Caroline Bird's Book launch

At 6pm I walk from The Riverside Rooms  towards the west end to Foyles Bookshop on Charring Cross Road.   Unfortunately for Foyles    Borders bookshop  (across the road)  is in a liquidation sale.  But Foyles is an independent bookshop on fine form.  It’s busy.  I get in the lift to the quiet third Floor gallery were  Caroline Bird  is pacing.   At the side of the room a table's laid with wine and water.  Another table has Caroline’s book  Watering Can.   And inthe centre of the gallery the empty seats are lined up facing a podium andmicrophone:  Sparkling water for me and a hug for Caroline.  

It’s dark outside. Winter is coming. But there is so much light in this room. Slowly and surely audience arrive and the room fills with conversation like warm air. Sensing the temperature to be correct   “Right shall we get on” Caroline says quietly clasping her hands together. I walk to the podium,  unfold  my script  and begin my written introduction  with this quote by Edgar Allan Poe taken from his  poem A Common Spring   From Childhood’s hour I have not been/As others were:  I  have not seen/ As others saw;

And the introduction ends “It is both an honour and a pleasure to introduce to stage on the publication of  her third book  Watering Can, Caroline Bird.” Caroline’s reading is breath taking.    There are gasps as she reads andapplause.  Nobody is left untouched.   Caroline is by far and most certainly the brightest star of her generation.  After the reading I notice Sir Ian McKellen  clutching Watering Can and quietly walking out.  I get home to ackney fulfilled and with thirty minutes left in the day  -  there's nothing like a reading.   

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