Monday, 30 January 2012

Why I Love Being A Writer (Part 2)

The Mystery of the Mind-tricking Labyrinth , The Mystery of the Blazing Pheonix, The Mystery of the Underground Mine . . . 

"What's this?" I hear you ask! "More  Adventure Island books coming out so soon? These sound brilliant! When will they be in the shops?"

I only wish I HAD created these amazing stories, but I have to confess they're not mine. They are all the work of the incredibly talented, hard-working and generally awesome Year Six pupils at Holywell Primary School near St. Ives.

Why I Love Being a Writer (Part 1)

From the minute I stepped through the door of Hadleigh St Mary's I knew I was in a very special school. The head boy, Oliver, greeted me, showed me into the hall and set up my presentation on the computer for me. Throughout the entire visit, I was bowled over by the children's confidence, politeness and eagerness to learn. At the end of the day a teenage boy -  an ex-pupil who'd come to meet a younger sibling - politely volunteered to help me carry in my box of books for the book stall, WITHOUT EVEN BEING ASKED (or even being given a 'remember-your-manners' look by a teacher). 
St Mary's values obviously stick!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Winter of Discontent?

Last week our village was hit by a series of power cuts. Each evening the lights would go out for a short while. The duration of the outages increased little by little until by Thursday we were in darkness for several hours.


I've always loved power cuts. I love sitting by the fire reading by candlelight,  boiling pans of water for tea and toasting anything remotely toastable over the flames. I love carrying a candle to light my way up the stairs, shielding the guttering flame like a character in a Victorian novel (why, oh why, don't I have a long white nightgown to change into on these occasions?) In our house, there's always a groan of disappointment when all the gadgets beep back into life and the lights flicker on to dazzle our dark-adapted eyes.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Stuff of Legend

An elaborately embroidered shawl and a fabulous cape woven from the silk of a million golden orb spiders from the highlands of Madagascar . . . the fabric is so gossamer-light you can't feel it touch your skin . . . and, most breath-taking of all, this luminous gold is the undyed 'straight-from-the-spider' colour!

Don't these just sound like enchanted objects straight from the pages of a Greek myth or a fairy tale?
Surely, anyone wearing a garment crafted from such rare and exotic silk must be granted three wishes or eternal youth or invisibility or something?

I had to stop making the breakfast to listen to the whole story on Radio Four's Today programme last week . . .

I can't wait to go see these magical garments when they go on display at the Victoria and Albert museum from 25th January.

Then I may just have to write a fairy tale . . .

Once upon a time, in the highlands of Madagascar, lived a princess whose heart's desire was a shawl spun from pure gold . . .

Rumpeltstiltskin, eat your heart out!