As previously noted, I started the month in Skopje, and then returned to Prishtina in Kosovo for more work meetings, extended by a day when fog prevented my flight home from taking off. This was all leading up to publishing another Kosovo report mid-month. I also got quoted in the Guardian by the lovely Ian Traynor. My other trip of the month was to Vienna, a rather mad affair which included intense chats with the late great Albert Rohan and former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari.
My negotiations with my future employer were meantime continuing, but I received an unexpected approach from a head-hunter looking for someone to run a new thinktank on longevity issues. I don't know a lot about the subject, but I kept up the conversation for several weeks until we mutually decided that it just wasn't my thing. (I tracked down the person who did get the job a few months ago; let's just say that I dodged a bullet.)
At home, we had a lovely ceremony organised by the municipality in which young F attended the ceremonial planting of his special tree. Our village donates or plants a tree for every child turning seven each year; we did not make anything of it for the girls, who would not really appreciate it, but F was certainly interested and engaged.
We went back to the scene in 2013 to see if we could find the same tree, and I'm pretty sure we did.
Another seven years on, we went back again last week - you can see I think that it is the same tree, and the same person who stood by it aged six and thirteen, now twenty.
I did a bit better with reading in February 2006 than I had the previous month.
non-fiction 5 (YTD 6)
EU've got mail! by Graham Watson
First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong, by James R. Hansen
Europe and the Recognition of New States in Yugoslavia, by Richard Caplan
Fanny Kemble: The Reluctant Celebrity, by Rebecca Jenkins
Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839, by Frances Anne Kemble
non-genre 1 (YTD 2)
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
sf 6 (YTD 9)
Azem Berisha's One and Only Flight to the Castle, by Veton Surroi
Ghosts of Albion: Accursed, by Amber Benson and Christopher Golden
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
The Einstein Intersection, by Samuel R. Delany
The Space Merchants, by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth
9Tail Fox, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
4,200 words (YTD 6,200)
4/12 (YTD 5/18) by women (Jenkins, Kemble, Alcott, Benson)
1/12 (YTD 1/18) by PoC (Delany)
The best and worst of these were all non-fiction. The best is Fanny Kemble's account of slavery from the point of view of someone who married a slave-owner. You can read it for free here. Almost as good is Richard Caplan's definitive account of the diplomatic response to the break-up of Yugoslavia, which kills a few myths and which you can get here. The worst by far is Rebecca Jenkins' biography of Fanny Kemble. If you want, you can get it here.