I’ve been taking many plunges into the pool of ‘outside my comfort zone’ lately.
I have had a busy year..
Usually I am a bit too scared of the what if’s and could be’s to commit to an event even if it’s something uber wicked that I want to do.
But the chance to see Chris Packham in the flesh, hear him talk about his life and book was an opportunity I had to grab.
My friend was extremely lucky to get in the ticket reservation list at no.17 and she grabbed them for us.
I woke up on the day and was so very excited. I had been out the previous day (BTCC qualis and support race at knockhill race course..lots and lots of walking) and my body was shouting at me as I had pushed it quite hard, had a fleeting moment of maybe I should cancel. But no, I needed to do this. I wanted to do this. I must do this.
After the usual faff schedule of getting ready to leave the house, I jumped in a cab and went off to meet up with my mate for a cuppa before hand.
I was like a very excited kid.
The thing about the book festival is it is at the west end of town where I have worked until very recently. I have watched the tents be erected for the last six years and have never seen inside. Just crossing the threshold was a thing of excitement.
Inside is a small town of marquees and an open area to sit and chat.
The most amazing thing is the smell. it smells of books. They’re being sold everywhere.
So, surrounded by the comforting smell of all those words and pages, we queue. It is a sold out event. The queue is long, but I know we will all get in.
Standing for over half an hour, the body was screaming at me again. The stick really helps but it was still a but arduous.
Then comes the panic of ‘point of no return’… once the doors are shut, they are shut. No latecomers. If you have to leave you don’t get back in. triggers all over the place.
However, my friend Beverly is such a calming person. Hardly ever ruffled. She talked me through quite a few surges of panic.
And finally, we get in. A cavernous space with tier seating, a small stage with two chairs and a video screen. His name appears.. the time is close!
Luckily we found seats that accommodate all of my various needs and had a great view.
And there he is. Chris Packham as I live and breathe.
As soon as the interview started, you could have heard an ant fart. He held the room captivated.
He is such an eloquent speaker. he delivers information in such a special way. He is so passionate about what he speaks about.
But he was so small, kept his eyes mainly on the floor (eye contact is not something he enjoys) but spoke so movingly about his life and trials growing up, all his obsessions and some very personal dark periods in his life. (It’s in the book, which I can’t wait to read)
The hour sped past. All too soon it was over.
But then there was an opportunity to meet him at the book signing. Argh! I don’t know.. I don’t know!
Again, Beverly steps in. She says we should just queue and see what happens.
Obviously I had to rush and buy the book to get it signed.. humerous stories all over the place tbh… book people are very funny.
The queue then became one huge anxiety rush for me… I turned into a sweaty mess. Fight or flight was happening and I almost ran. But I was talked down again and stuck with it.
SO GLAD I DID!!
Had a really lovely chat with him. I said stupidly stupid things as one does when faced with a child hero. He was lovely. Absolute diamond.
However a close up of a photo of me says a lot… I’ve added some labels..
I wish I could have been calmer and possibly enjoyed it more. (Possibly as I was already at 98% enjoyment!!)
But I did it. he was amazing and it was so worth all the peripheral crap I go through to get out of the house and get anywhere.
It is going to take a while to get over this. It’s a bit indescribable. Meeting a hero. What a wicked day. He was everything you want your hero to be. So, so pleased.
Plus a queue jump incident by Billy Brag was a second decent celeb spot…