Summer’s Wake

on Solsbury Hill - Sunday rideout

on Solsbury Hill - Sunday rideout

21-27 Sep

This week I have been catching up with myself after the week on Iona – there’s been alot to sort out as new terms start, etc, but amidst it all I’ve launched my new novel and been involved with other literary events…

It’s really felt like ‘back to school’ and a shift of emphasis – from the outward to the inward spiral. At the time of the autumn equinox it is perhaps not surprising that it has felt both light and dark/good and bad … my week certainly has reflected that duality.

Monday I spent mainly ploughing through my inbox and replying to messages. In the evening I was due to start my new evening class in creative writing at Chew Valley School but it was aborted due to low enrolment (apparently a fate several of the arts classes suffered, no doubt a byproduct of the tough economic climate). Instead I went to the Bath Storytelling Circle at the Raven, though I didn’t feel very dynamic, still struggling with a cold – numbers were down there so I did force myself to share a story in the second half to help out David, the host – I told a Scottish tale, the Well at the World’s End.

the launch of The Well Under the Sea

the launch of The Well Under the Sea

Tuesday was the launch of my new novel, The Well Under the Sea – the plan was to launch it with a river cruise – but a phone call in the morning kaiboshed that idea, the Pulteney Princess’s lights were on the blink (and the dim-witted staff seemed to be equally in the dark). Suddenly I had to find a new venue. I looked at a couple of boats, but  it was rather late in the day, to say the least. Fortunately, the Rising Sun came to the rescue, which just so happens to have a boat in the beer garden! So, this served as an agreeable substitute – the place has been tastefully done up since the days when the storytelling circle used to be housed there and the staff were friendly and helpful. The skittles alley provided a wet weather option, which turned out useful, as it started to drizzle – talking about raining on my parade! Still, despite the set backs it turned out to be a good night – I gathered guests in the garden to toast the book with a glass of mead as I stood on the prow of the boat, so at least I could say I launched the book on a boat! Then we repaired inside where I did a reading and answered questions. The atmosphere was pleasant – it was nice to see my friends there. It was a small event, but felt like it had served its purpose – The Well was well and truly launched!

Book launch on a boat! (beer garden of the Rising Sun, Grove St, Bath)

Book launch on a boat! (beer garden of the Rising Sun, Grove St, Bath)

Wednesday was a busy day for Bath Writers’ Workshop (David Lassman & me): we both had events in the Jane Austen Festival – I ran a writing workshop (Writing Jane) and David gave a talk (Adapting Austen) – both were very popular events (sold out). Straight after, we had to go and host the 4th Wednesday event at the New Inn – Guest Writers in Conversation, once againt a Bath Writers’ Workshop production – with Jay Ramsay and Anthony Nanson down from Stroud. This was a superb evening – both authors gave excellent readings/performances and talked eloquently and insightfully about their work with each other. A high calibre event that could easily habe  been in the Bath Literature Festival and certainly deserves decent funding (at the moment we don’t get any – sponsorship welcome!)

Friday was my first class of the term with the Community Learning Service, with a lovely group of older learners at Saltford Library. Afterwards, I helped my Finnish friends Mika and Maarit to move (they are moving to Helsinki). Fortunately there were a few of us to shift the many boxes and bits of furniture out of the house and into the carpark, where they piled up, awaiting the men with the van who got lost in Bath’s one-way system (turning up 2hrs late!). In the evening I went down to Glastonbury to do a second launch event for The Well… at the Cat & Cauldron.

Saturday morning I ran one-to-one writer consultations in Bath Central Library. In the evening I went to Amy & Tim’s joint birthday bash – a wild wild west party in Wookey – which was great fun (much needed after a tiring week). On Sunday morning I rode back in the sun, glad to be a bard on a bike!

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