Great Expectations!!!!

I’ll use the title of my favourite Dickens book for today’s title. It really refers to my Story Telling on Thursday the lovely young people visiting the farm pester me persistently to tell the story about Mollie the famous idiosyncratic sheep. I think it is the story I have told the most often -(might be close to 3 figures and to around 3,000 people who have now heard it!)

Thoroughly enjoyed my visit to St Andrews School on Friday where I was looking at writing of stories with Y5/6. It was a delight talking literature with some of them afterwards.

Today we cycled to Stroud for the Book Festival. Three female writers with links to Stroud talked about their books and writing. One was Rosie (an ex pupil) who I mentioned in a previous blog and once again she was thoughtful and impressive.

My own Book Club is this Wednesday! So this is my first opportunity to mention our entertainment on December 4th at the Three Horseshoes Frampton starting at 8 p.m. It is always a great evening with a mixture of music, humour, poems and of course a story from yours truly. It is free but a hat is there for donations that go to Farms for City Children. Hope some of you who read this blog can join us. More details in a future blog!

You will notice my reticence to mention football following two lacklustre performances from the not so mighty Hatters not helped by being soaked on both occasions. Yesterday we were abysmal and that is being generous! Enough Said!



Today’s title is because last night went to a superb talk on the Peregrines of Exeter. Really informative on all aspects of the bird. There was also great and unusual pictures of the bird and footage of the amazing attacks by the Peregrines on a Buzzard. apparently this happens frequently when the young peregrines are about to fledge often killing the unsuspecting Buzzard. This behaviour seems only to happen with Exeter  birds!

About to go off Story Telling this afternoon and tomorrow I have a book promotion in a school.

Children from St John’s and St. Clement’s had a marvellous bird watch with me on Tuesday the highlight seeing a Deceit of Lapwings (great collective noun!)

A picture below of Peter’s and Nic’s wedding-look at the waistcoats all the boys are wearing- the wonderful Clare’s handiwork!

Autumn Almanac

Not sure if I had this song title before but seems appropriate looking at the grey sky with leaves strewn all over the lawn. We did get wet away last week in deepest Cornwall!

This is a short blog but I promised some photos from Cornwall a couple from Tintagel and a lovely Stonechat at Marizon Marsh.



Arthur Pendragon

Had to be this title! We visited Tintagel on Tuesday in the rain. (Will add a picture when at home.) Enjoyed walking over the New Bridge which is an amazing piece of engineering. Thought quite a bit about a couple of Arthurian Stories I tell and how I can revamp the telling of them. Those of you who know me well will know how captivated I am by the legend. I have many books and have written a couple of stories with echoes of the legend. So a Tintagel visit is always special.

Awful weather yesterday but we enjoyed visiting the Tate Gallery and Barbara Hepworth’s garden we are staying close to St Ives. A birding expedition is planned for today.  Continue reading

Lost Words and Spell Songs

Another year slips by and I become even more ancient! I am sitting listening to my birthday present Spell Songs (I also got the fantastic Lost Words book that inspired the music) and contemplating and what a wonderful weekend we have just had seeing our youngest Peter get married to the wonderful Nicola. Despite the awful weather on Saturday it was a magical time. Will probably indulge myself and add a picture or two in a future blog.

I have wanted to have a copy of Lost Words for some time frequently looking at it in Book Shops. We are going to a concert of Spell Songs in February.

Taking the opportunity to pop away for a few days to Cornwall enjoying a rest from Story Telling and a lovely family weekend!

Moonshadow (1)

Went to see the giant model of the moon in Gloucester Cathedral so that gave me the Cat Stevens song for today’s title. It was an impressive sight in such a beautiful historic building (a picture at the bottom of the blog).

Busy few days since last blog. More practical cycling on Tuesday to dentist and a meeting for future Story Telling events in National Story Telling Week. Then collecting two large casks of beer for our Pete’s wedding and driving up to the venue on Wednesday to deliver them for Saturday (it was “Bob” from Wickwar Brewery). I then shot off to Craven Cottage for football (we lost),staying at Pete’s. I brought him back to Frampton today -wedding on Saturday so no blog now till next week.

The Ride

Chosen Luka Bloom’s song The Ride for today’s blog (he is a folk/rock singer and brother to Christy Moore) . Only recently found the song and hits a chord with me bit like that wonderfully surreal  book “The Third Policeman” !

I cycled a decent distance (36 miles all round) to Story Tell at Cromhall. Lovely little village school and I was made very welcome. The ride was wet this morning and then back into a stiff wind. Unusually for me all the stories I told today were mine! A couple of them developed another layer with the Telling especially “The Book Worm”.

Went a cello recital last night given by Ruth Spargo (daughter of one my pals) and all proceeds went to Farms for City Children. Lovely evening in Framilode Church an ideal setting!)

Watched the mighty Hatters on Saturday demolish Bristol City with some excellent football which was a pleasant surprise, Talking sport disappointed that Japan were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup because they were wonderful to watch.

Kingfisher and Stonechat

Apologies for not writing a blog for nearly a week it has been a busy few days so haven’t had many spare minutes. Some would say it is good to be busy, but as I sit here yawning I’m questioning that!

Going back to the weekend really enjoyed Sunday night at the Literature Festival. We saw a first rate discussion between authors Rosie Price (a former pupil of mine) and Ayelet Gunder-Goshen it was echoing the Me Too movement and its impact on characters etc. It was certainly thought provoking. Both authors were intelligent and sensitive and was special seeing someone I watched growing up in primary school!

The rest of the week has seen meetings,  my Story Telling residency at Wick Court, two very different Bird Watching sessions and a delightful Book Club. Oh yes have cycled quite a bit this week with my pals! Really enjoyed both Bird Watching and Story Telling with the young people from Charles Dickens Primary School. C.hanged a couple of stories a bit and was pleased with how they developed.

Thursday morning was the monthly bird survey out by the River. Saw my first Redwings of the Winter but the highlight was some great views of Reed Buntings, Stonechats and a Kingfisher quite close to us.

Literature Festival

Just back from Cheltenham Literature Festival-I cycled there and back (44 miles and wet to start with!) It was Children’s Literature over the last 70 years and the three panellists picked a book each for each decade from 1940 onwards. Really enjoyable reflecting on some excellent books-especially as we have been underwhelmed by this year’s programme. We are going again tomorrow night to see Rosie Price an ex pupil of mine from Dursley.

I told an old Chinese Folk Tale  that I haven’t told for two or three years on Thursday enjoyed telling it.

Writing is going well -finished my Rubbish Story but need to tidy it up. Also working on writing some material for our next Two Severn Bores project (aiming to be have this ready for performance in late January.)

What a Load of Rubbish!!!!!

No not me but others may disagree!

Just started writing a short story for an infant class at school I am performing at in the near future. The theme is rubbish and recycling. Playing around with a story I have a distant memory of so we will see how it develops. I usually write a very rough draft and go back to it a couple of days later and see if I think it is viable. I am writing this with performance and audience participation in mind.

Of course today’s title could apply to my football’s teams gift of two goals on Saturday they had ribbons on them! I’m glad I didn’t go!