I felt a bit over-dressed getting on the train at 11am though, and wouldn't you just know it: I was sitting opposite a nun. She had wonderful buck-teeth, so I just had to draw her. I found out she was 69, but still the youngest one in her community, when she got into conversation with the man below, by coincidence, someone big in the C of E:
As last year, we were in the Century Club on Shaftesbury Ave. There is a room at the top called the Roof Terrace, which is indeed on the roof (there is a large chimney stack poking up from the floor) but it's under a marquee-like cover, so very civilised and remarkably cosy.
At one end of the room there is a little grotto of plants in tubs, and what I thought was a water feature: a little waterfall tumbling down into one of the bigger pots. then I realised it was rain pouring in off the edge of tarp!
Things were already in full swing when I arrived. It was lovely catching up with people. Amongst many others, I met up with Cassia Thomas and Saviour Pirotta in the flesh, instead off on Facebook, and got very over-excited with Melanie Williamson (one of the few people I've met who's more hyper than me!)
These parties are a great way for we isolated arty-folk get to make new author & illustrator friends, and this year I discovered the lovely Sam McCullen of Billy Back to Front fame. We made a bit of an amusing couple in conversation though, as Sam is as tall as I am short: I more or less came up to his belly button!
When they threw us out of the club at 5.00, the hard-core, party types transferred to a local pub (after some confused toing and froing in the rain, trying to work out which pub we were meant to be in).
I had to head off just after 7pm to get my train, but by then I'd drunk quite enough wine for one day! You can definitely tell the difference between the 'before' (above) and 'after' (below) sketches...
Thanks to all the folk at Hachette: a great success as always. And a special thank you for being the only publisher I'm aware of that schedules their bashes in the afternoon: so much more feasible for we out-of-towners. Come on you other guys... how about it?