AAW: Out My Window

Pat Rice here: Today, we’re going to play a little game called Looking Out My Window. The idea originally came from https://www.window-swap.com/Window at the start of Covid. Anne Gracie blogged about it.

We’ll turn the idea about a bit. Each of us has written a short piece about what we see from the window of our writing space—but I won’t name who wrote the piece. Instead, I have labeled them A, B, C, etc. Let’s have a little fun guessing who wrote which piece, and it would be lovely if you add what you see out your window!

A.

garden and wallThis is a bit tough. I can’t actually see out my office window unless I stand up. I can see the flash of raven shadows as they stop by for a drink from our birdbath. Locating my desk this way is deliberate. I’d never get anything done elsewise. But here’s what I see if I stand and look out. We’re going on vacation shortly, and our daughter is leaving at the same time, and consequently, we have no one to hand water the potted plants. So this is not the usual view. Most of the pretty plants have been moved to a corner where they’re not visible from this angle. We’ve set up a sprinkler to rain on that corner. The hardy geranium is the main pot you see, and the irrigation system should take care of it. There is no tomato in the tomato cage yet, but that’s a small corner of my husband’s vegetable garden. The orange tree is covered with oranges, although they’re hard to see from here. We’ve grown that immense staghorn fern on the fence since it was a little fella. Had to divide it at one point because it got too heavy. The clivia is getting way too much sun now that the carrotwood tree has been trimmed. I can’t see the blooms on the camellia, but I know they’re there. I’ll have to hope that back corner survives while we’re gone!

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Rereading a book

Anne here, and today I’m talking about rereading my own books. I’m doing copyedits of my newest book (The Secret Daughter) at the moment. That means going through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, looking at where the copyeditor has flagged a problem or a question and deciding what to do with each little thing.

Mainly it’s to do with deleting commas, correcting spelling where I’ve used the English/Australian spelling instead of US spelling, and the occasional repetition of a word that the copyeditor thinks might jar on readers. It’s generally the same word used in one paragraph, or perhaps two consecutive ones. Sometimes I change the word but in other cases I want it there for emphasis.

And sometimes they flag a glitch where I have confused the reader, or changed some character’s eye color, or even name. Copy editors are very nit-picky, and I’m grateful for that, as I want my books to be as error-free as we can make it. But I can only do an hour or so at a time, as that very nit-pickiness also does my head in.

After that’s all done, and the editor has approved the changes I’ve made, it will be laid out in book format, and then go to a proofreader — and back to me for a final check. Reading through the final proofs of a book is usually the last time I read the book. Once it’s published I don’t touch it again, I think because I worry that I’ll spot something terrible or want to change something.

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Easter

Anne here, and I’m thinking of the approach of Easter. I know not everyone celebrates it, and that now is also a difficult time in the world to celebrate anything, but still, we also need to focus on small things to cheer us up, and that’s what I hope to do. (On the right are carved hens’ eggs by craftsman Wen Fuliang)

For people in the Northern Hemisphere, Easter is a spring festival. In fact, in places like Britain and other countries where pagan religions ruled, the early fathers of the Christian church grafted Easter onto the local Spring festivities in order to convince the people to go with Christianity without having to give up their traditional spring celebrations. And thus the association of Easter with eggs, chickens, rabbits and other symbols of fertility.

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Tea, glorious tea

Anne here. Last week I invited a few friends around for afternoon tea. I got out my mother’s and grandmother’s tea sets and made a little ritual of it. Though I probably disgraced myself by using tea-bags instead of making it in a pot. I used teabags so that each person could have the strength they preferred as well as the kind of tea they preferred — one of my friends only drinks green tea and another only drinks herbal tea.

These days we take the supply of tea and a variety of teas very much for granted. But it wasn’t always so.

The use of tea first began in China, centuries ago, and was thought to be of medicinal value. A medical text describing its use was written in the 3rd century AD by a Chinese physician. Yunnan province in China is said to be home to the world’s oldest cultivated tea tree, some 3,200 years old.

Tea was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks during the 6th century AD. It became a drink of the religious classes in Japan and Japanese priests and envoys were sent to China to learn about its culture.  The tea ceremony of Japan was introduced in the 15th century by Buddhists as a semi-religious social custom.

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