Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Technology: a wonderful thing

Isn't technology wonderful? I'm sitting in my study staring at my laptop and speaking. You'd think that my hands would be speedily typing away but that's because you don't realise the wonder of technology. Today I received a gift from my lovely husband which I'm currently using to write this blog. I wonder if anyone will guess what it is and whether they themselves have purchased such a piece of technology... because as far as I'm concerned this is AMAZING and is going to save me an inordinate amount of time. That's once it gets used to my voice. And it might just save me from repetitive strain injury too.

No prizes for guessing what I'm talking about! It's safe to say that today I'm a happy bunny.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I thought I would post about a vist I made recently to a school, with my writer's hat on. Now if I actually had such a hat it might have looked like the one below. As it was, I had to make do with a metaphorical one.

I was visiting speaker at Reading Oratory Prep School in Berkshire on the 16th of January and I have to say I had a lovely day working with pupils and students, talking to staff and running workshops on writing and more. In all, I saw groups of Year 4, Year 6, Year 7 and Year 8 students.

I shared with them some of my own writing and got them to write their own wonderful masterpieces. I was particularly impressed with some of the Year 6's efforts who, in the style of my 'Three Gusts of Wind' winning entry from the Halloweenfest competition at South Hill Park, created spooky talking tales which they delivered with gusto.

They really are a lucky bunch of young people to have so many committed teachers and a Head of English who writes himself and who encourages their creativity. I was kindly given a copy of their own publication which they self published. It's entitled My Utopia and it includes some of the students' works of creative writing. 

There are so many interesting pieces in the book but one of my favourite poems is written by a student in Year 8. In rhyming couplets, the poem describes the sense of triumph the speaker  feels when scoring a try in rugby. Just goes to show that a poem can be written about absolutely anything. Talk about encouraging boys to write. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It arrived!

My Masters certificate arrived today in the post.  I'm just trying to decide where to put it.

None of my other qualifications are framed but something tells me I should place this in a frame so it can take pride of place in my study.

It's not every day I get a Masters or a Distinction for that matter!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just dropping by to let you all know that the resource What the Dickens is now up for all to see and use. I was involved at consultation and review stage in this project which was written to mark Dickens' Bicentenary, as part of a joint venture between National Schools Partnership and ALCS. The resource links with another resource I wrote entitled Copywrite.

You can read all about both at the ALCS page dedicated to the resources.

The What the Dickens resource is due to have its launch party at the House of Commons Terrace in February. I may be abroad when it happens so I am not sure I will be able to attend.  It's sadly one of two launch parties I may have to miss in February, but I shall be thinking of all those who attend if I am unable to do so!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Out now! Literary Eye Macbeth

I am delighted to tell you all that copies of my GCSE literature guide entitled Literary Eye Macbeth are now available on the Cross Academe website, along with many others, for you to buy.

Teacher notes are also available as fully explained on the site...so if you are studying the text, teaching it or just want to know a bit more about the play then why not order yourself a copy of the guide?

I hope you enjoy the read!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Big Society

Having received my Samsung Galaxy Note today I have been having a field day playing with it and its various applications. For those of you who may be unaware the Note is a monster of a phone that is absolutely amazing- I've included a link and an image just for you.

In my adventures into Android world I came across a very interesting You Tube video all about the Big Society.

Fair's Fair- the name of a project that the Runnymede Trust undertook to examine  people's attitudes to The Big Society at a local level makes for interesting reading and the You Tube documentary makes for interesting viewing.

Until today I did not know of this organisation's existence but now I know that the  Runnymede Trust is an independent think tank which aims to promote racial equality. Its name derives from the famous landmark area of Runnymede - a short distance from me where the Magna Carter is said to have been signed. As the trust states on their website:

'The immediate effect of this legal document, meaning ‘Great Charter’ in Latin, was to guarantee the liberties of the King's free subjects and to restrict the absolute power of the ruling monarch.

The charter has since formed the basis of the constitutions and statutes of other countries in the English-speaking world. Extending well beyond its original purpose as a definition of the limitations of royal power, the Magna Carta is the cornerstone of many ensuing historic legal documents, such as the Human Rights Act. In fact, with the Royal Assent of the Magna Carta, human rights and equality were granted official legal protection in Britain for the first time.

A right to equality in law and under public policy has, since that day, become an intrinsic part of what it means to be British.'
Following my earlier feelings about modern Britain I suppose the last sentence struck a chord which is why I felt compelled to share this discovery with you today.

I hope it provides readers with some food for thought, while I go off and play with my new phone!