Saturday, 6 September 2008

Charlbury's Queen of Crime !

Charlbury and its environs attract a gloriously eclectic mix of folk ; from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the actor Freddie Jones, from David Cameron to Ronnie Barker,the Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , the famous photographer Andrew Lawson and a plethora of retired Ambassadors and top civil servants . It makes for interesting conversations in the pub.

But last night I went to listen to a talk by Veronica Stallwood , the crime writer , famous for her Kate Ivory novels set in Oxford .She has lived in Charlbury for the last 3 years; perhaps not as famous as the Morse character , her books are nevertheless exciting reads . And her talk is fascinating. I love listening to authors talk about their work and am a great fan of the Oxford literary festival held every year and attracting top writers to talk and debate. In this case our very very own Charlbury Queen of Crime gives a behind the scenes description of the role of Editors and sub editors. the subs sound interesting. Their job is to correct grammar and spot inconsistencies . But sometimes a little too enthusiastically;as when one made a wholesale alteration to the comma sequence as well as correcting the grammar of some of the characters; for example the conversations of feral youth , who are not usually known for perfect grammar and so alterations slightly lost the point of the dialogue! Amusingly the current novel " Oxford Menace" contains the touching scene of the death of the Kate Ivory cat. The Editor , an ardent cat lover told Veronica that he could not possibly deal with it in just one paragraph ( as she had ) and so the finished book rather drags this one out.

The talk , held in the charming 18th century "Corner House " , left to the village by philanthropic Quakers , attracts a whole bunch of other authors who talk shop . There is one woman who looks immediately recognisable but for the life of me I can't remember her name.The wine , supplied by the publishers make the evening even more charming. Its rather an amusing end to the day which featured a diatribe by Nick Clegg on the Government's dismal failing on crime! ( Blog yesterday ).

The Today programme on Radio 4 is a national Treasure . my favourite start to the day and I have radios placed in all key rooms so I can move effortlessly around the house getting ready for work but not missing crucial bits of the programme.Friday was special .It was the result of the national competition to find the most bizarre book title.They have to be actual books published seriously rather than spoofs titles. Previous winners have included " Avoiding large ships" and last year's " How green were the Nazis?". This year it is " Greek rural postmen and their cancellation codes ". The author , a charming 91 year old comes on to lucidly explain the purpose of the publication . How special is that ?

The weekend unfolds and I have neighbours into dinner tonight and my poetical nephew Alexander for lunch tomorrow. I had the hearty nephew Julian for lunch in London on Wednesday ; he has developed a fine taste in claret and port with Stilton thus demonstrating the power of heredity genes!And amongst all this entertaining i have to prepare a Lecture for Monday , correct a draft funding application and write a 1000 word article for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives ( amusingly called SOLACE ! ). Its just a typical weekend in the life of a charity Chief Executive!I guess you are not sympathetic.

And if my nephew and niece ; the charming twins, Oliver and Miranda ,are reading this, " Happy 17th Birthday" !

1 comment:

Jon said...

Glad you came to the talk and enjoyed it! I've put a link to your blog on my website Do you know of any other local bloggers?!