Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Rosamunde Pilcher

A week or so ago I received an email from my Cornwall Today editor asking simply, “do you like Rosamunde Pilcher?”

I replied, “Yes! Whatever it is, throw it this way (she said rashly)”.

Then there was silence so I presumed nothing was going to happen, but then she rang and said she was sadly too busy to do the interview, would I like to? You bet - and anyway, when an editor asks you if you’d like to do any interview, let alone one of the most famous writers of women’s contemporary fiction, the answer is never a negative.

So Mr B drove me round Falmouth, on the hunt for The Shell Seekers, or any other book by her. Nothing in the library. Nothing in my friend Tash’s bookshop. As I had to do the interview early this week, there was no time to order anything online. Kirstie had a copy so I was going to drive to Truro to get it when I was stricken by a really horrible tummy bug so that laid me up for a few days. I had read all of Mrs Pilcher’s books before, but it would have been good to refresh my memory.

Anyway, by Monday morning, when I’d scheduled the interview, I was sick with nerves. I’m not usually that nervous, but then I don’t usually interview authors of such calibre. I had to force down a few mouthfuls of toast, and took Moll for a walk, trying to work off my extreme nerves.

I knew I’d be all right once we got going, and I was, but the Before is always nerve racking. But she was a delight. An incredibly sharp mind - she’ll be 90 in September - and with an incredibly clear memory. She’s also a wicked mimic and has an endearingly rich gurgle of a laugh.

We wrapped up the interview and I felt really blessed to have talked to her. Shame we couldn’t meet in person, but what a privilege that was.

Read all about it in September’s issue of Cornwall Today!

And on Sunday we are singing at Heligan Gardens, taking part in the Wildworks Production of 100: The Day Our World Changed. This will be a unique day of remembrance and commemoration to mark the outbreak of World War 1. The day will re-tell and re-live the lives of the brave men who went to war and the families they left behind. It’s a day for the community, about the community and involving as much of the community as possible.

So come along if you can - from 1030 at Mevagissey Harbour and ending at 7pm at Heligan Gardens.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Penzance Literary Festival

This is Moll on Snap (see below), taken last year.

Typically, in the midst of all this amazing weather I am land locked. Well, maybe not locked exactly, but unable to get on the water.

This is partly because my sailing mates are absent, and also on dry land, but also because last week I gave two talks at the Penzance Literary Festival, which has grown since its inception 5 years ago to a really fabulous festival with so much going on it is wonderful - and not just literature but arts, music, and plenty for children.

Talk No 1 was about my exploits sailing and how I came to write about it. Mr B had rehearsed me I don’t know how many times, which was very helpful, and also meant I wasn’t quite so nervous, but I was still pretty wobbly beforehand. Unfortunately we got there to find there was no laptop. Luckily Tony had brought his as well as the stick with all my images on, so all was not lost.

The audience was smaller than I would have liked but very appreciative which was encouraging, so I felt less nervous about the next talk which was about the role of independent publishers - a Q&A session with myself and another friend as authors, and two publishers.

We started off well but lost direction somewhere in the middle, and I was dismayed to find that the two publishers who were there were at pains to say how much they do for their authors, whereas I have to do all my own marketing and selling which is very hard work.

So that was a bit dispiriting. But the best bit of the day was a swim off Battery Rocks in Penzance. The water was crystal clear and felt silky and cool to my overheated skin.

As I write, Al, who owns Snap, the lovely Dragon we crew, has just arrived with the boat, so we will get out on the water soon, and Mr B is on a train hurtling back towards Cornwall after a short absence. They will shortly all be safely gathered in - I hope…..

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Married to Roger Federer

Another one of Mullion Cove - I can never tire of pictures of the Lizard.

The other day I received a phone call which said Private Number. Usually these calls are from the hospital, or the doctor, so I answered it cautiously. A male voice said, “Is that Mrs B?”

“Who’s calling?” I said, rather tentatively.

It turned out to be the marine repair people - we’d taken the outboard in to be fixed and Mr B can never remember his number, so we gave mine instead. So that solved that mystery.

Then last night I rang my mum and she said, “I had the most vivid dream last night. You danced in saying you were getting married to Roger Federer!”

She told her carer in the morning, adding, “I’m not sure about the age gap” (over 20 years). Her carer laughed and pointed out, “to say nothing of the fact that he has a wife and four children.”

Mr B groaned when I told him. “I’ve got enough competition,” he said, “without adding Roger bloody Federer. I think I’d better have a word with your mum.”

So watch out Mum. Expect an irate call from Mr B asking if you can dream about slightly less high profile men in future where your daughter’s concerned.

“I’m not doing too badly,” I said cheerfully. “I was married to you yesterday, now I’m about to be married to Roger Federer. Who next?”

Mr B turned even paler (it wasn’t helping his hangover, nor the fact that I was about to put him on the train for a week’s absence). “I don’t think I’ll go away ever again,” he muttered. “I don’t know what’s going to happen by the time I get back.”

Though something tells me he doesn’t have to worry too much about Roger turning up on my doorstep. Not in the next week, anyway……

And on another note - I'm giving two talks at the Penzance Literary Festival. One tomorrow, Thursday 17th from 4-5pm at Penlee Coach House, on Sailing around Cornwall, and another on Sunday from 230 - 330 on getting published by an independent publisher. Come along if you can or keep your fingers crossed if you can't!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Getting there

The Lizard - taken the other weekend, near Mullion Cove, where we had a magical weekend.

I’ve been so desperate to get out sailing, and so resenting the halt in progress I made last year, that doubts started to creep in about my abilities. In the company of others who had sailed all their lives, I felt woefully aware of my inexperience.

“Nonsense,” said Mr B. “You’re a natural.” But the doubts persisted, not helped by an outing a few weeks ago when someone whose boat I was on assumed that I didn’t know much about sailing and told me to sit out of the way in the corner.

Last Wednesday the forecast was good, so Mr B and I decided to go for my first sail on Piran. I was nervous, to say the least, as it’s 10 months since we last sailed her, and I was convinced that my mind would stay blank once we got on board.

Admittedly rigging her made my brain spin a bit - Mr B looked at me at one point and said, “Where does this go?”

“I have absolutely no idea,” I replied, and we both laughed.

But from the moment we stepped on board I felt fine. It all came back, as naturally as breathing. I tacked smoothly and without upset, and I couldn't believe it.

There was a nasty moment when the shoe came undone half way up the mast, and Mr B had to stand on deck and reach up the mast to tie it on - actually that happened twice - while I tried to keep the boat steady with gusty winds and a group of lasers setting off racing. But we managed it and had a wonderful sail to St Just and back.

Which just goes to show that having a go at things you’re terrified of is a Good Thing. My confidence has gone up several notches. And we’re hoping to go out this afternoon…..