I’ve been to Cardiff twice this week, for the Children’s Literature Festival, which is great fun and superbly organised.
Yesterday,a few people were waylaid on their way to my Dragon Gold storytelling and drawing session by Wally and his friends. You didn’t have to look too hard to find him as he was stopping every passerby for a chat!
On Tuesday, I spoke at a session for grown ups who would like to write for children. With me was Philippa Milnes-Smith, now a top children’s book agent, but once, long ago, she was my editor at Blackie and Puffin Books. It was great to see her again and catch up. We were introduced by author and broadcaster, Phil Carradice.
I’m sure both sides of the story are equally to blame and that the personal relations are a lot more complicated than the press story makes out.
To me this seems simple: Was it a birthday party or a school trip?
If it was a birthday party, then the invitation should be given as a sign of friendship. You just don’t charge friends when you offer them hospitality. You may agree beforehand to to shares on an expensive venture.
If they are friends and they don’t turn up, first you show concern for their welfare, then you make the effort to understand and then forgive them. You may then make a mental note to call them day before the next party to make sure they are still coming.
Otherwise, this was not a party but a commercial trip organised by the parents of the birthday child, but they didn’t let their clients know they were being charged. That is dishonest. If not a cash fundraiser, they must have seen this party as a social or commercial investment in the people they were inviting. It was not about hospitality but gaining favour.
Favour is always gained by warm hospitality. But hospitality, given merely to gain favour, will never achieve its desired end.