All writers have a life outside of their writing. Although it’s generally considered that we writerly folk are more introvert (definitely in my case) we do have other things going on in our life-like all people-we need stimulation from a wide range of things. So what gives me pleasure, other than writing?
Garden – I say this is a passion, but sometimes I’m not sure. When we lived in the UK we had a tiny postage-stamp sized garden which was tiled and north facing, making it impossible to grow any veg despite my best efforts. The ‘garden’ part of it was on a high bank and consisted of a beautiful fuschia, a ceanothis, several roses and prickly pyrocantha which made weeding even more difficult.
Here in Italy we have over 2 acres (how many stamps is that?) which over the past seven-nearly eight-years we have slowly reclaimed. It is south facing, and the sun casts it’s warm (often hot) rays across it from around 8 in the morning until dusk. This brings about it’s own problems. Very few plants can stand constant sunshine and even thought our orto (vegetable garden) produces lots of yummy stuff, it’s quite a battle to keep it watered and protect delicate leaves and fruit from being scorched. We have over thirty olives which more than supply us in oil for the year and we have a number of trees which we fell and replace to keep in firewood for the winter months. So as you can see, fairly hefty work schedule for most of the year so it has to be something I enjoy, doesn’t it?
Animals – Since a young child I can’t remember being without some domestic animal or another. My first pet was a hamster, a white one with pink eyes called… well Pinky. When we first moved here, we were without animals. Our old Springer wouldn’t have made the transition and as she was really my son’s dog, she spent the rest of her time with my grand-daughter who adored her. Since then we’ve re-homed 14 (yes fourteen) semi-feral kittens and adopted seven of them and we’ve rescued two Italian sheepdogs; Bertie was found in a plastic bag at two days old along with five others and Freya was an unwanted female owned by a shepherd and who’s fate would not have been pleasant. They are ferocious about their territory but are the most gentle, loving giants I’ve ever come across. And, of course, Naughty Nell, our 9 month old Springer Spaniel joined the clan last year. Finally, we have kept chickens for around 6 years and I’ve lost count of the number, when the early days we were plagued by unwanted visits from Mr Fox.
Family – Lastly but by no means least. The one thing I miss most about moving from the UK is my family. I have one son and Simon has four. Between them they have (so far) provided us with the joy of four grand-daughters and one grandson. We are unable to travel together on trips back to the UK because of the menagerie I described in my second passion but they have visited us over here and we Skype and chat regularly over the phone. Despite the distance, I think our relationships have deepened and our infrequent get-togethers are even more special and full of quality time, catching up and enjoying one another. We also have brothers and sisters scattered throughout the UK (and one in USA) whom we catch up with on a regular basis.
So, what are your passions, other than writing?