Borders Book Festival

I had heard of the Borders Book Festival, but nothing could have prepared me for its pure awesomeness!!
     My dear friend and mentor, Vivian French invited me to accompany her to this year's Borders Book Festival in Melrose.
The weather was looking dicey, but no matter, we were on our way. The train from Waverly in Edinburgh took us to Tweedbank in just under an hour.
The train only opened back up to Tweedbank about a year ago, after 50 years of no service to the area. In other words, the area is about 50 years behind modernity, which I suppose could be a bad thing, but as you'll see, I experienced only the good parts of that. Melrose is lovely, and it is a gorgeous setting for a book festival.
Apparently, the festival's banner monster was actually thought up at the festival by Viv's illustrator for Knight in Training, David Melling.
A lovely driver quickly claimed us to take us to the festival. He and his wife are bird lovers and actually ring (band) owls, so you can imagine we had fun talking until we got to the festival just a short distance away.
Oh! This was going to be something special! Even the entranceway was adorned with flowers.
The first few days of the festival were just for the kids. Busloads of them were brought in from nearby schools. Viv introduced the very first speaker, Chai Strathie. Wow, did he earn his keep. He is GOOD, and kept that huge tent-full of younguns laughing and stomping and cheering for an hour.
Then it was Vivian's and my turn. She shared her new book, The Covers of My Book Are Too Far Apart, which is all about learning to love to read.
While Vivian talked about coming up with characters and writing, I drew what she and the kids decided on. I did lots of drawings, but caught a photo of only this one. Sort of like speed-drawing rather than speed-dating. It was a blast!
Afterwards, we relaxed in the Festival's equivalent of a Green Room - the gorgeous Harmony House.
Alistair Moffat is the Director of the Festival. As a well-published author himself, he's been through the ringer at lack-luster affairs. So, for his festival, he makes a point of treating authors like royalty. And Wow, did they! There was a team of people (many prominent in their own rights) cooking and tidying and driving and generally smiling and hugging everybody as they came in. Of course, they all knew Vivian, but I felt loved too! And I even ran into friends like Astrid Jaekel, Louise Kelly, and new friends like Suzie Wilde. I'd forgotten how nice it is to go to a festival and know everybody there, and they all know you. I must work on that!
     I have to admit though, one of the things that entranced me about the festival was the gardens. Did you know I'm a certified Master Gardener? Yup - I love getting my fingers in the dirt. Overlooking the estate's garden is the breathtaking ruin of Melrose Abbey.
I so enjoyed wandering the immaculate gardens surrounding Harmony House.
Everything was in perfect, full bloom, from the Foxgloves...
to the Paeonies...
Even the nearby gardens were pristine.
Oh, how I wanted to get in there and get to work! Not that there were any weeds to be pulled - the place was immaculate!
      Back at the festival, there were craft and food stands scattered amongst the massive and impressive tents. I liked this one, just for horses.
It was hard to leave this slice of Eden, especially as the event was really just firing up. Big names were coming through all weekend (for kids and adults), but I was just there for the day. But what a day! I am in love with this festival and hope I can return again and again! My thanks to Vivian for adding such a lovely event to my life!


Jane Yolen said...

Have us BOTH go next year when CROW comes out!


Elizabeth O Dulemba said...

That would be cool! :) e