February 10, 2013
Park Gate Primary School, Locks Heath Southampton
Today I had a a new adventure down south. I met my wonderful publisher Natalie at Waterloo Station and we caught the train to Southampton, a couple of hours south of London. My rotten cold had become worse overnight and my voice was very ‘iffy’ to say the least. I was doing everything to ensure that it didn’t give out before the talk to the children and was quite worried about it. But the voice held up and I had an amazing day.
I am continually blown away by the kindness of the teachers at the schools and again we were met at the station by one of the staff, Sheena, who drove us to the school. The welcome from the students in the Discovery Club and Cathy Nailer, the librarian was incredible. The Discovery Club is a group of keen readers in the sixth grade who come together with the lovely Nicola Gale from Waterstones Southampton to read new books and to expand their reading tastes and encourage wide reading habits. I was given a badge as an honorary member of the DC – which I wore proudly.
The students in the DC had organised lunch for Natalie and I and it was a diverse and delicious spread. From home made sandwiches to beautifully decorated Alice-Miranda cupcakes to a treat I’d never had before – Weeta-Bix cake – lovingly made by one of the boys. It was such a pleasure to witness the children’s enthusiasm, answer their questions about writing and reading and just have the opportunity to spend time with such a delightful group of kids.
We were also fortunate to have a visit from the local newspaper so hopefully Alice-Miranda’s exploits might even be reported in the Southampton news.
After lunch I spoke to the students in Years 3-5 and the DC members. I have to say that while I was struggling voice wise, the children couldn’t have been more fabulous. They listened, participated in the drama, asked boat loads of great questions and made my visit absolutely wonderful. I loved every minute. The excitement in the signing line was precious and one little girl kissed her book after I’d signed it :).
When I finished my talk and told the children they were the best behaved kids in the world, I hope they believed me – because they truly were amazing.
PS Apologies for the sideways photo – I can’t get it to stay the right way round! The newspaper article has been published and there’s a link here: http://www.wwgazette.co.uk/2013/03/australian-writer-captures-imagination-of-park-gate-pupils/
PS I have some great photos which I can’t seem to get the right way around at the moment so I’ll add them when I can sort it out!