Over here and very welcome

I frequently give talks in schools, which makes a great break from writing, and is an experience I really enjoy. (If you are a school and want to know more, see the talks page on my website for full details.) It's not just a matter of getting away from a computer, unlike many people I get a real buzz out of public speaking. Doing this has taken me all over the country. But I was a little surprise to get an email asking me to speak to an American school class.

Not a bad venue for a school talk (but it was snowier today)
My books sell pretty well in the US (one of my two main publishers is the excellent US publisher, St. Martin's Press), so I wasn't totally surprised to hear from someone over there, but I was all prepared to get back to them saying 'Sorry, but it's rather a long way to travel' when I read the email a little more closely. It seemed that the class from the Wakefield Country Day School of Huntly, VA was taking an educational visit to the UK. And their first night, en route to Bath, they were stopping over in Swindon. So I was delighted to be able to give my first US school talk, appropriate enough on Inflight Science.

The intention was originally to give the talk at the students' hotel, but it proved cheaper to hold the event at the nearby Lydiard Park conference centre, which is very near where I live - so not only did I get to talk to my most distant audience yet (for science - I've done Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong for creativity), I didn't even have to get out of bed early to do it. After a minor panic caused by a fairly heavy snowfall overnight (which made Lydiard Park look great) it all went well. They were a lovely audience, if a little soporific after flying over yesterday, and it was good to meet the group leader Welby Griffin and the other adults with the party. All in all, an excellent morning.