To blog or not to blog

I haven’t written in my blog for a while and that has niggled a little, like an imminent toothache. I have no excuse except that I’ve been busy! I find that there are certain times of the year – Christmas, summer, birthdays – when it seems like there’s so much to do and remember that your head would probably explode before you could get it all sorted out.
And that’s where good old lists come into their own.
Lists of greetings cards to buy – weddings, birthdays, get well, etc etc
Places to go, people to see
Things to buy, things to renew

I’m one of those people who have to write things down. I remember writing out my quotes for o-level (before the days when you just took the text in there with you!), pages and pages of things that were so important to remember….”But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the East and Juliet is the sun….”

Some people just read and remember but some, like me, have to physically write something to remember it. I wonder how we will fare in this increasingly electronic age?


On my soapbox!

I see it’s time again for a little teacher bashing in the newspapers – oh wait, nursery school leaders this time – as a minister claims one third of children who enter schools from nurseries are unable to communicate. Obviously those third must have been captured and held prisoner in the nurseries. Obviously they had no family to communicate with, no parents to chat to; it must be the fault of the nurseries.

Contrary to popular belief, those involved in educating children do take their jobs seriously. They don’t just sit in a corner chatting and drinking tea. They are professionals. Surely some small part of this failure to communicate must also be laid at the door of the families of these children. This sort of cultural starvation has nothing to do with money or lack of it. Talk is free and giving your child some of your attention is free. After all, we’re talking children of five or six. They would be in bed by ……..7 o’clock latest. Wouldn’t they? Surely!! So a bit of attention between 5 o’clock and 7 might just make some difference?

Children have a bit of a raw deal, these days I think. They have masses of material possessions but have been robbed of their childhood. They have grown up far too fast. Little girls of 4 can now apparently dress themselves for the beach in a ‘grown up bikini’ courtesy of the latest designs of a famous actress. They have mobile phones from primary school onwards and are assaulted by an overload of information from the internet. At school it’s no better, as a lot of the fun and enjoyment has been drained out of education to be replaced by treadmills and straitjackets. Targets to meet, levels to jump, league places to be improved.

Are we, as a society, any better for all this?



So much to do….

Hello Monday!

Sun is shining and there’s so much to do. Writing in my newly minted blog, checking Facebook, checking the Facebook page of my character, the amazing Jimmy Fox – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jimmy-Fox/504866452905705, checking emails, reading the book we’re going to discuss in book club on Thursday, ironing, long walking and today’s the day the latest diet plan starts.


So much to do and so little time to do it!

If I could just persuade myself to get out of bed……………..


Put your money………Part 2

Another thing I hadn’t realised when teaching was how scary it can be, writing something that someone else is going to read and judge. You can be mortified by self-doubt and embarrassment.

Take this blog, for instance, out there on the www! But the only person I’ve shared it with is my daughter – and that’s only because she’s living in Canada and so can’t laugh at me to my face. I had the same problem writing a book. I like it and, of course, am convinced it’s the best piece of children’s book writing since……well, I don’t know. There’s some damn good writers out there! Unfortunately a whole silence of agents (my new collective noun!) and publishers who assure you on their websites that they’re more than happy to look at your work directly, don’t seem to agree.

Any children who’ve read it though seem to love it, so I think the best thing to do is what I’ve been telling children for 20 years. “Just enjoy it and write something that you would want to read yourself. Something that makes you laugh or scares you or makes you want to read more.”

If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree. ~Jim Rohn


Put your money where your mouth is!

Well, here I am. Blog novice.

I spent years – many years – teaching KS2 children how to write and trying to ensnare them in my reading web but, two years ago. I had the opportunity to stop working so I grabbed it with both hands.

“But Miss, what will you do if you’re not teaching us?” seemed to be the problem that most of them were struggling to come to terms with.

“Well, I’m going to read every book I own,” I declared.

Fat chance! I’ve not only not done that but I’ve discovered charity shops and their seductively cheap offerings. The unread books I own has at least doubled in the last two years!

“I’m going to travel.”

Yep, done that – more to come.

“And, of course, I’m going to write a book of my own.”

And of course I was. And I did. It has been a really interesting experience with so many flashbacks to the classroom that it was frightening. I remember one little girl some years ago who finished her story.

“OK, now have another read of it, see what you can change,improve, add to it to make it better,” I said.

“No, I’ve written it now and it’s the best I can do,” she said.

I wish I could say to her now that your first attempt is rarely the best you can do. In fact, after changing my own masterpiece for maybe the thirtieth time, I’m sure you need to keep your mind open to improvement.

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”
― Frank Zappa


“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

-William Faulkner