Hello everyone. Nice to see you all again. Who's going to start the ball rolling?
I'm a dog. Can I ask a question?
Hello Dunc. Of course you can. How is Mr Hipstone these days?
Hello PU. Mr H. is his usual self. You know, grumpy.
Look, this is all very nice, but can we get started with some important questions? Like, why did you give me so many warts and pimples?
Because you're a witch and it's a well known fact that witches have warts and pimples.
I've always had a beard. Have you always had a beard?
Well, Cap'n Rottenleg, only since I've grown up.
Huh! So you admit you've grown up?
Er... not exactly...
I'm a pirate. Are you a pirate?
I haven't asked my question yet. Have you got any trees in your garden?
Yes a few. And a shed where I work.
Excuse me. What do you like doing best in your shed? Drawing or painting?
I like both, for different reasons.
I'm a bear. I can't think of a question.
When I can't think of an idea I just doodle in my sketchbook and quite often a story or a character starts to appear. And then, if I listen very carefully he, or she, might just tell me their story...
Excuse me, did you start drawing before you had a beard?
That's a very interesting question...
What story are you working on now? What story are you doing next? Does it have a witch in it?
I've just finished illustrating one book. It's called Keep Out! Bears About! and it was written by Sally Grindley. At the moment I'm repairing the fence so that our new kitten cat can play out and all the neighbour's cats can't get into the garden. Then I shall do a bit more work on my next story and no it doesn't have a witch in it.
Cats? You have cats in your garden?
Yeah, flocks of them. Great big fluffy jobs.
A bear book? Jolly good. Just what the doctor ordered. Is it scary?
It is a bit, yes. And no it hasn't got a witch in it either.
I've been looking into our family history You're a war baby.
What's a war baby?
A baby who was born in the war.
Which war was that? The Hundred Years War? Huh! Huh!
Is that back when everything was black and white, like our beard?
Sort of ...not entirely.
Is that why you're colour blind? 'Cos there was no colour in the old days?
Of course there was colour back then. Just not on TV or films.
Excuse me, PU. How can you be an artist if you're colour blind?
I'm frequently asked that question...
Ahem! Hello, may I say something?
Who's this interrupting us?
This is Mayor Bexley, from my next story.
He's not allowed to ask a question. He's just a sketch! You haven't even coloured him in yet!
Excuse me PU, what sort of creature is the mayor going to be?
He's an elephant. Like you Nym.
What's a mayor when it's at home?
A mayor is a very important person whose job is to make sure everyone is happy.
Thank you Nym.
I don't want to ask a question. I merely wish to issue a short statement.
Yawn! I could murder a cup of tea...
There is a rumour running around storyland that my ..er.. character is based on the current Mayor of London. I should like to state that this is untrue. The current Mayor of London is based entirely on me!
A cracking moment to break for refreshments I think. All those in favour say hubbubub!