Well, I finished my book, not quite on time but it was certainly all printed up and out of my hair by the end of January. And my other really exciting piece of news is that I am going on my first cruise as a guest speaker on 10th March. I am travelling with my great friend, the actor John Elnaugh, and we are sailing to the Canary Islands on the Fred Olsen ship, Boudicca, so there'll be masses of photographs and stories to tell in my next newsletter.
Anyway, back to January. Lindsey Davis, the well-known writer of Roman mysteries, took me and the four grandchildren to see The Lion King on Twelfth Night, which all of us thoroughly enjoyed. It is a fantastic show but most of all I liked the wicked uncle lion who spoke with an impeccable Royal Shakespeare accent and prowled round the stage in a villainous manner. Excellent stuff.
A fortnight after that I went to a Reiki Healing Day with Karen, a friend of mine, which I found to be helpful, particularly with the relaxation and meditation aspect. And the day after that I went to a truly excellent party given in Rottingdean to celebrate a birthday of yet another friend, Geoffrey. The guest of honour at the party was dear old Danny la Rue, who is amazing company. He had brought his pianist - a truly nice man - and his costume designer along with him, and later in the day he sang to us. Despite his mature years he was really entertaining to listen to and he told me that he is just leaving on a national tour. I won't tell you how old he is - state secret - but I thought him truly remarkable for undertaking such a project. He is a lesson to all of us in the art of getting older.
The only other item of interest this month - which was mostly taken up with work - was Lindsey Davis's book launch of her latest novel, Saturnalia, which was the Roman equivalent of our Christmas. Yet again I was accompanied by John Elnaugh who was requested by Lindsey, attempting to look serious, to keep me under lock and key during the cruise. Incidentally Saturnalia is a great book and I would recommend you all to go out and buy it.
Sorry that this letter is a bit short but I have nothing further to report other than to thank those readers who suggested that I keep my newsletter monthly, which I have decided to do. Sorry, Mike Stotter!!
I leave you with three more photographs. The first is of a Christmas celebration I attended, which is interesting because my friends Pamela Wilding and Maureen Lyle are in it. Pamela is the blonde on the right, Maureen between two men on the left.
The second photograph is of Mark Newington, the generous host of the party in Rottingdean, and the third is to scare you rigid: it is of Troy Wilding, auditioning as Count Dracula!
Meanwhile take care of yourselves.
All the best from Deryn Lake.