So last night was the launch of Flora’s Glory. The previous night had been anxious and disturbed . The wonderful Italian cousins plane from Rome ran into flock of birds shortly after take-off and had to make an emergency landing . As a result he got here in the small hours and the Sainted One waited up for him, sensibly deciding that the household would be better served if the authoress had a decent night’s sleep, upon arrival he was offered the banana which has travelled across the Solent three times. Of course I had the anxiety dream again but rather worse. Before lunch I went to the hairdresser, Keith was very complimentary about my hair saying I had a lot of it, but for the rest of the day I must remain rather still and not empty steamy dishwashers. I repeated this to one of the household who agreed but said this was true but I had never quite worked out what to do with it but chose to ignore the dishwasher thing. Anyway it did look very nice and I remembered the two signing pans and the thank you speech and my beautifully dressed son took a day off from being a fashion icon at Hackett’s to be my PA and I felt like the Queen . I wore a shortish black skirt which had a slit in the back which another person pointed out was not in the right place.
The wonderful thing is that all these lovely friends turned up, and all the family and extended family actually most of us are rather over extended I would say but we brushed up very well , and as for birds …. Well so many lovely young creatures, daughters, granddaughters and their friends and then the blokes, grandsons sons in law cousins from all over the place and various in-laws and outlaws. We had a family photo which illustrated a most deliciously eclectic mix of cultures which was the source of much admiration.
My publisher Naim Attallah is an extraordinary man, he is a dear and loyal friend and a sharp business man, he knew by osmosis exactly who in that room had not purchased a book and I kid you not, no one got past him, he is the kind of person, who would make anything successful just by being there. He gave a wonderful speech in which he described moi as being many things including, sweet natured, easy to get on with , relaxed , uncomplaining cooperative and more in a similar vein, I watched the Sainted One’s face as this description of moi was delivered and it was rather strange, I have not mentioned this . The book shop was very pleased and so was the wine shop and Jonathon at Daunts has a knack for making everything seem easy, actually the kind of person you would want to be with in an emergency.
There were no emergency’s and the event went seamlessly and I hope this might be a template for future family celebrations, perhaps the fabulous team at Quartet could give me some tips on management , we have a history of eccentric gatherings to say the least which is why I write historical books … my own life would be far too stressful a palette upon which to draw. Writers of contemporary fiction inevitably delve into their own Pandora’s boxes for their material.
The evening which left me with a sense of awe as to how nice ones loyal friends actually are and reminded me of the great Doctor Johnson’s remark that “Friends like shoe leather must be kept in good repair.” I Dedicated my book to the memory of Shirley Ekcapa, a great Quartet writer and my dearest friend whom I miss every day. But always feel she is there with her wise and sometimes wicked take on life. Last night we shared her memory with her divine family in one of their homes with a most exquisite dinner came home glowing…..no bad dreams .