A whirlwind week of book tour in London filled with wonderful things – radio, interviews, book signings, luncheons, old friends. And best of all, the most fantastic reviews of Summer Secrets everywhere I look. Thank you to all those who have posted reviews (if you haven’t read it, apparently it’s my best book in years so hurry up and buy it NOW!).
Every year, on the last day of book tour, the same thing happens, and every year I forget it’s going to happen. My throat gets scratchy, my glands get swollen, my nose starts running, and I end up with a cold, bronchitis, sinus infection, or, this time, all three.
I sneezed my way back on Virgin Atlantic, with a gorgeous flight attendant who made me endless Lemsips and brought me plastic cups of tissues soaked in Olbas oil to clear my sore nose.
The flight was delayed, my best laid plans of arriving at lunchtime in order to avoid rush hour and make it home for fireworks were completely scuppered, as I found myself sitting in a car on the bridge in Westport, for over an hour, in the lines of people all making their way to Compo beach for our town’s brilliant fireworks. I happen to live at Compo beach, and I felt so miserable, all I wanted to do was get home and crawl into bed, but after an hour of standstill traffic, I couldn’t sit anymore.
“I’m walking,” I told the driver. “I’ll leave my suitcase in the car and meet you at the house.” Within five minutes I passed a crowd of people in the front garden of a house, wine glasses in hand, including an old friend I haven’t seen in a few years. She beckoned me in to the back garden, where a fantastic bar was set up, filled my cup, quite literally, with a delicious white wine that instantly made my cold feel a whole lot better, and introduced me to a crowd of lovely people I am quite certain will become my new best friends.
I continued home with a second ‘roadie’ plastic cup of wine for the walk, meeting my husband who had cycled up to accompany me. He mentioned friends of ours were dropping in to watch the fireworks at the people across the street.
“That’s where we’re going?” piped a voice behind us, and two women we didn’t know started chatting, and of course they knew everyone we know. Everyone waved hello, everyone in the best of moods, and we continued on, pausing all the while to chat with people we haven’t seen in ages (which is what happens when you work like I do and have a hundred children – it always ends up being the social life that suffers…).
And I realize, knowing people makes this feel like a small town, and living in a small town feels like home. Growing up in Hampstead was home, just as Westport now is. There are things I will always miss about London. My friends and family. Cabbies (see previous post!). Sitting in café’s and wasting four hours talking about nothing and everything. Clever conversation and self-deprecating wit. Hats. Tea. Sausages.
But I don’t miss being anonymous in a sea of strangers, I don’t miss the hustle and bustle, and I don’t miss the bacon.
I definitely don’t miss the bacon.
On that note, if you have read Summer Secrets, let me know what you think, and if you haven’t, public opinion seems to be giving it a resounding yes, and you really ought to do so now!
Happy to be home, whether it’s home away from home or not.
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