Welcome to Didsbrook, a sleepy market town nestling in the bosom of a conservation area. It can be accessed either by train or by car, but there is only one way in, and one way out. It is a pastoral dead end. An idyllic haven, surrounded by rolling, untouched, countryside; one of the last remaining bastions of serenity in England’s green and pleasant land.
Edna is a member of DAWG, the Didsbrook Authors and Writers Group and is blessed with an unwavering self-belief that she is about to join the ranks of world-renown authors. She is convinced she is Didsbrook’s answer to J. K. Rowling, hence her rather suspect non-de-plume, E. D. Fowling.
Her work-in-progress and future bestseller is Dulcie Darling and the Wizard’s Cauldron. It’s about a fourteen-year-old busybody. No… wash my mouth out with soap. Dulcie Darling is a meddlesome teenager who is blessed with magical powers. Her wizardry inherited from her mother who, quite by accident, ate magic mushrooms when she was pregnant. Week by week members of DAWG are enchanted by Edna’s jaunty readings of the ‘away with the fairies’ Dulcie as she magically extracts herself from farcical situations.
Edna believes a pen name will be essential after Dulcie’s exploits are published, otherwise, her privacy will be exposed. After she finished the tenth rewrite, she collared me in Hargreaves, Didsbrook’s old-fashioned purveyor of meat. An orderly queue of customers had formed, spilling out of the door and onto the pavement. Didsbrookians prefer to pay twice as much to watch Mr Hargreaves hack off their chosen Sunday joint with his cleaver and give the hermetically sealed equivalent from the supermarket down the road the cold shoulder.
Edna has a very loud, booming voice and Hargreaves is a very small shop with a sawdust-covered wooden flooring, which amplified her theatrical tones.
‘Of course, once my book is reviewed, and no doubt you will be reviewing it too won’t you, Lucy dear?’
I manage a feeble smile and nod.
‘It will be all over the press, the Internet and goodness knows… everywhere else. I’ll have fans turning up on the doorstep asking me for autographs every five minutes and, although I appreciate attracting thousands of fans to Didsbrook would do wonders for the local economy, as I am sure Mr Hargreaves here would agree…’
She paused to look at Mr Hargreaves who smiled vacantly, then bore his cleaver down onto an inert carcass as Edna continued.
‘I know they would mean well, but they would take up far too much of my time whilst I’m writing the sequel.’
Us aspiring writers need to keep the faith, and I so wish mine was as strong as Edna’s.