REELING ON THE ISLE OF MAN

This post was written by peterjmurray on October 31st, 2021 6:16 pm Comments Off on REELING ON THE ISLE OF MAN

Kath and I are actually ‘reeling’ from the success of our fabulous Isle of Man tour. As if the first week wasn’t brilliant enough, our second week was just as fab!

Amazing IOM scenery at White Beach, Niarbyl

A ‘mind-blowing’ second visit to David Jenkin’s Bunscoill Rhumsaa, followed by thoroughly enjoyable visits to St John’s Primary, Marown Primary and our last visit of the tour to Cronk-y-Berry School. In between our visits, our good friends, Karen and Rob Riley, took us out to explore some of the amazing places on the island, including White Beach, at Niarbyl, and a ‘wallaby-spotting’ excursion to a nearby nature reserve. Previous attempts to find wallabies had failed and we wondered if we were ‘victims’ of some bizarre Manx joke! But no! On this occasion, Karen found us TWO wallabies and I even managed to capture a pic of one on my phone – though it seems only I can see it!

One or two spooky events took place during our second-week visits:

  1. I randomly chose a boy and a girl to play the Palmer twins in the POPPY WARRIOR story. It turned out they were brother and

        Fab audience at Bunscoill Rhumsaa

    sister.

  2. At Marown School, a big bird suddenly appeared at a window high up in the hall where I was presenting. The bird pecked on the glass seemingly to attract our attention to it.
  3. One school reported hearing mysterious footsteps in the corridors and a smell of pipe tobacco – just as in the story I was relating. Which school? It’s a secret between me and the headteacher! We don’t want to scare the pupils!

Maximus and Lily – REAL twins at Cronk-y-Berry School

Every one of our EIGHT school visits was an absolute joy! Staff were so welcoming and the pupils were friendly and polite (and more than enthusiastic!) without exception. It really does inspire hope in this world of ours, which constantly gives the impression that everything is ‘doom and gloom’. All that Kath and I can say is that if these masses of KS2 pupils are our hope and inspiration for tomorrow, then they surely must be REAL hope for everyone. (Sorry to get carried away, but it needs saying!)

It makes me really proud to thinks that so many pupils on the Isle of Man are currently engaged in reading my book, and even prouder is the fact that they are reading it is a real tribute to all of those brave WW1 soldiers who gave their today for our tomorrow…as the words on the wall of Cronk-y-Berry school proclaimed.

Hope you had a great ‘HOP TU NAA‘ on the island and see you all again…but not such a long wait this time.

PJM

BACK ON BROADWAY ( ISLE OF MAN!)

This post was written by peterjmurray on October 13th, 2021 4:11 pm Comments Off on BACK ON BROADWAY ( ISLE OF MAN!)

              Back on Broadway!

We’re back!! Kath and I can hardly believe we’re finally back at one of most favourite places on the planet – the Isle of Man. Thankfully, our boat crossing from Heysham to Douglas was very smooth and completely without incident – a great start! We chilled out the following day in our wonderful accommodation on Douglas seafront. Our good friend, Paula Noble, did us proud in allowing us to stay in her luxury flat in Broadway. Yes…Broadway. But a long way from New York!

On Monday, we launched into our school visits to Dhoon, Michael and Laxey schools.

     A Dhoon School reader called Reda!!

…And what a start. Our good friends, Max Kelly and Karen Riley, gave us a great Manx welcome and ensured that our first few days passed without a hitch. The new book – POPPY WARRIOR – had all of the pupils hooked with its ghostly theme of two identical Year 5  twins (Josh and Jess) being haunted by their Great great grandfather – a casualty of World War 1.

So many lovely things happened during our presentations, including meeting a year 6 boy who just had to be a keen reader, called Reda, (pronounced ‘reader’)! An expert technician who helped us with our first set up, called  Ruadhan – a big thank you to him!  And we thoroughly enjoyed the help of our young actors and actresses, playing Josh and Jess, Inara and Mika, Bonnie and Evan and Daisy and Daniel (who actually looked like identical twins). A MASSIVE ‘thank you’ to them all…they were brilliant!

More lovely events followed:

  1. Chilling out at The Shed in old Laxey Harbour

    After a great presentation to our first BIG audience at Laxey school, and an even BIGGER book signing, Kath and I made our way down to the Laxey Harbour and discovered ‘The Shed’…a great beach-side cafe with fab sea views, and even more-fab coffee! We love this little place!

