You have an exhausted bookwitch at your service this morning. Let me tell you, going to Cheltenham is a lovely thing to do, but it is not restful. In order to be nice to Daughter, we went to see Russell T Davies and John Barrowman last thing last night, which meant the last train (lots of lasts, there) home. Daughter has staggered off to school now, and the witch has so far only managed to put her foot in wet paint once, this morning. (The decorator is here…)
Anyway, as I was saying, Cheltenham is nice. Daughter gasped when she saw the architecture and I had fears her camera would run out of batteries. (These days you can’t run out of film, at least.) So, lovely town. Lovely weather, warm and sunny and the summer we never had. Literature festival. Also very nice. So much to do, and not enough time.
The first afternoon we ran like scalded rats between venues, taking in Darren Shan and Celia Rees as mentioned previously. Why can’t they all be in one place? The advantage of these festival thingies is meeting all sorts of people, and it’s particularly good for me to meet the people who work in the background and send me books and are generally helpful. Celia had Emma from Bloomsbury with her, providing me with more proof that the publishing industry is very pretty. Observed Ann Widdecombe being interviewed in the park, and wanted to dash over and discuss Jacqueline Wilson and unmarried mothers with her, but didn’t. Mal Peet strolled past, unfortunately without Meg Rosoff, who I assume had gone home after their event the day before. Dinner was the slowest pizza ever encountered, before the dash to the race course for Roger Moore. The moon was particularly nice looking on Saturday night, in case you were wondering.
My last blog post was written in the middle of the night, while I perched on a pillow to reach the computer, swearing over slow hotel broadband. After a few hours of sleep, it was up at dawn for a rendez vous with Eoin Colfer and his biggest fan, Charlie. Ever the interfering busybody, I had leaned on Puffin’s Adele Minchin until she tilted dangerously and said that “yes, of course, Charlie can interview Eoin”.
So that was Charlie and family brimming over with excitement, and we all trooped into the Everyman theatre to wait. The interview will appear here, soon. Suffice it to say that it went very well and the whole Charlie family now love Eoin. The event was better than ever, which makes me wonder if Eoin was fibbing when he said minutes before it, that he didn’t know yet what he’d be talking about. (His horrible brothers, since you ask.)
After refreshments in the Everyman Theatre’s writers’ room, we looked round Cheltenham, again. I think I saw Kate Adie near the Promenade. We went to the Times tent for our free Times reusable bags. In the sweltering October heat it felt incongruous to see our lunch restaurant urging their customers to book for Christmas, but there you are. We had wanted to eat outside, but so did everyone else.
Back out to the race course, for John Barrowman and his sister Carole. Daughter is a VERY big fan, so getting close to John was imperative. We scouted out the best route to the book signing and prepared with almost military precision. As we did this we saw Richard Attenborough, or Santa Claus, as Daughter calls him. He was there with Bob, Jacqueline Wilson’s driver. John and Carole were great, and there’ll be more on that over on CultureWitch soon. And the planning paid off, with Daughter getting to somewhere near the front of the queue.
While waiting for that last Doctor Who event, we took our M&S sandwiches outside and sat by the fence near the entrance, looking at people passing by. Daughter fantasised about seeing someone she knew, but it was the witch who found her colleague Karen, from Eurocrime. Who says it’s lonely blogging?
(All photos by H Giles)