Story telling from Australia
All I can see from my favourite spot next to the French windows are bricks, sandstone, concrete and fencing. This is the shady side of the house, a metre or so wide, with a four metre high wall to mark the boundary.
It’s tempting to throw money at the problem and create an instant garden but a) – I don’t have any money to throw and b) – that’s not what gardening is about.
I’d like to think longer term, pick a plant that might take a while to establish but will reward us later.
Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) would thrive in this shady spot and it needs no support to scramble up the high wall. ‘Somewhat slow to establish,’ say the experts. In other words, it’s a ‘sleep, creep, leap’ type of plant, that will do nothing in the first year, inch its way forward in the second then, hopefully, leap into action in the third.
Planting a climbing hydrangea is an act of faith when I have no idea if we’ll still be here in three years time. Neither of us grew up in cities and we’re both happier in more remote places.
Writing a book is a similar act of faith. You can spend years labouring in the dark, struggling to produce something that may or may not flourish, putting down roots in search of nutrients.
I worked on a manuscript for eighteen months before I submitted it to Macmillan in March last year. Several months later it came back, with comments and corrections and queries. There was also a note attached. ‘We think this would work better in the past tense.’
There’s no button you can press on your computer that will turn 93,000 words from the present tense into the past tense, so I sat down at the computer and started again at the beginning, creeping forward in the dark.
Now, after more edits, corrections and queries, all that unseen work has gathered momentum and there’s suddenly a picture layout, a cover and a publication date.
Love in the Outback is due for publication at the end of April.
Hopefully, it will soon be time to leap.
(all images courtesy of floral images)