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  • Writer's pictureAnnemarie Rawson


What a whirlwind weekend!

Classic old church in the centre of Cambridge, NZ

After a four hour drive on Saturday morning, with a stop at the fabulous Industrie cafe in Taupo to refuel (me - not the car), I arrived in the wonderful New Zealand country town of Cambridge. Known for its horse-racing stables, sprawling acres of lush green fields, enclosed by pristine white fences and entered through imposing high gates, Cambridge is a thriving and bustling town.

My friend, Joanne (in partnership with the lovely, Helen), owns and runs The Heritage Trading Company Ltd - a treasure trove of authentic French brocante, English country style and vintage jewellery and collectables. The store is always busy.

Jo and Helen in the store front door

Jo has been selling my books from the very beginning - late in 2020, when we met (socially distanced!) while in two-week isolation at the NZ Government’s request, upon returning to our home country. We’ve also had the joy of staying with Jo in her delightful French home in Chauvigny (near Poitiers). She runs brocante and bespoke village-life tours from there, during the European summer. It was a fabulous time.

Chauvigny, France

Jo hosted me for a book signing, in store at The Heritage Trading Company. I brought the rosé wine and Jo created a delicious cheese and fruit platter for guests to share, while they wandered the store or chatted.

Me, Jo and Helen and all the delicious food and wine on offer!

This lovely lady brought me a Pierre de Ronsard rose, as we'd talked online when I was living in London about a rose I'd discovered but couldn't name. So lovely of her!

Sitting at a table in amongst all the brocante and gorgeous collectables, it was fantastic to connect with readers and hear their travel stories and to sign my books for them. It was a wonderful time, followed by dinner out with Jo and others who joined us.

I still have ‘imposter syndrome’ seeing my books lined up! It just doesn’t seem real.

Poppies Howick, Auckland

Sunday morning I left Cambridge at the crack of dawn - literally, as it is now dark until 7am - on my way to Auckland for a book launch at Poppies bookstore in Howick, a village I'd lived in for about 20 years. This was another brilliant time with old friends, family and new friends, arriving to be part of the launch.

Book launch in Poppies Howick, Auckland

Finger sandwiches provided by the bookstore owner and the Mandarin Syrup Blender cake I made, went down a treat. After an initial flurry of nerves, the books interview turned into a lot of fun with lots of ‘audience participation’! I won’t name everyone here, but thank you so much to all of you who came and supported me - many of whom joined us in London while we lived in Teddington. It was a joy for me then, to be able to show them all the fabulous places around us and cook dinner for us to share.

After packing up, lunch followed for a group of us women down in Bucklands Beach with some of the husbands joining in, giving me the opportunity to catch up with them too. A quick dash for a cup of tea afterwards to say hi to another, then onto other friends for dinner and stay the night. Phew!

Monday I hit the road for the journey home, encountering endless roadworks adding to the already-lengthy time it takes, but our roads have been neglected for years, so it’s fantastic they are finally being sorted out.

I walked in the door to find Steve had everything out, ready to make dinner. That was a lovely surprise and a great way to finish my fabulous weekend. - My French Platter - My French Platter Replenished - Late Life Adventures in London and Beyond - MORE Late Life Adventures in London and Beyond

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