I've just come back from the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It was wonderfully organised as usual, although I was not at my best. I got my timing all wrong and read too much. I tend not to plan these things too much as I want to sound fresh, but the risk is that sometimes it just sounds messy. I was a bit messy yesterday.
Having said that my audience was attentive and I met most of them at the signing afterwards and got to hear what they were up to. That is always the best bit of doing an event. Some people don't feel comfortable shouting out questions, but are very happy to come and have a quiet chat afterwards.
I saw Peter Ackroyd in the author's yurt, but was far too intimidated to actually speak to him. I did speak to my old tutor from art college, the well-known and well-loved illustrator, Tony Ross. It was great to see him. I also finally met Tony Bradman when Ian Lamb, my publicity person from Bloomsbury, took a group of us out for a meal in the evening. Tony and I have crossed paths many times online and it was nice to see him - and his son, Tom - in the real world.
I had the day off the following day and went to see an excellent exhibition at the National Gallery of Scotland called Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape 1880-1910. As well as featuring Munch, Van Gogh and Gauguin it also featured works by artists I have rarely seen outside of books - Hodler and Knopf for instance - as well as quite a few I'd never heard of before.
But Edinburgh itself was not pleasant to walk round. It was looking especially dour. I love the city. But there was an incessant drizzle that made it hard to take photographs and even harder to enjoy the view.