September 24, 2009:

I began the day with breakfast at a local bakery (I just, alas, had tea) with my wonderful editor from Walker UK, and we ranted about the state of publishing in both Britain and America for a couple of hours, as well as talked about possible new projects together. As I walked back to my hosts’ house–with two fresh baked loaves of bread for them–I thought about the possibilities of those new projects. So of course, as is my wont, I immediately sat down and emailed the editor a bunch of stuff, in the hopes that something will tickle her fancy.

Then I settled down to work on CURSES FOILED AGAIN, getting up to page 86 by the end of four hours.

In-between the pages, I tried to be a hero. As I was making tea in the second floor kitchen, I looked out onto the building’s garden and there was an elderly red-headed woman sprawled peculiarly in the grass, not discernibly breathing. On a table nearby was a notebook and some papers. I watched on and off for a few minutes more and she was still not moving. Worried that she might have had a heart attack (especially since she was lying on the grass, not on a blanket or laprobe) I grabbed my cell phone. I found the garden keys (there were three of them) and with a bit more sleuthing found the garden door as well, I worked out how to get into the garden because its keys were somewhat like my Scottish garden door. I ran into the garden. She was still not moving. I went over to her, tapped her on the shoulder, and asked “Are you alright?” I was ready to call 999, the British equivalent of 911. She turned over blinked, said, “Oh, I’m not sleeping. I’m just having a good think.” On the grass? In 70 degree weather? No blanket under her? Oh well, no accounting for British eccentricities. I apologized for disturbing her. She thanked me for my concern. I walked back into the house a bit embarrassed, heart pounding. Not a hero after all.

In the evening, after my adventure, I was taken to a quite wonderful house–part 17th century part Victorian with a long rig garden to die for. There were really excellent canapes in the garden with champagne, all for the members of the London Smith College Club. Then I gave a talk about writing and the Yolen clan, read MY FATHER KNOWS THE NAMES OF THINGS and several poems, both for children and for adults. Made them laugh. Hope I made them think. They bought books. I signed books. Answered some questions. There were dessert canapes. A good time, I think, was had by all.

Came back to Mine Hosts, found a rejection in e-mail, and news of a newly-discovered Anglo-Saxon treasure trove which my Scottish chum Peter says made him very envious.

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