The CB Editions Free Verse publishers event took place yesterday in London.

Two floors of small press publishers, a fabulous reading venue, a delightful little open air cafe on hand, a baking hot day — and free wine and ham with every HappenStance purchase, thanks to Matthew Stewart’s role as wine exporter and voluntary ambassador for the Extremadura region of Spain. So the HappenStance stall got a lot of interest.

Christopher Reid kicked off the action (you can just see him above, in the middle) with charm and brevity and panache.

The day included music, workshops, conversation, book buying, book bartering, book swapping, wine and ham. And a first-rate series of readings throughout the day, organised by Chrissy Williams and announced by CB Editions publisher Charles Boyle with a very large bell (see above). CB managed to look relaxed even in the middle of this mammoth feat of organisation.

You may spot Fiona Moore (above) assisting with sales, beside Matthew Stewart in his green stripey, ham-cutting apron. People talk about the unlikelihood of pigs flying. Well, part of one did — from Spain to London — and there it is on the ham stand. You can just see the cover of Marion Tracy’s The Giant in the Doorway in the right hand corner of the photo above — the one with what look like cut-out dolls. There was a fabulous reading space (see below). Couldn’t have been better.

Marion Tracy launched her debut publication, Giant in the Doorway, with a riveting reading, in front of that glorious mirror and red drapes. I didn’t photograph her in action because I didn’t want to put her off with paparazzi flashes, but I wish I had. I am a coward with a camera.

Matthew’s reading from his second pamphlet, Tasting Notes, required two voices, so I had the opportunity of being a marketing blurb persona. This, too, was accompanied by wine and ham. You can taste the wine yourself (links from the HappenStance shop to an online wine supplier).

The day was very friendly — lots of people to talk to and everyone in that sunny good humour that accompanies an extra bit of Summer when you’re not really expecting it. Food for mind, body and spirit.

Wonderful. And did I mention the wine and ham?