Treasure in Easingwold

Never has the run-up to a gig of mine been so nerve-wracking, or so top secret! How come? Read on …

It all started when BBC Radio York contacted me to let me know (highly confidentially!) that they’d chosen my ‘Birds and the Bees’ poetry show at Easingwold Community Library that week as the ‘Treasure’ in their Saturday-morning treasure hunt, called Finders Keepers. Not familiar with Finders Keepers? All is explained in this clip, from the 9am beginning of this Saturday’s show:

So, six cryptic clues that listeners have to solve by noon, taking the Radio York reporter (+ side-kick) to locations around North Yorkshire. And come down to the wire it did, this week!

The idea had been that the Radio York reporter would reach me (i.e. the ‘Treasure’) at Easingwold Community Library at around 11.50. My first job, therefore, was to arrive at the library nice and early, get myself set up and ready to hand over the all-important envelope – i.e. the solution to the final cryptic clue – and be interviewed about the upcoming event that afternoon.

And thanks to my driver-and-roadie husband Mike, that I managed to do:

Arrived at Easingwold Community Library with Finders Keepers 'Treasure' envelope

Arrived at Easingwold Community Library at 11.20 with the Finders Keepers ‘Treasure’ envelope

From then on we just had to wait and hope that Radio York reporter Abigail would find her way to us. Diana, one of the Easingwold Community Library volunteers, set up a tranny in the library to follow events:

Library volunteer Diana following Finders Keepers on the radio

Library volunteer Diana following Finders Keepers on the radio

It got later, and later, and later – and the final clue was finally picked up, at Ampleforth College Prep School at Gilling Castle, at 11.40. The clue was:

The good news is that a couple of people phoned in not long after, with a possible solution to this clue:

The bad news is that by this time it was around 11.47, and it takes some 20 minutes to get from Gilling Castle to Easingwold. So we in the library were somewhat despondent, convinced that no-one was going to reach us by noon. Which would mean no publicity for the library and my event there.

Nevertheless, hope springs eternal, so library volunteer Diana despatched me to stand outside the library with my ‘Treasure’ envelope to see if I could spot the Radio York reporters and get them to us asap.

So there I am standing outside the library, and a woman comes running towards me with a phone clamped to her ear and she’s waving at me. I assume this is the miracle we’ve been waiting for, and I hand the ‘Treasure’ envelope over to her. She’s puffed and one-handed (other hand occupied with the phone), so together we tussle with the envelope and get it open and she reads out the ‘Treasure’ down her phone.

Now what I didn’t realise was that a) it was 11.59 by this time (i.e. one minute before the noon deadline) and b) this wasn’t actually the Radio York reporter. This is what had been happening whilst I was stood outside the library scouting for BBC reporter Abigail:

The fabulous Jess, at Easingwold Community Library, with the 'Treasure' envelope

The fabulous Jess, at Easingwold Community Library, with the ‘Treasure’ envelope

So, mission accomplished! The ‘Treasure’ was found – albeit in a rather unorthodox fashion – in the nick of time. The ‘Treasure’ being:

The Finders Keepers 'Treasure' revealed!

The Finders Keepers ‘Treasure’ revealed!

Explanation: Easingwold Library hosts poet Anneliese Emmans Dean and her Big Buzz stories this afternoon.
TREASURE’

With Jess, Treasure found, outside Easingwold Community Library

With Jess, Treasure found, outside Easingwold Community Library

Some time later Abigail, the Radio York reporter, did reach us at the library. By this time, though, the Finders Keepers programme had finished, so there was no time to broadcast an interview with us about our event.

BBC Radio York Finders Keepers reporter Abigail with Easingwold Community Library volunteer Diana, and Jess, who saved the day!

BBC Radio York Finders Keepers reporter Abigail with Easingwold Community Library volunteer Diana, and Jess, who saved the day!

However, Abigail did record an interview with us, and it was broadcast around 40 minutes later (as part of the next programme, hosted by Ross Dickinson):

So, our event and the library did get publicity after all!

