Wigging Out

I’ve been in Wigtown all day today, for the book festival (oh and *ahem* I’ll be there tomorrow giving a free talk if anyone’s interested). Today I was mostly flogging stuff, or at least trying to interest people in various arty and literary things we had going on, which meant standing in the sunshine using a whisky barrel as a stall and attempting to catch people’s eye as they passed. I know. The writer’s lot is not a happy one. Although it would have been better had the whiskey barrel still been full.

It gave me some insight in how far I’d come as a city exile living in a country place though. I’ve lived here long enough, you see, that I can greet perfect strangers with a cheery smile and a hello. The locals mostly greeted me back and passed on unperturbed (unless I mentioned the free part, in which case they might come over to have a look). The Londoners – and I’m generalising madly here, you understand, some of them could have been from Edinburgh – were a different kettle of fish. First they’d rear backwards like startled horses. Then they’d look wildly over their shoulders to see if I was greeting someone else. Then they’d start to wonder if they knew me from somewhere – were they really that drunk in the bar last night? – that I was addressing them so cheerily. Sometimes, in the ensuing confusion, I even managed to flog them a book. I’m not sure I’m up to doing that again though. Being friendly to more than one passing stranger an hour is exhausting.

Over-friendly local writers aside, I can recommend Wigtown if you’ve not been. Especially on a day like today when the sun shone and the skies were blue and everyone was strolling around as though the summer would go on for ever (oh and London people, what is it with the stripey tops? Was there a law passed making breton stripes the national uniform?). Even when there’s no festival on there are bookshops and birds and some stunning scenery. We drove over the Galloway hills to get there this morning and the weather and the scenery had gone beyond glorious and was all the way over onto unreal. And on the way back we got ourselves out of the festival and its environs and stopped for tea and coffee and two enormous slices of cake for under four quid. Which just about ate up my profit for the day, but who’s counting?


6 Responses to Wigging Out

  1. welshcyclist says:

    In a past job, I had to meet and greet farmers, and visitors to the Royal Welsh, Carmarthen and Pembroke agricultural shows. I and my colleague, a great pal of mine, Phil Brassington, whom I haven’t seen since 1992, terrible how we go our separate ways, isn’t it? WE were selling LPG supply and installation to farmers and other country dwellers. It is tiring, but boy did we have fun, as the weather was glorious, and we had all expenses paid, for the duration of the shows. We actually went up in a hot air balloon, as the company sponsored a team. It was fantastic, sadly I’ve never had the opportunity to do it since, but I would jump at the chance and recommend everyone should have a go. That reminds me I must look up my old diaries, and find Phil’s telephone number to give him a call. Thanks disgruntled, your post has brought back great memories for me. Cheers.

  2. disgruntled says:

    Glad to be of service…

  3. Dom says:

    The majority of Londoners these days have their music plugged in and their phone in their hand. They wouldn’t rear backwards as they wouldn’t hear you and, unless you jumped out in front of them, wouldn’t see you… or maybe that’s just while commuting 🙂

  4. disgruntled says:

    Ah but these were Londoners out of London so they’d unplugged their electronics for a bit – probably in case they got savaged by a cow or something

  5. WOL says:

    I think big city folk “wall themselves off” in self defense from having to live cheek by jowl with so many other people. It’s a coping mechanism. — as your personal space erodes, its outer boundary gets thicker. Also, as you say, “Being friendly to more than one passing stranger an hour is exhausting.” — so is living among them. One of the reasons I don’t go out much.

  6. disgruntled says:

    Having been one myself I think you’re right. And it’s exhausting all the same

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