I had another busy day yesterday. I managed to get permission for an hour+ TOIL from work, to head up town for my printing company's Summer Party Bash in London. I caught the earlier than planned train to St Pancreas and arrived bright and bushy. I had a rough idea of the route, so checking the road name decided to walk the distance. The weather was lovely and the locals very friendly. At about 2 miles, I thought I should have seen another name on the route to jog my memory, but nothing. I stopped two mums and their little ones to ask directions, who using their smart phones, identified that I had walked the distance - in the opposite direction! They kindly directed me to a bus stop, for a bus which would take me where I needed to go. I remembered something about Liverpool, but not much else.
The event was held at an amazing venue, The Crypt on the Green and I felt sure everyone locally would know where it was. I hopped on the 153 and said, "I don't where it is, but I'm going to... and added 'Liverpool'. When the driver's face went from blank to amazed, I then proceeded to enquire how much and produced my purse with sufficient funds to purchase a ticket. I'm not sure who looked more stunned, him for me expecting he would know the place I wanted, or me, for not knowing buses in London don't take cash anymore!!
As some of you know the theme of much of my writing usually involves a hero. I believe there is a hero in each of us, you just need to find the right occasion. I found a lot of heroes yesterday. The first being the driver who waved my fare and allowed me to take a seat for nothing.
My second hero was the man sitting nearest me, who again using a smart phone, dredged up my destination. He advised me that he'd walked the route to work for years and never knew the place existed. Definitely a scene for a vampire plot filling my head by now. The man, or more accurately gentleman, for he was my hero of the moment, directed me onwards and I had no small amount of pleasure when he requested my details. I flourished one of my newest business cards at him. I have found it hard to give these new cards away as I am enjoying the look and feel of them. Am I sad that every now and then take them out just to stare - I digress.
Following my hero's instructions, I searched for the alley he had mentioned to no avail. I also refused to don my glasses when he showed me the route on his phone. He was a hero and I, a damsel in distress, at least I wanted to be, and putting readers on, sort of spoiled the image I was trying to create. Sadly, it also spoiled my chances of my finding the party too.
Not daunted and never afraid to speak to anyone, I accosted another person. It appeared I was again going the opposite way! One more direction and I found the green. I think it was an old graveyard with the stones removed, but the folk nestled there didn't seem to notice.
The event itself was in a de-consecrated church, St John's I believe someone mentioned. It was delightful. I'd still managed to arrive in time for the small indie together and met several publishing houses, all massive compared to my one-woman outfit. Most had 3 paid staff and were churning out 25 books a year compared to me with a measly one. It did make me think what I could do if I turned my hand to it full-time.
I met in person, Ruth, my contact in CPI and she is as lovely face-to-face as via emails. So helpful and kind, as were all her colleagues I met and there were a lot of them.
I also met some wonderful unique people like me, a lady who lives in a flat in Bloomsbury and publishes a series of travel guides and a girl (sorry woman - it depends on your perspective age-wise) who would have been me if I had been born more recently. From the mauve hair and love of cats and motor-bikes, to the adoration of all things Sci-Fi, fantasy, paranormal and manga. Lastly, the group of people in the crypt who took me under their wing when I was stood like billy-no-mates. I'm sure they weren't vampires, but you never know...
For those of you who know me, apart from the people - and I did a lot of people watching - the food was awesome. Canapés, cream scones, a whole ice cream parlour and not one, but two hog roasts with the trimmings. There was beer and wine, and more wine, which I was gutted that I couldn't drink. I had to stick to cranberry juice and tea and watch longingly.
I am seriously hoping for an invite next year to meet the people I met Wednesday again, at least some of them. Some, like the hero's on my journey may have to remain a mystery and maybe end up in a future novel - who knows?