Romance Writer’s Holiday
What do the words “romance writer’s holiday” conjured up in your mind? A romantic sun bleached island? A wander through the romance of Tuscany? Or the Riviera? Or perhaps a cruise on a “love boat”. Hmm, sounds perfect, doesnt it? While the area I was visiting might not quite meet these expectations, it was ‘home’, it was with extended family, and there were to be opportunities to further my writing exposure/experience/research. In fact, it should have been ideal. And it started out exactly as I’d imagined.
Although it’s the middle of winter, the weather was great. I found myself far less cold in Southland than I often do in Auckland where the temperature suggests it should be significantly warmer. The programme for the break included lots of family time, including numerous visits with our middle son as he celebrated his 21st birthday while we were there.My brother and sister-in-law, visiting from Australia at the same time, made this especially important as it isn’t very often my sister, brother and I can all be together with our mother. Staying on a farm in the back blocks of Southland, we were set to have a fantastic time.
While I can never do much actual writing work while visiting, I had high hopes of achieving some progress with my latest work in progress. My mother and sister, along with two nieces, are always a good source of ideas/scenarios, sometimes hilariously inappropriate, and I enjoy bantering with them. My sister had also arranged a couple of promotional visits with local newspapers. While attending one of these, in Riverton, the small town I copied as a setting for “The CEO Gets Her Man” my talk with Catherine at “Te Hikoi” – Riverton’s wonderful museum – soon made me realise how much more about the area I could have included in my story. Settled by sealers and whalers, Riverton is one of the oldest towns in NZ, and as such could have been portrayed with so much more interesting detail. Perhaps this will entice me to set another story within the beautiful southern area of New Zealand. And of course, allow me another excuse to visit the area while I gather all my research together.
The enjoyment and anticipation of holidays can be severely affected by others, I discovered on the fourth day of our visit. My husband’s moment of stupidity as he forgot he was no longer 20 years old, resulted in him tangled up with the fence he was attempted to hurdle while helping my nephew look the sheep. While embarrassment might have been his immediate emotive response, the pain of his broken ankle soon took priority. And along with it, any plans we had for the remaining holiday. Instead of visiting friends/local areas where I’d grown up, we visited the local hospital. Instead of helping out with jobs around the farm, we stayed inside and achieved very little. But we were with my family so all wasn’t lost, I suppose.
We rushed our drive to Queenstown airport for fear the incoming “polar snow storm” might close the airport, and stop our nephew from getting back to his farm safely. Seeing cancellations of some flights flash up on the announcement board, and the lowering of mist to almost ground level as our flight was delayed, and delayed again, we had fingers and toes crossed that we’d get home. Luck was with us, we missed the storm by a whole day. One day soon we’ll have to front up at our local hospital, and wait the day away as he will probably need a new cast – we had to have his original one cut so he could fly – then we can start marking off the days until he is fit again. Just when I was becoming used to having the kitchen off limits to me while he concocted all sorts of culinary delights, I’m back to being the chief cook and bottle washer. Definitely not a fun situation. I was enjoying his retirement.