|With journalist Adam Edwards|
The Cotswold Life author lunch was just as it should have been; a delicious mix of writers old and new, independent booksellers and lovers of the region’s favourite magazine. The Close Hotel, Tetbury, was the perfect setting with staff who couldn’t do enough for us. I sank my first champagne cocktail like a tequila slammer and wandered off to introduce myself to people I’d only ever seen in print.
The remarkable Jenny Joseph, author of the famous poem ‘Warning’ (When I am old I shall wear purple/with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me), is nearly eighty, but was looking remarkably spritely as she bantered stanzas with fellow poet and entertainer Pam Ayres. I was on Pam’s table and rather awestruck by her, particularly when she leant across to tell me how much she’d enjoyed my last column. Struck dumb, all I could think of was that her teeth looked absolutely fine, and that presumably she had looked after them in the end.
|With Jilly Cooper and Sue Simmons|
I was spoilt for conversation over lunch (the most exquisite beef), seated between Mike Lowe, ex hack and Editor of Cotswold Life, and the truly amazing Jilly Cooper. I am a fully paid-up product of the Pony Club myself, weaned on a diet of Riders and Rivals and anxiously awaiting each new Cooper instalment. Jilly was totally self-deprecating in relation to her own successes, and terribly encouraging of my tentative steps into novel writing. She made me promise to come round for tea, “you do like greyhounds, I hope?”
|Dudley Russell & Katie Fforde|
My literary smorgasbord was topped off by scoffing a rather naughty dessert over a chat with Katie Fforde about the Romantic Novelist Association, the wearing of Fat Pants and Twitter addicts. I could have stayed all day, but reluctantly disappeared for the school run, snaffling three cupcakes into my handbag to take home for the pygmies. And I only ate one of them on the way home.