Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Leaving London by Book Barge

Apart from having a job that I LOVE, one of the best things about being a self-employed illustrator is the possibility of taking sudden and unexpected holidays.* On a sunny-Sunday-afternoon sort of whim Ronley and I volunteered to join the crew of The Book Barge as she made her way out of London to Staffordshire (admittedly only as far as Watford where we switched to rail). Opting to abandon our usual, excruciatingly slow London Midland train journey for two days on a narrowboat wasn't a difficult decision.

Sarah took The Book Barge to London for the Guardian Open Weekend and spent the week in Angel before finishing at Broadway Market in spectacular style with a wonderful Operation Alphabet reading and workshop (if you ever read to children, The Ministry of Letters' Sammy will inspire you to quadruple your usual effort - she is a picture book reading phenomenon!). Sarah has just arrived back at Barton Marina (having traveled at lightning speeds of 4mph for 10 days) for a flood of Titanic anniversary book signings tomorrow evening. Life-jackets not included.

We sailed merrily from Angel through to Camden, Little Venice and London Zoo all the way to Watford. We even visited the farm where Black Beauty was filmed! Thus proving my rashly concocted belief that there is NOWHERE important that cannot be visited by barge.

Paying no heed to the Private Property signs, we accosted a wheelbarrowing stablehand who, somewhat bemused by our enthusiasm (“Black Beauty? Yeah... I think that was before my time), kindly let us have a look around.


The Book Barge is a truly wonderful place. Visit if you have the chance and if you don’t you can still support Sarah by buying your books from the Hive network. All you have to do is select The Book Barge as your favourite book shop and she’ll receive some of the proceeds. AND prices are discounted - Magpie’s Treasure is currently just £4.89! What more could you possibly want?

*Other advantages to working at home include accounting in pyjamas and ALL art materials counting as business expenses, even ribbons and encyclopedias of mammals! Disadvantages mostly revolve around not actually having any time off because of overwhelming feelings of failure, guilt and/or stress or a good, old-fashioned, looming deadline. However, this is ultimately inconsequential because you can throw open your curtains every morning singing "I have the VERY BEST job in the WORLD!" to passersby, or in my case, cows.


Gabriella Buckingham said...

what an unusual thing to do Kate! I'm a bit confused as to whether you slept on the barge or not but it certainly sounds like an adventure. And I love the comments about being self employed at the bottom:)

Kate Slater said...

Thanks Gabriella! Yes, we did sleep on the barge, very comfortably amongst the bookshelves. :)