Contact

If you would like to contact my publishers:

Sarah Hollingsworth
Melbourne University Publishing
P: (03) 9342 0322
M: 0406998030
E: shollingswor@unimelb.edu.au

If you would like to contact my agent:

James Laurie

James Laurie Management
Ph: + 61 3 9682 9100
Fax: +61 3 9682 9044

E: sydney@jameslaurie.com

 

If you want to book a speaking engagement, please consider some of the talks that are described here: http://bookedout.com.au/find-a-speaker/author/ailsa-piper/                      You can call Lauris, or any of her team at Booked Out, on (03) 98240177

Feel free to leave me a direct message on Facebook or on this site.

I’d love you to become a subscriber, so we can walk together. Just enter your email address on the homepage and hit “subscribe.”

Buen camino!

 

151 thoughts on “Contact

    • Dear Ailsa, what a wonderful, inspiring and aware book. I have half the pages dog-eared for bits to look back on, review, think over again. It made me think of my own brief trip to Spain a few years ago, so far away now from my home in a beautiful spot in the bush in rural north east Victoria; a Paddy far from home but at home too, so lucky.
      Your feeling for people and what is really important, your compassion and empathy were what made the book so moving for me. It occupies a prime place in my mind, my heart; a thing of such emotional beauty, something to be savoured. As I sit in the study, thinking I should be in bed before my early start as brickie’s labourer tomorrow morning with the haunting voice of Natalie Merchant and Karen Peris singing ‘When they ring the golden bells’, I think what a wonderful gift music is, and so much beauty in the world, how fortunate I am. Someday -the world is a strange place- maybe I will hear you speak or meet you in person where our paths converge. Maybe you will be speaking somewhere in the northeast of Vic, who knows?? In the meantime, go n’éirí an bóthar leat (may the road rise to meet you). Tom.

      • Dear Tom,
        I read your comment with disbelieving eyes. Such a beautiful response, and such generosity. Thank you so much. You find me in WA, at the end of the first day of a four-week writing residency at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre. I was about to turn in, feeling like I will never be able to string words together, and that those I have strung together are small and ill-formed, and then this arrives. You have no idea what a gift it is to know that my words have reached you. Doubt plagues everyone of course. We all think we won’t be able to put another foot down at some stage. Worry we can’t go on. But it is rare to have those doubts softened by such a lovely and tender reflection. Really. Thank you.
        I love the northeast of Victoria. Was up there talking at a retreat last easter. Bright and Beechworth are lovely, lovely, but all those hills and vales are magnificent aren’t they? I so hope I can get up there again at some stage. Fingers crossed.
        Meantime, may the wind be always at your back, and again, deep deep gratitude for making the effort to be in touch. You are a gift.
        Ailsa

  1. Congratulations dear one, David and I very excited for you and giggling like teenagers at your “real book cover”-Amazing! It looks very appealing and just a little bit naughty xxx

    • Thanks you two. I have a similar response whenever I see it – “Look, look! It’s a book!!!!” And I do think they have made a very beautiful book. I want the inside to live up to it.

      • It really does…

        page 170, where you talk about your ability to speak french, with vocabulary you’re convinced you’d never learned. Then linking this to situations where you were able to transcend and remember poetry whilst walking without any conscious conjuring…

        Your poetry –and i think– a very strong premise of the book is the line,

        “Unbidden, yet intact”

        This idea that, ‘everyone is everything’-is so clearly executed in the book in so many different ways. (The above being only one of the many)

        And your voice is so modern and accessible that you have this ability to address wonderful, visceral, archaic concepts in this fresh, hip way…

        (Or in brief… I connected)

        Didem.

        • Dear Didem,
          It was a joy to meet you last night, and now it is more joy to receive this generous response.
          Thank you so much. You have quite undone me! I am very grateful to you for sharing your observations. It’s easy to forget details in the imperative of soundbites when speaking publicly about the book. Thank you for reminding me that there are many stories – and for your connection!

          • Hello. So i have been following your blog when i get the chance 🙂 and was thinking of you yesterday becauuuuuuse… Because. i go on term break soon and am heading to Melb and wanted to buy you a coffee and pick your brain….

            But, i see you’re coming to sydney which is fantastic!

            I’ll definitely come to the book event in Paddington. And if you have any spare time at all while up here i’d love to talk to you, especially about the adaptations from novel to script or vice versa??

            The newest addition about lust really fuelled my thinking tonight, so thank you.

            Hope you’re well

            D.

  2. As your childhood next door neighbour and with parents coincidentally from Spain, I together with my sister Ana, am really looking forward to reading your book. Congratulations, en hora buena, felicidades etcetera etcetera

    • Margaret! That’s incredible. I hope that if you are still in Perth I might see you if I am over for the book. How wonderful. Muchas gracias vecina!!! Nosvemos pronto.

      • That would be great Ailsa, not hard to find me and mum still lives next door to your (old) place. There are many many things to tell you, and many to hear about I am sure. Hasta pronto.

        • Hoping I will be in town in a couple of months. I’ll be sure to put word up here and on Facebook. And Twitter! I’m so modern. And I know where to find your mum.

          • Oh Ailsa that would be great, really, I am very close to mum’s place and in the book..you won’t believe all the coincidences around our contact and the “before”. Creo que el reencuentro esta escrito en las estrellas. Besotes.

  3. Didn’t mean to sound like “You call me”…I know you will be busy, I will squeeze in where it suits you:)

    • Dear ailsa,

      Your book is fascinating. It would be a pleasure to meet you. Are you planning on coming to England at any point?

      Shohab

      • Thank you SHohab. How have you read it over there??? Sadly not coming to England any time soon. Not cashed up enough for travel just now. But always travelling in my mind!

        • Hi Ailsa,

          A friend of mine brought the book for me as I was interested in reading it. Your attention to detail and passion for writing is brilliant. Do you have any other intended travels planned ahead?

          • Gracias! And to your friend.
            Travel?
            Always dreaming…but can’t be planning just now. That’s life!

  4. Hola Ailsa!
    just read your book.Great read. Very timely as myself and 3 friends are walking part of the Camino (from Leon to Santiago De Compestella) in October. I am the matriach, will be 2 months shy of 60. Your book has given MY beloved Merrells wings.Can’t wait! wish I had time to walk longer but work calls.thank you Ailsa!
    Cherie

    • Hi Cherie. Lucky you! On this rainy Melbourne day, I dream of warmth and a backpack. I’m so thrilled the book has inspired. Thanks for telling me. You will love it. Walk well in those Merrells. Buen Camino. Have a vino tinto for me. X

  5. HI Didem,
    Thanks for the comment about the lust post. Glad it was fuel for thought.
    It would be great to catch up either in Sydney or Melbourne. I’m up there tomorrow for a few days for Duchess of Malfi, and then again from the 18th, so we should be able to find a time. Hopefully we will cross paths on the 21st – that should be a great night.
    And you will be on holidays! Bliss….

    • beautiful 🙂 oh yes, that’s opening soon isn’t it. Great. well maybe around the 18th-21st, don’t suppose you make dates on your blog right?! 😛 do you have an email address linked to this site.

      Thanks so much for the reply.

      D.

  6. Dear Ailsa, I read your “Frequent Flyer” contribution in the Weekend Australian yesterday. Found your blog-site – subscribed. He vivido en Madrid – hace muchos años – donde enseñando al inglés – and always interested in that land anyway from age 10 in primary school in Tamworth (NSW) – “singed beards and Armadas and the Spanish main”. Four+ years ago I read former Australian diplomat Tony KEVIN’s “El Camino” just as I was coming up to some 16 years living and teaching in western Japan. And then return to Australia about three years back. His book inspired me to walk (just before my return) the famous pilgrimage route in Japan about which you may be aware – the 88-temple 1200+ km path around the island of Shikoku – which in many respects is like the way to Santiago de Compostela. This similarity struck me again when I read how you carried the sins of others – to bring them absolution. The primary aim of Buddhist pilgrimage I undertook is to pray for the repose of souls of those dear to us who have passed away. I made a list of fifty+ precious persons who had slipped from this mortal existence during my time in Japan – and I carried it with me – along with a specially made “juzu” or Buddhist rosary which – wrapped around my prayer hands – was with me as I chanted a part of the standard sutra at each of those 88 temples! I took photos of my shadow, too, like you – my “tsue” or staff and the typical hat giving me the classic pilgrim’s outline! De acuerdo re good shoes and pack! I did have one little blister however – but of no consequence. Robert Louis STEVENSON did a 12-day walk in south central France in 1878 – he advised one to walk alone – any more makes it a picnic he said. The benefits are in meeting others and in the introspection. The Japanese pilgrim may appear to walk alone – as with me – but the assumption/belief is that one walks with the invisible presence of the priest K?Kai who is said to have established the path over 1200 years ago. [“Same Way Two Persons” (D?-gy? Ni-nin)]. I will find your book to-morrow! Brava! Ailsa! Brava!

    • Wow. Thanks so much for that lengthy response, Jim. Like getting a proper letter! And if you do get the book, you will see many resonances, I’m sure. Me Stevenson is in there! And Yuji, a Japanese pilgrim I encountered in my final days along that road, walked the Shikoku path and has been encouraging me to do it in the coming years. I may need to sell a few more things before I can afford it! Your pilgrimage sounds beautiful, with mantra and staff and hat. I hope that you will get to walk the Mozarabe. It is a magnificent road, and with your Spanish you will enjoy the villages and towns enormously. And solitude…ah, yes…
      Gracias. Muchas gracias, peregrino. Buen camino. Siempre.

