Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Monday, February 4, 2013

And So We Say Goodbye...


Last Saturday, our little Jack Russell terrier Coco and I went along to our first Obedience Lesson. Even though Coco is now three. Which is like sending your errant child to Miss Manner's Deportment Class when she's thirty. 


Coco was understandably excited at the prospect of socialising with more than 100 other four-legged friends. Getting to know other dogs is her favourite thing. Next to digging, jumping on things, and leaning out an open car window while we're driving through the countryside. 

When she saw the 100 or so dogs milling around the park, she peed a little pee of glee as she jumped around in the car seat. Which made me laugh. And hope that I didn't pee a little too. 


Unfortunately, Coco had to wear a bandana for her first lesson, which declared she was A Nervous Dog. Consequently, all the other dogs avoided her. She was like Moses parting the Red Sea. You could almost hear her think: "This park is very strange."

When we began the lesson, the instructor called all the small breeds to a select area. "Show me how you get your dog to sit," she said authoritatively. "Sit!" I said sternly. But Coco simply ignored me and strained to befriend a handsome dachshund walking past. 

Horrified at our incompetence, I waggled my finger at her. "We DO NOT waggle our fingers at our dogs!" barked Madame Instructor suddenly. Then again, louder, for the benefit of the entire park: "WE DO NOT WAGGLE OUR FINGERS AT OUR DOGS!" 

Everybody looked at Coco and I. Standing silently in shame. 

The lady next to us, a new friend called Catherine and her black-and-white terrier called Spike, cheekily waggled her finger at us and winked. At that point, Coco felt it might indeed be wise to sit. I felt the same thing.

We were clearly the dunces of the entire park.

Back in the car an hour later, having learned nothing apart from the valuable lesson of humility, and that humour will get you through anything, I thought of the Kathleen Turner-type instructor (did you ever see the film Marley and Me?) and I couldn't stop laughing. 

Coco wagged her tail and did another small pee of glee. That was enough reward for me.


Writing this blog has been a little like our Obedience Lesson. Intimidating, occasionally humiliating, always engaging, wonderfully social, heart-warmingly funny (at least the comments often are), and sometimes cause for people to waggle their fingers at us. (On this note, I'd like to say sorry if anything on The Library has offended anyone: I would be mortified if it did and hope you can forgive me.) 

People sometimes criticise me for only dipping into the top layer of life – fashion, gardens, design, architecture, travel, Paris, New York, and those other frivolous subjects, including glamorous old Hollywood celebrities, that may seem pretentious or even shallow. They also murmur that perhaps I tell too many celebrity stories? And that maybe I'd best be quiet? This is true. And so I shall be.  Journalists are fortunate to interview hundreds of people in their careers, and sometimes their interviewee's stories are so good, they deserve to be told. (And I know the interviewees don't mind having them told.) But there are also secrets I will never tell. 

I have loved every week of writing The Library, and I have come to love the readers even more. I am also touched that many have become blogging friends and look forward to catching up, in email or in person, throughout the year. You can find some of their fantastic blogs in the 'Inspiring Titles' column on the side. Many of us are going to Europe in May. I can't wait.

Unfortunately, the work projects planned for this year are piling up and requiring increasingly late nights. As well as managing the Garden Tours, I'm project-managing other people's book deals, planning a still-unnamed business venture, and (in between) writing a few books of my own. Of all these things, though, it is the Garden Tour clients that are the first priority, and I hope you'll allow me to focus on those lovely people for a little while. (Oh – and if you'd like to come to Paris or London, do email me on janelle (dot) mcculloch (at) bigpond (com). We're getting back to everyone this week now the itineraries are complete.

I may be back here later on. In the meantime, if you want to keep in touch, feel free to exchange details on Facebook  (PS I'm 'Janelle McCulloch50'; the one who's the writer, not the porn star. Just so you know.)

Farewell. Adieu. I'll certainly miss you all.

J x




72 comments:

  1. Janelle, we will miss you! However, come May those of us on the tour (!) will be the beneficiaries of all your careful planning and work.
    I am so happy to hear that Coco is alive and thriving. I was starting to worry as you had not mentoned her in sometime.
    Facebook eh? I have resisted for so long...

