On Saturday, I flew my broomstick to Wem in Shropshire for the Wordwise Festival. It was very hard sketching these people while keeping my balance, not least because they were travelling by the boring-old train instead!
I met friend and author Julia Jarman there, and we did a storytelling together in the morning in the lovely art's centre they have built in Wem's old town hall.
We spent most of the time on our newest collaboration, Bears on the Stairs, but we also managed to cram both Class Two at the Zoo and Class Three all at Sea into the 1.5 hour session. We've developed a good technique, taking turns, with one of us acting and getting the kids doing sound effects, while the other reads.
We never feature our 4th book, Kangaroos Cancan Cafe any more, which is a shame, but it's gone out of print (an even greater shame). I do occasionally still read it in schools though, because it's so much fun to get everyone doing the cancan!
After lunch (yummy pasta in the foyer cafe), we split for separate workshops, and I spoke to 15 slightly older children for an hour, followed by a practical workshop, sharing drawing techniques and showing them how to create movement.
It was a lovely, mild and sunny day, which you might think a good thing, except the heating was set for deep winter and it was one of those irritating buildings where you can't turn off the radiators and all windows are sealed, so we were all stuck in equatorial temperatures and had no choice but to slowly melt.
Typically, this was turned on its head as soon as I got to the station to start home - very chilly and no shelter, combined with a very late train. I did a lot of jumping on the spot, which probably made me look like a bit of a nutter, but hey-ho.
I collapsed into the sofa at 7.30pm having left home at 7am. John whipped up fish-cakes and tinned tomatoes for dinner, then we vegged in front of the TV.
A long day, but really good fun and great to see Julia again.