Dateline: 18 January 2012
I went to an Author's evening on Saturday.
To my certain knowledge there were two authors present - Charlie Boorman and me.
I played it cool, acknowledged Charlie with a nod and a graceful smile.
He was promoting his new book about Extreme Adventures, Crossing Canada. The format was that a young woman from the bookshop organising the event interviewed him; he gave anecdotal replies and showed clips from his shows.
He was very funny, made a lot of jokes at his own expense and I, and everyone else, laughed a lot.
To my amazement I didn't mention my own book or try to grab any glory. But then my book is about landscape gardening and not many long distance bikers are interested. You can buy it if you want to on Amazon. Search for Derek Mansfield And as prices start at a mere 01 pence it's a bargain. With only 23 copies left it may well become a collectors item.
I am not one of the bikers who rubbish the journeys that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman made. They were celebrities before they started their biking adventure; the journey was made into a TV series that helped create this adventure cult. Of course they had a back up team; they had a hell of lot more to organise than Joe Soap and his mates riding off to Scarborough for a weekend campout.
Serious adventure bikers know that E&B worked damned hard on the ride - they did the miles, they picked up the bikes they dropped and they made friends with unsanitized folk. The TV show demonstrated pretty accurately what happens on a long distance ride.
I took some friends to Charley's evening. We all had a good time - and it was less than a fiver per head. Mr Boorman ain't getting rich from this.
Charley also wrote on the flysheet of my copy of his book "To Derek, from one to another." How kind.
I didn't elucidate about the drink, drugs, rock 'n' roll, fast women, stardom, long distance riding or books about landscape gardening so he had no idea of the significance of what "from one to another" meant. I asked, he wrote.
It was his night and I was there in small walk on part as "member of the audience looking interested and nodding"
What Mr Boorman said was this.
"Anyone can do it.
Planning is part of the fun.
In the end, just get up and go."
It's true. You just need to start the motor, put bike into gear, and go.
Meantime, one kind man queuing to get his book signed did say to me - "Can you finish the chapter on Turkey on your website Derek, I'm really keen to read it"
So there's fame. Thank you. And I will.