Yes, there were real-life celebs staying at our hotel in Stockton, and not just the literary types we expected. I was rather disappointed that it had to be Jeremy Clarkson (who I don't even like) and the team from Top Gear (that I don't even watch). Still, a tad surreal to be drinking at the same bar with them, all the same.
It was great to chin-wag with friends Julia Jarman and Lydia Monks, but I also met Steve Cole (author of the best-selling Astrosaurs series) for the first time, who was great fun.
I was thrilled to meet author / illustrator Jan Fearnley too. I love her Mr Wolf books. We were all having such a nice time, we didn't get to bed until well after midnight.
Next morning, we were up bright and early(ish) to strut our stuff for the big Gala Day. Kids came from miles around in huge numbers (many in fancy dress) and a great time was had by all.
As well as all the different author events, and the bookshop with authors signing until their hands fell off, there were actors running around dressed as Heroes and Villains (the theme of the day), so you were likely to get whisked into an adventure with Robin Hood. Plus, all the libraries in the region manned stalls (dressed as pirates, knights in armour, damsels in distress....) where children could do craft activities or get their faces painted.
I was told one little boy refused to go home at the end, because it was 'the best party ever!'.
I took my camera, but was so busy all day, that I completely forgot to get it out - sorry folks! And I was kept company on the train home by Lydia and Steve, which was lovely, but meant I didn't do a single drawing either. I did a few on the way up, but I'll share those with you next week, when I tell you about my other adventures 'up North'...