Listening to: Daughtry
Reading: Anita Brookner, Strangers (very Prufrockian - very sad and lonely characters)
Fabulous day in London. Good journey down (and made progress with the book); and then it was a matter of going across London to the RAF club in Piccadilly.
Lovely to catch up with lots of friends, old and new (some I knew through email/blog/FB but hadn't actually met in person until today). OK, namedropping time: including Sara Craven (whose wonderful books inspired me to start writing a Mills and Boon when I was 13), Joanna Maitland, Louise Allen, Jenny Haddon, Jan Jones, Lizzie Lamb, Roger Sanderson, Kate Harrison, Mary Nichols, Cara Cooper, Catherine Jones, Margaret Barker (the first M&B Medical author I ever met), Eileen Ramsay. Plus my former editor, Tessa Shapcott - lovely to see her again, too.
(Louise Allen and Mary Nichols)
(Kate Hardy and Jan Jones)
(Lizzie Lamb and Kate Hardy)
(Phillipa Ashley and Kate Hardy)
Being met with a glass of champagne was very glamorous. I had a bit of a surprise when we went in to lunch (in a very, very glam dining room). There was a display of award-winning books from the last few years... And then I looked closer at the middle…
and ended up squeaking, 'Oh, my God, that's MY book!' Such a thrill to realise that actually, yes, I am a part of the RNA history over the last 50 years, because Breakfast at Giovanni's won the RNA Romance Prize in 2008. (And it lifted my mood tremendously - the last month has been a struggle, and this helped me get a bit of my mojo back, precisely because I wasn't expecting it.)
When I got to my table, I discovered that there was a wrapped copy of 'Fabulous at Fifty' on my chair (because I was one of the contributors - though of course I bought a copy as well, and if you want one you can get it from the RNA website).
And I had lovely company over lunch (Lyn McCulloch and Cathy Mansell, who looks a good 15 years younger than the age she admitted to).
Katie Fforde, our chair, made a fab speech talking about the work that went in to making the 'Fabulous at Fifty' memoirs, paying tribute to the generosity of Elizabeth Harrison. Diane Pearson, our president, also made a speech that had us all smiling for the right reasons.
Oh, lunch? Smoked salmon, roast beef and trimmings (note, this all works with the diet - no potatoes or Yorkshires for me), and then chocolate gâteau (which I didn't have, AND I didn't have any chocolates with my coffee - still had fun, still enjoyed my lunch, but no 'bad carbs' to take me off track - AND people noticed that my face looked thinner, which pleased me immensely. Not being vain, just want to be a healthy weight for my height instead of being like Garfield, and losing weight is very hard work).
And then it was a dash back across London to get my train home. Lovely day and, even though part of me felt guilty about being away from my desk, as one of my friends said, 'Coming here and having a good natter with your mates and getting a hug in person is going to do you a lot more good than being chained to your desk.' Absolutely right, and we all need to refill the well from time to time.
Congrats to the RNA and its lovely warm-spirited members. May you remain just this fabulous for the next 50 years.