Pigsticks & Harold at Tales on Moon Lane

This past week I’ve been making a window display for Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey, at Tales on Moon Lane bookshop in Herne Hill. These things are always a lot of fun, but the sheer joy of seeing your pictures blown up all large and oversized is almost impossible to describe.

Here they are in place, alongside the awesome-looking Dylan’s Amazing Dinosaurs book display.

P&H-Window-lo1

And here’s another one up close.

P&H-Window-lo2

And while I’m here, Pigsticks & Harold and the Incredible Journey has been getting some brilliant reviews, which is incredibly humbling and heartwarming. I’ll make a post about them all soon, but for now here’s a recent one on the 100 Scope Notes site.

Gainsborough pig

I’ve been trawling through old Pigsticks artwork and came across this pig painting I’d forgotten about.

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I’ve always liked Gainsborough, particularly his beautiful portraits, and this one made me laugh so I thought I’d put it on here.

Long time no posting!

p&H-detective-crop

Seems like an age since the last post. That’s the problem with having children, a million books on the go, and little free time! Social media takes a hit.

Still, Pigsticks & Harold continue to grow, and their books edge that little bit closer to publication. This is a snippet from the cover of book two, which is due late summertime, I think. This is their detective novel, very much in the vein of an Agatha Christie mystery. It was a hard battle to get it right, but I think we’re there, and the art work is the best it’s ever been. You can’t beat working solidly on characters over a period of years for sheer job satisfaction.

I’ll post more about these two friends of mine nearer pub date of the first book, which is late May. Only four months to go! WOOHOO!

Harold and his family

A little bit of news slipped out this week about a Pigsticks & Harold animated series being in development. It’s a massive thing, for sure, but it’s currently at the beginning of a very long journey if it’s ever to see the light of day.

Jam media (who created the Tilly & Friends show based on Polly Dunbar’s books, among many other great shows) have already made some amazing animated scenes of the pair. Maybe one day I can post them for all to see. They look brilliant, and in a week’s time we’ll be pitching them and the show at the Cartoon Forum.

So, fingers crossed. We’ve worked incredibly hard on this, and maybe one day my assuming pig and unassuming hamster will get their own TV show.

So for now, here’s a picture I’ve done for the Cartoon Forum pitch of Harold and his Family. I love Harold.

harold-family-photo

You leave your office for one minute…

And a cat nicks your chair!

Milo has no respect.

Neil Gaiman in the Doors?

I love the photos in Fortean Times of time travellers. There was this great one of a time traveller with a mobile phone in a Charlie Chaplin film. You get the idea.

So there I was, doing some Youtube trawling, when I came across this video of the reformed Doors playing with Eddie Vedder in 1993, as they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And lo and behold, who is that playing bass? The time travelling Neil Gaiman, no less. I mean, he was alive then, but it’s definitely the Neil Gaiman of 2012.

Quite amazing, but possibly not as amazing as Robbie Krieger’s leather trousers.

Little doors in the woods

We spent a rainy weekend in our woods, de-brambling, tidying and making our log cabin livable. As much as camping is spoiled by rain, there is something magical about the sound of it falling onto trees. And you can’t beat the glisteningly moist conditions that shine at you when you first step out into the woods of a morning.

After seeing tiny pixie doors in trees at the Chelsea Flower Show (can’t remember which garden,) I thought placing some in the nooks of our many beautiful oaks would be a way of engaging my 2yr-old daughter. They need door knobs, and a few details, but you get the idea from these photos.

In the few years that we’ve been managing our wood, and thinning the dense trees, we’ve really noticed a difference. This year we’ve got two new species of tiny wild flowers, and the moss and grass is now stretching out over the open ground. Wildlife is also on the increase, and we’re seeing far more birds and butterflies than ever before. This thing is a life’s work, a twenty-year plan at least, but seeing these little victories warms the cockles of your heart!

Here’s the barebones of one of the pixie doors…

Pigsticks and Harold get their own books!

Yesterday I signed a four book contract with Walker Books for Pigsticks and Harold. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.

Pigsticks has been around for a good few years now (Harold not so long), but they are firm favourites of mine, both to write about and draw. Any long term readers of my blogs and tweets will have seen these chaps grow and evolve over the years, and very soon they’ll be stepping out into the world on their own. Gosh, they’ve all grown up!

Onwards Pigs and Hamsters!

Yeti Poo Biscuit Recipe and the launch of Alien Moon

Wow, what a night!

I took a step back from Death’s door, nearing Death’s conservatory, and ventured out to my Alien Moon book launch. What a great night, and I even got the chance to give my yeti suit an airing.

It was hot inside, I hasten to add, and it was a launch party, so a beer was the only option. I think I only managed to scare one child, but that was only a little and he was soon poking me to see that I wasn’t scary. I was, however, asked to manhandle a few guests for photo opportunities. This one taken by the lovely @deadlyknitshade and featuring the yeti-tastic @gnorthfield is one of the best.

Thank you to everyone who came, The Bookseller Crow for having us, and of course to @Talljamesnixon for spinning the gramophone wheels of ancient pop.

So now then, onto the Yeti Poo Biscuits, which I think were a hit, as they vanished without a trace. They are super easy to make, the only complicated bit is squirting them with a piping bag (but that’s easy after the third try – and ace fun with kids.) It’s basically a doctored version of this Viennese Whirl Recipe by the Hairy Bikers, and makes about 15/20 biscuits.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

125g very soft butter

23g icing sugar

2g/teaspoon of cocoa powder (This is just for colouring. USE NO MORE!)

125g plain flour

25g cornflour

½ tsp vanilla extract

Large bar of chocolate (and maybe some Weetabix dust for sprinkles)

 

RECIPE:

Very simply, put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl (except the chocolate and sprinkles), and mix it all thoroughly. I used an electric mixer thingy, as it can be quite firm otherwise. Then tip it into a piping bag (using a circular nozzle), and for each biscuit squirt it onto a greased baking tray in one spiral motion (from outside to in) allowing the final tip to rise into the air like a real poo. I aimed to make the biscuits about 4cm in width, but you can make them as big or little as you like.

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 5, and cook the little poos for about 13 mins in the middle of the oven. Keep an eye on them, as the tips may burn if you’re not careful. They should brown very lightly at the edges.

Once they’re done, let them cool, and while that’s happening melt your chocolate bar in a bowl over a pot of hot water. Oil up a piece of greaseproof paper, and once the chocolate’s melted, dollop half a teaspoon full per biscuit onto the paper, placing the biscuit firmly (but gently) on top. I like to turn the biscuit to ensure the chocolate fully covers the base.

If you want to be fancy, and have left over chocolate, you can drip some all over your biscuits and them sprinkle with Weetabix dust for a truly authentic poo look.

Once that’s done, stick them in a fridge for an hour to set the chocolate, and you’re done!

The Way of the Yeti Poo Biscuits is now with you.


Thanks @jabberworks for this pic!

Yeti poo biscuits

To try them, you’ll either have to wait for me to post the recipe online next week, or come to my Alien Moon launch party!

These are the cooked biscuits prior to being covered in chocolate, and pooey bits.