To Bigtown this afternoon for a meeting, followed by a friend’s book launch (and as an aside, can I just say now that if you want to do well as an author, go for local history. It must be the faintest bit galling to have written a well-received novel and collection of true stories set in pre-war Afghanistan, not to mention a slim volume of verse, only to find that it’s your book of ‘then and now‘ photographs plus brief captions that has the organisers scuttling out of the room in search of more chairs, something that I can assure you does not normally happen at book launches. Nor, when you go to the local Waterstones to arrange a book signing do they usually gesture at a large display of the works of a huge fantasy author whose posthumous last novel has had them queueing at midnight, and say ‘Don’t worry, we’ll just move Terry Pratchett out of the way to make room.’ That said, I’ve bought a copy myself and it is fascinating. I’m thinking of scrapping the difficult second novel and just bringing out a series of photographs of the ford through the ages…)
Cycling back, it was late enough to turn my lights on for the first time – hooray for dynamo lights that just work like magic – and find myself accompanied by a swirl of bats working their way through the insect life above my head. No bad thing, given that at times the bugs are so numerous, it’s as if someone’s just flung a bucket of them in your face as you pass. I was just thinking to myself how I was being a bit ridiculous to be nervous of the bats because it is a myth that they get tangled up in your hair, and with their excellent sonar mean they can navigate with ease, when one flew right into me. Perhaps the symphony of squeaks, creaks, rattles and bangs that my bike generates are the sonic equivalent of a dazzling low sun. Safe to say that I was even more paranoid for the rest of the way home. ASBO Buzzard is bad enough without being battered by bats.
And the photos? No reason, except that I was struck by the grandeur of the clouds on my way in. Summer seems finally to have arrived, now that August is over.