When you get a phone call from your publisher telling you that the ship carrying the container with all your books in has got stuck in bad weather and is currently off the coast of Spain and not in Southampton where it should be, one might panic. One might worry a lot and one might say a lot of sweary panda words. One might by the end of the conversation decide to turn it into a silver lining and write a story of the rescuing of the books. Here is what has been unfolding on Facebook for the last week or so.
16th March. Official Publication day and no books.
"But what are we going to do? It was publication day today and we should be sending books out and we only has one proof copy and everyone is preordering it all excited and there's a pile of orders and bookshops waiting and reviewers waiting to get a copy and oh dear, only one book, and I know she says we should share but I don't think we can share one book with everyone" "Well where are they?" "I heard the nice Graffeg man on the tellyphone box thingy telling her that they was in a big ship and it got stuck in a storm so it is late coming and it is just off the coast of Spain just now" "Where's Spane?" Never mind that now, What are we going to do?" "We need the books for the launch we does, you can't have a book launch without any books" "Don't worry, Bertram, we'll sort it out, Emily will have a plan she always has a plan" "Hmm now let me think a minute, we can do something I'm sure...." "Hey, where has Panda gone? He was here listening a minute a go..." "Oh I don't know. Where has he gone?" "Panda?" "Panda where are you?"
Panda to the rescue!
Hurrah for panda!
Watch out for icebergs panda!
"Daddy, I'm worried about Panda out there in his boat. It is so cold. It was so brave of him to go and try to resuce our books but I'm worried he's ok and he'll be cold with this snow. I've just finished darning this sock, can we send it to him to keep him warm?" "That's a lovely idea Bertram, but how would we get it to him? Hmm... ah! I think I know of someone who might help"
"excuse me mice, we have a bit of a problem I thought you might be able to help with. Panda has gone off in his boat to sail the seas to rescue Bertram's books in time for the launch but we are worried he is cold and if he's ok so we was wondering if you could help us wot with being clever mice and all that" "Oooh an adventure! Oh yes please we love and adventure we do"
"oooh yes we can take the sock to him and we can bring news back too of how he is doing" "oooh we can do it, yes lets get busy" "How will you get there Mice?" "Oh we'll come up with a plan, we will, we always have a plan...." "Leave it with us, we'll get busy" "Thank you, mice you are most kind. I'll get you some biskits to munch while you work"
The mice set to work making a hot air balloon to take the sock hat and biscuits to Panda who is rescuing our Bertram Likes to Sew books off the coast of Spain!
The mice have been working hard. They’re ready to take the sock hat and biscuits to Panda and report back on his progress. Hurrah!
You know when you message your friend John F Ward ( author and partaker of extreme self publishing, bicyclist and bread baker who is a wonderful drawer of what is in your head without you saying.) who you have entitled Lord Weaselly Weasel to ask 'Are you busy? I have an idea, because you can't take photos of a panda in a boat towing a container ship so you need the equivalent of a court artist" and the reply is "Huzza! I am porridge fuelled this morning so full of oaty goodness." and then a little while later after a few photos and discussion this happens:
As the mice set off in flight in search of Panda, to deliver the sock hat and biskits and report back on his safety and whereabouts, (hopefully in his boat somewhere near the coast of Spain rescuing the books) we are so very fortunate to have the use of a newfangled patented invention by our foreign correspondent Lord Weaselly Weasel to bring you live streaming from the scene. There will be updates during the day thanks to the wonderful sort-of-technology of the patented Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus. *hyphens inserted by a patent random hyphenator*
We interrupt live streaming of events in the south seas to bring you a B.I.S.K.I.T (Brilliant Instantaneous Secret Knowledge Information Thingy) For those of you who are interested in the newfangled patented Weaselly Weasel sort-of-technology Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus. *hyphens inserted by a patent random hyphenator* Once the paper is inserted in the Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus, a a VSP - very swift pigeon - flies out with it to its destination. In this case The Shed.
Back from our BISKIT interruption to our live streaming from the souther than us seas where our foreign correspondant Lord Weaselly Weasel is reporting semi-instantaneously with the newfangled patented invention of wonderful sort-of-technology of the patented Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus direct from the scene. *hyphens inserted by a patent random hyphenator* The mice have had a favourable wind and have located the ship. Can we see Panda? Yes, yes I think we can! There he is in his trusty boat and what? really? Not only is he rescuing Bertram Likes to Sew books, but he's towing the entire shipping container ship to shore with all the other books on too. Hurrah for Panda! Tune in later via our almost-semi-live-streaming semi-instantaneously with the newfangled patented invention of wonderful sort-of-technology of the patented Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus direct from the scene to see if the mice manage to get the yellow hat and biskits to him from their balloon. *Wonders if this has gone beyond mild peril now and we need smelling choklit for revivals...*
You hear the books have docked at Southampton with 5 days to go hurrah! Maybe all be ok, we can do a triumphant Panda post.
