Claudius is published today and I no longer work at the Scotsman.
There's a fair bit to catch up on, but I'll have to keep it short because I'm getting ready to go to Edinburgh for the launch.
Last Friday Alison and I were guests at the 2009 Jethart Callants Festival, a celebration of my home town's history and its links with the Border reivers. It was a fantastic occasion, with 250 riders following the Callant (a young man of the town chosen to lead the festival) and hundreds more enjoying the spectacle. We were treated like royalty, wined and dined, and spent a great afternoon in the company of some great people I hadn't met for about twenty-odd years, followed by a great night which rather fades away.
On Tuesday I left the Scotsman after almost nine years and was given a wonderful send-off by my workmates. My boss had some incredibly nice things to say about me, which were repeated by the forty or so people who came to the pub across the road for a leaving drink. I've never felt more appreciated in my life. I won't miss the job (I calculated that I'd put out 2,000 newspapers, attended 4,000 conferences and probably designed and overseen at least 50,000 pages, enough is enough) but I will miss the people. Ofcourse I have concerns about where I'll be in a few years, there are no guarantees in life, but it was time to move on and the new book deal was too good an opportunity to miss.
The launch of Claudius takes place in Blackwell's bookshop in Edinburgh tonight. The family is staying at The Scotsman hotel, which was once the newspaper's old headquarters, it will be something of a last hurrah because there will have to be a bit of belt tightening from here on in. We've arranged to go for a drink at a bar caled Biblos afterwards. I told them to expect 40 people but Sam, my publicist tells me she has had 40 acceptances for the launch, plus the 40 from the bookshop. I know of at least twenty people who will just turn up, so it might be quite a party.