ShortBookandScribes #BlogTour #GuestPost by Fiona Stocker, Author of Apple Island Wife : Slow Living in Tasmania @FionaCStocker @Unbound_Digital #RandomThingsTours
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Apple Island Wife: Slow Living in Tasmania by Fiona Stocker. You can find out ten things about Fiona further down this post. My thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for the place on the tour.
What happens when you leave city life and move to five acres on a hunch, with a husband who s an aspiring alpaca-whisperer, and a feral cockerel for company? Can you eat the cockerel for dinner? Or has it got rigor mortis?
In search of a good life and a slower pace, Fiona Stocker upped-sticks and moved to Tasmania, a land of promise, wilderness, and family homes of uncertain build quality. It was the lifestyle change that many dream of and most are too sensible to attempt.
Wife, mother and now reluctant alpaca owner, Fiona jumped in at the deep end. Gradually Tasmania got under her skin as she learned to stack wood, round up the kids with a retired lady sheepdog, and stand on a scorpion without getting stung.
This charming tale captures the tussles and euphoria of living on the land in a place of untrammelled beauty, raising your family where you want to and seeing your husband in a whole new light. Not just a memoir but an everywoman s story, and a paean to a new, slower age.
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Ten things you didn’t know about me by Fiona Stocker
1 – I never wanted to be a nuclear physicist. This despite my father telling me, when I was thirteen, that I might wake up in the morning and want to be just that. He was a scientist, and we were discussing my choice of O-levels at the time. I always knew I was an arts person. It was a phenomenal disappointment to him, but I think he’s got over it now, almost half a century later.
2 – I did yoga for 24 years and loved it. I read in Marie Claire once, so it must be true, that the only exercise worth doing is one you enjoy. I loved yoga and described myself as a devotee, which made my husband laugh. It’s kept me more supple than I might otherwise have been, with healthier joints, but I haven’t done it for three years as I can’t get to a class. I do what I describe as ‘exercises in my bedroom’ which is not as exciting as it sounds.
3 – I believe there are three things in life to aim for – family, love, and work. If you’ve got one or two out of three, you’re doing a champion job. I’ve got family and love, and for the past ten years I’ve been busting a gut to do the work that is meaningful to me – wordsmithing, of any sort. If you’ve got all three, you’re very lucky, very talented, or possibly kidding yourself about something.
4 – I was once accused of taking everything too seriously. It’s true, I can be very dogmatic and need to be reminded when to relax. But that’s just me. I’ve learned to live with myself, and other people must deal with it, since nobody’s perfect. If I was given the same nugget of advice again by the same person, I wouldn’t take it lying down this time. I’d say thanks, I’ll bear that in mind, and let me just say it’s not good for you to be plastered at a works do at lunchtime, you trollop.
5 – I love my husband, despite complaining about him regularly. He’s the person I can say anything to and he’ll never judge me. He’s the most good natured person I’ve ever met. He says that in my book, which is a memoir, I’ve written ‘how I’d like him to be’. I told him that’s true, and he should take the hint.
6 – I have Tourette’s Syndrome. It’s different for everybody. I have it mildly, and do a bit of facial twitching and ticcing, which I can suppress most of the time. It can be very annoying but it’s not life threatening and other people have more to put up with. I’ve written two adventure books for children to help them understand it, and I’d like to get them published. Only 10% of people with Tourette’s have coprolalia, which is the swearing symptom. I swear purely because I enjoy it.
7 – I’m an introvert, with an extrovert streak. I love my own company, but am also perfectly happy going into a room full of people I don’t know. As a small business owner, and a writer who interviews other people and has to put them at ease, I’ve practised this and am comfy doing it. (Mostly because I know a lot of other people hate it.) But still, if I have to be at a party with lots of super-confident successful types with heaps of rapport and sexiness, I’d rather throw myself into the nearest river.
8 – I believe laughter is one of our primal survival mechanisms. It’s a way in which we connect and it can help us buoy one another up. Writing about something humorously allows us to approach difficult topics with a light touch, and get our heads around them.
9 – My reading habits have changed radically over the years. In my twenties I read a lot of people I thought worthy, like Bruce Chatwin, and people whose command of the novel was inspiring, like John Irving. I read a lot of blokes during that time. Nowadays, with two children, running a farm and food business with my husband, and writing as well, I read for pleasure and escape. All the clever women – Kate Atkinson, Maggie O’Farrell, Audrey Niffenegger.
10 – Something I once read and have adopted ever since – the secret to happiness! It’s something to do – ideally work that is meaningful to you, someone to love, and something to look forward to – so always keep a holiday booked a few weeks or months ahead. Life is best kept simple.
Thank you, Fiona. I still haven’t found that exercise I enjoy!
Fiona Stocker is the author of travel memoir Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania, published by Unbound in 2018.
Raised in England, Fiona Stocker now lives in Tasmania where she writes freelance for magazines, newspapers and online publications, and runs a niche farm, food and tourism business in partnership with her husband.
She occasionally works as a ghost writer and editor, and was a judge in the Tasmanian Short Story Competition in 2016. Her first book, A Place in the Stockyard, a history of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture featuring its members, was published in 2016.
Fiona Stocker lives in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania, with her husband, two children and around forty-five pigs.
Apple Island Wife is her first travel memoir.