It has been my privilege to work with two groups lately. They are both 'Friends of' local libraries, in a trend that is set to continue as library budgets are squeezed. Local libraries are hubs of activity and if the council cannot afford to run services from them, friends of the library step in.
On Saturday 14 June I was delighted to be the first guest speaker of the new Friends of Bitterne Library group in Southampton. They seem to be a lively group, so I hope that things go well for them.
I was invited to speak about my book, Under the Queen's Colours and I showed images and read extracts from the book to bring the characters inside alive. I was delighted when one of the audience was able to describe how he was 'persuaded' (i.e. tricked into going to a certain point on the ship and then bundled unceremoniously along thereafter) to join in the Crossing The Line ceremony, when King Nepture anoints the sea farer who has not crossed the equator before, in this gentleman's case with condensed milk that took days to wash out of his hair!
I like talking to small groups. They are usually interested and eager and that is infectious.
I have been also been working with the Friends of Portswood Library, also in Southampton, and have given talks there recently. I will shortly be speaking there again and, indeed, opening an exhibition for them, on 28 June, to mark Armed Forces Day.