Daughter, on hearing I was seeing Phil Earle yesterday, said that for a moment she thought I was meeting an Earl. And, you know, that would have been appropriate, considering the seeing took place in a castle. It’s a posh life, but that’s how I like it.
I jumped – figuratively, at least – when the Scottish Book Trust offered me (a meeting with) Phil when he was coming to Scotland. I loved his Being Billy and Saving Daisy, and when I discovered he has now written four novels, I made the executive decision that I could manage one more before his arrival, so I read The Bubble Wrap Boy at double speed. (That doesn’t mean I was careless. Just that certain other things didn’t happen.)
Phil was brought here by the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour, and he’s spending a whole week visiting 11 schools in Falkirk and Ayrshire. I rather like their preciseness in mentioning Phil talking to 1993 school pupils. (What if someone’s ill, or sneaks a friend in?)
He was in Larbert on Thursday, which is why it fitted in so well to catch up with him at Airth Castle, which is now a hotel, and not somewhere Robert the Bruce might live. Apparently, tours like this are so popular that authors fight – each other – to be chosen. (That’s right, yes?)
The Resident IT Consultant left me there early, which allowed enough time for me to sit down and stand up again a couple of times, to practise rising from their most comfortable, but rather low, armchairs. It was lovely and warm in there, too, and once we were seated, my main problem was what to do with the straw they served in my glass of water. I’m not five years old! I pondered plonking it in one of the bottles standing on the table, but didn’t dare. You never know whose bottle it might have been.
It was a very nice chat. Phil seems like a very nice person, too. Everything was so nice, in fact, that you will have to wait a few days for full disclosure on what we talked about (minus a few things best not mentioned).
I had him sign my copy of The Bubble Wrap Boy, and it says ‘Don’t Burst,’ which is very cheeky. I was able to get up from my chair, you know, Phil. Oh, it refers to the bubble wrap..? That’s all right, then. Thank you.