Thursday, 1 March 2012

of mice and ponies

After having a jolly good exciting time at Pitlochry mixing with the rich and infamous I was off to the sunny climes of Bonnyrigg Library. It was a bitter, bitter cold day, a day that would make brass monkeys wear thermals. Being rich and famous, we stopped in a Greggs on the way in, and studied the array of Scottish take away Haute Cuisine. The study did not take very long; we were thinking did any of this resemble the animal it started out as? We played safe and fortified ourselves with two coffees before venturing forth into the wind again. It cut through us like Adele hitting a bum note. We were chilled to the bone, feet numb, fingers red, cheeks burning and weather beaten. It was a Shackleton moment. Once in the library, I found I could not let my coffee go, my hands had melted onto the cup.
After being so busy /popular the previous week, I was brought down to earth by a total audience turn out Well it was minus 2 outside (about -25 with the East Coast wind chill factor and lack of warm coffee), it was a Saturday lunchtime and the rugby was on ( this was East Coast remember!) but the staff were lovely. And a decidedly hardy bunch... one only had a T-shirt on. I did the whole event with my coat on, still hanging onto my coffee. I didn’t do a reading as I was too bloody cold, big sausage fingers couldn't have turned the pages.
My ‘fan’, who hadn’t read any of my books was great, we had a good chat, a few more folk joined in, some young girls also came and sat down when I started my Johnny Depp story. I ended up spending time after the event signing photographs. It turned out to be a little gem of an event, nice to hear what the punters think about things rather than us telling them what they should think.
Got home to do a 800 word essay on Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men for senior time share child. It was about symbolism in the novel. After two hours of trawling through stuff my opinion was confirmed that Steinbeck may be a great writer but he might have had a few issues with women and that he killed small furry animals for dramatic effect. My opinion as totally disregarded by the three men in the room. They settled for the argument that Of Mice And Men was the seminal novel of the Great American Depression and what the pool meant. What the barn meant. What the rabbits meant.
What Steinbeck meant.
Did Steinbeck really men all that or did he just write it as he saw it and let others see in it as they wish. Who knows. I only got as far as the bit in the The Red Pony (and I thought that was all about a.. .well, a red pony) where the pony died. That book and Bambi have scared me for life. As has the thought of the contents of a Gregg’s meat and potato pie.
The next outing was to Gullan, (pronounce it as you will). We went to the beach and watched posh dogs run along the sand; flat coats, springers, labs – some in their own Barbour jackets . But there was not a mongrel in sight. Not a staffie. Nothing that resembled a pit bull type. Poor Emily would have stood out like a komodo dragon in a herb garden.
We went into a small cafe, and was told loudly that ‘that’ll be us not way at 5.’ ( it was four 15 and all we had ordered was a coffee and a cake!)There was a woman breast feeding in the corner, and another lady at different table not eating anything but spouting forth about the cost of nannies. The cost of a nanny in Edinburgh is about the same as that of a two bed flat in Paisley. The waitress forgot our cake, our milk, our bill but did remember to give us our coffee. In the end. I think Mr Salmond’s hopes for tourism in this little country of ours needs to start somewhere below grass roots level. But it was an insight into another type of life. We went outside after coffee and had a good laugh at the house prices. We could never be Phil and Kirsty.
That event was very well attended, by folk who had read all the books, there was lots of chit chat going back and forth, indeed some were so kind as to email the library and say how refreshing I was.
I think that might be a euphemism for something. As Billy Connelly said, put a Glaswegian in good clothes and they will still look as though they have stolen them. Each to their own!
Publication of book four will be the last Thursday in September. Plans for launch are progressing slowly. Too busy with events and murdering folk in book 5. Funny how murdering people can be entertaining. But killing ponies never is.