  7. Heeeeee! (pron. haaaaiiir) Japanese sound expressing amazement! A reply?!! Your path from Granada – aah! [The Generalife/Alhambra/Catedral… memorias.] the same as that walked by Tony KEVIN. My wife and I bought a house in 1981 in Marrickville in Sydney from a Spanish family – sus vecinos en Perth también, no! The Japanese path is made easier with conversational Japanese fluency por supuesto BUT – can be done with little or none – and the route is generally well-marked! But there are so many walking paths around the world. A young English cousin finishing an Adventure degree in a university in Cumbria walked the RLS Trail (with two donkeys – one of them named “Modéstine” quite coincidentally it would seem) with some fellow students – in 2003. On visits to me in Japan we did a couple of one day walks of old Edo Era paths across the mountains in the region where my wife and I were then living. He led (now afflicted too severely with his Cushing’s Disease) many walks in the Lakes District and the Yorkshire Dales up until about three years ago. Nowadays I fairly regularly walk the Fernleigh Track from Belmont to Adamstown in Newcastle – an old steam train track now a beautiful cycling/walking path/bushland corridor of 16 kms – which takes about two-and-a-half hours. Sometimes I see Luke FEARNLEY – the amazing iron man – flying along on his stream-lined racing tricycle. Always inspiring! I will be in Sydney to-morrow – Kinokuniya Books – here I come!

  8. Oh yes yes yes. Trails everywhere here in Oz. Larapinta, Bibbulmun, Great Dividing Trail, Overland Trail…I’ve been lucky to walk quite a few but I know there are more waiting. More than one lifetime. What good fortune. Enjoy Sydney town. I loved being there last week.

  9. Your book was waiting for me at Kinokuniya. One copy only remaining in the store. The clerk who took me to the bookshelf had read of your book and wanted to read it – she said. She pulled the book from the shelf – the bottom corner of the cover had been caught and was bent back. She fussed over this unfortunate occurrence. (I was thinking to myself – the kind of thing which occurs when I push my books into my bag for reading while using public transport.) She was young and clearly distressed that I might be taking your book from the store in this state. Compensation. She took it away – we met back at her desk where she inserted a slip into the book which when presented for payment became a 10% discount.

    I have finished reading – very impressed. Beautifully composed – the thinking and the arrangement based around the sins you carried and reflections on that as well as the stage play format of three acts. I wrote up a very straightforward version of my own pilgrimage (88-temples) about 65,000 words – your book reveals to me how pedestrian (unintended pun) is my own story BUT within it lies something I may one day re-work – the important thing 18-20 months ago was to get it written. I want to respond to other things/issues/memories called up from your book – via another means – not to take up this space. In any event – congratulations on a very moving, reflective and above all honest journal of your journey.

  10. Hi again Jim,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to come back with your response – and with such a generous and perceptive response to what I was doing. The theatre framework is important to me for all the obvious reasons and I’m glad it made sense to you. I hope you do go back and do the work you want to on yours. It has certainly kept the pilgrimage very alive for me, delving to make the book. 88 is a wonderful number, isn’t it? Will that shape your book?
    I hope our friend at the bookshop was not made too anxious. As you say – books are made to show wear and tear. That is love. She just gave yours its first affectionate bruise!
    Thank you again for your generosity and the story. So kind.

  11. Hi Ailsa,

    I have walked the Camino in France however I always got blisters. I am going to walk the Spanish Camino and am wondering if you have any boots you could recommend? I saw your article in the Herald Travel section and was wondering what brand you were referring to?

    Cheers,

    Jennie Kelso

    • Dear Jennie, How wonderful! My theory about blisters is that feet don’t get to breathe. My magnificent much-loved boots were Merrell Siren Ventilators – now discontinued!!! AGH! I loved them because they were not Gore-Tex and had panels of webbing (like runners) so that air literally flowed through. Every breeze made its way to my toes. They were not good for wet weather – toes get soaked – but I prefer my feet having ventilation. Of course if you are walking through wintry conditions, better have GoreTex I guess – I am a hot weather walker by preference. I have two pairs of the mighty Merrells that I tracked down when they stopped making them, and if I could lay my hands on more, I would. That said, I would never recommend any boot to anyone. It is the most personal purchase and as you would know, takes a lot of time to find the boot that is right for your foot. All I can advise is to look for a boot that has plenty of airflow, if you can find it. And if the boots you really love are a bit outside your budget, chance it.
      But take plenty of time to find boots. That is the key. And it doesn’t matter what others say to you – you have to go with the ones that feel best on YOUR foot. Many people walk the Camino Frances in runners, and that is also worth considering if your pack is not heavy. The trail is pretty good on the Frances.
      Buen camino.
      Ailsa

  12. Jennie (via Ailsa) I walked the 88-temple route around the island of Shikoku in early 2009 (weather ranging from freezing to days in high teens Celsius). I had Gore-Tex ankle high boots – heavy – but enough tread on the soles when I’d finished to have gone another half-way around again I suspect. I had one blister near the end of the walk. (Not sure why – but it was of no consequence and no trouble – without any medication/powder or cream.) The thing to which I attribute the otherwise lack of blisters was not necessarily the shoes but to wearing the kinds of socks which have individual toe holes (not unlike gloves for hands) – over which I had heavier regular socks as a kind of further protection. If that’s of any help?

  13. Great points Jim. And yes, socks are vital. Not sure how I would go with toe socks, but I do adore my Merino Threads – all wool socks from NZ. Anything from NZ seems to work for me!

  14. I think the fact that toes do not rub against each other when separated by individual toe-holes – and that boots are roomy enough so that they do not lead to toes being forced against the front of the boot – are of importance. I am visiting with friends in Leeton – your comments on Merrells they endorse!

    • I start walking the Via del la Plata around 17th May (am doing some tourist stuff in Granada and Sevilla) , I have done some of the required training – possibly not enough. I have now switched to the toe socks and they have ended my rubbing toes and with a little generic blister tape also ended my blisters. I have a pair of the merrells (sadly gortex) – the below ankle series. I have now racked up around 200 km in them and feel they will last the 750 km from Merida. Ailsa one small question – do I need to carry a light weight sleeping bag if my budget will allow hotels if pilgrim beds are not available. Loved the book and your email blogs.

      • Hi Michael,
        How very exciting! The road should be glorious at that time, though it could be a bit warm! Great that the toe socks work well for you. I’m sure the shoes will be fine. I only needed one pair for my 1300 kilometres, and they still had a wee bit of life in them – though I would not have wanted to walk home in them!
        If you are going to stay in any pilgrim accom, I would certainly take alight sleeping bag. It may not be necessary due to warm weather, but you never know. And almost none of the refugios I stayed in provided blankets, though in Galicia they provide paper base sheets and pillowcase. Of course if you can stay at hostals and hote;s all the way, no problem at all!
        Buen camino, peregrino. What wonders lie ahead for you!
        And thanks for the compliment re the book and blog!
        Ailsa

  15. Hello, my name id Ricardo San Martín. I am an English teacher now retired, At present I am writing a book on the travellers who passed through ALCALÁ LA REAL . On page 68 (chapter 7, Moor, moor, moorish) I ‘ve read your visit to Alcalá. I will quote some of your words and comments concerning Alcalá for my book.
    Would you be so kind as to send me three od four lines commenting on your visit to Alcalá? I guess you stayed at Hostal Río de Oro, right? Was your journey in 2011?
    I rode the Camino twice and walked the French Way of Santiago from Roncesvalles to Burgos (I hope to finis it soon9.
    Looking forward to your reply. Ultreya, Ricardo San Martín

    • Hola Ricardo! No, my journey was in 2010, and yes I did stay at Hostal Rio de Oro. My memory of Alcalâ is mostly of wandering the streets in a kind of exhausted stupor! The observations in the book are really clear for me, and as you would appreciate, the emotions I describe there coloured the experience of the town. Perhaps you can give me more of an idea of what your book is about so that I can write something useful for you. Buen camino, peregrino.

      • Yes, I agree you describe your emotions in the town very clearly: the billboard with obituaries, the inside of Consolación Church with Virgins and their tears, etc. Even the talking with plowmen burning olive branches in your way to Las Ventas, that is what I have quoted for my book of travellers through Alcalá.

        Maybe you could also tell me something more about the buildings and monuments (the Mota castle), the people in the streets and so on.

        Thank you for replying. It was kind of you. Ultreya.

        • HI Ricardo,
          I’m not sure about this, being new to publishing but I think that if you want to quote from the book you must seek permission form the publishers. I had to do that for all my contemporary quotes. As I say, I’m new and don’t know about copyright law and who can grant permissions, but it would be wise to enquire.
          To be honest, I feel I have not much more to add. I worked hard to craft the passage in the book, and would prefer not to write something in isolation from that. Thank you for asking, though. I am sure your own reflections will be more true to your intentions with your book. Suerte!

  16. I have just finished reading your wonderful book’ Sinning across Spain’.I heard you being interviewed on Radio National which set me off to read your book. I have not enjoyed a book so much for years.If I was younger,I would be off to Spain but I felt I was on the journey with you.I love your style of writing which was so absorbing.Well done.Cheers,Audrey.

    • Oh Audrey, thank you. I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a delayed flight, feeling a little restless in the heart, and this has made my day. I am so glad that the book took you on a journey, and really touched that you have found me to tell me. Thank you. Suddenly this delay is pleasurable! I will think of you in Sydney tonight when I talk at the Cervantes Institute – a bit of Spain in Australia. Gracias y buen camino.

