I’ve never been much of a party animal, scarred by High Commission cocktail parties in West Africa, where the frenetic flickering of people’s eyes, scanning the room to identify someone more useful than me to talk to, was always very off-putting. Now, as an amputee, I find social gatherings even more of a challenge. The first time someone trips over my prosthetic leg (which never folds away quite as neatly as the other one) and spills red wine on the cream carpet, people are quite kind. The second time, they are less so. Standing only really works if there is something solid to lean on within easy reach of somewhere to put a glass. Not being so quick on my feet can result in the unfortunate missing of circulating canapés. And it’s no good relying on Nurse Jackie for help. As soon as he’s through the door, he’s off – chattering away, exchanging recipes, extracting gossip and scandal and generally enjoying himself while I’m left trying to explain to the person next to me that just because I can’t move away and find someone more interesting to talk to, it doesn’t mean that they can’t.
I do have to admit to enjoying the Myriad Christmas party yesterday evening. I did stand on one fellow author’s foot for quite a long time before he politely brought the situation to my attention but, apart from that, all went well. I even managed to seek out (the delightfully modest and really nice) Elizabeth Haynes and congratulate her on her absolutely massive book sales, her very many foreign rights deals, and her forthcoming film of the book without sounding the slightest bit bitter and twisted. I hope.