The longest leg of the journey so far, I believe. Now, in the greater scheme of things, the British Isles aren’t huge, even from Orkney to Scilly Isles. But we pack in a huge variety of language, dialect, customs and culture. Accents can vary enormously within a matter of fifty miles; it’s part of what makes us British, regional identity within the national. Those things have been reflected in the anthologies linked to UK Meet.
Tea and Crumpet was linked with 2011 UK Meet and I was privileged to be on the acquisitions team for it. Looking back at it with a year’s worth of hindsight, the final line up of stories seems to cover so many things which are so typically British: class, camping, our bloody awful weather, cricket, churchyards, village fetes, graffiti and Shakespeare. If we’d worked in football we’d have had the full house!
We covered so much of the country, too. We had (among others) Ireland, Brighton, Cambridge, Cornwall, and Scotland itself, which is where the torch is at the moment.
So what does the 2012 anthology, Lashings of Sauce, have in store? In terms of locations, we’re whizzing to all sorts of places, including London, Whitby, the West Country, halfway up the M40 and a very British Postal sorting office. We have forays onto the continent, too, which is outside the range of the Olympic torch but not of our authors.
As for the stories, we’ve got some absolute beauties! Those British (and European!) themes turn up time and again – bikers, pubs, cyclists in lycra, practical jokes and football matches (yes, we got in the national obsession!) along with possibly the oddest Tarts and Vicars party in the world. And we have a weresloth. And some time travellers. And a Dragon Dance (we’re a highly multicultural nation).
What the Olympic relay, and this homage to it, reflects is what a lot of variety we pack into a relatively small space.