Saturday 26 April 2014

Conversation at Auckland Castle With A Woman With Green Eyes

Cafe in Auckland Castle Library

Yesterday I wended my way through the tents and displays being put up in preparation for today’s Food Festival at the Bishop’s Castle. I was on my way to try out the new café in the Bishop's Library.

Then, in the castle doorway I meet this woman with green eyes whom I don’t know. She’s wearing a sage green jacket and has green eyes. She smiles. ‘Hello, how are you?’
I smile back. ‘Very well thank you.’
‘You look better than the last time I saw you.’
‘It’s the make-up,’ I say. I can’t remember meeting her before.
‘I’ve read your books. I’m just reading one of them. Enjoying it.’
I smile.
‘It’s the one about your life.’ She frowns. ‘Can’t just bring the title to mind. It’s about you and your childhood and your family.’
I smile again. ‘You mean The Romancer?’
‘Yes that’s it.’ She pauses. ‘You must have an amazing memory, right back when you were little. Photographic. You can just see it all. The people. The places.’
‘A good memory’s very useful for a writer. I remember what they said too. Word for
I met her here.
‘Really?’ Her green eyes widen. ‘Me, I can remember things from when I was two years old. People don’t believe me you know, but I can.’
She pauses again. To be honest, I want to get away. But then, really,  I don’t want to get away.
Then she goes on. ‘My father was one of twenty two children, you know. His father had eleven children to his first wife and eleven children to his second. And do you know, every one of them survived, all on a pitman’s wages!’ She pauses. Her timing is very good. ‘I knew his mother, my grandmother. From when I was very little I used to listen to her for hours as she told the tale.’
‘They all survived?’ I say.
‘Yes. My Grandma says their diet was all lentils, vegetables and porridge,’
‘Nowadays that would be seen as a healthy diet.’
She nods. ‘I suppose it would.’
‘I bet they had an allotment.’
She nods. ‘Yes they had long gardens down there.’

Then she told me a secret from her life which is private and has no part in this more tellable tale. Then she gave me her address to I could send her a signed copy of one of my books and we went our separate ways,

Afterwards I spent an hour scribbling in the library cafe, drinking coffee and spooning soup.

And then, as I came through the Castle gateway,I passed under a tree in full  bloom just like Auckland Castle itself.

Sometimes it’s hard being a writer but sometimes it’s truly wonderful.

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