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Monday, 17 September 2018

Wonderful Poems from Hallsville School

On Friday I was privileged to pay my first visit as Patron of Reading to Hallsville School in Newham, London. The visit was the first of six scheduled for the 2018/19 academic year, and I had the pleasure of working with Years 5 and 6. I am excited to share some poems that emerged from my workshops. All the workshop participants should be extremely proud of themselves!

You by Layla

You are my swimming pool
Keeping me relaxed and calm

You are my house
Keeping me safe and sound

You are my Turkish food
Keeping me healthy and full

You are my rollercoaster
Keeping me happy and joyful

You are my TV
Keeping me interested and amused

Memories by Jayden

I sit on the plaster
Waiting to matter
As everyone starts
To chatter
I wish they knew
How I felt
As I waited for him
He was holding
His scooter handle
I wanted him
To blow out
My fire
He kept looking
At his computer
Until he puffed
And he huffed
And finally
My flame went
Away

Colours by Clara

Lavender purple describes me
Purple is a galaxy in the sky
It is a unicorn
Peaceful but cheeky
Lavender purple is a cupcake
It is a colour everyone would choose
It is as cute as a newborn baby
Purple is a heart no one can break
It is a colour you
Don’t see everywhere
Purple is a mix of blue and pink
Great in every single way
Because it is amazing
Like me

Colours by Raquelle

Black describes me
It is empty but full of emotion
It is the friend that is always there
It is the dark next to the light
Black describes me
It is the silent assassin of the night
The stranger to the morning
And the strange quiet that is usually there
Black describes me
It will always calm you down
In daylight or in the night
Black describes me
It likes isolation but hates being alone
It is the thing to take away your worries
And send you off
To a journey of sleep

Black describes me


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

FREE STORY #3 - THE GREAT PET AUDITION

This is the third instalment of free stories on my blog that assorted agents and publishers have deemed not worthy of publication. I am proud of them, so am happy to share them on this blog. Enjoy this one, entitle 'The Great Pet Audition'


For my sister’s birthday she wanted a pet – 
“I want a dog!” she claimed.
So she held an audition to see who to get
and the neighbourhood dogs all came. 

“You’re lively and fun,” Sis said to Dog One,
“your task is to run round those trees!”
But doggie was twitching, he couldn’t stop itching
because it turned out he had flees!

“Now sit in this shoe!” Sis said to Dog Two
who was sweet and remarkably small,
but doggie went hiding, and Sis couldn’t find him
anywhere at all!

“Now you lick my knee!” Sis said to Dog Three
and she laughed as he started to drool,
but doggie kept nibbling, he wouldn’t stop dribbling
and slurping away like a fool. 

“Now show me your jaw,” Sis said to Dog Four – 
“I’m after a powerful beast!”
The dog cocked his head, then went for her ted
and he turned the toy into a feast!

“Now fetch me this stick!” Sis said to Dog Six
and she threw the stick up in the air.
The dog made a dash, and then with a crash
the dog leapt straight into a chair!

“Nine, Seven and Eight – leap over that gate!”
Sis said to a trio of hounds.
They huffed and they wheezed, they puffed and they squeezed
but they couldn’t get up off the ground.

Now Dog Number Ten was last, but when
my sister told doggie to wait,
with one single bound he jumped up off the ground
and he bolted straight over the gate...

...Leaping up in the air he pranced over the chair
and he glided with purpose and ease.
With his powerful jaw, zipping like an outlaw
he darted his way round the trees...

My sister ran after with gales of laughter
and screamed “you’re the pet that I’ll choose!
You’re clearly the best!
You bet all the rest!
STOP RUNNING!”
...but doggie refused...

...He yapped and he growled, he snapped and he howled
and he shot down the pavement with glee,
‘til he found what he’d sought, and he stopped with a snort
and he barked at the foot of a tree. 

And Sis was astounded. “At last! I have found it!
She clambered up into the tree.
“I know who to get! I’ve found the right pet!
A CAT is the creature for me!”

Friday, 7 September 2018

FREE STORY #2: THE HOMESICK PIRATE

Following on from Monday's free, unpublished (unpublishable?) story, here is a second instalment. Enjoy!


There was a homesick pirate.
His name was Billy Bunn.
One night in bed he made a wish – 
he thought it might be fun

to hop aboard a pirate ship
instead of going to school.
I don’t know why, I guess he thought
it would be pretty cool.

But suddenly he found himself
aboard a ship that stank,
where the pirates kept on threatening
to make him walk the plank. 

They hoisted up their filthy flag,
they guzzled down their rum,
it wasn’t fun like Billy thought – 
he wailed for his mum.

There was mouse poo in the porridge,
there were rats in all the bunks,
the pirates teased young Billy
and put lobsters down his trunks

so he dashed up to the crow’s nest
to escape their nasty jeers,
and there he saw his best mate Suzie
cowering in fear.

Billy, shocked, asked with amazement,
“why aren’t you at school?”
And Suzie said, “last night
I made a wish! I was a fool!

