Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What a Busy Time!

I can't believe that it was July when I wrote my last blog! There just are not enough hours in the day. In the weeks running up to the Sherborne Literary Festival I was getting up at five in the morning to get everything done. There was an incredible amount to do for the Festival, even though we had a committee and we were all working flat out, but it was hugely successful and we got rid of over 1,000 tickets for the events. That was pretty good for a first effort! People came from as far away as North Yorkshire and Guernsey which was very impressive. I think we achieved what we set out to do and brought people into our historic town where they could discover the beautiful abbey, browsein our many independent shops and  boutiques and choose where to eat from an impressive selection of cafes, restaurants, bistros and pubs.

Now it is a few weeks before Christmas and I am writing features for 2013! How fast this year has gone! Plans for next year are well in hand and I shall make my usual New Year's Resolution to write blogs - and tweets because I am pretty hopeless at that too - regularly! But next year I might make it, especially if I continue to get up at 5.00am!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Literary Festival Takes Shape

So much is happening and there is so much to do that I am still wanting more hours in the day! At least things are taking shape for the Literary Festival in October and this is good news. We have a first class line-up of authors and I have made sure that there is a good variety of people who will appeal to everyone. We have a wonderful writer of commercial women's fiction who will interest the younger people of the town, a military biographer to entertain our retired army and navy gentlemen, and a whole host of fascinating authors and poets who will be talking about their work in various venues in Sherborne. As well as authors we are lucky to have Lorna V coming to enthuse people, with her wide knowledge of writing and publishing. Check out her website. And author and broadcaster, Peter Hobday (remember him on The World at One?) is coming to chair a debate.

Joanne Harris gave us an excellent talk on 12 July despite being in a marquee and it bucketting down with rain.  She wrote and said how much she enjoyed it and that bodes well for the Festival.

And now the sun is shining at last, and promises to shine for several days. So we will all start moaning about having to water the garden and the water companies will threaten hosepipe bans. But that's what living in England is all about!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Not Enough Hours in the Day

All week I have been getting up at five in the morning so that I have time to do everything I need to do. Not only is there 'the day job' which at times can go on well into the evening, there are all the the things we are doing for the Sherborne Literary Society.  The Literary Luncheon with Penny Junor on 21 June is presently concentrating my mind. It is the little details, probably quite minor, that are so important.

How time flies. It seems like yesterday that the south-western branch of The Society of Women Writers and Journalists came to my house for the spring meeting yet it was three weeks ago. There were about 27 of us all together and I managed to have everyone sitting at a table for lunch albeit spread through three rooms. The cook and her helper ate in the garden! The cook is a good friend and a trained chef and she offered to do the meal so I said yes at once! These days I don't have time for the luxury of cooking.We had a lovely day. I asked Frank Kibblewhite of The Sundial Press to come along and talk about publishing and Val Singleton joined us so you can imagine the conversations that went on. Some members have been very successful recently and had books and articles published. I even reviewed Eve Bonham-Couzen's novel a few months agoin my column Reading Matters (well, it does, doesn't it?!)

Since then I have been to Yorkshire, walking in the Dales and to Much Hadham, recovering! Now I must get back to work, make new lists of jobs to do and people to call, and finish writing up my interview with the wonderful Philippa Gregory.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Literary Luncheon, Bellinis and Spring Visitors

Such a lot is happening down here in Dorset! Our Sherborne Literary Society has certainly captured the town's imagination and a huge number of people have signed up for membership. We are holding our first membership meeting on Monday night and so many people want to come we have had to arrange two sessions - one from 5-6 and one from 7-8.

We shall be able to give details of our major events in June and July: a Literary Luncheon with Penny Junor talking about her new book on Prince William and then an evening event with Joanne Harris. Her new book is called Peaches for Monsieur le Cure so we are serving Bellinis and canapes that evening. Do look at our website www.sherborneliterarysociety where we have much more information and try and come along if you are near enough and you are free!

The Literary Festival is in October and plans are well advanced for that. There are some very interesting authors books - but more about that later.

Now that spring is here I am getting my usual influx of visitors which is great fun and makes me take time off from work to enjoy myself. I am running out of ideas on where I should take them but usually a trip to Lyme Regis is on the cards. Then we might go to Bath for the day and perhaps, if the weather is decent, to my old stomping ground on Dartmoor. I so love being back in the south-west of England!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Decisions, decisions

I am becoming very cynical. It's Mothering Sunday on 18 March and I have told my son not to send me flowers this year. For the past two years they have been very poor specimens and I have telephoned the stores and complained. Admittedly, they have replaced them but that's not the point. Had I not telephoned, my son would have paid a lot of money for flowers that were well past their best.

This year he asked me what I wanted instead of flowers and, d'you know, I can't think of anything. Maybe perfume - Amarige or Hermes Caleche - or...or... What I'd really like is a breadmaker but somehow that doesn't sound quite the right sort of present. I shall have to ask friends for help but time is getting on.

I suppose he could come and visit me, getting his wife to bake me a Simnel Cake which is a traditional present but somehow that is not likely. For one thing he lives in Japan and for another, his wife is Japanese and I doubt if she knows about Simnel Cakes. Ah, well!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Luncheons, Soirees and a New Literary Society

I realise I should be ashamed. It is over a year since I posted my last blog and most people I know are blogging twice a week at least. I am sure I am not busier although there is so much going on in west Dorset. In Sherborne we are starting a Literary Society - 120 years after the Macready Literary Institute, that operated from the stables at Sherborne House, closed. I'm busy searching through the Minute Books to discover the sort of things they did. It seems they had various lectures including A lecture on the mode of taking the wild elephant in India and Books as a Means of Self Culture. We have quite a standard to maintain.

Through our new Sherborne Literary Society, for which we are holding a Membership Evening on World Book Day in April, we are running a variety of events to whet the appetite of everyone. This year we are holding a literary luncheon, various talks, soirees, author events, competitions and book-related days as well as a festival in October with some really interesting authors. More about this in due course.

Our wonderful bookshop, Booklore, closed at the end of January but a new one has opened in Cheap Street - Winstone's. The owner, Wayne Winstone, has been around in the book trade for many years and he has opened a very attractive shop with a neat little coffee area which is always busy. He is involved in our festival, too.

The other day I interviewed Joanne Harris about her latest book, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, which is a sequel to Chocolat, and she is coming to Sherborne to talk about it in July. It should be fascinating and we have plans to make it a very special event. Watch this space.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some things I just cannot do

I was reading Andrew Croft's blog (because I've just joined him on Linkedin) and he wrote about interviewing on Skype. Now I love to use Skype to talk to family and friends but to use for an interview - no way! I know I am always banging on about getting the best interviews when you talk to someone face-to-face but for various reasons, in the last couple of years I have reluctantly become fairly adept at telephone interviewing. The real joy of this is not only is it pretty quick but it really doesn't matter what you look like! I have done long and serious interviews over the telephone while wearing a bathrobe and a towel around my wet hair. Nobody knew this but me!

Another thing I can't do is Facebook. I did belong once but there were so many people who wantd to be my friend and I didn't know any of them. Someone suggested they had probably written books and wanted me to interview them. All these things are very complicated and seem to take hours to set up and then hours to keep in touch with people. I've too much to do!

As for Twitter... One day I hope someone will explain to me how authors and politicians and really busy people get the time to tweet. Some people seem absolutely glued to their computers. I'm not sure that is healthy.

BUT... I am connected to people on Linkedin and when I get time I may connect to more. Time is the thing. I have just been reminded that my last blog was in October.