Listening to: Manic Street Preachers
Reading: Nicholas Orme, Medieval children (am really enjoying this and I think I need my own copy for my research collection - it’s that good)
Last night saw me talking to about 100 people about ghosts and legends of Norfolk, with my National Year of Reading 2007 writer-in-residence hat on. I was fine until I walked in and saw just how big the room was and how many chairs there were. Sucked in a breath, calmed down - and then everyone came back from their ghost walk and the room filled up…
But the OHP and the screen worked (after a bit of propping up by us!), the people organising it were lovely, and once I started talking… I mean, I know my subject. I can ad-lib. I’m not a showman like Richard on the ghost walk is (I covet his top hat and his black velvet cape!), but I do tell stories for a living: so I pretended I was talking to the kids, and I was absolutely fine. What really thrilled me afterwards was the huge queue of people asking me to sign their copy of my book, and people coming up to me during the buffet to chat. Times like these are definitely precious.
Today was lovely, too – son had a teacher-training day, so we headed into town to pick up my new specs. The pressure in my eyes is still a little too high (hmm… maybe because I was wide awake from 2am to 4.30am last night) so I have to go back in a year for a recheck. Then we went to look at the bracelets to scope out Madam's birthday present.
Verdict: they’re utterly lovely. They look nice on a computer screen. In the flesh, they're better.
So... I was bad.
Or was I?
I had intended to buy a painting with my RNA prize money, but I haven’t found the right one yet. Now, as I – like many authors – tend to suffer from self-doubt (aka the crows), I could do with something tangible to keep said doubts at bay.
The Radley handbag is half of it. The other half is what I bought today. One Pandora bracelet and the first charm.
(OK, so there are two on the bracelet, but that’s because the one I eventually chose was cheaper than the one I’d originally intended to buy, and just one charm looked a bit plain. This is a zoomed-in pic: the main charm is about as wide as my little fingernail.)
There were three contenders for the charm that tells me I won the RNA prize, and son helped me choose. There’s a gold heart (shape = romance, colour = equivalent of sporting medal. i.e. winner), it has a ‘C’ on each side (the initial of my son and my daughter), and starbursts top and bottom (as in fireworks = celebration). So I think that fits the bill really nicely.
The plan is to add a new charm for each new M&B I sell; each charm will be appropriate to the book. (Yes, of course I have the next one planned.) And over the years it’s going to become a very precious keepsake.
I'm aware that I've been a bit frivolous and self-indulgent in the middle of a recession, which is a v bad thing. However, I don't go pubbing and clubbing, I don’t spend a fortune on clothes and shoes, and actually this is my third self-indulgent purchase this year: the pearls for being shortlisted for the RNA prize, the Radley bag (half my RNA prize money) and the bracelet. I don't buy designer clothes and shoes. Books... well, that's work so it doesn't count. I've actually been reasonably good with chocolate, lately. So, in the scheme of things, spread over the course of this year, it's not too bad :o)