  2. We received a clutch of very well-written and complementary letters from the Year 5’s at

         Pete with Yr 5 Michael letters

    Michael School, saying how much they had enjoyed our visit. Needless to say, their letters are going home with us and will be saved as a memory of our latest IOM visit.

  3. Bunscoill Rhumsaa Junior School re-united us with so many ‘old friends’ (not so old, really!) and the POPPY WARRIOR presentation went down a blast with our biggest audience to date – no less than 8 classes of Yrs  3 to 6. Jacob and Halley played the parts of Josh and Jess and the audience were more than keen to join in the interactive parts of the presentation. One young boy really amused me by asking me if I was Icky Doo Dah’s dad!! I hope he was really referring to Simon, our son, who I’m told does have a strong resemblance to me!

Oh well…that’s all for now. A relaxing and recharging time over the weekend, before four more presentations planned for next week. If the week ahead goes half as well as last week, Kath and I will be more than pleased. Watch this space, as they say!

PJM

KNARESBOROUGH TO ISLE OF MAN!

This post was written by peterjmurray on October 11th, 2021 5:18 pm Comments Off on KNARESBOROUGH TO ISLE OF MAN!

Just prior to our long-awaited trip to the Isle of Man, we had a more local visit lined up to Aspin Park Academy in Knaresborough.

         Kath and I love Knaresborough

Aspin Park Academy proved to be a most wonderful 2-form entry primary school. The staff and pupils greeted us like old friends and we were soon in front of our first audience, around 120 year 5 and 6 pupils. To say they were enthusiastic would be an understatement! They quickly fell under the spell of Mokee Joe and launched

   Mokee Joe strikes again!

themselves into the presentation with great interaction and gusto! One girl volunteered to be chased by the 7-foot tall monster and it turned out it was her 10th birthday! I feel sure it was a birthday she’ll never forget. All in all, great fun, and just as satisfying was a repeat performance to a similar number of year 3 and 4 pupils in the afternoon. Will we ever forget the image of tiny Rosie (year 3), standing beneath the imposing figure of Mokee Joe complete with his huge boots! A HUGE thank you to Ms Robertson and Ms Selway for all their help and their highly efficient organisation in making the day pass so well for us. At the end of our lovely visit we stayed over at an inn we know  in not-to-far away Darley (I used to teach at a school nearby), and returned the next day to do a MAMMOTH book signing. Wow! So many eager readers! Hope everyone is enjoying the books and we hope to see you again…so many more books to tell you about!

PJM

HAPPY (ECSTATIC) IN HEXHAM!

This post was written by peterjmurray on October 6th, 2021 7:23 pm Comments Off on HAPPY (ECSTATIC) IN HEXHAM!

  Kath and Leonie – Great team!

After a more-than-successful visit to Ovingham Middle School, it was ‘all guns blazing’ as we made our way up the road to our old friends at the newly located Hexham Middle School. Our two hosts for the next couple of days were our good friend, Ms Roff, and the newly-appointed Ms Hayler (or as we prefer to call her – Leonie the lovely librarian (great alliteration!).

The first presentation was to a large number of KS2 pupils and the Mokee Joe series was our chosen subject. It was nice to meet pupils who had no previous experience of us and hence I found myself launching into the spooky character’s misgivings with perhaps even more gusto than usual. I feel sure that being ‘inactive’ for such a long time due to the dreaded Covid virus, also caused an upsurge in energy levels  throughout the performance!

Well, evidence of our impact was certainly borne out the following day during the book-signing. I

            New start – New school!

can’t remember so many new fans coming on board in one go! The KS3 pupils proved just as enthusiastic and seemed more than ‘hooked’ on our Scabbajack and PS13 books – again queuing around the walls of the new library waiting to acquire signed copies of the spooky narratives.

No wonder Kath and I love coming to this school! Everything was so organised (thank you, Ms Roff – again!!) and what with the new building (and brand new library), we hope to return here indefinitely. A special ‘thank-you’ to Ms Tyler for all her help. We would have struggled to cope during the extensive book-signing without her.

See you all again soon. Hope the new school lives up to its expectations. It’s looking more than impressive!

PJM

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