Monday, 22 October 2012

Lost weekends and the Hedgerows Heaped with May


Weird old weekend, spent mainly in the past.  As anyone who knows me on Facebook will have realized, I finally got a scanner and indulged in a totally over-the-top nostalgia fest.  Pictures spanning a century (no, I’m not quite that old – I found some of my mother’s old photo albums too). 
Living in a box, living in a cardboard box.
It was bittersweet, the way looking at the past often is.  I compounded it by reading through old diaries.  And then, just to cap it all, I decided to tackle my box files and weeded through a decade of accounts and cuttings and clippings and other detritus.   Dear god, I was another person entirely – earning a packet (THAT much?  SHIT!) and spending a packet (mainly, has to be said, on doing up the derelict money pit otherwise known as the Rectory).  I didn’t have time to think – one year I think I wrote six books (quite apart from doing a shedload of journalism and TV and radio).  Funny old world, huh? 
Shoulda spent more on hairdressing, huh?  
Anyhow, the passed is past and I had a big bonfire (of my vanities) and there you go. 
Burn! 
And then lovely Zoe and her lovely husband came over to visit and I was going to be all Nigella-ish and make them pukka tea with scones and wotnot but they came early so the poor sods ended up taking me out to lunch (at lovely Woods, of course) and then I spent a bit of time dragging Zoe round the estate agents in town and pointing out the delights of Dulverton in the hope she would decide it really was time to ship out and come on down to Exmoor. 

And then, the post came.  A thick parcel from Aurum Press.  Huh?  I opened it up and there were two fat hardbacks sitting inside.  The Hedgerows Heaped with May.  Huh?  The Telegraph Book of the Countryside, edited by Stephen Moss. Huh?

And then I remembered.  That piece I’d written for the Telegraph, years back, about Liz Jones being such an arsey cow when she moved to Exmoor.  22 August 2009, to be precise.  Time flies, huh?  Based on that blog post. 

Anyhow, it was being included in a compilation of ‘the best writing’ on the countryside from the Telegraph.  Well, well.  Even better they were asking me to invoice – for fifty quid.  Not quite a fifteen grand royalty cheque but hey…every little helps right? 

The book is quite nice actually.  It’s got contributions from people like Clive James, James May (hey, how come he gets his name in the title??), Max Hastings (The Hedgerows Heaped with Hastings?), Joanna Trollope (umm, better not) and Boris Johnson. And, er...me.  

11 comments:

Irene said...

Congratulations on being included. That must be such a kick. I'd love to see something I had written in print. Of course I'd have to do my best for it first. That's a bit of a problem. Do you have all the work that you have written neatly lined up on your bookcase? Yeah, I bet you do!

Exmoorjane said...

Irene: Thank you. And yes it was.. And no I don't... :)

And oh yes you could...and no, it isn't... :)

Traci York said...

Given that we're so close in age, I've been loving your photo-stroll down memory lane! I plan to return the favor in the very near future.

Congrats on landing a spot in the hedgerow!

Midlife Singlemum said...

Congratulations! Fifty quid will just about pay for a new ink cartridge for your scanner. I would love to read the story of The Old Rectory - bought, restored, and somehow lost? I am intrigued.

Rob-bear said...

Ah, well done, you! And 50 quid is not a kick in the head with a cold boot. I even remember that post of yours, which I thought was right on.

Now, the old Rectory. It that where you are living now? Do tell the story. (You are more than a passable story-teller.)

Kim Jewell said...

Fab news! Congrats on being included in the book! Can I get an autographed copy?! :)

skybluepinkish said...

What a lovely surprise. I read your LJ post. I am in rural County Durham, I know only to well the "I bought this Mansion for the price of a London garage but the locals are so prehistoric"

The bike shed said...

Congratulations - and at least it's fifty quid. Last week I was offered an 800 word article for major regional press title about my book - 'we don't pay' of course, they said.
It reminded me of your post recently - so annoying. And in this case they know I'll do it because I want the exposure for the book.

I remember that post about LJ too, and your interview on radio.

Margaret Grant said...

Congratulations and well deserved!

Ross Mountney said...

Know that you mean about visiting the past. The digging I've just done for my latest book wasn't quite as far back as yours but it still rakes up old emotions! Congratulations on your piece being included. BW s

Zoƫ said...

Haha, sorry to have turned your Saturday on its head - I enjoyed myself though.

Wondered what was in that package we dragged up from the altar and now I know. Congratulations - and so very well deserved. Really hope this is the beginning of better things xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx