Back In My Hometown

Such a special 24 hours/flying visit back to my hometown of Clare, South Australia this week. First up, a visit to my old primary school, St Joseph’s, to talk to a fantastic group of Grade 4 and 5 students about my first children’s book, Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat. They had prepared gorgeous displays of painted caravans, flowers and even a fishtank, and had so many brilliant questions. I wish I could have stayed all day. It meant so much to me to be back there in the library. While I was an 8 year old at St Joseph’s myself, I wrote and illustrated my first book, called The Smith Family Go to Perth on the Train. The school librarian at the time, Mrs Milte, very kindly covered it, catalogued it and put it on the shelves for the entire time I was a student there. I know that planted the seed that one day I might be a ‘real’ writer, so it was very special to be back there 48 years later talking about being an author, and to see that the St Joseph’s students are still being so encouraged in their reading and writing. My warmest thanks to the current librarian Michelle Edmondson and all at St Joseph’s for inviting and hosting me.
My next stop was the Clare Town Hall for a talk hosted by the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Library Service and Meg’s Bookshop. The librarians – Catherine, Jess, Bernie, Tam, Sam and Charles – had also prepared the most fantastic Marcie Gill and Snorkel Bay themed display for me to speak from – beach items, a Snorkel Bay and Dublin sign, black cats and all! It was also great to catch up with lots of old and new Clare friends, and to meet local author Emma Lauren,¬†whose first book Fun at the Burra Creek is also out now. Thanks so much to Clare and Gilbert Valley Mayor Wayne Thomas and Council CEO Helen Macdonald for their warm welcome too, and the lovely Clare Valley tote bag gift.
The next morning, a brief but special visit to my childhood home, the Stationmaster’s House, welcomed so warmly as always by current owner Di Hood. A quick visit also to Sevenhill (where my husband John and I were married nearly 30 years ago), a walk along the gumtree-lined¬†Riesling Trail and then back to Adelaide, under the big South Australian sky (and 35 degree heat…). I hope you all enjoy my photo gallery.