So I have been invited to a book launch.
I am terribly excited. I have faffed about doing ‘research’ for this event. (This research has involved me telling people I am going to a book launch and then watching their reactions for clues. I have so far learnt that book launches are terribly glamorous, full of successful people and that no-one really knows what they are. But apparently there’s drink). I look at my invite more carefully and realise it is in Bath. I am even more excited. I meet a friend for tea. (She provides no tea and fobs me off with water in a plastic cup from those water dispensers. Apparently we are having a meeting, not tea. She has booked a meeting room and everything. There are an excessive number of chairs. I wonder if she herself has been fobbed off with a storage cupboard. I politely say nothing). ‘Would you like to go for drinks next Friday?’ I am thrilled. ‘I would, but I cannot possibly go on Thursday. I am going down to Bath for a book launch.’ I quickly wonder if Bath is indeed south of London. Luckily, my friend is suitably impressed. ‘What are you going to wear?’ ‘Oh, you know.’ I flap my hand nonchalantly to suggest that this book launch is a terrible drag, but that obviously I have a wardrobe crammed with suitable clothing. ‘How are you getting there?’ ‘Oh, you know, it’s Bath.’ She nods. We are a credit to our Geography teachers.
I leave our ‘meeting’ when I realise there really is to be no tea. I log on to the national rail website (after a remarkably short detour through the national express website- this is in fact not the same thing at all) and start to book my ticket. I am offered ‘Bath Spa’. It sounds delightful. I accept. They want to know if I am returning. In all my research, no-one has mentioned book launches lasting all night, so I accept that too. Apparently, I need to tell the increasingly demanding national rail website what time I want to return. I am flummoxed. I am also wary of telling national rail my every move. (National, you know. Like the National Socialist Party. Or the National Front. I might be on the wrong website still). I decide to play it cool, and leave the website.
I am on the phone to my little sister. ‘Yes, I know. You’re going to a book launch. No, I did not want to do anything with you next Thursday so there is no need to tell me you are busy.’ My little sister is wildly jealous, I realise kindly. ‘Don’t worry. I am free next Friday. Oh no, I have a birthday thing in the evening.’ The line has gone dead. I assume my sister has forgotten to pay her phone bill. I realise that after this book launch, I most probably will forget the little people. And hire a PA, because the national rail website is impenetrable.