A Scottish writer who flew 10,000 miles to continue his world book tour found his plans thwarted by the Beast from the East.
The snow storm which has struck Scotland meant that Stuart Reid, author of the Gorgeous George series of children’s books, flew 10,124 miles from Adelaide, Australia back home, to be stopped by the snow.
Stuart, from Falkirk, was booked to host a number of school events for World Book Day on March 1, but these have now been cancelled due to the school closures and the Met Office’s red alert travel warning across central Scotland.
Stuart said: ‘I knew I’d be in trouble when we flew over Europe. It was a complete white-out 36,000 feet below us. If I had known it was going to be this bad, I would’ve stayed in Australia to do some more gigs. It’s just snow funny!’
The kilted author, well-known for his annual shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, had been performing his inspirational events at schools in Australia and at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, where temperatures had been hitting 34c. So returning to Scotland was a shock to the system, as he is now snow-bound at home.
But the bad weather only continued Stuart’s bad luck.
At the start of February he had been booked to perform at a number of Hong Kong schools but after only three gigs, the Hong Kong Education Department closed all the primary schools due to the ‘flu epidemic in the region.
Stuart was then stuck in Hong Kong with no school visits possible and 600 unsold books in his hotel room.
After the writer put out a desperate plea on Twitter to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong Standard and Hong Kong Radio 3, only to be stunned by the response, with features and articles in the newspapers and a 30 minute interview with HK Radio3 presenter Noreen Mir on her afternoon show.
This led to an impromptu book shop signing session, video recording sessions with two schools and numerous orders for his books placed by teachers and librarians.
Stuart added: ‘I left Hong Kong with only 12 books unsold; it was a miraculous recovery. I thought my luck had turned!’
In the last six years Stuart has performed to quarter of a million children at almost 2,000 schools, libraries and book festivals throughout Britain, Ireland, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as selling tens of thousands of books in his Gorgeous George series. Hong Kong and Adelaide were planned for February before continuing back in Scotland for the next couple of months, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.