I am very sad and disappointed to announce that all of the festivals that I have been selected for have been cancelled or postponed due to the Coronavirus. Also all of my events at schools and bookshops have been cancelled. All we can do at this time is our best and to come back fighting strong. Fingers crossed I will have these amazing opportunities again. We must all reflect on what is important and stay present in the moment. Stay at home, stay safe and healthy.
21st March 2020 – Sustainability story time collaboration – Claygate Arts Festival
12th April to 19th April.
Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival
7th April – Waterstones, Kings road book event.
Postponed – 19th April – Eco Festival
I am still waiting to hear if Barnes Literature Festival is cancelled.
I was invited to The Rowens for their Eco Arts Festival. The children made some delightful artworks out of plastic bottle lids.
I had the opportunity to go into all of the classes individually, they were all very sweet. One boy asked how old I was and I said 105 and he looked hugely alarmed. I then responded with “only kidding, how old do you think I am?” and he promptly responded “61?”, and that was that!
I thought the school was lovely and the pupils were polite and enthusiastic. It was a special experience to be part of such an important topic.
I was asked some wonderful question’s by the children of Soho Primary. I also think it is nice to ask the children questions as well. Some of my favourite questions to ask are:
What are their greatest passions?
What would they like to be when they grow up?
I asked whether any of them had visited Covent Garden and one little girl put her hand up and said “I live in Covent Garden”. Now that was a cool answer. I responded with “Then you must have seen Pigeon tap-dancing next to the opera singer. It was such a sweet moment honestly.
Pigeon and I jumped on a train and headed to Waterloo. This time I did not miss my stop. The train kept stopping for minutes (which felt like hours) at a time but luckily I thought that might happen, so I raced to get the 8am train.
Soho Primary is situated close to Piccadilly Circus. What a cool place to go to school. It was their World Book Day. The entire hall was packed with kneeling little people looking up at me. Another technical hitch, I had left my usb stick at Eaton Square. aaaah!
The children who greeted me were so grown up for 11 year olds I was amazed. So polite and helpful.
I think my favourite part of this interactive storytelling was when the children said the last two sounds in perfect unison. I won’t spoil it by telling you what those sounds were. You will have to book me to come to your school!
Today Pigeon and I drove to Tolworth in Surrey and visited a sweet school called Kings Oak Primary.
I love big halls and this one was huge. Year 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 were in the school assembly. When I gave my memory stick to the I.T person with my pigeon presentation saved and suddenly said the folder was empty. A typical technical hitch. Luckily I had reception in there and managed to quickly email it to him. JUST IN TIME! Phew!
Wow, I was blown a way by these little people. Their enthusiasm was beyond anything I had every imagined. I explained that they were going to be part of Pigeon’s adventure across London and every one of them seemed excited. Ten eager ones came up to the stage and helped me by holding up the sound boards, a very important job.
When I was at school I adored acting and art. It is wonderful how those strengths are now shining through my animation designs and story. When I first started reading my book in a library five months ago, I was completely petrified and my hands would uncontrollably shake. Now I relish big crowds of children watching my every move and listening intently.
This has been a big journey of self discovery for me and I am learning every day at how to become better at my performance. In the beginning I would never have thought I would use drama to express my story. It is a wonderful thing to be able to improvise and with every experience, find new ways to be a storyteller.
Today was different to every day so far in my life as an author. I woke up, had brekkie then smeared my face with blue paint, slipped and zipped up my onesie, put my hood up and waited for the paint to dry. After a few moments I was ready for the finishing touch, my yellow beak. Can you guess who I was? My youngest daughter jumped up and down with excitement and shouted ‘PIGEON!’
Pigeon was unsure though. So was I when I opened my front door and ran to my car. A pigeon driving a car did I hear you say? Noooo it cannot be! (chuckle).
The morning was full of laughs. I put 300% in to my performance. The children were all dressed up as different book characters and Pigeon and I were very impressed!
Here are some animation to show you how the day played out…
A friend who was in the year below me at school (who I had not seen since 1996), found me on Instagram and invited me to Eaton Square as she was a teacher there. It just shows that social media platforms can be very useful.
Pigeon and I travelled on the train and then took a tube to Victoria. As I missed our stop to jump on another train. I was on Twitter catching up with the Writing Community (of course). Pigeon hid in my rucksack. We arrived early this time, thank goodness.
Another lovely school. Very smart reception. We were escorted into a big hall. The children came flooding in. Now that I had practiced my interactive storytelling many times in the last two days I was in my element. Just like Pigeon when he learnt that tap-dancing was his passion. I felt alive and excited! The children were brilliant. It was wonderful.
Today Pigeon and I drove to Putney. The traffic was a nightmare and I felt very flustered when I arrived. I literally arrived within a minute of 10am and rushed into the assembly hall, where lots of little people were sitting waiting patiently for me. I am a person who likes to get everywhere super early so you can imagine I was flapping! So was Pigeon!
What a lovely school. The teachers were super friendly and the children full of intrigue. I felt more confident in my interactive storytelling after practicing the day before. I introduced myself and talked about what inspired me to write The Tap-Dancing Pigeon Of Covent Garden, introduced Pigeon and off we went into the story.
Eight years ago I saw a pigeon with tangled feet, then I noticed a pigeon watching an opera singers busking in Covent Garden’s piazza & an invisible force of pure joy & excitement flowed through me. I began to write. I haven’t stopped! Pigeon was so excited to be snuggling up to his favourite sound, which he likes to call the ‘tra la la la laaaaaa’!
Is there anything you have done that you never imagined you would do in your life? A year ago, I would have never imagined I would be invited on BBC Radio London. I am so glad that I pushed myself to go on Sky News live as this gave me the confidence to say yes to my invitation on the Jo Good Show. I immediately warmed to Jo Good as she was full of kind, positive energy and she adored Pigeon. I will always look back on this moment with warmth and joy. It was also a huge honour to meet Margaret from Alligators Mouth. A lovely children’s bookshop worth visiting in Richmond.