I was in Bromsgrove town today. It had just started to rain heavily as I drove past a particular building, sparking a memory of a talk I gave there around this time last year, so I have reposted it for your amusement.
Here it is...
But what I really want to tell you about is yesterday, when I conducted my author talk at the Women's Institute.
I had never been to a WI meeting before and felt strangely excited at the prospect. The WI holds a strange fascination - images of a secret ceremony reminiscent of the Mason's was almost what I expected, symbolic vestments and ritualistic handshakes what I was on the look-out for, and animal-sacrifice what I almost feared!
Instead of any of those things I found a group of exceptionally pleasant and welcoming ladies, who discussed events with the easy familiarity of long-held friendships.
A slightly older audience than I am used to, they were nonetheless attentive and interested with a notable exception. One elderly lady, well into her late-eighties either fell sound asleep during my discourse or actually died. It was a toss up between the two as to which was the most likely outcome.
Now I am not known for my boredom factor, so I surmised that this narcolepsy must have been due to the lady's age rather than the sound of my dulcet tones, however it did make me start when I looked up from reading my book excerpt to find her with her head rolled forward onto her chest and looking as pale as parchment.
"Oh God, someone get a mirror and let's check if she is breathing!" I wanted to shout but casting my gaze around I found that I was the only one who was wide eyed with panic...clearly this was not a one-off event.
I struggled to continue the reading, worried about the welfare of my elderly listener. So when another of the ladies drifted off, I knew I was done for! I kept my eyes on the page and stifled the giggles that threatened to well up in me.
I think it was only the applause at the end which roused them [or perhaps the vibrations restarted their hearts, who knows?]
But even so they were a truly wonderful group of women and if I ever get to their advanced age, I hope someone lets me nap when I am tired :)
I know the rest of the group enjoyed the talk immensely and I even gave them an extra laugh at the end of the session, when leaving my car in their car park, I popped over to the supermarket a few minutes away and then had to return to the car with two heavy shopping bags in tow, wearing a white summer dress in the sudden torrential downpour.
They drove past me out of the car park, literally rolling in their seats at the sight of the stupid, never-quite-in-the-real-world author with her hair plastered to her scalp and her dress stuck to her skin...
And as for the two old ladies who fell asleep? Well I will forever remain in their memories as that young author with the relaxing voice...
Happy Reading. :)