“We’ll do 1500 words on you. Our last interviewees were Michael Morpurgo and David Owen,” says the journalist.
Hah! I’m going to be famous at last! Cover story of a highly influential and illustrious fortnightly newspaper called “The Moorlander”, bought by at least 550 people living across Dartmoor.
The publisher and editor, who’s also the photographer, turns out to be an old online date of mine – we met at The Two Bridges a few years ago and share numerous past acquaintances from our London days.
I am interviewed by a delightful young man called Ross, who was at school when I was living through the tragedy of Foot & Mouth. Ross told me that when they were informed about the outbreak, all his schoolmates put their feet into their mouths – ha ha; I’d never heard that one before.
Well he doesn’t really need to ask me anything, as I embark on two hours of talking about myself without pause for breath.
I’m finding that these days I’m washing my hair rather more often than usual, as I don’t like Him seeing me with hat-hair post horse-riding, and now I’ve really had to do it yet again for the photographs. I hope they’re good. I have been looking my best ever, since I have become thin, tanned and happy, despite my great age.
“Could you wear anything but black?” requests Stephen, the photographer.
“No – I’ve been through that before with the Telegraph, so I wore grey and didn’t like it. I gather that if you were the Daily Mail I would have to wear hideous bright primary colours. But my signature colour is black,” I reply.
He hands me a current copy of the newspaper, which he established a couple of years ago because he was bored after retiring from Fleet Street. It actually turns a healthy profit and has now reached a print-run of 9,000.
“Where do all your customers live?” I query. “Do sheep buy The Moorlander?
“Actually, thinking about it, I need a plumber,” I continue. “Is there an ad for one in there? Now I understand its popularity,” as I reach for his copy, and discover, blow me down, that they’re planning three pages on Moi, featuring a full page head shot. Yikes!
It turns out that a couple of months ago they featured Faye’s godfather, who lives in Chagford and is one of my very best friends. He was co-producer of Tubular Bells and is now one of the leading digital remastering engineers in the world, operating from his own studio based in central nowhere, working for some of the biggest names in the music business. Wow! Me and my ilk are beginning to come out of the woodwork now we’re retirement age!
I have to be fairly careful about what I say, as this thing is going to be read by an awful lot of people I know. I am probably going to annoy, as an over-privileged mad rich posh bird. Well I’m in the paper’s hands now, and there’s not a lot left I can do.
“Err – would you like me to write a column for you?” I suddenly burst out. “Obviously you wouldn’t have to pay me!”
The publisher gently shows me the column they already run. It contains the same sort of stuff I’ve written here about vegans, only the paper’s writer is ruder. Bollocks. I’m not sure I can compete with her.
But anyway. The whole thing has given me a kick up the bum, and, after a month of severe romantic distraction, here I am, back writing again.