Monday, 24 August 2009

A child's garden of verses

Today marks the halfway point of the Festival. More importantly for me, it's the first day of the RBS Schools Programme.

Coach load by coach load, Charlotte Square fills up with the most boisterous, excited young people. It's a wonderful part of what we do, and their youthful enthusiasm is infectious - just the shot in the arm we all need as we hit the halfway mark.

Plus, to be completely saccharine, it warms my heart to think of all the happy school kids, many of whom wouldn't be able to meet talented writers without our subsidised tickets and transport fund.

Today over 2,000 school children from Inverness, Lochgilphead, Perth and beyond descended upon the gardens in the highest of spirits. Even the too-cool-for-school teenagers (ties askew, skirts hiked up) managed to enjoy themselves. But then again, who wouldn't with the tempting fare on offer?

We opened with Edinburgh's own Maisie (the adorable kitten from Morningside) and her creator Aileen Paterson.Then we finished the day with a powerhouse duo: Melvin Burgess and Kevin Brooks. These two brilliant and talented writers certainly managed to keep the Secondary students on their toes.

A dozen other amazing authors (including one all the way from Australia!) rounded out a lovely day, which was fortuitously bursting with glorious sunshine. What's better than a school trip full of brilliant books and an ice cream picnic?

For the moment (as we breathe a collective sigh of relief that it all went smoothly) the garden is sans crested jumpers, blazers and knee socks. That is until our lollipop lady escorts tomorrow's visitors to the gate...

I think I'll seize the moment and find myself a wee glass of something to celebrate with.

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