Friday, May 27, 2011

Road to Morocco

Sorry I've been so silent lately. I've been touring around Southern Spain and Morocco and haven't had time to sit and blog. Today I'm at a lovely hotel in Marrakesh and have taken an afternoon off after several days of sightseeing.

Morocco is absolutely not what I expected: freedom of religion, women allowed to dress how they choose, free universities and hospitals, roads as good as Europe and beautiful modern hotels. I had expected narrow lanes and donkeys, which there are in the old cities, of course, but not this modern forward thinking country. We were apprehensive about going because of the bombing, but everywhere there are posters saying "Don't touch my country"--words of warning to terrorists.

I had hoped to have pictures, but haven't had time to download any yet. Next time, I promise. Off to Casablanca tomorrow so that I can say "Here's looking at you, kid!"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Report from Madrid

This was going to be an insightful overview of the city, but alas my time so far has been spent shopping for underwear and deoderant. You see I arrived yesterday morning but my bag didn't. What's more it didn't show up on American Airlines computer.

After about eighteen hours in the same clothes I had to find some clean underwear, something to sleep in and a short sleeved T shirt as the day became warm and all I had was a turtleneck. And behind all this was the worry that the bag was indeed lost or stolen and I'd have to spend my remaining day in Madrid shopping for enough clothes to see me through a bus tour lasting 17 days.

Well allelula! About an hour ago my online update says that the bag has arrived at Madrid airport and is being delivered some time today to my hotel. Huge sigh of relief. You know I've been blogging all this week at my group blog, on stuff, clutter and hoarding. My theme has been how stuff overwhelms our lives these days. Do hop over and add your comments. Well,I've just had the experience of the thought of life without my stuff. How would I survive for almost three weeks with nothing? What was the minimum I'd need to get buy when laundry would be so hard to do? Suddenly that bag was full of things I'd really miss (especially the Hermes camel bracelet I threw in at the last minute because it seemed right for Morocco). But my Chico travel outfit, a new black and beige silk scarf, and my good German sandals. So many things would be hard to replace.

The bag isn't here yet, but I'm hopeful. NowI can look forward to the tour without having to worry about rinsing out the same underpants and socks every night. And I can go out and see some of the sights of Madrid.
More later...
So I guess that stuff does matter to me. I'm

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Off on an Adventure

Rhys writing hurriedly as I leave in the morning for Spain, Morocco and Portugal. I'll try to take interesting pictures and post while I'm away. I'm not sure how easy that will be at the Berber Village, but I'll try.

And in the meantime, if you have a Kindle, I hope you've downloaded my short Molly Prequel The Amersham Rubies. It's free and a great way to introduce your friends to Molly Murphy. If you don't have a Kindle you can always put the Kindle app on your computer and read the story that way. It's not long.

And if you're feeling blog-starved, this is my week to host the Jungle Red Writers blog ( We've the delightful Mary Jane Maffini as our guest tomorrow and then some revealing confessions later in the week. What was my most embarrassing moment? Go over to Jungle Red to find out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Will and Kate--thoughts after the wedding

When Will and Kate postponed their honeymoon it was announced that he was summoned back to work as an RAF search and rescue pilot on the island of Anglesey in Wales. It had never struck me before, but if he'd been working fifteen years ago, he might well have featured in my first Evan Evans book, Evans Above. In this book a suspicious body is found on top of Mount Snowdon and I talked with the RAF search and rescue team about how it would be brought down from the mountain.

The British press are being kind for once and giving the young couple space, although there have been reports of Kate wheeling her trolley around the local supermarket followed by two bodyguards. So all is well and they have settled into domestic bliss with no servants and an ordinary small house to take care of.

But then came the assassination of Bin Laden and my first thought was--the Brits were tipped off that it was about to happen and warned to keep Will and Kate safely at home in the midst of the British military. What do you think?

I'm off to Spain and Morocco next week, feeling a trifle nervous.

Monday, May 9, 2011

On Brits and Hats

We're packing ready to go to Spain and Morocco next week and my frightfully British husband wants to take his tweed cap with him. He's ignoring my remarks that it will make him look like a lost tourist.

Last week I met a group of English friends for lunch  and we toasted the royal couple in champagne, AND some of us wore hats, even though it was lunch time in a restaurant in the middle of San Francisco! And two of our group had attended a slumber party to watch the wedding and sat wearing hats all night. Those of you who are not British may think this a little strange.

Hats have been a lot on my mind since the royal wedding, especially those two horrifiying and silly creations worn by Princesses Beautrice and Eugenie. So I'm wondering, what is it with the British and hats? We wear them to weddings and royal garden parties and Ascot and the sillier the better. You can even buy those fashionable fascinators --you know, little bits of lace and feather that perch to one side of the head--in Marks and Spencer. Men still wear their bowlers to work in the city. And even Prince Charles wears one of those tweed caps when he tramps over his estates. So why are we so attached to our hats. Personally I'm not a hat person, after having had to wear a hat to school for twelve years--felt in winter, panama in summer. Also I have a small head and most hats come down over my eyes, making me look a bit silly, to say the least.

Is it because we cling to tradition that we bring out our hats on any solemn occasion?  Do our hats let others of lesser status know exactly who we are? What do you think?

Okay I confess that I do own one really gorgeous hat. It's raw Thai silk, pale turquoise with fluffy white feathers on the side. I wore it for one of my book tours and it looked smashing. But it became such a bore to hand carry it onto every plane that I have since retired it. However, since my next book is set on the Riviera and does mention a jaunty nautical outfit, I may find a sexy little French sailor hat... who knows.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Matter of National Security

I'm home after a hectic few days zooming around the Eastern half of the US--Ann Arbor, Bethesda, Annapolis and Pittsburgh. During that time I spoke, met fans, was taken to lovely meals, hung out with friends AND watched history take place.

I was staying at my friend Marcia Talley's house in Annapolis with other mystery writers. We were just preparing for bed after a Barnes and Noble event and a fabulous seafood dinner when a voice yelled, "Get down here. The president is going to make an announcement concerning national security."
We came down in our pjs and sat looking at each other nervously. What exactly did a matter of national security mean? We discussed what we'd do if we learned that a bomber, containing an atomic bomb, was heading to the East Coast of the US. Or chemical weapons. Or terrorists in our midst were about to do.... something nasty.

It's not until something like this happens that one realizes how vulnerable one feels. My first thought was that I was safe enough in Annapolis--well out of DC. Second thought--what if they miss? Third thought--I didn't want to be so far from home.

Then we detected the hint of a smile on Wolf Blitzer's face. It was something good.
Bin Laden, one of our group said. They've got Bin Laden.
And thus it was. And the world rejoiced and it was good.
But call me a cynic.... it's a grand symbolic gesture, but he was in poor health. Had not the leadership already passed to someone more deadly? Did they perhaps want him found and taken out? And of course the ultimate question--are they really sure it was the right man and not his double/bodyguard?
It all sounded like a well planned, well executed operation so I'm hopeful that they did the right thing. My own thoughts--I'm glad they killed him and didn't bring him anywhere for trial. And I'm glad they buried him where there can be no shrine to a martyr.
I'm about to go to Morocco. I wish they hadn't done it right now.
and an afterthought...
I wish Obama had changed his name to Smith before he ran for office. It all gets very confusing.