November always seems to be a significant month for me  – for example, the month we emigrated to the States from Scotland in 1957 when I was 11 and the month I had my liver transplant last year on the 4th. Almost a year of improving health and strength, not spending days in bed and increasing optimism as each day goes by. Now this year I am much looking forward to the launch of my book, Handweaving; the Basics on the 5th, just up the road at the Auchrannie Hotel. A chance to celebrate the birth of an idea which nearly didn’t make it because I was so ill

There’s such a buzz in anticipation, thoughts of what could be, and thoughts of how this all came about. And thoughts of how this nearly didn’t happen.

I turned the draft manuscript in to Bloomsbury Press on the 10th of December, 2010. On the 2nd of January, 2011 I collapsed and was taken to hospital, cause as yet unknown. It took a year to finally be  taken to the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh for assessment for a transplant. The rest is history and a very long wait.

Meantime my daughter Jill kept in touch with Davina Forbes, the editor at Bloomsbury who was in charge of the book. Together with Nigel Walker, photographer extraordinaire on Arran, who updated my photos and made them into the lovely images now in the book and my son Simon who arranged with Aracari Travel to publish the Peruvian photos, they managed to keep up the momentum and a year ago April, I received the first copy of the this lovely book on a Saturday afternoon. I cried.

Now on Thursday we have a double celebration. There is the ‘birth’ of the book after much ghastly delay and the anniversary of my new liver which has given me an extra year of life and taught me exactly what is important to me and what I can let go.

It’s a celebration of an achievement of many years work, but it’s also an example of the grace of God which has been with me the whole way and allowed me this miracle of being the weaver I am and sharing it through this book.

It’s a tribute to my family and friends who’ve kept me going during the scary, dark times and who’ve celebrated the successes along the way.



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