It’s not every author who has an understairs cupboard to offer a Bookwitch to sleep in, on short acquaintance. But after we bonded briefly over coffee ice cream, Candy Gourlay opened her home to the witch. And then continued doing so, with such tact and generosity, not to mention friendliness, sharing her family with me.
(Not that I was looking for a home, or needed more children, but if I had done, hers was what I’d be wanting. Actually, when house-hunting some years ago, my goal was for a ‘Candy house’.)
Recently, Candy shared the news that her mother had died, and the eulogy she recorded for her mother’s memorial. In fact, all family members celebrated the life of this woman in so many ways, and it brought home to me that the younger generations are the way they are, because of older role models. And good genes.
There was music. This I had almost forgotten about, but it was something I discovered Swedes and Filipinos have in common, when the assembled people at the Embassy burst into song, much the way Swedes do.
Anyway, I was introduced to Candy as a treat [for me], courtesy of Random House Children’s Books, shortly before her debut novel Tall Story was published. This was in January, and I knew already that it would be my favourite book of the year.
And after that Candy let me spend the night, and not under the stairs, either, but in perfect comfort in her son’s bed. (He was not in it.) Then there was the Embassy, and there were talks and awards events, an interview, meetings for ‘coffee’, another launch, followed by a lovely party in that dream back garden, and back to the same bed again. In more recent years people in Scotland have had the good sense to invite Candy to do events here, and perhaps one day she will visit my not so perfect garden, and I can offer her Son’s bed in return.
I’ll ask the Resident IT Consultant to get some coffee ice cream in.