Tuesday, March 04, 2008

DAY 32 Pt. 2

With tornadoes forecast, I decided not to wear the kilt today. Well... I'd be a bonnie teuchie with my plaid up around my ears. And I might just have been arrested for indecent exposure!

As it happened, the wind never got above strong. Early morning rain dried up.

But it was cooooold. For Texas, freeezing. After a temperature of 70 degrees farenheit yesterday, it seemed like a chilling portent of colder climes to come.

Betty guided us down the I45, one-and-a-half hours to downtown Houston, and we arrived at Murder by the Book as readers were gathering to hear me speak. Given that the main event is tomorrow night at the Alliance Francaise, I was surprised to find that we had a full house.

Among those who came to hear me speak were James Hamilton and Stephanie Burns - old friends of my former boss at Scottish Television, Robert Love. Robert was Head of Drama at STV for most of my time there as a scriptwriter, editor and storyliner. He also "discovered" La Patronne, when one of her controversial early stage plays was playing at a theatre in Glasgow. He commissioned her to adapt the play for television, and moved seamlessly from facilitator to mentor.

When we were setting off on the tour he asked me to send him a schedule, promising to let his many friends around America know when we were in town. And so it was that James and Stephanie turned up to support me. It was a joy to meet them.

Also at the event was a Scottish girl, Kimberley, from Aberdeen, whose husband's job in the oil business had led them to Houston. Reading that a Scottish writer was to be speaking at the bookstore, she persuaded all her neighbours to come with her, and so a large crowd of women squeezed into the front row to hear me talk.

I also recognised some old faithfuls from previous years, and ended up signing a pile of books at the end of the evening.

We didn't have any Gaillac wines at the event, but the bookstore provided some Calfornian chardonay to whet the appetite.

Tomorrow night a case of Sarrabelle wines will be available for tasting, air-freighted at great expense from Weygandt-Metzler's warehouse in Philadelphia.

My only concern is that the event coincides with the Democratic and Republican primaries in Texas. TV coverage has been endless. The Democratic race is too close to call, but if Hillary loses, then it's curtains for her bid to be President. In Texas there is a vote, then a caucus. The votes take place earlier in the day, but the caucusing begins at 7.15pm - 45 minutes after the start of the event at Alliance Francaise. Whether it affects turnout remains to be seen, but such is the election fever here in Texas, that it wouldn't surprise me if my audience consisted entirely of Republicans.

As long as they buy books and wine, I'll be happy.

As we drove away in the dark in search of the freeway at the end of the evening, a bolt of lighting split the blue-black sky above downtown Houston. A bolt from the blue - which is what Hillary must be hoping for tomorrow.

But the forecast is for clear skies and sunshine, so I'm not sure it will happen.

We live in interesting times.

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