Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wales II

I am still in Wales.

I got a train from Newtown to Machynlleth to work in a school this morning, except it was delayed by an hour, so I got to Machynlleth late.

It had rained all night and was still raining. The fields were like lakes, sheep clustered on high ground, trying not to drown.

I had slept badly.

I walked to the school, asking directions as I went. In the rain. Half way there and it started chucking it down. By the time I arrived I was soaked.

But there was a room full of lads waiting to do a penalty shoot out, so I put my goal up. I’d hardly got started when a lad came into the class to tell us some of the school buses were taking people home. At 10.30am. The lesson ended. And I was told I should try to get out of Machynlleth (by, I should mention, a lovely teacher called Carwen).

I got to the station. All the trains were off. I was told we were cut off. But that there might be a bus in an hour to get me out of there.

Two hours later a bus came. It struggled through flood water and gridlocked villages.

And now I am in Welshpool, which is lovely. And I’m writing.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Take Me Home

I am in Wales this week. A beautiful part of the world with lovely people, but I wish I was at home.

Authors have to get out to talk in libraries and schools as much as they can. And I do that. But I’ve been at it for months now, since the summer.

Maybe I feel like this because I’m coming to the end. In a week I’ll be at Leeds v Leyton Orient, celebrating having done my last event for six weeks.

Then home. To spend those six weeks writing and as much time with my wife and daughter as possible. And with the Leeds players, occasionally.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


I'm doing Lancashire's Shout About Books festival this week. Events in Fleetwood, Knott End, Accrington and Burnley.

Even though I am from Yorkshire and am naturally wary of the North West, I always have a good time. Lancashire know how to put on a good event in a library.

It will be good to go to Burnley. I researched my Football Academy series at Burnley FC and they were very nice to me. They let me talk to under twelve players and their parents, plus the coaches.

I was in Springhill High, Rocddale yesterday, too. Six sessions with year eights. It must have been a good day. My wife told me to stop going on about it at eleven o'clock last night. The kids were great. Four of them even supported Rochdale.

By the way, there's a great book about Rochdale FC called Believe in the Sign. It's by Mark Hodkinson. It got longlisted for the William Hill sports book award last year, so it's not the fact that he lives up the hill from me that I'm recommending it. It's great. Italic

World Cup Fever

I've got World Cup fever a bit early. It starts in seven months and a bit. England against the world.

The reason I'm feverish is that I am doing a guide for schools and libraries about how to use the World Cup to promote reading. Ideas for events, classroom games, school visits, authors you can get in, displays, etc.

I am using a lot of the things I and the National Literacy Trust have been doing for a while, but a few libraries, schools and Playing for Success centres have sent me some good ideas too.

I'm doing it for the National Literacy Trust. They'll design it up as a nice download.

So I'm in the mood. Come on England!