October 29, 2013
Chatsworth East, Tanglin, a SCWBI dinner, sightseeing, CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity Singapore and lunch!
I’ve been a little slow with the blogging the past few days as I had a book to finish last Thursday and have been enjoying a weekend off doing some sightseeing. I had a wonderful visit to Chatsworth East School on Thursday for just over an hour and met a fantastic group of students and teachers. Sadly I didn’t get any photographs, as their displays were amazing and I felt so wonderfully welcome. I am looking forward to working with the school again next year.
I got back to the hotel just on 11am and spent the next 7 hours working on Clementine Rose and the Treasure Box before a delicious dinner with Cheryle Hum, then back to work until midnight to get the book off to my publisher. I really wanted to have a free weekend as my sister Sarah was arriving on Friday evening. On our way out, Cheryle took me around to Bookaburra, her shop in The Forum where I met a lovely little girl called Alex who had come especially to have a book signed. She and her family have just moved to Singapore from Melbourne. It was really special to meet her.
I spent Friday at Tanglin Trust School, which is beautiful. The library is gorgeous and again the displays were amazing. I had a wonderful time talking to the Year 3 and 4 students throughout the day. The school is incredibly well resourced and the teacher’s lounge is extremely comfortable. The food was stunning – you’d never bring lunch from home if you worked there! Celeste Fisher, the Junior School librarian was a boarder at Ravesnwood, one of the schools near me at home. She made me feel so welcome and I’m looking forward to visiting Tanglin again in the future.
On Friday night I was really excited to be catching up with the SCWBI Singapore group. Dave Seow came to collect me at the hotel with another writer Emma, who is working on a junior fiction series. We drove down to Jumbo Seafood opposite Clarke Quay on the river. It was a balmy evening with a breath of wind that kept the humidity down and the temperature just about perfect. I met Catherine Carvell and her husband, other authors, Evelyn and Simon and it was lovely to see Sarah Mounsey again. I do apologise for not remembering everyone’s surnames! The group is so welcoming and supportive of one another. It was a real pleasure to spend time with everyone. Poor Catherine was worried about my seafood allergy but I managed to get through dinner without a hitch. Several members of the group are published or soon to be published (Catherine has a book coming out with Fremantle Press next year) and it’s wonderful to hear their excitement for one another’s successes.
My sister Sarah arrived just before I got back to the hotel. Saturday morning we decided to go to Vivocity which is right opposite Sentosa. It’s an enormous shopping mall and has a great range of restaurants too. We wandered around and I even managed to buy a top which is slightly miraculous given I seem to be of gigantic proportions here! This is Sarah outside the Toy Shop with the giant Lego Merlion.
I also managed to order Ian a new sports jacket and pants from the tailor he used in February – a lovely man who remembered as soon as I walked in the door that I was ‘Mr Ian’s wife.’
Cheryle Hum took Sarah and I to dinner at Jade Palace Restaurant on Saturday evening. It was delicious. The food here is outstanding.
On Sunday Sarah and I played proper tourists and took the open top bus tour (two of them in fact). It was great – really got my bearings better for the city and saw some places I hadn’t been to before. We stopped for a late lunch at Marina Bay Sands and then went to the top of the hotel to have a look at the view. We had drinks and enjoyed watching the thunder clouds rolling in over the sea from west of Indonesia. Afterwards we spent some time in Orchard Road where I became completely disillusioned about my enormous size. Sarah is tiny and fits into so many of the beautiful things. Me on the other hand, not so much!
Today Cheryle took me to one of the local schools, CHIK Our Lady of the Nativity in Upper Serangoon Rd. I had really been looking forward to it as it was going to be one of the largest audiences I’ve spoken to – 1500 girls and their teachers. The librarian Mrs Tan was lovely and the hall was huge! The fans were enormous too – she told us they were called Big Ass Fans and sure enough when we looked up that was the name on the fan!
The girls were so receptive and laughed in all the right places. I was thrilled with the two girls who were chosen to participate in the drama activity too – they were amazing. Such expressive faces and great timing.
This afternoon Sarah and I had lunch with Dave Seow and his mother Eileen. They are so lovely and both of them tell the funniest (true) stories. Mrs Seow took us to Paradise Dynasty in the ION building, which Ian and I tried to get into last time we were here but the line was so long. The food was fabulous and the company excellent. We then walked home to the Seow’s house which is in a beautiful neighbourhood off Orchard Rd where there are rows of heritage protected townhouses. While we were there a mighty thunderstorm hit and the rain belted down, the lightning forked and the thunder boomed for at least an hour. But it was no bother as Sarah and I were both far too interested listening to Dave and his mum.
For dinner we met one of Sarah’s friends, Cass at Newton Food Market. Ian and I had been there last visit and it was just as much fun the second time around. It was great to meet Cass too.
Tomorrow I am off early to St Joseph’s International School for workshops all day with Year 6 and Year 2. I suspect Sarah might do some more shopping.