Well, May’s been a busy month. I’ve done book signings, visited nearly every Waterstones store in Yorkshire (sorry I never made it to Sheffield), school visits and eight Oh-lympics shows, whilst in between trying to write a children’s novel.

Along with fellow performer Mike Barfield I’ve been all over North Yorkshire and beyond with our 60-minute madcap history of the Olympic Games, performing in primary schools large and small. Thanks for a warm welcome to:

Bentham Primary
Cragside Primary (Newcastle)
Richard Taylor Juniors (Harrogate)
Lythe Primary
3 Lane Ends Primary (Castleford)
Nawton Primary
Glusburn Primary
Lothersdale Primary

The audiences have been enthusiastic, funny, knowledgeable and generous. Overall, we probably only stuck to the script once but, as we tell ourselves after we’ve missed a bit or gone wrong, they aren’t to know. Five children have managed to jump and touch the high jump bar when set to the men’s world record of 2.45m (8 feet and half an inch), winning choccy gold medals in the process. At one rural school, however, a new low ceiling had been put in which was actually lower than this height so we had a lot of trouble putting up the posts and the fortunate selected children probably only had to reach 2.2 metres! Still, we left them happy.

Yesterday I enjoyed a really great author visit to the excellent Bedale Primary School in North Yorkshire. I worked with all the children in the school from Reception to Year 6 and so enjoyed their enthusiasm for poetry, stories, books and reading. It was another hot stuffy day but the sessions flew by and I didn’t have time to do all of the things that I really would have liked to do. Still, it was a real pleasure to be there and, just to put the icing on the cake for any author, the supportive parents bought loads of books for their children too!  AND they make a proper good cup of tea…

Positive Feedback
Isn’t positive feedback a wonderful thing? One of the best aspects of travel for me is to come home after being away, even for just a day, and finding good bits of mail awaiting, whether it’s letters or email. These days a lot of readers of my books contact me by email, having found my address via my website, and send encouraging comments.

Most of these are about All Teachers Great and Small, my nostalgic rural memoir set in the glorious Yorkshire Dales in the 1980s and I love hearing how readers have been touched, amused, and reminded of simpler days. Here are some of the comments, unedited, that people have sent to me recently:

Hello Andy, I have just finished reading the above book and felt I must tell you how much I enjoyed it. I’m not ashamed to tell you that parts of the story had me in tears and other parts made me laugh out loud.
I was very sorry when I came to the end. Many many congratulations for an excellent story well told.

I have just finished reading ‘All Teachers Great and Small’ and I am contacting you to say how much I enjoyed reading it as it brought back so many memories of the classroom to me. 

I have finished reading your book and thoroughly enjoyed it. There were quite a few “laugh out loud moments” which I had to read to Sally. My favourite story in the book and the one that amused me most of all was your hedgecutting experience/adventure!

Hello Andy. I have just finished reading your latest book and had to write to you to tell you how I enjoyed it so much!
I was a primary teacher for 19 years and often laughed out loud at some of the stories. I think I laughed the most when you wrote about the Jack and Beanstalk pantomime and how there was the misshap with Daisy the cow on the staging…I still find that incident very funny!!
I do hope that you will write more memories of your teaching career.

Just to say how much I enjoyed your book. I am a retired teacher, though secondary trained, but I recognised all those children whose characters you drew so well.

Have just finished your book and loved it. As an ex teacher all the memories came flooding back some good and some not so good! ….

Sorry for rambling on but just wanted to let you know your book was great.
I’ve just read your book and found it wonderful reading. My father, 82 an ex-teacher and head bought it recently  and loved it. He leant it to my mother (ex teacher), my sister (teacher) and also a friend ex-teacher and head, who all thoroughly loved and enjoyed it. 
Although set only in the 80’s, it seems like another time and place to now, so much simpler.

This week I’m reading your book. Have raced to p 200. It is a really lovely tale of the Dales that (almost) makes me want to go back to Yorkshire. My in laws will love it – both ex heads, and I’ll be sending them a copy.

I would just like to say how much I have enjoyed reading your book, All Teachers Great and Small!
As a teacher myself, in my sixth year of teaching primary children, I have recently felt a bit jaded. However, reading about your experiences and anecdotes has rejuvenated my approach!
I have even found myself, when the children are getting a bit trying, wondering ‘how Andy would have dealt with it’ and instead of blowing my stack I have adopted a mellower attitude!
Thanks again, I look forward to reading your next work!

There have also been lots of enjoyable attempts to identify the locations in the book (some more successful than others) and questions about that too. But it’s all a secret and is staying that way – no one has worked it all out… yet.

Signing stock in Bradford Waterstones: fun.

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