Like so many women d'un certain age I am a member of a book club.
I'd like to say that we are an eclectitc and funky group...but in truth we are bunch of Mums who have kids in the same school. We are all married, over forty and have a pair of white linen trousers hanging in our wardrobes.
Attending my book club is without the doubt the most middle class thing I have ever done.
In its defence, though, we are a loud and opinionated bunch. We don't sit around politely nodding our heads. Discussions are often heated. Plus we all drink like George Best after a month in rehab.
Shouting is a common occurance, crying is not unheard of.
Anyhow...we were asked by a TV company to review a book for a chanel four programme and we agreed.
At first we began to fret about what we would say, but that was soon brushed aside as paranoia over whether we could all lose a stone in three days settled in.
The book in question was The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson, a compelling tale set in a deliciously rural and run down Provencal farm house. It's being featured, quite rightly, as a big Summer read, given that each page is redolent with the scent of endless lavender fields, and the idea was for us to review it in a similarly sunshiney vibe at a pub on the river with the light glittering off the water and our wine glasses. White linen trousers a go-go.
Naturally, on the morning of the shoot it was pissing it down. Not a small shower or what my Mum charmingly describes as 'spitting', no this was proper rain. And wind. And cold.
My club mates wondered if filming would be cancelled or at least postponed, but if I've learned anything from writing it's that sometimes you have to work with what you've got. So I wore white trousers and sunglasses almost as an act of defiance. One of my mates kindly brought a plastic carrier for me to sit on, pointing out that a wet bum is never a good look.
In the end we filmed inside. Which was fine...but by God do these things take time. We filmed for over three hours which will probably translate into about three minutes of telly. I was very pleased with what I thought was a snappy little soundbite: 'A great Summer read for the thinking Summer reader.' Pleased until I had to repeat it about fifteen times...it had, to be honest, lost its shine by then and I'll cheerfully let it drop from my cannon.
Time and again the camera guy changed his angle, checked the light, asked for a repeat. Little was left to chance and I was reminded of the writing process and how you just can't tell how much time and effort goes into making something work. Indeed the easier it looks, the more seamless the end product, the flipping more time consuming the project is.
In the end when the shoot wrapped (get me with my insiders lingo) we all went away with a new found admiration for the graft behind the scenes that no-one sees...