I'M OFF to another bash - no, it's too early for Glastonbury - I'm going to a literary event. Well, that's what they call book festivals these days. I broke my duck at Oxford a few years ago when I donned blue stockings and sensible lace-ups (not really) for a talk by author Mavis Cheek at Christchurch College.
The main attraction was actually the college itself - such a beautiful building and full of Lewis Carroll stuff, as the author, real name Charles Dodgson, was a don there.
Next was Cheltenham, another beautiful city and plenty of lively speakers, from news journalist Rageh Omaar to Tony Benn and Roy Hattersley (a great combination), Virginia Ironside, June Whitfield and Jo Brand, all of course promoting books.
There's plenty of browsing to be done at these events: souvenir postcards, pens and of course books, which authors are only too willing to sign. Just try and stop them.
A couple of weeks ago a friend and I 'did' the Swindon Festival of Literature. Doesn't have quite the same ring.
We settled for a vegetable chilli jacket potato and a talk by a man who's written a book about people power. Ironically the theatre was only half full.
When he came to a bit about protest groups I was happy to show off about our brilliant troops in Hillingdon who fought off the third runway at Heathrow.
I also pointed out that some Goliaths, like Tesco, seem immune to local protest. I suppose our 'Davids', armed only with the equivalent of a sling and stone would still say: "Every little helps".
This time we're off to the Hay Festival, where I'm looking forward to hearing one of my favourite authors, Joanna Trollope, as well as Hollywood star Rob Lowe being interviewed by Mariella Frostrup. And of course, buying books and sampling the Hay brand of jacket potatoes. * Finally, it was great to be invited to the annual meeting of Hillingdon Council, where new mayor Mary O'Connor announced she will be supporting local mental health charities during her year.
Mary has a wealth of experience in the field; she worked at Ealing Hospital for many years and received the MBE for services to nursing. Now it's our turn to support her. Contact the mayor's office with any fundraising ideas on 01895 250 763 or email mayor@ hillingdon.gov.uk.