  17. Hi Ailsa, we met at the signing of your book at Jo and Gil’s shop Aziza, I am a member of The Breakfast at Tiffanies Bookclub.
    We loved our discussion and after heading off to a local Spanish Cafe decided to make Sinning Across Spain our next Bookclub title, a bit different to our most recent title Fifty Shades of Grey!!
    To go with the theme of the book we have decide to embark on a walk ourselves, not quite the adventure you undertook , we are meeting at The 1000 Steps in Ferntree Gully, having lunch afterwards at Earthly Pleasures, it would be a thrill if you could join us.

    The meeting is on Sunday the 26th of August.

    cheers

    Shelle

    • Hi Shelle,
      That’s incredibly kind of you – to choose the book, and also to invite me along to walk. Sadly I will be out of town on that day – celebrating my anniversary, actually! I will raise a glass to great walking women – a glass of something sparkling, I hope. I hope Sinning lives up to your last read. Funny isn’t it? Mine probably has a racier-sounding title – very little that is sinful about the sound of Fifty Shades of Grey!More evidence that we can’t judge books by their covers. Buen camino – walk well. And thanks again.

  18. dear ailsa, I am loving your book. I am trying (with difficulty), to savour it, reading a quarter each night…but mmmm…tis hard to be “disiplined”!! What an extraordinary person you are
    kyria

    • Thanks so much Kyria. I know that feeling when you and a book hit it off. I raced through a second read of Sophie Cunningham’s MELBOURNE this week, and just today I’ve gulped down half of Kate Holden’s memoir IN MY SKIN – a book I have meant to read for years. So delicious. But to slow down has felt impossible so I salute your efforts! It was lovely to meet you on Sunday at the Pavilion. Wasn’t it a great day? Thanks for sharing stories, and the tip on Violet Town. Buen Camino.

  19. Dear Ailsa,
    Wanted to tell you just how much I absolutely loved Sinning Across Spain. Read it whilst on holiday and frankly could hardly put it down, even for dinner or a glass of wine and that is saying something. Someone close to me knows you and I have told her how much I enjoyed it and then, today, I was having a little ‘sit down’ after a long spell in the kitchen and turned on Ch 24 only to be lucky enough to see the interview with Caroline Baum, you and another favourite of mine, Charlotte Wood whose book also came with me on hols. and the wonderful Hannie Rayson. Will watch it again on my computer when I get a chance and have told others about it also. Have loaded the “other” book on the same journey and will read that in next holiday in a few weeks. Your book is a very thoughtful intelligent and gentle walk through some hard days and I really admire your effort to go it alone. I couldn’t have done that. I also love Merrells, but not the hard walking type, ones I wear to walk fairly easily in! Will be following your blog in future – I am beginning to wonder just how many I can look at in a day and still do all the work here for me! Sounds as though I am always on holiday – far from the truth I have to say, just to spoil grandchildren and our two.

    • HI Bertina,
      Thank you so much for tracking me down to tell me that you enjoyed the book. It is such a treat to hear from a reader, and I feel very grateful that you made the effort. Even more happy that the book resonated with you – another Merrell-lover! And I am so glad that you took Charlotte’s book with you too – she is brilliant isn’t she? Was it one of her novels, or was it Love and Hunger? All are full of such heart and wisdom. I loved that panel. I felt I was among women who made me strive to be the best I could be.
      I hope you also enjoy the “other” book – do you mean Tony Kevin’s? I read it when I came home from walking, because my husband had tracked my path through it as I walked. I found it to be tender and wise, and full of lots of terrific information about history and contemporary politics around the world. He is a remarkable man, Mr Kevin. Brave and true to his principles.
      I’m sure you could walk a lone camino, you know. It really is one foot then the other. The only thing is that now that the crisis has bitten Spain so hard, I fear for all those kind people. Today’s paper is full of the trouble besetting them, and also the timely reminder of how fragile their political stability could be, given that they are only 40 years on from Franco and democracy is relatively new. I hope I can get back sometime soon. I would like to return a few kindnesses.
      Thanks also for following the blog. Subscribers make me want to try harder to offer up something worthy!

  20. Ailsa,How very thoughtful of you to write back to me. I cried whilst reading some of the passages in your book and rang my daughter to tell her just how much your book “got through to me!” It was Charlotte’s “Love and Hunger” that I took on our wonderful family holiday in Bali and it, too, had quite an effect on me and gave me back a little incentive to do more cooking again as I used to do many years ago. Yes, it is Tony Kevin’s book I was referring to and I was very interested to read in your book that your husband was reading it while you were busy walking the Camino. I will read it when we are all away in queensland during the next school hols.Have just bought another copy of your wonderful “Sinning…” and will lend it to my husband for him to take away, my other copy is with friends and I don’t feel like ringing them and requesting it back too soon. I do hope you are feeling a little healed after your hideous fall, I used to be like that, but started going to Pilates classes with my physio and (so far) seem to be able to do a little “trip” and recover upright! We loved Spain when we visited and drove around quite extensively some years ago and found the people most welcoming and very friendly towards us. Might say I have also told a few of my friends about the interview and advised them not to miss it even though I did have to sit at my computer for a while!
    Wish I could get to one of your little talks but living where we do it is a somewhat hard to leave here and get into the real ‘burbs’ and can’t see us ever retiring and moving back into the inner City. My thoughts are often with you and your wonderful book – the people you met along the way and don’t forget that it goes both ways, you gave out a lot of yourself to them and it was returned. My best wishes to you.
    Bertina

  21. Dear Bertina,
    I loved all that detail about what you have been reading and how it has affected you. Thanks for buying another copy of Sinning. As I wrote in yesterday’s post, to be given as a gift remains one of the loveliest things that has happened to me with the book!
    And off to Queensland next. How terrific. Your life sounds amazingly busy and full, and I can perfectly understand why you have no need of the inner city. And the life lived in books is so rich and varied, isn’t it? I feel I have been at an extended dinner party hosted by Robert Dessaix these last few days as I’ve read his book, so I understand what you mean when you say that your thoughts turn to my book. If we read with attention, it is like we are there, with a new friend. I’m so grateful my book has done that in some small way for you.
    Enjoy these glorious spring days. The wattle is so amazing isn’t it?
    Ailsa

  22. Hi Ailsa
    way back in May I posted a comment about walking part (turned out to be 170 klms)of the Camino with 3 friends.Well, we did it and are home and back at work. What an adventure we had! I loved it and would do it again tomorrow.Unfortunately the friend I spent most of my time walking with had bad blisters so that made it difficult for her/us.Anyone else thinking of walking even a part of the Camino as we did- prepare your feet and walk your boots in over months.I did (Merrills of course) and had no problems what ever. I often thought of you Ailsa as I walked along and wished several times that I could enjoy the solitude you did even though I enjoyed the company of good friends and the gratitude of my injured friend for sticking with her to see she was OK – (how could I not!) The feeling of reaching the Cathedral in Santiago and the Pilgrims office in indescribable isn’t it? And the Spanish people- what can I say? How wonderful and welcoming they are.
    Kind regards Ailsa and thank you once again for a wonderful book
    Cherie
    PS. I had several Vino Tintos for you!

  23. Dear Cherie,
    Enhorabuena!!!! Congratulations!
    Arrival is a most wonderful feeling isn’t it? Mixed somehow, too, because it means the end of the journey. I bet you will dream of going back and walking other roads now.
    Or maybe not. maybe that is my greed!
    Thank you so much for thinking of me – and for raising the vino tinto glass. Very important! I hope that the transition back to home has been gentle and easy, and that your friend’s poor feet are recovered. Glad that your Merrells proved as reliable as mine. I think we’re lucky if we have feet that fit a shoe variety well. Some of my friends have never found the perfect hiking boot for them and it makes it very difficult.
    Oh so much pleasure in even thinking about walking! And those Spanish with their open hearts and hands…
    Thanks again for letting me know how you went, and may the road continue to be kind.
    Ailsa x

  24. Hi Ailsa
    Can your publishers make the book available on amazon.co.uk? I think it would sell well on the site and also through the Confraternity of St James, who run two refugios in Spain and recommend camino books to their members. My wife and I went on camino together last year from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, and I’d like to get it for her birthday, which we celebrated in a great bar we found in Leon which was marking its own 95th anniversary. [Bar Saint Roman, Lopez Castrillon 7, Barrio Romantico for anyone interested.] By the way, I love the book cover. As a publisher myself, I’m sure it accords with the old publishing adage.
    Happy walking!
    Michael from London

  25. Hello Michael,
    I would love for it to be available internationally, because the pilgrim community is so important to me. At present, an agent is shopping it about for UK rights. Not sure how much interest there is, but I’m hoping. If they don’t succeed I will ask about Amazon. I’m not clear on how these things operate, but will certainly let people know here on the blog if and when anything changes. Thanks so much for your interest – and for the comment on the cover. The designer did a beautiful job – and I’m proud my photo got used on the back. Will keep you posted. Happy birthday belatedly to your wife. Sounds like a great celebration!
    Buen camino, peregrino.

  26. Ailsa, Just wanted to contact you to let you know of plans a few colleagues of mine have for an Aussie Camino. I am currently training to walk from Lourdes to Santiago in July and August later this year. I have seen the Movie The Way a number of times and heard you speak with Tony last year in Melbourne. My sisters are currently reading your book Sinning Across Spain. My entire family(six siblings) is hooked on the Movie and the life lessons it has taught us.
    My friends (a group of Catholic school teachers from Victoria) have designed an Aussie Camino starting at Geelong and finishing at Penola so we can have our own Aussie pilgrimage. Hopefully this will develop a similar tradition for centuries to come like Santiago.
    I thought I would let you know as you are ‘Ms. Camino Australia’ at the moment.Who knows you may even like to join us for a small part of the walk which we will be doing from the April 3 to April 11 this year.
    Would welcome any ideas or thoughts you have on this adventure we are about to undertake.

