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Rain, Train and Insane Weirdness!

I went on a trip yesterday, all the way to rainy Oxford.
Monday was sunny.
Today is sunny.
But yesterday? Yesterday was wet.
Did it ruin my day? Not one bit!

The main purpose of the trip was to brainstorm with Jo (an author friend and fellow blogger - girlsheartbooks.com) about a joint project we are planning. Neither of us has collaborated on a book before, though we know several authors and illustrators who have. So, it could all have gone horribly wrong right at the start line if, say, we'd hated each other on sight and disagreed about everything!

I'm very pleased to say that didn't happen. How could it? Jo is lovely. She met me with a broad smile (and a fab yellow car) at the station, cooked lunch for me and drove me around all over the place in her adorable car. And her book idea is genius - a potential bestseller/TV series/Hollywood movie!

We had loads of ideas over a delicious lunch and, as we live a little far apart to meet regularly, we devised a way of working that sort of resembles an online game of author tennis, batting our contributions back and forth to each other when inspiration strikes.

Wish us luck.

After lunch Jo dropped me at a place I've always wanted to visit, The Pitt Rivers Museum. If you have a weak stomach, I'd stop reading about now. And definitely don't scroll down the page! Because the Pitt Rivers is not like any other museum. It's very... odd. And a little bit creepy. But a-maze-ing!
You're still reading? OK. You have been warned.

The first thing you notice about the museum is how small it is, just one tall room really, with narrow balcony-style galleries up the sides. But crammed into the space is enough weird stuff to fill a normal sized museum. There's big weird stuff like the totem pole above. Then there's really tiny weird stuff like these gorgeous carved bone figures. The dogs are the size of a finger.
The glass cabinets are full of the most fascinating objects but I seemed to be drawn to anything that had a face - stuffed animals, carved heads...
...with or without brilliant hair dos, and masks...
...depicting every possible expression.

Warning! Here comes the gross bit!

Then I found a cabinet full of skulls and (eek!) shrunken heads!
I named him Cecil to make him less scary but I'm not sure it worked (I made the picture black and white for the same reason but I'm not sure that worked either).

In the end, Creepy Cecil was one of the highlights of my Oxford trip. I came home with sketchbooks and notebooks (and my camera) full of new inspiration and I really didn't notice the rain. Well, not much anyway.




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