I have had a very busy few months so forgive me for not writing to you before but I wanted to tell you as much of my news as I possibly could.
At the end of May I had a highly successful book launch in a beautiful medieval house and garden (circa 1450) loaned especially for the occasion by my friend Neil Clephane-Cameron. We had an eclectic selection of people attending and the book being launched, namely Death and the Black Pyramid, sold well. Just for once, the weather didn't let us down and we spent most of the time outdoors, wandering the length of the beautiful garden which goes right down to the battlefield of 1066, with glasses of chilled rose clutched firmly in our hands. Two special guests I must mention were Mark Dunton and James Cronen who both work at the National Archives. James appeared on television when Kevin Whatley investigated his ancestry on Who Do You Think You Are He was the one who told Kevin that his ancestor had been a Turkey man, which was not at all what you might think. I won't give the game away for any of you who might want to watch the repeat.
I have taken up T'ai Chi which I was first drawn to when watching the Beijing Olympics. I had no idea it was a martial art but, surprisingly, it is. However, it is so slow moving and beautiful to do that I have really taken to it and I am attending the classes as often as I can. Naturally I'm not very good but it doesn't seem to matter.
The day after the book launch I went to Mayfield to give Zak a pint of beer. Let me explain. I put his ashes in Mayfield churchyard and planted a gorgeous tree on top, a flowering crab apple to be precise. Every year on the anniversary of his death I buy him a pint of Harvey's and pour it round the roots of the tree, which seems to do it good because it is now about 9 feet tall. My daughter, Amanda, and my son-in-law Paul, plus grandson Fintan, accompanied me and afterwards, it being very hot and beautiful once more, we all had lunch in the garden of The Middle House, the famous pub in the village.
The following week seemed to be one long eat as I dined with Irek, a Polish friend of mine, then the next day had Geoffrey Bailey - a well-known figure in the publishing world - down for lunch. This tremendous self-indulgence culminated in a simply splendid book launch given by Ruth Dudley Edwards in Westminster. The guest list included Lord Mandelson and Lord Salisbury and everybody who was anybody was there. The first photograph is of me (looking quite ghastly) with Celia Imrie, the well-known actress, and Fidelis Morgan, the author. Why do I look so horrible in photographs these days? My hair resembles an ill-fitting wig.
I have been to Cambridge twice in the last two weeks. The first time I went to have lunch with Judge Martin Feldman (known as Marty - and, yes, he does know it's the same as one of our great comedians). The second was to the annual event in Heffers in Trinity Street, Bodies in the Bookshop. My fans supported me nobly and I have some photographs of them to show you. First off (left to right) Helen, Pat and Mandy. Next comes gorgeous George.
His picture is followed by three new readers, all of whom have got my first books in the series. It's nice to know that new people are discovering John Rawlings and they can get everything I have ever written on Amazon.
My final picture is of Ariana Franklin, the glamorous wife of Barry Norman, who has written two fabulous historical crime books and is winning a mass of awards as a result. Next to her is Mike Stotter, the editor of SHOTS magazine. He's pulling a face and I have cut the top of his head off, and I sincerely apologise to him publicly. He really is much better looking than that!
Meanwhile my clever granddaughter, Amelia, has won a poetry competition in which she competed against 16-year-olds. She was twelve in May. I shall reproduce it for you next time.
That's all I've got time for now, folks. Speak to you all soon. And keep reading.
Love from Deryn (Lake)