LIVING BY THE WALL!

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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!

PJM

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