Monday, March 31, 2008

Cooking, cleaning, writing and finding an agent

I said that I would post more often now that I am on 'holiday' and so I shall! I have finished my pages for the CGP book and hopefully I won't have too much to amend. Now, I can concentrate on reading those picture books and other research books and actually writing my MA assignment.

I have a few books on my list still to read: Children's Minds by Margaret Donaldson and The Seven Basic Plots (apparently there are only seven) as well as a whole host of picture books.

Today I cooked a curry and a biriani. It being the holiday I am doing all the things I never get a chance to do like cooking and cleaning! Last week I cooked a chickpea stew and some seasoned chicken for my sister and her family following one of the recipes from the Arvon week. I'm not sure where they get their recipes but they're pretty fab.

I've also been giving more thought to getting an agent. I need to get sending out my manuscripts again. This year's been pretty hectic what with the MA and one thing or another that I've not done as much of the old sending out stuff as I'd wish. Still, now that it's on my mind I'll get to it.
There are a couple of competitions I want to enter as well but more on that another day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Time

A belated Happy Easter to you all.

As I write I am located in my sister's study in Wales, with my niece standing next to me and my nephew practising piano!!

I spent the past week in Shropshire at the Arvon Hurst centre with sixteen kids and another teacher from my school who is also a very good singer musician. She was resident entertainer!

For those of you who don't know, Arvon runs wonderful courses for adults but it also welcomes school visits and so it happened that sixteen selected students got to go on a residential creative writing course led by award winning novelist Linda Newbery and fantastic poet Dean Parkin, with a mid week visit by the award winning playwright and actor Tim Crouch. How lucky were they??? They had a fab time- got loads of writing done and really benefited from the course. (That'll be £50 please Arvon! ;-))
My entire week was spent supervising them and helping them to cook and wash up dishes. I did indulge in a little writing but only a little. This week I intend to do lots more.

However, I am also currently working towards a text book for CGP as I mentioned before- an AS English Revision Guide, in fact. I'm authoring one of the sections- the one on Varieties of English.

I have an assignment to do for my MA - a picture book text so I have spent some time reading a few- books like The Gruffalo, The Whisperer, Mouse Look Out and The Book Eating Boy. I shall let you know how I get on in due course.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

How the other half live

Okay, loads to catch up on. I've been really busy with one thing or another. I am currently working towards a book for CGP - the educational publishers which I'll tell you about at a later date.

I've also been sorting out the final details of a residential creative writing trip I've organised for sixteen  students at my school. And, I've been reading up on writing picture books and on teaching and learning.

Last week I went to see There will be Blood at the cinema - the film starring Daniel Day Lewis. It was interesting rather than enjoyable, as parts were pretty gruesome. The sound track was really eerie but the landscape and acting were great. Overall it was good but I couldn't watch it again. It creeped me out too much!

On Friday I met a friend in London and we went to dinner and then to a place called Tamarai which was really beautiful inside but seriously expensive. After paying £15 to get into London I then paid £15 to get into the place and drinks were ridiculously expensive. We met a couple others there but I had to leave early to get the train home so was it worth it? Not really!
It's really aimed at the rich and famous and as I'm neither I couldn't really get the full benefit of it. There was a minimum spend policy for sitting at a table and that was £250! Yep. £250.

Seriously. You'd have to be rolling in it to spend that much, surely? How the other half live.

I'm off on my residential next week so won't blog for a bit, although I have been pretty poor about it recently. I promise to update more often over the holidays. Till then have fun!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

My Saturday

Hasn't it been a beautiful day? What a contrast to the stormy winds and wet rain we saw yesterday afternoon! Well, I for one, took advantage of the weather and headed off for a glorious walk at Virginia Water Lake.

In fact today, I walked round the whole lake for the second time- that's about 5 miles- so I was mighty pleased with myself. En route I took some gorgeous photos. This is a waterfall known as the cascade which apparently dates back to the 1700s. Beautiful isn't it?

This totem pole can be seen in the grounds of Virginia Water Lake. There is a history to the pole as it was given as a gift by British Columbia to mark the centenary of its founding. It measures 100 feet and weighs 21 tonnes.

The Virginia Water Ruins are also on site but other than that I know very little about them. They are under reconstruction at the moment.

In addition to my walk, I have been preparing an assembly for Monday on homelessness - a topic which I feel quite strongly about , and been deciding how to go about doing my MA presentation on Michael Rosen's SAD BOOK.