A break in the heavy rain on Friday afternoon helped with the journey up, though we were a little late leaving and managed to hit Cambridge at peak time, adding about an hour to our journey. We spent the night in the lovely little village of Belton in Lincolnshire, courtesy of Elyssa's dad and his partner, a perfect place to unwind and relax, not only from the A1, but the previous day I'd finished the very last panel of volume two of The Rainbow Orchid, and this was my first opportunity to just do nothing - and enjoy it!
We were up early on Saturday and braved thick fog to carry on up to Leeds, having to divert twice due to traffic accidents, but we still made it in good time. I was delighted to find that my table was right between two very talented artists - long-time RO friend and supporter, Graeme Neil Reid (aided and abetted by Jeremy Briggs of Down The Tubes), and manga artist extraordinaire, Sonia Leong. Both had their sumptuous art on display for the crowds, and I spent my few idle moments admiring the utter professional quality of their work - outstanding stuff.
There's not too much I can comment on regarding the substance of Thought Bubble, as I spent the entire day behind my table, selling and sketching in books, and talking to people about The Rainbow Orchid. As ever, it's such a boost to talk face-to-face with readers, both old and new, and I'm still taken aback by the generous enthusiasm people show for my comic - it really keeps me going after all this time.
What I can say is that Thought Bubble had a really nice vibe and a wonderful variety of attendees. And for a one-day event, I did very well, selling almost as many books as I did over two days at the MCM. I was really impressed with the friendliness and organisation that went into the festival - I can see why so many people have such good things to say about it.
I didn't attend any of the after-show events, I'm sorry to say. Elyssa and I found our hotel (the City Inn, which was really nice) and then went out for dinner, getting back to the hotel just as we really started to flag. It was nice to be able to take our time getting home on Sunday, stopping off for lunch once again in Belton, then driving on back down to Sussex (another hour added to the journey with the M11 closed, but Radio 4 kept us company). Some take-away fish and chips ended the weekend very nicely. I have no doubt I'll be at Thought Bubble again next year, a truly wonderful comics festival.
In 2004 I did a write-up of Mark Cameron, killed at the Battle of Jutland. In 2005 it was Charles Hodgkins, who served at Gallipoli. In 2006 I wrote about Walter Cameron, wounded in France with the Scots Guards, and in 2007 it was brothers David and John Ewing, both of the Royal Army Medical Corps. For the 90th Anniversary, in 2008, I wrote about MC-winning Andrew Stewart, and also presented a memorial list of my nine known relatives who were killed in the Great War.
From The Rainbow Orchid volume II, Julius Chancer in the trenches at Gallipoli, partly based on the experiences of my own great-grandfather, Charles Hodgkins.