The 2010 RNA Summer Conference gala dinner was HOT. Not just the temperatures, which during the day climbed past 30 degrees and stayed up there for much of the evening: but also the shoes, the company and the sheer fabulous fun of the whole event.
|Jane Holland, Cal Andrews & Lara Higgins|
|RF Long, Leanne Bibby & Stephanie Cage|
|Sue Cook & Jane Smith (aka @hprw)|
With Carole Blake and Liz Fenwick at the same table I had little chance of attracting the attention of the wine waiters; and with Sue Cook and Alison Morton either side of me, I struggled to get a word in edgewise. Instead I concentrated on my first course, a smooth chicken liver paté served with a rich onion marmalade and some very crisp toast. My chance to be heard came when Carole observed that the heat of the evening would test the old adage that horses sweat while ladies glow: I gaily pointed out that I was glowing like a pig, and from that point on Jan Jones kept a stern eye on my behaviour from her place across the table.
Despite my continued attempts to lower the tone, the conversation around me was as sparkling as the sequins which decorated the tables. We talked about books, writing, publishing and more books and the next time anyone tries to tell me that publishing is on its last legs I’ll suggest they attend an RNA party: I learned so much listening to everyone else that night, and not all of it was gossip!
During the main course—succulent roast chicken in a creamy sauce on a fresh-tasting bed of peas and lettuce—we discovered that the aforementioned sequins could be stuck to any exposed skin, so very glowy were we all. Our glorious leader Katie Fforde dotted red sparkles all over her décolletage which remained in place through our dessert, an Eton mess so sweet I could feel myself tipping further towards diabetes with every spoonful. Delicious though it was I could barely finish mine, but there were some among us who ate two full helpings: how they managed it I am not sure, but I am in awe of you, Jan Jones.
|Katie Fforde & Di Pearson|
|Jan Jones, Carole Blake & Sue Cook|
(Note: thanks for the photos goes to Carole Blake, Lizzie Lamb, RF Long and Eileen Hathaway)