April 21st, 2015

lismore castle: stepping into a storybook

I've read stories about princesses who have rooms in 'the highest room in the tallest tower' of a castle, but I never thought I'd actually get to live that story for a weekend!



When former Irish Children's Laureate Niamh Sharkey got in touch to see if I wanted to be part of a new festival at Lismore Castle called Towers and Tales, of course I said yes. And I brought along my trusty Jampire (knitted by Ann Lam). I'd been asked to do some picture book events for Jampires and There's a Shark in the Bath (but sadly, I seem to have lost my inflatable shark). Here's a drawing inspired by one of the Van Dyke paintings on the wall in the dining room:



It was better even than staying in a castle; we got to stay there with the family who own it, and they were so kind and gracious and provided HEAPS of food! Here's my writer friend Philip Ardagh, tucking in. (We did a lot of tucking in.)



And I wore a lot of hats. But not one with Philip Ardagh on it, unlike Lady Betty Compton, who couldn't resist:



(Ha ha, here are the two paintings the drawings are based on.)



And here I am in the entrance hall with lovely writer-illustrator Chris Riddell, when we first arrived, both of us looking slightly overawed and massively excited.



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