Drawing: Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson

My wife Frankie is a big fan of Bill Bryson’s books. She casually mentioned to me sometime ago that if our paths ever crossed, a signed sketch would be nice. Her first request. I did this drawing and filed it away in case our paths crossed.

A casual text this week let me know that the paths could cross yesterday – 5 November – when the UK’s highest selling author of non-fiction would be signing copies of the sequel to his hugely popular book Notes From Small Island.I did not acknowledge the text, but did hatch a plan. A quick search confirmed that indeed Bill would be signing at Stanfords in Central London. The 5th of November also happens to be our wedding anniversary, a good reason to fulfil Frankie’s request.

Born in the US, Bill has spent a large amount of his life living in the UK and was eligible to become a British Citizen many years ago but didn’t sit the citizenship exam because he “was too cowardly to take it.” He eventually plucked up enough courage and recently passed to become a dual-citizen. He even wrote about it in his latest publication The Road To Little Dribbling: More Notes from A Small Island, the very book he was signing and the very reason I went to the famous Long Acre Street bookstore for our paths to meet.

Besides we now had something in common, writing wise. We both wrote enough right answers in our citizenship tests. That’s where the similarity and writing comparison ends. I’ll stick to sketching… oh and reading Bill Bryson.

Bill looks like a really nice fellow, and I’m pleased to say he’s even better in real life. He loved the sketch, which I said was part of my anniversary celebrations, and signed for the both of us. Frankie knew something was up, because I never acknowledged her text so she thought I was on a secret mission to surprise her. There’s no fooling Frankie, but there are ways to remember, remember the 5th of November.


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