Monday, 27 January 2014

Falling out of a tree with mirth ... and Princess Petunia

"I nearly fell out of the tree laughing"   A Princess Petunia's Dragon Moment

So wrote, and drew, an artist by the name of Jane Smith.  She was sitting in a tree in Finsbury Park. She hadn't read anything about Princess Petunia's Dragon before.  In fact, she hadn't read a whole book for five years.  So there's my claim to fame.  Encouraging Jane to read a whole book, in one go, one fell swoop ... or one missed fall.  

She goes on to say  - "in this sketch I seem to have one black eye and am huge compared to the tree."

But I think it's perfect.  Thanks a million, Jane! 

Friday, 24 January 2014

A perfectly Petunia morning

A perfect morning starts with coffee. So where do you find yours? In the Botanic Gardens?

You see, I couldn't resist picking away at a fresh red coffee seed to find the moist bean inside.  

I was in the Botanics, waiting for my walking group to come marching past. My excuse for not getting to the start was the traffic. (Oh yeah. Pull the other one! More like sitting on the balcony, enjoying the unusually cool breeze.)   But still, it gave me the chance to inspect the coffee bean and to watch the ducks enjoying their morning splash. And best of all, to indulge in some pure Petunia pleasure with dry leaves.  

Here I am, swishing my trainers through the dry leaves that this cool weather has given us.  It made me feel just like a princess stomping through the Deep Dark Woods in her Wellington Boots. That 'beginning of the Autumn Term feeling' when leaves are everywhere, begging to be kicked.  Thankfully there were no nasty surprises underneath. Just a musty smell.  

Now it's later in the day, and things have got even better!  I've had a text from a young reader. Hannah, aged 8, was given Princess Petunia's Dragon today. Or rather, she was given a copy of the book! 

Hannah -    Dear Emma. I liked Princess Petunia a lot. The part that made me laugh was when the dragons flew over the cake and it went everywhere. My favourite drawing was when she met Freddy and they were walking together.

Emma -    Thanks, Hannah, I can see you are a real 'people person'. Or should that be 'dragon person'?  

Perhaps I should have asked her - do you like kicking leaves in Wellington Boots? But there again, perhaps not. Because everyone enjoys that, don't they?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Snail leaf

What a beautiful leaf I found today on Balmoral Road.  

An insect must have burrowed into it, and disturbed its growth, so that it grew in a snail's shape. 

My photo doesn't quite do it justice, but the hues of amber and deep khaki gave me plenty of enjoyment as I messed around with watercolour pencils. 

A perfect way to unwind on a Sunday afternoon.    

Friday, 17 January 2014

Of marmalade, hats, tiaras and gobstoppers...

There was once a bear called Paddington, and there was once a young reader called Emma. And the two were inseparable.  

And now, in MPH Books, in Raffles City, Singapore, I'm thrilled to find my own book cosying up to this inimitable bear from darkest Peru.   

The bear called Paddington always wore a hat that hid a marmalade sandwich, just in case of emergencies.  It took no time to fall in love with the characters in these stories.  And it made me start eating marmalade - that scrumptiously bitter-sweet jam without which toast is really not worth eating! 

Thankfully, Petunia in my book does not hide anything under her tiara, or it might spoil it! Freddy, on the other hand, does keep a gobstopper sweet in his ear. But for dragons it's very important - it keeps their scales shiny and their eyes bright. You can see them clearly in Charlotte Micklewright's drawings.      

I'm now the proud owner of a beautiful Princess Petunia dress, tiara and a set of ears for Freddy. I'll be using these for school visits and readings.  Or for anyone who just fancies getting all dressed up. 
Here's my young friend, Kitty, wearing the costume for Princess Petunia. Great modelling skills, Kitty.  And thanks for the wonderful tailoring, Kinnetia!