Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Awards and Friends
The above was taken by my mate Sally on our Boscastle walk a few weeks ago - a lovely day. Thanks Sally!
Last Thursday was one hell of a day, but we got to the awards for 6.30 having changed in the pub over the road. I have to say I was not at my best. My throat was so sore I could hardly swallow, let alone talk, I felt shattered, and all I really wanted to do was crawl into bed. But I had a glass of wine, made myself talk to some of the other shortlisters and one of the judges, then the awards began.
I didn’t win, but got £100 for being shortlisted, and right afterwards another of the judges came up and said how much she’d loved my novel – she wanted to know what happened in the end, and she adored Mungo (AKA Mollie). “Please don’t give up,” she said. “One of the other shortlisted people last year sent hers in and got it published, so you must do the same.”
That was such a boost, I can’t tell you. So I went and talked to the MD who asked me to send my novel in next year when I’ve finished the editing process. So that’s a real incentive, and in fact next summer is going to be busy with promoting the walks book in June and July – book signings and talks etc., so this could be better timing.
Afterwards I talked to Elaine, Luke Bitmead’s mother who has had a terrible time since Luke died. Last December Pip was so ill it was the worst time of my life, and while I try not to dwell on that, it’s obviously in my thoughts. My experience has been nothing like Elaine’s, but it was still good to compare notes about loss and how to move on.
Afterwards, Emma and I went to the pub (a Wetherspoons, which I frequent in Falmouth, so it was like home from home). Coming back with drinks, wearing my new jacket, I got a tap on the shoulder. Turning round, I saw a young man (late 20s?) who smiled and said, “I like your coat,” before disappearing in the crowds. I was stunned, and looked at Emma. “He’s old enough to be my SON!” I said.
“That’s your Pulling Coat,” she replied with a grin.
After a few drinks we headed back to Paddington where we got on the sleeper which looked rather romantic, sitting at the station. Until we got inside and we realised just how tiny the berths are.
“Maybe not so romantic,” I said, having been involved with men who are mostly 6 foot or over. “Unless you’re very small and very thin.”
“Or flexible,” suggested Emma.
Later, I lay curled up in my berth thinking of those who’d helped make the day such a good one. A good luck phone call from a friend while I was at Truro station, lots of texts on the train, Emma’s fabulous encouragement and support throughout the day, and the new contacts I made at the awards.
This morning I walked Molls along a deserted beach where the tide was out. Seagulls squawked and fought over grubs in one corner of the sea, the wind whipped my face and the sky was a bluey grey, with storm clouds gathering over Stack Point.
I thought of an email I was sent recently, entitled “Keep your friends close”. It doesn’t take much time to text, email or phone just to let friends know I'm thinking of them. So that’s what I try and do.