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Friday 24 August 2007

Manchester Pride 2007

Wednesday 22nd August Sat Nav and I had an early start. We took the dogs to kennels and then set off for Manchester. I was booked to appear at the Taurus Bar, Canal Street, to do an event; a reading from my book Beautiful Strangers followed by a Q & A session. I was looking forward to meeting fellow author Jenny Roberts again; we were appearing together at this event which was scheduled to start at 7pm that night. So it was fingers crossed for no traffic hiccups.

It was dull and damp traveling down the A1 but, by the time we got onto the M62 the sun was shining. And I'm happy to say we had two days of "sunshine all the way" in every respect.

It was a relatively uneventful journey traffic-wise, except that our car was nearly hit by a bouncing boulder that leapt from a passing wagon. Luckily, my quick reaction saved the car from any damage. They really should ensure loads are safe!

Sat Nav was on top form as usual and I'm pleased to report that the dreaded Going South Syndrome didn't strike - except that she has gone to great pains to tell me that we were in fact going West - such a perfectionist.

We stayed at the Marriott Victoria and Albert and would recommend it to anyone. It's a lovely comfortable, welcoming place and nothing is a trouble to the friendly and cheerful staff. I can recommend the cooked breakfast and Sat Nav recommends the
G & T's . . . but not for breakfast!

Both days we had lunch in the hotel. Sat Nav was attacked by the air con on Tuesday and we had to move seats . . . but on Wednesday it was so hot she couldn't wait to sit under it. Me, I just go with the flow . . . it's her hormones lol! Ouch!

Because we had time to spare on Tuesday we enjoyed a stroll around The Basin and I took some great photos of the architecture. We didn't expect Manchester to be so beautiful and could have spent hours just looking at the buildings.

My friend the handsome and debonair Nick Gleeson chauffeured us in absolute style in his luxurious Caddy Escalade to the Taurus Bar. If you want a stylish vehicle for a special occasion then Nick is definitely your man. See pics.

The event was great. My thanks to Jinnine and Michele from Manchester Pride and to Jenny for helping me to feel comfortable - I should point out that in this respect I was a virgin and this was my first official public reading. Phew! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope that Jenny and I appear together again. I can't believe I came away without a copy of her book Needlepoint . . . next time Jenny, eh?

Huge thanks to our lovely audience for taking the time to come along and not being frightened to talk to us and ask questions. You made it a great event and we were actually running out of time - to me that's a huge measure of a successful evening.
To the girl whose partner who had just finished writing her book that day, here's wishing her 'Good Luck' from me.

Then Nick took us to see the sights and 'lights of Manchester'.
Thanks Nick. The tour was great and I have the pics to prove it.
You looked after us extremely well and we hope that everyone books your car.

Then it was back to the hotel for G & T's.

Wednesday was a gloriously hot day. After enjoying a tasty full English breakfast I headed off to Waterstones on Deansgate to sign copies of my book. Imagine my surprise when they could not find them . . . although they knew the books had to be somewhere in the store because they were registered on their computer system. The manager thought they might be placed aside on order for customers to collect.
But, they have ordered more copies now, and although they won't be signed copies they will be in the main window display . . . so go check it out for me please, and mail me when you see them. Cheers.

Sat Nav and I called into the Science Museum for a brief visit. We were told we could see into the Coronation Street set from the top floor . . . so camera in hand there we were, only to be disappointed 'cos we couldn't see a thing!

So, it was back to the Marriott for lunch - under the air con!

After lunch we headed off to Borders Bookstore at Cheatham Hill. Donna, Marriott Receptionist . . . thanks . . . you're directions were spot-on!

David Massey met us at Borders. A great guy who made us very welcome. I signed ten copies of Beautiful Strangers for him, available in-store now.

Naturally, we had to undergo some retail therapy here, although we would have loved to have spent more time in the city centre shopping as the shops are to die for, and then it was back to Borders and Starbucks for tea and blueberry muffins . . . oh, how we've missed those blueberry muffins . . . lol!

