Transylvania ultra-marathon runners pass my door

This year’s Transylvania ultramarathon runs on 20 May, starting and finishing at Bran Castle, just down the road, and winding around the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountain ridges (both over 2,000 metres).

The masochistic runners will almost be passing my door, so if the occasional runner gets lost and ends up on my doorstep, painting and faint, I won’t be surprised.

Too late to register for this year’s race, of course, but put the date in your diary for 2018!

Dandelion season – here’s how to use them

The meadows all around my house are dotted with splashes of sunshine – dandelions. Heralds of Spring, these little sunny plants are crammed full of nutrients and have lots of healing properties. So don’t curse them, don’t poison them or dig them up… pick them and eat them, make syrup, salves and tea with them. Along with nettles, the first great gift of the natural year.

I came across things to do with dandelions on Pinterest – you can get a free ebook of ways to exploit these wonderful plants, so get cracking!

What’s your favourite way to use dandelions?

See you in Iasi…

Exciting… I’m finally getting up to Iasi …

Iasi launch

 

With Editura All, I’m launching the book at 11.00 hrs on Saturday morning, 13th May at the book fair, so I hope I’ll see you there.

I’ll be in the city from Friday evening till Sunday morning and look forward to exploring a little. Pe curând!

Snowmelt produces stunning patterns

The snow’s melting fast – but boy-oh-boy, is there a lot to melt!

I noticed amazing patterns on the foothill slopes as the thaw progresses – like some fabulous markings of a giant green creature.

IMG_6475

Reflections of a leopard shark?

Animal skin patterns on slopes of mountain

Stunning patterns like shark skin appear in the thaw

Even the snowman has stayed in bed

Still snowing. The Queen’s birthday, 21st April, and the weather is insisting that it’s only January. The wind has changed direction, about 180 degrees, and has strengthened a lot. So my gates are blocked and would need digging out, plus a path from the gates to the house. Where the wind has blown the snow off the trees, I can see colour of leaves, and some whiteness of blossom. I can’t believe the blossom will survive to become fruit, but I hope hope hope. Also hope the poor young bees and other pollinators have found somewhere warm to shelter.

Time to light the fire again. It’s 3 degrees outside, so there must be a thaw in progress, but it’s going to take a while…

Monochrome is SO last season

This morning. Thursday 20th April (my birthday, as it happens). Several trees weighed down by blossom, the daffodils, tulips, wild violets all blooming with life and colour. Now? We’ll see what survives this wintery onslaught. Oh Spring, where art thou?

Spring…winter…spring…winter…

This was yesterday – Easter Sunday. Stunning late afternoon sunshine after a grey day. Here the sun lit the new leaves of the silver birch tree to perfection.

birch in sun

But when I went to bed just before midnight, the rain was hammering on the roof. After a while, it all went quiet. But it hadn’t stopped, merely frozen. In the morning, I woke up to this:

20170417_092144

So Spring is postponed yet again. I bought a car full of plants last week, but I fear this freezing week ahead may kill them off before they can get going, poor things.

What’s the weather like where you are?

Dragons in the catalogue

Dragons - Booklet catalogue

If you’re keen to get your copy ASAP, you can pre-order straight from the publisher, Booklet Fiction. Either:  call the order line: 021 430 30 95 Or email:  comenzi@booklet.ro

You’ll be able to order online, straight from the website, in the next few weeks.

The book is in Romanian and English, as a bilingual edition (one page Romanian, one page English). Most readers will be Romanians learning English, but if you’re an English speaker learning Romanian, this would work too! This is what the blurb says:

Dragons over London  We begin in the 11th century. After travelling around the world, the imperial Chinese dragon Xiaolong settles in the Tower of London, not long after it was built by William the Conqueror. But London’s own dragons do not want a foreigner on their patch and, for many centuries, do their best to kill the Chinese invader. With so many enemies around, Xiaolong badly needs a bodyguard. And a friend. These roles are taken on with pride by George, only a common-as-muck mouse who lives in the Tower, but the most brave and loyal companion of all. Nearly 400 generations of Georges devote their lives to Xiaolong, from George I in 1086, until today when we meet George CCCLXXXVIII. An action adventure written with humour, Dragons over London is a wonderful opportunity to read an alternative history of London (almost entirely based on known facts), with a dramatic climax in the skies over Britain’s capital city.

Here’s George, beautifully illustrated by Andreea Chele:

George 1