I had a bit of spare time so I popped over to nearby Stonehenge on the way. It was full of tourists to start with, but it was quite late in the day so by the time I'd walked around it there were only a handful of people left and it was easy to imagine that it was just me and the stones. Spooky! It's really well worth a visit to Stonehenge if you get the chance – over 5,000 years of history and some amazing stories. Try and come up with your own mythical explanation for why the stones are there!
An hour or so later and I was in Bournemouth. I've never been before so I left my clifftop hotel and wandered down to the beach in the dusk. It's a gorgeous place, beautiful gardens right next to the beach and even a tethered hot air balloon you can float up in! I grabbed some fish and chips (it's law that when by the sea you have to indulge in fish and chips) then headed back to the hotel. Unfortunately, thanks to my neighbours, it was the worst night's sleep ever! They were arguing until six in the morning, throwing things around the room and at one point the police showed up! Nightmare!
I started again first thing on Wednesday, doing two school events in Kinson Library, both of which were great fun. After a lovely lunch with Denise (my minder!) I returned to the library for another event in the evening – not just any old event but the opening of the library's Headspace area! The Mayor of Bournemouth was there (in some incredible Mayoral bling, I have to say), as well as a huge crowd of teenagers, parents and librarians. I talked for nearly an hour about my love affair with horror, and everybody seemed to enjoy it! It was a great honour helping to open the Headspace area, especially as the people in the steering group had done such an amazing job setting everything up. Well done, and I hope you have loads more cool events there in the future!
On Thursday, after a bacon butty on the beach in glorious sunshine, I drove across to Poole for two more school events, this time in the Hamworthy Library. I even managed to get another quick trip to the beach in between them, this time glimpsing Poole Harbour. It is beautiful around there! I wanted to drive to Sandbanks and eye up a future mansion for myself, but in the end I drove to Corfe Castle and had a nosey around there. Even though it's a ruin it's an amazing place to visit, full of history. After that I bolted down to Swanage for an evening event with a fantastic group of readers and writers.
I drove across to Chichester that night, doing my best not to fall asleep in the car... After a night in a Premier Inn (always really comfy) I headed to Kingsham Primary School where I met up with the incredibly enthusiastic Colin and his boy's reading group. They were recording a podcast and asked me some brilliant questions. If it goes online I'll let you know where to find it. They even changed the tone of my voice to make me sound like a demon (and a chipmunk, although the demon sounded better)! Awesome! I did a talk to the year 6's, then to the year 5's (and some girls from the nearby girl's school), and all in all had a fantastic time! After lunch (a MacDonald's...) I zoomed over to the Chichester High School for Girls and did a show for about a billion year 7's, which was a brilliant way to finish off the tour!
I just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone who helped organise the tour, and who came to listen to me speak. I had a fantastic time! :-)
See you all again soon!