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    1. Yes! I am coming over too! Are you coming London? Do you think Sulky Kitten would leave 'her' island and meet us?

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    2. Claire: I will try my hardest to get down, we'll need to lure Sulky with cocktails!

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    3. These replies are so funny. I don't even need to reply. I just want to know which island Sulky Kitten lives on...?

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  2. Noooooooooooo! I'm jumping to FaceBook ASAP. I adore your posts and will miss them terribly. Best of luck to you, such beauty cannot be gone or long. Jean

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    1. Don't worry. We'll chat on the old Facebook Jean. (which seems so archaic now!) x

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  3. Oh no. I'm not on Facebook. Good luck, I will miss you.
    Jennifer

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    1. I'll be looking to your beautiful blog for continued inspiration. x

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  4. Oh no that's the saddest thing I've heard for ages and after that funny Coco story, which was a bit like those cartoons of little girls on fat uncontrollable ponies at pony camps.

    I'll be in touch via facebook or email .. but will miss the library heaps !

    PS no such thing as too much celebrity gossip ..the very idea !

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    1. Very sweet, but I'll be popping in to visit you in Sydney Miss SMR! I'm here this week, in fact, but only for 2 days on a very tight schedule. Next time I'm up I'll email and see if you're free? x

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    2. would love to meet you ..anytime

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  5. I refuse to accept this as Goodbye.

    I hope you'll be back.

    I've always enjoyed this blog. Maybe from time to time you'll pop back in.

    See you in May x

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  6. Oh Janelle. I am devastated. My day has just darkened. I absolutely adore your blog and am going to miss it so much. I love your stories (the pee one was great) and your photos are sublime. I too am not on FB so pretty please dont be gone for too long. i wish you all the success in your business endeavours but perhaps you could get a PA so then you would have time for the blog?? Best of luck. Jan

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    1. So kind of you Jan. Do email me to stay in touch. I think you may have already but not sure if it's the same Jan? Just drop me a line when you get a chance. I'll miss the readers and hearing about their lives. x

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  7. Oh so sad, I'm certain you'll be back but you seem to have a massive work load just now, so just let this lie fallow for a while. There are so few good blogs for us over 35's with half a brain. The pooch is adorable.

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    1. We'll be seeing you in May Miss B&P. And I'll do a suggested Contents List in the meantime... x

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  8. what? but i only just found you!!
    i will go and join fb then...meanwhile i will go through you archives. All the best.

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    1. Have loved your recent comments - and the name is witty too. Do join FB. Few people I know use it regularly but it's still a great way to stay in touch. x

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    2. Me too! I've been enjoying your blog for a few weeks now - not nearly long enough! Maybe a post once in a blue moon? Pretty please?

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  9. Dear Janelle

    Like all your readers I'm so sorry to hear you're finishing up. Can see you're super busy right now. But hopefully after a break you might be back, at least occasionally?! Perhaps after the garden tours.

    Have enjoyed your blog so much. Such interesting topics, such style and humour. Please don't let the critics put you off coming back. It's always been a great treat to read each post and admire all your wonderful pics. You have a loyal following. And you're such a genuine kind person. Will miss the blog so much!

    Warmest wishes and looking forward to London, Pamela

    PS Love your Jack Russell. We had a similar Jack (though short haired), a male. He was our son's dog so he took him to the obedience classes. Every time he was supposed to sit he'd leap into the air and bounce - boing boing boing! The other dogs all seemed to obey and sat quietly, everyone watching the jumping Jack! He failed of course! The authoritarian instructor must have been a twin of yours. Poor son refused to go back. But our Jack was a lovely dog and we all adored him. So affectionate and so much fun.

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    1. Dear Pamela,

      Your story about your Jack Russell made us both laugh. We see that same 'boing boing boing' with our JR every night. (It's midnight here and she's still bring me toys to play with.)

      Don't worry about the blog. We have another idea up our collective sleeve which you're just going to LOVE!

      See you in May. You will no doubt be the most glamorous one there. x

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    2. Yes, Jacks are funny little dogs and so appealling. Look forward to seeing your new idea when you're ready to release it.

