Monday, 22 February 2016

Wookey Hole And An Early Start To The Week

Up bright and early today - though not very bright as it feels like the middle of the night... Today I'm off to spend a day with everyone at St Edmund and St John C of E Primary School in Dudley - so here's a BIG HELLO to everyone there.

BIG HELLO's also too Woodlea Junior School, Netherton Infants, Monkwray Junior School and St Chad's Primary School in Lichfield... Phew, it's going to be a busy week. Somehow I have to fit some writing in too as I have a deadline that's creeping closer (a story about a dentist).

Last week was half term and, as well as writing, we had a couple of days away form home - starting with a drive down along the border of Wales and England, then finally crossing over to England on the Severn Bridge.
From there we headed down to Weston-Super-Mare - a popular seaside holiday resort with a long pier and lovely beaches. I couldn't help being intrigued by the ruins of the old Birnbeck Pier.
Deserted and in ruins it reminded me of a Scooby Doo set but the Pier was a hugely popular attraction for visitors. Steam ships would land at the jetty on the right and hundreds of visitors would spend their day having fun before finally going back home in the evening.
The main reason for going away was so we could visit the spectacular Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole. Walking through the Gorge we spotted Mountain Goats clambering around and Ravens gliding over the cliffs.
We ventured down into the Wookey Hole caves - heard the legend of the Wookey Witch and tried our best not to bump our heads on the roof of some of the lower rocks. "Ouch!"
The caves were interesting to see but I kept feeling myself drawn to the passage where Cheddar Cheese was slowly maturing "Yum!"
Time for school...

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

New Books

I hope you're enjoying the half term holidays... I've had a busy time since Christmas and things are just going to get busier so I thought I' d take this chance to write a little bit in my diary.

My two latest little books were published by the wonderful people at Franklin Watts a couple of days ago. Meerkat's Marathon and Hippo's High Dive. Both of the books form part of a little six book series themed around animals in the Olympic Games - two books are written by me and the other four have been written by other authors... There are only around 200 words in each of the books so they are quite short but the illustrations are great and I think they are a lot of fun.
Meerkat's Marathon has been illustrated by a brilliant new illustrator called Steve Brown. This was only Steve's second book but I think you will agree he's made a brilliant job of it. I'm delighted that Steve is illustrating another one of my stories at the moment (more about that later)... I think he's going to be a really big name in the children's book world in the future so it's great to have the chance to work with him. You can find out more about Steve by visiting his website HERE.

You can find out more about Meerkat's Marathon and Hippo's High Dive by clicking HERE... you can also print off some fun things to do.

I had a great time last week with everyone at Hadnall Primary School near Shrewsbury - followed by a long drive down to Edgware where I spent a day at The Orion Primary School for part of their wonderful Word Up Festival. I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as I did...

After leaving The Orion Primary School I had a short drive (though it took ages) down to Wimbledon ready to visit the Ursuline Preparatory School for Girls.
It was fantastic meeting everyone and coming up with story ideas... lots of great questions and I even got to see a fox snoozing in the sun. You can see him at the top of the page...

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A Busy New Year

The weeks since Christmas seem to have whizzed by and it's hard to believe February is already here. In the last few weeks I've been busy working on a story about an Awful Astronaut, visiting schools, catching up with all my letters and paperwork, and lots more.
Vicky and I haven't had much time to go anywhere or do anything, but we did manage a little drive around parts of Wales that we hadn't been to before - ending up at Lake Vyrnwy. Some photographs we took are scattered around in this diary entry.  
A couple of weeks ago I had a great time working with the wonderful Year four writers at Kensington Primary School in Merseyside - it's a pleasure visiting the school and I can't wait to see everyone again in the future. I also fun day with everyone at St Chad's Primary School, Crackley Bank. 
Last week I visited Bowlee Park Primary School in Bolton, Black Lane Primary School in Wrexham, Byron Primary School in Bradford and Westbury School in Nottingham - a really good few days sharing stories and talking about writing.
This week I will be visiting Woodbank Primary School in Bury, Hadnall Primary School in Shrewsbury, Orion Primary School in Edgware and Ursuline Prep School in Wimbledon... I really looking forward to meeting everyone... See you all soon.