You'll not believe this...but while we were sat minding our own business a strangely familiar car (a silver Mercedes SLK) pulled up outside . . . yes, you've got it in one - it was Hyacinth Dickinson at the wheel.
Of course, we tried to hide behind our magazines, so I don't think she saw us. But it was difficult because she came in with Penny (Lady Corday) and they sat directly opposite us! Well, I ask you?

I wonder if she was at the Taurus Bar? Or doing the rounds in Canal Street? And where did she stay? Not The Marriott . . .  although I did think I caught a glimpse of her on Wednesday morning, but told myself not to be so silly!

Maybe she'll put a blog out . . . and then we'll know for sure, eh?

Our drive home was good, except that the traffic was heavy and there was some congestion getting on to the M62, but we did leave Manchester at 5pm . . . yes, we can hear you laughing . . . not the best time to leave a city, we know . . .

All-in-all we enjoyed two great days in Manchester. The people are ever so friendly, and we can't wait to go again.

Laters . . . . . .

Tuesday 7 August 2007

Spoof Red Carpet Event 3rd August 2007

Well, the clue is in the title . . .

Believe it or not this is the first chance I've had to write this blog because a hectic time and recovery from the Red Carpet Event has slowed this epistle down. And trying to join up to all of these internet sites/service is driving me crazy. A personal thanks here to Steve Weber for his help . . . and patience! Thank goodness I bought his book, now all I need is for him to move in lol!!!

Have you seen Helles Belles?
Well shame on you . . . go and watch it now on Myspace and then come back and read the rest of this blog. Otherwise you won't have a clue what I'm talking about.

Now to the Red Carpet Event.
Well, we do like to do things different here, and this was no exception. As the crowd of adoring fans waited outside of the venue (our village hall) the cast assembled in the local pub (the only pub in the village actually) in some trepidation as our Director had mentioned that a Limo would be collecting us. Limo's and twisty, narrow dales roads do not go hand-in-hand so you can imagine there was some concern boosted by our Director's quirky sense of humour. After a slight delay the Limo did indeed arrive and the cast were carried in splendor to the venue. Did I say splendor? Ooops . . . I should have said converted Ambulance.

The red carpet was rolled out ready, the champagne was on ice to be served to arriving celebrities and the bouncer was working hard on crowd control trying to maintain calmness while they awaited my arrival.

Suddenly I was there and was deafened by the screams of excited fans clamoring for my autograph; the bouncer worked hard to keep them in check behind the barrier. I signed as many autographs as possible, hating to disappoint, then he guided me safely through the melee to the waiting press reporter and tv interviewer.

After answering many questions from the press I had to insist they let me go. Someone else was waiting to arrive. Relieved and somewhat exhausted I gratefully joined the rest of the cast inside needing more ice cold champagne to ease my throat whilst waiting for our final actress to join us. We knew she'd arrived by the screams of the crowd and Sienna (ok it's a pseudonym, it was really Sat Nav) and her stuffed dog Yip Yap (who stood in for her treasured Yorkshire Terrier) stepped out of the Ambulance, oh no sorry, Limo.

Miss Ruby Diamond was our brilliant Hostess for the evening and presented the Oscars . . . oh no damn, it was certificates wasn't it?! I was just getting a bit carried away there but they are as precious to us as Oscars lol! As with all Oscar ceremonies, some of our cast could not be there - holidays and personal appearances interfering - but in true Hollywood style we linked to them via satellite. Yes, you can tell this was an evening of pure style. Just to show how glam we all looked - that's me and Sat Nav of course - I have posted a couple of photos. We know that you don't want to see the others!

There will, of course, eventually be a film appearing of the night. When I have time to edit it, that is. I've no idea when that will be as I have to finish writing my sequel. But control yourselves - it will be worth waiting for and something for you all to look forward to!

In conclusion I would just like to thank my wonderful partner, my amazing family, my beautiful dogs, my darling friends, my long suffering therapist, my female gynaecologist, my bank manager, my car . . . oh everyone really . . . thank you . . . without you all I could not have done it . . . lol!