What have Eurovision, a psychiatrist, children’s story time, an ancient house, losing your job, stables, a pub that wasn’t a pub, a ceremonial chain and a hairdresser’s in Penge got in common?
The answer is the book event I organised at the end of August, which was a great success. The weather stayed dry and sunny without the uncomfortable heat of the previous weeks, and the variety of books on offer was amazing. The deputy major of the borough took time to talk to all thirteen authors individually, and purchased several books including one of mine. Apparently she enjoys romance, so Summer Changes was the perfect fit for her upcoming holiday.
The two talks on various aspects of book publication were well received, as was the brief history of the pub venue given by the current landlady. I often wondered why the Coach and Horses was set back off the main high street. The stables used for part of the book event are a listed building, and originally it was not a pub, but somewhere for the horses to be kept while the travellers stayed at the tavern a short distance away for their own lodgings.
I had advertised a story time, and was delighted to see so many young children with their parents, who unbelievably sat quietly while I narrated a couple of my short stories. (The children were very good as well.) 😀 It’s not something I’ve done before but I found myself naturally relaxing into appropriate voices, and I’ve decided I’m not going to bother to grow up, as it was such fun.
The intention was to have a couple of other short presentations but we ran out of time. As I took over the organisation rather late, several local authors, book stores and so on had already made other arrangements, but my contact list for ‘next time’ is growing by the minute. Is there going to be another one? My initial thought was ‘No way, it’s too much work, it was a one-off.’
Feedback from total strangers as well as authors and visitors, offers of help for the future, the total support of the landlady and having all the groundwork in place means that no way would I consider it. Obviously not. No. No way. Except – Do you think it would be better at Easter next year, or the May bank holiday? .
© Val Portelli September 2022