Friday, May 27, 2011

How I nearly missed my own launch party...

Here are some great pics from the launch party for Wish me dead at Treasure Trove Books in Tervuren (Belgium) - thanks to Treasure Trove for taking them. I was thrilled to celebrate at Treasure Trove Books - and also a little relieved to have made it to the bookshop on time. Earlier in the week things were looking a little dubious as ash from the new volcanic eruption started to affect flights in the north of Britain - first I was worried that I wouldn't make it to the Leeds Book Awards, and then I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get home again! At one point not only had Edinburgh airport closed but Carlisle was apparently also closing - it felt as though the ashes were closing in and I was starting to wonder how I was going to get back to Brussels in time. Perhaps I have an overactive imagination (OK, forget the "perhaps") but I was envisioning some sort of Planes, Trains and Automobiles scenario in which I would have to make my way to Dover and blag my way onto a ferry... Luckily by Wednesday evening all flights were running normally and there was no delay at all.
On Thursday however, I ran into a slight logistical problem. Small son had a swimming gala 8km in the other direction from the bookshop and at the same time as the launch party. For the last few weeks we have had two cars, one Belgian one which we have been using for the last two years, and one British one which we bought recently for our move to Scotland. In a fit of efficiency, hubs chose Thursday morning to take the Belgian car to the local dealer to see if he could sell it on for us when we leave. Yes, came the reply, so hubs left the car there. This meant that we only had one car but half of us needed to be in Overijse and the other half in Tervuren at the same time. No problem, I thought, I'll take the 18.38 bus.
I had not reckoned with being utterly unable to find my reading glasses. 18.38 came and went, and I was still turning the house upside down and howling curses. I was beginning to wonder whether in my tired and weary state the night before I had left the glasses on the plane. Finally I found them on the bookcase behind hubs' desk. I have no idea what they were doing there, nor any memory of putting them there. Daughter and I sprinted for the bus stop, but the next bus was at 19.08 and it was late.
We finally arrived in Tervuren at 19.22 and ran for the bookshop, arriving pretty much simultaneously with the first guests. Phew! It is not ideal turning up for your own book event red-faced and looking as though you have been dragged through a hedge backwards. Luckily Jane and the team at Treasure Trove were reassuringly calm (as ever) and by the time things really got underway I probably looked as though I had sauntered in at 19.00 and put my feet up.
The turn-out for the party was excellent - all but two copies of Wish me dead were sold and some of my other books too. It was fabulous to see so many friends there - we aren't having an official leaving bash because if we try and organise one more thing one of us will probably have some sort of nervous breakdown , so it was a chance to say goodbye to some good friends, including Martina and Sabine, Bettina, Emma and Catherine, Val... Thanks, everyone, for coming! I was also very touched that two Flemish speaking ladies attended (dank u Birgit!) - it's a testament to the fabulous language skills of so many Flemish people that they are happy to attend an English language book event and take the books home to read too!
I talked a bit about Wish me dead and my other books, and read three chapters, and after some questions I was able to let my own hair down a bit and enjoy some of the sparkling wine. The Treasure Trove team very kindly presented me with some gorgeous chocolates and a beautiful album to put my photos in. It was altogether a wonderful evening.
This morning, however, it was back down to earth with a bump: the school had organised an eco-transport day so we were all supposed to cycle to school. If you ever think of cycling 8km at 7.15am in the morning after a launch party, my advice to you is: don't...

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