Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Royal Mail Book Award!

I have had the most perfect day. Shortlisted for this wonderful award , The Royal Mail Scottish Childrens Book Award, was great enough, but winning it. That was fantastic. The whole day had a circus theme, and I almost fell over a girl on stilts when I walked into the Tramway Theatre in Glasgow. Everyone was in circus mode. Children were dressed up, and so were the staff of the Book Trust. The bearded lady looked so authentic I almost pulled her beard just to make sure.I half expected the authors to be fired from the cannon to get us into the auditorium.  I so hope the young people who were there, and a lot of them had travelled a long way to get to Glasgow, enjoyed the day as much as I did.
     I have come home to a fish supper and a glass of champage. High living, eh? But if I had a five star day, then it was only the icing on the cake of a five star weekend. I spent it with Katie in Madrid.( this was her Christmas present to me)  We stayed in a lovely hotel on the Gran Via, a perfect location, and on Friday night we had tapas in a little Spanish bar. We had planned to go back to the hotel and change to go out again. Instead we found a restaurant with a bay window looking out over the street. We could people watch to our hearts' content there. The young couple who couldn't stop kissing, until they realised we were watching them, and then they giggled and waved and moved on. The other couple who parked their car halfway on the street, with the hazard lights flashing. He got out of the car, a poor soul, walked with a limp. He took the cases out of the boot while his girlfriend haughtily lit a cigaretter and made a call on her mobile phone.Then he dragged and lifted the cases towards a hotel further up the street. She totally ignored him. Too busy on her moblie, while he kept having to stop for a rest, shifting the weight of the cases before he moved on. She was still on the phone, and with her fag in her mouth when he returned. We expected, hoped I think, he would snatch the cigarette crush it underfoot. But he didn't. Instead, they both began walking towards the hotel. Then, suddenly, the worm turned. He said something, she snapped back and the next thing, she was striding away from him. and he was walking in the opposite direction. Only thing was, she was heading for the hotel, and he was going back to the car. We will never know the end of that story. But that is the wonderful thing about people watching. You can make up your own ending. And, did I really see Danny Boyle, the Greenock scriptwriter, walking with his wife? I could have sworn I did.
    Moments like these made up the weekend.  But the best of all was what happened on the way to the airport on Sunday. I looked out of the taxi window as we were stopped at traffic lights, and there on the top of a tourist bus going in the opposie direction.,was a young boy. When he saw me he smiled, and I smiled back and waved. The lights changed, and as we moved away from each other we waved again.
   Ships passing in the night, as they say? Not a bit of it. At Liverpool airport as we were waiting to go through customs, a boy in front turned to me. " Did I see you in Madrid today?" He asked. The same boy.His name was Sam, a lovely boy, on holdiay with his family for half term. Imagine remembering my face in a taxi window?
   Another small moment that made the weekend. And a big moment, to make my day today!

Monday, 7 February 2011

catching up

Ages since I wrote in here. No excuse, just couldn't get in to actually post a blog. Another resolution, learn more about technology! But here I am, have had such a wonderful January, I didn't win the Southern Schools Book Award, but I met such lovely people there. I love meeting other writers, hearing how they go about writing, where they get their ideas, asking all the questions that seem to annoy people because they get asked them so much! I did, however, win the Red Book Award. They really know how to host an awards celebration. Everyone has to wear something red. My daughter Sarah bought me a lovely red flowy top, just right for the occasion...it was my birthday the day before, so winning was just about the best birthday present I could get. It was such a fun day. Then, I was off to Liverpool and my daughter Katie and her family. I love driving and listening to the radio as I go. Heard a great play on the way home, a dramatisation of The Big Sleep, seems Radio 4 are doing a Raymond Chandler season. All the time I listened I was sure I knew the actor's voice who was playing Philip Marlowe. The play was almost finished when it came to me. It was the detective out of Medium. The news came on just after it finished. There was an item about a sex offender in Carstairs who took his case ot the European Court. He was being fed a healthy diet and said it was against his human rights, because he wanted junk food....and he won! Law and Order UK, eh?  But, it gave me an idea for a story. Schools are making sure pupils are eating a healthy diet, aren't they? What if they, en masse, started protesting, they want their chips. Took their case to the European Court, would they win too? Why shouldn't they? We might have protests like the ones wer'e seeing in Cairo!
   January over already. It's February, and I have so much to look forward to this month too.