Once upon a time I was asked to contribute to this, originally a big full colour book edited by Bill Bryson, who at the time was Chairman or something of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. I was very pleased to be included in a list of contributors that included Kate Adie on gnomes and Benjamin Zephaniah on the Malvern Hills. And what a launch party we had. Michael Wood (Alfred's Cakes) brought along his John Mayall's Blues Breakers LP, the one with Eric Clapton (Newlands Corner) reading the Beano on the cover, in the hope that Eric would be there to sign it. He wasn't. I kept looking for Richard Mabey and he wasn't either. Truth be told it all became a bit of a blur, as Only Daughter and I were having such a good time. We looked unsteadily round the room until we espied Mr. Bryson nervously packing up his little leather briefcase. "Let's go and talk to whasisname" we both said at once, and did. My most coherent memory of the evening is poor old Bill fleeing resolutely into the Fitzrovia night.
Anyway, here's a new paperback, just out. I go on about post boxes, Bryan Ferry about the Penshaw Monument in Sunderland, Kevin Spacey on canal boating. Just to drop two more names. But all are worth reading, and this new edition of Icons of England has a fabulous new cover illustration by Neil Gower. Amazon are still showing the old cover with a post box (ooh) on it, but I'm sure that will change soon.