It's 13th March 2006. Publication day! As from now, my novel is available all over the Commonwealth, and that slot on the bookshelf that I spotted as a kid - somewhere between Drabble and Du Maurier - will at last be occupied by RITES OF SPRING. Is it possible to know, when you're 10 years old, that one day in 30 years' time there will be a 13th March 2006, there will be a book on a shelf, and the dream everyone says is just a dream will become real? Actually, if anybody had told me then, I'd simply have been horrified to think that it was going to take 30 years.
Tom, the lucky old thing, is in San Francisco today as the LPO is in the middle of a three-week tour of the US. Kurt Masur went off sick the day before the tour began, unfortunately (rumours of high blood pressure, which I can't confirm), and Osmo Vanska stepped in for the first few gigs, with Masur's assistant Minchuk taking over for the rest of California. I have 13th March all to myself here in London. It's a suitably spring-like morning: very cold, but bright, with that pale, silvery sunshine that's unique to March. What shall I do with my special celebratory day?
The answer is easy: get on with the next book.