  27. Hi Michael,
    My only thoughts are admiration and astonishment. What an undertaking. How beautiful and profound. Might you try to include any indigenous stories or trails? It could be a very beautiful thing to work with some of the local people to include their history. And it is very enticing to consider joining you. I’m not sure where I will be in April, but if time and tides allow, I shall be walking with you. Beautiful.
    And then Lourdes! Wow. It will be pretty warm on the trail then, but what a quest. What inspiration. I’m so touched that my book has a small part in your story, along with The Way. How those roads enrich us all. Aren’t we lucky?
    Deep gratitude from Ms Camino Australia!
    That really made me smile.

  28. Yes, I concur Ailsa – brilliant idea of Michael and mates for equivalent Camina Australiana – in this ancient land – especially if including aspects of the Indigenous peoples whose countries (Songlines?) will be traversed. How fantastic! Having just read Bill GAMMAGE’s The Biggest Estate on Earth (2011) seeing far more clearly the beauty and majesty of the “farming” efforts of the Indigenous peoples of Australia – right across the continent and Tasmania. (Could even take descriptions from his book to place at points along the way…?) Buen camino, amigos!

    Just now listening to Gary SHEARSTON – Australian folk-singer/song-writer extraordinaire – his Here & There, Now & Then compilation – singing the stories of Australia back into its Indigenous heritage too – from 50+ years ago!

  29. Yes, I concur Ailsa – brilliant idea of Michael and mates for equivalent Camina Australiana – in this ancient land – especially if including aspects of the Indigenous peoples whose countries (Songlines?) will be traversed. How fantastic! Having just read Bill GAMMAGE’s The Biggest Estate on Earth (2011) seeing far more clearly the beauty and majesty of the “farming” efforts of the Indigenous peoples of Australia – right across the continent and Tasmania. (Could even take descriptions from his book to place at points along the way…?) Buen camino, amigos!

    Just now listening to Gary SHEARSTON – Australian folk-singer/song-writer extraordinaire – his Here & There, Now & Then compilation – singing the stories of Australia back into its Indigenous heritage too – from 50+ years ago!

  30. Ms. Camino Australia. I have a background letter and timetable for the Aussie Camino walk in April. Would it be best to send it to your agent’s email address or please advise otherwise. Michael.

  31. Hi Ailsa
    I loved your book and am in awe of your courage to walk alone and also to walk such long distances most days. My partner and I are planning to walk from Le Puy to the spanish border and then walk the Camino Frances next year. He would like to arrive at Santiago for his 60th birthday! I looked with great interest at the items you took, in particular the Aarn backpack. I have an Osprey backpack about the same weight that is giving me problems (not the right size unfortunately), and am thinking of buying another pack. I looked at an Aarn Mountain Magic 50 and it is so different to ‘normal’ packs, and I wondered how you went with the balance packs at the front? It certainly felt comfortable in the store but it was challenging to work out the fit correctly. Thanks so much again for such a wonderful read and journey.

    • Hi Annie,
      Wow. That will be a brilliant walk. Would love to do it. And beautiful to arrive for the 60th. In terms of packs – yes, work as hard as you can to get the RIGHT one. It’s essential. I loved the Aarn, as you know, but I didn’t use the front packs. Didn’t buy them, though if I was planning a trip where I needed to carry more weight, I would most certainly get them, as I do think it suits my body very well. But that’s the key – it suits me. Painful though it may be, I think you have to test and re-test until you have that “just right” feeling. Good luck with it!
      Thanks for your lovely comments on the book. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. But with regard to the “courage” of walking those distances – it’s not fair of me to claim that for a minute. I LOVE those distances! My great challenge is to go back and walk 18 to 20 kilometres a day, in the manner of a snail. I have been promising myself that for three years. It will take more chutzpah than the big days, I promise.
      Buen camino. May it be beautiful. xxx

  32. Hola Aisla…. claro que sigo conectando contigo y tus palabras!
    Por fin lei tu libro después de tu taller en Rose Bay (Febrero).
    Pides poesia y un amigo de madrid me lo mando y te lo paso aqui… Rosalía de Castro (February 24 1837 – July 15 1885), una Gallega !
    Que sigas buscando las palabras escritas ….. Lucy
    http://theinkbrain.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/rosalia-de-castro-selected-poems/

    Adiós rios, adios fontes.

    Adiós, ríos; adios, fontes;
    adios, regatos pequenos;
    adios, vista dos meus ollos:
    non sei cando nos veremos.
    Miña terra, miña terra,
    terra donde me eu criei,
    hortiña que quero tanto,
    figueiriñas que prantei,
    prados, ríos, arboredas,
    pinares que move o vento,
    paxariños piadores,
    casiña do meu contento,
    muíño dos castañares,
    noites craras de luar,
    campaniñas trimbadoras,
    da igrexiña do lugar,
    amoriñas das silveiras
    que eu lle daba ó meu amor,
    caminiños antre o millo,
    ¡adios, para sempre adios!
    ¡Adios groria! ¡Adios contento!
    ¡Deixo a casa onde nacín,
    deixo a aldea que conozo
    por un mundo que non vin!
    Deixo amigos por estraños,
    deixo a veiga polo mar,
    deixo, en fin, canto ben quero…
    ¡Quen pudera non deixar!…
    Mais son probe e, ¡mal pecado!,
    a miña terra n’é miña,
    que hastra lle dan de prestado
    a beira por que camiña
    ó que naceu desdichado.
    Téñovos, pois, que deixar,
    hortiña que tanto amei,
    fogueiriña do meu lar,
    arboriños que prantei,
    fontiña do cabañar.
    Adios, adios, que me vou,
    herbiñas do camposanto,
    donde meu pai se enterrou,
    herbiñas que biquei tanto,
    terriña que nos criou.
    Adios Virxe da Asunción,
    branca como un serafín;
    lévovos no corazón:
    Pedídelle a Dios por min,
    miña Virxe da Asunción.
    Xa se oien lonxe, moi lonxe,
    as campanas do Pomar;

    • Que buena, Lucy. Hermosa. Poesia para el corazón!
      A new poet is always such a treat, and yes, the camino for the words is my quest.
      I am so glad that the book connected with you. Rose Bay, and my time there, continues to be a source of great inspiration and wonder.
      Que tengas muchos días de felicidad y paz.
      Gracias, amiga. Muchas gracias.
      Ailsa xx

  33. I have followed Lucy TORRES’ link to the poetry of Rosalía de Castro – with essays and poetry translated into English – good for the nuances – given my surface level broad strokes understanding of Spanish. I love those who understand the importance of language – that variants – of the version of the capital – are equally as important – whether of Galician alongside Castilian (or standard English alongside Geordie or Scouse)! (This reminds of the writer MIYAZAWA Kenji – early 20th century – in northern Japan – celebrating the regional language – against the same kinds of negativity identified by Rosalía.) And her feelings of the jeering from Castile of her beautiful if impoverished Galicia with all the suffering she saw in those mid-latter 19th century days – of the women especially – yet she shows compassion too for the men – those who left … Thanks, Lucy.

  34. Hi Ji,
    Yes they are fascinating and vital, those awarenesses of the subterranean – or surface in many cases – dialects and other languages. They shed light on why there was a divergence, and what the divergence was about. The pride. The heart. So intriguing. I love the sound of Galician. And I, like you, find the poem deeply moving. And it reminds me of the Irish experience, too – their landscapes are so closely aligned, and their poetry may be too. Thanks for stopping by, and yes, thanks again Lucy.

    • Hi Ms. Camino Australia. Michael here. I wrote back in February explaining how a couple of colleagues and myself planned to walk from Portland to Penola (home of our only saint Mary McKillop) to create our own Aussie Camino. Mission accomplished !!!! We ended up walking from Portland (Mary McKillop worked here as well) to Penola via Port Macdonnell in South Australia. A little over 200km in one week. People along ‘The Way’ (pun intended) were very enthusiastic about our pilgrimage. A great training run for my Lourdes to Santiago venture in July and August.
      We were taken out for dinner and welcomed by many in the Penola community as the first pilgrims. The walk generated much enthusiasm and excitement amongst the locals. They shouted us out for a meal and drinks as well. !!
      I will send you my diary once completed. Buen Camino. Michael.

  35. Hi Ailsa,
    I wanted to let you know that your book was inspirational. I have just returned from walking the Camino and it has changed my life.
    Along the way I met an Australian couple who were walking the Camino because they read your book and saw you talk at the BBWF.
    (I was your workshop assistant at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival in 2012.)
    Best wishes,
    Penny

    • Dear Penny,
      I remember you so well from Byron, and am hugely touched that you wrote to tell me of your experience. I could not be happier for you. That road sure does do something, doesn’t it? I hope that it continues to open up for you, and that every step is in beauty.
      Buen camino, pilgrim.
      Love and gratitude.
      Ailsa

  36. Ailsa, I have just finished Sinning Across Spain, and want to say well done and thanks. I feel that I have walked with you, and shared the vies, but been spared the bone and muscle ache. I also enjoyed the spiritual ruminations.
    I walk, but not like that!

    • Dear Greg,
      Thanks so much for stopping by to tell me. I’m really chuffed that you enjoyed it, and so grateful for the feedback. I’m hoping to get out and walk like that again sometime, but for now I am seated for hours on end, trying to finish the next book. The word camino is harder!

  37. Hi Ailsa,
    I have just finished reading your wonderfull, poetic book. I feel as though I have walked the road with you in spirit. I lost my mother over twenty years ago and still miss her everyday, and sadly, my father died three years ago. Your words about love and loss really resonated with me.
    Thank you for this special gift!
    Warm wishes,
    Anna
    Ps And thank you for giving me this book, (together with Bruno), and for contributing to Platform 14.

