Saturday, 14 March 2015

So much to tell you...

The last week or so has passed by in a bit of a blur. There's been so much happening!

Wednesday 4th March: Author visit to Holywell School.

I had a fantastic time with two Year 3 classes at Holywell, looking at the essential ingredients of a Granny Rainbow story and then helping the children to come up with their own ideas for a Granny story. We focused on the idea of something being lost; working out what it was, who'd lost it, why was it such a problem that it was lost, and most importantly, what was Granny going to do to help find it?

Getting to grips with the digital whiteboard...and the essentials
of a Granny Rainbow story

I don't know what had just been suggested, but I look pretty shocked at the thought!
And for some reason I can't seem to write straight...

My personal favourite was the lost tiara...which just happened to be stuck to the Lady Larabelle Loolilace's wig, so when she lost her wig - and the tiara - she couldn't go to the posh party she'd been invited to because actually, she was as bald as a coot in real life! Second favourite was the lost penguins - or was it the treasure chest? SO many ideas! In fact it was hard to stop the children from coming up with more and more ideas and actually settle down to writing the outline of the story they'd be penning...

It was a really special visit, because Holywell was my primary school...and here I was, forty odd years later, returning to spend time with a fresh generation of students.

Thursday 5th March: World Book Day.

A planned author visit had to unfortunately be cancelled, so instead I bagged up a copy of Granny Rainbow as a World Book Day gift and left it in a playground in Queen's Park. I've done something similar with the Lonely Bouquet - left a bunch of flowers for someone to find and take home, so I was hoping the same principle would work with a book.

I don't know whether anyone picked it up - when I passed back that way later in the morning, the book was still there and being studiously ignored by the parents present, in spite of the invitation inside the bag to 'Take me Home!' Hope someone's enjoying it...

Friday 6th March: Lords and Ladies at the Manor.

A group of Cloudies had booked a Manor House in Oxfordshire for the weekend, with the intention of writing, hearing other's work and getting to know some of the folk who are recognised only by an electric persona on the Word Cloud

We had a blast! Quite a few more Cloudies arrived on Saturday to spend the day with us (I ran a short writing exercise in the afternoon, there was a table tennis compeition, a bring-and-share lunch) and a few of the day visitors stopped overnight. We drank wine (and champagne for those who took part in The Great Fizz competition of reading work to an audience), ate very well, sang songs until the wee small hours, wore tiaras and top hats (as befits a Lord or Lady of the Manor) and made lots of new friends.

Lady Squidge of the Manor...complete with tiara.

The weirdest thing was reading a Granny Rainbow story to an audience of adults instead of to children...

I came home exhausted but happy on the Monday and started to thrash out some words and ideas on Ani's story.

Tuesday 10th March: Proof Pick-up!

I picked up the proof of More Granny Rainbow. There are some glitches with the cover, as I realised there is a fundamental design flaw (of my own making) which needs to be addressed. So I shan't be launching just yet... The inside pages are looking pretty flippin' good though - I didn't see any typos at all. I'll leave finding them up to the eagle-eyed reader...

Wednesday 11th March: Painting Text

I'm involved at the moment in a passionart project - eight town centre churches are creating a piece of artwork depicting a part of the Easter story, which will be displayed outside the churches from Palm Sunday through to Easter Monday. The one I'm involved with is the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross, on a 4 by 3 metre banner. I spent most of Weds (and Thursday and part of Friday) painting the text onto the speech bubbles...

Then we had a NIBS meeting - the Nanpantan Improving Body of Scribblers writing group. Four of us wrote off-the-cuff about what we wanted to see more of or less of in the world; combined three trinkets (chosen from a selection) into a piece of prose; and then considered what we would include in a time capsule to represent ourselves and our lives. There were some rather poignant pieces written, which brought a tear to my eye...

Thursday 12th March.  RIP Sir Terry Pratchett

I cried.

Sir Terry's Discworld books are my absolute favourite thing to read. I have a shelf filled almost entirely with Discworld...there are a few titles missing still, but in time I am determined to have the full set.

To know that I will never read about Vimes or Carrot again, hear the witches own particular brand of wisdom, or find out what C.M.O.T Dibbler's latest money-making scheme is, makes me unbearably sad.

And only Sir Terry could have written the end of his own story as he did, with Death coming to take him for a walk.

I hope Sir Terry finds what he was expecting in the black desert...

Illustration by the very talented Mat Sadler

Friday 13th March: Comic Relief

I was auctioning off a copy of Granny Rainbow for Red Nose Day; I'd drawn red noses on all the illustrations and the front cover. I am delighted to say that the top bid was £30 - £30! - and I decided to double that. Hence a whopping £60 will be winging its way to Comic Relief HQ and Red Nose Granny to Birmingham, to a very special librarian.

And I think that's us all caught up! Normal blogging service will be resumed...assuming I have something interesting to tell you!

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