The Nymph’s first ever UK tour kicked off last Wednesday. In a sparkly gold dress with long fake eyelashes and satin purple elbow glovesshe headed for Oxford to throw a Peirene Coffee morning and entertain the audience at our Roaming Store in Gloucester Green market.
Her cosmopolitan chic went down like a treat. Despite pouring rain. We sold more books than usual. We distributed more newspapers than expected. More people than anticipated turned up to the coffee morning. And the Oxford Culture Review published an interview.
‘I am national a star!’ the Nymph sighed as she arrived back home. She took a bath and went to bed with earplugs and eye mask. ‘I need my beauty sleep,’ she informed me. ‘I now have an obligation to look good for my audience. They want me glamorous and young.’ Waving a hand into thin air, she beckoned me out of the room. ‘Please ensure that no fans disturb me for the next 24 hours.’
Peirene is of course convinced that her successful first gig was her doing and her doing alone. So let me praise her entourage.
The tour was Maddy’s idea. Last spring she approached English Pen and persuaded them to support the tour financially. They, in turn, realized that a tour featuring our coffee morning and roaming store is a unique chance to promote the Polish masterpiece, Chasing the King of Hearts.
Jen organized the logistics. She established the cities to visit – Oxford, Canterbury, Stratford-upon-Avon. She found the appropriate markets for our stall and the cafés for our coffee morning. She turned up at 6am last Wednesday morning at the market in Oxford to set up. Maddy joined her later that day.
We also received fantastic support from our Oxford fans, among them the writer Dan Holloway, the illustrator Badaude and Peirene subscriber Cathrine tweeted about us and brought their friends. The Nymph was in seventh heaven.
And as for me – I manned Peirene HQ on my own that day, feeling incredibly proud of my team. What a sleek, professional operation. Worthy of a national star.
However, once a show is over, even a star has to return to earth. That’s the part Peirene struggles with most. On Friday she was still in bed. Reading magazines, eating chocolate truffles and occasionally sniffing into a lace cotton handkerchief. Not surprisingly she caught a cold in her sparkly dress out in the Oxford rain. I let her be. As an exception. Because I want her back on form for our next tour stop, Canterbury this coming Saturday.