Well, what a week that turned out to be. Absolutely fantastic.
I went down with Laryngitis on the Friday before my week ahead. On the Saturday I had no voice whatsoever, Sunday a little grunt here and there and thought I would have to cancel at least Monday’s talk at Maltman’s School in Gerrards Cross. As I said to my family, on a week booked with talks, there could be no crueler thing to happen than lose my voice. The schools were shut so I had not other choice other than to let fate take its course and see what the state of my voice would be when I woke up Monday morning. Sure enough it had returned, a tad rough around the edges, but having had voice training for singing I knew if I used my diaphragm properly I could push it out there. And so, with a packet of Vocaleze in my pocket and a vat of water, I was off and running. I had Tuesday to rest it again so onward and upward.
Maltman’s was lovely. The children, as always were very sweet and the teacher’s response was, as always I am pleased to say, so positive.
Wednesday I went to Gateway School in Missenden. I was aware that I would be there during assembly as my talk was in the hall and I had to set up prior to it commencing. Just before the children started filing in to the hall the co-ordinator of my talk came up and asked if I would mind taking the assembly and telling all the children about the plight of the honeybees and why they are so important, thus being a more or less self introduction as to my reason for being at the school. I think they would call that being thrown in at the deep end, either that or I hadn’t read the briefing email properly!
Thursday, was the actual World Book Day. I had been invited to Bedgrove Junior School to spend the day giving talks to the children. They had made their day all about the honeybees and the theme they had chosen for dressing up was bedtime stories. I joined in, put my hair in rags, donned my dressing gown and slippers, grabbed Tid, (the actual bear in the book), and set myself up on the stage in the school hall.
Once again, a fantastic experience. I spoke to three groups of 120 children throughout the morning. After lunch I set up the hive in the library so the children could come and look through it and ask me more questions. And finally sign books for anyone who had bought one. It was rather sweet that, in addition to the book signing, an endless line of children had pieces of paper that they wanted me to ‘autograph.’ I felt a JK Rowling moment coming on! With all questions answered, books and pieces of paper signed I went in to see a class of children to see how they were getting on with their projects as the school had set the children various tasks during the afternoon that centred around the honeybees and what they had learned from my talks. In the class I went to see, (Year 6), groups of children were writing books that centred around four facts they had learned from my talk. It was interesting to see the different, creative stories they had come up with. A few budding authors if you please as well as, hopefully, beekeepers..
It really was a memorable week for me and I hope for the children and teachers as well. Something that always pleases me at the end of my talks is when the teachers come up to me and say they learned so much about the honeybees. That’s a real “boom” moment.
At the end of the week I received a lovely email from a gentleman who had bought two of my books for “the younger members of his family.” He sent me a fabulous photograph which you can see below, of Freya, who loved Betsie Valentine And The Honeybees so much she chose it as her favourite book for World Book Day and went in to school dressed as a honeybee.
How could one not go in to the weekend with the biggest grin on ones face?
(More photographs to be added)