After almost two hours driving through peak hour traffic in the rain, I pulled up at a bakery in Port Melbourne for directions.
"You mean Graham Street," said the barista, hot coffee roaring into a paper cup. He nodded at the customer beside me. "That's where we went. They call it Port Melbourne Primary now." And rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, we all went there. Just drive down the overpass. You can't miss it."
The customer stepped out into the rain with me, a stranger in his land, to point the way. Pleased to be asked.
Schools are such alive places. After two days, meeting around one hundred students, I was astonished at their attention, and their creativity. We talked about writing and inspiration, and what is most precious to us. One boy tried to tell me his most precious thing was a zombie.
"An imagined zombie," he laughed, delighting in my (feigned) horror.
"Surely the best kind," I replied.
Another boy told me he'd like a "golden hoverboard." A beautiful girl showed me a drawing of her most precious thing, her mother, and my heart went out to her. I kept thinking about everyone long after I'd left that Friday, and was happy when a student called Willow wrote to say she'd read Irina the Wolf Queen 'all day and all night' and loved how it was dreamy and mysterious.
(You can read WIllow's comments under 'what readers say.')
My thanks go to the warm and friendly teachers at Port Melbourne Primary, and to the librarian, Margaret Whitford, who facilitated the visit.