#JudegoestoBali and other thoughts about family

Me (on the far left) and my brothers and sisters during our sibling trip to Bali

This might have been my last trip for 2020, but what a trip it was! Our Mum’s kids and their spouses had their third get-together — first one at her funeral, in Auckland, New Zealand; second one five years ago in Oamaru, a small country town with significance in Mum’s life, and now this one.

One of my brothers organised the airfares, another hired a villa for the week, and we had a marvelous time catching up and getting to know one another all over again. Family matters.

I posted on Facebook using the hashtag #JudegoestoBali, so if you want to follow my adventure and you’re on Facebook, go take a look.

I came home thinking about family. About the links that tie me to my brothers and sister, and their spouses and children. About my own beloved, who wasn’t able to join us. I couldn’t sleep properly until I was beside him again, and he says the same thing. About the traditional Balinese family compounds — their domestic architecture leans towards walled compounds enclosing pavilions, gardens, and little shrines. Younger members of the family, when they take a spouse and begin their own family, move into their own pavilion. They live together and work together. Family matters.

About the love of a mother for her children, which transcends time, separation and grief. Even species. We had the privilege, quite without intending it, of timing our visit to the Elephant Sanctuary for a fortnight after the birth of one of only five babies born there in the last ten years.

What a little cutie! And already full of mischief and personality.

We saw a number of monkey mothers, too, when we visited the Monkey Jungle. Like the elephants, the monkeys live in family groups, with the mothers forming the nucleus around which the rest of the family formed. We saw one little fellow of perhaps a year old being repeatedly chased a short distance away by his mother when he attempted to crawl into her lap to replace the new baby. But when baby went wandering and another monkey appeared to threaten it, big brother was right there with Mum and a large male, presumably Dad, chasing the interloper some distance for his offense. Family matters.

Anyway, I’m home now, staying away from my grandchildren for a couple of weeks just in case I picked up Covid-19 while in airports or planes. Mind you, as I understand the statistics, they’re at less risk from me than I am from them, since children appear to show no or few symptoms. Just before I left for Bali, we sold our house, so I’m flat out packing. We’re moving to be closer to said grandchildren. Family matters.

Somehow, in the next week, I need also to finalise the book To Wed a Proper Lady, which is on pre-order, and will be out on 15 April. It is also about family, and is the first novel in my new series, The Children of the Mountain King.

In 1812, high Society is rocked by the return of the Earl of Sutton, heir to the dying Duke of Winshire. James Winderfield, Earl of Sutton, Winshire’s third and only surviving son, has long been thought dead, but his reappearance is not nearly such a shock as those he brings with him, the children of his deceased Persian-born wife and fierce armed retainers.

This series begins with a prequel novella telling the love story of James senior and Mahzad (Paradise Regained), then leaps two decades to a series of six novels as the Winderfield offspring and their cousins search for acceptance and love.

Click on any of the links to find out more.

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