Category: Jean

Spoogy Woogy Oooogy! (by )

Monday night I inflicted my childrens poetry on an audience in the Waterstones Cheltenham as part of the Villanelles series run by The Gloucester Poetry Society.

Sarah reading The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry at Waterstones Cheltenham

This beautiful photo of the reading was taken by Kurt Schroeder Photography which is a challenge as I can't really do flash photography and the light levels were poor!

The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry

The The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry has been getting out and about again - Last weekend saw me take the baby yeti (Alaric) to Cheltenham Library along with El Nosy Rat for the Fun Palaces Event.

Sarah Snell-Pym reading from The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry at Cheltenham Library

It's interesting to note that the outfit Alaric is wearing is the reason there is a poem with the line "One Daddy dressed as a Yeti" in it and now he puts the outfit on for the poetry readings! It was originally made for a Yeti Hunt when we first started up the Cranham Scouting sections 🙂

A Hiding Baby Yeti at the Cheltenham Library Fun Palace Event 2017

At the poetry readings he is a naughty baby yeti who is also very shy and has a habit of hiding until the children call him to come out! This time the baby yeti stole Jean's shoes! When I took him to the climbing wall he kept hanging upside down! That baby YETI!

El Nosy Rat entertaining small child at the Cheltenham Libraries Fun Palace 2017

El Nosy Rat also features in one of the poems which he is a bit disgruntled about as it feels it gives rats a bad name! He is a relatively new member of the performance team and is also known as Ratty The Plague Rat/Black Death Rat when he comes out on Cuddly Science outings 🙂

El Nosy Rat and Mummy Eating Cherry Pie Cloth Patch

He is a big hit with the kids and talks with a bit of an Eastend twang. In the photo above he his holding on of the lovely cloth patches of the Mummy Eating Cherry Pie (one of the poems and illustrations from the book). I had these made last year and they are in some of my surprise pouches! These were made by White Wizard Purple Elf who also made Jean's beautiful dark fairy hoody. Talking of surprise pouches I did kind of forget I they were also glitter bombs so covered the Children's Library in glitter 0.o

Halloween and Autumn Colouring In sheets by Sarah Snell-Pym

Last year I also spent ages tracing some of the pictures from the book so that I could turn them into black and white colouring sheets. The idea is that eventually all the illustrations will be up for free down load and maybe even as an actual colouring book. I tend to be a bit slow going with this as I do a little bit every September and October. But it did mean that this year I had lots of pictures ready for digital clean up and conversion to colouring in sheets 🙂

I am steadily popping them all on WigglyPets Press - including the older ones I made which have some colour traits like the pumpkin outlines being orange 🙂

There are still quiet a few to be traced and scanned still but that along with new audio files will have to await my new computer!

And talking of audio files don't forget you can listen to the poems on my bandcamp though it is still missing it's story and song to be a proper collection 🙂

Or you can watch a much younger Jeany reading the poems and a baby Mary trying to join in 🙂

I only have about 20 of my original print run left, after they have gone the book will be a more expensive print on demand thing on Amazon. And a second volume is also wending it's way to completion 🙂

But that will be a tale for another year!

But before I leave you I shall explain why it is the Spoogy book and not a Spooky book - when she was 4 yrs old Jean asked me if we could make a poetry book for halloween and so we did about topics she picked... that book was all hand drawn and written and did not contain all ten poems that later appeared in The Little Book it also got a cup of water knocked over on it shortly after it's creation as Jean has it in her tray table next to her bed - the tray table where she was allowed her night time water as if it was spilt it would all stay in the tray!

The 4 yr old Jean could not say Spooky - 4 yr old Jean said Spoogy and the book was for her, I've been asked to change it for "proper" publication but the poems are what they are - first and for most for my kids and the Spoogy bit is an essential part of that. If you are interested here is the blog post from when I made the book back in 2009.

Horrid Henry isn’t Horid (by )

There is an article on the BBC news website asking - Should Parents Ban Horrid Henry?, my response to this is... NO.

Horrid Henry is not actually horrid - pretty much as soon as you ask should you ban a book the answer is NO (even bad books that really shouldn't exist should not be banned they should be watered down with lots of other books and besides if you ban them you have just made it more likely that impressionable people will read them as they are now EXCITING, it's what I call the prohibition effect).

The stories have progressions where the kids fight and resolve differences and get around issues such as dyslexia and ADHD etc... and the insecurities that brings for kids etc... they are a positive thing. They also covered headlice and all the other little things that dominate a child's world, yes they contain toilet humour but lets face it 6-12 year olds tend to love that sort of stuff (regardless of gender), just pomp loudly in a room full of kids and you'll see what I mean!

Jean's read all the books and for Mary the Too Cool for School episode/film thingy was immensely important as a confidence builder. In the article the actors main issue was that his kid started kicking up after watching it - my take on that... kids go through phases. Jean started kicking after watching Ben 10 the animation - this was a time to teach that you can't just blanket copy what you see.

