'Water! Water!' It's what people are supposed to cry when they've spent days crossing the desert without coming across a mountain stream because they don't have those in deserts. They don't even have Tesco Expresses. They really should get that sorted out. However, on this occasion it was the author bloke, Keith, who was calling for it. His throat was still a bit ropey. He didn't even sing along to some of his terrible music - old stuff, from way back at the tail end of the last century - so I new things must be bad. Not that I was complaning. If you've ever heard him sing then you'll no why I appreciated the silent journey as we headed to St Barbara's PS in Muirhead.
The head teacher there has one of those lovely sing-songy Irish accents. The author bloke says Irish people must have been at the front of the queue when accents were being handed out. (Mind you, he has to say that - his wife is from Ireland.) She'd invited Keith back after a previous visit in February 2009 when everyone had really enjoyed the show.
I was impressed that some of the pupils knew how the Moon had been formed (something coliding into Earth, sending chunks of rock into Earth's orbit, which were then pulled together by gravity, the resulting collisions releasing energy that turned the Moon into a big ball of molten rock). And a lot were surprised to hear how many stars are in our galaxy, the Milky Way. There are a lot - about 100 BILLION of them. Isn't that incredible? It would take quite a while to visit them all in one of these.
When it came to prizes, one of the teachers nearly won a book but was pipped at the post by Lauren and Scott. (Just to be clear, it wasn't 'Scott with two Ts' who appears in Lee and the Consul Mutants. This Scott's haircut was much better than his fictional namesake's.)
Keith's voice held out, aided by lots of water, and so we boarded our rocket again and headed along the M8 and through some countryside to here:
It's the Fauldhouse Partnership in...Fauldhouse, of course. Okay, so some of you may not know where that is. M8...Harthill...head south for a few miles and you're there. And look, the SUN was shining. Yes, in Scotland, in February. The photo isn't Photoshopped!
So what happened here? Well, all of this did:
And we had a special guest with us - author Matt Cartney, whose brilliant new adventure novel is launched in April. Here's the cover for it. Cool, yeah? If you like Alex Rider or Young Bond or Jimmy Coates, this will be right up your street. Or in this case, over your sand dunes.
This time a TEACHER from St John's PS won a book! Teachers have been doing well on that front recently. However, she insisted on her book being signed to the whole class. What a lovely lady.
And so it was off home, but not before thanking John Chambers from West Lothian and the lovely Ann (or is it Anne...I didn't find out) from Fauldhouse Partnership Centre. They kindly bought us a cup of tea in the centre's cafe. I think the heat of the drink finally melted the stodge of that sandwich the author bloke tried to eat during the journey.