Saturday, March 08, 2008


I don't know if I'm fighting off some winter bug, or whether it's the altitude and the extreme dryness of the air here, but I'm feeling pretty crap. Sore throat. Bloody nose.

I look in the mirror and see deep lines etched beneath my eyes. Eyes that peer back at me, tired and watery.

Jees, I've been on the go without stopping since last Monday. An event every day, sometimes two. A flight from Houston to Denver. The prospect of flying on Monday into the arctic cold and snow of Minneapolis. It's more than five weeks since I left home. Still nearly two weeks to go.

I figure I'm going to be staggering over the finish line.

So stop grizzling, you moaning git, and get on with it!!

Okay. So actually yesterday was a not bad day. I managed to miss the cocktail party laid on by my New York publisher, St. Martin's Press, at the conference hotel. Evidently, they had cunningly concealed it in a place that made it impossible for me to find. Probably I was the only one who couldn't find it. If I was being paranoid, I might think they had planned it that way!

But the truth is, I was kinda glad. I never know anyone at these things. And you end up standing around like a spare whatsit at a wedding, clutching a drink you don't want, forcing smiles for people you've never seen before.

We had another taxi adventure on the way to the Alliance Francaise. Another taxi driver who had no idea where he was going, plumbed the address into his GPS, then proceeded to ignore its every instruction.

In my day, taxi drivers knew every street in a city. Now it seems all you need is a driving licence and a (very) tenous grasp of English. GPS has saved our bacon on a number of outings this trip, but it has a lot to answer for where taxi drivers are concerned.

It was Open Night at the Alliance Francaise, and we had a full house in our small lecture room - standing room only. I began my talk in French, but a lot of those there didn't speak it, so I switched back to English. Then ended the night doing a TV interview in French for a local Denver station, with an interviewer who whispered his questions in a strong Caribbean accent. When you throw my Scottish accented French into the equation, I wonder if anyone will understand it!!

Then it was a trawl along Santa Fe Drive, where young people thronged the pavements, drifting in and out of the myriad art galleries and restaurants that line the street - an event that takes place on the first Friday of every month.

Two huge Margaritas, a beef burrito and a chicken quesadilla, filled the empty space in our stomachs and we headed home to feed Pierre (Charles and Marilyn's cat - they are away for a couple of days to attend a family funeral)(Charles and Pierre in pic).

Today, my final event in Denver - a panel discussing the subject of "Romancing the Mystery". I'm actually quite looking forward to that one.

The gala dinner tonight. If I feel up to it I might wear my kilt. A day of rest on Sunday, then up sticks and on to Minnesota.

My only worry now is whether my taxi driver will be able to find the conference hotel.!!

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