Greetings from what is currently a very wet Vancouver, Canada – though the rain is due to stop some time on Saturday, I believe. Never mind the weather – it’s great to be here visiting my daughter, who is now a permanent resident of this beautiful country and may well be a fully-fledged Canadian citizen before next year is out. She came here nearly five years ago, a qualified architect with several years’ experience of working in Glasgow. She found a job and quickly settled here, and I can see why. Vancouver is one of the finest cities in the world – it truly has everything, including mountains, beaches, forests and some wonderful traditional cultures. The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is one of my favourite places on earth and I’ve visited it on every one of my trips so far (this is trip number five), and this time will be no exception. It’s enthralling to see all the wonderful First Nations artefacts, though of course there are some very sad aspects concerning the way these people have been treated by the incoming Europeans.
|Traditional First Nations homes and totem poles at MoA|
|First Nations canoe at MoA|
On my first walk on Thursday, exploring my local neighbourhood, I passed a very appealing public library within a few blocks of my apartment. I’m not sure how well libraries are faring in Vancouver but I’d hazard a guess that it’s a good deal better than in the UK. This one had friendly, welcoming air and gave the impression of being well tended, well supported and providing a haven for those needing shelter as well as a nurturing read. There were a good many people inside (yes, OK, the teeming rain probably helped) and the shelves were well stocked with what were definitely books! I went on my way feeling very sad about the situation back home. (Don’t let me get started on politics – I’m meant to be on holiday, after all.)
On another, though closely related, subject… my three-year-old granddaughter Daisy has been a book lover since before she could walk (actually, since before she could sit up and swivel round). It’s pure joy to see the way she loves her books – and she’s now started reading them (or very nearly) for herself. She knows her favourites by heart, word perfect, and if she misses a bit she goes back a page to put it right (she knows exactly which words belong on each page). Daisy reads with perfect expression/intonation – pausing at all the right places to build tension for the listener! Being ‘read to’ by Daisy is currently one of my chief pleasures. She recognises her name in written form now, and all the numbers up to at least twenty. I don’t really mean to boast – I know that every child reaches landmarks in his or her own perfect time. Daisy has been quick at some things, slow at others. But watching her learn is such a joy – and as a grandparent I feel privileged to be seeing all this for a new generation. I am so delighted that, among all the things that Daisy loves (‘working on the laptop’ is the latest!), books come very high up the list.
|Daisy reading with Grandpa - a mischievous smile there for the camera!|
Before I go, just to mention that my good friend and Authors Electric colleague, Enid Richemont, recently delighted me by posting a review of a book of mine that came out in 2012. This was not a good year for me, as my father very sadly passed away and, much less important but still very disconcerting, my publisher let me down by deciding against a series of mine she had been going to publish. Alexa’s Song came out somewhere in the middle of all that, and I never gave it any publicity, which meant it pretty much sank without trace, though I did get a couple of nice reviews. I never got round to publishing the paperback and had pretty much decided to give up on this one. But Enid, bless her, found it, read it and told me how much she’d enjoyed it – the story (for adults) of an artist, Jake, his love of musician Alexa and his battles with bipolar disorder. Enid’s comments and her review lifted my spirits so much (huge thanks, Enid) that I’ve decided to bring out the paperback next year and do a proper re-launch. It’s so easy to lose confidence and such a struggle to find it again, but I’m getting there, I really am! (The current novel is chugging along and I’m enjoying writing it in a way I haven’t enjoyed any writing for quite some time.)
You can see Alexa's Song on Amazon UK here.
Anyway, it’s time to bid you au revoir from lovely Vancouver, all lit up for Christmas, sitting proudly in the rain. And to venture out in said rain for my next adventure…
Ooh, just a thought. Any recommendations of books for reading-crazy three-year-olds? Anything a bit different would be particularly welcome! Please feel free to recommend your own.
Best wishes to all,
Follow me on Twitter @Ros_Warren