Day 3 - Wednesday 10th October

St Mary's Primary School & Z-Arts

At one of the events today Beth and Michael from the Scottish Book Trust spotted Mr Mumbles, the horrifying stitch-lipped psychopath from my first Invisible Fiends books. He was standing right up at the back, scowling at everyone who dared meet his eye.

Barry Hutchison on tour

OK, so he wasn’t actually Mr Mumbles, but he did look almost exactly like the image on the cover, albeit a bit shorter and without dirty lengths of thread holding his bloated, diseased lips together. He didn’t have bloated, diseased lips either for that matter, so he wasn’t actually much like Mr Mumbles at all. Dunno why I mentioned him, to be honest.

Z-Arts, where the afternoon’s event was taking place, wasn’t a zombie arts collective after all. It was an arts centre with a HUGE theatre inside, which soon filled up with hundreds of excited kids for my events as part of the Manchester Literature Festival.

After the event the kids swarmed up to me in the signing area – so much so that I felt like one of the Beatles. Not one of the really popular ones, obviously. Ringo, maybe. I was posing for photographs and frantically signing books as 10-year-olds screamed the word “squirrel” at me over and over again.

I’m glad it was a good day. I needed an emotional lift after my frankly disappointing performance at dinner last night. We were eating at a Teppanyaki restaurant, where the food is prepared and cooked right at your table.

At one point during the meal the chef flicks hot slices of potato at diners for them to catch in their mouths. Both Michael and Beth managed (Beth appeared to have some sort of supernatural gift for it) but when it came to my turn the food just bounced clumsily off my big confused face. I was – and remain – deeply ashamed.

And badly burned.