THE long-suffering Mrs Kendall had a field day with me last weekend.

I was the butt of so many jokes and digs about a weekend away.

It was the Bendigo Writers Festival, and as is the norm, I attend the event and stay in Bendigo.

“Are you still air-kissing?” she said when I arrived home.

This was the epilogue to a string of texts she had sent at various points.

Now as you may gather, the writers festival is not where Mrs K would place herself. Why I don’t know, but she just does not attend.

I was moderating a couple of events, but no, she had no interest.

“Are you over the glitterball yet?” was another text.

The simple fact is the answer was no.

I love the writers festival, and all that it involves, there are people I meet there now I could call friends, and we only catch up at the festival. It’s that kind of event.

You can immerse yourself in literary matters, or just listen to a good chat.

There are famous TV people, and writers you have admired and a real mix of people who share the common bond of the love of words.

I was very lucky to have two top-class journos to speak to on stage.

Kerry O’Brien was number one, and after 51 years in the journalism game he had plenty to say.

He has a joy for his art, and put together a passionate acknowledgement of country to start the session, from there it rolled to his place at the scene of history in the making.

I am sure the bookshop did very well, as the queue at the signing session was out the door.

Annika Smethurst has no book yet, but due to a change in program we were able to discuss her work in dethroning Bronwyn Bishop and Sussan Ley in her role as News Corp’s national political editor for the Sunday editions, as well as her highly interesting time as a journo at the Bendigo Weekly.

Her home was raided this year by the Australian Federal Police and caused quite an international fuss.

It was a friendly chat with some laughs and serious points. I noticed a couple of lawyers in the audience too, so there is interest in that field as well.

One of the festival volunteers in the room was Annika’s mum, who is getting to the point of being fed up with being known as “Annika’s Mum”, so Fiona here you are, named in print.

I won’t go into what she called me.

“How did the event with Arnica go?” Mrs K texted, before it started? “Plenty of air kissing?”

I chose to ignore it. Anyway, Fiona was having a go at me too, so I was on a losing battle.

Though it’s hard to judge, the event with Annika went really well, I certainly enjoyed it and on top of the earlier event with Kerry I was on a real high. We took questions from the floor and in person questions after the event.

I was taken to one side by an audience member and was expecting a deep and meaningful comment or a news tip.

“I didn’t get my copy of the Weekly last week, can you sort it out please?” he said.

Back to earth with a bump, and miles away from the world of air kissing and hugs.