Tag Archives: ROALD DAHL

Magpie Jack

I hate seagulls you know. Every day at work I watch them pecking at the bins and swooping low over tourists on the waterfront.

The greedy little sh&ts. They’ve taken to dive-bombing families having picnics on the grass during the summer months, and I’ll tell you what, the amount of seagull crap I clean off my car on a weekly basis, is getting out of hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I love birds. I regularly watched the swifts and swallows, flying out in unison, over the river, and back to their nests in the brush on the banks. Amazing little things they are. They don’t half get up to some speed. They’re excitable and fun to be around, mind, they tire me out in no time.

There’s at a couple of Herons nesting on the nearby lake, I’ve noticed. Majestic wingspan and when they’re stood still, waiting for the right moment to dart their long necks into the water to catch fish, it’s an incredible sight. I’m yet to get too close.

The city streets are littered with pigeons. Most people see them as a pest, but they’re alright. Sort of salt of the earth, never had it easy, type of bird. If you likened them to humans, they’d be cabbies or bin men or cleaners. They graft and get little acknowledgment or thanks.

It’s the magpies you’ve got to watch. Thieving little gets. Anything shiny, they’ll have it. Always got a shifty look about them and if you’re anything but black and white, you’re highly unlikely to get in with that crowd. May as well be clad in all that North Face gear the youngsters are all wearing. Not saying they’re all robbers like, they just look similar.

Since I learned to fly, I’ve only really made friends with a few pigeons. I suspect word has gotten out because the seagulls seem to have laid off sh£tting all over my car recently. You can never tell if they’re giving you side-eye, because they’re always shifty looking. But yeah, I think the news has ruffled a few feathers.

Funny story. It turns out that when I drink milk, I can actually fly. I don’t really know the ins and outs of it. The first time it happened, I was stood on the back patio admiring the lavender and early evening birdsong with a cup of warm milk in the hand.

I took a sip and before I knew it, I was floating outside the bathroom window. I dropped the cup and floated, slowly back down, my slippered feet safely on the patio flags with he smashed mug.

I loved that mug, it said ‘Best Grandad’ on it.

Like most, I thought I’d had a funny turn, so I cleaned up the bits and took myself to bed. It wasn’t until the following evening that the realization hit me. I was going about my usual routine. I made a warm mug of milk, shoved my feet into my slippers, and stepped out onto the patio to listen to the birds.

Laughing to myself, I took a sip, closed my eyes and breathed deeply. Surrounded by birdsong, blue tits, house sparrows, and wood pigeons – singing their merry tunes, I opened my eyes and came nose to nose with the roof guttering.

This time I held on to the mug, albeit a rubbish ASDA one, and drank more. I floated forward towards the fir trees in the back garden. Another sip and I rose to the chimney stack. One more and I aimed for the patio and a soft landing.

I rushed inside and pulled the milk out of the fridge. I checked the carton over, checked the date, the lid. I must have been drugged, I told myself. This isn’t really happening.

I made another mug of milk, this time cold. Nothing happened. I just downed half a pint of milk for nothing. The next one I nuced in the microwave and yep, there I went. I shot up so quickly, one of my slippers fell off.

Now, a man of my age has accepted that life moves at a slightly slower pace these days. So swooping and darting around my back garden late at night, wasn’t how I expected to spend my evenings. But low and behold, with a cup of warm milk. I can bloody fly.

All of this happened just 6 weeks ago, so I’m just getting started. I’ve not told anyone because, frankly, I don’t want to be sectioned and have to see out my days in a secure unit of some kind. But, the birds know. They’ve seen me, and this changes everything.

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Old Skool

Earlier this week I came face to face with my high school, head of languages teacher as I arrived a few minutes late to a presentation…she didn’t look impressed. I scurried past her and took my place in the auditorium as she addressed the parents of years 5/6 pupils at the Holly Lodge Girls College open evening… as Head Mistress.

The look she gave me instantly transported me back to the corridors of lower school at Broadgreen High School where I’d loiter about waiting for my best friend Leah to finish registration. My own group tutor had a much more lax approach and allowed us to do whatever the hell we wanted providing he’d seen out faces long enough to put a tick in the box next to our names (Ahhh Mr Burgess, what a legend). Mrs Tinsley was strict, yet calm and effortlessly commanded control. Her form group would sit, backs-straight and silent at their desks for the 35 minute period completely focused on whatever school news she had to report each morning while we arsed about at the window pulling faces and doing our best to get our mates into trouble. Eventually Mrs Tinsley would grow bored of our antics (and the lack of authority imposed by our teacher) and rocket out into the corridor to send us all skittering back to our form rooms. I thought she was a bit of a nark and could lighten up a bit…which is ironic as now I respect her authority and I think she’s an excellent head teacher! Oh to be 13 again eh?

