Coming and going

The trains continue to be good. And bad. Horrendous late journey ‘home’ on Saturday night, with two coaches only, and rather a lot of passengers. Did they forget it’s the Edinburgh Festival? The next morning I looked at the number of people waiting for the train and trembled with fear. It’d have to be the roof. When the 10.02 arrived consisting of not two, nor of four coaches, but six, I very nearly kneeled on the platform to thank ScotRail. It was only the state of my knees that prevented this heartfelt thanks.

I want to be Nicola Morgan in my next life. That woman has the shoes and the wit that a witch can only aspire to. And she has it in a most colour coordinated way. On Monday Nicola had managed to sell out her Thrillers event, but I got in, courtesy of Nicola’s own ticket. It was a pity Nicola herself couldn’t get in after that…

Nicola Morgan

Joking aside, I spent the first few minutes admiring the turquoise suede boots and the light blue cardigan with matching turquoise brooch. It’s so hard to carry that combination off, but if anyone can, Nicola can. Then once she started talking I suspected I might have to leave rather hurriedly. She promised gore, and fainthearted that I am I could imagine myself lying on the floor at the back. It didn’t get as bad as that, but she had me worried. Who’d have thought an event could be so thrillerish?

It was Nicola’s novel Fleshmarket that scared me. It replaced the book on wolves she had been writing, and I’m sure it’s ‘very nice’, really. I breathed easier as she moved on to Death Watch and Wasted. I hadn’t realised Nicola actually tossed a coin to decide how to proceed in Wasted when she came to the forks in the road, so to speak. And in Death Watch it’s hardly surprising the reader can’t guess who the stalker is. Nicola herself didn’t know at the time.

So, if I had fainted ten minutes into the talk, would the event have turned out very differently?

Ian Rankin

Simon Callow

In my short break after the gore, I came across Ian Rankin doing something. I’m not sure what sort of something, and the photo was taken some distance off, which would explain the blur. Also found Simon Callow ‘being done’ at the entrance to the yurt, so gulped down my drink and joined the paparazzi at the back for a go at this ex-Pliny from the Roman Mysteries.

I believe the ducks have complained. It’s too dry.


The day’s second event featured Keith Gray and Tohby Riddle with Philippa Cochrane. They discussed Keith’s Ostrich Boys and Tohby’s first teen novel The Lucky Ones. The Australian is best known for his younger picture books, all of which looked very appealing in the bookshop, but I contained myself. Just.

Keith Gray

Tohby Riddle

Both books are about boys and, I think, about death. Girls feature as a plot device only, and in Ostrich Boys Keith ponders how ‘rubbish it must be to be dead’. Quite. He borrowed the idea from his favourite film Stand By Me. Tohby’s novel has something to do with Bob Dylan, and also Sydney Harbour Bridge. I think he described it as a metaphysical experience, but now might be the time to admit I didn’t understand much of what he said at all.

Linda Strachan was in the audience, and she wanted to know if they could see themselves writing about girls, to which the answer was a resounding ‘no’ from both. Boys need more books, and girls have quite enough as it is. Which may well be true. Although Keith’s inspiration came from a trailer for the girly film Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. That’s American pants. In case you wondered.

Linda Chapman

As usual I hung in the bookshop a bit, and I happened to find Linda Chapman signing in there a little earlier, as I passed. That’s what’s nice. This looking into the shops to see who might be there.


8 responses to “Coming and going

  1. CHINS! Apart from showing everyone my chins, it was lovely that you came to my event and didn’t faint and thank you for admiring my boots – they are probably my favourites. I won’t be there till evening tomorrow, as it’s the Scottish Soc of A AGM, but I’ll be back in the evening doing a panel event. Maybe see you another day. I owe you a coffee for all the nice things you said.

  2. What chins?

    Could we make it a tea? And shall I say a few more things to add a slice of cake as well?

  3. I am all yours and the tea and cake is so on me. When? Tel me what days yu’re there and I’ll say if I can be.

    Chins? Put your specs on, bookwitch.

  4. Not Thursday or Friday. This week, I mean.

  5. I will be there this evening, as have just been roped in to fill in for an author who has cancelled, and I will be there Sat and Sun as am doing events both those days. Are you around next week too?

    btw, when I said “yu’re” in my last comment, that was a typo, not some tacky attempt to be modern!

  6. You can’t be Nicola Morgan–I have first dibs (and she’s told me I can be an honorary Crabbit Queen, so there!). I want her shoe collection too, although Gillian Philip may beat me to it by a wolf’s toenail. Oh God! Does this mean I am going to have to take my pink tweed Venetian heels and my purple suede thigh highs to compete? *bites fingernails in panic*

  7. I can take you shopping, Lucy, so we won’t have to feel ashamed.

    We could take turns, perhaps.

    Nicola, I’m here all the time, except when I’m not. Have already got plans for this evening, though. (Admit it, you were trying to be cool.)

  8. Lucy – “pink tweed Venetian heels and my purple suede thigh highs” – *snarls in ill-concealed fury at the possibility that you might be telling the truth*

    Bookwitch – I keep having my plans changed so i don’t want to commit to anything yet, but I will definitely be there at some point most days next week. Sat and Sun won’t work well as I’ve promised to be available to talk to people after my events. Do you want to email me your mobile, so that I can tell you when I’m there?

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