I have to admit that public speaking is not my favourite thing, but given that it is a necessary evil, last night’s talk at my local branch of Waterstone’s in Sutton was one of the more enjoyable events I have taken part in (and not only because we were able to extend the evening with a visit to All Bar One next door). I was genuinely touched by the number of ex-colleagues who lent their support, some of whom I worked with for over twenty years, but have barely seen over the past two: special thanks to Peter Gray, Roger Clugston, Jill Neesom and Ron Pinnock (in fact, Ron’s appearance as he stepped out of the lift threw me so much that I almost fluffed my opening line, which never bodes well for the rest of the talk). There was also the slightly daunting prospect of speaking in front of Jim Lawless, international inspirational speaker and author of Taming Tigers, but he was relatively well behaved, taking a back row seat. I must also mention the youngest member of the audience. I met Freya recently at a talk given by Carmen Reid and she was kind enough to give my book a road test. Freya has restored my faith that teenagers do love reading, despite all of the other distractions available to them. A mention is due to those who were brave enough to put their hands in the air and ask a few questions. Without you there would have been embarrassed silence towards the end. Finally, a round of applause for the unhailed heroes of the evening: the staff at Waterstone’s who arranged the event and kept the store open late – to Vicky, Kenny and Antony (Michelle, you were sorely missed – hope you are on the mend). I hope we didn’t outstay our welcome.
This month, Jane is also taking part in the People and Places Event, a celebration of art, fashion and the written word, at (Mine) Art Gallery and Creative Space, Carshalton High Street.