Last Thursday, the Pip-Pop & I were lucky enough to meet Kerry Clare & her delightful family. We spent the day in Windsor, arriving just in time to catch changing the guard, which left Popsy screwing his eyes tight shut & saying soldiers not nice. But, aside from the soldiers, everything was very nice: wandering, chatting, eating, and whiling away three hours as if they were thirty minutes.
Obviously I was excited to meet Kerry and Stuart and their daughters, but I was also excited to have the chance to eat with them. Having followed their travels online, they looked like a family who know how to find a good meal. And I was right: if you ever get the chance to eat with these guys I suggest you grab it. We had a delicious lunch in Bel & the Dragon (at the very exciting chalkboard table), followed by New Forest ice creams in the sunshine. And the nicest thing of all was how very normal it felt to be hanging out with them.
We also came away with a new favourite: Little You by Richard Van Camp, gloriously illustrated by Julie Flett. It is one of the most perfect picture books ever — gently rhyming text paired with super-cool illustrations, both simple and yet rich with texture. The sun or moon is there on nearly every page and, as in all the best picture books, there is more to see on each reading: the cat & her kitten echoing the mother & child; the pair of robins almost kissing; the mother’s toe poking through her tights. Flett uses a pared-down palette of colours that contrast beautifully & I imagine would work well with even the youngest pair of eyes. It’s also a total hit with two-year-old eyes (and five & seven-year-old eyes, not to mention thirty-six year-old eyes). Some dear friends welcomed a new son over the weekend & I’m thrilled to already have someone to buy Little You for.
Thanks to Kerry for the book, and for all of the blogging inspiration & encouragement. I think she was the very first person to comment here, back when I was pretending to talk to myself (and, well, pretty much talking to myself). Without her, who knows? Because even the shyest of bloggers would probably prefer to have someone, somewhere reading their words. I couldn’t have hoped for a more wonderful and supportive someone.