Justine goes to Camp Bestival

It was a worry. No, not how was I going to pack enough grub for 4days for three teenagers at a festival and not whether to take one pop-up tent, or two. Or even three. It wasn’t even how I was going to stretch ninety quid over the fields. No, my biggest worry was those Olympic lanes on the way. The voice of doom like a sliding tombstone telling us to avoid London at all costs seems to have forgotten one tiny small thing – that some of us that live here weren’t lucky off enough to get tickets and so made other plans. Worse, a journey to Dorset with a low-slung suspension thanks to the enormous offspring bulging like chicks crowding a nest is usually three and a bit hours – and one and a half of those is crawling round through Brixton, Clapham, Wandsworth, Putney, Sheen, Mortlake, .. wake me up when we get to Sunbury.. Slap in a bunch of forbidden lanes, right in the middle of the road, on the very bits of tarmac you’ve reserved for your super wit because you always know exactly which one gains the most advantageous, least irritating and, dare I say it, often correct  route round the one-ways and turns, and you’ve got yourself one headache.

It did taketh forever but eventually we found ourselves at the services on the M3 making inroads into that precious £90. What terrific value for money the Moto is - £2.89 for a tepid coffee; four quid for a sarnie, no fuel at Winchester and more Out of Order signs in the loos than at a Geordie hen night. Then there it was, glistening patiently against the magnificent Purbeck Hills, a swoop of marquees like licked lips and broad grins.


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Justine wrote this. I have stolen it from her. It is my gift to you on this day of days. You should follow her. @swimble

It’s the final term and thoughts turn inevitably to a proper holiday. Possibly this idle desire also has much to do with the wettest drought on record. Not that I’m a sunbather. Any parent with a tan that isn’t out of a bottle (or, indeed, a flung jar of muddied poster paint) is, frankly, not doing its job. I recall my discreet pleasure at the comeuppance of a rather deliciously distracting mum in the slightest of bikini bottoms (no top), who lay down on the beach to bronze while I struggled to contain a small Trasha, who was busily handing out adoption papers to strangers and telling them of her life of cruelty at home, and her little brother. Who was locked-down in a pop-up tent anchored with stones. Thereby lending weight to his sister’s tale of woe. The lady leisurely applied lotion. Lay down again. And then, like an angel, appeared the most gorgeous of naked baby daughters (hers, not mine) lightly caked in sand who, on seeing her mother dozing, climbed on to her flat (of course) tummy to lay a perfect twirl of poo in her belly button. 

First paragraph of her next book review. Not published yet.

You should buy her book (two posts down).

The Little Book of Nits. First review.

Justine's book, The Little Book of Nits gets its first (early) review in the London Evening Standard

We will be launching it on publication day 24th May at 7.00pm. Book a (free) ticket here.

Also joining us to celebrate will be our good friend Richard Guard author of Lost London - An A-Z of forgotten landmarks and lost traditions.

Lostlondon copyRichard also happens to be the lead singer of the brilliant Dulwich Ukulele Club, some of whom, if perhaps not all eleven, will be in attendance for a glass of cider a sing song and a general rock of the house.




Pre-order a signed copy of The Little Book of Nits

Buy a signed copy of Lost London.

Portrait of our children with beaten up shop counter.

For some reason this picture (taken yesterday, just moments before the party for Alex Milway's Alien Moon) reminds me of one of those album covers from the 60s, Crosby, Stills or The Band maybe, where everybody is out sitting on the stoop.

But good Lord, could somebody please do something clever with photoshop regarding that desk.

KidsdeskjarvisUpdated by that troubador and wordsmith @mrjimBob, who surely has a third career in interior design. Come to his launch party. Buy a signed copy of his book. Links just up there on the left.

*This space to rent.*


Take a look in our window.

Horniman window2012
Fabulous World Book Day competition entries from the children of Horniman school, each telling the story of a book in a box. Every year Justine climbs up on stage at assembly, hands out the prizes and gives an address in the manner of Joyce Grenfell pretending to be Miss Jean Brodie. It works every time.

War horse
This brilliantly rendered War Horse tableaux is a particular gem, don't you think?