Wednesday, 8 June 2011

How to miss making Hay.

  A week of signings at half-term booked guarantees no Hay Festivities for me – so annoying that they host it at half-term.
I think next year I’ll try to book shops in the Hay region then at least I can shoot back for the evenings.
Still, 207 books sold not bad for this amateur author/illustrator/designer/publisher/marketer (106 Curd the Lion at @14.99 and 101 Flight of Birds at £9.99) in the Cambridge/East Anglia region (Bedford, Bishop’s Stortford, Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge and St Albans – thanks to all Waterstone’s branches who hosted me).
   Back to the shed under the apple tree to illustrate cutaways and birds’-eye-views of battles for Osprey, maps charts and diagrams for Penguin imprints and suchlike for Windmill, Aurum, etc.. What fun!
   Off to launch of Isabel Ashdown’s* new book, ‘Hurry up and Wait’, tomorrow eve at Waterstone’s, Chichester, and then, oddly, back there on Saturday to sign books all day.

   Grand-daughter, Tilly, three, trots in: “Dandad, I want you to find me Dawberries!” Drags me out to crawl around under the bushy borders to search underleaf for the tiny bright wild strawberries with their intense scented flavours (we have two types) to pile into her plastic pot before taking them back to the patio where my wife, Pauline, and Emily, my daughter are busy sanding, painting and distressing furniture for their little ‘Vintage Pixie’ enterprise. [This Pixie is growing so fast there is barely room for us downstairs anymore as dowdy items come and go, refreshed with a lick-o’-paint and rub-down to find a new home.]
   “I’m going to dare,” she declares, “with you and Nanny and Mummy,” and proceeds to pick out the little gems in order of size from the biggest – one for me, one you… “You know, Dandad, I’m going to ballet dool next week and dance and dance, like this”…until the bowl is empty.
  Treat over, I return to my travails, listening to the wind in the branches, the patter of squirrels and birds across my roof, watching out of the corner of my eye the sunlight flickering green and purple as the wind flicks leaf and flower into bright contrast with the undergrowth and discover, to my surprise, that I am writing this and not working!

* On which matter, after I discovered her artist-sister, Rebecca Ashdown (), first introduced her to ‘Curd the Lion’ and we found each other there, she said:
Aha - it's you! Thanks - I came upon ur book in Diss. Planning to read it to the small beasts soon. I LOVE it!”

I then tweeted to her:
How nice, from our books, to find friends and engage,
Like mice, in the nooks of this wireless cage…”

to which she replied:
And how here, with no fevvers, we flutter and glide. 
We can whistle and call without going outside!”


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