You know how in the film Julie and Julia when Julie goes to see an exhibition of her heroine, Julia Childs, and she’s a bit in awe of it all? Well that’s how I felt when we went to Newcastle on Thursday so that I could attend the Enid Blyton exhibition at the Seven Stories Centre – the National Centre for Children’s Books. I was in my element anyway, being in a place that celebrated children’s books, writers and illustrators, but being so close to Enid’s diaries and typewriter and stuff, and seeing all those lovely and familiar illustrations from her books, just made my day.
I am a huge fan of Enid Blyton and have read a lot of her books. My favourites were The Faraway Tree stories closely followed by The Wishing Chair.
Anyway, I just loved being there and seeing her things and reminiscing about books I had read as a child and just loving every moment. The Enid Blyton exhibition was on one floor of the centre and once my family had prized me away from it, we explored the other floors.
Seven Stories is housed in a lovely old building several stories high and on each storey there is something different. Above the Enid Blyton exhibition was one on Cressida Cowell who wrote How to Train Your Dragon, amongst many other titles. There were original texts and sketches and lots of Viking costumes for my kids (and their parents) to try on. It was fun.
Above that, the kids made dragon masks in an area for making stuff. Above that is the attic (above) where I think authors go and read to children and children can try on different costumes and sit in the big wooden chair (below).
We ate lunch there in the little café (which was really good – we had panninis and they were excellent), perused the shop, bought some books (I of course bought the biography of Enid Blyton which I am just reading now) and it was a lovely afternoon. I was sad to leave the centre, but we had to get home and we headed north after that – well after a brief stop at a scooter place for hubby.
It was a hot and dry drive home. The day was muggy and the car was really hot, but the kids did really well, not complaining too much. We had a couple of stops en route to stretch our legs and use the toilet and got home in the evening.
En route, we stopped off at Marks and Spencer’s and I picked up some snacky things for dinner. We were, by now, heartily sick of deep fried or chips-with-everything food so I bought some nice picnic type things and a salad, which we ate at home.
It was lovely waking up in our house the next morning. I like going away and visiting new places, but I like coming home more. We had a great few days away in Manchester and I would recommend it for a short break.
We had a great time, but I’m glad to be home.