Tag Archives: family

Early Summer activity

FCBG 50th

Anne Wood, FCBG Founder, at the Golden Party by David Bartlett

What a lot has happened in what seems like a short space of time.  As I am now an Executive member for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups I was delighted to be involved with the latest of FCBGs celebrations.  The first was a celebration of 50 Golden Years with the founder Anne Wood in the space at Foyles Charing Cross Road – a lovely friendly meet with lots of support from publishers, authors, illustrators and members of the FCBG across the ages.


Steve Cole, photo by TA

This was followed very quickly by the Children’s Book Award – celebrated in London with book group members from around the country.  It was fantastic to see so many book loving kids in one room – all chatting nineteen to the dozen with the authors sitting on their tables!  Results are here – with the overall winner  Katherine Rundell with The Explorer. A very popular win with everyone in the room.  Steve Cole served as master of ceremonies keeping everyone amused with his jokes and ukulele playing!

The panel discussion on Empathy Day, 12th June – featuring Lauren Child (UK Children’s Laureate), Benji Davies (illustrator) and Professor Robin Banerjee (Univ Sussex) made for fascinating listening – arranged and hosted by Empathy Lab. The whole event was an exploration of how books help children understand other people better – held at Waterstone’s flagship store in Piccadilly – there was an interesting mix of stakeholders and partners in the hall.  Discussion touched on how feeling, understanding and caring (all parts of empathy) are encouraged by reading and that the follow up to that – of book talking – promotes empathy too.

From other news!  It was an absolute delight to visit the Royal Albert Hall recently to see Art Garfunkel.  He sang a mix of old (lots) and new songs, as well as sharing some of his poetry with us.  Loved the evening!  Daughter Sarah has been busy too – she was all over the media as she conducts the Manchester Survivors Choir and they sang at the One Voice commemoration to mark one year on from the bombing – a very emotional experience for everyone.  Then she has a big gig coming up this weekend with her band Canter Semper – really looking forward to seeing them.  Will has been busy helping elder daughter Becky as an extra (with a couple of friends from DTs) in the final few scenes that needed filming for ScreenNorthants first feature film – Macbeth.  Watch out for the release at the end of the year.


Leave a comment

Filed under Diary

The last couple of weeks…

I thought the last few weeks in my ‘day job’ might be a bit strange – well feel a bit strange, and I suppose they did.  Going into the Swindon office of the School Library Association (SLA) for the last time.  We all had a lovely lunch together – and I’m still pondering how to spend the lovely token I was given – books obviously – just which ones?

My landlady for the last nearly 10 years was wonderful – and I shall always have a soft spot for Jackie and Roger at the Old Post Office, South Marston.  If you are ever down Swindon way do stay with them – it’s a lovely place to stay, and I shall miss the friendship, the warm welcome and the gorgeous breakfasts.  Don’t worry Jackie – I’ll be back!

Then it was using up my annual leave until the end of the month when I officially finished.  A lovely relaxed long weekend in Liverpool with the family including lots of eating and drinking done!  Plus, Sarah and friends ran the Liverpool half marathon too!  Very proud of her – I couldn’t run a mile never mind 13.

Then down to London to celebrate my actual retirement.  To start Will and I went to see the amazing musical that is 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal.  The stage is huge, but it was filled with a cast of 50, plus 20 musicians making this one of the most spectacular theatrical events – a great way to spend an evening.  The sound of so many tap shoes hitting the stage in unison is just mind-blowing!

412tLlnwukL._SX357_BO1,204,203,200_The next day we pottered – a lovely early morning in the Foundling Museum.  This is a fascinating and moving collection about the history of the Foundling Hospital full of emotionally engaging objects and witness statements on the way the place worked.  I had especially wanted to visit as there was an exhibition of the wonderful artwork for The Lost Words by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris.  Great to be able to get up close to these wonderful illustrations of the natural world.

We then moved on to the John Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields – an amazing house full of Soane’s eclectic collections.  Fascinating, but especially so for any students of architecture.

When you are in the house you are asked to turn off all electrical devices – so it was not until we came out into a rainy London we heard via a voice mail that the venue I was holding my ‘Semi-retirement party’ in was closed – due to a major gas leak beneath Longacre and St Martin’s Lane!  Several anguished phone calls to the organizer at the venue followed – and I tried to contact as many people as I could with the news – we had no idea if the venue would be open in time, or at all that day!  If nothing else I have now learned never to leave home without all the documentation about any event!  I didn’t have everyone’s contact details on my phone, or even in the email account I could access from my phone!  (I always take ‘work’ event details, but as this was personal I hadn’t!)

We knew there would be people who would turn up not having been contacted so we set off to get as near to the venue as we could – to discover that, although it was within the police cordon, it was so close to the edge that it was allowed to open, but entry was via the back door!  We went in rather intrepidly to find out what, if anything, they could do for us to rescue the situation.  They came up trumps!  Rather than our private room (which hadn’t been prepared as they hadn’t been able to get in the building) we had a semi-private area of the bar, most of the canapes ordered were quickly prepared (and were delicious) plus we had a bar assistant spending the whole time with us topping up our prosecco glasses!  Well done to Brown’s Covent Garden for rescuing the situation so very well!

So, as the event was somewhat reduced it means we can have another – to celebrate again – and make announcements about the future – all very exciting!

Leave a comment

Filed under Diary, Uncategorized

Oundle Festival

Leave for a whole week – bliss!!  The weather is very wearing though – June had the highest rainfall on record and July seems to be the month of floods and cloud!  The water meadows have come into their own and look like a major lake, and friends with river frontages are keeping a close eye on the levels!

Meanwhile Dad has had his cataract operations and seems to be good from it, Mum is, as always, stuck in her chair.   Any suggestions from Will tend to be dismissed as they can’t be bothered so we just have to let it be.

Call Me LogoGirls very busy on their way to Edinburgh and the Fringe – Call Me promises to be fun – looking forward to our week up there…

Oundle Festival is proving to be good yet again, in fact this is the first year under the new director and the programme seems even more varied than before.  Darius Brubeck was wonderful jazz on Friday, Monday we had Kit and James (Kit Hesketh-Harvey) – wonderfully clever, rude and so funny plus a wonderful singer to boot.  Yesterday we had a day at Boughton House with a tour and a concert (lute and viol).  Looking forward to the folk, world music and orchestra for the rest of the week.

If the rain holds off we shall go and photograph some more old railway stations for Will’s new book, otherwise catching up with washing, ironing an dreading is the order of the day.


Leave a comment

Filed under Diary

Christmas time

Well, at last it’s time to stop, take a breath and relax for a while.  Work has been manic for the last little while and I feel as if I have been running constantly since September.  Not helped, of course, by all the extra work in finding new premises and thus making huge savings for the SLA. The light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight and I have taken a long break over the festivities to enjoy catching up with friends and family.  It’s great to have the girls at home – even though they always seem to be out!  We had a super afternoon in London en famile – with Pete too – at the Lion King at the Lyceum.  This is a great spectacle though strangely un-involving (Sarah loved it!)

Our usual Christmas Open House was hugely enjoyable – lots to catch up on with folks and eating and drinking undertaken by all!  Left-overs all week this week….

Then, met Pete’s Mum for the first time – lovely lady, and she and Mel (P’s sister) didn’t seem too fazed by the Adams family en masse!

Now I’m off to catch up with the backlog of ironing whilst watching a film, Will working, girls seeing Grannie in her rehab place so all busy and chilling.

Leave a comment

Filed under Diary