I’m going to make this fairly brief because, number one, I’m knackered (slowly, I’m turning British), and two, I have no pictures because I have been a terrible photographer lately. I’ve been promised photographs from my various escorts (all insanely lovely people, by the way) and I will post them when I receive them.
And so, in short order:
Sunday: Had lunch with my step-son and some friends then tubed it back to the hotel and went for dinner with Helen Boyle, fiction publisher for Templar, and Damian Kelleher, journalist and YA novelist. We had Mexican. In London. Which you wouldn’t expect to be good. But we went to a restaurant called Wahaca and it was quite good. Tapas, tacos, taquitos. Tasty! Helen and Damian are both delightful and I had a really nice time talking with them. They felt like old friends by the end of the evening and I was so glad we got to spend some time together. Damian will be interviewing me at the book launch on the 25th so it was good to get to know him in advance.
Monday: Met Phillipa Perry, publicist extraordinaire, who trotted me off to the Tiffin Boys School in Kingston for the Kingston Festival. There we met Vanessa Howe, an enthusiastic and sweet librarian. I did a reading and talk for a group of boys who laughed at all the right moments and then asked some great questions. Then, it was off to Paddington Station to catch a train to Bristol. Fell asleep on the train and woke with a start thinking I’d missed my stop. Thankfully, I hadn’t, but I’d drooled, which was embarrassing. That evening I met Jayne Roscoe and had a fantastic meal and chat.
Tuesday: Burned off several layers of skin fumbling with the fifteen different strange shower knobs in the bathtub. Hurriedly got dressed, ran downstairs, and then mistakenly tried to get into the driver’s side of Jayne’s car (they drive on the other side of the road here, you know… I’d of course forgotten). Jayne drove me to Backwell School in Bristol where librarian Anne Gibson had organized a visit. Once again the students were enthusiastic and attentive. This was followed by a second school visit at Broadoak Community College in North Somerset. Librarian Frances Trout was super-accomodating as I had a radio interview scheduled just at the beginning of my talk. Frances allowed me to do my ten minute interview (on why boys aren’t reading anymore) in her office as she settled the students down and got them prepared. The interview went well as did the student talk. Lots of laughs and good discussion. Then, it was back to Bristol for a curry house dinner, a much-appreciated debriefing Skype with my smiling wife, and bed.
Wednesday: A light drizzle sprinkling down, Jayne drove me to QEH Bristol, a beautiful old school that serves the most incredible school lunches I’ve ever seen in my life. Roast chicken, quiche, pies, salads, jello, and cakes. All students should eat this well. Actually, EVERYONE should always eat like this. Librarian Annette Robbins was very warm and welcoming and the reading and talk went off quite well. Jayne and I were invited to lunch (which we gladly accepted) and then it was off in the drizzle to Nailsea School. I must say that librarian Alex Jones had the students and staff at the school wonderfully prepared and it made for a terrific experience. Even though there was a technical glitch with showing my book trailer it didn’t matter one bit. The students were full of spirit and laughter and some of the best questions I think I have ever had in a session. Following the session I signed many books and then Jayne ushered me off to Bristol Airport to catch my flight to Edinburgh.
Where I sit at the moment. Having been taxied here by a cab driver with the coolest Scottish brogue and having just had a grand meal with the energetic Emma O’Donovan.
The hotel I am staying in is top notch and I am really grateful to everyone at Templar for all they have been doing for me. I feel much too well looked after and I just hope I am able to repay the favor with book sales.
Wow. That was not as brief as I would have liked. But there you go.
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