Mandrake was sorry not to see the 84-year-old Nina Bawden at the first night of the stage adaptation of her best-seller Carrie's War at the Apollo Theatre in the West End.
She is a plucky old girl and great company, but, seven years after her husband, Austen Kark, was killed in the Potters Bar rail crash, in which she was also seriously injured, she tells me that she still finds crowds and confined spaces daunting.
"The project is very close to my heart and I am determined to sneak in and see it on a quieter night," she adds. "I'm thrilled with the reviews. Funnily enough, when I wrote the book, I was told it wouldn't sell." It hasn't been out of print in 36 years.