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.
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.
exemplary. This is Magnolia sieboldii, exquisite in its simplicity. Most covetable too.