  38. Dear Anna,
    What a beautiful note. Thank you so much for stopping in to give me such warm words. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mum and Dad. It never really goes away – that particular ache. And maybe we wouldn’t really want it to. Somehow it is the measure of the love, after a time.
    Anyway, I’m very grateful that the book spoke to you. Also grateful to the wonderful Bruno – one of the world’s great connectors, isn’t he?
    I look forward to Platform.
    Love and gratitude,
    Ailsa x

  39. Dear Ailsa,

    I currently live in Ubud, Bali and my friend Alexsandra told me just yesterday that she heard you speak here (at Bar Luna) about your pilgrimage and book, Sinning Across Spain. I hope I can find a copy right here 😉

    I was also pleased to read that you walked one of the less popular routes. I too am planning to walk the Camino starting this September; not just for myself but for a cause as well. I invite you to read more about my project on my Indiegogo campaign site:
    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/healing-pilgrim-s-camino-project/x/3360143?c=home

    I would love to ask your advice about traveling solo along that path – especially if I have mobility (and pain) issues and might be limited to walking 5-10 kms/day..

    By the way, I’ve now read a few of your articles; so much honesty and depth, thank you for sharing.

    Amit

    • Dear Amit,
      What an amazing story you tell. I wish you every success – and gentleness – along the way. You will meet angels. They will help. Just be mindful of the little treacheries inside – of pushing too hard. But I’m sure you know far more of that than I ever will. I am still coming to grips with the over-ambitious demons. Your journey must have taught you so much about that.

      I have walked both the Frances and the Mozarabe, as well as some of the Portuguese. Don’t tackle the Mozarabe. The distances are waaayyyy too long between stop points.And the Frances has much more by way of support and pilgrim knowledge. The Mozarabe may be for your second camino!

      I send you strength and support. Courage you don’t need.
      Love,and thanks for writing. Hello to Alexsandra too. I doubt that you will find the book in Ubud shops, but there are a few folk up there who have copies, so ask about! It likes to be passed around.
      Ailsa x

  40. Ailsa, I loved the book, couldn’t put it down and have recommended it to anybody who will listen, haha! I haven’t taken time to do any reading for a long time, but stopped my life for a few days till I finished it 🙂
    I happened along it by coincidence at the library when I was returning some books on the camino, I was not going to get any more books out, just return the ones I had, and back to my busy life trying to get things in order before I leave for Europe. Next thing I am in the travel section and your book literally fell into my hands, I had a quick browse and loved the whole sin thing, and could relate on so many levels. The book had a piece of paper in which I didn’t bother to read as the book was so interesting, then I see you are coming to Geraldton in September I was so excited I had so many questions for you but alas it was not ment to be …
    I am doing the Camino de Santiago in September, maybe Amit sent out her prayers to the world and I was listening, I am a massage therapist 😉
    Anyway just wanted to congratulate you on the book, it has given me faith that I can do this 🙂
    Warm wishes Pat x

    • Dear Pat,
      What a gorgeous note. Thanks so much. I’m sorry I won’t get to meet you in Geraldton. I am so looking forward to it. But of course any questions you have will be answered directly on the road. The best way. Wonderful that you will walk in September. The best time, I reckon. Have a beautiful time, and buen Camino, dear pilgrim. Ailsa x

  41. Good morning Ailsa. I was walking home from work the other afternoon thinking of this and that, your walk on the Camino, your Sinning book and my walk on the Camino( a lot shorter than yours but still a walk on the Camino)- nearly 12 months ago now! can’t believe how time goes so quickly. I remembered I had posted a comment on your page very excitedly about myself and 3 friends getting ready to do our walk in September October 2012.I looked back to see when that entry was and it was way back in May 2012. Anyway, I digress.When I openend your site the next morning there was your beautiful piece about Walking Home.You do write beautifully and thoughtfully. Thank you Ailsa. I look forward as always to your next entry and your next book. Kind regards, Cherie

  42. Dear Cherie,
    Thanks so much for being in touch again, and for your lovely words about the book and the writing on the blog. I’m really grateful. And so thrilled that the camino and the book still pop into your mind and heart. That road doesn’t leave, does it? We are so lucky to have walked it. And to have been welcomed by the Spanish who share it with such generosity.
    The next book is coming. A bit wayward but I’m getting there. Meantime, I keep on walking. Praying with my feet! xx

  43. Hi Ailsa,
    I’m the daughter of a good friend of Manuel Martínez Bravo. I’m heading to Australia so he has told me to contact you. Is there any way to contact privately? You can send me an email to the address I have provided above. Thanks!

  44. Howdy Ailsa. Michael Dillon here again. I was the person that contacted you regarding the Australian Camino earlier in the year and three of us walked from Portland to Penola to blaze a trail so to speak.
    I am currently in Portugal after completing my camino which was partly inspired by your book. I ended up walking over 1600km (1000 miles in the old scale) starting in Lourdes to St. Jean to Santiago to Finesterre to Muxia to Santiago again and then I finished doing the camino Fatima via Porto and Coimbra.
    I am writing this in Lisbon and fly home early next week with a head full of ideas for the Aussie Camino.
    I have written an extensive blog documenting my adventures and mis adventures. Happy to share with your permission of course. No stress otherwise but I thought you may be particularly interested in the posts on Portugal. Let me know what you think in your own time of course.

    Buen camino from Spain and bom caminho from Portugal.

    Michael.

    ps My three sisters have now all read and loved your book and now got their own copies spreading the good news.

    • Enhorabuena, Michael. Congratulations.
      What an extraordinary and wondrous walk. I imagine there will be many many stories. By all means, share them. Pop the link on the Facebook site too. How amazing. Settling back into Oz may be a trifle tricky!
      Thank you for letting me know and also for sharing the book with your sisters. I am very grateful and glad of the support.
      Buen camino, peregrino.
      Happy landings.
      Ailsa

  45. Muchos Gracias and Obrigardo Ailsa. My blog site is elcaminotourdefrance.edublogs.org I dont do facebook but you are more than welcome to place it on there if you so desire. Like I said in the last post you may enjoy the latter posts on Coimbra and Porto. JK Rowling and Harry Potter inspired areas. Fatima was also a fascinating story. I realise you are a very busy lady. Enjoy if you get a chance to read.

    Michael.

  46. Hi Ailsa
    Just wanted to let you know how much i LOVED your book! A few parts made me cry they were so true and in the moment…you have a wonderful gift and such an open heart! would love to meet you one day if you are in melbourne when back from your travels…having both performed over the years would be good to share stories on what we feel we are here to do and if there are any cross overs …ie: areas ripe / suitable for collaboration…just felt right to contact you firstly to say thank you and secondly to see where this path leads… all blessings karen

    • Dear Karen,
      Thanks so very much for being in touch. Incredibly kind words and I’m very grateful that the book connected with you. I’m doing a book talk in Melbourne on October 24th at Travellers Bookstore. Maybe we can say hello then. If not, hopefully another time. I generally put movements on the Events page here and also on Facebook. For now, though, buen camino dear pilgrim. And gracias. Xxx

  47. Dear Ailsa, thank you for your kind words and toughts re our fires here.I am in the Hawkesbury at the foot of the mountains, and while I am not personally impacted, many of my beautiful friends are as are many of the families from the school where I work. I thank you for your kind thoughts on their behalf.
    Cherie X

  48. Dear Ailsa

    My name is Elio Novello. I assist in co-ordinating a group called the Perth Poetry Club (www.perthpoetryclub.com). We run a weekly poetry gathering from 2pm till 4pm Saturday at the Moon Cafe in Northbridge, Perth.

    We run each gig as two halves of about 45 minutes each – with an MC, feature poet and open mike each half. The feature poet gets 10minutes or so to display their wares. Typically we have two separate feature poets each gig, but it is much easier from an organising point of view to only have the one feature for the afternoon (two 10 minute slots).

    I am putting together the feature poets list into the new year, and I understand that you will be staying at Katherine Susannah Pritchard (KSP) Writers’ Centre as an Emerging Writer. I also know from your “Sinning Across Spain” that poetry is an important aspect of your writing and personal fulfilment.

    I was wondering if you would be willing to be a feature at Perth Poetry Club while you are at KSP – either based on your own poetry or the poetry of your Camino, and the influence that various poems have had on your life (as apparent from your book and Poetica programme).

    I understand that the purpose of going to KSP is to write new stuff and you will be busy with that and may not want to go over previous ground. Also KSP and yourself may be wanting to use “Sinning Across Spain” as the basis for literary talks/dinner/etc at KSP Centre. Perth Poetry Club does not want to interfere with any such plans.

    I was wanting to explore the possibility of having you as a feature poet, certainly two lots of 10 minutes (or maybe a single slot of 20minutes) to be able to tell the story as well, but the essence would be to concentrate on the poetry.

    regards
    Elio

  49. Dear Ailsa,

    A friend gave me your book for my birthday last week and as I started to read it today I realised that you had autographed it for me. I’m enjoying every page and it’s causing me to reflect on travel, on vice and virture, on skies, on company.

    Thank you.

    Ann

  50. FELIZ AÑO NUEVO AISLA!!!
    I wish you much happiness & peace along your camino.
    I see you will be in WA and wondered if you will be a part of the New Norcia Benedicine Monastery Biecentnery celebrations? It has caught my attention here in Sydney as it was established by a fellow gallego called Fray Rosendo Salvado. It’s about 130 kms north of Perth. The place was named New Norcia, after Norcia in Italy, the birthplace of St Benedict. YES, there is an established camino run by volunteers and I thought it would be just up your alley. Leave it with you…
    saludos Lucy.

