My own second novella, Clara’s Daughter, published this month by Salt, was launched on Friday. In style. Thanks to an amazing team.
The preparations started at 9am on the dot. My daughter Rosa and her friend Connie chopped 10 kilos of potatoes for the potato salad, then tidied the house, while I fetched baguettes and cheese. By 3pm the buffet was laid out, the white wine consigned to the fridge, the bicycles moved from the hallway into the back garden. At 5pm we loaded glasses, bottles of Prosecco and books into the car then drove up to the Highgate, to the Literary and Scientific Institution. Rosa and Connie organised the drinks, my son set up the table with the books. Zelda and Aysha, our two lovely 14-year old Peirene Salon waitresses, turned up at 6.30. Peirene’s Jen sold 90 books in an hour, while I greeted the guests.
The writer Isabel Wolff and I took to the stage at 7.45. My son was employed as the official photographer.
By 9pm we all headed back to our house. Clara and her boyfriend had gone ahead to put the finishing touches to the buffet, uncork the wine bottles and open the door for the first guests. Connie and Rosa stayed at the Institution to tidy up and put the empty glasses and bottles into our car which I picked up the next morning.
It couldn’t have gone smoother. It was a wonderful evening. With over 100 guests. I felt very honoured indeed.
‘I love the way you always make yourself sound so chilled in your blogs.’ Peirene chuckles behind me. ‘If only your readers had seen you at the beginning of the week. You were in tears. You couldn’t see how to boil enough potatoes. And then you decided to cancel the entire event.’
‘Not because of the potatoes’ I am responding defensively – but I already know what is coming next.
‘No, because of your hair.’
True, I can’t deny it. I had forgotten to book a hairdresser appointment. But Drew, my hairdresser, managed to fit me in at short-notice. I received my new highlights just in time. So I add him to the list of team members who help when help is needed. Thank you to my wonderful team.
Image by Daniel Oines.