Remember I packed my bags last Tuesday and left John all on his lonesome?
I spent 4 nights in Durham, at the NCBF and I had a great time. I did storytellings in libraries or schools each day, then hung out with the other authors and illustrators in the evenings.
I loved the kids and loved being so pampered! I was assigned a different librarian every day to look after me, and they were brilliant, ensuring everything ran like clockwork.
They came and picked me up from the hotel first thing and drove me to wherever I was visiting. Luxury! They sorted out the dreaded flipcharts, filled their cars with big boxes of my books for signing and, in the middle of the day, either took me out for a pub lunch, or organised lovely buffets of sandwiches in the library. Then they drove me back to the hotel at day's end.
Librarians had been beavering away behind the scenes too, getting copies of my books into the schools, so children already knew my work, which meant all the kids were really excited and up for it.
And some librarians, like Lauren in Shildon Library, created lovely displays ready for my visit:
The evenings were lovely too. I went for dinner with the hilarious 2 Steves, the lovely Paul Cookson and, one of my fave illustrators, Korky Paul (remember I went to his workshop in Hay?)
I also met author Joan Lennon for the first time: we got on really well and it was fun swapping notes about what we do for our events - she takes a case full of about a dozen ferrets!!! (fortunately not live ones - can you imagine?).
Thanks to all the librarians who helped make my visit so comfortable and the storytellings such a success. And special thanks to East Boldon Infants for their lovely display of emus and dinosaurs, and to them and also Bede Burn Primary for buying so many of my books to take home!
The sketches are the ones I did on the train going up. I got into such good conversation with the lovely people around me, I only did a couple I'm afraid. One woman, who was also getting off at Durham, even gave me a lift to my hotel - how kind is that?