Wednesday 26 September 2012

Book party

Lump in throat time.

Last Thursday evening, I was almost sick in my handbag. Despite being quite grown up, with the crow’s feet, RHS membership and drawer full of useful bits of string to prove it, I have managed so far to avoid doing the thing I most fear: speaking in public.

But I could avoid it no longer. Last Thursday, my book Gifts from the Garden,  was published and Jo, the owner of my lovely local bookshop, offered to host a party for me. ‘Just do a little talk, perhaps demonstrate a couple of the projects,’ she said gaily. ‘Yes, that’s a great idea!’ I said, hoping I could stave off the dry heaves until I hit the pavement.

I asked my pal, grower of delicious things, writer and all-around good egg, Mark Diacono  for tips. He’s done loads of personal appearances, and if his career as a Bradley Wiggins lookalike takes off I dare say he’ll do a lot more. ‘Give them something to eat, something to drink and get a joke in fast,’ he said. As this is the philosophy I’ve adhered to all of my life, I started to think perhaps I could do this.

Courgette muffins

Carrot Cake

So I pitched up at the bookshop with a boot full of platters, snacks and drinks, ingredients for my demonstration and, tucked into my handbag, hastily typed notes for a speech. People came. Quite a lot of them. They drank, they ate, they laughed. They also bought a huge stack of books and I got to sign them in a slightly demented scrawl.

I didn’t throw up. I loved every minute and couldn’t sleep until 2am from the sheer exhilaration of it all. Now I know how rock stars feel. Hit me if I become unbearable.

My friend James and I. I post this picture not just because he bought the first book, but also because he’s so damn handsome.

A great crowd at Stoke Newington Bookshop


  1. I so wish I'd been there but then again you kept it quite quiet until v late on didnt you....sneak. If Id known I could've turned up in my cycling shorts, *then* you would have been sick into your handbag x

  2. Well done for holding back the sick. God, that carrot cake looks good.

  3. Oh Mark, always with the sacre tactics X
    Kath, Thank you! Made chopped pecan praline for the top.

  4. Glad you posted pick of James! Don;t tell Mr MDS!!
    Fabulous and I can't wait to get it. I'm not going to download to Kindle as it is too gorgeous not to have in the hand xx

  5. My copy of this book has just arrived, every page full of gorgeousness. I can't wait to roll my sleeves up and to start making. Well done!

  6. Hey, Barney not invited? *harummphhhh*

  7. had a full house! The food looked delicious, the book display looked beautiful and you had a handsome chap on your arm. I'd call that a whopping success! Congratulations!

  8. OH congratulations D, this looks like such a smashing book. And quince vodka - yes! Looking forward to getting my hands on this tome xxx

  9. MDS - Thank you so much! And my lips are sealed... X
    Fi - Thank you darling! I hope you enjoy it. Hope you're all very well. X
    Marley - I can't afford his appearance fees. I did manage to sneak a nice picture of him in the book though.
    Debs - Thank you!
    Helena - I hope you enjoy it! And I hope you're marvellously well and thriving. x


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