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What I did in my holidays


It's been a big few months. Let's start with the middle of July. Russ and I went to Newcastle to visit the parents before we went overseas, and to look for houses there (our lease-back of our Melbourne house, which we sold this time last year, ends in December). We found a house we liked and made an offer. Back in Melbourne the next week, while we frantically tried to get ready for six weeks in the US, we got pest and building reports, got and sent back contracts by Express Post, and sent a deposit by telegraphic transfer. It was almost ours. The back deck/verandah/whatsit should be wonderful for barbecues:



The last week of July, we flew via LA to Atlanta (with painful delays) and I combined serious jetlag with Secret World Fantasy Awards Business. Then we flew to Toronto, and an eccentric B&B in beautiful Cabbagetown: 



Next, a train to Kingston, where Russ finally met his co-editor on 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists, Udo Schuklenk:



By the time we got to Montreal for Anticipation (the Worldcon), Russ's cough had developed into a nasty case of bronchitis, and he'd lost his voice. Not good for the four or five panels he was supposed to be on for the first day. He stayed in our lovely Delta Centre-Ville room quietly getting better while I did my panels, readings, parties, whatever.  (Ellen Datlow took these photos of Eileen Gunn and me before and after the Angry Robot party was shut down because we were so rowdy. Or maybe it wasn't really us being rowdy.)
         

After Anticipation, we flew to Austin for Armadillocon (where I spent some time with my fellow WFA judge Chris Roberson and his talented wife), then down to San Antonio to catch up with our old mate Damien Broderick and the wonderful Texan woman he left Australia for, Barbara Lamar. (We did notice that practically all the roads in Texas were called Lamar Drive, Lamar Blvd, whatever, after one of Barbara's ancestors.) We stayed in Chicken Paradise, which resembled paradise in many ways, including the breakfasts.

  

That was my cue to come down with a nasty case of bronchitis. Paradise was not lost, but wasted, while I coughed day and night. Then we flew to Kansas City, MO, and stayed in Overland Park, KS, near my incredibly nice (and of course perceptive) publisher Eric Reynolds. I kept coughing while he showed us what a lovely place Kansas (particularly the Flint Hills), and Kansas City, really are. He also got me to read from The Priestess and the Slave at a party he held with his old college buddies and their families, who seemed a delightful bunch. The photo on the left is a stream in the Flint Hills, and on the right is Eric in the Plaza area of Kansas City.

 

Next we flew to Atlanta for Dragon*Con! I was on a few panels - a Gaiman panel on the Brit Track, and two panels about regional sf, one for the YA track, which included the famous and charming Kathleen Duey, and one for the Lit track, which included the even more famous and equally charming Charlaine Harris. And there were three gorgeous whale sharks (among other marine life) at the Georgia Aquarium.
     Thanks to a reservation transferred from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, Russ and I were fortunate enough to stay at the Atlanta Marriot, which was full of astonishing architecture (amazing open atrium) and unbelievable costumes.

  

After we flew home to Melbourne, with Russell coughing again, we had a bit over a week to sleep, go to the doctor for antibiotics, do the washing and catch up on emails before we went to Newcastle for the settlement on the new house, and a launch of The Priestess and the Slave at the Campus Bookshop there, as well as to prove to our parents that we were still alive. I'll post launch photos as soon as I get hold of them. Terry Ryan did a beautiful speech (thanks again, Terry!) and the excellent bookshop people laid on Greek-themed dips, olives and so on. The gods apparently disapproved: it was the day of the worst dust storm in Newcastle since no one-can-remember-when, and many potential launch-attendees sensibly stayed home. Meanwhile, here's another shot or two of the new house, which is now officially OURS - the front this time:

  

We had two days back in Melbourne before Russ flew off to LA. A day or so later, I flew up to Canberra for Conflux. Each of us had a Great TIme. Russ even shook Richard Dawkins' hand!

We're both back home now, which is LOVELY. And I never want to get on a plane again. But I'm sure we'll enjoy the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose over the Halloween weekend!

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
tallaudrey
Oct. 9th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
ZOMG the house is gorgeous!
stephbg
Oct. 9th, 2009 08:18 am (UTC)
I've been following your con-hopping with interest and exhaustion, but after reading this summary I think I may need a little lie down!

New house looks lovely. I'm sure the neighbours aren't *really* zombies.
jennyblackford
Oct. 9th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks, gals!
The new house is going to be very comfortable, though somewhat suburban and nowhere near as classy and idiosyncratic as the old terrace we're in here, a block from the fleshpots (well, boutiques and restaurants) of Albert Park village. But after walking a flight of stairs down to the loo a couple of times every night, I'll really enjoy the en-suite bathroom. With spa bath and enormous shower.
The photos don't show the big bleak grassy terraces that need to be planted with large semi-tropical trees, including at least and avocado, a mango and a custard apple, plus some figs.
Will let you know about the zombie situation.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 9th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
hello!
Really enjoyed meeting you. Glad you are home, safe, sound and in a lovely new house!

We met in Atlanta, not Austin--oh,how it blurs, I know, I know...!

All best wishes,
kathleen duey
jennyblackford
Oct. 9th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
Re: hello!
Oh, dear - I reread that entry so many times and didn't spot that I'd written Austin and Armadillocon again when I meant Atlanta and Dragon*Con! Thanks for pointing that out, Kathleen. It's fixed now!
I don't suppose you'll be at WFC in October (she says hopefully) ?
murasaki_1966
Oct. 10th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
What part of Newcastle?

(I come from Eraring on Lake Macquarie, so I know the area pretty well).


jennyblackford
Oct. 10th, 2009 08:15 am (UTC)
It's Silveridge Estate, near the Uni, diagonally opposite good old Jesmond Centre. Used to be the Wallsend Brickworks, apparently.
We met in Newcastle during High School (Swansea for me, Belmont for him) and both went to Newcastle Uni before Russ got a tutorship at Monash Uni in Eng Lit, and we moved here. So we're going back home!
deliasherman
Oct. 10th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
Nice house. And hooray for ensuite bathrooms and comfort.

I can't believe, after all that, that you're coming to San Jose, but will be delighted to see you again. I finally got all the WFA books out of the house, given to a nearby public school.

When are you moving?
jennyblackford
Oct. 10th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
I can't quite believe that I'm going to WFC either, but it should be great. I've been giving the WFC books away a box at a time (some to relatives and friends, some to the school where brother-in-law is principal), but it's time for a major cull. There are still many boxes under the kitchen table!

We move in December, when the lease-back of our eccentric terrace in Melbourne runs out. We briefly contemplated moving earlier, but there's just too much to dofirst, including WFC.

Looking forward very much to seeing you in San Jose!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )