Day 2 - Tuesday 9th October

St. Paul’s Peel Primary School & St Charles R.C. Primary School

Today was the second day of my tour around Greater Manchester. Or, as I like to call it,
“Day 2.”

After the success of yesterday I’ll admit I was nervous. Two good days in a row would be unlikely, surely? Today was sure to be at least a partial disaster. Maybe a school would be flooded, or perhaps one of the events would be interrupted by an angry swan. I’ve encountered both those exact problems at events I’ve done in the past.

Except the swan one.

Barry Hutchison on tour

Imagine my surprise and relief, then, when both events went swimmingly. The schools we visited were really excited about the visit, and even though we had to force an entire dance class out into the cold so the second event could take place, I like to think they agreed it was for the best. They didn’t agree that, clearly, going by the way they were sobbing in the playground, but I like to think they did all the same.

Between events we stopped for something to eat and ended up consuming a full Sunday roast at 11:30am on a Tuesday morning. I know, I know. Where does the madness end, you ask yourself. What’s next? Cornflakes for dinner? Custard on toast? Actually, custard on toast has potential. I must write that down. Potential for what, I’m not entirely sure, but potential for something, definitely.

What really hit me today was the response I got when I asked the question, “Who likes writing stories?”. Normally I’ll get half a dozen hands raised in the average class-sized group, but in both schools today virtually everyone put their hand up, and one boy at the first school this morning even gave me a horror story he’d written to take away and read. It’s a genuinely creepy tale, and I predict that young chap will go far.

I’ve just checked the schedule, and apparently tomorrow I’m appearing at Z-Arts, which I can only assume is some sort of zombie arts collective. Sounds right up my street. Bring it on!

From Michael and Beth, Scottish Book Trust:

Every day of a Tour is different. Day 1 is full of excitement, with a dash of anxiety that everything goes according to plan. Day 3 is the middle of the tour, which means you have memories to look back on, yet the future has just as much potential. Day 4 is sort of like Day 1, you’ve returned to the stage of excitement because you want to end the week on a good note. Day 5 is well, the end. Sad that you’ve got to end the good times, no more staffroom cups of tea, no more bright-eyed pupils asking intelligent and/or zany questions.

Today was a test of endurance. A test of how much wackiness can I endure – waffles for breakfast, Sunday roast for lunch, teppenyaki for dinner. Those meals, in that order, don’t make any sense to me. Aztec print dresses (for Beth, not Michael), Clash albums on vinyl (for Michael, not Beth) (hey, Manchester has better shopping than Edinburgh). And some of the strangest conversation ever had by three people. Including; a story about man wearing a robot suit to study bears, forcing rhubarb under a bucket so it grows better, and a most appetizing dinner chat about circumstantial cannibalism – and yes, if you’re wondering, Beth would eat me (and anyone else around, sorry Barry) if the van suddenly crashed on the side of a Chilean mountain.