Coming soon – The Land Far Away… once I can wrest it away from the children that is!

I had a wonderful parcel arrive today.  The plain cardboard sleeve protected the proof copy of the book that Maria K. and I have been collaborating on for over a year and a half now.

That’s right, the first book of “The Land Far Away” series is almost available to purchase!

But back to the parcel… I wanted so much to sit down and savour the feeling of holding the first printed copy of our work in my hands.

The silly little rhymes that my children and I had come up with while NOS was doing his homework; the characters that the children created for me; the pictures that linked me with my friend in NC… All of these things make this particular book incredibly special for me.

So I pulled it out of its packaging carefully and sighed over the smooth, shiny cover and thick, smooth paper of the pages. I began to read the clear writing and marvel at Maria’s bright pictures…

“MUMMY!” the children thundered down the stairs and into the room like a herd of Skruffs. They caught sight of the book in my hands.

“Is that MY Pika book?” PT demanded.

“It was MY rhymes that mummy used.” NOS snapped at his sister.

“Pika is MY character! She’s soft and pink and fluffy, just like me.” PT stamped her foot.

“You can’t read properly, so it’s MY book.” NOS replied smugly.

The two of them fetched up in front of me, looking down on the pages. I looked up at them, raising one eyebrow at them.

“Who wrote the book?” I asked.

“You did.” NOS answered sullenly.

“No. We all did. You, your sister, me and Maria. We all wrote this book together. It was a…”

“Team effort?” PT asked.

I looked at NOS.

He shrugged. “I suppose so.”

I rolled my eyes, but he didn’t seem to register my expression. “I tell you what, why don’t you go read it to your sister.” The kids glanced at each other and shouted “YES” loud enough to be heard in the village centre.

I laughed and handed it to them. “Here you go then. Go careful with it please.”

They dashed away upstairs, book in hand.

I followed behind quietly with the camera and waited until they were engrossed in the story, before I snapped a photo to mark the occasion.

The kids road testing the book...

Isn’t it pretty?

If you’re interested in what the book is about, then check out “The Land Far Away” page in my bookshop.

I think having the proof copy is one of the more emotional experiences in my writing career. It’s the fulfillment of mine and Maria’s efforts and having it in my hands is a wonderful experience.

Now all we have to do is get it out there to be bought and hope that people like it enough! The thought of someone actually buying it gives me butterflies in my tummy!

An English Spring…

… doesn’t usually include this much sunshine! I’m inclined to agree with a friend of mine who says that Mother Nature has decided to have Summer first this year.

One of the things I love about Springs in this country (not that I’ve experienced them in any other country yet) is that yellow is the predominent colour – Dandelions, Primroses, Daffodils, Narcissi, Crocus – they are all mostly yellow!
Yellow is a gorgeous, uplifting colour. It brightens the world around you with a beaming smile and you can’t help, but smile back.

However there is one yellow flower that appears in this country in it’s thousands. The bees adore it, you can hear their buzzy hums for miles when it’s in flower. Farmers carpet the landscape with this plant… and I loathe it.

By now you might have an inkling of what I am talking about, if you don’t then the picture above may have given the game away.

I.  Loathe. Oilseed. Rape.

Not because of the colour – I like that and I think the plant itself is rather pretty. Also anything that can make Bees and Butterflies happy is wonderful. I loathe it because it is such a popular crop in the UK.

Farmers have fields of the stuff that stretch as far as the eye can see, they have multiple fields of it sometimes and being a country-bred girl, I know why. It’s versatile, you get oil from it, but it also makes great cattle feed and the scent of an entire field is so strong that Bees will come from miles around to pollinate it.

But, I can’t go out in the garden! I go through so much anti-histamine when it’s in flower and I’m fed up with it… *sighs*

I wrote a poem about it the other day:

Carpets of Yellow,

Ripple in the Breeze,

Sunshine Golden,

Making me sneeze.

So do forgive me if I seem rather irritated – I can’t help it when my eyes are streaming and my nose is making a break for Barbados…

>The Princess, the Glue Gun and Butterflies…

>I’ve talked about my children before. My son is bright, Games Console mad and having problems with his learning difficulties at school. My daughter is bright, attention seeking and a Princess-Terrorist.

Well today was “Butterfly Day” at school.

Let me just explain that properly.

One of the projects that the Reception age children do, is to raise butterflies from caterpillars.
Then once they are ready to be released, the children dress up as butterflies or caterpillars for the day and they let the butterflies go in the school garden.

At the beginning of the week we received a letter from the teachers informing us that “Butterfly Day” would probably be on on Friday as one of their Chrysalis were moving.

Note the key word there – probably

I asked my daughter what she wanted to be.

“I want to be the Prettiest Butterfly at school.” she told me firmly.

We looked through her costumes. The only one with wings on was her white Christmas Fairy outfit.

“That’s not a Butterfly, it’s a Fairy.” She said and looked up at me batting her eyelashes, hands clasped at her waist and head tilted to the right. “You can make me some butterfly wings, can’t you, Mummy?”

Remember I called her a Princess-Terrorist? Well, that’s the “Princess” look.

I thought I had plenty of time, so I agreed that I would make her some butterfly wings.

I bumbled through the beginning of the week, getting job applications out, doing washing… you know, the usual stuff.

Then Wednesday, the note came home.

Butterfly Day will be on Friday. The Children can come as a Butterfly, a Caterpillar or in brightly coloured clothes.

“Mummy, have you made my Butterfly Wings yet?”

“Not yet, sweetie. What colours do you want me to make them?” I was hoping that she’d just say one or two colours.

“I want to be a Painted Lady Butterfly, like the ones at school. They have lots of different colours.”

*pause for internal scream of irritation*

“Not pink then?”

“Pink and orange and green and yellow and red and blue and silver and gold… all the colours of the rainbow!”

I shrugged. How hard could it be? I had two days, enough paint and craft stuff around to do it with. Easy. “Okay Rainbow colours it is then.”

Fast Forward to Thursday Evening. I had spent most of Thursday twisting wire into shape, sticking paper onto the wire and painting it. I picked the wings up to check if they were dry and pushed my thumb straight through the paper.


Rip the paper off, start again with felt. Sigh.

It was gone midnight on Thursday when I went to bed. I had threads from the glue gun all over my hands, sequins scattered through my clothes and scraps of felt in my hair.

But they were finished…

Today was also the school’s open day. Because I didn’t get to bed until late, I overslept. The kids were late to school and we missed getting a seat in the hall for the opening speech of the Head Teacher.

The School is pretty proud of itself – and it should be! Rhws got an Outstanding on their Estyn report, so the school was covered with bunting and balloons.

As soon as we got to Kiah’s classroom to look around, she grabbed onto us and wouldn’t let go. I saw the whole quad – pretend area, the four Guinea Pigs, the painting area, the sand – then we saw her classroom.

The Butterflies were being blown on by the other children to make them flutter – I felt rather sorry for them and was glad that they would be released soon.
After a paper spring Caterpillar and some glitter on a painted butterfly, we managed to extricate ourselves to go and visit my son.

My son is in Year 4. He and a friend were making a box kite.

He just had to choose the most difficult design of the ones he was given, didn’t he…

So Daniel hunkers down to “Help”… I spent a bit of time talking to a few people I hadn’t seen for a while, talked to my Son’s Teacher then went back to my Daughter. She painted me a picture and then had to go for Snack Time. So I went back to my Son.

And found Daniel still “Helping”.

What is it about Kites that makes men weak at the knees? I had to physically drag him away so I could get to the doctors!

And that’s been my week… I wonder what next week has in store for me?