Tuesday, 22 June 2010

School Visits, Scarborough & Sunburn.

Last week, Maura and I were out and about again, zipping around the sunny North East, meeting more fantastic readers and librarians alike.

Our first stop was Houghton Kepier Sports College in Houghton-le-Spring. The school had a lovely airy library and I could quite easily have spent hours there. The school group asked lots of great questions and the session there was great fun.

After that it was off for some lunch, where my pale, sun-starved skin got more than it bargained for in the rare summer sun. Sitting outside without sun lotion is not a good idea and sunburn most definitely struck with a vengeance. Ow!

In the afternoon we headed to Oxclose Community School in Washington where I got to watch the Wintercraft book trailer on a big screen and talked about everything from character creation to my writing day. Thanks to all the teachers, and a special thanks to Stephen Dodd for organising everything and for driving us around!

Then on Friday, it was off to North Yorkshire, which has the most beautiful countryside at this time of year.

The morning session was held at Norton Library in Malton. The librarians there - Stephanie and Sheila - made me feel very welcome and the school group was fantastic. Lots of them signed up to become members of the library and it was great to see them all so enthusiastic about reading!

After a sneaky visit to a farmer's market (where I bought a rather large plant in the hope that I'd be able to wrestle it home on the train without snapping it in two) it was off to Raincliffe School in Scarborough. The library there had comfy purple beanbags and a beautiful view. There were lots of keen readers in the group and it was great fun talking with them all!

Then, since no visit to Scarborough is truly complete without a glimpse of the sea, Sheila took me and Maura on a quick tour of Scarborough's hidden gems. Sheila's knowledge of the area was better than any tour guide and thanks to her I learned a lot about the town and got to see some of Scarborough's beautiful coastline.

It was a brilliant two days and despite a couple of hairy moments with my plant purchase (one involving a train's automatic door) am pleased to say that I got it - and me - back home in one piece.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone I met on my travels last week.
It was lovely to meet you all!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Help For Badgers

If you are from the UK, you may have heard about the badger cull that is meant to start very soon in parts of Wales.

You can read more about the cull here... but the basic idea is that killing badgers may (or may not) help to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle.

Many people are opposed to the killing - including me - and the Badger Trust is mounting a legal challenge against it.

If you would like to follow this story or get more information, please take a look at the Badger Trust website at www.badgertrust.org.uk. You can even make a donation to the Badger Trust to support its work protecting badgers by following a link at the bottom of their homepage or by clicking here.

I see no reason to trap and shoot wild animals that are protected by law, especially when there is little to no evidence that such an action would even have any effect on bovine TB.

There is also talk of extending the cull to areas of England. So wherever you live in the UK, if you want to help badgers please follow this story, donate if you can and let's all hope that badger killing remains illegal so that these amazing animals can be protected once again.