S J Norbury
S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family.
Her debut novel Mrs Narwhal's Diary will be published in May 2021.
S J's favourite novels are The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald and Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady. Her top poet is Louis MacNeice.
Photo by Liz Gillham
Mrs Narwhal's Diary
S J Norbury
Will be published in paperback and e-book on 16 May 2021. It will also be published in audio and large print.
It was out of politeness that I asked Rose if she wanted to come with us, as I could only think a village school fete would bore her stiff, but I was delighted, albeit mystified, to discover that she did. (No point even asking Hugh, as all school events where there is the threat of Having to Talk to People are apparently my department.) We got there just in time to catch the end of the headmistress’s opening speech.
There’s something rather timeless about a good school fete. Bunting waving in the breeze, wonky stalls with handwritten signs, much anxious conversation about the weather if it looks uncertain, or happy relief if it looks fine… The mothers too, I suspect, have fallen into the same two broad school fete camps since the dawn of time. On one side there are the active supporters, comprising one terrifying silverback and some lesser assistants, who will view their leader with awe, fear, resentment, or a combination of all three. On the other side are the passives. They do not volunteer to help, and work hard to escape conscription by careful avoidance of the silverback for at least six months prior to the event. It couldn’t be easier to spot which group each mother belongs to. Anyone from the former will either be behind a stall or loitering fretfully within sight of it. Anyone from the latter will be in front of the stall, dripping in guilt that they try to assuage by overspending or bitching energetically about the silverback.
I was shocked to see Rachel behind the second-hand stall, as she’s definitely a passive like me, and my first question when I went up to her was how she’d found herself there. She explained ruefully how Penny (our silverback) had caught her only two days ago.
Please enjoy page 100 of Mrs Narwhal's Diary...