My blog is about writing and illustrating children's books which I have been doing since 1974. www.gillianmcclure.com has all my books. I also have another blog: www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com where I publish my father's poems.
In his book How Santa Claus Had A Long And Difficult Journey Delivering His Presents, published by Longman Young Books in 1970, Fernando Krahn's pictures tell a story that should be read by anyone setting out on a long and difficult journey, like me, to deliver presents overseas -
who is about to spend the festive season grounded at Heathrow with thousands of others, all waiting for the same Christmas miracle -
Every year around this time the All Party Writers Group holds its winter drinks reception at the House of Commons. This year the invitation came from John Whittingdale MP, Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. We gathered, on a freezing night in a very warm marquee on The Terrace. Authors at this party are expected to take the opportunity of lobbying MPs and Lords about issues that matter to us -the current one being where PLR is going to end up after the cuts - hopefully with ALCS. I spotted Nicholas Allan and Michelle Magorian who, like me, hadn't found a Minister to harangue and were enjoying the wine and canopees. Then came the 2010 Educational Writers' Award presentation. ALCS and the Society of Authors created this award in 2008 to 'celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications.' It's the only UK award that focuses on educational non-fiction and they always hand out the prizes at this party.
Bill Bryson won it with A Really Short History of Nearly Everything - and was very generous to his publisher, Random House, when he was receiving prize money in a large white envelope, saying it was very little to do with him and mostly to do with them. So various people from Random House walked away with large white envelopes too!
A little bit of snow can turn the world upside down. As airports close and trains leave passengers stranded, global companies find they are running their businesses in unlikely places. This week Plaister Press (a company in its infancy) has had to share its very modest premises in Cambridge with a Canadian Shipping Company,a Swedish Mining Company and a London Advertising Company. All were impressed by the excellent wireless connection on offer. Plaister Press, in return, received some good tips on accountancy, marketing and invoicing systems in the hope that ,one day, it too will be global!