Fab publicist Louise Stothard planned my tour and took me to stay at her house in Northamptonshire for two nights. Here's my pirate gear, all laid out and ready to go.
As I left, I waved goodbye to our sinister studio gnome at the Fleece Station, who promised to look after the place while my studio mate Gary and I were out and about, eventing. (Gary was doing gigs in Essex.)
I left London from Marylebone, which has one of those lovely old station roofs I like so much.
Louise picked me up at Bicester North station, and our first stop was Brackley, with its rather lovely town hall.
We explored The Old Hall Bookshop, in a big, beautiful Queen Anne building.
That place is a real treasure trove. Here's manager Christine Bridger, who stocked the books for my events during the next two days. And that's Louise on the right. Louise used to publicise The DFC comic, before it became The Phoenix comic.
Louise showed me through a little door at the top of the stairs, where I discovered that the bookshop went up three (or was it four?) more floors, which don't have any electricity. It felt a bit spooky and marvelous wandering about its strange passageways in the last dregs of daylight, like something out of a book. Reminded me a bit of the Magic Bookshop in Greenwich.
Then Louise took me to her house, a lovely old barn conversion in the countryside...
...with two cuddly Jack Russells! Here's 14-year-old Polo, who pretended like he was going to hold still while I drew him, but who wiggled every time I thought the picture was just starting to turn out all right.
Another attempt to draw Polo before he wiggled.
And here's the baby, little Pippa, who was so excited to see me that she widdled on the kitchen floor. I took this photo just after she came back from Obedience Class, where she met a little boyfriend and didn't pay any attention to the lesson. But awww... isn't she cute?
And then I had two full days of school events! I'll post Part Two tomorrow. But just to say, thanks to Louise for all her amazing help with the tour, she was brilliant!
Click here to read Part 2 and Part 3!