Sunday, 29 July 2012

Three Author Events

I seem to have been out and about at literary events a lot recently. Circumstances seem to have contrived to have a lot of interesting authors appearing nearby in a short space of time - perhaps they're like buses? Don't see any for ages then three come along at once? Maybe, maybe not.

All of them had fascinating, but very different, talks from the author/s but I was also struck by the varied sort of places they were held.

The first jaunt was over to Lowdham, just outside Nottingham to see a joint event - two debut novelists, ML Stedman and Rachel Joyce, talking about their inspirations and the excitement of being published. This was the first time I'd been to Lowdham at all, never mind its literary festival. Events are held in various places round the village and this one was in St Mary's Church. An unusual place for an author event but obviously it has all the requirements of seating and raised area for the speakers  - they didn't go as far as to use the pulpit but sat in an informal grouping at the front of the church. The refreshments were to have been served afterwards but were brought forward as one of the authors was delayed with transport problems. Even so the audience seemed to stay around - chatting, buying books and having them signed - for longer than usual. Maybe in part many attendees were locals who knew each other bit somehow the feeling was of a less formal, more relaxed atmosphere than I've encountered  elsewhere.

Second up was Jasper Fforde at Nottingham Waterstones.  Right at the top of their building....

... past the shelves of books...

... the coffee shop and the comfy reading areas ...

....up far too many escalators to keep count....

 is the Sillitoe suite. We've been here before to a book launch and other author events. It's a fairly functional room but gives a good sized space for evenings such as this.

 The special and unexpected bonus of this 'attic' room is the most amazing views to be had out over the rooftops of Nottingham city centre.

Something to look at while waiting in the book-signing queue!

Lastly  - and most certainly not the least - was an evening with Eoin Colfer. Again organised by Nottingham Waterstones though, as a large crowd was expected, this wasn't held at the 'shop' but in nearby Broadway Cinema.

This is the sight that met us as we entered - a huge projection onto the cinema screen of the cover of the latest - and last- Artemis Fowl book. The screen was also used to show the book's trailer. I'd already seen this on You-tube but it looked far more impressive on the large screen. It all gave the evening a certain razzmatazz and glamour not normally associated with literary events.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


Since I embraced Twitter a few years ago, I've become addicted to competitions. It's so easy to enter on Twitter - click the retweet button and follow! No filling in forms, finding a stamp, walking to the postbox - one click and you're done. I also seem to have found a winning streak. In the last year or so I've won books, bath stuff, theatre tickets, tickets to Chipping Norton Literary Festival  and numerous other things but a small recent win was one of the most delightful.

In celebration of the Queen's Jubilee Taylors of Harrogate were giving away a sample of  coffee and 'royal' edible goodies from Bettys - the famous tea-rooms and bakery. To be honest I'd expected rather vague dog-shaped biscuits and a chocolate bear with a bit of icing decoration - but they were wonderful!

The dogs definitely looked like corgis and the Guardsman Bear was stunning.

 His jacket and hat are made of marzipan with piped icing for braid, buttons and belt. The detail is amazing.

For a long while, I thought he was too good to eat......

.....but sadly even the cutest chocolate bear doesn't live forever.

Friday, 6 July 2012


 So far we've missed the worst of the rain - and yesterday we even had a dry day with some sunshine - but early this morning rain started falling again. Not heavy rain , but persistent. By the time we went for out dog-walk everywhere was under water...

 the path through the wood had turned into a pond.....

... the fields beyond looked like rice-growing paddy fields...

..and on our way home, the path across the playing fields had become a river!