Chobham has held an annual Music Festival for the last 19 years. It has gone from strength to strength and attracts prestigious musicians of many genres.
This year for the first time they had a Literary Lunch as well. In conjunction with Waterstones they approached author T D Griggs (The Warning Bell is one of his best selling novels but published under the pen name Tom MacAulay) to speak before the meal.
Following my success as an Olympic Storyteller and the publication of some of my prize-winning poems in the village magazine, I too was delighted to be asked to give a short talk about my exploits over coffee.
The invitation was given several months ago and I pushed it to the back of my mind, then, with one week to go decided I needed to think about what I would say…not to mention collect all my Storyteller material into book form to sell!
Despite many of the photographs I would have liked to include being ‘locked’ on to my phone (another story entirely) I managed to design a cover and assemble the book in time for copies to be on sale at the Festival Café. All of this diverted me from the words I needed…
By the morning of the lunch I had managed to assemble four headings, and, clutching a copy of the book (Chobham’s Olympic Links) decided that would have to do, especially as I had my stint at the Country Market to get through before a quick change from Sally Blackmore, marketeer to Sally J Blackmore, poet!
In the rush to be at the right place at the right time I forgot to be worried, and after an excellent lunch, faced the audience, and just spoke about why I had loved storytelling about all the people of the village who were part of the great success that was London 2012; about the amazing effect this summer has had on the nation; about the way I have enjoyed seeking out and chatting to so many new people and writing the stories and poems for the BT website.
As I spoke I became aware of that amazing phenomenon, the ‘listening silence’. It happens occasionally when teaching a class and I remember the feeling of grace it leaves behind. It happened as I spoke at the ChobLit lunch and I would like to thank everyone who listened and reacted so positively to what I had to say…and all those who have subsequently bought copies of the book, Chobham’s Olympic Links.