      Also look forward to meeting you in May in person but afraid you'll be disappointed as I'm just an old overweight Nonna with a stick and a few good accessories. Won't measure up to your gorgeous glam followers on the tour. Bit alarming. Best wishes, Pamela

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    3. I'm fairly certain you're the most beautiful, most engaging, more interesting (look at your life history!), most intelligent and diplomatic nanna we'll ever meet.

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  10. Au revior, Janelle
    So sorry The Library will be taking a break. I'll really miss you're delightful and inspiring blog posts and images, but understand completely that you have lots to juggle and a very busy schedule this year.

    Happily, I have several of your books to help fill the void, and I'm looking forward to joining you in London for the garden tour.

    Best wishes for your birthday and continued success.
    Jenny xo




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    1. Yes, I can't wait to meet you too Jenny. Thanks for your kind message. So thoughful of you to take the time to leave it. x

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  11. Oh no - am so sad but totally understand Janelle - that sounds like an enormous work load. Very much hope to catch up with you somewhere this year be it UK, Paris or Melbourne. LOVE your blog - in fact adore everything you write... And dear Coco - hope you are not going to go back for any more from Ms Bossy Instructor! S x

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    1. We're nervous of going back, but yes, we must. The 'dunces' of the group must show their shameful heads! It will be funny, I'm sure.
      Have just emailed you. Look forward to sharing a room in London for a night! (All above board, of course.) Goodness, I haven't had a slumber party since I was 16... x

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  12. Thank you for your lovely blog post, you will be missed. Wishing you joy and hope you will post once in a while.

    I'm not on face book so will miss out there.


    Cheers (Margo on Vancouver Island

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    1. Thank you Margo from Vancouver Island - one of the most beautiful places in the world. All the very best. x

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  13. This was my favourite blog - beautiful, elegant, witty, uplifting, wonderful, irreplaceable. I adored it and looked forward to opening email each day in the hope you had written some new piece.. mornings won't be the same without this to look forward to.

    I wish you the very best of luck for your new ventures - I am sure they will be a wonderful success.

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    1. Oh, how generous of you to say. I'm sorry to disappoint you. Perhaps our new venture later in the year will be something you'll enjoy? Thanks again for posting such a lovely message. All the very best! x

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  14. Who are these rotten people who dare criticise you? I'll box their ears on your behalf. How dare they? Do they not realise that it is your witty take on the layers of life, which makes it so compelling to read, and then to think about afterwards?
    (And I do not agree that you only write about superficial things anyway, because there is always a clever satire in the way you talk about these things).

    Now, before I get too sentimental about the loss of the library blog though, I just have a sneaking suspicion that your creative juices will NEED to burst out somehow or another, so I rather doubt you shall be leaving us all in the lurch? I'm sure there will be something else which can feed our minds, souls and imaginations. I hope so, at any rate. And meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the thrill of having (almost) too many creative projects on the go all at once. xx

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    1. You are insightful as always, Miss GD! Thank you for your support. I shall continue to read your blog with pleasure. xx

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  15. I am devastated.Yours has been my favourite blog (even the glorious FF comes 2nd-and that's really Saying Something!!). I have your books on my Kindle and they have delighted and inspired me as much as the blog. I believe you are a living treasure and wish you joy. Will try to wrangle Facebook so I can follow you. sending you love and good wishes.

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    1. We all love Miss FF's blog, so that is indeed a wonderful compliment to receive. But the 'living treasure' brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes our lives are hard - much harder than we ever let on - and I hope these posts have made people happy for a few minutes each day, even the ones that are slightly poignant or reflective. Much love back to you Penny. x

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  16. Oh Janelle, this must have been a difficult decision yet I hope that bidding adieu to your blog has lightened your load and your spirit. I've thoroughly loved your 'dipping into the top layer of life'...you've done so in such a way that is far from pretentious and shallow....I think you've made the beautiful things in life accessible to everyone and I can't wait to share in your inaugural gardening tour...I'm so glad to be going and it will be such a departure from my everyday life in Hobart. Thank you so much for broadening my horizons. Rx

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    1. Can't wait to hear about your family sojourn in France this year Romy. Will tell everyone to read your blog because I know the posts will be amazing! See you in May for Chelsea. xx