    • Gracias Lucy, and saludos to you too. Hope the year is full of loveliness. I have been to New Norcia many times. It’s an incredible place. I hadn’t heard about the anniversary but will look into what is doing when I’m in town. Thanks so much. A xxx

  51. Hi Ailsa,
    I caught the tail end of you talking on radio national today and I can’t recall exactly what you were saying but knew I had to try and remember your name. Being the editor of Slow magazine, my ears tend to prick up when I hear the word slow, and you were speaking about your journey and, I think, the need to slow down. We have a section in our magazine where we ask a writer to hand write something for us and reproduce their hand writing in the magazine. I wondered if you’d be interested in doing it. It could be an extract from your book, a journal entry or something original. Please email me if you are interested: tim@bytimbaker.com
    Many thanks,
    Tim

  52. Thankyou dear Ailsa. I was given your book as a Christmas pressie. Couldn’t put it down, loved every page, have felt quite connected with the walk & your thoughts. I too have felt that float away, I called it my umbilical cord still attaching me to earth. At the time thought I was going slightly mad, then just went with it & was rewarded with such peace & humility.
    Reading your book was like reading in colour, all was etched out , transposed into a parallel experience. Thankyou so much for your wonderful sharing, honesty & strength of spirit. We are all beautiful spirits in human form.
    May the breeze of life dance between you & others.
    Anne

    • Dear Anne,
      What a treat to get your response. Thanks so much. Very kind of you to take the time and care to write and I am so glad it sang to you. What a lovely friend to have given it to you. I always get such a thrill when I am “gifted” like that. A powerful thing to be a connection between friends.
      Buen camino to you, pilgrim. And thank you.
      Ailsa xxx

  53. Adored “Sinning across Spain”
    I read it a few chapters at a time with my morning tea. It was as if I travelled with you – each day another experience Of course I was in my comfy armchair as I read of the cold, the rain, the semis that blew past, but it’s the only way I’m going to see your Spain.
    I also learnt that opening up to pain of the internal sort isn’t a weakness. That is something I struggle with. So, thank you for the beautiful images, and the inspiration to get through life the best way. To own the solitary, but to honour companionship – both are necessary.
    Barb – Writefree (KSP)

    • Hello Barb!
      How lovely to hear from someone of the KSP clan – and with such a beautiful note. I’m really touched and grateful that I was your companion for a time, and that Sinning didn’t let you down. I so hope that all is well in the Write Free group and that you are doing just that..writing with freedom and ease. Please pass on my greetings to all, and much love and gratitude to you for writing. x

  54. Dear Ailsa,

    I attended a short tutorial on Santiago de Compestella on Friday night 6th June, after which I was drawn to log into your website to read once more about your Camino.
    I was so saddened to read about the loss of your husband and even though I have no words with which to bring you some comfort, I felt that I had to contact you to express my deepest and sincere sympathy.
    I was just browsing through your book, Sinning Across Spain”, once again and two parts jumped out at me, which I felt compelled to share with you.
    “Nada te turbe
    Nada te espante,
    todo se pasa…p.199,
    and also in your dedication to your husband on p.292, where you wrote about your husband, Peter, letting you go and welcoming you home all the days of your lives together.
    I believe this will occur once more and I believe that he will welcome you home for eternity together,

    Jenni Martin

  55. Dear Ailsa
    I have no words which will comfort you but I hope you can find some comfort in your memories of life with Peter.Take care.Step by step.
    Cherie xx

  56. Hi Ailsa, I loved the book and it has inspired me to start walking the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand, the land beneath my feet. The next step would be to walk some of the Via Francigena next year. And of course, all to try to heal and “rationalise the connection I’d made…” Big thanks for your fearless living. Andrea

    • Dear Andrea,
      Wow. What a zinger of a comment to start my day. Thank you so much.
      I’m not a bit fearless, though thank you for seeing me that way. I am gripped by fear all the time. I guess the thing is to keep moving in spite of it. I’m grateful for the reminder of that as I face a few fears today. You are a gift.
      Buen camino.
      Ailsa

  57. Dear Ailsa,

    Yes, there is a degree of fear when we face the future – to-day, to-morrow – the further distant future. Or is it better to term it something more like a sense of being unsure? We know how capricious life can be – when it all seems to be going so swimmingly – suddenly a ‘phone call, or an illness emerges or something else punctures the lightness of well-being.

    I am thinking of you. I have just received an email from John, a young cousin in Lancashire. He walked the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail on its 125th anniversary in 2003 and came twice to see me in Japan where we did a couple of one day ancient mountain pass walks. When he was 16 he was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease. By most accounts such sufferers do not live beyond 30 but he is now 34. A real champion. Married and with a beautiful little girl fast approaching her 3rd birthday. All anticipation of that birthday and Christmas and a visit in the new year to the Paris Disneyland. As is proper when one is two nearly three! Hope and the future shining brightly in her young eyes,

    • That is so humbling, Jim. What an exceptional young man. And what a legacy of that little person. Thanks for telling me. Heartbreaking but incredibly inspiring.
      x

    • Hmmmm…..
      Thanks for your interest. I think it is only available as an e-book in those markets. There has not yet been interest from a publisher for a hard copy version over there, sadly. Hope you can find it, and thanks for tracking me down.

      • Sorry to bug you. Have not been able to find an e-book version over here. Amazon lists it without a price. Google won’t sell to those with accounts outside of Australia. I see now that the link on your site shows the option of an ebook. I’ll give that a try.

        • Please don’t apologise. I wish I was able to be more help. I tend to leave all those things to my publishers, but will try to find out for you today once they start work. I thought it was meant to be available on Amazon. Hope you had some luck with the publisher website. Thanks again for trying.

          • Got it through your publisher. I am so looking forward to reading it. Note to other North Americans: when you click purchase you receive a 10% discount, then when you enter your billing address it removes the taxes making the price about $12.25 CDN or under $10 US at today’s rate. I had tried going through Google Aus but when I entered my billing address it said copyright laws prohibit out of country purchases. It was not available through Google US or Canada.

  58. Thank you for persistence and also for buying the book, Li_B. So generous of you to let me know what the situation is. I will pass on the information to my publishers too. Buen camino, pilgrim!

  59. Hi Ailsa,
    Have just reluctantly finished your book. Love it. Love the honesty, the prose, the structure – especially the flashbacks, characters and the wonderful descriptions. Thanks for your toil and the time-travel experience. It took me back to the Norte.
    Kind regards
    Mike H

    • Hi Mike. Thanks so much for tracking me down and for such great comments. I’m so thrilled that it resonated. And the Norte…lucky you. It waits for me!
      Buen Camino, pilgrim. Gracias.

  60. Ailsa: I was thinking of you this morning as I walked The Fernleigh Track. It usually takes me just on two-and-a-half hours – from Belmont TAFE to Adamstown – the bushland former railway now shared cycle/walking path. Why thinking of you – two reasons. The first was that I was “testing” a new pair of Goretex Merrell walking shoes – in preparation for a forth-coming North American trip. Your brand is how I think of Merrells. The second is your beautiful photography. After a debilitating (energy-wise) illness late last year – and the realisation that in fact, truly, there is no one really interested in MY photography – as fascinating as it was to me – and no one would be tidying up after my death – not being maudlin by the way – just realistic – I gave up photography – just before I was in Canberra – and then in Japan. No pictures taken. I was operating on the principle of bringing the scenery and people to my mind and holding fast to those images without the use of digital technology – and it worked. So this morning, in my Merrells. And “drinking” in the scenery.

    • Bellbirds across Wetlands Bridge – whip-birds in the Wilderness – blue-wrens in the Bush – Ravens over the Ridge – and peletons streaming past – bells ringing as approach-warning, mothers pushing prams, couples strolling by – sun-light slashing through the trees – it’s all there in my mind. Thank-you, Ailsa.

    • Hi dear Jim,
      New Merrells? I think that bodes exceptionally well for your walking year. They really are magic underfoot and around foot and over foot!
      Your walk sounds sublime – all those birds you describe. And yes, I love the thing of walking and remembering. Often take myself out without the camera but with a notebook, but I think there is much to be said for trying to “hold” the visuals. Most of my best images remain in the mind.
      Keep walking. May the Merrells support you brilliantly. It’s so nice that they make you think of me. I love that. Ailsa x

  61. I have heard you doing reading of parts of your book, following this I have read it and absolutely loved it. It has inspired me to reconnect with my faith and also to go hiking for 10 days on my own and I remember somewhere in the book your advice on which hiking shoes to take but I cannot find where in the book anymore, would you be kind enough to let me know that brand again. Thank you very much,
    Cath

    • Thanks so much Cath, for letting me know how the book has affected you. I’m so thrilled.
      My boots are Merrell Sirens. I’m not sure they make them anymore. I bought two pairs when I heard they were being discontinued a year or so ago. It’s worth remembering though that it depends on your feet. Everyone is so different. You might be a Keen or Teva girl! You need to try and try as many pairs as you can. Good luck with it. And burn camino, pilgrim. xxxx

  62. Hi Ailsa

    I finished reading ‘Sinning through Spain’ on the flight home from Sydney to Vancouver last Saturday, having been working in Bathurst NSW for 18 months (home every month!). And, of course, I loved it!!

    But it didn’t start out that way! Since a short bout of severe depression 20 years ago I find that I don’t like to analyze things too much – I have to focus on the positive majority – works for me! I listened to Radio RN a lot (I loved ABC – who else would play Richard Thompson’s ‘Acoustic Classic’ cd as I drove down into Bateman’s Bay last June – magic!!) – after the talk/interview about your book I went into the Bathurst ABC shop and ordered it.

