Two decades wring change

Merry Christmas to you all.

And a Happy New Year in a few weeks when we herald 2020.  How time flies, and how it sweeps in profound change, whether we like it or not.

It is hard to look so far back to the beginning of the decade, let alone the turn of the 21st century, because we tend to forget life’s blessings.

I met and married my lovely Frenchman, Olivier, who had springboarded my metamorphosis into once more becoming a wife on January 12, 2008 after 20 years as a divorced single mother. He inspired my first book From France With Love – our love story of when he took me to France in 2004.  It was published by Penguin in 2007 and so I became an author.  Such a great quiver to my bow, along with my long career as a journalist and columnist.  FFWL was a wonderful success, being reprinted three times and finally selling out.  When he died on May 12, 2012,  I struggled with a vortex of grief. Eventually, I returned to France with my woman friend, Jane, and recovered that joie de vivre over those six weeks.   My experiences of the crippling effects of grief led me to write Farewell My French Love, my bitter/sweet memoir, published by Harlequin in 2017.  As we approach the end of 2019, I am proud to say there are only 12 copies left.

I retired in 2009, and Olivier and I travelled to Prague for the launch of my book From France With Love, which created rich memories, because it was published in my ancestoral Wendish language, although I didn’t know it then.

Since the loss of Olivier,  my family life has been enriched immeasurably over this decade. My daughter, Serena and her family of husband, Jon and three children, returned from five years living in the UK and moved to Queensland. My son Tyson and his wife Vanessa, had their first child, a delightful baby girl named Scarlett and two years later, their son, Zachary was born.

I now had five grand-children, who have been such a joy and, to me,  they really are the sweet fruit of ageing. My three adult children all live in Melbourne, and I travel there regularly to enjoy family life.

In 2019, I have turned my attention to searching for my women forebears from Eastern Europe.  I have found my two forgotten 3X and 2X maternal grandmothers, who emigrated from Silesia in the mid 19th century, and their lives were such a mix of joy and sadness.  I found their emigration applications in 1848 and 1855 and it seemed natural to begin writing a third manuscript, fictionalising their lives, which, if published, will be a historical drama.

So, as well as organising my trip to Sweden to attend the Lyceums’ International Congress in Stockholm,  and St Petersburg, Moscow, this year, I organised to travel to Poland to search the  three ancestoral villages in Silesia.   The journey had its moments because I travelled alone and hired a driver and a translator, which was an amazing experience.

To the present.  As we approach 2020, life continues at Belair, where my memorial is beautiful.  Most days, I can be found reading, researching or  writing my third manuscript. The whole journey into ancestry is one of enormous growth and I have met some very interesting “relatives”,  (third cousins).  I have discovered that three arms of my family established Blumberg (now Birdwood).  Of course, I hope for a third book and will put my heart into it, but to get three out of three manuscripts published would need a miracle given the state of Australia’s publishing industry. But, hey, the journey into my ancestors’ past, has been such an adventure.

Lastly, I enjoy the richness of my dear friends, who have travelled this journey of life with me, and our happy times together would also fill a book.