We keep staying up far too late for people whose children like the wrong side of seven in the morning. I could blame the football but that would be reductionist and dishonest.

I’ve been writing a new novel, a first draft, a rip-roaring tale that has whipped me into a frenzy. Everything and everyone have been an eensy bit neglected because I’ve been doing this:

mad cap typing

I drop Louis at school then take Elena to the playground so that I can sit there with my journal and get down the next paragraph while she stands at the top of the slide and says ‘coucou’ to me and anyone else who looks at her.

words at the playground

When she’s done, we go home and play for a little while then I give her her lunch and I write. And then I put her down for her nap, and I write. I eat my lunch and click on things I mean to read later, but instead, I write.

typing like a crazy lady

I take Elena to halte garderie, and then I write until I have to pick Louis up from school. We eat afternoon tea at the park and talk about what he ate for lunch and which kids were mean and who he loves (his choice of words is perhaps a little influenced by his using french all day). And then I coax him into going to play with the other kids. I write a bit. I look around and can’t see Louis and panic for two seconds, and then he throws a stick up in the air, it gets stuck in a tree and needs my help throwing other sticks at it in order to get it down…

cafe dates with the wee man

The last few days he’s been asking if we can go to the cafe. Unfortunately, the closest cafe makes a lousy coffee, but they know how to do Louis’ not-hot chocolate and 4.30 isn’t too early for a glass of wine. Or ice cream. Louis will do drawings and eat his not-hot chocolate off his spoon… which takes forever.

In the evenings, if there’s a french or dutch or interesting football game on, then I tend to type up all those playground words and then type-on.

writing like a machine

Yeah, 50k in 2 weeks. That’s a first.

It’s a miracle we’re not half-buried in dirty laundry, basically. The weather has been good. I’m strangely on top of Laundry. In fact, not for the first time it strikes me that I’m am most productive words-wise when I am actually pretty busy. Creativity energizes me, and busyness kicks me in the bum a bit – any minute I get to write, I write. If there’s time to spare then… no, wait, that never happens.

So, I don’t know what the magic ingredient is. Maybe a strong story. No dull bits in this one, baby. Plenty of vitamin D doesn’t hurt. The knowledge that we’ll be here for another whole year. In fact, I even know what we’re doing after that. For the first time in a long time, I can see the future (sort of). Luuk is signing on to return to Christchurch FOR CERTAIN in August of next year. Not only do I know we’ll be in France for another year but I know where we will be after that. We have been sitting on uncertainty fence for so long I forgot it was kinda uncomfortable.

Plus, we’re going on holiday in six weeks, or so, and that works a bit like a deadline. There’s more than writing to do in the meantime. We got Louis and Elena all signed on for next year for school and halte garderie. We had Louis’ school end of year do last weekend. Sunday school finished up too.

sunday school certificates

Sunday school certificates!

Elena’s nursery doesn’t wrap up for another month, but some people go on holiday in July so they’re doing things like photos now:

Elena with teachers and friends


There were options. She wasn’t smiling in any of them. But her buddy on the bottom right has moved to another city, so I picked the one with him in it. He also does a fantastic photo-grump-face. Kudos Josua.

My french class finished already (Josua’s Dad is off to play for another rugby team, and our Tutor had to go to Brazil with a whole lot of other people for something or other.) I need to get organised to sign up for classes starting in September. Inscriptions have already been and gone for some things. It’s all a bit mad here at the moment, if I’m honest.

This weekend we’re off to the Netherlands for Luuk’s family reunion. If the kids are chilled and the roads are straight (they basically are if you don’t mind the tolls) then I might be writing on the road. Perhaps I’ll finish this draft in long-hand.

Better take an extra journal.