Posted by: gillarbuthnott | August 24, 2012

Bookfest Blog #6: AAAARGH!!!



Well, today it was my own event, and I was due to talk to an audience of 30ish P2 children about Lost at the Zoo at 11.30. I got all my props ready the night before, cut out eyes from paper plates and penguin face shapes from black paper and penguin beaks from yellow card, all for 30 children, so that we could make masks.

I had plenty of time to get ready in the morning, and at 9.47 I had a quick look at the programme just to check I’d got everything right.

And suddenly, it didn’t say I was on at 11.30

It said I was on at 10.00


9.47   Phone taxi

9.48   Phone rings. It’s Chani from Floris Books ‘We were just wondering where you were,’ she says calmly. I tell her. She isn’t quite so calm any more.

9.49   Run out of house. See taxi in street. Stand in front of it so it has to stop or run me down. ‘Have you got a taxi booked?’ asks driver. ‘Yes!’ I squeak. ‘Then this isn’t your taxi,’ he says.  ‘Please let me in – it’s an emergency!’ I gibber my way through an explanation.  ‘Get in,’ he says. I love him.

9.50  Cancel other taxi. Try unsuccessfully to phone Chani to tell her I’m on my way.

9.57  A miracle has taken place. The traffic lights have smiled on us. I’ve been picked up by a taxi driver with magical powers. Who knew? We have arrived at Charlotte Square.

9.58  Hurtle through Book Festival crowds, felling old ladies and small children. (Not really)

9.59 Walk calmly into the Imagination Lab. The ‘calmly’ bit is a big fat lie of course, but I do actually  make it.

9.59 and a half. Discover there are 70 children in the audience, not 30.

10.03 Event begins. Much frantic cutting out goes on (Thankyou Chani, Kathryn, Sara and the Book Festival venue manager whose name I don’t know) so that there will be enough mask bits for all.

11.00 Event finishes. We’ve all had a great time, and everyone from P2 Craigour Park primary school has made a penguin mask.

11.05  Retire to yurt to gibber quietly in corner.

11.30  Head home to lie down in darkened room with gin-soaked cloth over face. Resolve to learn to tell the time.



  1. I can feel my blood pressure rising just reading this! Enormously well done, though – you are the Situation Rescue Queen!

    • My blood pressure is rising just reliving it now! Still, as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

  2. Well done, truly you are a star!!

    • I doubt the poor folk at the book festival who I nearly gave heart failure would agree…

  3. Wow. That is very much doing an author event on the edge of the edge. Well done you for coping! I bet the kids never even noticed anything was or had been wrong, and they all had a fabulous time. Hope you enjoy a nice calm evening! (And I suspect the venue manager was Sian, who is a lovely and very supportive person.)

    • Oh I like the idea of ‘the author event on the edge of the edge’. It sounds so much better than fiasco…

  4. We’ve all been there! Well done for making it.

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