|A publicity shot of the husband|
taken by the very talented
The first time Aaron met Dan, he famously said, ‘Hi Dan Abnett’, just like that, except in capital letters... sort of. It’s what we call it when the husband is recognised by a a fan. It can happen anywhere. It has happened in the British Museum and in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. Yesterday it happened in Waitrose in Saxmundham.
I don’t shop. The husband generally does the shopping. Either that or we do it on-line. There are at least a couple of reasons why the husband does the shopping. I don’t drive and it doesn’t take two people to grocery shop, the husband does a good deal of the cooking, so it makes sense for him to shop, and, oddly enough, he actually rather enjoys shopping, and who am I to deny him his little pleasures?
Yesterday, the husband and I were shopping together in Saxmundham, because we are away this week on one of our little sojourns. We’re still working, but this week we’re doing it in a gorgeous house in a village called Peasenhall in Suffolk, courtesy of those lovely folk at the Landmark Trust. This one’s an old hall house, and very beautiful it is, too, but more of that later in the week.
So, we were in Waitrose in Saxmundham when a not-so little voice declared, “Dan Abnett”. We turned to look at the dashing young blonde man behind the deli counter, for it was he who had recognised the husband, and did what one does in that situation... We smiled and said hello. The husband stopped and spoke to the bloke, who coloured slightly, as they generally do, and I wheeled the trolley off to find more items from our holiday essentials list.
The husband caught up a few minutes later, and we had the conversation we generally have about how weird it is when someone recognises him.
It’s not weird, though. Nowadays, it’s weird if someone doesn’t recognise him. I don’t know how or why, but I can’t take him anywhere any more, and whenever he goes out alone, he always comes home with a story about how someone stopped him for a word or a signature.
The thing is, he’s not really famous. I don’t know how so many people recognise him. It’s not as if he’s off the telly or anything. I never recognise writers, and I especially never recognise them out of context. I might, I suppose, recognise a writer if I was, say, at a book Festival, but, otherwise, there’d be no chance.
Once in a while, usually in London, I might recognise someone or other, but they’d have to be pretty famous, and then I generally spend anything from hours to days trying to work out how the hell I know them, because the sighting was totally out of context.
I remember once asking the husband if we knew a woman we spotted in Waterstones in, I think, Blue Water. He said that we didn’t, but that I’d probably recognised her because she was Lorraine Kelly.
How on Earth the husband gets recognised by some bloke or other virtually every time he steps out of the front door is utterly beyond me.
We got to the checkout in Waitrose in Saxmundham, and the husband decided that he wanted one more thing, so I began to fill the conveyor belt while he bibbled off to find whatever it was.
That was strange, too. I never load the conveyor belt. In our house, if you pack the shopping, you have to unpack it at the other end, and because I’m fussy about that, the husband always does it. He arrived back pretty quickly, but, only two or three yards from the checkout, he was accosted again! The nice lad from behind the deli counter had come looking for him to get a signature, and engaged him in more conversation.
There was I, stranded!
Had it not been for Sue’s sterling help packing the shopping I would have been a cack-handed mess. I don’t shop. I’m not used to it.
To be fair to him, the husband did emerge from what was obviously a delightful fanboy encounter bang on time to pick up a newspaper and pay for the groceries. We both thanked Sue for all her help, and it was back to the car with all our lovely holiday bits and pieces.
I don't know if that feeling will ever wear off, but I'm always rather delighted and a bit proud when someone wants to speak to the husband or have him sign his name, just because they like and admire his work. Not everyone who does an honest day's work is appreciated the way that he is, and it's always a pleasure to see. The fans, to a man and woman, are a delight. They are polite and charming, and never intrusive, and they can come and speak to the husband pretty much whenever they like. I'm not going to stand in their way.
Cambridge tomorrow, and what’s the betting it’ll all happen again? At least, with a bit of luck, it won’t discombobulate me this time... I don’t do the grocery shopping... I’m not used to it!