This week I was on the North Devon coast for the Appledore Book Festival. Appledore is a tiny fishing village situated just where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet. With its picturesque location (reminding me very much of Shaldon, one of my favourite South Devon spots, and setting for 'the call'), and such a well-established festival (now in its sixth year, originally founded as a mission to save an ailing - now thriving - library) the trip promised to be memorable. Truth is, the 24 hours I spent on 'bookish business' in Appledore were some of my favourite since The Book of Summers was published - and that's really saying something. There was delicious company in the form of Shelley Harris, author of Jubilee, and Carol Rifka Brunt, author of Tell The Wolves I'm Home, and our very lovely event chair Professor Helen Taylor of Exeter University. Incredibly generous hospitality from our hosts Brenda Daly and Pat Millner. And an enthusiastic and supportive crowd of festival go-ers at our New Voices panel. Altogether, a pretty perfect book festival experience.
When I returned to Bristol on Thursday night I gabbled to my husband. I told him about sitting in the dark drinking wine by moonlight to the tune of crashing waves. I told him about our cream tea lunch with a ginger beer chaser. I told him about the knock-your-socks-off views from upstairs in our guesthouse, and the excellent fry-ups downstairs. I told him how together we'd talked women & reading, ownership of stories, second novel approaches, writerly rebellion, elusive titles, meeting our literary heroes - and that was all before our panel even started. Here's to sweet times in Appledore, and new friends made.