The school is beautiful and we were warmly greeted by the Head of English then taken upstairs to meet the class teacher Isabelle and her students. Ian had dashed off to find coffee as we had been caught out earlier finding a cab. I need the caffeine hit once a day to get me going.I really enjoyed talking to the students and it was clear once we started that the class was very culturally diverse. Apparently there are no English students in this particular group – mostly American, Italian, Russian and an Australian too. The school obviously attracts many expat children.
Their headmaster is Mr Magoo Giles – now that’s a name for a character in a book, and I loved that on his office door, there was no Headmaster or Mr Giles, simply Magoo, in large letters! I would have loved to meet him but he was busy talking to some parents.
The school has no outdoor space whatsoever, so the children play in the church hall across the road and have to be bussed to any sporting activities. They also have exercise bikes in the hallways to burn off some energy too. We are so fortunate in Australia in terms of area – I can’t imagine never being able to send the kids for a run around outside.The school is quite large – around 300 students and is developing their traditions. They are also opening satellite schools in other countries.
I signed a postcard for each student and they are planning to put them into their Alice-Miranda books when they arrive. They were a lively group and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there.From Knightsbridge we headed to Random House’s main office in Vauxhall Bridge Road where I was having a quick meeting with Dame Gail Rebuck, the CEO. You’d be right in thinking I was a little nervous, but having already met her once before in Australia and knowing that her staff think she’s wonderful, as soon as we met my jitters abated. Gail’s office is on the 8th floor which has the most amazing views of the Thames and the city. We chatted about this and that and it was great to have an opportunity to thank her for championing Alice-Miranda to come to the UK. She’s a truly amazing woman who took over the reins of the company in her late thirties. It was all a bit surreal – if anyone had said two years ago when we launched Alice-Miranda at home that I’d be meeting Dame Gail Rebuck in her office in London this week I’d have said they were mad. There’s really not much more to say except perhaps, wow!