What a night.
Last night, Thursday 18 February, Dave, his wife, Deb, and daughters – and Seamus the guide dog, of course! – met at Waterstones Birmingham High Street. We were ushered into the very bowels of the store and kindly looked after by Alex, a member of staff at the store. And I've got to admit, I was so nervous, I was shaking. I didn't know how many people would turn up; I feared tripping up on stage or mumbling through my reading; I worried about letting Dave down in front of the glare if the cameras.
But later, even Dave – who speaks at public engagements for a living – confessed that he, too, was trembling with nerves.
Thankfully, we needn't have been nervous. The crowd was large, friendly and warm, with many familiar faces. The local press were in helpful mode; Waterstones staff were smiley and informal, helping the nerves ebb away.
Dave spoke about his experiences of working on the book, cracking a few jokes in his usual inimitable manner. Despite his loyal band of followers and admirers, increasing in number of the years, despite his incredible achievements, Dave is inexplicably modest, and that humility was clear last night when he answered questions about his forthcoming challenge in San Francisco and his favourite past challenges.
Throughout the writing of the book, I realised that I have never interviewed so many men keen to show their love, respect and awe for their friend, and that love could definitely be felt in the room. The queue for books to be signed snaked across the room and took some time to get through, as Dave was calmly, precisely writing an essay at the front of each book, chatting with each audience member as if they had been friends for years. In some cases, they had, but even those he had never met before, he spoke to them easily and fondly.
And even though my mouth was dry, and I had a microphone in my recently broken right hand and a hardback book in the other, I managed to read the preface without tripping up, without swearing, or losing my place, and I was bloody relieved.
Have a read and see what you think.