I have been invited for a book signing at the very tempting, Cafe des Fleurs, which is situated near to the coast on The Stand Quay in Rye. www.cafedesfleurs.co.uk Owner, Lucy Forrester, helped with some of the styling and flowers for my latest book - including the shoe filled with rose buds that is on the front cover. I arrive clutching a framed print of this shot for her, plus a few pairs of shoes, which I thought we could fill with flowers as extra decoration for the signing.
Before I unload anything more I stroll around to a gently curving road called The Mint to find the B&B I will be staying in. Simmons Guest House is owned by Lucy's good friends, Mark and Ray, and they have kindly offered me a bed for the night, in return for some signed books which they are going to place in their bedrooms.
As I have heard from Lucy that their guesthouse is very stylish and gorgeous I call this a very good deal. So, as an extra thank you, I have put a second framed print in the car for them. This is one of my favourite shots from the book - a 'bubble' bath full of roses.
I am more than happy with our barter. And if you fancy a trip to Rye I suggest having a look at Mark & Ray's website. I rather like the fact the station is so close to the town centre, so I am already planning to come back by train for a leisurely weekend.
I do love a really comfortable bed with crisp white linen!
Having been welcomed by Ray, and dropped some bags off in my room, I head down to The Strand Quay to find Lucy again.
Everything is ready; the shop is a blaze of colour and there are piles of books waiting.
Lucy and her staff have been busy making cakes and scones, all served for their guests on vintage china.
Soon the shop is filled with family, friends and customers. Including Lucy's 5 year old nephew Ben who seems to enjoy sweeping the floor for her in exchange for brownies!
Chatting to Lucy's parents it is not long before I find we have friends in common and that their neice (also called Sally Page) used to live in the next road to me. I know it is a cliche but I am going to say it anyway - it is a small world.
After an afternoon of talking books and flowers it is back to my room to get ready for supper in one of the many interesting restaurants that seem to abound in Rye. Lucy's parents have asked us all out for dinner. I am told I must try the local fish and the sussex lamb - and who am I to argue!
I walk up to join them through this ancient and beautiful town and think how lucky I am. And if this was not all; later on I can return to my heavenly bedroom, complete with luxurious smellies, a selection of DVDs and a bowl full of old fashioned sweets.
As Billy Kelly would say (and this is best said with an Irish accent) 'Sally Page, it is not only happy you are, but blessed'