That is not the first word you’d associate with the Edinburgh Festival season.
Almost too warm. That’s another unlikely description. (Meg Rosoff; it may not be NYC hot, but then we can’t all be over there.)
Nice day. No rain. Warm. Sunny.
No events either, so although we had to crawl out of bed to get to Edinburgh for the morning of Day 6, it was purely pleasure. Not that the other days weren’t pleasure, I hasten to add.
Gillian Philip, of Crossing the Line and Bad Faith fame, had an educational encounter with 96 school visitors and survived. I knew she would, because we had agreed to meet up afterwards, and I didn’t want to just mop up the remains.
First, however, we had an assignation with Nicola Morgan outside the children’s bookshop. Not too busy there on a Monday morning, but I still took Donna’s Tim’s advice and looked for interesting shoes. They were. Lime green suedy things, beautifully set off with purple shirt and green scarf. That’s my kind of dressing. Nicola being a capable sort of woman determinedly smuggled us into the authors’ yurt, so we hastily hid the red neck ribbons and exchanged them for green ones.
Did I mention the sunshine? We sat out on the authors’ deck area and talked and gossiped for an hour. Nicola does a lot of events at the festival, and was halfway through this year’s talks. She also seems to know everyone. Bali Rai turned up briefly before his school event, and Kevin Brooks sat at the next table with Mary Byrne. We talked about Tim Bowler (did your ears burn, Tim?) while we were on the Swedish connection. And as Nicola knows everyone, she came with us to help identify Gillian Philip, as there is always a possibility that someone doesn’t quite look like their Facebook photo.
Gillian was in the bookshop, just finishing chatting to some young admirers, along with Keith Charters, who wore an author badge, but seemed to be more of an enthusiastic publishing person. We trotted back to the deck and the sunshine, for Gillian to relax and for a chat. Daughter admired her ear-rings, which apparently were purchased in a very recent panic buy. Have to say that Gillian looked stunning with matching jewellery and top. (I know it shouldn’t matter, but I enjoy matching-ness and strong colours. But it probably doesn’t make anyone’s books better.) Keith did some good business moves, handing out his card, and handing out a booklet with chapter one of a book called Bree McCready and the Half-Heart Locket by Hazel Allan.
At the next table we had Melvin Burgess and Paul Dowswell of Ausländer fame, and I kicked myself for not having checked out the schools programme, in order to pack a more suitable selection of books to be signed… I could get used to this part of Charlotte Square. How do I become an author for next time? Preferably one who is allowed in without having to ‘pay’ by doing a public talk.
We skulked back to the wifi in the press yurt to sort out the case of Monday’s missing photos, and let me tell you that I may have a laptop, but my lap does not have a top suited to balancing anything like that for any length of time. Did get the photos on, with minutes to spare before we had to rush down to Waverley. We had an invitation to have afternoon tea with Flora MacLachlan, aka Debi Gliori.
Debi is so wonderfully kind that she had volunteered to have the witch and her witch baby round for tea. She collected us from the train and drove us home to her beautiful garden, and then she plonked us down in the shade in a corner and brought out a groaning tea tray. I apologise to the world for the day of book-writing that has been lost through so much baking and general kindness. But fluffy scones and the most lemony cake and shortbread in a sunny garden is beyond good.
Before we left, we got to have a very early look at the artwork for a new book. I love it already. Picture books often look very attractive, but that’s nothing compared with what they’re made from.
Just a thought; am I turning into a cross between Cheshire Life and Hello magazine?
(All photos H Giles)