It is almost a month ago that The Silent Listener. The Life and Works of J.H.W. Eldermans was launched at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle. Ever since I have been extremely busy, and I finally found the time to get this experience in writing. First of all we arrived a day prior to the launch after an easy flight with a bumpy finale when touching down at Bristol Airport. The day already had a rocky start. My father-in-law was driving us to the airport and missed the exit to the airport to end up on a highway which was bringing us back home. Before we could turn the car around, we were almost home! So fifteen minutes late at the airport, the check-in and security was smoothly, so we could after all sit down for a cup of coffee, only to discover we forgot the converter power plugs, so we had to go shop for those first. At least we have four of them now. The plane left on time and arrived early. Customs in Bristol were smooth as well and before we knew it, we were off to the rental agency, where we had to spend some more British pounds to get the car (the credit card wasn’t in my wife’s name so they were giving us a bit of a hard time). After three hours (we like to take it easy when driving in the land of the Britons) we arrived in Boscastle, and you can’t imagine how happy it made me feel. Being back after two years brought a huge smile on my face, even when it was raining. We parked at the central parking lot and started walking towards the Museum when I heard someone shouting my name. It was Ruud Jongeling, who was with the family at the local coffee and tearoom, next to the public toilets in Boscastle. So we sat down for a coffee and to talk about the journey to Britain, which was horrible for the Richel-family! They arrived really early in the morning enduring some hardships while coming to Boscastle. After an hour or so we said our goodbyes and arranged to have dinner with each other at the Cobweb Inn that night. My wife and I left for the Museum to go in and say hi, meanwhile maintaining contact with Jane Cox of Troy Books on Facebook Messenger. Around 15.30 hrs we decided to head to Marshgate, where we booked a lovely Bed and Breakfast for the coming ten days. The Cornish Valley View is run by Roz and Roger, two lovely people who prepare the best breakfast we ever ate! So after unpacking and relaxing a little bit we went back to Boscastle for dinner at the Cobweb Inn. It was a great evening, we talked and laughed a lot and ofcourse drank too much. But it was because of the celebration of the book on J.H.W. Eldermans being published!
The next Saturday we woke up around 8 AM and went down for breakfast, after which we decided to stroll around Boscastle until the moment Jane and Gemma from Troy Books would arrive and I would finally hold a copy of my book in my hands. The plan was they would arrive at noon, but I received a message they would be later as they were waiting for the ‘dog-sitter’ to arrive. They also phoned the Museum to let them know the plans had changed a bit. We stuck around Boscastle, as it is a beautiful village, we found something to do anyway. So we went by ‘The Other World’ shop and had a lovely conversation with the owner of the leather shop next door. We walked into the hills to have a view on the harbour, as we were harrassed by people from The Netherlands, telling us what great weather they had and we were walking around rainy Cornwall. The view shut them up accordingly! Nothing beats the ocean view from Boscastle harbour! In the meantime it became apparent that the ladies of Troy Books couldn’t make it before 1900 hrs (they drove up all the way from Penzance, an hour and a half drive), so we decided to visit Tintagel, being only five minutes away by car, and hopefully we could catch up with the rest of the Richel/Eldermans family. That’s when we discovered that shops close early on Saturday: by 1600 hrs all shops, except for the supermarkets, were closed down. We couldn’t get out for dinner, as Simon Costin, director of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, graciously invited us to dinner in The Riverside. We decided to go back to the Bed and Breakfast, change our outfits for the evening and have some relaxing time before we headed out to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Needless to say that I was growing more nervous with the minute. The book in my hands made those nerves go away really quickly.
The presentation started at 19.30 hrs with a small introduction by Jane, and then I was up to tell something about the process of the writing, the hardships of the research and how pleased I was with the final result. I actually prepared a little speech, which I totally forgot and I freewheeled throughout the launch by just looking at the collection and just tell something about it. The reviews were positive, so I think it went well, although I am my own worst critic anytime. After the launch there was some room for questions, and finally we got the calling that the restaurant was wondering if we were to show up for our dinner. The launch was over in an hour and half and we left for The Riverside where we had a lovely dinner and a really, really great evening. My wife was sitting next to Simon and has apparently made a friend for life. It was a memorable evening and to launch your book in such a magical place as the Richel-Eldermans collection of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, surely was a treat!
Photographs made by Simon Costin.
© 2018 Wilmar Taal