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.
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…
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.
Nothing ventured nothing gained. What a great saying. The Tap-Dancing Pigeon and I are thrilled to announce that we have been invited to Sharjah to take part in their annual children’s reading festival in April from 13th to 17th April. I will have the chance to inspire children to fulfil their dreams, live in the moment, believe in themselves and visit their schools and perhaps be not he radio and television. I feel honoured.
I have designed this poster to celebrate National Storytelling Week 2020. This week is a lovely chance to spend some quality time with little people to show them how amazing books really are and how important they are in society. Our local bookshops really need our help. What with films out there with amazing animations and online bookshops, it feels as though books are a dying art. Lets all do our part to inspire the younger generation and show them how wonderful local libraries and bookshops are in our world.
Pigeon and I will be at St Christopher’s church in Hinchley Wood on Saturday 23rd November for two book readings. The first one is at 10.30am and the second is at midday! There will be signed copies available. Pigeon’s journey is the perfect Christmas pressie as its all about children fulfilling their dreams and discovering London interwoven with the important message of the impact of human littering on our local wildlife. If you are around, do pop along. There will be other fun stalls too!
Wednesday 13th November, Pigeon and I were invited to Esher Church School. We were greeted by a crowd of 180 smiley and curious faced children, at their Year 1, 2 and 3 assembly. For the first time ever my nerves were silent. i do believe that practice is really important. Prepare with perfect pigeon precision before any pigeon performance! Afterwards the children asked some questions like:
How did you come up with the idea?
Why Covent Garden?
I felt really good afterwards. I feel like I can do anything now. I will continue to strive to spread the word about how important it is for children to understand the following messages: