We are in beautiful Somerset once again. We have come to sign copies of Dragonsong for literary dragon hunters in the cultural and historic city of Bath. We are here once more at the invitation of Waterstones. Mr Waterstone has been good to us and we have now signed books in six of his stores on eight occasions for our inestimably vast army of fans. It is an arrangement of mutual benefit, for we rarely leave one of Mr Waterstone’s stores without having spent more than the proceeds of our signing on books by other authors.
And today Bath; Bath is cultural heaven. Bath is literary Niervana. But dragons do not fly through the door in Bath. The enlightened and the great of this literary centre of the universe do not beat, mob like, upon the doors of Waterstones to adopt our dragons, many of which remain roosting on the table, preparing for winter hibernation.
Mr Waterstone’s helpers are sympathetic and commiserate with us beyond their calling. They sustain us though this challenging afternoon with coffee and Danish pastries. But it remains beyond that denial dragons have not escaped into the fair city to roost at the Jane Austin Centre or even the Thermae Spar in the numbers we had experienced elsewhere. In Bath, dragons remain an endangered species.
At 4.30 we mutter our way to the car park, shake the dust of the city from our feet and make for Martock where we are staying. Oswold is sympathetically silent as he conveys us home. We will return to beautiful Bath in the new year with dogs and goblins which might prove more to the taste of the literary elite of the city.
Sunday morning sees us make the old familiar trip to the Martock Recreation Ground for our morning constitutional.
Here an angry sky hangs low above the empty grain fields awaiting stubble burning.
Here, the leaves are colouring in greater numbers than we have yet seen them do in our Forest.
As we circumnavigate the park we are approached by persons human and canine that we knew in a former life. They engage us in conversation, congratulate us on our new career, but admonish us for our blogging style, for the Royal We, they say, is affected.
Affected? Nous? We are astonished; devastated at such heinous slander. Never has our ghast been more flabbered. For we are simple souls and non-pretentious. We know our place. We are literary sidekicks. We are Man Friday, we are Samwize Gamgee. Our literary bloodline stretches obsequiously back to Sancho Panza. We sup off-table with Percival Renfield.
Perhaps we should be grateful that our blog is read at all. But there is no denying that our past has finally caught up with us. And who can say what rickett-inflicted , emaciated skeletons will now tumble, blinking from our cupboard to cast shadows before the sunlight of our impending literary stardom?
And thus we must make it clear that our use of the word ‘we’ is no affectation, but relates merely to our habit of speaking on behalf of our wonderful canine companion, Matt. For though his doggie talents are as myriad as the stars in the firmament of the heavens, they do not include human speech. Without him I fear I too would be rendered mute, for we are a writing partnership, jobbing hacks remunerated in Bonios as readily as hard cash. And thus it is I express myself on behalf of both of us
Tonight as we walk the streets of Martock in the darkness we will dwell upon the dual humbling experiences of selling relatively few books in inaccessible Bath and being admonished for our presumed presumptuousness in Martock. Our tongue will remain firmly lockjawed into our cheek. And Matt’s making of water upon stones will be our only use of the Royal Wee.