Organic cider

Last post from the UK. We’re off under the English Channel to France in an hour’s time.

The last couple of days have been great – except for the travel part. I’ve grown so used to having everything taken care of – plane and train tickets provided in advance, cars and taxis booked, times all worked out, nothing for me to worry about. Now suddenly it’s all up to Aileen and me – queuing for tickets, finding out where to go and what to do. Travelling from Dorking to Brighton yesterday, everything went wrong – trains going from unexpected platforms, trains cancelled, me waiting in the wrong places, everyone assuming I knew how things worked when I didn’t. But apart from that, the last couple of days have been great.

First of all, there was the meeting up with relatives at cousin Kit’s place in East Croydon. I couldn’t hire a car to drive round to see people – not enough time in the schedule – but instead almost everyone managed to come to Kit’s. Not only Kit and Alan but also Vanda and Anne, also Andy and also Terry and janet. That’s all the cousins I grew up with – and they hadn’t seen one another for a long time either (especially Terry’s family) so it was a great get-together for everyone. Floods of nostalgia, rivers of reminiscence! So much to catch up on – and so many half-forgotten memories unearthed.

(No photos – I’m ashamed of myself.)

Aileen and I stayed overnight with Kit, then headed off from East Croydon railway station – Aileen straight to Brighton where she met up with a friend, me to Dorking, a one-time small market town, now an outer part of the London conurbation. Home of my UK publisher, Templar. I met up with Phil, my publicist, again, and Emily my editor – at last, I now have a face to go with so many emails. Also Mandy and Ruth and many more. Templar is an expanding publisher, but still has a great ‘team’ feel.

Emily had already read Liberator. Although I’ve felt so confident about that book, there’s still always a moment of apprehension – no need in this case, she loved it! We talked about some v small possible improvements.

Went out to lunch with Emily, Mandy, Ruth and Phil – v relaxing, under a sunshade at the back of a restaurant. I can remember a time when I was frozen stiff in the presence of publishers – but all my publishers and editors are such great people, it’s become like chatting with friends.

Later, after the hell ride to Brighton, I went over to meet Ian Miller at his house, not far from our hotel. Ian is the illustrator whose work I’ve admired for decades – and who created a wonderful cover for Worldshaker. I half expected to be in awe of him, but no, I just LIKED him. (I hope he’s not reading this.) He’s as old as me – groan! wheeze! – but he’s like a breath of fresh air, so funny, so sharp, so unpredictable. Mike Jolley from Templar was there too, and Ian’s wife Jenny – we sat in a sort of bower of greenery in the back garden, then gathered in the parlour, then had a dinner when Ian’s son Danny arrived. The whole house is a fabulous collection of art-inspiring oddities. I can’t explain ‘art-inspiring oddities’ – I nean, bits of stone, wood, toys, figurines, amazing stuff that Ian has collected (and you can see elements of them creeping into his pictures).

So anyway, we talked and talked and talked – it was a fantastic evening. And of course I drank Ian’s favourite tipple, organic cider (and bludged a cigarette off Mike). I feel sorry to be leaving England behind …

Cheers, R


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: