This came through the post before Christmas: quite sophisticated, I thought, and I love the subtlety of the design that is only obvious when the light catches it - the glossy black figures on the matt black background.
Sceptre, the literary imprint of Hodder and Stoughton, has been in business 21 years and they have invited me to their party on Thursday. I am hoping that there will be music because what I intend to do is have a few drinks then determinedly dance the night away - which is what I did last time. Sceptre do not have parties very often, it seems. Their last big party was in September 2001 to mark their fifteenth year. I had just come back from Greenland and 9/11 was raw in everyone's mind. I remember thinking that everything seemed unreal and I am not sure even now if this was because of the shock of the terrorist attack or just because I was just feeling slightly overwhelmed by the number of bodies packed together in several large rooms after spending the last couple of weeks of not speaking to anyone in the magnificent isolation of the Arctic.
Parties often seem to have a surreal edge to me and I am not comfortable in them. Usually I find I don't know many people and have a hard time forcing myself to talk to strangers. It is quite possible for me to feel more lonely in a room full of people than in an empty landscape where there is just me and the wind. That is why I hope there will be music on Thursday night because if all else fails I can dance - not exactly on my own but in the company of strangers - and I shall be perfectly happy.