I'm looking forward to a quiet August as July - always the best month to be in the French countryside - has been surprisingly fast-paced. A month of social activities - fetes, barbecues, outdoor concerts and bals populaires (aka outdoor discos) - culminated in my book signing on Thursday and launch party at La Grande Galerie in Civray last night.
I was worried that no-one would show up for the signing and I would be left with a pile of books, twiddling my thumbs and feeling like a prize idiot - every author's nightmare. In fact, Christies bookshop was packed all morning, both with friends who dropped in to show support (including Martine, Marie Cécile and Debbie - aka 'the Anché possé) and many people - all of them charming - who had seen the article 'Love, Lipstick and Line Dancing' in the July edition of The French Paper.
For last night's launch party many people arrived half an hour early and were waiting in the courtyard for the event to begin. It all passed in a frenzy of book signing, with a queue - yes, really, there was a queue - of people waiting for my autograph on a copy of Tout Sweet. (Now I know how Tom Ford feels when he signs bottles of perfume in Selfridges.) Really, I could get used to this kind of attention - and Biff, I know, already has.
Altogether, over sixty people showed up, including friends, some lovely locals who I had not met before, and yet more lovely readers of The French Paper.
The event would not have been so much fun and so successful however, without a little help from a few key people: Frances who helped to make the canapés; Kevin who manned the bar brilliantly (ex RAF, therefore very good on organisation) with help from David; Jacqui who lent a helping hand on several fronts, including serving the canapés with impeccable timing; and Martine, who also provided the fabulous bunch of flowers from her mother's garden for my signing table.
I am also hugely grateful to Eileen the owner of La Grande Galerie - I couldn't have wished for a better setting for a summer eve launch party - and Dawn who runs the little cafe at the gallery with such cheerful efficiency. Un enorme merci to all who came along and to those who very kindly helped with the washing up. As for those who didn't make it - Anita in Guernsey, Travis in London. Isabelle in St Palais Sur Mer, and Janet and Sue who thought the event was this evening: you were greatly missed!
There are some excellent pictures of the party in Martine's BlackBerry, but until we figure out how to download them to my iMac, you are stuck with a picture of me in a local mairie. www.grandegaleriefrance.com.