In my mind I call her Penelope.
I work visually when it comes to words and names, which is why I still have great difficulty keeping Birmingham and Liverpool apart. The Resident IT Consultant has never understood this.
So after weeks of being able to think of Eleanor Updale as just that, she suddenly turned into Penelope on Monday. Can anyone see why? Please. Everyone else refers to her as Ellie, which I with my strict use of names will have to work hard to adapt to.
Drinks on Monday evening, even if it was in the King’s Cross area, was an innocent affair. Eleanor had coffee, and I had tea and Clare drank water, which means we were all very sober. I’m really exceedingly grateful to Eleanor for sparing some time, since she was on her way to something else afterwards and had come from yet another event before. The social life of authors…
Had I had my wits about me, I would have taken a photo of her, as she looked stunning in red, which is often hard to do. And I feel vaguely guilty that she had to cart around this fascinating bagful of novel-inspiration, just to show me.
You can tell she’s a historian from her understanding of what makes sense to find and collect. I got a thorough lesson in old coins (although I am so old that I did visit England while they existed), and we had a peep at some old newspapers. She brought the ones she felt wouldn’t disintegrate in transit. And there was the peace mug from 1919, which got her started on Johnny Swanson.
In return for all this knowledge, I went on to shatter both Eleanor’s and Clare’s beliefs in Sweden as the promised land with white uncluttered rooms and where everything is lovely, although the police are morose. I shall have to learn to tread more carefully in future. It is nice, honestly. Just not paradise.
Then we did what women do everywhere; talk children and universities and other titillating stuff.