October 24th 2017. I am having lunch in the Cafe Bean in Aylesbury with Colin, we have just finished our stint at Singing For The Brain in Aylesbury and waiting to go on to sing at Kent House. We always go to this little cafe in Bedgrove, it serves the most delicious home made food, a rarity these days. I had taken a copy of Betsie Valentine And The Honeybees to show Colin it's progress. The pictures were about half way done by then. He had just started looking through when I spotted a couple with their daughter on the table adjacent to us. "Hold on a minute.." I said to Colin.. "give me the book.." I went over to their table and introduced myself and said that I had written a book and was in the process of having the images finished and would they mind if I showed it to their daughter. No child had seen it up until then and I was interested to see her reaction. The parents were delightful and said absolutely yes I could. I took pictures of her reaction, they are below. I was so happy! While Cara's mother went through the book together, I explained all about the book and my ambitions to take it around as many schools in the UK, together with a virtual hive, and talk to children about the honeybees and read from the book. To my utter surprise he told me he was a Headmaster of an infant school in Aylesbury and would be more than happy for me to go there and talk to them. His wife was also a teacher! I duly promised that as soon as the book was published I would make sure that his school would be the first school I would visit. We exchanged telephone numbers. Boom! But I was a long way from publishing.
I kept Kevin's, the Headmaster's details, in the back of my book for luck.
As you know the book is being printed. I am due to get the copies tomorrow. Last week I wrote to Kevin's school and told them that the book was now printed and I would like to keep my promise of theirs being the first school I visited. No response. I was disappointed but they could have broken up already and also at this time of year schools are very busy. However, I was surprised as Kevin had seemed genuine at the time. Yesterday I dived in to the deep end and sent him a text. He got back to me immediately and said he had moved schools, he is now the Headmaster of Boughton Infant School and no-one from his old school had contacted him about the email. He invited me to their end of school musical which, would you believe, is about bees!
Of course I said yes! How exciting. What a fantastic start. Not only do I keep my promise to him but I also get to watch the children perform a musical about bees! It could not be better! He said to bring copies of the book with me and a pen to sign them with!
All very well.. what if they don't arrive? Mad panic and phone calls and emails back and forth to the printers, CPI Printers, who have been fantastic, and in spite of my offer to drive to Wiltshire this afternoon to pick up some copies, they have organised for the books to come express delivery before noon tomorrow. I leave for the school at 13.00!
Like, corks in a river popping to the surface, it all seems to be happening at once and I could not be more thrilled. What a start! Long may it continue.