Now, I knew York was a great city. When I was about eight I dragged my family round the Jorvik Viking Centre about 15 times in a week. I also have strong memories of Betty's Tea Room.
So yesterday, arriving in York, I wasn't a bit surprised to see that it's a beautiful place. (A big hi to everyone at Huntingdon School, by the way - thanks for the welcome and the fun afternoon. Nice one.)
But today I was in Sheffield - and I was totally taken by surprise. It's an amazing place! I've never seen so many fountains in a single city. And I have a soft spot for a good fountain. So, um, well done Sheffield.
Anyway, what my trip was really about, was cheese. Or rather, stories about cheese, concocted with impressive imagination by the students of Ecclesall Junior School and Birkdale Prep. (A massive hi to all of you as well.) It was a cheesboard of story events - a fondu of tall tales. Very fun for me, but a little confusing for my long-suffering publicist Emma.
Let's take a moment to talk about Emma - an unsung hero of the Jimmy Coates world. Emma works for HarperCollins and has had to accompany me on several trips around different parts of the world. Surely that's not so hard, you'd think - except that when she's there to look after me I get a little over-excited. Some small switch in my subconscious flicks, and I seem to make it my mission to try to get her to laugh. This usually involves acting more and more like an idiot and desperately trying to persuade her to play sillier and sillier games to pass the time on long train journeys.
She puts up with a lot. So - thanks Emma. It might exasperate you, but it entertains me, and you're very much appreciated.
I've left out some important thanks: to Andrew at Borders in York, and to Richard and Imelda at Rhyme and Reason, a fantastic little bookshop on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield. When I say 'little' I really mean little - it's tiiiiiiiiiiiiiny, but packed with every book you could ever desire. Go and have a look if you're in the area, it's a lot of fun.
Tomorrow is my first (and last) day off for a very long time so I might get a chance to do a little writing. Wahey.
But here's a last minute invitation to you all:
Come and meet me, and get a book signed at...
Yes - the world-famous, iconic Harrod's. I'll be at the children's section of the Waterstones inside Harrod's at
11am on Thursday (Feb 22).
I'll probably be there about an hour. (If meeting me isn't enough of an attraction, you can also meet Emma - yup, she'll be there too, and I'll be cracking stupid jokes at her just to test her patience even further.)
See you there!