can't get over the time I nearly bought - but didn't - early copies of the individual books of the Alexandria Quartet for the whopping price of $6 each. What was I thinking? They are just right, those covers - much more appropriate than my bloody great compendium copy. It's only been about six years. I'll let it go one day. When I find another set.
I also finally grabbed Kate Grenville's The Secret River.
More on recent reading and Ms Grenville's history wars later. I need more coffee first.