Posted by: Corri van de Stege | August 17, 2014

Gardening, editing, reading, writing and what else?

I swear that I still haven’t got enough time to do all the things I want to do, even though I am no longer in full-time employment. Perhaps this will change once the summer is over  and I’m confined inside the house because of dreadful weather. These summer months are just too glorious to miss and the garden requires lots of attention for the simple reason that for the last ten years all I’ve done is a bit of cosmetics here and there, pruning an odd shrub, planting some flowers, keeping the weeds at bay. I’m doing major repairs and redesign this summer and I’ve just spent a week digging up the bed at the front of the house which, instead of being the spellbinding colourful wild flower meadow it was supposed to be, was no more than a patch of tall grass with some very large weedy flowers and a tree with many bare branches and only few leaves at the very top. All it required was a goat to eat the greens! Something had to be done. After all, this is the entrance drive to the house.



I’ve dug it all up, cut down the tree (the wood was very dry, it turned out, providing excellent logs for somebody’s fireplace) so that it now resembles a modern sculpture with beseeching branches begging the sky for cover and I have planted a raft of shrubs and flowers, some from the pots at the back of the house and others a gift or newly bought. I am unable to do colour coordination, nor am I a proper garden designer, but I feel quite satisfied with the result so far. After all, it just couldn’t be worse, could it? The tree is supposed to sprout new growth from its nooks and crannies low down, one of my sisters advised, and the shrubs will grow in height and width. That’s the theory anyway. I shall watch it all with great interest and have carefully noted down the names and the specifics of each new plant in my garden book, which is still under development.


Editing and writing, you ask. I am not neglecting my novel, just taking my time. I’ve edited another 100 pages this last week. I was pleased to read Joseph O’Neill‘s comments in an interview that was published in one of the papers this week, that he takes a long time to write his books because there is so much more to living and there are so many things to do. I loved his book ‘Netherland‘ and his latest novel  ‘The Dog‘ has just been published. I think it took him six years to write. My novel will not take as long as he took to write The Dog, I assure you, and I intend to finish this round of editing before the middle of September, when I’ll go to Singapore for a visit. I will ask around for some beta readers before doing a final edit. Any volunteers?

Reading, you ask, what are you reading? Of course I’m reading. I never stop reading. I’ve nearly finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and think it is a fantastic book, very well written and her use of language is amazing. I just wish I had not bought the paperback version, but bought the download for my Kindle: the font is just too small in the paperback and I find I get very tired when reading large chunks at the time. My eyes aren’t what they used to be! At least you can adjust the font size on your Kindle. Once I’ve finished the book I will write a review, for now I’d just like to recommend it!

Finally, I’ve started reading the short story collection that was sent to me by Jimmy Olsen for review, The Hero of Blind Pig Island and Other Island Stories. I’ve read the first story which was promising and a full review will appear in due course.



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