The launch to end all launches? Well, I think so. 85 primary kids, about 20 adults, 6+ journalists and photographers, a Baron (yes, Baron) and a TV crew, all squashed into a tiny 18th century cottage of such 18th centuriness that there were NO LOOS. Then imagine the guy who'd written a book and wanted me to read it THEN, the guy who my daughter rightly called 'the personal space guy', (as in invader of) and the little old woman who kept saying how proud she was of me and giving me hugs because I needed 'hug therapy.' I thought maybe I knew her. I thought maybe she was my mother. But everyone assured me afterwards that she wasn't.
Here we have the TV crew, doing their best ...
The brightly-smiling person in the photo below is Moira McCrossan, the dynamic head teacher of the school, without whom this would never have happened and I would never have survived.
The photos (very very kindly sent me by Hugh Taylor, Moira's husband, who is a professional photographer and who gave up his working day to come and take pics) show me sometimes smiling and sometimes looking decidedly strained.
But how can I thank the people who did all this? I have no idea. They were amazing - Moira, who had organised it all and who somehow managed to squeeze everyone in and sort them all out, the kids who enacted some scenes from The Highwayman's Curse so well, the people who gave up their time to clear space in the cottage and light a peat fire that had to be lit 3 hours before the event, the people who poured tea and coffee, and goodness knows how many people who did many other things that I hardly had time to notice.
One thing though - I'd made brain cake (as described in Know Your Brain) but it was all eaten before I'd had time to explain what it was. It's delicious is what. And brainy. Buy the book if you want to know more.
I then went on to Castle Douglas High School where I had a great time with some keen pupils, some of whom had read and reviewed Highwayman's Curse.
That was my Monday. My Tuesday involved an event I wish I hadn't got out of bed for. A school whose pupils entirely failed to realise that I was doing the event for nothing and had given up half a day for it, a day when I actually had much better things to do than crowd control. It actually wasn't the librarian's fault - she was lovely and enthusiastic. I'm not totally sure whose fault it was.
Anyway. Mustn't complain. Actually, I must complain. There are too many great kids, great schools and great teachers in the world for me to spend my time in the ones that don't care.
My Wednesday - a lovely lovely launch party. Actors, brain food, lovely guests and I had a ball.
Thank you to many people for that too - firstly, the people who work at the venue and who spent loads of time getting it ready. If you want great charity to support, support The Yard in Edinburgh - a play centre for kids with learning support needs. It's an amazing and unsung place.
And a massive thank you to the wonderful pupils of the Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh. You'll be hearing about them a lot more in the next year, as they're helping with my next novel, but on Wednesday they basically ran my launch for me, were incredibly professional and NICE, and two of them did an amazing piece of drama that would not have been a speck better if they'd been professional actors. Thanks to their English teachers, Diana Esland and Neil Dawson, who have been so supportive - Diana marshalled and organised those girls wonderfully.