Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Visitor

The Visitor

It is quite a few months since I had the exciting phone call from Daniel Bunyard to tell me I was runner up in the Saga life story competition - out of 5,000 entries.  The winner was to be published by Penguin and the two runners up each got £100.
Daniel said he would like to have a chat about my story and maybe I could meet him up in London.

It is a while since I have travelled to the metropolis; the nearest mainline station is 30 miles away and the bus is a bit of a bone shaker.  One way and another it was not going to be easy.  We decided to leave it until after the Olympics.  Meanwhile Daniel was very busy getting Tom Daley’s book out.  For the whole of the summer I had done nothing book-wise beyond correcting a few typos.

I got in touch with Daniel again and to my delight and amazement he said he could probably come to Minehead and wasn’t at all fazed by the prospect of a bus ride from Taunton to Minehead, although when I questioned him later he admitted he had been reading and had begun to feel a little queasy prompting an homily from Pat.

Meanwhile he asked me to send the latest copy of my ms and he would have it printed out.  I swear I heard a weather forecast which promised an Indian summer on Monday and Tuesday - but both turned out to be grey, gloomy and damp.  Sorry Daniel.

Promptly at 12.30 the doorbell rang and with a deep breath I raced round the front of the house to avoid bringing him through garage, back porch and kitchen.  I gasped when I caught sight of him – he looked fresh out of UNI but actually is in his early thirties.  In spite of the weather he was very taken with the area and our house.

After introductions and expressing our grateful thank for his epic journey, he and I repaired to the family room for a coffee (he wasn’t drinking so neither did) and a chat.  Then we joined MTL in the kitchen for lunch (he loved my coddled eggs) and more chat.  Then back to the family room for coffee and a chat.  Eventually Daniel thought he would wander off and get the bus and I was shocked to see it was almost 3.30pm.

More as a joke than anything I asked if he would like a cream tea (our French son had suggested we give him the West Country experience) so back to the kitchen and more chat.  Daniel said he would be in the gym tomorrow – he does cycle about10 miles into work each day and looks extremely fit.

I was really touched that he had gone to so much trouble and that I had had the benefit of his knowledge and experience for the best part of three hours.  I had realised that my ms wasn’t as focussed as it needs to be and I was at somewhat of an impasse.  Things are clearer now – I have a plan and it’s up to me to see if I can pull it off.  Whether I manage it or not I know Daniel will help me in another direction.

He sweetly allowed me to take a photograph of him but my battery was flat.  He wrote in the Visitor’s book:
It has been so lovely to meet you and thank you for making me so welcome and for being so open about discussing your wonderful memoir.


Mike and Ann said...

Pat! That is very exciting! Look forward to reading it eventually.

About Last Weekend said...

Oh my gosh! I'm so thrilled I visited today - congrats to you! This is incredible. You got runner up out of 5,000 entries? Sounds like a book deal is in the works for you. "Mums Gone To" also mentioned Daniel on her blog today which is how I know him. With your lovely face and effortless writing I think your story would be a best seller!

Z said...

How exciting. Daniel sounds lovely, too.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Not an easy trip but it would have been WORTH IT! Travel to London to talk about a story you wrote to a publisher? Does it get any better than that? It wouldn't for me. No matter. You got the job done. Now get to work! A nation awaits you.

Two nights ago I went to a reading and met Nick Hornby. Next Tuesday it'll be Zadie Smith. I would hope to see you one day. You never know!

Kim Ayres said...

So glad it went well! I never doubted you'd charm him as you did me :)

kenju said...

Such a nice experience for you. How long will it be before your memoir is published?

lom said...

Well done

Pat said...

Mike and Ann: here's hoping:)

ALW: thank you - way to go yet. I found the blog but couldn't find Daniel. A bit early in the morning for me:)

Z: what was really endearing - he had seconds of everything . Is there anything more heart warming?

UB: you are right about the work bit. What an exciting time you are having.

Kim: tried all day to email you but been off line. Finally got on this am.

Judy:I wish I knew the answer. It's an interesting journey:)

LOM: thank you - not quite done yet though. I don't like to count chickens.

The Cloudcutter said...

This was lovely to read. Daniel's visit sounds so warm and charming. What are coddled eggs?? Fingers crossed for you Pat, I'm sure you'll be sharing some great news about your book soon!

Pat said...

CC: thank you - I've got everything crossed:)
What I did was devilled eggs but I think they are similar to coddled. basically they are hard boiled eggs with the yolk scraped out and mixed with various ingredients. I used chopped spring onions, half a teaspoon of mustard, half a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Usually mayonnaise but I wasn't sure if mine was fresh enough.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh Pat...this is so exciting! How lovely and wonderful that he came to you and was so helpful in the direction you should take with your wonderful Memoir! I have full faith that you will be able to execute your "plan" and complete it, too!
It sounds like the beginning of a beautiful friendship---as Bogart said to Claude Rains..! (lol)

Scarlet Blue said...

Congrats, Pat!!! This is brilliant news, I'm so happy for you and I hope one day to buy your book from Amazon or Waterstones.

P.S Maybe I'll get a signed copy!!

Rog said...

I think I would have offered him a Penguin biscuit so I could say "I commissioned it for you"

Pat said...

Naomi: I'm so relieved the day went well - whatever the outcome. I really needed Kim's therapy to geta grip.

Scarlet: thank you and I hope the horoscope worked for you also.
A signed copy will be a pleasure - if it's the only way to get you to Minehead:)

Reg: Oh I WISH you had told me earlier. My fault I didn't want to talk about it until it was over.
I do hope I get the chance again. We always have them in the house:)

mapstew said...

How exciting! :¬)


Marjolein said...

So exciting! He sounds like a lovely person.

Pat said...

Marjolein: yes he was:)

rashbre said...

Looking forward to seeing how this develops!

Pat said...

Rashbre: me too:)

Guyana-Gyal said...

When you get published, I absolutely must get your book. It's all going to happen for you, Pat.