Thursday, February 08, 2007


It rained. What can I say? It just rained out of a bruised and battered sky all the way to San Francisco, and all the way back. The city that we had seen so clearly from the Bay Bridge just twenty-four hours earlier, had disappeared in the downpour.

San Francisco itself was grey and cold, people with their heads down, hurrying huddled beneath shiny wet umbrellas.

The book event was at the Book Passage bookstore in the ferry terminal building which has been turned into a lively market. We wandered amongst exotic stores selling everything from caviar to Champagne.

At the bookstore we were greeted by Ron Jin, who could not have been more enthusiastic about "Extraordinary People". He LOVED it, he said - the taste and sounds and smells of Paris that rose from the pages - and that once caught by the story he had been unable to put it down. 'It was literally a page-turner,' he told me. 'The kind of book you have to read in one sitting.'

Which was exactly the kind of encouragement I needed on a cold, wet, San Franciscan night, with a long tour still stretching ahead of me.

It wasn't a big crowd. "Intimate" is how it might be described. No one really wants to venture out on a night like that. As I spoke I could see, through the window in the dark, lines of commuters with raincoats and hats hurrying up gangplanks to waiting ferries. Across the bay, you could just make out the lights of Sausalito through the mist and rain.

I gave my talk, and my impression of Enzo Macleod, and signed piles of books that Ron had lined up for me. And as we left, to face the long, wet journey back to Sacramento, he gave me a beautifully wrapped box - a gift, with the compliments of the store. It turned out to be a very classy stationery set, with my name embossed on the cards.

Thanks, Ron, and thanks, Book Passage. We'll certainly be back next year for the follow-up to "EP", with wine from Gaillac for a "book tasting" at the store on market day.

A day of rest now, before heading south tomorrow to visit Susie's winery at Santa Maria.

A ferry loading commuters in the rain...

We had lunch with Hibbard and Sharon Williams. Former dean of the UC Davis medical school, it was Hibbard who introduced me to my pathology adviser, Dr. Steve Campman...

1 comment:

Carol and Chris said...

It's nice to know that it is not just Scotland that is cold, wet and miserable!!