I was invited along to the grand civic opening of the new Shepherds Bus library slap bang beside the shiny Westfield shopping centre.  The location is no coincidence as Westfield coughed up a considerable amount of money towards the library as part of the redevelopment plan for the area. 

As a staunch supporter of Alan Gibbons’ Campaign for the Book I am delighted to see new libraries being built and this is a particularly magnificent example.  There are yards of shiny new shelves – so many that one librarian confessed they have had trouble filling them in time for the opening.  The space is open, airy and light with funky touches of acid greens (I’m beginning to sound like a design programme here) and, best of all, I’m doing an event there on Saturday October 17th, 2.30pm, based on my Kumari trilogy.

The actual cutting of the ribbon was carried out by an adorable local schoolboy assisted by an avuncular Jeremy Paxman.  Those of you who like to yell at University Challenge the way I do will realise that avuncular is not an epithet normally applied to Mr Paxman.  He sweetly told this tiny child that he represented the future and he, Paxman, the past before hovering benignly while the boy sawed away with his scissors.  At the reception afterwards he was affability itself but still I couldn’t quite bring myself to ask the question burning on my lips.  Instead, I’ll ask it here, safe in the knowledge that I won’t get that famous withering stare before he answers…

Jeremy, are you really my Facebook friend?  Is the love god of millions of women of a certain age really my online buddy or have I (whisper it) been duped??

There, I’ve said it.  Now I’m ducking for cover.