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  17. Dear Janelle,

    I have been following your blog since I received a gift - your book , Paris - A guide to the city's creative heart. I took this book to Paris with me when I went last September and it truely made my trip. So many beautiful finds I would have missed without it.
    Your blog has been a pleasure to read and i am so sorry to hear that it is coming to an end. But, nothing can stay the same forever and I look forward to hearing about your next venture! We will all stay tuned.
    Thanks for being such an inspiration.
    Lauren xx

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  18. Janelle
    I have never commented on your blog (or anyone else's for that matter), but I have been a lurker for a long time. I was so sad to read that you are stepping away, but totally understand why you need to do so.... your life and work always seems fascinating and interesting (to me anyway)!
    I just wanted you to know that I am going to New York this September for the very first time, and I have been feverishly searching your blog for ideas and recommendations. You have been so generous with your tips and ideas and, I for one, thank you for your generosity!
    All the best for the upcoming adventures
    Catherine xx

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    1. Dear Catherine, I'd like to encourage you to comment on blogs. I know it may seem daunting, but it's the only thing that keeps bloggers going. The stat may say 2500 hits a day, but if there are only a few people leaving comments, it can feel like a) the stats are lying (!), or b) you're writing to a brick wall. Plus, many of the comments, both on this and other blogs, are more insightful than the posts! Two of The Library's regular commenters, Miss SMR and Pamela, have the most extraordinary depth of knowledge and gift for referencing that just takes me breath away. Comments are the strength of blogs, I think, and I'm just sorry I can't get time to reply to every single one. But I'm trying...

      Thanks for your lovely note. I was so touched to hear from you, and pleased the posts have been of some use. xx

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  19. What a joy it has been to be part of your life through The Library of Design. Like so many others I am devastated. You brought fun, style, laughter and a lot more into all of the lives of those who followed you. May your business and life plans be all that you wish and more. And come back soon!

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    1. Thank you Jan. All the very best to you too. x

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  20. Good morning Janelle,
    Thank you Thank you Thank you!
    Please don't stay away too long. Your blog of 'The Glamerous Life was fabulous.
    Best of luck with your busy year, I wish I was joining you on Tour.
    Regards Maggie.

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    1. We will you were coming along too Maggie! Perhaps another time... x

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  21. You are totally allowed to do this, it looks like 2013 is shaping up to be fabulous for you. Of course you'll be missed, but I know that the occasional wonderful post will appear when you are busting to let rip on something that's fired you up. Nothing that you have blogged about has offended me in the slightest. Send me the list of those silly people who have said otherwise. I'll set puppy Lulu & her over active bladder onto them immediately. Their Manolo's will never be the same after that encounter. Love you lots, will talk to you soon.
    Millie xx

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    1. Hope the knee construction is coming along Mills? Have been thinking of you. Will send a little email now to see how you are. Hugs and best wishes to you. xx

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  22. Janelle

    thank you so much for all the beautiful images and memorable posts. I'll miss you. Best wishes.

    Judith in Canberra

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    1. Thanks Judith. Have just emailed you re Paris. Very much hope to catch up one day.

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  23. Ohhhhh.

    Am just as dissappointed as all the previously anonymous, previously non-commenters above, who like myself have been quietly reading all you have to offer!

    Love so much about what you like, and love to read where your mind has wandered to. Also like to read houseplans, and voyeuristically plan a remodel for our family... was in Normandy marvelling at 'what you get for the money' when your post came out!.... and yes also saw those dishevelled frames next to Anna Wintour and just .. wanted.. to .. lean over her ... and straighten them up!

    Applaud a decision to say 'enough' for awhile, but will hope that you can't resist and come back to it every now and then...

    All the best,
    Jennifer.

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    1. We love houseplans in our house too Jenny! They're so interesting, aren't they? A commenter once recommended 2 great books of plans to me, but I think they're books of grand New York apartments from the 1950s, so they may not be of use to you if you're looking more for house plans.

      And your comment about Anna Wintour's pictures made me laugh. I have a sneaking feeling she's actually a very nice person underneath that facade...

