He came! I was signing a copy of my book when I heard a familiar voice in my ear.
And there standing next to me was Jerome Bonnafont, Chirac’s spokesman.
‘You came!’ I exclaimed. ‘How wonderful!’
I procured a book and signed it with a mention for Franco-British relations which I classed as ‘notre vieux rivalitre qui nous tiens chaud au coeur.’ After flicking through a few pages, he promised to let me know his opinion when he’s read the book.
I was of course delighted by everyone who showed up. Old friends including my flatmate from when I worked in a Tex Mex restaurant at Montparnasse, and a former partner in crime from Brussels. New friends with flowers and smiles. My neighbour and her daughter. Old Fettesians come to show support for the Edinburgh school which we have in common with Tony Blair. French colleagues from the Association de la Presse Presidentielle and British and American colleagues from the Anglo-American press association were out in force.
I had absolutely no idea how many people would be able to come. I had total faith in Felix, who had organised everything and persuaded his mum to loan us her fabulous art gallery for the event, but I was still nervous. The white space of the Gallerie Nikki Diana Marquardt seemed awfully vast when Donato and I stood alone in the middle.
‘Taste this,’ said Farid as he and his Nouveaux Traiteurs set up the cocktail they’d prepared for around 200 people. It was the only time I had time to eat any of his delicious nibbles.
The first to arrive were my work colleagues, closely followed by Jean-Claude and the team from Gawsewitch. And suddenly I was in a whirl, greeting people with never enough time to chat. After a little more than an hour, we decided to welcome everyone. Donato filmed my wee speech, which I watched again today. Very Gwyneth Paltrow, though thankfully without the tears and the pink dress. Cringily though, there was lots of hand waving and touching of my heart. And my bra strap decided to jump out from under my dress and decorate my arm.
‘Trop mignonne,’ said a French friend kindly.
People stayed until around 11 p.m. when we ran out of wine. Donato and I left Farid to clear up, and stolled out into the romantic evening darkness of the Place des Vosges.
Postcript: To hear the Radio France interview of this morning with Dominique Andre, click here.