As I was going to St Ives . . .

isn't this the cutest logo?
Sitting in my home office this afternoon watching the rain lashing down outside (will it ever stop?) it's almost impossible to imagine that only a few weeks ago it was gloriously sunny (people war actually complaining it was too hot!) I spent a lovely Saturday in the Cambridgeshire town of St Ives (not to be confused with the one in Cornwall) at their first children's book festival - a whole day of book-related events including author and illustrator workshops, story-telling, competitions and much more, taking place in the beautifully refurbished Corn Exchange.

The day was a delight from start (when I got a parking space right outside the back door of the venue!)  to finish (home in time for tea, tired but happy!) - there was such a buzz of activity in the whole building (and that wasn't only due to the valiant chap who spent the entire day dressed in a furry bumble bee costume - although he deserved a medal!)

Everyone was having a lovely time - especially me - not least because I got to meet up with lots of friends from Holywell Primary School - one of my all-time favourite school-visit schools. My "minder" for the day was Holywell head teacher, Julie Branch, and we had great fun - especially once we'd triumphed over a few minor technical hitches with powerpoint projectors. It was lovely to see so many Holywell pupils there and to hear that they also won lots of prizes in the story writing competition - what a talented bunch of keen readers and writers they are!

This illustration by the hugely talented
 Marta Altes really captured the spirit of the day
It was also a great pleasure to see all the illustrators working away in the hall, each surrounded by  a group of enthralled children watching them draw . . . and doing lots of drawing and colouring of their own. Not to mention browsing through all the books on the stall being run by the lovely people at Waterstones in Cambridge . . .

Finally, a huge thank you to the Friends of the St Ives Corn Exchange, and especially Ros Pascoe, for organising such a great event and for inviting me along. And if you are ever in the area, do be sure to visit St Ives - it's a lovely, friendly market town, with a fascinating history, great riverside walks - and you can even pop into the Corn Exchange for a cup of tea!
I popped out for a walk in the sunshine at lunchtime
 and found myself in very exalted company!