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JUNE solstice, cycling & steam

July 2, 2011

The end of June was so brilliant I’ve only just had time to write about it.  Most exciting of all was the launch of my first book on the 21st June, the summer solstice. We celebrated with fire and music in a King’s Cross wilderness. It was a golden, magical night – thick with wood smoke and filled with friends.

Pizzas towered beside the clay earth oven, books were piled high in the big top tent, paper cups o’erspilled with wine and bubbles. Huge thanks to Robin Grey, Monooka and Marmaduke Dando and his band for the wonderful soundtrack. And to Camley Street Natural Park for the perfect setting.

The next day I did my first book talk in Dulwich at the tiny but charming Alleyn Park Garden Centre.  Programmed by Dulwich Books as part of Independent Booksellers’ Week, my event had a ‘Rooftop Adventures in the Wilds of London’ theme. More huge thanks are due to Elaine Hughes, Hedvig Murray, David Lindo and John Little for being involved.  Their personal urban adventures were sandwiched between readings from my book.

A couple of days later I joined the Critical Mass bike ride through London, where cyclists reclaim the streets from motor vehicles.  I love cycling but sometimes riding through the city can be less than a pleasure.  Near death experiences and regular abuse are endured not enjoyed.

It enrages me how some motorists behave – bullying and terrifying people who choose to use muscle rather than petrol power.  I wish London could be car free.  There are very few people who drive in the city that couldn’t use an alternative, and faster, form of transport.

Talking of alternative power, the perfect week ended with a trip to the gleaming and gorgeous Carter’s Steam Fair in Clissold Park.  Small and highly polished, it’s powered by old fashioned steam engines that sent woolly white clouds into the darkening air.  All the classic fun fair fare was there – the helter skelter, carousel, waltzers and the incredible ‘Wall of Death’!  We were blinded by the bright lights and high gloss signs, made slightly sick by various spinning rides, and then disapeared further into the park for a dusky picnic.

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