All the previous night I had lost my reading glasses, forgotten which passage I was to read, dreamed up answers to questions I hadn’t thought of, left the book behind, forgotten the page numbers, while I could hear nothing down the headphones which kept slipping off my head whenever I woke.
By 10 am on Jubilee Tuesday it was a dense jungle of rain and the A38 was choc-a-bloc with traffic. Where was everyone going? My stomach turning in knots, I steered my way to Exeter through spilling rain and churning spray, with fog billowing off Dartmoor. When I arrived, getting through the front door was my next challenge. A yellow button and an intercom to talk into – apparently to the left of the door – where there were indeed a variety of buttons. But the yellow one was on the right of the previous outer door. Have I gone mad? Will I ever manage?
Thankfully Judi Spiers is not John Humphries – I needn’t have worried. She came to greet me while the News was on and the weather forecast (rain, rain, rain) and then disappeared again. In the waiting area I could hear the programme chuntering on and I rushed to the loo twice. Would anyone notice it was twice?
Then her real voice called my name from somewhere far away, and I knew time was up for a possible third visit to the loo … but which passageway should I go down? The studio turned out to be down the stairs and there it was – with a menacing pair of headphones lying on the table in front of me and an orange furry microphone waiting for me to utter! And where were my specs? (I was wearing them on my shirt because of the muddle at the door.) And no one said to jam on the head-phones. I didn’t dare mention them. No one else did.
“Remember, it’s just you and me” Judi said but I wasn’t fooled….. “and Danny (the sound-man),” I muttered, “and all the people on the other side of the microphone” and then we were on and she said Good Morning to me as if she hadn’t done so already and very warmly. And it really was like having a chat but I knew that we weren’t – not quite – and then it was over and I hadn’t said half the things I’d meant to say or half as fluently as I’d meant to express them! But she had said some very lovely things about Liar Dice and, as I left, Danny said it had been “very nice”.
The mobile was pinging while I was driving so I stopped to read a kind message from a Liar Dice fan (thanks, Jo) and from my other half. I was determined not to think about all the things I should, could have said, the hesitations, the intakes of breath, the way I’d sometimes waffled on. Hadn’t I repeated myself? Such niggles niggled me while I negotiated the traffic and spray.
When I got home there was a message – inviting me back to read no less than five more 3-4 minute excerpts at the end of the month. Liar Dice may yet bring me luck! It’s now available as an e-book by the way.