    I’d walked the 210 km from Ponferrada to Santiago in May 2013 with my wife and 2 of our 3 grown sons – I confess that I didn’t think of myself as a pilgrim – maybe I did by the end – we loved every minute and certainly didn’t want to stop walking – we will be back!

    So I couldn’t relate to a lot of your analysis in terms of the walk but a lot still rang true and I realized that, for me, it wasn’t the walking that resonated, it was surviving working away from home for the last 14 years – the loneliness, the need to avoid temptation, the need to stay busy and not dwell on things, the fun of meeting new people and seeing new places – it was all there – so thanks!!

    My Camino memories tend to focus on the joy of hearing Celtic music coming out of houses in the villages between Herrieros and O’Cebreiro, of my wife’s annoyance at my ability to drop back from someone who was talking too much and absorb myself in music, and the pleasure we got hearing peregrinos announce that they’d met our sons (who were faster than us!!) and loved them! But I remember also that, even the pilgrims that irritated me were ‘comrades in arms’ when we arrived at the square in Santiago!! And even I remember feeling annoyed when all the 100 km folk joined at Sarria!! 🙂 We need to start in France next time and maybe stop at Sarria!

    Travelling for work is over – retirement looms. I haven’t been to England’s Lake District since Easter 1974 just before I emigrated to Canada. In June my wife and I will walk the ‘Coast to Coast’ from St. Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire – no hostels and no heavy pack, I confess!! – can’t wait.

    I only just read about your loss last year – I was so sorry to hear that – stay strong, and thanks again for bringing back great memories and keeping the motivation to walk going.

    Best Regards …. Alan

    • Dear Alan,
      Thanks so very much for writing. I’m glad that Sinning Across Spain resonated. It doesn’t matter HOW it reaches someone (walker, thinker, dreamer, seeker) – the great gift for me is that it finds its way into a corner of someone’s life and allows them space to reflect, or that it enhances their days in whatever way it can.

      I am amazed at your story of working so far from home for so long. What a camino that must have been. How very hard and demanding. I hope that now you can reap the rewards of your time. A friend did the Coast to Coast a few years back and absolutely loved it. I’m sure that it will be a treat for you.
      Buen camino, pilgrim – wherever the road leads, may ir be kind.
      Thank you so much. Ailsa

  63. Dear Ailsa,
    I have just completed reading your book and felt I needed to write to you, primarily to say thanks for such an experience. I have read a few books about the Camino and the Shikoku pilgrimage. One day I hope I will be brave enough to attempt such a journey, time will tell.
    I started reading in March and I must admit it this was one of the slowest books I have ever read. I am an avid reader but your story made me stop and pause many times. Some of your perceptions are amazing and I stopped and tried to apply your learnt wisdom to my everyday life. When I did pick up and read again I found it soothing and extremely enjoyable. I have done some travel with my wife of 25 years and also some alone. The thoughts and feelings you shared about your experiences were refreshing. The way you portrayed situations and others’ perceptions and ideas was fantastic. Surely this is what travelling and life is all about.
    I very rarely re-read a book but at the end I felt that I will re-visit many pages when I need a tonic about life. So many great snippets and concepts that can bring us back to a positive frame of mind. Thank you.
    Your original concept of walking with others sins was very interesting. The people you met from philosophers to farmers, old to young, etc. all have so much complexity that is never apparent at the outset. Having time to absorb your surroundings and empathise with others is surely something we could all benefit from, again thank you for showing me this.
    I hope your swimming lessons are progressing well and the road ahead is full of happiness. Memories are the foundation of our future and hopefully a motivation for many more that we can share with others.
    Thank you for sharing your memories and inspiring me

    Mark Peterson

    • Dear Mark,
      Thank you so very very much for this incredibly generous response to the book. I absolutely loved it and felt so warmed by it. Somehow, in the weird days I’ve had lately, this was a real salve – to know that something I made could still be out in the world, having an effect on people, and hopefully, being a bit useful. I have read and re-read your comments, and am very grateful to you for taking the time to track me down and write.
      Buen camino, pilgrim. You have given hope.
      Ailsa x

  64. Dear Ailsa,
    I just heard the tail end of your interview on radio national.
    I am high tailing down to the bookshop to get a copy of Sinning!
    Thank you for speaking so passionately about South Head. I am the Deputy Mayor of Mosman Council and our council stood shoulder to shoulder with the Headland Preservation Group and the community to stop the development of an aged care facility on Middle Head. Broadcaster Allan Jones joined the fight and the rest, as they say, is history.
    I support you and your community 100% and please keep up your protest.
    These public parklands are precious and should be preserved. They are spiritual places of immense beauty, environmental significance and history.
    Kind Regards,
    Carolyn Corrigan

    • Dear Carolyn,
      Thanks SO much for writing – and for seeking out Sinning. Will you be going to Pages and Pages? He is a very good bookseller, that one. I knew about him all the way from Melbourne and would love to meet him one day. It may not be on the shelves, but it can be ordered and I always encourage people to do it though a bookseller rather than Amazon, for all the obvious reasons! Hope it speaks to you. I’m glad that the interview did.
      I was aware of your fight, because I have a great friend, the actress Sandy Gore, who was very passionate about the land there. In fact Sandy had me looking in your beautiful part of the world. Had I found a flat there, I’d have been one of your constituents! We are lucky to live within striking distance of such treasured places, and we have to be prepared to defend them every so often I guess. Would that it were not so.
      Thanks again for writing. A gift from across the water…
      Ailsa x

      • Brava! Bravissima! There are three species of human beings (sic) who should be disbarred from public office – especially at the local and state level: real estate people; property developers; and their hand-maiden surveyors! Some suggest lawyers, too – though I’d argue for that only at national level! Notice please that I am not arguing against their existence and right to pursue those lines of work (some of my best friends, etc) just that the “Dyson Heydon” level of conflict of interest is far too high and dangerous – especially to our natural and built environment.

        • Ha! Thanks Jim. I think we might need you to come and do some campaigning at Watsons Bay!
          I agree with you though. There have been some decidedly unedifying spectacles of late in the public sphere.
          Thanks for your enthusiastic support. As always!

  65. Dear Ailsa

    It’s propably remis of me but I’d never heard of you until yesterday morning when I was driving along the M1 (F1) towing my 2-and-a-half tonne caravan behind my trusty Prado 4WD, en route to my home in Kingston, ACT after having visited my 2 sons and their families at Nora Head and Canton Beach. You were being interviewed on ABC Radio National (which I have on at home virtually 24/7, except when I switch over to the BBC in the wee hours. I don’t sleep well.)

    My father was a professional soldier, who had come up through the ranks, joining the Army as a gunner in 1934 at Georges Heights and retiring to North Bondi as a lieutenant colonel in 1968.

    I was born in Rose Bay but moved to an Army married-quarter at South Head when I was less than one-year-old, in 1947. It’s the stone house on the point, separated from Hornby Lighthouse by a semi-detached place. In those days it’s address was:31 Military Reserve, South Head, Watson’s Bay.

    The house, which is now heritage-protected, is owned by the Port Jackson Harbour Authority, or such like and was built at the same time as Hornby Lighthouse in 1857, as the lighthouse-keeper’s residence, following the the Dunbar Disaster at The Gap. (Apparently the captain mistook The Gap for the heads during a ferocious storm at night.) The first lighthouse-keeper was one James (Jacob?) Johnson, who was the sole survivor of the wreck.

    I lived there until 1961. I was very lucky in that regard, since I only attended 3 schools (namely Our lady Star of the Sea, Watson’s Bay; Christian Brothers’ College, Rose Bay; and Waverley College) whereas most soldiers’ children changed schools every couple of years. (My elder brother, Owen suffered from mental illness and my father was able to convince his masters that the quiet environment at South Head was therapeutic for him. Of course, he had to forgo promotion, eg he was meant to obtain his majority in Townsville 10 years before he did.)

    Being the baby of a family of 5 (2 brothers & 2 sisters) and not being born until my father’s return from WWII, I lived a fairly solitary existence making my own fun “down The Rocks” and at the “Bogey Hole” in front of my house and the lighthouse. I also spent much time exploring every inch of the place. When I wasn’t doing that I’d ride my bike down to “the Bay” and play with my friends there, mainly in Robertson Park and around the foreshore.

    Like everyone in those days, we had no money, and made our own fun: building billy-carts, using old ball-bearing-wheels from the local garage, and rafts, using 4-gallon drums tied together for buoyancy; making cubby-houses up in The Glen and in the bush above Camp Cove; “bottling”, ie, collecting soft-drink bottles for the threepence (2 cents) return at Wiggin’s milk bar/cafe next to the Gap Cafe, located at the military end of the road, opposite the shopping centre and from where the buses now leave; kicking a football around, playing bicycle-polo, using home-made clubs and having wars, with one side attacking the other ensconced in the band rotunda – all held in Robertson Park; swimming at Alf Vockler’s Baths; and so on.

    When I heard you talking so passionately about South Head I couldn’t help thinking to myself: “If only I could sit down and talk to this person. The things and places I could reveal to her – much of which few people know about.” South Head, for example, is riddled with tunnels, the entrances to which have long been deliberately covered over or have become overgrown with lantana. When I lived there, the Coastal Battery, armed with 2 x 6-inch, 100-pounder artillery pieces was located above the cliffs about 100 yards further up from Hornby Lighthouse. They used to fire them through Sydney Heads, yes, Sydney Heads, at targets towed along the horizon, day and night, once or twice a year. At night the searchlights, which were located in the remains of the concrete block-house next to the lighthouse and half-way down the sheer cliff-face below the present Naval chapel, would provide the illumination for the targets. (To get to the searchlight below the chapel, one had to enter via a little, green timber shed and then climb down a series of ladders, housed in a vertical cutting.)

