Sunday, May 23, 2010

Where to start?

Like a dog whining at a gate my poor blog is whimpering to be noticed. 'Write me, write me, it pleads, go on give me biscuits words....'

If Thursday was high definition in terms of light and images then on Friday the reality of what was about to happen was also clearly defined.

Book launch - visitors? Visitors - book launch? Which to worry about first? Well both pale into insignificance when a man thrusts a microphone into your face and asks earnest questions to which you know the answer but can't actually string the appropriate words together to form it. My press releases had obviously hit the spot. We were in both local papers (thank you Shropshire Star and County Times) and Radio Shropshire made a two pronged attack with offers to be interviewed for a couple of programmes. We left the presenters to fight it out amongst themselves. A little negotiation between them puts us on Eric Smith's breakfast show rather than on an afternoon programme in two weeks hence. I think the conjunction of the words 'history ladies' and 'more than meets the eye' must have been enticing.

E.S. arrives in a seriously logo covered van, so without a shadow of a doubt he's our man from Radio Shropshire. I do hope he's not disappointed with the actual history ladies. We are keen and try hard not to twitter on too much. Listening later I'm surprised at how coherent we do sound although I can be heard cackling manically at one point. Cringe.

We walk around the village (a scuffle-scuffle through the gravel and a clink-clank of the church gate reminds potential listeners that this is not a studio recording). We discuss landscapes and vernacular buildings and listen to birdsong. Then, with much unsaid our interview is finished. Oh. Is that it then? Apparently it is.

Later we set out our display in the village hall having borrowed display boards from a neighbouring village. (We'll gloss over the embarrassing incident with the unsecured load at a significant road junction. Ahem. I'll tie stuff on in future.) It looks fine - we have a small exhibition of words and photographs and a stack of books. A few pink and blue balloons, courtesy of the National Lottery, jiggle about and add a jolly touch. I hope they, like ourselves, remain buoyant until tomorrow: The Big Day.

In the meantime there is a brief hiatus when I am able to enjoy the company of our visitors - my brother and his wife. The weather is absolutely perfect. We loll around in the sunshine, basking in its unexpected warmth. By special request we fire up the pizza oven and make pizza - lots of small crispy ones, which as the evening progresses, become both more adventurous in their toppings and more proficient in manufacture. The final and finest one is topped with spinach, ricotta and egg. It cooks on the oven's hot floor for little more than seconds and emerges with the egg soft and unctuous. Perfect to dip one's asparagus into. Bliss. I have no doubt we have eaten and drunk too much but what a rare treat it is to sit and eat outdoors watching the sun go down and the stars come up. We drift indoors eventually, leaving the night to the bats which swoop under the trees in the dingle.

And then of course it is The Big Day; the launch of 'Marton, the story of a Shropshire village'. Here I am, with Doreen on my left, getting to grips with signing books, selling books and giving the right change. The hall fills up quite quickly with folk from both the village and from further afield. (Radio Shropshire obviously reached the parts that other radio stations fail to reach.) I hope these visitors weren't expecting to meet real celebs.
We sell lots of books, but it is as pleasing to see the hall full of people chatting, being together as a community. This last fact is important as it was one of the anticipated outcomes we stated on our grant application. Here too I must thank the National Lottery for their support - its grant enabled us to make the book a reality. They gave us balloons too and for those visitors under the age of 8 those free balloons were probably more exciting. Lovely to see fellow bloggers SBS, Wipso and Twiglet - thanks for your support.

It's hard work though, smiling and signing - by the end of the afternoon we were exhausted and I was in danger of forgetting how to spell my name.

Sunday then was a day of well deserved r & r.  My sister in law and I took ourselves to the Dingle Garden and its adjoining nursery.
As garden lovers will know this is indulging in plant porn. The garden is in a steep sided valley. The sides are densely planted and laced with paths which lead down to a still lake which reflects the planting above. At this time of year rhododendron and azalea look well and I found myself inspired by the many varieties of viburnum - which I know do well in my own garden. In shaded areas much use was made of white flowers to reflect and illuminate - in fact their shade planting is exemplary. This is Magnolia sieboldii, exquisite in its simplicity. Most covetable too.
At home my white iris - variety forgotten - enjoy baking in the sun at the front of the barn. The little geranium is 'Bill Wallis', a good do-er. That's my mates Bill 'n' Iris then - sound like a pair of old codgers don't they?
It has been a good weekend all round. Tomorrow I shall candle the eggs in the incubator, sow beans and plant squash. There's always something to do isn't there?


Mac n' Janet said...

Loved you phrase "plant porn', knew exactly what you meant.

Chris Stovell said...

Congratulations - you're signing those books in real style in those photos. Well done!

Diary Farmer said...

It was an excellent day, Doreen was tired after it all. She especially enjoyed the impromptu apres launch meal at the Sun Inn. She was wined and dined and I had shed loads of brownie points!!!!

Nikki-ann said...

Sounds like a busy weekend!

Congratulations on the book launch!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

It was a lovely afternoon - N got talking to a lovely old man who had a load of stories to tell - yes more!!!!!!
Off to bed for another chapter

Tattie Weasle said...

Fantatstic about the book and all teh publicity, no wonder you are exhausted though I particularly like your R&R - finally getting to terms with my garden feel I desperately need a bit of R&R at a nice nursery too.

bayou said...

Great to read it, Mountainear!
The wee Bill Wallis you kindly gave me, is also flowering here. It was a big surprise to see those small and dainty flowers - totally different of all other Geraniums which live here.

bodran... said...

Hello great blog1 i do feel the need for another visit to that garden "VERY SOON"I've finaly got enough money together to mot the bike then i'll be out and about..The woodfest is on the 4th 5th 6th june , i'll be camping all weekend so i hope it stays dry .it would be great to see you. xx

rachel said...

Well, what a stunning achievement! And how very brave of you to be interviewed for radio; I would have have become speechless with fright.

Well done, you, a thousandfold.

elizabethm said...

How exciting all round. I could just picture you in that glorious sunshine and warm evening with the pizza oven going. And the Dingle too. Sounds a perfect if hardworking weekend!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Congratulations ! You've done what so many of us fantasise about , only to balk at the amount of dedication involved !
It sounds a lovely weekend too . Just what you deserved , pizza and all !!