These grubby brutes are evil!”
But then Suzie gave a grin:
“I bet you if we stick together
We could fight, and win!”

So they rushed back down together
and they gathered up the rats,
they plonked them in the jugs of rum
and in the pirates’ hats!

They tied one to the railings
and another to the sail,
they hurled one overboard
where he was gobbled by a whale!

They let off all the canons
and they charged around the deck
throwing lobsters at the pirates – 
they were causing quite a wreck... 

...until, quite unexpectedly
the pirates froze with fear,
for there on the horizon
a much bigger ship drew near.

The pirates begged and pleaded
with young Billy and young Sue:
“the captain of that ship is TEN TIMES WORSE
than us, or you!

They call him Captain Crunch-Yer-Bones,
The Demon of the Seas,
he’ll make a porridge from your skull,
your ribs, your arms and knees!

We need to stick together!
the pathetic pirates squealed – 
“Suzie, you can navigate!
And Billy – grab the wheel!”

They steered the ship across the sea,
the Demon’s ship gave chase,
they dived and tumbled over waves – 
it was a brutal race!

They bounced and bounded over rocks
as Billy manned the rudder,
until with a momentous CRASH
they halted with a judder.

They all collapsed with swollen heads,
the wind had left their sail.
Billy peered overboard – 
their ship had struck the whale!

The pirates gulped and shuddered
and one even wet his pants – 
the Demon’s ship had caught them
and they didn’t stand a chance.

Yet Billy Bunn prepared to fight,
his heart beat like a drum!
But who was that who leapt on board?
 It wasn’t Crunch, but...
“MUM?!”

She gathered Billy in her arms
and this is what she quipped:
“I made a wish, last night, to be
on board a pirate ship,

but I missed you so stupendously
I fought with Captain Crunch,
I commandeered the vessel 
and ate his bones for my lunch!

I followed you for miles and miles,
across the sea I chased,
and now, darling, I’ve GOT YOU!”
Then she kissed his blushing face, 

and they all went home together – 
they were just in time for tea.
And Billy Bunn, he sailed them there – 
it was quite fun, you see.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Spaghetti Betty and the Spag-Bol Troll - FREE STORY

Several years ago I wrote a series of what I hoped would become rhyming picture book texts. They went through some edits at a major publisher, but they were not taken on. They have been hawked around various agents and publishers, but nobody wants to publish them. No matter! They are not doing much good festering away on some computer file, so I thought I would make them available on this blog for people to enjoy/ignore at will. Here is the first story, entitled SPAGHETTI BETTY AND THE SPAG-BOL TROLL. Lemme know what you think!....


There was a beast named Big Bad Betty
who really, really loathed spaghetti. 
If she saw some on a plate
she’d give a look of fearsome hate
and bellow with an angry howl:
“THAT IS NASTY! THAT IS FOUL!
GET THAT PLATE AWAY FROM ME!”
She couldn’t stand the stuff, you see.

The villagers, they loved spaghetti
but they were scared of Big Bad Betty.
They built a big room underground
where their stash would not be found.
They stacked it high upon the shelves
with help from their spaghetti elves
and locked the big door with a clink. 
But Betty said “what do they think?
Do they think I have no brain?
They’re hiding spaghetti yet again!”

So with her only friend, the Troll, 
she grabbed a spade and dug a hole.
By the light of the shining moon
they tunnelled down and reached the room
with the huge spaghetti stores,
and they destroyed it with their claws. 

When next the villagers wanted tea
they went to fetch their spaghetti
and found it torn upon the ground.
A better plan had to be found!
Then Harold had a bright idea:
“We don’t have anything to fear!
Let’s have Betty round for tea!
I promise it’ll work! You’ll see!”

So for Betty’s evening meal
the villagers prepared some veal,
and beef and pork and lamb and frog
and octopus and crow and dog.
They made a dusting of gnats and germs,
sprinkled it on a plate of worms
and invited Betty round to eat
from a tray of tasty treats. 

And Betty growled, “they know, the fools
that I am smarter than them all!
That’s why they’ve invited me
to sit and have a champion’s tea!”
So with her only friend, the Troll,

she went to eat the great big bows
of animals, and gnats and germs.
And her favourite dish – the plate of worms!
She ate the lot, she sucked and slurped
then settled down to eat dessert.
She licked her big bad lips with glee:
What have they prepared for me?

Then Harold coughed and cleared his throat
and served her up a little note:

“Those weren’t gnats, they were confetti!
And those weren’t worms, they were 
SPAGHETTI!”

At first Betty was very cross:
“How could they trick me? I’m the boss!”
But then she thought, “I love my meat,
and now I’ve found another treat.”

So every year, on that same date
the villagers prepare a plate
of oozing, slimy, slick spaghetti
and share it with ‘SPAGHETTI BETTY’.

And Betty loves her nice new name.
She thought the Troll should have the same,
so now when she sits down to eat
a plate of spaghetti with meat,
she always prepares a nice big bowl
for one of many  friends –
‘THE SPAG-BOL TROLL'