Reflexology for Dogs

Over the years I come across copies of my books in various odd places: international airports, a cottage I once rented near Alnwick, a box of second hand books so ill-regarded that no one cares if you steal them. In the case of Lara’s Child I recall seeing a copy in Abu Dhabi airport, and in a junk shop in Barmouth, and in the library of a Fred Olsen cruise ship.

I mention this because the idea of revising and re-publishing Lara’s Child got me wondering where I was going to get a copy to send to my publisher, Marble City (after I gave my last spare to MI – a fan) – not that there is any rush. The odds of finding one in the next five years were, frankly, not good: witness that MI could not get one on the internet. Hmmm… a problem.

The missus and I went to Durham this last weekend to the 50th anniversary reunion following our going up as students in 1966. My cheerful failure at life was duly underlined by the fact that some of our contemporaries are members of the House of Lords and one is a squillionaire who has a university building named after him . As an occasion it is not desperately interesting, but you get to see who are the survivors still bailing out the lifeboat. We got in a dance or two.

So here we are, driving to Durham and we decide to stop at Holmfirth (of Last of the Summer Wine), which is a charming little town where one can usefully eat at a lovely cafe-cinema up a cobbled lane and browse the 2d hand bookshop or buy a shawl (in the missus’ case). There is also a plain 18th century church which on this occasion was open, and inside were some sculptures by a local fellow, and several pews full of 2d hand books – take your pick and drop the money in the honesty box.

And bugger me if – in God’s House of all places – there wasn’t a nice copy of Lara’s Child for £2.50. Spooky! And me an atheist.

On a loosely related theme, on the same occasion we called on our friend and recent widow, whose husband died a couple of weeks ago. Her family are notorious New Age airheads though pleasant enough, and T herself is lovely.

So we are talking about families and stuff, and the subject of sister P comes up – P being definitely a few cents short of a full Euro. We enquire what she is up to apart from casual cleaning jobs and other hand-to-mouth stuff. At which point T says, quite seriously, that P has written a “well researched” book and is looking for a publisher.

Is anyone out there interested in “Reflexology for Dogs”?