I’m starting to feel like I’m meeting myself going backwards, or whatever the term is. The main Literature Festival has now finished (just Toni Morrison left to go now in a stand alone event on the 29th). It has been (mostly) fun, but I must admit, I’m glad its over so that I can spend a bit more time at my desk. I’m not the greatest extravert in the world either – so being with loads of people in a cramped space is something that I find rather exhausting.
There were two other talks of note: the first one being ‘Casanova’ by Ian Kelly. It was a great talk, even though not many people attended, given with great enthusiasm and humour. I have a bit of a thing about 18th Century Venice for some reason so I found it very interesting. Like so many historical characters we have come to know and love, Casanova also has his own ‘baggage’ of popular stories (many of them actually true!) – so it was great to hear and learn about this fascinating man.
The other talk ‘From Agincourt to the Somme’ had Bernard Cornwell, Richard Holmes and our own Ian Mortimer (The Greatest Traitor, The Perfect King etc) on the stage. However it seemed that the crowd were mainly there for Cornwell, and he knew it, playing to the audience like a pro. Holmes, another exuberant TV character also seemed to excel in the performance stakes. Poor Ian, meanwhile, was stuck with playing the ‘straight guy’ academic historian to the other two – obviously not a role that showed up his great personality and knowledge (he often found it hard to get a word in against the other two). Even so, the talk was good fun and full of interesting facts and there was yet another unseemly scrum for the book-signing afterwards (reminiscent of the John Barrowman scrum!).
Luckily, because I was there to see Ian, I was ushered ahead of the rest to his table (he and Holmes seemed largely ignored by the Cornwell fans (unjustly, in my opinion). As I had arranged to meet him before (through Alianore – thanks A!), he was expecting me and I had the privilege of waiting for him in the writers’room (a sort of green room) where he and two other friends of his were treated to free hospitality. After the signings we all went for a lovely and entertaining drink in Cheltenham for the rest of the afternoon until Ian had to meet his train. All I can say is that he is a lovely man, very devoted to history and extremely knowledgeable. I shall be doing a review on his latest book – The Time-Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England soon.
Anyway, after all this gadding about (including a very late dinner party), I can definitely say that I am looking forward to a bit of peace and normality to catch up with stuff that has been sort of ignored and abandoned over the past week or so. So apologies if I’ve not been visiting websites, answering posts or going on forums. And who knows, with any luck I may even get around to some writing!