I first met Viv at the end of the 90s, when I was doing a part time course in creative writing at Bristol University in the Department of Continuing Education. Viv taught the segment on children's writing - well, it was actually only half a segment.
I hadn't thought about doing children's writing. Although I was doing some educational writing, I wasn't expecting to be able to write any kind of fiction and get it published; I just wanted to learn how to do it better. But Viv was enormously encouraging and enthusiastic about a short story that I wrote, and she made me think I could do it - and so, in the end, I did. It was also through Viv that I found my lovely agent, Lindsey Fraser.
So I owe her an enormous amount. Getting that first book published, and all it led to, has enriched my life enormously, and I'm sure I'm only one of thousands who have benefitted from Viv's infectious enthusiasm and generosity. She was such a good teacher - we all learned so much from her, both about writing itself and about the business; she was inspiring but also very practical - and very funny. I've seen her doing a workshop with children, too - brilliant: they loved her.
I just heard on the news that there's controversy already about whether a certain political adviser deserves the honour he's been given. Well, I don't know about that. But with Viv, they've awarded an honour that is utterly and absolutely deserved. Congratulations, Ma'am! (Or should that be Master?)
And the sun's shining. So at least two excellent reasons to feel cheerful this morning.