Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The book launch was great!

Just as I was trying to squeeze my car into a too-small spot after circling the streets several times, the car in front moved off and I just slipped in! A good omen for the Sydney book launch for Gemma’s book St Jude’s last night. Gemma must have signed more than 300 books!

Gemma's amazing mother is helping on this book launch tour

On a wet night in Sydney (hurray!!!), about 250-300 people attended the book launch, and many of us bought several copies of St Jude’s. We got one for ourselves and one for Hal’s daughter.

Book signing went smoothly with the assistance of champagne, Pan Macmillan’s rep, and happy good will from people waiting in queues.

I introduced myself to Gemma as the crazy lady with the blog – she knew me straight away and earmarked me for a job! I couldn’t be happier.

After snacking, drinking, buying books and getting them signed, we went off to a newly painted auditorium with its heritage architectural features to listen to Gemma give an outline of current activities at the school. I’ll share bits and pieces over the next few days, as they come to me. In the meantime, check out the schmoozing, Sydney-style.

Excellent nibbles – the home-made cheesy biscuits were my favourite!

Catching up with friends getting more books signed!

Today is Anzac Day in Australia. The US equivalent is Veterans Day. Here it is a public holiday and is marked by commemorative services in every town and city. Every small town has its war memorial and every town has a service on Anzac Day.

I remember when I was a small girl living in a small country town, I was a Brownie (a junior Girl Guide) and we were involved in the commemorative service at the town war memorial. In a small-town kind of way, they rounded up anyone in uniform (Boy Scouts and Girl Guides were good!) and created a ceremony that usually involved wreath-laying, playing the last post, and a minute of silence to remember those who gave their lives in defence of their country.

In the big cities, the Anzac Day marches are huge, closing down the city centre for half a day. For hours, the veterans or their descendants, march with pipe bands or brass bands or military bands along streets lined with people waving flags and holding sprigs of rosemary – for remembrance.

So, today my gratitude is large for those who died and suffered to defend this country that I love. And, as I woke to the sound of steady, gentle rain, I can't help be glad that we have had several days of rain.

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