After that, it was time for yet another train ride, this time to the nearby town of Milton Keynes--a town so nearby that my group from Puffin (our full part was sitting in different parts of the train) missed the stop. We realized we were at the station about 30 seconds before the train left and sprinted the door--which had shut. And when those automatic doors shut, they don't open. There's something very awful about standing on one side of a door and peering out helplessly at a confused colleague outside on the platform...as the train begins to move away. It was very much a "Noooooo..." moment. Fortunately, our next stop wasn't too far way, and the train going back to MK wasn't long in coming. It still took some time, but we ended up having a buffer in our schedule and made the next event on time:
Yup, another school. I spoke to about 100 students in their library, and then vampire activities ensued. The name wheel made one last appearance. It'll now be put into cold storage until May, when Puffin will bring it around to some expos for Spirit Bound's release.
We also had another makeup artist with us today, Miriam, who was a big hit:
Lucky for everyone, this was the end of the school day because after being a teacher, I can say with some certainty that I would be uneasy if these guys returned to my class:
Afterward, we packed up and headed back to London on a train that only went to London - so it was impossible to miss our stop. From there, I went on to the BBC's TV building, which was quite an intimidating place. I was scheduled to have a very brief live interview on the news channel's E24 segment. I figured it would be a head and shoulders shot on camera, so I wore this dress because it had a cute top half. It turns out that my full body was shown in the interview--including my travel boots, which weren't an ideal fashion match.
The interview became even shorter because there was pretty hot news in the UK entertainment world, concerning the divorce announcement of Cheryl Cole--someone I'd never heard of but who's immensely well-known here. So, that got a lot of coverage, and my interview ended up being about one minute. Still, it was pretty awesome being on the BBC, and everyone there was super nice, so I had a great time. The interview might be online, but I'm not sure.
Dinner with some Puffin folks rounded out the evening, and with that I was off to my hotel room and utterly exhausted. Twitter and Facebook followers will have heard about me buying a headband at the train station. It's not a style I've seen a lot in the US, but it looked cute in my hair. One of the Puffins advised me that it was more of a going-out style, to be worn in the evening. So, conscious of local fashion, I didn't it wear it during the day. But, when I got back to my hotel room, it was officially evening, so I figured it was okay to wear it with my other evening attire: a Bon Jovi t-shirt and pajama bottoms. CLASSY.
And now it's morning. Soon I'll be heading off to the airport for the long flight back to Seattle. While I'm never excited about flying, I'm very happy to be going home. This trip has been kind of a whirlwind, but I got the chance to do a lot of great stuff and am grateful to all the people who helped out: Karen Mahoney and Liz de Jager, Simon and Madeline from Bantam, schools, booksellers, and all the Puffins who sponsored and ran the tour--Tania, Hannah, Jayde, Lisa, Vanessa, Lindsey, and countless others. And of course, thanks to all the readers who came out too, particularly in this miserable weather! I hope to come visit again.
In the meantime: America, I'll be seeing you soon.