After my day at Bishop's Stortford, I took the train to London with Ian Lamb, my trusty publicity person at Bloomsbury, leaving him at Liverpool Street and braved the circle of hell that is rush hour on the London Underground, heading over to Waterloo Station to catch my train to Bournemouth.
Waterloo Station was as packed as the tube trains and it was like The Nightmare Before Christmas as I queued for a sandwich to take on the train, with mince pies sitting alongside chocolate pumpkins. Mince pies? At the beginning of October?
I haven't been on that particular line since I used to teach illustration at Southampton for a short period back in the 1980s. I associate it with feeling absolutely shattered owing to the fact that I had to get up at about six in the morning to make sure I arrived on time. Today was no different actually. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I arrived at Bournemouth and collapsed into bed pretty much as soon as I got to my hotel.
The life of the travelling author is filled with disappointments and my hotel - like so many English hotels - was a lot grander on the outside than on the inside. Although my room was huge, it had seen better days and I was next to the lift and so had to listen to 'bing-bong!' every time the doors open. Bing. Bong . . . Bing. Bong. .
If you are going to put rooms near the lifts then at least make them quiet. The lifts I mean.
Val O'Sullivan picked me up from the hotel and looked after me very well all day. Bournemouth Library is very swish - a lovely, light, modern building and a very good venue for an event. I managed to get my Mister Creecher iPhone presentation to show on the screen with the help of the IT whizz, John - but when we came back, some connection had gone to sleep and we couldn't get it to work. Back to the memory stick and the space bar. . .
I came away once again with the desire to do much more than either I or the venues seem capable of at the moment. The technology is already in place to do something a bit more, dare I say it, funky than flick through a glorified slide show, but everyone seems a bit scared to go beyond the confines of their present knowledge. I am going to make it my business to know more.
My first session was with a mixed group of Year 7 and 8 kids from three different schools. They were a lively bunch, but very attentive and asked lots of great questions at the end. After lunch and a stroll around Bournemouth, I had another session with Year 8 children. This was a smaller group and sometimes that can intimidate people into silence, but again, they were a really interested and interesting lot.
Thanks to everyone involved and hopefully you'll ask me back!