The live streaming from the souther than us seas where our foreign correspondant Lord Weaselly Weasel is reporting semi-instantaneously with the newfangled patented invention of wonderful sort-of-technology of the patented Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus direct from the scene. *hyphens inserted by a patent random hyphenator* continues. We can see via the wonderful sort-of-technology of the patented Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus, that the mice have indeed been successful and have managed to air drop the sock hat and biskits to panda safe and sound! Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah for the Mice! We continue to bite our nails to see if Panda can tow the ship into Southampton docks in time for work experience weasel to collect them and bring them to the launch. Eeek! As we leave and turn off the hard working wonderful sort-of-technology of the patented Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus we bid for a shout of THREE CHEERS FOR LORD WEASELLY WEASEL AND HIS wonderful sort-of-technology of the patented Lord -Weaselly- Weasel -Semi-instantaneous- facsimilator -contraption -apparatus. THANK YOU John Francis Ward you are an utter star.
Hurrah! The mice are back! I’m off to get my hair remermaidified in time for Saturday and we’ll find out how Panda is getting on when I return...
I then get another phone call saying the ship has docked but the container with our books on is at the back and won't be unloaded till Friday. They don't deliver on Saturdays so the books will be at the docks till the week after- too late for the launch! Argh! More panda words and screams and arghs and then we make a plan....
"Helloooo! We saw Panda and we gave him the sock hat and the biskits and we didn't eat them honest we didn't and he wrote a note and winched it up to the balloon to give to Work experience weasel at Graffeg. Would one of you mind giving it to her, as the wind is blowing in the opposite direction and we are a bit tired and hungry and need to refuel. Hang on, we'll get the note out of the balloon for you" "Thank you soooo much mice, you are so wonderful. We are so glad he is safe and ok and yes of course we will." "Tinysaur has got the kettle on and I'll get some biskits, come and have a sit down".
Luckily for me I have the best publisher and Matthew rang me to say he will personally drive down on Friday all the way to Southampton and collect two boxes of books to bring up to the launch on Saturday. He had to get special dispensation to be allowed on the docks! Matthew has never had a launch without a book, and he wasn't going to start now. He tells me of a plan he has for the story to continue. (hurrah for Graffeg having a sense of fun)
"Here's the note, can you get it to Work experience weasel at Graffeg?" "Oh I don't know, Daddy can you wheelbarrow it over there?" "Don't think I've got time Bertram but hmm lets see I'm sure we can think of something" "Oh don't worry, me and daddy have a sekrit sekrit portal in our nortivity cards so we can sneak it through to her tonight when they've gone home. We don't want the Graffeg people to know about it cos we nicked their choklits" (Phew, all this mild peril...I need a lie down!)
Hope Graffeg have got a Nortivity card in the office.
Admiral Lord Weasel and Cabin Girl who live with a real Vice Admiral of the Royal Navy and usually reside in Lord Nelson's ink well, have jumped aboard and joined in to help today. Thank you!
This gives Lord Weaselly Weasel another idea of a pun that has to be had
Admiral Lord Weasel on the weaselgram here stop. in the channel. stop. word is reaching us of stop. a last-minute hitch at Southampton docks stop. Panda is becalmed stop. No wind stop and cannot bring the books ashore stop. ! Fortunately I, the fabulous stop Admiral Lord Weasel stop is stop on stop hand... to help stop. I will get on the blower stop. to the admiralty... .. Wait for stop word of what we send stop. over. stop. out. stop.
So the saga continues.
Just when we think it is all going to be ok, I get a late night message that the container is not going to be unloaded till the week after. it seems. The MD of Graffeg, Peter got on the phone and said there is going to be a launch on Saturday and no books is not an option, so how do we make that happen and other such words that entailed in them agreeing to unload our container on Friday night and put 2 boxes of books aside for Matthew to collect on Saturday morning. Matthew is at the Llanelli branch, so that is driving from Llanelli to Southampton and then to Malvern for the launch. Phew, he's a star! He's also got work experience weasel with him and his daughter with a go pro to film it.
Work experience weasel to the rescue!
Work experience weasel arrives at the docks and keeps the bowler-hatted officious dock supervisor talking while Panda and cabin girl work the crane to unload the container behind his back.
later, at the docks, Panda boldly commandeers a crane while Cabin Girl manoeuvres the platform into place... (I love this drawing) John has a bit of a thing for old machines so he was looking forward to this drawing after another early morning "Have you had your porridge, are you busy?" type message.
Now unloaded thanks to Cabin girl and Panda, Work Experience weasel has distracted the dock workers long enough for Admiral Lord weasel to blag a traction engine from a local museum as the only available mode of haulage. They finally set out for blue ginger, but the engine is old and the roads uncertain...
And that is where we leave the saga of the books. The launch is at 5pm. Matthew is aiming to get there for 5pm, so we will know if they make it with the right books and not Welsh cake cookery or such, at the start of the event. Gulp.
I'll let you know. I am so utterly grateful to Graffeg and John and the nice lady at the warehouse company who has pulled out all the stops to get us the books weeks late, but early for them. With all that effort, you have to buy a book eh?
The launch is on Saturday. We hope WEWand Panda will be able to get the books in time...