Letter: August 2008

Hello everybody,
I have had such a hectic time since I last wrote to you, meeting my fans and readers and catching up with old friends.

It all started back in May with a weekend visit from Ates Orga, the well-known writer and musicologist - to say nothing of record producer. Ates is half Turkish and half Irish (I thought my mixture was fairly exotic but his takes the biscuit). Anyway we had a thoroughly good time going to visit the famous battlefield on the Saturday afternoon and on Sunday having lunch with our friends from the Fleet Street glory days, Freddie and Yvonne Hodgson.

The next weekend saw me in Mayfield - it was an anniversary of Zak's death and I went to church and to visit his tree, which is planted over his ashes. I fell in with a lot of friends who all came to see the tree with me and I had a chat with the splendid vicar, Father Nigel Pryor. The following weekend was equally hectic: I went with my friend Pamela Wilding to see an amateur production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which was very good indeed, and on the Sunday I went to the summer fair at Finchcocks, in Goudhurst, Kent. I bought a stunning red summer coat of raw silk embroidered with many flowers, and it wasn't that expensive either.

Henry in his dinner jacket: complete with tandem

The following weekend I was visited by my old friend Mark Dunton from the National Archives and then on the following Wednesday by Fiona Brown, who stayed the night after a long and enjoyable supper.

Now comes the downside. The day after she left I had a bad fall down the stairs at my home. I live in an Edwardian house with a narrow and steep staircase and I tumbled down half of it. I really hurt my back and I must say that it is taking me a long time to recover. But enough of gloom. The following week I met one of my faithful readers, Alastair Patterson, who lives in the Cayman Islands but was over here on holiday. His friends own Charlston Manor, a glorious house nestling in the Sussex Downs, parts of which are Norman. They have a great music festival in their long barn and though I was unable to attend any concerts I met the musicians before going out to lunch. It was a wonderful day culminating in an invitation to visit the Cayman Islands next year. That is an offer I am definitely going to accept.

Next week saw me in London, lunching with a new friend, Professor John Adams of London University. Then on the following Friday night my grandson Henry sauntered in wearing a dinner jacket and looking so grown up I could have wept. He was off to the Senior Prom organised by his school. (It's an American thing but it seems to have caught on over here). He was going to the Powder Mills Hotel, and planned to arrive on a tandem. The boys all had some kind of wager as to who could turn up on the most outrageous contraption. One of them apparently came on a quad bike.

The following Monday my friend Geoffrey (Bookman) Bailey came to lunch and I gave him the manuscript of something new that I am working on to read and criticise. I am glad to say that he loved it and told me not to change a word.

Here's one last photograph and of me and my old mate Mike Ripley together at Bodies in the Bookshop.

Deryn Lake with Mike Ripley at Bodies in the Bookshop

Deryn Lake and Mike Ripley at Bodies in the Bookshop: photo © Mike Stotter

I will give you a detailed description of that event next time and tell you all the latest gossip from the world of Deryn Lake.

And that, my friends, is where I think I'm going to end. It's horribly hot in my attic and I would like to go out and sit in the garden.

Meanwhile take care of yourselves -
and keep reading.
Deryn Lake

August 2008