That was my favourite word on Tuesday. It sounds like a tree full of chimpanzees with a bowl of trifle.
A perfect word for a day of travelling north on the train. Watching the waves and the rain through the window. Arriving in Edinburgh to the skirl of the pipes and a bustle of excitement at visiting the Book Festival.
Meeting Lesley in a whirl of a hug and setting off walking, talking ten to the dozen. Drifting through the street theatre, finding a warm café and settling down with cake and coffee and more chat.
Dodging the raindrops and ducking into the gallery in search of art and landscapes and portraits that looked freshly painted. Smiling at Vincent’s silver trees and light shadows between the clouds on a hillside.
Parting with plans ready made for another meeting. And then solo, finding my way through the street magic to a quiet enclave of tents, books and stories.
My favourite writer greeted with affection by an appreciative crowd. Remembering the last time we were together in this place when two mischievous authors tested the skills of the sign language interpreter. Mr Gaiman tells his enraptured gathering of short stories that won’t stay short. Of the old country over the duckpond. Of the older country that sank and the even older one that blew up.
Speaking with affection for one of his best loved characters and how she came about. Mixing the inherent sexism of language, with the essence of a myth of the beauty of death. “It’s a great job. It gets you out and about. You get to meet people. You get to meet everyone.”
Of the unprompted applause when he speaks of The Doctor’s Wife and the best ever answer to the question, “What’s your favourite book?”
And stories, stories, stories. Those told and loved. Those waiting for the right moment. The rare one that came dream bound and perfect. Going to Hell in a hot air balloon. Vikings sailing to Jerusalem. A wild head full of dark, bright imaginings and always the promise of more.
And later still, more writers, more words from Dark Angels Jamie Jauncey and John Simmons. Words loved and hated. Words mangled out of meaning. And the clear sharp minds that cut through like a skater on a lake. A reminder that writing should be kind, human. That being a writer is about simply being. Right now in the moment.
When I return home, much later and more weary, a million shades and colours dance in my dreams.