Dressler, our German publisher, had asked us to go and visit some international schools to spread the word about Oliver and the Seawigs, or Schwupp und Weg as it’s known in those parts.
Our main host was Stephanie von Selchow who is the librarian at the European School in Frankfurt.
She’d arranged for us to do two sessions there, for her own students, and a visiting class from Textorschule, Sachsenhausen. A lot of the kids had already read Oliver and the Seawigs, so after we’d talked a bit about it we went on to Cakes in Space, which has just been published in Germany as Kekse im Kosmos. Most of the audience spoke good English, and it seemed to go down well... of course, some of the show needs no translation; the bit where I hit Philip over the head with a mandolin case goes down well in any language.
That afternoon we had a quick wander around Frankfurt, and tried to draw some of the odd but attractive nobbly linden trees which line the riverside.
They're quite tricky trees to draw, and I'd love to have another try at them. One of the school kids had a picture of this kind of tree in his Oliver and the Seawigs artwork and he got the funny shape of it just right.
Then it was off to the Literaturhaus restaurant, where we had dinner with Stephanie and some of her colleagues from ESF and other schools.
As you can see, it was very grand, and the food and company were first-rate.
The next morning we were picked up by Manuela Rossi, who whirled us down the Autobahn to Bad Villbel, where we talked Seawigs and Cakes to some of the students of the European School Rhine Main.
Ute Arias, the librarian there, showed us some of the great artwork the children had produced, including this fantastic tower of houses. It looks a bit like a Traction City out of Philip’s Mortal Engines books.
Most amusing question of the day: Where did you get those GIGANTIC SHOES?
Then it was back on the Autobahn to yet another international school, Accadis in Bad Homburg.
We’d met Samantha Malmberg and Caitlin Wetsch from the school at the previous night’s dinner, so it was good to see them in their natural surroundings, and meet their students, who were VERY EXCITED TO SEE US.
Some of the classes had done whole whole projects on Oliver the Seawigs, complete with some great drawings.
And after that we had a little bit more time to mooch around Frankfurt...
...in the guise of Mitteleuropean crime-fighting duo Peek & Cloppenburg.
Strange things were going on in Frankfurt city centre. Nobody seemed to be bothered by the fact that the shopping mall was being devoured by a wormhole…
But we discovered a natty German-style TARDIS and were able to save the day.
And we both found excellent covers for our pop albums, should we ever find time to write and record them. Here’s Philip, waiting for the Trans-Europe Express…
Heaven knows what mine is going to sound like.
But whatever it is, it will be lovely: some things are Better Than Perfection.
Thanks to Stephanie, Ute, Sam and all the staff and volunteers who helped to make our visit to Frankfurt so enjoyable. We were very sad to leave!
(Here's the link to Philip's blog, which is pretty much the same as mine, because he wrote it up on his laptop while we were waiting at Frankfurt Airport!)