Also the books have the easy read high content thing going for them which is exactly what reluctant readers and those with things like dyslexia need. They need a story they can get their teeth into and in this case they will often identify heavily with the protagonist i.e. Henry but it is not so bulksome and wordy that they will feel they are grinding their way through them.

Yay so Horrid Henry is not actually horrid!

The Journey (by )

Mary entertained on the train with a fidget spinner

The weekend was complicated - we were down in London visiting family and Alaric was due to fly to the US meaning me and the girls would be heading back on the train - everything was pre-booked.

It was an early start which included Dad cooking pizzas for me and the girls to take on the train and having made us bottles of water in the freezer etc...

Al saying goodbye involved lots of hugs and snugs and in truth we weren't far behind him in leaving the house. Dad gave us a lift to Upminster Station - I had thought the Fenchurch Street Line did not run at the weekend but it did and we would have been in plenty of time for it... if I hadn't had to get Jean a ticket for the underground and the queue was pretty extensive!

The next wasn't for ages so we bought some crisps and drinks for our high adventure and went and sat on a District Line Train. We ate pizza that was still hot and due to a chance question by Mary on Gidea Park we ended up deep in the throws of family history which took us pretty much all the way through to zone one!

Now I had been in London on Wednesday and Thursday - I knew the train lines were broken but what with the head injury and things I just kind of forgot (not about the fire but just about trains). I hadn't even registered that the train was only going to South Ken. meaning we ended up at South Ken with me and Jean trying to work things out... back on the district line we went to Embankment were on the way in Mary had asked why everyone was getting off :/

Mary was beginning to get restless - we'd eaten our lunch and the trains were getting more packed so I told her a story - How Mary Became the Gap Toothed Monster! There was giggling and fluroshes added by her toothlessness herself.

I was a bit stressed - I was already struggling with understanding the tannoy and being able to read the signs and Jean was trying her best but just doesn't know the system - between the two of us we managed to get on the Bakerloo Line - all three of us sat on two seats - many were standing because it's the underground. It was hot and airless and Mary began to fret - we put the drinking water on her head and assured her there would be ice cream at some point in the journey.

Oh yeah on the District Line she'd broken out in uber energy and shimmied up the hold on to pole. Fidget Spinner was for the win for getting her to sit down - Jean tried to scare her into sitting by saying trains crash - I snapped at Jean because when you are on the train you don't really want to think about that or at least at that point I didn't.

And the train stopped in the tunnel, the District Line had done this lots too. Mary was excited that we were actually underground. We got into Paddington with 20 mins until our "big train" so we bought ice creams - I couldn't work out the self serve till - I couldn't work out which ticket got us through the barrier - I did get coffee.

I am paranoid about travel so had given myself an extra almost 2 hrs to get across London - good job really!

We found our seats, terfing the poor welsh dude who fortunately got another seat - the train had people packed in the vestibles which made me feel bad when I had to ask them all to move so I could go a loo! But I had been on packed trains for several hours at this point.

The girls ate their ice creams, we had little chats with the welsh guys and the guy next to us offered to lend Jean a charging cable for her phone which was lovely even though we declined.

This is my fidget spinner:

Mystic Flower Fidget Spinner

It kept Mary quiet long enough for me to reset my brain a bit though her and Jean fought over who was going to get to play with it and Jean dismantled it which grumped me!

I love the fidget spinner - Alaric bought it for me - it is a beautiful thing.

We then played the Story Telling Game - were we each say a bit of the story and pass it on - Jean tries to pull the story into scifi and Mary always adds magic and fairies and I have to thread it into something coherant - they often take unexpected twists and Mary really enjoys telling them DRAMATICALLY!

And she had an audience.

We got through to Swindon on origami - Mary loves origami so spends ages folding her own shapes (which she then tries to teach you how to fold!) and I had also made some little modules she can fit together to make bigger structures including a snake 🙂

I was pleased with myself as I managed to fold a tetrahedron or three sided pyramid - I am working on modular origami at the moment as I wish to use it in various workshops.

Pyramid Origami

And then we were at Swindon... were there were no connecting trains :/ There had been nothing about this at Paddignton - as none of the other passengers knew anything about it either! The poor station lady had to explain over and over again the two ways we could all get to Gloucester, Stonehouse etc... depending on where we were going. It would be faster to go to Bristol and get a train back from there - we opted for the bus/coach because it was half an hour till the next train and I wasn't sure I could cope with more changes and platforms and I don't have good previous with getting back from Bristol when tired etc... having found myself heading "up north" on several occassions and the notable time I ended up in Wales.

A fellow passenger - a lady who spoke very little English made sure I knew which bus to get on with the children which was lovely.

There was aircon on the coach - we blasted ourselves with it and ate nibbles... and got stuck in traffic and Mary had a melt down arching her back and thudding into the seat. I managed to calm her down though she wasn't really quiet at all for this journey until she flopped her head on me and dozed a bit. To be fair by this point of the journey I kind of wanted to join her and Jean had retreated into her iPad.

