Three roses, and a Tudor prick, all shamelessly plugging the book that EVERYONE MUST BUY!!!!
It has promised to be a very prestigious evening, and it delivered! I had been asked by my friend Sarah Morris to appear at the launch of her first novel, "Le Temps Viendra" which was to take place on a river boat cruising up and down the Thames in London, with many guests including some very well known faces.
The early part of the day I had spent in Essex for a visit to my son James' school for his annual statement review. All the school people were very pleased with him and it was a delight to have seen him make such excellent progress. I left the school and headed down to Kent to spend some time with my lovely Shelley. She very kindly gave me a lift to Maidstone East station to catch a train up to London for my appearance at the book launch. Despite vast numbers of gobby school children the journey up was relatively pleasant and I arrived at Victoria Station with plenty of time to spare. The taxi rank had masses of annoyed customers and virtually no taxis, but eventually I managed to grab one. I jumped in the back and tried to strike up a conversation with my driver.
"Had a busy day?" I asked. He looked at me in his rear view mirror and said nothing. Perhaps he hadn't heard me. So I tried again.
"Had a busy day? Today?" I ventured, a little louder than the previous time. Once more he studiously ignored me. I could see what all of his concentration was focused on, and that was driving like a demented twat through very heavy traffic. He carved up cars, bikes and buses with a complete lack of any fear or common sense, roaring up behind the car in front as though he was trying to get on board with them. By the time we arrived at Westminster Pier for my drop off I was ready to kiss the tarmac in thanks for a safe delivery. I went to pay him for this terrifying ordeal and as he wound down his window I decided to get my own back a bit.
"It has been such a pleasure chatting away with you on this journey....thank you...." He looked blankly at me and prepared to roar off and terrify some more customers.
At the top of the steps next to the famous Victorian statue of Queen Boudicca, various idiots dressed in crappy Shrek and clown outfits posed for photos with tourists, and then demanded money off them afterwards for this intrusion. Various heated arguments began from people who hadn't realised that their photo was going to cost them money. I waited at the pier head amongst some "lovely" French students, and was soon joined by the band Waytes and Measures who had previously worked with me on various visits to Sudeley Castle. Next to arrive was the top historical author Alison Weir, and shortly afterwards Sarah Morris herself who looked absolutely stunning in a 1940's style figure hugging dress. Finally, my Queen for the evening, dear Katherine Miller, arrived with her parents, so we wandered down to the pier end where our launch, the wonderful vessel "Edward" was waiting for us. Upon boarding we found that there was only one room suitable to get changed in, so Katherine and I had to take turns to get into our Tudor togs.
Once changed we were soon upstairs in the viewing lounge where the whole presentation was going to take place. Alison Weir was very approachable, especially after her third or fourth glass of champagne! As the daylight dimmed and London became illuminated the city just looked magical. The new Shard building loomed out of the darkness and resembled some tower from "The Lord of the Rings" movies. We cruised down past other river boats, many of who's passengers were started to see Henry VIII and one of his wives on our boat. Drinks and food flowed, as did the conversation and the entire evening was an utter delight and a perfect way for Sarah to launch her book. The "Edward" cruised as far down as Greenwich where the O2 Arena stood out like some sort of sci-fi dome in the Stygian gloom. The meridian laser stood out stark from the Greenwich observatory and the Cutty Sark, in it's newly fitted surroundings looked incredible. This was turning into a magical night. After speeches from Sarah's publisher, Alison Weir and Sarah herself we began the return trip back up the Thames to Westminster Pier. It was a pleasure to meet and speak to the beautiful Natalie Dormer who had famously portrayed a very sensual and sexy interpretation of Anne Boleyn in "The Tudors" TV series. She was an utter delight, friendly, chatty and staggeringly beautiful. As you can see we managed to get some great photos of Sarah, Natalie, Katherine and myself all clutching copies of Sarah's excellent book. We later went up onto the bow of the boat and Katherine Natalie and myself mucked about pretending to re-enact the bow scene from the movie "Titanic". Luckily we managed to avoid any icebergs and arrived back at Westminster Pier just before 9pm. I bid fond farewells to all the lovely people who had turned up on this special night and had supported Sarah on her big event.
I disembarked and walked up to Westminster Bridge and awaited a pick up from Dean the taxi driver, the fine man who normally takes Sir Owen to school each morning. He picked me up by 9.30pm and soon I was whisked back to my lovely Shelley in Maidstone. It had been a superb, fantastic evening, but I was absolutely cream crackered. Well done to Sarah on a brilliant evening.