It’s always lovely doing events in places where you spent a lot of time as a kid, and yesterday was one of those occasions. I was invited out to the Aylsham Reading Festival, courtesy of Gail from Waterstones and Jo from Aylsham High School (thanks guys!). When I was young (about six, seven and eight I think) I used to live out in a little village called Colby, and Mum used to drive us in to Aylsham all the time to go to the market, get our groceries and pick up some bonbons from the little sweet shop (one of my fondest memories of childhood, which isn’t surprising, really, considering how much I still love sweeties and cake).
Aylsham is also the place where I found my most favourite teddy bear of all time. He wasn’t really a bear, he was a dog. And I gave him the imaginative name Doggy. My sister, Kate, got a teddy bear from the same place (which was actually a bear and yup, you guessed it, she called it Teddy). From that point on Doggy and Teddy became the very best of friends, and we invented a whole backstory to go with them. I, being the annoying, bullying older brother, made Doggy a multi-billionnaire mega popstar. And Teddy became a downtrodden, slightly smelly street urchin who Doggy deigned to live in his vast mansion. We spent hours playing with them, and their coterie of followers (Big Black Teddy, Big Brown Teddy, yeah, we really weren’t great at names…). I honestly think that acting out those stories with the teddies as a kid is one of the reasons I fell in love with writing and storytelling. It was just so much fun.
Anyway… I did think about taking Doggy out with me yesterday. I decided against it, though, because I didn’t want to look like a weirdo (or at least any more of a weirdo). I think he was proud of me, though. It was a fantastic day of events. I did a talk in the marquee, then a horror-writing workshop to a room full of incredibly creative and talkative children (and parents). I got to meet Dave Shelton, too, whose new book looks absolutely fantastic, and my old pal and awesome poet Molly Naylor was there doing a talk and a workshop. All in all, a fantastic lineup! Thanks to everyone involved for inviting me out!
Sadly, though, the little sweet shop was no longer there. And I missed out on homemade cake, too, because by the time the event was over the stall had gone. I had to quell my rage with two Double Deckers from the garage on the way home.
I had a very interesting meeting in the evening about Film Stuff for next year, too, but more on that very soon. It does look like something cool will be happening with Fear Driven Films in 2013, though…