Thursday evening saw Madelaine and me driving from Winchester to Petersfield. It was one of those evenings that England does so well; with shadows lengthening and the warmth of the day still lingering. The drive along the A272 is a pretty route with lovely views to the south, and the atmosphere in the car was one of suppressed excitement.
We were off to One Tree Books in Lavant Street where Slightly Foxed were celebrating the launch of their fourteenth Slightly Foxed Editions, Hand-grenade Practice in Peking by Frances Wood.
Madelaine has long been a fan of Slightly Foxed and introduced me to their quarterly review; a delightful tactile production full of well-written recommendations for books that have enduring interest.
One Tree Books is one of my favourite bookshops; it is one of the surviving independent bookshops and successfully combines books with a great café, and upstairs a selection of maps and notebooks and other bookish delights.
Slightly Foxed have hit on the rather clever idea of launching each of their Editions in turn at a different Independent bookshop and inviting their local subscribers to come along for the event. So you have the perfect environment enhanced by wine and nibbles and a room full of people with similar interests. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.
I had a good chat with Tim, the owner of One Tree Books and learned the history of his time there, while I confessed that it was one of my favourite places to meet my long-time friend Hilary, for coffee, cake and book-browsing.
The author Frances Wood was there; a delightfully unaffected lady who seemed vaguely surprised by all the interest in her book.
Short speeches by one of the editors of Slightly Foxed, by Tim and finally by Frances herself, were followed by a chance to get your copy of the cloth bound, butter yellow Hand-grenade Practice in Peking signed.
All in all a perfectly lovely evening.