The "last Saturday" started off with four full houses - talks on Roman Nottinghamshire, on England in the 1950s, on Shelley as punk rocker and on letter-writing in Jane Austen's novels. Meanwhile the children's marquee got going, which, later in the day, included appearances by the local Catfoot Theatre and children's writers Tom Palmer and Helena Pielichaty. By four the cafe was down to teabags - it was one of those days. But it was not the real last Saturday and we continued the next day with the Ian McMillan Orchestra in Nottingham (Lowdham Book Festival on Tour) and carry on, in fits and starts, until July 14th. The shape of this year's Festival is like a python that has swallowed a large meal - long and thin with a big bump in the middle.
One minor problem is money. After an exhausting tenth year (65 events in one week, plus a school's programme and a total attendance of about 6,000) the Festival was unable to secure Arts Council funding. We've had to scale back our schools' and outreach programme somewhat but still manage some work in nurseries, schools and care homes - calling in favours or drawing on our resources to pay for this important part of our work.
What does the future hold? Next year we enter our early teenage years. I hope we do more than sit in a corner and grunt or spend all our time staring at our mobiles, waiting from incoming texts. We'd like to revive our former schools' work, work with prisoners and excluded pupils, and we hope to put on the "green weekend" that we've been talking about for a few years but never got round to. All it takes is money and time... time and money. Meantime, there's a Five Leaves backlog to take care of.