This week The Companion‘s Read Regional visits started in Hull. I arrived early as it’s years since I’ve been to the city and I wanted to have an explore.
My wander around the streets took in the stunning architecture of buildings such as the Guildhall, Town Hall and Minster and lots of seafaring imagery including the fish above (I particularly love the smiley, welcoming one on the left. Bit scared of the cod).
I also visited the Ferens Gallery and the Maritime Museum – and wished I had a couple more hours to spare in them. In the Ferens after exploring the galleries I had a lovely cup of tea and a piece of cake and picked up some postcards, which came in handy for another Read Regional event later in the week.
The Maritime Museum was fascinating. The current exhibition ‘Enduring Eye’ comprises photographs taken by the Australian photographer Frank Hurley of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Trans-Antarctic Expedition. I’ve always been fascinated by polar adventures and his photos give a real insight into the everyday existence and endurance undertaken by the men on the expedition. I also spent a long time looking at the scrimshaw collection and was particularly taken by the whalebone staybusks that sailors inscribed with messages and images of love for their sweethearts to wear close to their hearts while they were away at sea. There is definitely a story to be written there! Possibly my favourite item in the museum was the figurehead of the paddle steamer ‘Sirius’ – a proud Newfoundland dog, who originally held the dog star in its paws. Go doggo!
My event that evening in the library was a special one for World Book Night and I followed my Author Talk with a Bookish Quiz. The wonderful librarians who organised the event also laid on a feast of tea and cake and a book swap – in which I exchanged my copy of Jonas Jonasson’s Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All for The Summer We All Ran Away by Cassandra Parkin. The quiz was great fun and the winners were awarded goody bags containing books, notebooks and chocolate! I signed lots of copies of The Companion and had very interesting chats about writing and publishing. The whole event was made very special by the presence and help of Hull City of Culture volunteers who are continuing their roles at events throughout the city until the City of Culture title is handed over to Coventry in 2021. I wished I’d worn my new running jacket as its colours exactly match theirs!
It was a busy old week as after a couple of days at home I was off again – this time further north to Hexham in Northumberland.