Oh, we do like to be beside the SEA!
It's true, folks, especially as we grew up close to the stony beach of Climping in West Sussex. We therefore take great pleasure in every school visit that takes us near to open water (which is actually never more than 70 miles from any point in England - FACT!) and last week saw us heading down to Southampton and the marvelous school of Hounsdown, as part of the Wessex Schools Literacy Festival. It was always going to be a fun trip, but we didn't realise how much fun!
Author visit preparation can be an art form in its own right, and we never cease to be amazed by the time and effort that teachers, librarians and literacy coordinators put into spreading the good word ahead of our arrival. Just look at what Hounsdown produced...
Wow. Amazing, right? And just the boost of brilliance we needed ahead of speaking to the entirety of Year 7 - (which is always more students than you think!).
Then, it was coffee and biscuits time (some rather wonderful chocolate rings in the selection) and a filmed interview with students from the Year 9 BBC News reporting team. Their truly excellent questions had us thinking hard and laughing harder. Here's an arty out-of-focus shot of us brothers awaiting the next killer Q.
Lunch followed our TV grilling. A remarkable spread, it must be said, that culminated in a lip-smackingly delicious homemade lemon cake. Here I am, giving praise to the wonder of baking.
The final leg of our day included a diary room entry, where we listed our favourite GOLD MEDAL READS - great books we love, from our childhood and more recently - and a second workshop, this time with Year 8 students.
Huge thanks to Bridget Bancroft, and all the staff and students of Hounsdown, for inviting us to be part of their incredible festival and making us feel so welcome. We cannot wait to return in the future!