Happy New Year

Dear Friends,

Spring is coming – it really is. We’ve had some wild days here at the Olive Farm with winds blowing and trees creaking like ghosts opening doors in old houses.

Here’s a visitor who came to cut three trees for the neighbour because they were threatening to fall on another neighbour’s house right across the lane. I was at my desk and went outside to find out what all the chainsawing was about and met this chap. Below him, out of shot of my camera is a forty-metre drop to the lane. I won’t be doing this anytime soon.

Did I say Happy New Year? I think not. It feels like months ago already.

How have you been passing your time? Did you celebrate Christmas or did you keep to yourselves, which is what we did. We spent a few days up north in mid-December then we drove back down here and this is where we have been ever since. We had plane tickets booked to fly off to the Berlin Film Festival next week, but it has been cancelled with the films put on line. This week, there was another smaller documentary festival in Biarritz which Michel wanted to attend. Also cancelled and put on line. And so it goes on. As I write we are waiting to know whether we will be going back into a third lockdown. Confinement, we call it here. At present we have a curfew from 6 in the evening to 6 in the morning. It’s not such a bother for us because we are not going anywhere. Next week though I am recording my new novel AN ACT OF LOVE for audio. In a normal time, I’d be flying off to London to record at my favourite studios in north London, but I daren’t get on a plane for fear they would put me in quarantine and I wouldn’t get back home. So, extraordinarily, I have found a studio right here in the village south of our farm. I’m popping in there tomorrow to meet Raphael who will be in charge of the technical side of the recording while the producer, Lewis, will be on line from London. It’s going to be weird and a challenge. I will be reading my book in English and talking down the line to Lewis in English and discussing the technical staff this end in French.  I might be a bit crazy by the end of a week! It’ll be a fun experience though, and it’s great to know there is a studio so close to hand. It means I am now – in this new world of working from home or locally – available for radios and dramas etc, without travelling more than ten kilometres. I rather like these new technological discoveries we are making; how to stay in touch, to work and create from our own office and chairs.

A secret: we still have our Christmas tree and all the lights up. I couldn’t bear to go into a gloomy January with darkness so we decided, why not? It feels a bit devilish, like breaking some fundamental rule.

Over the Christmas period Michel and I were watching lots of films, predominantly classics and a few Netflix dramas, but since Marseille with the very brilliant Gérard Depardieu, I haven’t been totally won over by anything. Except, of course, Call The Agent, which is also a French serious and totally brilliant. Whenever my agent needs to speak to me now, he sends me an email: ‘Call The Agent’.

There is quite a lot brewing at present and I am beavering away at various new projects, which is great fun. I hope to have news on all this soon.

Michel and I talk about where we will go when all this is over. Mostly, I dream of throwing a GINORMOUS party that goes on for several days to which all my friends and colleagues are invited. In my mind’s eye, I see us all sitting about at tables under trees with carafes of wine at the ready. Lots of laughter, dogs running abot the place, tongues hanging out or barking, because they have never seen so many people together in one place at the same time. Music beating out from loudspeakers well placed in the greenery. I have a nephew, Marvin, who is the best at creating sound so he’d be in charge of that. We’d have an area for dancing under the stars. The plash of guests diving into the pool. Michel at the barbecue … Oh, those dreams, once a summer reality even if to a lesser scale. I hope such joyous gatherings are not too far off. Mostly, I hope we all get through this in good health – I have already lost a couple of very dear friends – and with a semblance of sanity. I don’t wish that we will go back to ‘normal’ because I think the ‘normal’ we were living was a bit insane. I hope we will come out of this a little richer of spirit and kinder.

I have seen some amazing acts of generosity throughout this pandemic.

Book business in the meantime,  An Act of Love will be published on 29th April. It is availabe for pre-sale via indie bookshops, Amazon, bookdepository.com who ship worldwide free. The reviews coming in are pretty amazing. I am thrilled.

So, stay safe, act with prudence, look after yourselves and all those around you. 

I am sending you all love for now and will be in touch again soon. Thank you for dipping in here. Sorry, there’s no party invitation!



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