7th February: Mr Flat Stanley arrives in Ireland (sent all the way from Arizona by Cooper who wanted him to tell her what it was like to live in Ireland)
He was feeling a little under the weather so Celine wrote to Cooper for him:
As you can see, Mr Flat Stanley has safely made his way across the Atlantic ocean and is now heating his feet on my laptop as he looks around my kitchen. Tomorrow his Irish adventures will begin as I will bring him into Dublin with me. There may be tea and cake involved. I will take photos.
He has asked me to say hi, and that he misses Az because he is terrifically cold. I shall be sure and make him wear a hat tomorrow.
Later Stanley wrote to Cooper to let her know that he was OK
Flat Stanley here! I feel very much better now that I’ve changed my clothes and brushed my hair (whew! That flight took it out of me, let me tell you! I couldn’t feel the nose on my face when I first arrived!)
Here I am with Celine’s dog, Indy. You can’t see it in this picture but we’re sitting beside a roaring fire while Celine makes me a coat for tomorrow’s trip to Dublin (don’t worry – she’s going to send all these messages and photos home in the envelope with me.)
I have no idea what it says on my tee-shirt! Celine says you should ask your class on Monday. If any of them can guess (or find out) she’ll draw them anything they like and send it home with me!
hugs from Ireland
PS: Cooper. Celine is dyslexic and can’t spell. My T-shirt should say ‘Stanley is ainm dom’ Celine says if you want to know anything about being dyslexic just ask xoxo
Well no-one guessed what ‘Stanley is ainm dom’ means (Celine says it is Irish for ‘My name is Stanley’) but Celine has sent you a drawing anyway – it is of the characters from the new book she’s working on. The girl with the rabbit hat is called ‘Mup’ and the angry looking boy is ‘Crow’. They’re going to be in a book called ‘Begone the Raggedy Witches.’
Celine has written lots of books for teenagers, but this will be the first book she’s written for younger kids.
She says she’s having lots of fun writing it. (I gave her loads of help though! She’d better thank me in the acknowledgements!
I also helped her draw this picture (honestly, I don’t know how she ever got anything done before I arrived! She’ll be lost when I finally go home.)
February: Stanley and Celine head to Dublin, to teach writing, and have tea and cake.
Here I am wearing my warm coat and scarf, on the bus to Dublin. As you can see, it’s raining outside. Celine says it rains a lot in Ireland. She tells me that most Irish people have webbed toes and fingers and they are at their most comfortable living under mossy rocks in steams and bogs – like frogs. She says that if the sun shines for too long, Irish people shrivel into dried prune-like creatures and you need to water them with a watering can so they can plump back into shape again (I’m not sure I believe this, Cooper, but as it never stopped raining while I was here I can’t say for sure that Celine is telling fibs)
Celine lives in Virginia, CountyCavan which is quite long way from Dublin. It took us about two hours on the bus to get there. This picture was taken in Kells, where the book of Kells got its name.
The book of Kells is a very old book (nearly 1300 years old!) and is full of beautiful drawings, one of which Celine thought you might like to see.
This is a drawing of a lamb from the book of Kells. Imagine, someone in 800AD drew this! There are lots of lambs running around the fields in Cavan at the moment, but none of them have wings like this chap does!
In Dublin we went to the Irish Writer’s Centre where Celine sometimes helps other writers who are working on their own books.
Like a lot of the buildings in Dublin, the Irish Writer’s Centre is very old. It’s what is called a ‘Georgian Building’ which means it was built in time of the British King George (back when Ireland used to be part of the British Empire) It dates back to the mid to late 1700’s (which means it’s nearly three hundred years old!) One of the ways you can recognize a Georgian building is the lovely windows. Here I am standing in one of those windows, looking down over the garden of remembrance (a small park dedicated to the memory of all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom) Can you see me? I’m very small in this picture!
I was very quiet all day while Celine and her students talked about stories and did writing exercises. The stories they were writing were very interesting. I’m looking forward to reading all their books one day!
Then some of the students took a photo with me. This is me and Elizabeth, Emily and Bex.
When Celine finished teaching we headed out into Dublin!
We went to O’Connell St which is Dublin’s main street.
Celine took this photo of me in frount of the GPO (general post office)
During Ireland’s war of Independence, Celine’s grandfather fought against the British army here. No fighting today, just lots of rain and shiny footpaths and happy people enjoying their Saturday.
