This post was written by peterjmurray on January 30th, 2018 6:13 pm Comments Off on LIVING BY THE WALL!

After visiting two great local Berkshire schools, Spurcroft Primary in Thatcham and Springfield Primary in Reading, Kath and I headed back up the A1 to Hexham. We moved into a 300 year-old cottage in the appropriately named village of Wall, just a short distance from the famous Hadrian’s Wall. As soon as we arrived the weather changed and gale force winds buffeted our cottage and moaned down the chimney during the night…what a great spooky start!

         Pete outside Church Cottage in Wall

Never mind! Two great days followed in Hexham Middle School, one day working with Years 7 and 8, and a second day with Years 5 and 6. We performed a full-blown Mokee Joe presentation, presenting my very first book (Mokee Joe is Coming!) right through to the new and final Mokee Joe book (Scourge of the Emirates). Both key stages seemed taken up with the Mokee Joe story and sat extremely attentively whilst I entertained and enthused them. It was also great to show them the first book in Spanish and Japanese, and very satisfying to present a copy of the Spanish book to a Spanish girl in the audience, Ayala. She and her family sent us a lovely card afterwards expressing their gratitude. Usual great thanks to our lovely Hexham friend, Ms Roff…she always spoils us and organises everything so efficiently. We’ve already invited her around to our cottage in Wall for tea and cake…she never refuses!

After signing lots of books for our Hexham Middle School fans, Kath and I spent the weekend as tourists, visiting some of the local attractions….Hexham Abbey, The Sill visitors’ centre on Hadrian’s Wall, other locations along the wall…and of course being dragged into the shops with Kath striding out in front of me…M&S, Beales, Waitrose, Tesco and lots of coffee shops!

St Joseph’s RC Middle School was our next port of call and another good friend, Mrs Coulson, was waiting to greet us.

               Lovely library at St Joseph’s

We performed the ‘Mokee Joe Finale’ presentation again, in front of another big KS2 audience, and then again, the day after, at Ovingham Middle School. By Thursday, Kath and I were reciting the performance in our sleep! But every audience is different and the response is so enthusiastic that we never get bored! We met another delightful Spanish girl at Ovingham, Lucia, and presented her with a Spanish book. The next day she acquired a whole set in English…a true Mokee Joe fan to say the least! I must also mention that the Ovingham First School Year 4’s joined in with our presentation and sat for two hours completely rapt. During the subsequent signing, almost every one of them acquired books and were so thrilled to see us – so glad they joined in!

More presentations followed at nearby Corbridge Middle School  – Mokee Joe for KS2 and a Scabbajack/Dawn Demons presentation for KS3…all great spooky fun! Another Mokee Joe presentation at Ovingham for Years 6/7 and then it was wall-to-wall signings on the last weekday to complete the tour! PHEW!

Big thanks to Ms Quinn and Ms Watkins at Ovingham and Corbridge respectively…fab ‘hostesses with the mostest’ and to all the teachers and pupils in the Hexham area for giving us such a brilliant time.

We will be back!



This post was written by peterjmurray on January 24th, 2018 5:26 pm Comments Off on DUKE OF KENT TAKEN BY STORM!

Kath and I chose to arrive at the Duke of Kent School, deep in the Surrey hills, from the relatively nearby town of Dorking. We travelled there on Sunday afternoon and stayed overnight in readiness for our school visit the following Monday morning. Thank goodness! The threatening weather forecast proved correct and we drove the 9 miles from our hotel in driving wind and rain along high-banked winding lanes, falling tree branches and even a lorry (victim of his GPS system) stuck in front of us! When we finally arrived in time for a warming breakfast with the staff, it took a large and strong cup of coffee to steady our nerves!

…All very worthwhile, though!

Without exception, every pupil and member of staff made us more than welcome.  And the day could not have passed better…and so quickly!  Assembly with the entire school followed by workshops with Years 3 to 8 (and even an unscheduled half hour chat to year 9), all proved a pleasure, the enthusiasm of the pupils making it all very easy and thoroughly enjoyable.

Alas, the long journey back to Newbury at the end of the day proved exhausting again…rain, sleet, snow and heavy traffic. However, the return journey the next day for the book signing could not have been easier! Bright sunshine, stunning scenery and quiet roads…my brain was starting to get confused about just where this school was situated. We signed loads and loads of books for our keen new fans and again it proved a great experience.

Thank you to Ms Anand for being such a caring and thoughtful hostess during our visit and our very best wishes to all at the school and good luck in the future, especially re all things literary. We are hoping to be back before too long, and maybe with or son and illustrator (Simon) in attendance. The Murrays may well try to take over!

Hope the weather stays kind to you all.



This post was written by peterjmurray on January 12th, 2018 10:08 am Comments Off on PERFECT AT PARKLANDS

Kath and I were lucky enough to be invited to an ‘outstanding’ school in Leeds. One of the teachers, Ms Huby, had worked with us at Rawmarsh Rosehill in Rotherham, and since moving to Parklands Primary, she thought it would be good to invite us there.

…Well, we had a great time there presenting our Mokee Joe series to a more-than-enthusiastic audience of KS2 pupils. The headmaster, Mr Dyson, and all of his staff and pupils gave us a great welcome and by the time our morning session was over we felt reluctant to leave.

The next day we had a great book signing and stayed on for lunch.  Again, all went extremely well. During our time at Parklands we had some memorable events take place. Will we ever forget the look on Jiri’s (hope I’ve spelt it correctly) face as Mokee Joe homed in on him…pure terror!  Another great moment was meeting up with Callum…an author in the making, and it was a pleasure to read his book along with its great illustrations (Super D)!

Finally, a big thank you to Codie (I think with a ‘C’ and not a ‘K’) for being a lovely hostess to us during our lunch.

Since visiting this lovely school, Twitter has gone ‘mad’ and I’ve never seen so many tweets re our visit flying around …brilliant! Thank you, Mr Dyson. Hope to see you all again in September with more scary books and a scary presentation to go with them. In the meantime….keep on reading!


Wordpress them by AJDF & Icons and useful help by N.Design Studio
Entries RSS Comments RSS Log in