November 07, 2013
Sarum Hall and Highgate Junior School
On Monday we had a delicious lunch with the team from Random House at Ealing. It was wonderful to see Philippa, Annie, Barry, Natalie, Charlotte and Rachel again and great to meet Jasmine who is a new addition to the publicity team since we were here last and has been working on the tour. Having the opportunity to discuss ideas and where we take things from here was terrific and we’re looking forward to another strategy meeting in the next few weeks.
I was so excited to be heading back to Sarum Hall on Tuesday morning. It’s a gorgeous school for girls in Belsize Park. I’ve visited there twice before and the girls have always been a most appreciative audience. This time did not disappoint either – although it was a little bit hairy getting there with our driver caught completely unaware of the state visit by the President of South Korea. I googled road closures in London and found the problem after we’d done three laps of the Westminster Abbey roundabout. He was most apologetic and in the end we arrived with a couple of minutes to spare. My UK editor, Natalie met Ian and I there with Kate Agnew who runs the Children’s Bookshop at Muswell Hill. Kate has been a fabulous supporter of Alice-Miranda since the beginning and it was lovely to see her again and spend the whole day together. We’re hoping to visit the shop on the weekend too.
Sarum Hall is currently building the most beautiful playhouse like structure in the back garden – which although like a Wendy House will be big enough to accommodate classes and lessons. Can’t wait to see it when it’s finished. It was great to see Tina Pritchard again – she’s one of the teachers and a big fan of Alice-Miranda. I signed lots of books for the girls at the end of the session before we headed off towards the Hampstead Heath. We’d been hoping to have lunch at The Heath but the weather was grey and wet so we opted to get some sandwiches instead and go straight to the school where we could eat in the comfort of the library work room.
Highgate is a very old school. It was founded in 1565 and occupies a vast site near the Hampstead Heath in North London. They are about to embark on a complete rebuild of their junior school and are currently building an enormous temporary school on the other side of the field.
Librarian, Penny Casey was so lovely and welcoming and after lunch we headed down to one of the halls where the students from Year 2, 3 and 4 arrived soon after. The children were fantastic and so much fun to interact with. They were keen participants in my drama auditions and very enthusiastic book buyers too. I hope to go back there again next year – perhaps to do some teaching of writing too.
The trip back to town was uneventful and that night we met a friend for dinner down at St Katharine Docks right beside the Tower Bridge. It’s a great spot and perhaps a little hidden from the tourists.