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I'd never visited the Midlands town of Loughborough before, so when my Jinks & O'Hare Funfair Repair co-author Philip Reeve and I visited for their Loogabarooga Festival, I was keen to explore. I think this was our highlight, a statue known as Sock Man:

I looked up Sock Man on Wikipedia, 'a bronze statue celebrating Loughborough's association with the hosiery industry'. Sock Man really does look terribly pleased with his sock, and I gave him a little massage.

Also, why 'Loogabarooga'? Well, there's a story that this is how some foreigners pronounce 'Loughborough', which kind of makes sense, because the word doesn't look all that much like how it's pronounced (which is 'Luff-bra'). One of the cool things for the festival was all these painted benches scattered around the town centre:

Philip was giving a Sunday talk on his Railhead books, so this bench seemed fitting. (Note the pleasant shaft of sunlight.) One of the cool things about Loogabarooga is that it puts a special focus on the illustrators of books, rather than on the writers, which is unusual (and pretty awesome, I'd say).

The Loogabarooga organiser Juliet Martin rounded up nearly 400 kids from lots of different schools for our event, but it was hosted by a VERY posh collection of schools called Loughborough Endowed Schools. (Check out the gorgeous building!)

Philip and I love a well-run theatre set-up, and here we are, backstage at Hodson Hall, waiting for Juliet to announce us and our event to begin.

Waiting backstage would be a bit nerve-wracking except we spend the time practicing dance moves.

We had good fun with the boisterous huge group of kids, but the best part was when one class was invited to stay behind - a class where everyone had pre-ordered books and obviously prepared and been excited about the event - and we spent another half hour having a quieter chat just with them. They had some great questions and we got to hear a bit about what they were interested in, and that made the whole visit seem particularly worthwhile. Here's a formal picture set up by their teacher:

And I snapped a quick selfie (as you do):

Huge thanks to Juliet Martin (pictured here) for all her tremendous work and enthusiasm in setting up the festival! And to our school contacts, Georgiana and Fiona, and Rob the technician, who made our event run so smoothly.

Okay, a few more shots around Loughborough. This sign made us laugh. Reeve & McIntyre... WHAT do we do for a living?? :D

And this shop presented a funny juxtaposition of dancing babies... and meat.

(I don't think the two are linked.)

Goodbye, Loughborough! And Sock Man. We were sorry to see the back of you.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 25th, 2016 11:01 am (UTC)
Rubbing the sock man's toe...
Sarah (and Philip) - did you know that it's supposed to be very lucky to rub the Sock Man's toe? I'm never sure which one though - so I hope you rubbed both, just in case? Glad you enjoyed Loogabarooga!
Oct. 25th, 2016 05:56 pm (UTC)
It does sound fun!
I associate Loughbourugh with bells, as it's the home of John Taylor & Co, one of the 2 surviving Bellfounders in the the UK. They've been there since the 14th Centuary (although I believe it changed hands and was renamed in the mid 1700s!)
Oct. 25th, 2016 08:37 pm (UTC)
I love sock man! Also judging from the polishing of the bronze, you're not the first to give him a massage. Looks like people also like to sit on his knee?
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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