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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Port Sunlight

I have been out of blog action finishing Blacklight, the third Peter Cotton book. The fourth is already started but I have to find a name for it.

So back a while, to the Ellis Peters Historical Award ceremony on the 4th November. All very civilized and friendly. I had already felt, perhaps from the follow through from Wolf Hall, that it was going to be a Tudor year.

Delighted for Rory Clements and his artist wife Naomi that Revenger won. I had met Rory and Andrew Williams before since we are all John Murray writers. Andrew Taylor was, as always, generous and amiable and I met S J Parris (Stephanie Merritt) for the first time and instantly forgave her for being the same age as my elder daughter. C J Sansom, the runner-up, also with a Tudor book, couldn’t be there. I may be wrong but I think I heard the word flu.

Another reason I felt it was a Tudor year was because we were on the site of Bridewell Palace, Henry VIII’s residence after Westminster Palace burnt down in 1512 and where the papal delegation arrived to discuss the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

The reason I know this is because my father worked for many years in the old Unilever building and I remember visiting him along what felt like the dark passages of some Pharaoh’s tomb many years ago.

All that has gone. Inside the fa├žade is a mercifully light filled structure. I went up in a glass lift with someone who said ‘Wasn’t all this built by someone who made soap?’ Not exactly. But there was something about all the glass that induced a sensation not of stepping on the past but of reflected ghosts. There is time and there is space repeatedly occupied and left.

Thanks to everyone there.

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