I book a place on the Society of Author’s Self Publishing Event. I am desperate. Walking up Park Place towards the Royal Overseas Club, there is an elderly couple in front of me, and then another two dribble down from a cut through on Arlington Street, one leaning heavily on a stick. I imagine they are attending a reunion, or an Age Concern fundraiser, at another address. But when I get into the building there are hoards of infirm on the staircase, some of them finding it difficult to scale.
I disappear off to the lavatory, thinking that the OAP gathering will have gathered by the time I’ve finished, so that I can make my way freely up the stairs. But when I return the situation has grown worse.
The handwritten sign states that the Self-Publishing Event will be on the second floor, and as I overtake the hoards of pensioners clinging to the bannister railing, I begin to wonder whether there’s been some kind of mistake.
The room, when I find it, is full. There must be more than a hundred people, and less than ten are under the age of sixty. For the affordable booking fee there is one biscuit, and a cup of stewed tea.