Following all this on a phone app in her car on the way down from Scotland was Lyn Fenby, one of the volunteers at Easingwold Community Library, and the person who had invited me to come and put on a ‘Birds and the Bees’ show for them. She and her family arrived at the library just in time for the event that afternoon. I’d like to thank her for inviting me to the library for – as you heard – the first of what they hope will be a series of regular, monthly Saturday author events held there.

Having spent quite some time at the library on Saturday (!), I got to see the excellent work the volunteers do there. It’s clear that this library – like all libraries – is very much a community resource, a community hub, and it’s vital that it stay open, continuing to serve its local community. Since April, when it ceased to be run and funded by North Yorkshire County Council, the only way it can continue to perform that vital role, is through the work of dedicated volunteers. Hats off to you all!

Gig-wise, what I really enjoyed about this one was the age range of the audience. From 8 to 80-something, I’d say. And at one time or another I saw smiles on all of their faces. Very gratifying.

Some of the audience joining in ...

Some of the audience joining in

Though most gratifying of all was when, at the end of the show, 8-year-old Gus from the audience spontaneously – and very fluently – read out my Kestrel poem from my Flying High! book. Fabulous!

And finally … as it happens, this was the first show I’d put on since it had been announced – the day before – that my book Flying High! had been shortlisted for this year’s York Culture Awards (in the ‘Excellence in Writing’ category). I was bowled over when Lyn mentioned this in her ‘thank you’ at the end of the show, and presented me with a fabulous bird-themed bottle of wine to mark the occasion. Gosh! It’s been quite a couple of days!

p.s. There’s been some lovely feedback on Easingwold Community Library’s facebook page:
‘We are keeping our fingers crossed that you will come back and see us again, such an excellent, inspiring, educational and buzzing workshop last Saturday, thank you again.’

Looking forward to a return visit already!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

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Flying High! at St Nicks

You may recall I am a Patron of St Nicks, the Centre for Nature and Green Living here in York. It was a great pleasure to put on a Flying High! show there last week, to celebrate the recent launch of my Flying High! book (and raise funds for St Nicks through book sales).

Flying High! at St Nicks

Flying High! at St Nicks. (Photo by Lewis Outing)

It was a particular pleasure as my secondary school English teacher Mrs Green was in attendance. If you check out the Acknowledgements page, you’ll see I have a word or two to say about her there! (N.B. She has been trying for some time to persuade me to call her by her first name, but after so many years of handing in homework to be marked by her, you’ll understand why I find that impossible.)

Another important person who turned up was Lewis Outing, who is one of the photographers whose bird images appear in Flying High! His upturned duck photo (on page 65 of the book) raised a laugh from the audience when it was projected onscreen as part of my show. And those ducks are, of course, St Nicks’ ducks – the photo having been taken along the beck that runs through St Nicks.

So here, for the record, am I with the aforementioned Lewis Outing and Mrs Green, and the yet-to-be-mentioned Ivana, who organised the whole event so seamlessly.

From left to right: Me, Lewis Outing, Mrs Green, Ivana from St Nicks

From left to right: Me, Lewis Outing, Mrs Green, Ivana from St Nicks

And as you’ll see, the rain actually held off long enough for all four of us to go outside and have our photo taken! Hurrah!

Ivana says she’s going to put together a little video of the event, so I’ll let you know when that’s available.

Meanwhile, thank you to all concerned with this event (especially to my parents for managing to make it there).

Happy birding, wherever you may be!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Little Feet fly high at York Theatre Royal

York Theatre Royal rang to the sounds of birdsong plus the patter of (relatively) tiny feet last Saturday. Why? Because storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I were putting on performances of our Flying High show there as part of the fourth Little Feet Festival of Children’s Theatre.