    But, alas! Having found your sights on the internet, it became obvious that someone of your celebrity-status would hardly be interested in making personal contact with an old bloke like me.

    Can you believe that in my time there were soldiers armed with rifles and bayonets on guard at the 2 main entrances. Unauthorised persons were not permitted to enter the reserve. So, we had Lady Jane Beach, to which we always referred as “Lady’s Hall” or “Lady’s Bay”, all to ourselves, replete with a colony of penquins, which lived under the ledge at the Watson’s Bay end. Watson’s Bay was home to mainly ordinary fishermen, who went out to sea at night in their boats.My brothers grew up with the Doyles, who turned the front room of their timber cottage on the promenade into a restaurant,. The rest is history.

    Every morning local fisherman would row their boats from one end of Lady Jane Beach to the other, in a semi-circle, laying there nets behind them. Then they’d return to the beach and pull the nets in, invariable laden with fish. We’d wander down and sometimes buy from them direct.

    As all the great liners passed within about 100 yards of our house, I became familiar with all their names: P&O’s “Orion”, “Orcades”, “Oronsay”; Lloyd Triestino Line’s (?) Mariposa & Monterey; etc. I witnessed the Queen and Prince Phillip passing by on the “Gothic” in 1954 and the first, great, US nuclear aircraft-carrier “Enterprise” in 1961.

    Somewhat ironically, I was conscripted in 1967 and had to report to Marrickville depot from where we were eventually taken to Puckapunyal via the Eastern Command Personal Depot (ECPD) at South Head – just beyond the white building above The Gap, which I understand is presently some sort of conference centre. It used to be the area Army officers’ mess. Then, upon return to Australia from Vietnam, where I served as an infantryman, I had to spend 3 months at ECPD after my 60 days’ leave, in order to complete my 2-year service. (There are marvelous scenes in “The Odd Angry Shot” with Brian Brown and Graeme Kennedy, first walking through Robertson Park, later in the back-bar of the Watson’s Bay Hotel, upon their return from serving in SAS in Vietnam. I could really identify with those scenes. They brought back wonderful memories, especially of Brian turning to Graeme, while looking out over the wharf, and remarking: “Well, here we are.” or something to that effect – as if to say: “Well, what was that all about?”.

    I could go on for hours – eg, did you know that the tram terminus was located immediately outside the side wall of the hotel and that one of the best light-rail journeys in the world was through the Glen below The Gap, en route to Queen’s Square adjacent to Hyde Park? – but I’m sure you’ve had enough. Thanks for your thoughts on RN.

    Regards

    Dennis Callaghan
    Kingston, ACT 2604

    PS: I make a point of going out to South Head and watching the Sydney-Hobart yacht race each Boxing Day. I love being in the Bogey Hole at high tide when the boats go past. Unfortunately, officious rangers prevented me from doing so during the start of the race last time. So, I waited for everyone to leave, and went down anyway. My letter of complaint to the appropriate NSW Government minister didn’t bear any fruit.

    PPS: I have photos, which may be of interest to you. If you care to reply by E-Mail, I could send them to you.

  66. Hi Ailsa,

    my name is Madeleine. I read your book last year while I was travelling through South America… A friend had recommended it to me and thought I would love it. And I did.

    I completed university in Sydney two weeks ago and booked a ticket to Spain for June 2016. I am planning to do one of the pilgrim trails while I am over there, but would love to get some advice from you before I choose which one.

    I recall that you wrote about the Camino Francés a lot in your book as well as the Camino mozarabe… I wanted to ask your opinion on which would be a good one to do as my first long (solo) walking experience?

    I was so inspired by your book. I have always loved walking and reading about your experience in Spain (I also study Spanish) resonated with me in more ways than one. My Honours research project was actually based around walking as practice and the link to theories of the sublime in nature. Your book played a significant part in this being my area of research!

    So, thank you so much for your inspiring words and recording your walking experience. Fue un placer para leer!

    I hope to hear back from you soon!, my email is also included here.

    Hasta luego caminante!

    • What a wonderful message Madeleine. Thanks so very much. And congratulations on finishing uni. HUGE!
      If I were going for the first time, and walking alone, I think I would probably choose the Frances. There is the opportunity for social exchange there. If your Spanish is fantastic, and you love solitude, and can happily cover 30 kilometres between stops, you could do the Mozarabe, but there is no question that the Frances gives you more of a sense of the pilgrim community. But they are very very different, and of course it is some years now since I walked both – longer since the Frances. What I can promise is that no matter which road you walk, they will all take you home if you are making a pilgrimage. With love and hope. Been camino, peregrina. Ailsa xxx

      • I have heard the Frances is quite busy now. I am hoping to go in September, hoping it will be a little cooler and less congested! what time of year did you go? and how did you find out about the different pilgrim trails? I’d only ever heard of Camino Frances until I read your book!

        muchas gracias otra vez,

        Maddie

        • HI Medeleine,
          I walked the Frances through September. It was lovely. Really beautiful. Stable weather and calm days. I walked the Mozarabe in spring and that was much more turbulent, as you will know from the book. I just read about the camino online and in books. Tony Kevin’s book about the Mozarabe route was a favourite. But basically, any road that leads to Santiago is a pilgrim route!!! A x

  67. Just got your book and really look forward to it before my impending backpacking trip Europe this Summer. You’re life is interesting. I did have a curiosity in wondering if you decided to not have children? I wonder if that had to do with you’re adventurous life choices.

    • Hi Alex. I hope you enjoy the book. Backpacking through summer will be wondrous. Enjoy it. I’m not sure that life is about choices. I think it is much more about how we react to what is thrown at us. I guess the choice we have is to make the best of our circumstances, and I feel grateful that I have sometimes chosen things that expanded me. Having children would have expanded me, I’m sure. And challenged me. But I don’t know how it would have affected the kind of person I became. Sometimes I feel sad about it – but I guess the thing is just to get on and be grateful for the path we get to walk. I hope yours opens you to many wonders. xx

  68. I’m a 69 YO widower and have 3 children (40, 44 & 46) & 8 grandkids (6-17). The kids caused me some heartache over the years, but all turned out well and, thankfully, are still with their spouses, buying their own homes and are gainfully employed. While we’re not in each other’s pockets, when all’s said and done, they’re really all I’ve got. I think I’d be very lonely without them and their offspring.

  69. I think I might respond, too, to the issue of issue raised by Alex. When I lived in Japan many people – but mostly my students – at middle school, senior high school and university level (when a kind of tacit permission to be blunt on personal matters is allowed) asked me about my children – how many and such-like – but never the key question about whether or not I had children. I learned quickly that they assumed that of course I would have children and it was a kind of shock to learn that though married I did not. Generally speaking back in Australia people might have asked the key question – or if in the context of building long-term collegial relationships in the work-place – asked others around me/us first: – “Oh, and does he/do they have children?” But never to my face – why or why not. As I wrote, young people are not yet alert to proper ways and leap in with “personal” questions. “How many children do you have?” No children. It sounds so blunt. Should I explain why – well, given the circumstances – being their teacher – I figured that if I could – I should. So I put it in the following terms. “Actually there were three – a girl and twin boys – but they were all born too soon – so, still-born.” As awareness of what I had said sank in – whether they were 13 or 19 – a look of sorrow would trouble their brows – and the word “sorry” would be heard. To leave it at that point, too, seemed to me a bit harsh and unresolved. “Yes, it is sad,” I would say, “but the fact is that I have nieces and nephews, some god-children (and I would explain that special relationship) and – beyond that – we’ll, you – and ALL my students – going back to my first years of teaching at Hay War Memorial High School – 1971.” And they would smile again – and on we would go into other matters. But surprising to me at first – sometimes years later – one or other of those students would remind me that I had said that he or she was one of “my children”! So the fact of not having children is at once a sorrow – but it is or can be an expanding thing. Nowadays the word “mentor” is used a lot – whereby some person acts in a guiding, encouraging manner to someone starting out into the world. I like to think I am in a part of the mentoring world.

  70. Thanks Jim and Dennis, for such thoughtful replies.
    Yes, I agree about the question. I’ve been asked it a lot over the years – it was a favourite of journalists when I was an actress. I never felt I wanted to answer it publicly, as it was about such an intimate thing between me and my husband. I still feel the same way.
    But I do know the joy of younger people and children in my life. I have many. Close friends. The children of friends and family. Neighbours’ kids. I have two teenagers in my new ‘hood who have already become precious in my days. I think there are many ways to parent – and one of the most vital is to parent ourselves well. I’m never lonely – even now that I’m without my life partner. I think that is to do with a particular kind of parenting from my Mum and Dad, but also from Peter to me, and from me to me. I am content in my own company, though fortunately I also have an astounding extended family of friends. I will never know what my life had been if I had taken that “road not travelled” – but I’m grateful for the riches – and the people – on this road.

  71. Ailsa, I love your writing and your special way of “seeing” things. I though t of you on the Manly Ferry this morning as we passed your lighthouse 🙂

    Also I found this today as well and thought of you, amongst others. http://www.dumbofeather.com/the-river-of-grief-and-how-to-keep-being/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Enews%20180216%20copy&utm_content=Enews%20180216%20copy+Version+A+CID_4f71a9336acb2134f342be49bc63714b&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software

    All the best and looking forward to reading more of your work.
    Walk on
    Emily

    • Dear Emily,
      This is so very kind of you. I love that link. Beautiful words. And I love that you can see my lighthouse. It gives me such hope. I hope it does it for you too.
      Another thing I love is the passing of the Manly ferry. I shall wave to you when I see it from now on.
      Thanks for your encouragement.
      Buen camino to you.
      Ailsa xx

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