One might imagine that attending a literary evening could be a thing of gentle calm. Possibly a leisurely day, a relaxed lunch, reading over a few treasured pages from the author at the evening event. Considering smart questions, pondering the likelihood of a signed copy.
Then maybe a nice cup of tea and a peaceful drive over to the event. One might well imagine such a lovely day and indeed it was what I had hoped for as I anticipated meeting Rosamunde Pilcher for the first time at the Headland Hotel.
However what happened is what always happened. Children. The boys’ after school rugby matches went on longer than expected and the weather was, well the weather was pretty typical actually, so we sprinted home with me stripping out of wellies and waxes and into heels and pearls and straight back into a wet, smelly, muddy car, applying make-up at every red light.
I pulled up with 2 minutes to spare, snapped the tassel on my dress, scuffed my suede heels on the gravel, applied the mascara and glided into the Headland Hotel, hopefully projecting a picture of calm elegance.
I’m glad I made the effort because the Headland rises to every occasion, the lobby is so understated and beautiful that it always reminds me of an era when life seemed somehow grander. I was taken through to the reception for Rosamunde Pilcher and instantly realised that the hotel was the perfect venue for Mrs Pilcher herself. Mind you she’d laugh to hear that, she was immediately friendly and welcoming and I was once again glad that I had made the effort.
There is nothing “grand” about her but she is very impressive! She started writing aged eight, has published scores and scores of books, over 100 of them have been televised for German television, the Shell Seekers has sold over 5 million copies and is translated into just about any language you can think of.
She managed this whilst raising four children and received the OBE in 2002. Not a bad output! And yet she was sat there grinning away like she had done nothing more than scribble a few books.
We had all gathered to celebrate Rosamunde Pilcher’s 89th birthday with a dinner and talk and a general fun evening.
It was fascinating to learn that Rosamunde was born in Cornwall following her mother’s impetuous decision to move to Cornwall from Orkney, whilst pregnant.
Clearly with a mother like that she grew up believing that anything was possible and found a great release in writing.
As a young girl growing up in Lamorack she would often come over the hill to play in St Ives, hanging around with the artists and swimming in the beautiful waters.
It is easy to see she is still very much in love with our county, and it was wonderful to see that she is still as vibrant as the books which have brought our county into the hearts of so many readers.