My family have been saying this for years and I’m beginning to see their point.  I have gone round the twist.  Somehow I have decided that I will attend this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, keep this blog up-to-date AND go to work.  Well, something had to give and I’m afraid for the last three days it’s been the blog.  So I am currently devising a cunning plan ….. Watch this space.

In the meantime, a quick synopsis of my first day.  (No time to add pictures just now.  Will do so later.)

7:00 am Left home carrying very heavy book bag – containing 6 hardbacks, 3 paperbacks, 1 flask of herbal tea (doctor’s orders – I hate middleage), purse, credit card, sunglasses + umbrella,  notebook and pen.

9:25 am  Bus route has changed due to construction of new tramlines.  Number 22 bus drops me right outside the George Street Waterstones.  30 seconds later I am in my first bookshop.  20 minutes later I am walking to Charlotte Square.  No purchases.  (Lizzy 1 : Bookshops 0)

9:50  Arrive at Charlotte Square.  Right now I am in love with my umbrella.

10:10 Arrival  at the Spiegeltent after 20 minute browse through the EIBF bookshop.   Lots of preleases available for sale.  (For example, the new Boyd, the new beautifully dust-jacketed Atwood).  Fortunately for credit card, the book bag is too heavy and full so am very, very sensible.  Many books added to the virtual TBR but no purchases.  (Lizzy 2 : Bookshops 0)

10:15  Maggie Gee, Moris Fahri and compere take seats for “Wake up with Words” .  Stimulating event – separate post to follow in due course – but what a start to this year’s proceedings.

12:00 Time for lunch.  Discover lovely and affordable Scottish restaurant in Rose Street.  Will visit again.  Might divulge secret location later on.  Don’t want restaurant to get too full just yet!

13:00 – 14:30  Stroll down Princes Street which is currently undergoing facelift in preparation for new tramlines.  Must remember – it always gets worse before it gets better.

14:30 – 16:00 Meet Jackie from Farmlanebooks for bookish chat and refreshments in one of the many cafes on George Street.  Discover lovely reading sofa.  Will come in very handy during the next fortnight.  Again keeping location secret for now!

16:20  Meet “My Spy in Edinburgh” and hand over 1 Colm Toibin hardback for signing tomorrow night.  There is now room in bookbag for purchase which has to be made to take advantage of a book signing later tonight. (Lizzy 2 : Bookshops 1)

16:30  Join 7 million kids for Cornelia Funke event.  This is very entertaining and Brian Cunningham, Funke’s publisher, is a child-like compere, fun of wonder and curiosity for Funke’s fictional creations.  During the event, Funke divulges that she would like to swap her German passport for a British one.  During the book-signing event, I offer her to swap with her.  She doesn’t take up the offer because she thinks Scotland is much better than Germany.   Well, Scotland is charming when it’s not raining and at that moment, it wasn’t!  (Just like it wasn’t when I decided to move here.)  Anyway, I got a special signature in my copy of Inkheart.  It might turn out to be the signature of the festival.

18:00 – 19:30  Time for a sitdown  …. and a read.  Short story anthology set in Edinburgh.  Hopefully will find time to grab some photos during the next fortnight to accompany my review.

19:30 Join small audience for a “Writer’s of the World” event.  Authors M J Hyland and Philippe Claudel, a French author who allegedly doesn’t speak much English.  He pretty much never stopped.  M J Hyland (when she got a word in edgeways) was very gracious and witty when the compere introduced her novel with the wrong title.  “This is How” became “This is Now”.  She whetted my appetite for the novel with an intriguing cluedo analogy.  This event probably gave rise to what will probably be the most undiplomatic audience question ever asked at a festival.  Cue 80-year-old lady in front row.  “I worked for the French resistance in the Second World War.  There were more betrayals of Resistance Agents in France than anywhere else.  Why was this?  Is this a peculiarly French trait?”.  Stony silence descends while Philippe Claudel asks his translator to repeat the question in French.  Then he begins to answer:  “Yes, I was afraid I’d understood the question correctly.”  What followed was a very diplomatic answer explaining that WWII for France was essentially a civil war and that betrayals in such circumstances, in whatever nation, are not uncommon.

20:45  By this time, the book bag feels like a block of concrete and I can no longer lift it.  So I’m reduced to kicking it around as I join the last book signing of the day.  3 authors at the signing table – Ian Rankin, A L Kennedy and James Robertson for the book “Crimespotting” is an anthology of specially-commissioned short stories.  Ian Rankin spots me kicking the bag around and asks “That’s not a bag of books is it?”  Lizzy: “Actually yes, and three of them are yours.”  Ian Rankin: “Oh well, in that case, you can come again.”

10:25 pm  Arrive home.  Kaputt but happy.  Looking forward to Thursday.  No need to worry about husband feeling lonely.  The football season  has started and besides I have Ian Rankin’s permission!

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