Term One went fast and no mistake, probably helped by me having two gigantic events for two of the weekends in October.
The beginning of the month saw me in Rochester for the first time ever. Totally humbled after being asked by Under the Rainbow (UTR) Events, to consider joining their fellow artisans at the Rochester Art Fair. Sadly, I saw only glimpses of the beautiful historic city due to early starts and journeys home.
The talent displayed in the artwork at the fair was beyond belief. I don’t know about under the rainbow, their work was most definitely over it. Frankly, I was a bit in awe of everyone around me.
If you didn’t get a chance to pop by—it is a bit of a hike if you live in East Kent—and there are too few examples on the UTR website. I know they have another event planned at Bluewater from 28th November to 30th December, if you are thinking of doing some Christmas shopping.
After Rochester I headed off to Eastbourne and my perennial favourite, Wyntercon. Celebrating its decade anniversary in 2023, this was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. At one point, there were more aliens in the three halls than there were humans. I felt very out-numbered. Like Rochester, every trader and artisan was lovely. No miserable folk, even those trying hard to be so for their roles—it didn’t work they were still sweeties. You can see photos of the event on my Past Conferences page.
And then I met Arnold J. Rimmer.
From the late 1980’s to the mid 1990’s I watched every episode of the twelve series and all the cast members were my icons. Never in a million years did I expect to meet one of the cast, let alone speak to them. To find my table was a mere 30 feet away from Chris Barrie caused me no end of joy. Of course, I sneaked a few photos of him, not very clear at that distance from behind a table. Then someone said I could say hello for nothing. Suddenly, I was a bundle of nerves. What would I say? How would I address a legend? Not to mention his Brittas Empire fame—another favourite of mine.
I decided, after many sideways glances that saying hello wasn’t enough. I’d pluck up enough courage to have my photo etc taken. Then if I messed up speaking it wouldn’t matter, I’d have the proof. He shook my hand. He was nice, kind and polite. I suppose a small part of me thought he’d be a tiny bit like Rimmer & Brittas, but he wasn’t, he was a gentleman. Despite the millions of times folk, including me, gave him the Rimmer salute. He never returned it. Then I saw him, with the last person on day one, he stood up and gave her the salute before he finished for the day. And god did he work. He stayed at that table, smiling, being kind hour after hour. I would have either left or snappily said go away long before. Then he came back a second day and spent six more hours sitting being kind. Maybe, I’m not cut out for fame after all, I’m not sure I could stay so mild-mannered.
But it most certainly was the highlight of my year, and he hugged me. He’s a great hugger too. I could talk about Chris Barrie all night, but I bet you want to hear where I am with the writing!
I’ve got five projects on the go currently. As some of you may be aware, I run my own publishing business. I’ve been line editing a client’s novel, while at the same time proof editing Inspirations Writers Group’s next anthology, Indigo. And also proof-editing my own next novel to be released, Between Here & Hell. In addition, I’m overseeing the illustrations for two new picture books coming out in the new year, Shea Pingle and the Swarm, and Mustard & Marmalade Dachshund dog Detectives, both aimed at 9- to 11-year-olds. Mustard and Marmalade contain photos of local dachshunds on the back page, with their owners consent naturally.
Lastly, I was asked to run a creative writing session for some yr 2 and yr 3 primary school students locally. I was terrified, but I loved it. Hope they enjoyed it too.
Is that enough? I think so. Please give a thumbs up if you enjoyed the read.
Until November, see my News page for details of my next event, its local.