But lo, the Sunday Times Literary Festival doth draw near and I am actually really looking forward to being let out of Devon for a few days, I've got my passport and visa ready and changed some currency so hope there won't be a hitch at border control.
I'm also really excited to be meeting quite a few people who visit here who will be attending the event.
Please come and find me afterwards.
I'll be the one standing in the book signing tent with nothing to sign.
Meanwhile my thoughts on Daphne by Justine Picardie will be on here tomorrow.
For anyone who may be wondering, I had heard of but not read any of Justine's books before this one, other than her sister's book which she edited.
Before I Say Goodbye by Ruth Picardie was published in 1998 after Ruth's untimely and tragic death from cancer at the age of thirty-three. It's an eloquent and moving book as Ruth recounts her plight with a fierce intensity and a wicked sense of humour. I have never forgotten ' it ain't over until the fat lady's thin' and Ruth's heart-breakingly tender letters to her two-year old twins. I always loved those beautiful sandals Ruth is wearing in the cover picture and I've read the book several times over. It never fails to root me to the spot, I grind to a halt, body and soul, and just have to sit and mull it over. It must have been one of the first books to publish e mails and one of the first to recount a death in this intimate way. It is in no way what we might now term a misery memoir, this book is a celebration of a life lived to the full by someone who was only going to relinquish her grasp on it after the mother of all battles.
I felt an immediate affinity with Justine because I too had lost a sibling to cancer at a young age, back in 1975, I was twenty-one, my brother was twenty-four and had been married three weeks when he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Often, when I saw her name mentioned here and there around the literary world, other books, newspaper writing, I would wonder how life was for Justine now ?
Did she feel as I felt ?
Did the loss of her sister ambush her in the way that the loss of my brother so often ambushes me?
Had that loss of the only person who really shared your childhood with you affected her as much as me?
Does the cliche suddenly ring very true for her as it does for me? Life genuinely and really suddenly does seem too short for wasting ?
I could have e mailed Justine somehow I suppose, but I never did, then last week Justine e mailed me to say she'd been a regular visitor to dovegreyreader and couldn't help noticing I was reading Daphne and hoped I would enjoy it.
Fortunately I was loving it or the correspondence might have stopped there, but we have exchanged kindred spirit experiences and it has also been good to talk about Daphne. There is a great deal that is fascinating and waiting to be told about the writing of this book and Justine will have much to talk about on her blog and at forthcoming events.
But why should I have all the fun?
I've hatched up a new idea for the blog, Justine has very bravely agreed to be a guest curator in my absence tomorrow and will nip in and out of comments over the next few days and respond to any of your thoughts. So as well as my ideas on the book on here, you can have a Daphne conversation with the author and Justine may well link across to her own blog and post more fully over there too.
That feels like quite a new and exciting blog-collaboration and I'm sure you'll look after Justine, hopefully she can plump the cushions, set the tea things out as nicely as I do, if you could perhaps remind her to warm the pot before the leaves go in, that sort of thing because you know how fussy we are and I know for a fact she's been baking lemon cake especially for you.