PHEW! Well, that was an exciting trip...
It is amazing what you can pack into 44 hours if you REALLY go for it. The Edinburgh International Book Festival (positioned so nicely among so many other wonderful festivals taking place in the city during August) encourages guests and visitors alike to head out and have fun. And so we did.
The weekend kicked off brilliantly with a rather nice dinner at which we were accompanied by the lovely Philippa Dickinson and Dominica Clements. Many laughs were had, glasses chinked and delectable Italian cuisine consumed. Then it was back to the Bonham hotel (extremely plush) for a long sleep ahead of the main event.
Saturday began with a breakfast of French Toast (or Eggy Bread, or Pain Perdu .. however you know it) before we headed off to the site for some pre-show interview/photo sessions. We were delighted to find that David and Caro Fickling were at the festival and available for our show. With the premier champions of quality comics for children sitting in the audience, expecting to be entertained (along with comic and manga superstar Emma Vieceli - gulp), we took to the stage and had a blast.
Afterwards, Lorenzo and I were escorted to the Children's Book Shop for a signing session. It never ceases to humble me when you see children and families queuing like this. We really are lucky to be able to create stories for such an appreciative audience.
That said, how does one respond when presented with the compliment:
"Your books look great. I should have brought another one for MYSELF, not just for my son."
Simply smile, agree, then turn your head, and point out the nearest till or checkout where THAT purchase can be made, as demonstrated below...
Tired and happy, and safe in the knowledge that we'd had a great time and met some truly lovely people (both new readers and familiar fans, young and old) our work was finally done ... and it was time to play.
We always make a point of booking a couple of shows while we're in town. There is so much great stuff to see that it's actually quite hard to go wrong, but I love taking the time to peruse the listings for interesting events.
So, first up, Lorenzo, Mimi and I headed to the Underbelly to see the insanely, ridiculously talented musical duo of Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts, as they attempted (successfully) to perform the entirety of Mike Oldfield's seminal 1973 album, Tubular Bells ... a task which originally required 30 performers to record.
It was ... quite frankly ... astounding ... a feat of coordination and talent and energy and virtuoso musicianship the like of which I've never seen.
We left the venue giddy with the brilliance of it all ... and more importantly HUNGRY.
Food is vital on the road but our diet can be a little, erm...
Yes. Quite. Don't tell our mum.
Refreshed and full-bellied we headed back to Bristo square, and the Pleasance venue for an evening with the one and only Scroobius Pip. How to describe Pip ... Beat-poet? Philosopher? Comedian? Sage? Dude? Legend? The man defies definition, but anyone who can open a pretty serious set (and his poems are not for young ears) by singing the theme tune to Ducktales at the top of his voice, well, he probably doesn't like titles.
Let's just say it was an unreservedly brilliant show from start to finish.
Sleep, shower, a mighty breakfast for three, a short taxi ride to the airport and we were all set to depart Edinburgh after another wonderful weekend.
But even when they've called your departure gate, there is ALWAYS TIME FOR AIR HOCKEY!
A huge thanks to everyone at Random House who helped organise the trip (Charlotte Portman and Harriet Venn); to the crew who made sure everything ran brilliantly on the day (Janet Smyth, Hannah Trevarthen and all the EIBF staff); to our fellow comic creators who contributed to the excellence of the Stripped Edinburgh festival; to Mimi for taking all the photos (as ever), and to our amazing fans who made the entire thing possible in the first place.
We can't wait to return in 2014!