Holly Lodge Girls College

My eldest daughter will be off to senior school shortly and our first port of call for admissions was Holly Lodge Girls College (or Holly Splodge as we called it back in 1994). Mrs Tinsley welcomed parents warmly and only after a brief chat later on, realised she had taught both my ex husband and me (about a hundred years ago) at a different school. She went on to address the disappointing Ofsted report which had graded the school down following an outstanding grade just a few years earlier. Mrs Tinsley really felt that result, she explained just how committed her staff are to improving on the already impressive GCSE grades the students are achieving and how proud she is of the girls who helped raise the national average in Maths specifically. Having watched a short video of year 11 opening their exam results and explaining to camera just how they felt about their outstanding grades I couldn’t help but feel like Ofsted had missed the mark a bit.

Around the school there are constant reminders of the positive ethos of the school. Confidence, Determination, Resilience. The girls are encouraged to support one another, and to complete work thoroughly and to the highest possible standard. All great qualities to carry into any work place or further education. I was impressed.

The facilities at Holly Lodge are second to none. Two year 8 girls excitedly showed us around the state of the art recording studio complete with 8-track style software and radio studio. Year 7 girls taught my girl how to conduct an experiment with hydro-chloric acid in the Science labs while I got lost reminiscing about HND Fashion and Textiles with the Arts faculty surrounded by sewing machines and tailors dummies. The English staff spoke at length about the positive changes in reading material within the subject and Ellie talked animatedly about her love of Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. She was ecstatic to learn about theatre trips and joint ventures with the drama department. Along side finger print technology in the canteen and an interactive homework website (for sneaky parents to check up on progress) I’d say Holly Lodge is leading the way in terms of nurturing girls into successful, confident women. Ellie absolutely loved it and despite being the first open evening event we’ve attend, she’d adamant Holly Lodge is right for her.

Note to self, never be late for meetings with the Head Mistress!

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Imagine

I carried out an act of vandalism yesterday, or maybe its classed as activism? All those who know me will be shocked and concerned about my welfare as I don’t do things like this, I’m straight-laced Kate, never get into trouble, get along with everyone and don’t like to rock the boat. Well never fear…….what I did wasn’t arrest-worthy….but I made a point.

I was enjoying a wonderful family day out at the Liverpool International Music Festival yesterday with my mini dudes (pics in the Inspiration gallery) and having devoured our picnic watching Alisha Dixon entertaining the crowds we wandered over to the family area. Sponsored by Liverpool John Lennon Airport the family section of the park was based around a huge man-made beach complete with buckets and spades and giant ice lollies, perfect for summer selfies! My little ones sat and listened to stories, made fairy tutu’s, crafted ice-creams from tissue paper and sported some pirate inspired glasses. They ran wild among giant strawberries, chased a very hungry caterpillar and finally wound up with Sharpies in hand (arghhhhh every parents worst nightmare) to add their scrawl to a giant LIMF cut out with the city skyscape printed on it, specifically for kids to depict their take on Liverpool life.This is where I committed my (not really) crime.

IMAGINE

Armed with a blue Sharpie, prised out of my toddlers hand I quickly scrawled ‘Imagine, Save Our Libraries….Hospitals For The Soul’ above an official illustration of John Lennon. I know…I KNOW…..move over Banksy, Kate is the new face on the scene of graffiti activism! Okay, so it was hardly a mass protest but its something I feel strongly about and I saw an opportunity. I wrote my message in the hope it might make just one person return to a library. I’d like to think John Lennon would approve.

Like most major cities around the UK, Liverpool is facing major cuts to public services and one very close to my heart is the regional library closures. Our city central library is a thing of beauty, after a monumental make over, taking years and costing millions it is now a multiple award winning centre of information and technology. I’m truly proud to have such a gem at the heart of Liverpool, from the stunning roof top view on the fourth floor terrace to the dedicated children’s auditorium complete with stage and toddler friendly bean bags, not many cities host free services like this.

The best bit is, all this greatness filters down to our smaller, suburban libraries too. Fitted with banks of PC’s, huge stocks of factual and fictional tomes plus a whole host of community based drop-in sessions from story time with Book Start to preparing for school courses and financial and welfare advice supported by local councillors. So why are we closing down these places of education that benefit everyone age 0-106?! I understand that cuts have to be made and money has to be saved but these regional out-posts provide much needed social interaction, support and last but not least, jobs to local people.IMAGINE

If you love to read, please shelve the Kindle and go and borrow a book from your local library, meet the staff, take your kids to listen to brilliantly animated people reading Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Jacqueline Wilson…because as long as the public are supporting them, the libraries stay open. To find out more about how local people are doing their bit to save our libraries click here……11 year old Elysce writes from the heart.

For more information on Liverpool Libraries, click here

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