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  24. No! I am in denial! Thank you for the exquisite blogging gifts you have given us. I will now start Favebook stalking you .. In a non stalker way! I do believe you would love Instagram too.. It's my favourite game these days. See you in Paris with some luck. Sami x

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    1. Yes, Instagram is a-calling. But I just worry that it's taking away from the real beauty of what photography is all about - colour, and joy and life. Instagram pix are always so dull? Hope to see you in Paris this year. x

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  25. Janelle I just logged on to read your blog to find you are having a break!! I laughed as I read your dog training story, so happy for you that you have some exciting projects on the go so exciting for you, I might run into you in a garden in Paris sometime soon. Good luck with your new ventures xx Carla

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    1. Hope to see you in Paris this year Carla. Would be lovely to finally catch up. x

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  26. Somehow I missed this post - Oh no! What are we going to read if you're stepping down (hopefully only for a while)? I'm sure everyone who reads can see what work you put into your posts - the collation of photos, the interesting topics, and of course your witty and informative and interesting writing. Obviously your paid work has to come first. I await your Picnic book with great impatience, and have one of your wonderful tours on my to-do list. Wishing you every success. xx

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  27. Oh and on the dog training.... very funny! We have a Jack Russell too, and had to call Bark Busters in. I think they train the owners more than the dog, but it was reasonably successful in breaking his bad habits....to some extent. Hope Coco excels at her next class

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    1. Bark Busters! Love it! We just lock Coco in the ensuite if she's naughty. She hates being isolated. Look forward to catching up this year. We'll bring Coco over. I'm sure she'd love your JR. Much love xx

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  28. Oh Janelle, the 'top layer of life' is the best part, the frosting on the cake. I say, forget all the erudite naysayers. There are more of us who appreciate all your hard work, inspiring words, beautiful images, great tips, and funny stories. THANK YOU!! I only found your blog a short time ago, but like someone else said...I will be going through the archives. Onward and upward!

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    1. Hooray for the 'top layer' of life Donna! As long as we're not hurting anyone, or being snarky, I see no reason why we can't indulge in some fashion and gardens and frothy stuff every now and again. Thanks for your kind remarks.

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  29. I've never commented but I'm going to miss your Library posts very much. I do hope you'll come back.

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  30. Although I will miss reading your interesting inspiring blog, I am very pleased that you have such a busy exciting year ahead, and I imagine you are bursting with wonderful ideas for even more new projects.Thank you for all the effort you have put into the blog, and I hope you pop in occasionally so we can all keep up with your many interests.

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  31. Oh and also - sorry for being such an avid reader but so rarely commenting. I am usually on my ipad, which for some unknown reason will let me type out a comment but then stubbornly refuses to post it. I am probably doing something wrong but clearly I have no idea how to fix this annoying little problem. Rest assured, I usually have plenty to say but the ipad is keeping me quiet!

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  32. Hi Janelle...found your astounding blog just yesterday and now :( How fresh your thoughts are and beautiful imagery. At the moment I am in the process of creating a list of all the most wonderful blogs in the world for the many people I know who don't have the time or inclination to wander. You will be on the list for sure. We have your archives to enjoy.
    And just by the way I've been reading all the comments above and must say what gorgeous people you have as a following. Thankyou and the very best of wishes...Gabi

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  33. Janelle... I love your words, ideas and thoughts always and shall miss them... but I do understand... Don't be gone too, too long...
    See you in Europe... :) xv

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  34. We will all wait with baited breath for the next exciting installment and wish you ALL good luck.

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  35. Well.. I am late to the Good bye party and sad to hear it.
    I wish people were more eager to give praise and less willing to share criticism .. I will miss you. I am glad you are busy and enjoying yourself. I will hope you will start blogging again, later, when you feel like it.
    Until then, I'm here :) best of luck, C

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  36. Oh Janelle, just catching up here. I fervently hope it's à bientôt and not au revoir. You can see how much you brighten our lives, my dear friend.Good luck with all the juggling - what an exciting life you lead! Will email you shortly. J x

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  37. I will miss reading regular posts (I almost always read even if I don't comment very often) but know that you have many large and marvelous tasks on your plate (as well as a Jack Russell Terrier, which in an of itself can be a project--speaking from experience). All the best to you and I will keep watching for posts, books, etc. on Facebook.

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  38. All the best Janelle. I look forward to seeing the fruits of your labour. I can understand that you need to concentrate on other things - having started my blog only last May, I can attest to the time that goes into it. All the best.

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Thank you for stopping by. It's always lovely hearing from The Library's readers.

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