Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Deepdale Infants

This week I'm visiting Deepdale Infant School to work with year two - and hopefully squeeze in a whole school assembly session at the start of the day so here's a Big Hello to everyone there... I will see you on Thursday.

The following week I'm visiting Unity College in Blackpool to talk to everyone in year 7.
The rest of this week is going to be taken up with writing, looking after Polly, and but of decorating, a bit of Christmas shopping and a trip to Manchester airport to pick up Vicky and Connor after their trip to Euro Disney.

News of what I'm working on at the moment will be coming up soon.... watch this space.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Christmas is Coming

Yes... there's no avoiding it... Christmas is definitely getting closer. The shops are full of decorations, Christmas gifts, Christmas songs and lots of ho-ho-ho... and it's still November. Last week Vicky, Connor and I went to see the Coca Cola truck in the Asda car park - and very Christmassy it was too.
On Saturday night Vicky and I went into Chester to have a look round the Christmas Market... Mulled Wine, Roast Chestnuts, A big Wheel... Lovely. There was even an ice rink but I didn't have my skates with me...

Last night I went with Deanna to an open evening at Preston College so we could have a look at their Drama and Performing Arts department. Deanna is very keen on stage management, sound and lighting, but it's not easy finding a course for that. Thankfully, the people at Preston college were very helpful and we came away feeling quite positive about it all. We're still not sure which college or sixth form Deanna will go to next year but at least there are a few options open for her. A very exciting time...
Between now and Christmas I have one school visit - more about that later. In the meantime I'm busy writing, writing, writing. And not just my Christmas list either...

Monday, 8 November 2010

Living Books

On Saturday I spend the day as a Living Book at Fleetwood library in Lancashire. Over the last few years I have visited loads of libraries in England, Wales and Scotland and have talked to thousands of people - sharing stories and talking about books and writing... but being a living book was a little different.

Instead of talking to a large group of people, I spoke to just one or two people at a time - so the sessions were very personal. I was a little unsure about how the sessions would go but I needn't have worried... they were great and I had a really good time.

There were a few Living Books available in the Library on Saturday... the idea being that each Living Book (or person) was someone that had an interesting or unusual job, hobby, knowledge or personal experience that they could share with others. Members of the public then came along and made a reservation so they could spend a little time with the book of their choice. I was kept busy throughout the course of the day and spent time with people of all ages... including keen young readers that were interested in books and reading, older people that were interested on writing books for children and even a primary school teacher that had called into the library to return one of my books that she had been reading to her class.

It was an absolute pleasure meeting everyone at the library - thank you all for coming along... thank you too to the wonderful librarians.... especially Ruth and Ian for looking after me.

Living Books (or The Human Library) is a national initiative and you can find out more about it here.

Monday, 1 November 2010

On the Radio and Captain Kidd

Just had an exciting start to the day by chatting on BBC Radio Lancashire about the importance of libraries. I hope I managed to say something that made sense and that I didn't just waffle on. It's always the case that you think of other things to say when it's too late though...

Last week a little box arrived from one of my lovely publishers containing copies of my latest little book, Captain Kidd: Pirate Hunter. This is quite a short story - only about 400 words. You can take a look inside the book if you visit amazon by clicking here

Sunday, 31 October 2010

What's Been Going On?

I've been struggling to keep up with my blog and just about everything else for a while but I think I'm finally catching up... so here's a little update on what I've been up to over the last few days or so.

Early on Tuesday morning I drove up to the North East of England to visit Newton Aycliffe library. I was a little worried at first because when I arrived at the library all I found was a large pile of rubble. It seemed that the old library had been knocked down that very morning... fortunately, all of the books, computers and librarians had moved out a little while ago and were now housed in a temporary library a short distance away, so all was not lost. I spent and hour or so talking to a group of keen young readers 8+ in the morning and then met a big group of younger readers and book lovers in the afternoon. After the library sessions I drove back down to North Wales and had pizza for tea... Yum!!!

On Wednesday morning I drove to Blackpool with Vicky and Connor, met up with Deanna and then had a great day acting like tourists in town. We had planned to spend the day at Blackpool Tower and the Tower Circus, however, as it was half term the tower was incredibly buy so instead, we walked along the promenade and onto Central Pier where we clambered aboard the big wheel. The wheel has been on the pier for a good few years now but I'd never ridden on it before. Definitely worth a go round if you visit the town.
After the Big Wheel, we spent a couple of hours in the Waxworks - including the Chamber of Horrors. This is Connor with Del Boy and Rodney (dressed as Batman and Robin from an episode of Only Fools and Horses). There was a whole section of the waxworks set aside for James Bond... I thought this one of Daniel Craig was particularly good. The chamber of horrors was pretty good too as it had a few live actors wandering around to give people the creeps.
We called in a a noodle bar for some lunch, visited my mum and then went to pick Laura up from the Sandcastle Waterpark. We were planning on driving through the illuminations but the traffic was horrendous and it would have taken us hours... so we decided to park the car, get some chips and have a little walk through them. We were all ready with our chips when it started to pour with rain so we made a dash back to the car..... soaking wet. Despite a few changes of plan through out the day we all had a great time.

On Thursday we went to Snugburys, near Nantwich, for some of their delicious ice cream and to have a look at their latest straw sculpture... this year, a giant meerkat. Take a look at their website and you'll see some of the other sculptures they've made.

On Friday I met up with Laura and we drove to Lincoln so that we could visit the university on Saturday morning for their open day. Laura is planning to go to university next year and study graphics... so far, Lincoln looks the best.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Robots In The Library

Tomorrow I'm off up to the North East of England to visit Newton Aycliffe Library in County Durham... Here's a big HELLO to everyone that's coming along to the sessions there.

Today I'm busy catching up on lots of bits and pieces and also getting down to some writing. I've not written very much over the last few months and I'm eager to get going. My head feels as though it is packed with ideas and stories and they need to get out and on to the page...

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

St Joseph the Worker

Tomorrow I'm visiting St Joseph the Worker RC Primary School in Salford, Manchester... so here's a big hello to everyone there.

Earlier this week I was at St Mary's RC Primary School in Middlewich, Cheshire, for a couple of days and had a great time.

Last night I met up with Rachel, my eldest daughter, who celebrated her 20th birthday on Monday. Rachel is at Lancaster University studying fine art... We had a meal at the Plough in Galgate, had a couple of games of pool, then wandered around the university campus chatting for a while. A really good night.

Today I've been busy helping my brother in his kitchen... he's busy redoing the floor so I was giving him a hand. I'll add some pictures to this diary entry very soon... but my phone is playing up at the moment and doesn't want to talk to my lap top... very annoying.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Hello to...

St Mary's RC Primary School in Middlewich, Cheshire where I'll be on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and a big hello to everyone at St Joseph The Worker RC Primary School in Salford... see you on Thursday.

Today I've been at the University of Staffordshire, in Stoke, with Laura and her friend for the open day. Laura is still making up her mind about which University she wants to go to next year.

Think I'll be having an early night tonight.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Ten Pin Bowling

This has been a busy week, visiting schools around the area and driving here and there, so it was nice to have some free time on Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday I had a great time with Vicky and Connor... We went round the shops then went Ten Pin Bowling together. I haven't been ten pin bowling for ages so it took me a while to get the hang of it again. We had three games and had loads of fun. We even had time for a game of pool before dinner...

Pizza!!! Yum !!!

Thank you both for a lovely day...

Next week I'm visiting Burton On Trent Library - so here's a BIG HELLO to everyone that's coming along to the sessions there - then later in the week I'm at Sandiway Primary School in Northwich - HELLO to you tooCheck Spelling.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A Big Hello To

Luke Bennett and everyone at St Michael's Primary School in Lichfield...

I hope you're all having a fun book week.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Book Week

It's been a busy few days with school visits and spending time with family and friends... and it's not going to slow down for a while either... today, Rachel moved back to Uni. (Why is it that the lift only stops working when we have to empty the car and carry loads of boxes up to the fourth floor grrrrrr)

This week I'm out and about again... so for a start, here's a big hello to everyone at Westfield Community Primary School, Boarshaw Primary School, and Audenshaw Primary School.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

On the Road and Out and About

Just spent the evening in town with the extremely talented and very funny poet Craig Bradley. We had a laugh, swapped stories about our lives and listened to each other as friends do... all right he listened to me bend his ear a bit... But a very good night.

This next few weeks is going to be very busy as I'm travelling round the country visiting lots of schools and libraries. I'll be writing about the places I go and saying hello to people right here so come back and see where I've been. Hopefully I'll put a few picture up here too.

For now, here's a big HELLO to everyone at Firwood School, Westlea Community Primary School in Upton and a special HELLO to everyone at Aylesham Primary School in Canterbury

Friday, 24 September 2010

Happy Birthdays and Days out

It's been a busy week so far but things are going to get much busier as many schools are having their books week celebrations. I'll be spending a few days travelling around next week, the whole of the week after and lots of other odd days here are there too.

This week has been quite busy as well. Wednesday was my brother's birthday and today is my Mum's birthday.... she is 7o today but shhhhh! don't tell anyone I told you how old she is.

Yesterday I drove down to Wales and had lunch with Vicky, then we spent a lovely afternoon together.

Today I'm writing letters and going ice skating with Rachel and Laura... should be fun.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Southport Airshow

Had a lovely time yesterday with Vicky and Connor at the Southport Airshow, where even the rather damp weather couldn't spoil the day. I've seen the Blackpool Airshow a few times and always imagined Southport's to be pretty much the same, however, it's much bigger and stretches over two days, with things going on all through the day over the weekend.

We wandered around on the beach looking at some of the aeroplanes and display stands, watched the West Lancashire Dog Display team in action, a parachute team, and of course the amazing Red Arrows.

After a bit of lunch and a wander round the shops we made out way back to the car at tea time and there were still planes thundering overhead beneath the dark clouds. Just found out that today's airshow has been cancelled due to severe weather through the night which has caused flooding... we certainly went at the right time.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Writing and Walking

This week seems to have flown by - as many weeks do - and I haven't had chance to write much in my diary. Earlier in the week I went for a walk along the river with Laura (it made a nice change to see the creek full and the boats floating instead of sitting in the mud), and we bought ice creams at Knott End - Cappuccino for me and Smarty flavour for Laura (both with a chocolate flake).This morning I'm in the house writing, and this afternoon I've got a shed roof to fix, a bit of rollerblading with Rachel to keep fit and then another walk this evening with Deanna. Hopefully the sun will keep shining and make all this possible.

Also got a few letters and emails to send to schools and libraries.

Hope you're having a nice day....