The walk home was hot - there was more water poured on heads and Mary had her second melt down when she realised we were walking home via the "stone bridge" as she just did not want to go that way. She was throwing a massive wobble shouting and flouncing and then I said "do you need a hug" and she nodded and climbed up me for a hug and... burst into tears... she wanted her daddy back.

We all walked together - Jean had been going to go on a head but a) realised she had a "kids" rucksack on and b) felt Mary needed big sis to hold her hand. We bought second ice cream from the corner shop and were home.

Bristol and Mateys (by )

Facebook has been popping up memories from previous years - at the moment it is kind of the same thing regardless of the year... meeting up with our Friends Becca and Olly and this year is no exception!

So much food!

This year we went to Bristol and walked around the water front, slightly hampered by the outside wheelchair lift being broken but we found other ways around.

Broken lift

Then we went for lunch at Prezzo who had a gluten free menu and was quiet enough and was vegi and wasn't a bank breaker and had toilets and tables on one level and had dairy free options (as a group we quiet hard to cater for but Bristol had us covered!). We ordered a stupid amount of food as we thought the pizzas were individuals but were huge!

Birds in the harbour in bristol

Jean saw to the left overs as she'd had a kids meal and is a teeny-tweeny and now slightly taller than me and growing fast!

Mary was good and managed sitting still for the meal as she a) took daddy outside for run arounds and b) was going to get to play in the fountain - unfortunately she was then so excited about the fountain she splashed straight into it and run out of Alaric's sight and ended up in trouble! But she did then get to race Becca up and down the dock side by the M-shed which was closed by this point. Then she played with Olly going up and down the river - a stylised map set into the tarmac.

She also gave her pocket money to a homeless guy.

We popped into the german beer festival to see if any of the craft stalls etc... were still open but they weren't but there was a photo board 🙂

German Beer Festival Bristol

I'd pretty much run out of room on my camera other wise there would have been alot more photos! Including Jean sitting on John Cabot who sailed from Bristol in 14... something and found North America. A young tourist asked us questioned about him but ended up telling us more than we knew including finding the date the statue was made.

Exploring the John Cabot statue in Bristol

Looking up this (historical figure)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cabot] I find the finding of the Americas by Europeans is a long and distended tail and I have a whole lot more to learn including a celtic myth about Hy-Brasil which I think maybe the glass isle myth. This is all good stuff for The Punk Universe novel series I am writing.

I've been researching a lot of stuff for this series lately including discovering a myth that Jesus actually went to India and England in a world tour before returning home and being killed as a political radical. This was interesting as Becca was explaning local historical sites to me including the wells and hotspring and the fact that an ancient (as in 3000 year old) jewish religous site was found in a house basement recently - my brain instantly wondered if that was maybe a site that historical Jesus (Jesus in historical records not as/as well as a holy figure) might have visited.

There is lots of funky stone work in this area of Bristol which I love - I love both the rocks natural history and the people history that laid them there was structures.

Stone arch door bristol

Bristol is a rich city for history as most cities are... as well as modern archetecture and the interaction of society, tech, city and environment. This was highlighted quiet well by the renovated crain that has been turned into a little eco hut and the tumble down ruins becoming little oasises of plants. I never fail to find new things (some quiet old 🙂 ) to take photos of.

Stone and pipes and leaves bristol

The outing was rounded off by the kids watching a film and us rabbiting about everything and nothing and looking at photos from our uni days - Mary's comment on seeing a picture of my by three giant axes in Greece "mummy you were so small!".

Of course I ran out of camera space so missed the giant beetle eating my children - but fortunately Becca was there!

Jean and Mary being eaten by a giant stag beetle in bristol

Hidden Poetry (by )

Hidden Poetry and Art Pouch in Gloucester

Today I hid poetry around Gloucester (hope they were all found before the rain!), saw people wearing the badges from the pouches, had people ask about the festival when they saw me making more pouches, sorted some exciting things along the lines of an Ada Lovelace Day event, Poetry talks, tech-history and art/sci/paleo cross over with two different sets of people representing several different groups and moving the goal of art and science accessibility forward in the world.

I also had an epic lunch at Cookes Cafe and Curios which do gluten free sandwiches (most places with GF options still only do cake or stupid expensive hot meals that are a days cals in and of themselves!). I love this cafe and I met my friend and we chatted for ages and it was great and the people who run the place are lovely and yeah it's just one of my favourite places in Gloucester.

Later still I met up with Jean after school and we had a cake in the Waterstones Cafe - their GF cake happens to be orange and lavender and reminds me of my nan (dad's mum). It is a glorious cake and one I probably shouldn't keep buying but I do... Jean bought herself a white chocolate tart with a W on it for Waterstones. The Gloucester Waterstones no longer has a Costas instead it has it's own little coffee shop and they use a local bakery.

Special W chocolate tarts for Waterstones in Glos

I love sitting and creating things in both of these coffee shops/cafes they both induce a lovely atmosphere and yes I know it's a bit much have done both in one day but I was in Gloucester for the whole day!

Jean enjoyed her cake.

Jeany enjoying cake

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