WHAT A DAY! We were very kindly given some tickets to a few family events at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, one of which was this one, Chris Hoy and the Flying Fergus Team. We were thrilled to hear Chris Hoy, Joanna Nadin and Clare Elsom talk about their series, how they developed the characters, their basis and, see some live drawing bring the characters to life. Clare Elsom was drawing he entire time we were there, it was so inspiring to watch. There were some funny moments, a few Olympic anecdotes, and child participation thrown in too. Hearing how the characters are based on pieces of each author, their friends and family really was so interesting.
The family events at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, like all the events they do, are well planned and there are maps dotted about the festival site along with lots of helpers in pink t-shirts. After we picked up our tickets, we easily found The Ink where the event was taking place. It’s worth noting we passed a vegan ice cream van on the way into the site, and H threw a bit of a tantrum wanting ice cream. I didn’t have much cash so couldn’t get her one… and the cash machine is across in the Co-Op. There was no way I wasn’t navigating that road again with a buggy, so, top tip: get cash before you arrive!
After the event, the book signings took place in the Children’s bookshop which was very close to the Ink. At the signing H froze when we got to the front and the people behind came between us as I pushed the buggy along the desk, so I didn’t really get to say anything to the authors, other than realise H was glued to the spot and separated from me. I felt as if lost my turn to say how much H loves the books, and loves her bike even more since we’ve been reading the series. I had to squeeze back in to get my books as the lady behind was talking to Chris Hoy already and we’d missed out. I said thank you and sorry for the screaming and that was all I managed.
Back to the event, I’ve always loved books, and doodling away so this talk was fantastic. H is a huge fan of ‘books and even though these books are perhaps aimed at stighyly older kids than her, she loves me reading them to her. I don’t often mention that I’m Scottish, and so, like most of Scotland, we always supported Chris Hoy cycling. So it was brilliant hearing about Chris’s first bike being second hand costing £5, and other anecdotes. Of course it was so interesting to hear where all of the characters came from and how all three of the team at the festival had characters based on them and all influence certain aspects of the books. The accuracy of the bike drawings sounds incredible!
Back to the books, if you haven’t read any Flying Fergus books, we think they’re fab. H loves me taking her to bed, perhaps because I didn’t for so long instead I was feeding newborn B. She loves me reading her a few pages of a book a night, and loves exciting stories like Flying Fergus and also Mummy Fairy (by Sophie Kinsella), her current favourites. In theory we read a few pages a night. Yeah right, I don’t know the last time I only read 3 pages to her 🤣
Anyway… the festival is just brilliant for families and I have to mention the festival helpers who were so helpful. B was asleep when we arrived, and they were so accommodating letting us sit in free seats at the front, and again so helpful when we had to duck out (aka run out grabbing everything as fast as possible) just before the end as B decided it was time for a run about. Screams and wriggling free to get away weren’t really ideal. I really felt so embarrassed! Of course as we got out the door, she stopped screaming, but I wasn’t brave enough to go back in and instead I let them both have a run around in the leaves for a few minutes. Sixteen month olds don’t really want to sit and watch anything, apart from maybe Peppa Pig or Duggee for half a minute, so I guess we did well. Snacks are essential to every part of toddler life (so useful at the festival and when flying)!
Anyway… there are loads of family events at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and I know we’re so lucky to live in such a fantastic town – there is always something exciting going on, and the hills around a lovely reminder of home.
We had an amazing experience today and really fascinating time hearing the background to these books we love.
** We were given the tickets to attend the event, but did buy our own books 😀 and genuinely do love these stories and illustrations **