It’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog. I’ve been so busy having a nice time that sitting at the keyboard has drifted down my list of priorities. Now I feel I should get back into a sensible routine, but I’m finding it hard to convince my inner child that it’s time to settle down and do some work. It feels like that first week back at primary school after the long break when you have to write “What I Did On My Holidays” by Kim A Howard aged 56 and a bit. I promise, I won’t give you a blow-by-blow account of what I’ve been doing, even though it’s been very exciting. I’ll just show you a few pictures, share a couple of highlights and promise to
do better try harder from now on.
Things started with the thrilling news that I had won a Twitter give-away. When my parcel arrived, I don’t know what made me more excited – getting a book (for free) by a debut writer or getting an envelope with an honest to goodness Chicken House label on the front! The book won. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley is now tottering on the top of my To Be Read heap in the bedroom. The envelope went into the rubbish.
Winchester Writers Festival was the first big event. I spent two days as a student host, looking after an agent, an author and a digital whizz. On the third day I was a fully fledged delegate, working on plotting stories with the wonderful Sarah Mussi, and I really didn’t feel the day was long enough. It would have been great to have another hour or so to go into everything in a little more depth, but I’m not complaining. She was extraordinarily generous with the documentation she gave us and with her offers of support afterwards. There has been a flurry of tweets and emails over the last few weeks between those of us in her group – responding to them is another thing on my ever-growing ‘to do’ list.
In a quiet moment at the Festival I was browsing the internet and found this website. I spent quite a lot of that day showing this page to anyone who would take a look. On 30th July 1952, at 21.20, in a programme entitled Community Theatre, is a performance of The Deluge by the Southampton Student players. Run your eyes down the cast list and you will find Japhet, played by Patrick Garland (actor, writer, director of Chichester Festival Theatre, etc). Now look at the line underneath. His Wife is played by Margaret Mansbridge – that’s my mum! I can’t tell you how excited and proud seeing her name in print made me. The internet is wonderful at preserving old records like this for future generations.
Next stop – New York City. Who knew you could fit so much into seven days? We saw two concerts, two Broadway shows, went on a half-day cruise, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, watched part of the Pride parade, visited the 9/11 memorial garden and museum, went to the top of One World Trade Centre, ate, drank, shopped… and, yes, I did come back to England with more books in my case than on the outward flight. We had an amazing time – it would take another post or two to tell of all the joyous happenings so I won’t say more here. Just let me know if you want details.
We flew back overnight, leaving NY on Thursday evening and arriving at Heathrow at 8.00 on Friday morning, so we were more than a little jet-lagged when the alarm went off at 7.00 on Saturday. We had a train to catch! We missed it by about 90 seconds and had to wait for the next one. It was quite pleasant just sitting on a bench on the platform for half an hour and gave us chance to build up our energy reserves for the day at Wimbledon. We had tickets for Centre Court and were nine rows from the back, up on the fifth floor – a long way from the nearest Pimms seller. We watched three brilliant matches and didn’t fall asleep once. I won’t give you a point-by-point account of the tennis – that’s what the iPlayer is for!.
Sunday was a day for laundry, lunch and lounging around on the sofa and it seemed like no time at all before we were back into the working week, added to which I went to two different crit groups on Tuesday evening with my current favourite work-in-progress.