Catherine Heinemeyer and I performing Flying High at York Theatre Royal

Catherine Heinemeyer and I performing Flying High at York Theatre Royal (Photo: Eloise Ross)

Flying High takes you into the wonderful world of birds, through rhythm, rhyme, story and song. And – on this occasion – finger-puppets too.

Finger puppet at Flying High at York Theatre Royal

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

It was fabulous to see so many young children in the theatre, enjoying the (newly refurbished) spaces, and the shows and activities put on specially for them.

Taking part in Flying High

Taking part in Flying High (Photo: Eloise Ross)

How did our show go down?

Ursula’s mum called it ‘a wonderful show. My daughter loved it and was talking about it today when I poured her water at tea time!’

Listening to Catherine's story ...

Listening to Catherine’s story … (Photo: Eloise Ross)

And Festival co-organiser, Juliet Forster of York Theatre Royal, said she had ‘really enjoyed’ our show, and that it had been ‘a great addition to the festival’.

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

Flying High comes in lots of flavours, to suit different ages and attention spans, from tinies right through to grown-ups. Let us know if you’d like us to come fly high where you are!

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

Meanwhile, if you haven’t checked out the newly revamped York Theatre Royal, do. See what a £6 million redevelopment looks and feels like!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

 

Family Fun at Ryedale Book Festival

‘Step through the magnificent gates into a magical woodland world …’ the Festival brochure said. And it wasn’t wrong.

On Sunday, children, parents, grandparents and godparents galore gathered in Malton’s ‘secret garden’, Castle Gardens, for the Ryedale Book Festival Family Fun Day themed around nature.

The day started off with artist and illustrator Matt Sewell teaching us all how to draw birds, in his Spotting and Jotting workshop:

Matt Sewell teaching us how to draw birds

Matt Sewell teaching us how to draw birds

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Then storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I took to the stage to perform our Flying High show all about birdsong – ably assisted by members of the audience, young and not-so-young alike.

Catherine Heinemeyer and I performing Flying High, ably assisted by an audience member. Ryedale Book Festival, October 2015

Catherine Heinemeyer and I performing Flying High, ably assisted by an audience member. Ryedale Book Festival, October 2015

And the entertainments kept coming! I had had a word with the Mayor of Malton on the previous Friday about securing us good weather for the day, and she didn’t disappoint. It was a beautiful sun-soaked Autumn day. So we were able to enjoy and explore the outdoor space with a book-cover trail, particularly fine face-painting

Face painting by Sarah Corner

Face painting by Sarah Corner of facepaintingcorner.co.uk

… freshly baked pizzas and coffee and cakes, all accompanied by exquisitely crafted book-themed songs written and performed by the fabulous Bookshop Band.

The Bookshop Band at Ryedale Book Festival

The Bookshop Band at Ryedale Book Festival

Waterstones was on hand to sell books, with a nice big space for us authors to sign and dedicate copies for our readers.

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Signing copies of Buzzing! at the Waterstones bookstall

And whilst we were roaming the Gardens, Matt Sewell was at the boundary wall creating a wonderful bird-themed mural – a flurry of Long-tailed Tits:

Matt Sewell creating his mural at Castle Gardens, Malton

Matt Sewell creating his mural at Castle Gardens, Malton

All in all a lovely, lovely day with a huge range of inspiring activities and experiences for all ages. If you missed it this year, then do put Ryedale Book Festival in your diary for next year.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the Festival brochure:
‘The Ryedale Book Festival is an inclusive, community-led, not for profit organisation run by a team of dedicated volunteers with a passion for books. If you would like to get involved, contact the Festival team: events@ryedalebookfestival.com

And … it even has its own beer!

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Thank you to all the volunteers who put so much work into creating such a friendly and well-run Festival – especially Sarah Tyson, Audrie Woodhouse, Helen Lowdell and Pinelopi Bourke. It was a great pleasure to be part of it.

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Flying High again

Storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I had great fun last week when we performed our Flying High show all about birds to The Children’s Society PACT Project Youth Club here in York. I say we performed the show ‘to’ them. