Wednesday, 26 March 2014

History Heroes

After weeks of non stop school visits I'm making the most of today's strike day in schools by catching up with some writing. At the moment I'm still busy working on my History Heroes series which is due to be published later this year but I'm itching to get on with some new stories too.

I had a great day yesterday at Coupe Green Primary School - and at Redbridge Primary School on Monday. Hello to everyone there and thank you for making me feel so welcome...

I've just stopped working to eat my lunch and to have a quick write in my diary as I thought you might like to see the finished covers for two of the History Heroes books... Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria I...  

The covers, and the books themselves, have been illustrated by a wonderful illustrator called Rupert Van Wyk. I know what you're thinking... The book cover says they have been illustrated by Mike Philips, but that's a mistake - "OOPS!" Mike has illustrated a couple of other books in the series. The finished books will definitely have the right names on the front.  

Monday, 24 March 2014

Redbridge Primary School

I had planned to get up bright and early this morning so that I could do a bit of writing before setting off to spend the day at Redbridge Primary School in Ilford, but after driving for nearly five hours last night I really didn't want to get out of bed. I'm all set and ready to go now though so here's a big HELLO to everyone at Redbridge Primary School... I can't wait to meet you all. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Postcard from Paris (and London)

A couple of weeks ago, before starting off on school visits to join schools and libraries in their celebrations for World Book Day, Vicky and I got up early and caught the train to London. The sun wasn't even up but the sky was just beginning lighten. A crescent moon accompanied by one single star could just be seen over the top of the house... we were all packed and ready to go. 

We arrived in London nice and early, made our way to our hotel to drop our bags off and then set off on what we had planned to be the first of our relaxing days together. It was a gorgeous, sunny day so we set off walking through Hyde Park and made our way towards Kensington Palace. At the time I was busy working on a little book about Queen Victoria so I was quite interested to see the palace as that was where she was born and where she grew up.
The Palace stands at the far end of Hyde Park in London and has this large statue of Victoria by it. We didn't go into the palace but it was really interesting to see it and know that this was where Queen Victoria was born back in 1819. Today, the palace is home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and his wife, Kate)... They wanted us to pop in for coffee but sadly, we didn't have time so we carried on our little walk through the park.    
Further round the park we passed by The Royal Albert Hall and the magnificent Albert memorial. There are statues to Albert and Victoria all over London. I took quite a few photographs as we made our way around and will be putting more if them on my History Heroes web page soon. We had decided that, whilst in London, we would go and have a little lunch at Harrods as a special treat - so we carried on with our little walk - past the Museums and along Brompton Road. It was quite a long walk but it was well worth it as lunch was delicious.

Afterwards we carried on walking around London, hopping on and off the underground every now and then, and arrived back at our hotel with aching feet. I have said that we were having little walks but you don't always realise just how far you are walking when you are in a big city like London and are having so much fun. That night we were too tired to go looking for anywhere to eat so we bought a pizza and ate it in our room. YUM!  

We didn't have long to relax that night as we had to get up very early the next morning - too early for breakfast - so we could catch a couple of underground trains and get to St Pancras Station in time for our train to Paris. We got there just in time...
In a couple of hours we were in Paris - just in time for breakfast too... Unlike the day before, in London, today was wet but we weren't going to let that bother us. We knew we only had one day in Paris so we didn't want to spend our time looking in shops, museums or anything like that, we just wanted to have a little wander round and soak up the atmosphere.

We had planned to go somewhere to have a coffee and some pastries for breakfast but by the time we had wandered around a bit it was time for lunch. Not only had we soaked up some of the atmosphere but we had soaked up quite a bit of the rain too... my feet were very squelchy in my trainers. Lunch was delicious and by the time we got back outside it had stopped raining. 
We carried on wandering around the streets of Paris, slowly making our way towards the Eiffel Tower. We walked by the Louvre museum and art gallery but didn't go inside. It was wonderful visiting Paris when we did as there weren't as many tourists as there would be in the summer. In the picture above, you can just see Vicky standing by the fountain at the Louvre. I imagine that it gets very busy here in the summer.
We had planned to take it easy, just having a little wander around, but as with London, you don't realise just how far you are walking and after a while our feet were beginning to ache again. Instead of walking all the way to the Eiffel Tower we decided to catch the boat bus. One ticket meant that we could hop on and off as often as we wanted all through the day. And because there weren't that many tourists around we nearly had the boat to ourselves...
The Eiffel tower is right next to the River Seine so when we got off we didn't have far to walk - which was good. By the time we got there the sun had come out too...
The tower has over 7 million visitors each year - luckily they weren't all there on thee day we went so we didn't have too long to wait before we were in a lift and making our way to the top. It's a long way to the top... The tower itself is 324 meters high (if you include the antennae on the top) but we decided not to clamber up those. It was high enough from the top floor and you get an amazing view of the city. 
After our trip to the top of the tower we headed back down to earth and caught the next boat bus... staying on for a lovely trip along the river where we could take in the sights and rest our aching feet. Before heading back to the station to catch the train back to London we found an nice little restaurant where we had tea... it was delicious.  

We had a wonderful couple of days away together and can't wait for our next trip to Paris... We will definitely be going again. But before we do, we'll be visiting lots of other places and I'll tell you all about it - as well as telling you what I'm writing about and other things I'm doing.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Hello Harlow

Just a quick scribble in my diary before I head off to school. Today I'll be visiting St Alban's Catholic Academy and St Luke's Catholic Primary School in Harlow - so here's a BIG HELLO to everyone there... I'm looking forward to meeting everyone.

I've hardly had time to write in my diary as I've been so busy working. This week, however, Vicky and I spent a lovely couple of days in London (and a day in Paris too)... I will be writing about that, and posting some pictures later this week so come back soon.

Time to dash!!!