Monday, May 17, 2010

To be a poet in Switzerland

On May Day I got one of those dream emails, offering me a place as a Writer in Residence at the lovely Chateau de Lavigny, in Morges, near Lausanne in Switzerland. Look at it!

I am overjoyed for three reasons.

1. It's an honour and a privilege.

2. It's in Suisse Romande area, where I lived for four years in my youth. I went with my husband to Geneva nearly 50 years ago, where we popped out of our provincial bubble. We worked, played, ate, drank, skied, and sightsaw for all we were worth. We also had our first baby (Geoff) in Geneva. So this is a nostalgia trip for me, revisiting gorgeous places with strong emotional connections.

3. Bliss: 3 weeks in which to focus on writing. 3 weeks to live inside my own head and write, write, write... and think, think, think. 3 weeks without housework.

4. It's only 3 weeks, which suits me perfectly. I've enjoyed living in other countries (Switzerland, Australia and Japan) and I love short exotic holidays. But months in a writers' residence would not suit me at all.

5. Four other writers will be in residence at the same time so there'll be interesting talk with people who will seem both alien (all from different countries) and familiar (all writers).

So that's the news, folks! Good, ay? Now, 2 months to polish up my French.

Le Chateau de Lavigny

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

10 ways dancing keeps you young

The birthday of fabulous Jo fell on a Wednesday (Crows' rehearsal day) this year, and Sally baked a delicious cake. We raised our glasses after rehearsal to yet another triumphant year ahead.

Jo and Sally aren't old, but they are dancing in the direction of the much documented "young old".

Let me count the ways that Crows Feet dancing—and probably any regular dancing—keeps you young.

1. It strengthens your bones.
2. Improves your posture and therefore your figure.
3. Raises fitness and muscle tone.
4. Makes extra demands on your brain.
5. Improves your spatial sense and physical memory.
6. Charges you with adrenalin at performance time.
7. Raises expectations: the team depends on you.
8. Gives structure to your week, if you work and live alone.
9. Makes you wear outrageous costumes at least three times a year.
10. Provides a warm, supportive, fun social group.