Well, as my web master so succinctly put it, it is better to be late than THE LATE.
As you may have guessed from that rather sombre headline I am explaining why this newsletter is so terribly late in coming out and hoping that you will understand the spate of rather ill luck that I have been having.
In December, 2008, I discovered a small lump in my breast. I went to the doctor who in turn sent me on to the Conquest Hospital, a fabulous place in which I would put my trust completly. To cut a long story short they found that the lump was a benign cyst but whilst I was on the scanner they discovered something far more serious which is why, in January, I was admitted to the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinsted - this was because I required plastic surgery - for a total masectomy and a breast reconstruction.
I cannot speak highly enough of both hospitals. The care both during the operation and post-operative was tremendous and I now find myself getting terribly irritated with people who moan about the National Health Service. I had everything done free and to the highest standard possible. My praise for Miss Shah, who removed the cancers, and to Mr. Pickford, who reconstructed my breast, knows no bounds.
But to take you back to my opening sentence: I died for a minute just after the operation and was revived by the fabulous anaesthetist, Dr. Pickles. Hence my webmaster's comment. Unfortunately I had no out-of-body experience and did not float down a tunnel. The first thing I knew was Mr. Pickford's voice telling me that my son and daughter had come to see me. Actually they were called into the hospital and arrived in time to learn that I was still alive and would be around for a few more years to bother them.
And that is almost the end of the story. I have mentioned the nursing care and the medical staff as being absolutely first rate but I must also mention my friends who were fabulous. I was inundated with cards, visitors and flowers. Nick and Jane came to see me all the way from Buckinghamshire and not a day passed without someone coming in to call on me. In particular I would like to single out my great friend Neil who not only took me into hospital but came to visit me almost every night and rounded it off by taking me back home again on tbat really snowy day we had when everything - except him - ground to a halt.
Now I've told you the sad bit I am going to get on with the rest of my news. Death and the Black Pyramid is to be published this spring. Severn House Publishers do sell through bookshops but it is highly unlikely that you will find copies on the shelves. The best way is to go to the counter and order it (tell the bookseller that the ISBN is 978 0 7278 6770 4). If you do this you can be absolutely sure of getting your copy. Or, of course, you can get the book through Amazon who, I think, have it in stock already - or very soon anyway.
And that, my friends, is where I am going to end. I wish you all a joyful and sun-filled Easter and a glorious spring.
Take care of yourselves and remember to keep reading.