Then we met Celine’s friend Maria. Celine and Maria have been best friends since they were six years old. They’ve known each other a very long time and are like sisters!
We met up at the Spire which is a great big shiny needle which soars way up into the sky on O’Connell St) Here I am with Maria and Celine’s daughter Grace, and Grace’s boyfriend Dean. You can see the base of the Spire in the background!
Everyone showed me around Dublin and even though it got dark very fast (it gets dark around four o’clock in the winter in Ireland) there was lots to see. Like Arnotts shop, which is the oldest department store in Dublin (it dates from 1843, which makes it 170 years old! Imagine that. People have been buying things here for 170 years!)
It began to rain very heavily so we went to the Gresham Hotel for a cup of hot chocolate. The Gresham Hotel is even older than Arnotts, and has been running as a hotel since 1817! As you can see it’s a little bit posh (look at those chandeliers!)
After our hot chocolate, Celine and I went back to Cavan on the bus. It was a long day! We were glad to get home and put our feet up in frount of the fire with Indy and Celine’s husband Noel.
Celine’s working week
Every day, Celine works in her office writing books
This is a photo of us in her office where she and I are just about to settle down to writing.
Indy sleeps beside the bookshelves while Celine works. But I stood beside her computer and made lots and lots of suggestions for the new book.
In the photo below, you can see me trying to think of good names for Celine’s characters, while Celine is working on her new book.
I think I was very useful!
Can you see that frame beside me? That is a set of teeny tiny books that a very clever fan of Celine’s made. They are miniature copies of Celine’s Moorehawke books. They’re amazing! They even have little tiny pages. Celine loves them. Of all the pictures and presents and letters that her fans have sent her, they are her very favourite things.
One day it started to snow so Celine and Indy and I stopped working and ran outside to enjoy it. This is a photo of me in Celine’s garden as the snow drifts down. It was pretty, but very cold!
A few days later, we shared this photo with Cooper on facebook, and Cooper asked did it snow much in Ireland, and also were there any leprechauns.
This is the note Celine sent on FB:
Hi Cooper, It’s absolutely my pleasure to have Stanley here. He’s a very polite fellow indeed and no trouble to me at all. (he stands by my laptop as I’m writing my new book and is very quiet)
It only snows sometimes in Ireland. Mostly it rains and rains and then rains just little bit more. Like today, for example, which has seen non-stop torrents of rain since before dawn. All the snow is washed away I’m afraid! (have you seen the photo I showed last week seals swimming up the streets of Cork city? There was so much rain that they were able to swim along looking into the shop windows! Kind of cool huh?
I’ve never done facetime, but I do sometimes talk to people on skype (because my books are sold all over the world, I sometimes even talk to schools on skype which is very exciting because I get to see what a class room is like in Australia or in America without even having to leave my office!) Isn’t technology amazing?
PS: I have never seen a leprechaun – but that means nothing, as I’ve never seen a millionaire either and people assure me that we do have them in Ireland!
Very soon it was almost time for Stanley to go home. But there was one more trip to be made first.
This is World Book Week, and Celine has been talking in schools and bookshops around Ireland about her writing. Today she brought me to Sligo where she will be speaking in the Hawkswell Theatre for the last day of the ‘We ♥ Books’ Book Tour.
Here I am backstage with authors Sarah Webb and Oisin McGann as tour director Tom Donagan helps set up their performances.
Soon the audience arrived and the theatre packed out. All the kids were delighted to see me ( I’m pretty sure I’m the only reason most of them turned up! I’m far more famous than Celine or Sarah or Oisin!)
See them all waving at me. What a great bunch!
Sadly I then had to leave the stage, so the writers could come on and talk about books and writing and things. I thought this was a shame, but the audience seemed to like them. They asked Celine lots of very interesting questions (like – ‘what’s the worse nightmare you ever had’ and ‘would you mind if your books were made into movies’) But I’m sure they would have preferred me to stay on stage.
At the end, Celine and Sarah and Oisin all wanted their photo taken with me (well, of course they did! Look how happy they are to meet me!)
And that is it! My time in Ireland is up. Tomorrow I’ll drive to Cavan, climbed back inside my envelope and Celine will packed me off home to Arizona.
I think I’m ready to go. I’ve had lots of fun in Ireland, and it was good that I was able to help Celine to write her books (how will she manage without me????) but I’m looking forward to some sunshine now.
ARIZONA HERE I COME!