At the end of this week I’ll be visiting Knowetop Primary School in Motherwell. It’s a big school – 500 pupils for starters. (Also available as a main course?) That’s a lot of broccoli squished into the floor after lunchtimes. Or a lot of cake in the staff room. (Must almost be that everyday is somebody’s birthday.)
I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone. But there is a degree of irony about my visit. You see, Knowetop is next to Fir Park – Motherwell FC’s ground. I’m nominally a Motherwell supporter, but I’ve never been to their ground (as I had to confess to Motherwell fan and presenter/comedian Tam Cowan when introducing him at Tidelines Book Festival). So visiting Knowetop will be the closest I’ve been to the hallowed turf.
You might well ask why I am a supposed Motherwell fan given that I was born in Edinburgh and did all of my primary schooling there before we moved west? Simple: one of my primary classmates lived next to Motherwell player Willie Pettigrew, who went on to play for Scotland, and managed to get me his autograph. That was reason enough for me. (Until then I’d been a St Johnstone fan…for the equally tenuous reason that I passed their ground – Muirton Park as it was then – once a year en route from Edinburgh to Kinguissie.)
Happily I’ve never before arrived at a school to find pupils sprinting away from me. But that was what happened when I turned up at Muirhead Primary in Troon. Why?
They had a good excuse. It was sports day. And they were running the relay…not running away from me. They certainly had a glorious day for it. Sun screen all round.
I met loads of wonderful people at the school – pupils, parents, teachers (the Deputy Head, Mrs Bell, has the same name as a friend of mine from secondary school, but we soon established that she’s not the same person) and the head teacher, whose portrait you can see on this post.
(She actually does look like her portrait, so well done to whoever drew it.)
A big thank you to everyone for making me so welcome. With luck, it won’t be too long before I’m back.
I’ll be popping along to Killermont Primary School‘s Spring Fayre on Saturday 21 May. For a bit of fun, I’m hosting a stall. If you’re going, come and say hello.
It’s a chance to return to my old stomping ground of Bearsden, where I spent my teenage years and a couple more either side.
When you’re used to hearing the name of a place you tend to stop thinking about the meaning of the name. I’ve heard ‘Killermont’ many a time, but I’ve never thought about why it’s called that. Until now. Was it a dangerous hill? If so, why? I will try to find out and report back!
Oh, and if you’re thinking, Look at that marble playground they have a Killermont, let me assure you that it’s actually West of Scotland rain that’s causing the sheen.
I know, I know…it’s a day that’s become a week!
And what a great start it got off to at Gryffe High School in Houston, Renfrewshire.
The wonderfully enthusiastic librarian, Christine Kerr, had organised for me to speak to S1 in the school’s theatre – one of those with a steep rake, which I love because a) I can see everyone easily, b) it makes for a good atmosphere and c) it saves on my voice…and I’m going to need my voice this week!
As always, we ended with a competition. Usually there’s 1 winner. This time there were 3! And one of those was a teacher. (Keeps pupils on their toes!)
Apparently cries of ‘Yabadabadoo’ were to be heard down the school corridors for the rest of the afternoon. Heh heh, I can’t imagine who could have inspired those…
Time flies and my diary fills…all the more so in the run-up to World Book Day on Thursday 3 March 2016. So here’s a further update (accurate at the time of posting) on my availability for author sessions around that time.
w/c 22 Feb – I can be anywhere in Central Scotland on the Mon, Tues & Wed. Can’t do the Thurs. Can do anywhere in or around London on Fri; and from Greater London down to Lewes on Sat and possibly Sun.
w/c 29 Feb (yes, it’s a leap year)– Limited availability Mon & Tues in South/West/Central Scotland. Wed: can do 1 session in/around Edinburgh in the afternoon. Thurs (World Book Day): sorry, fully booked. Fri, Sat & Sun: available
w/c 7 Mar – available Mon, Thur & Fri.
w/c 14 Mar – Available Mon morning, Tues & Wed in Scotland. Can’t do Thurs. Fri: can do pretty much anywhere from London northwards.
You’ll find full details of what I talk about in schools elsewhere on this site.