On Friday night we had the pleasure of catching up with Emily Banyard, who was the very first publicist I worked with at Random House UK. From Avalon on the Northern Beaches in New South Wales, not too far from us, Emily and I had clicked right from the start and I had been very sad to see her leave at the end of my 2012 tour. She has since gone on to lots of interesting things but I was pleased to see that she's working back in publicity again (albeit for another company). We met in Pimlico on a bleak evening and had a lovely tapas meal. It was great to see her.
You couldn't have had two more contrasting days weather wise over the weekend. Yesterday was grey and wet and properly cold. That didn't deter us from our mission to get to Muswell Hill. After a bit of a sleep in, we enjoyed a late-ish breakfast and then headed off to the tube at Victoria. It was a sardine tin ride to Euston where we changed for the Northern Line to Highgate. It was still rainy when we walked down Muswell Hill Road - a couple of kilometres to the high street. The woodlands in the area are so pretty, as are the houses.
Kate Agnew was a little surprised that we made it, given the weather. The shop is gorgeous and is a proper treasure trove of children's literature. I was thrilled to hear that Kate had been fielding many enquiries for more Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose titles. I signed the shop stock and we took some photos before Ian and I headed off to find a pub to watch the Wallabies - Italy match. Kate recommended a pub which occupies an old church. Wow - it was impressive. Sadly the England - Argentina match was happening at the same time as the Wallabies so you can guess what was on all the screens in the pub. Never mind, we had a drink and some lunch. I tried a Winter Pimms (not as good as summer).
I would have loved to walk around the Hampstead Heath but the weather was not conducive and we decided to head back. Next time!
We managed to get the bus and tube and walked from Victoria to the hotel.
This morning the sky was clear and the temperatures low, but what a stunning day. We did a little bit of work this morning then headed off to Chelsea. Not realising it was Remembrance Sunday, it was a good thing that we had planned to meet Liz Jackson, one of my former Year 5 students at Abbotsleigh who is now all grown up and living in London, in Chelsea rather than the city. There were so many road closures.
I love Chelsea. The shops are great, the people watching is fabulous and the restaurants plentiful. I saw a woman who looked as if she was dressed for the Melbourne Cup - her hat was stunning but clearly she was just out doing a spot of shopping on Sunday morning.
We walked along the King's Road and stopped to have a look in a few of the shops. I discovered that Massimo Dutti here in the UK have clothes that don't make me feel like a giant - as opposed to the Singapore shop where I felt like Amazon Woman. I bought a beautiful jumper.
We walked the full length of the road to Marco Pierre White's Steakhouse where we were meeting Liz. What a treat it was. The food was delicious and it was wonderful to see Liz and find out about life auditioning for shows in the West End. I admire her tenacity. Ever since she was little, singing, dancing and theatre has been her life and she's holding fast to the dream. I'm sure that she's going to get a break here - she certainly deserves it as I don't know too many young people as dedicated to their craft as Liz is. One day I'll be able to say...'Yes I was her fifth grade teacher...'
We all wandered back to Sloane Square Tube station together. Ian and I hopped off at Victoria and had our evening constitutional while Liz stayed on and changed for Covent Garden where she's living in the heart of the theatre scene.
Tonight we are catching up on work and getting packed for a busy week in the countryside. Tomorrow we're off early to Preston in Lancashire and I am really looking forward to working with Tony Higginson from Formby Books.
PS Just to explain the pictures below. Clearly a delicious patisserie followed by an ice rink in the process of being set up outside the most beautiful shop called Bluebird. It's really more of a complex than a shop. There is a very upmarket clothing store, upstairs a gorgeous restaurant, a café on the street and a deli. Stunning. Below that a huge group of rollerbladers with music blaring from speakers on the backs of some participants and finally a hairdressing salon just for kids - those cars are the seats! I think the most reluctant child would enjoy getting their hair cut here.
A Bookish Adventure
I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.