Taking the Cold on the Road

My nose is blocked, my chest is tight, I’ve been getting dizzy spells and I’m suffering a severe lack of concentration. It’s hard to hold the attention of a gang of kids when  you can’t even hold our OWN attention. Every now and then I cough, but it’s not very satisfying. It’s not swine flu, because I can still stand up, walk around and do my usual pacing, ranting and squealing in front the kids. It’s amazing what passes for entertainment these days.
There have been a lot of frightened rumours about the swine flu, but if you ask me, the way we’re going, we’re more likely to die of antiseptic. Soon, they’ll have us wading through pools of the stuff like sheep in a dip.
It’s been a busy week, with sessions in Navan, Dunboyne, Ashbourne and Dunshauglin in County Meath. In Leitrim, I visited Manorhamilton and Dromahair – a tiny, but pleasant, library where the audience squeezed in like sardines that would prefer to be vacuum-packed than return to school. I also did sessions in the libraries in Dundalk and Ardee in the wee county of Louth. I think Dundalk has one of the finest library buildings in the country, combining the best of old and new.
In all the venues, the kids were bright, lively, good-natured souls who never suspected the man doing the funny voices and drawing scribbly pictures was trying not to exhale too many germs.  If you work in schools, you get used to hearing a chorus of coughs and sneezes and wondering which ones you’ll catch, but that didn’t make me feel any less guilty as I spread my own evil germs across the country.
Doppelganger-SketchI did get to do the pencils for the cover of ‘Mad Grandad’s Doppelganger’ this week, you can see part of the sketch here. This will be discussed in a meeting in O’Brien Press, the publisher, in case it needs any changes before it goes to finished artwork. So once everybody’s happy with it, I’ll trace it onto a new sheet of painting paper and finish it up with ink and paint. The back and front covers are drawn up at the same time, because the frame on the front of the book is taken from the ‘wallpaper’ illustration on the back cover.