SCARY IN SALISBURY – BRILLIANT IN BRACKNELL

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Before our three visits in the week ahead to new schools (to us!) in nearby Bracknell, Kath and I spent a Sunday in Salisbury. Not what you might regard as a spooky place to get new ideas for scary books! But then you’d be wrong! After wandering around this beautiful, historic city, we called into the stunning cathedral to have a look round.

Suddenly…my sixth sense told me I was being watched!

Sinister figures watching over us!

The display of sinister watching figures over on one side of the vast cathedral space was awesome! I half expected to see them turn their heads as Kath and I crept past! Cathedrals and old churches always leave me with a strange mix of feelings…peaceful, timeless, sometimes definitely spooky and occasionally an inspiration for one of my books. Those fans of mine who have read Bonebreaker, will be familiar with the line drawing of the three skeletons and three knights having a conversation – taken from an ancient wall mural in a church within the deepest Norfolk marshes. I will never forget the impact that image made on my imagination.

Pete and Kath at the fab Jennett’s Park Primary

The next day found us relaxing again in readiness for the first trip to Bracknell, a little-known town to us, despite it being relatively close to our Berkshire base. The school in question was Jennett’s Park, within a fairly new development and only six years old. One of the Deputy Headteachers, Carla, knows us from our visits to her previous school in Newbury, and had no worries about the impact we would have on our new audience. We covered two of our books –  Bonebreaker and Ten O’ Clock Caller and both books went down a storm. Several of the children even dressed up as Saxons and were attacked by the imposing figure of the huge Viking warrior, Sigard – ‘Even his own live in fear of him.’ We returned the next day to do a ‘huge’ book-signing and it seems that the whole of this school community are now burying their heads into our scary narratives...brilliant.

We have also learnt that since our visit, the children are desperate to write their own stories, and to hear this always makes our visits so much more worthwhile. MASSIVE thanks to Joy, Carla, David and all of the staff and pupils for giving us such a fab welcome. We can’t wait to be back…see you all soon.

Our second Bracknell school visit was to Fox Hill Primary. The Headteacher, Mrs Coxell, was waiting at the door to

Fab fans in fab library at fab Fox Hill Primary

greet us and we soon got the idea that this school is determined to become one of the best! The children were extra polite and friendly and had us a cup of tea, set up and all ready to go with our presentation within minutes.

We performed the Bonebreaker presentation in the first half and some of the children joined me on stage and acted the parts brilliantly. In the second half we wowed our fab audience with spooky tales from my Ten O’ Clock Caller collection. It was a lovely experience for Kath and I to work with Mrs Coxell and her staff and hopefully we have already helped to make a difference in raising the enthusiasm of the Fox Hill pupils to read and write their own stories. We look forward to returning next academic year to wow them again with our Mokee Joe Finale Tour.

Have a lovely summer everyone!

PJM

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