Friday, 22 April 2011

A bit of a blur

Yesterday (Thursday April 21 in Scotland)was hot, hot,hot. And I have lost my sun hat, a reliable old denim number. The working day started bright and early with a call from our lawyer about the water supply to our premises up in the forest, and a long telephone conversation with a neighbour similarly affected. It's not often that you hear the words 'It was my eagles' breeding season....'. I once accepted an invitation to dine chez the Bird Man and one of his eagles was sitting quietly on a tractor tyre in a corner of the room. Then off to the Moffat Initiative for a Moffat Book Events meeting picking up threads from our last Saturday's event. Next time, we vow to: understand how the tickets work (you tear off the perforated portion and keep all the bits so you know exactly how many have been sold - duh -); to bolster income, you schedule a whole meeting just about sponsorship - who to approach and for how much; review the marketing strategy and decide that next time we can spend less on advertising, put more effort into word of mouth and the 'social media' such as Twitter and Facebook. That day's April 21 Moffat News had mis-reported, we thought, the numbers who attended Love and Marriage, so a letter was drafted to the editor putting that straight ; we started to look ahead to our Sat October 15 event - talk of a 'Reivers High Tea', wenches, roistering, music etc to go along with Alistair Moffat's research into 'Scottish' DNA (or, here in Moffat, 'Rheged' according to Nikolai Tolstoy - seconds out)! Then, at midday off with daughter Elly to collect a sample box of Zacharry's spruce beer from the forest to take to Duncan Turnbull at his Cairn Foods shop in Biggar for another feedback session. I stop by the post box at the metal gate, so still and for so long that Elly thinks I have had a stroke but I am just reading and approving the lawyer's letter on my Blackberry about our water supply. According to Duncan, an international food merchant, we must consider if the bottle is slightly too tall for comfortable shelf fit. We line a number of similar quality soft drinks up on the counter: the Bundaberg 'stubby' is the shortest, next comes Fentiman's, then - the same height as Zacharry's - Luscombe elderflower bubbly. The label reminds Duncan of 'a sauce bottle' - but in a good way, with our retro sunburst rays and Yogi bear cartoon trees. The colour reminds him of Bitter Lemon; the taste for some reason puts him in mind of American Cream Soda. He ambushes a couple of unwary customers and Elly and I hide behind the cereals unit while he offers them a couple of test beakers. 'Mmm. Delicious!' We passed the taste test! While Elly shops for delicacies from Duncan's well-stocked shelves, I pop next door to Atkinson Pryce Books and thank Chris for bringing a stall to last Saturday's event. She is enthusiastic about coming to Moffat for October, and Merlin and I promise her that we will credit AP's contribution in our promotional literature this time, an oversight on our part last Sat. A quick cheese and tomato toastie at the Cross Keys, then back to Moffat for a much-yearned for cup of tea. The boys' paddling pool in the garden is full of tadpoles and rather muddy lumps of water- weed and reed brought to make them feel at home, plus a couple of old rough bits of wood to allow the frogs to exit when they are ready. Outside my sitting room window, the heat shimmers over the park and the burn. A knock at my door. Elly wonders if I can just pop across to collect Harry's bike, which she, just hours now away from giving birth to Ollie, couldn't manage and has left under the watchful gaze of a 4 year old girl who looks at me reproachfully as I wheel it away, as if I am a thief. At 5.22pm I succumb to a glass of semillon blanc and a very old re-run of 'Relocation, Relocation.

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