Meet on the Ledge

Well actually the pub or restaurant but wasn’t sure of a song title about meeting in a pub! In the space of a week I’ve bumped into people unexpectedly I know while well away from home. Last Saturday in Exeter well a Topsham Indian we bumped into Chris Hillyer from my college days. Yesterday while having lunch in a pub with my brother in Chepstow it was Martin Bragg one of my Headteacher friends. That has rarely happened to me so it a surprise to have two such encounters within a week!

Off to the Theatre of Dreams or possibly Nightmares that is Kenilworth Road tomorrow. This season has been a disappointment and the lowest league position we have ever sunk to. Always makes me laugh when so-called “Premiership supporters” bemoan their team’s misfortune they don’t know the pain it is to see your team at this level! There will still be close to 6,000 there tomorrow!

A Wee Bit of Trouble

Good news! Mike my brother has got his first book of poetry for young people “A Wee Bit of Trouble” coming out at the end of May. You might remember me talking about Mike performing in the pub for our book club. Well Mike has been performing for many years in a wide variety of venues and he is full of bright original ideas. He has often worked in challenging areas giving many people a voice which makes me a proud Big Bruv! So look out for his book and if you want him to come and perform and sign books I can put you in touch. Book can be pre-ordered now from various sites.

Wind in the Willows

Well we are back from our madcap travels! Our ride from Exeter was accompanied by a bitterly cold wind often with flecks of snow swirling round. The wind slowed us down especially in Devon and across The Levels- it must have added on an extra hour or so on each day. Pete and I were ravenous when we reached our hotel at Sidcot on Monday night after 7 hours plus in the saddle and our toes were close to turning blue! David sent us information from his Garmin bike computer about Monday the temperature was about 1 degree above freezing with a wind chill of minus 5 we apparently used over 3,000 calories too no wonder we were hungry!

What an exciting finish to the Test Match-I woke up early on Tuesday morning and started listening. I was absolutely hooked with no chance of going back to sleep. Amazing to find something is so compelling when one team are just blocking!

On a bicycle made for 2….or 3!

Just off to Exeter to meet up with the boys. We are cycling on Dartmoor tomorrow brrrr! Just stopped snowing here. On Monday we are pedalling back towards Frampton. Dave coming with us for first day and then it is just me and Pete.

So no Story Telling stuff for a few days and no writing! Just finished the poem I mentioned before. I will try it out on Wednesday to see what it sounds like. Next post will be Wednesday at the earliest.

Cider with ………..

I had to drive to Miserden for my dental treatment. I drove up through the Slad Valley for the first time in a long while. Once you get beyond the edge of Stroud you see what a beautiful valley it is. I used to walk regularly around there when I first started teaching, I didn’t know anyone so I just used to walk at weekends. I used to go into the Woolpack just to see Laurie Lee and there was another pub called the Star where people would chat to you about their potato crop amongst other things!

The Slad Valley was also the first gathering of our Beer and Books group when we spent a memorable evening at the Woolpack about 8 years ago now!

I am currently enjoying working on a poem for a friend’s special birthday I can’t  say anymore!

Marathon Man

No not running! Tomorrow I am off to the dentist (you might remember the film Marathon Man with Laurence Olivier as the dentist!). This to correct a very old football injury some of you who have known me for a long time may recall the “Highbury Horror Show” when I was innocent victim of football violence-I am currently writing this up with other sporting incidents involving yours truly! Perhaps I should ask Arsenal for compensation (40 years on) because it is going to cost more than an arm and leg! However, the plus side is I should find performing easier. I have had the occasional embarrassing moment on stage when my tooth has slipped when I am in full cry!

Gradually getting my fitness back on the bike after six weeks out of the saddle!Beginning to tackle some decent hills. It looks like the three “Church Boys” are doing some long distance cycling next week! It is lovely for me as a Dad to do things with my boys still, hope I can keep up!

“Swing Low……..”

Oh dear the first game of rugby of this six nations I watch and England get thrashed after winning their first four games! Perhaps I should have been away for another week!

Had a lovely time with a group of children from Fulham today bird watching at Wick Court. One group got very excited when we saw a Treecreeper!

Now I am back into the routine I need to start working on the story again. I’ve a couple of changes to make following some positive feedback I got from some young people. Also starting on one or two other projects both for adults and children.  I am also hoping to redo the web site over the next fortnight. So keep a look out!

Born to Run

Slowly getting around jet lag but it hasn’t been easy this week. Have been on the bike today and yesterday to see if it helps. Yesterday I cycled to and joined the demonstration at Javelin Park about the proposed incinerator. Hopefully our elected representatives will see sense because it does look a poor environmental choice as well as questionable economic sense.

Today was the first time all the staff of the Hill, Valley and Vale got together for a working day looking at the future. It was a positive step and we had encouraging responses from everyone.

I had been asked to tell a story at the end, I had no time really to prepare, I would normally spend a few days rehearsing for doing a public story and might have spent quite a bit of time finding the right material so I had to be pragmatic!

Back to my voluntary work at Wick Court (Farm for City Children) tomorrow, I always enjoy the raw enthusiasm the children show when I take them out.

Back Home……

How many remember that song from the England World Cup Squad, it will date you! I sadly could sing (stretching things to say sing) all the words at one time! You may have guessed we are now back in good Old Blighty! What a shock to the system the icy blasts of this week, left Singapore at over 30c to this week of a wind chill of -10! Busy catching up on a great back log of mail and messages. We had a wonderful time, each day was a surprise and a real high!

Good to be able to type this on my lap top again. My tablet was really useful while we were away but I didn’t always find the typing easy to do and the double-checking. It was great for checking emails and reading. Certainly lighter to carry a tablet than try to carry 10+ books!

Not sure what happened to my beloved Luton Town while I was away. I left them beating a Premiership Club away and in with a good chance of automatic promotion and now they are well outside of the Play Offs only winning one match in that time!




“Oh the Traveller…”

The cricket  ended up a disappointment we  saw the captains toss up and the start was delayed by bad light,  then the rain started. There  hadn’t been any rain in Dunedin for weeks and it now rained  all day! We are currently in Singapore for  couple of nights and home in the early hours of Monday. Already facing a busy week with football Tuesday night and a Book Club meal on Wednesday on the Alexi Sayle book “Stalin ate my Homework”. I have read some entertaining emails on the food everyone is bringing.

Friday is a whole staff day for the Hill Valley Vale Children’s Centres. The first time we will have everyone together. Just had an email from Sarah saying they want me to finish with a story,so no pressure then, a story when everyone wants to go home!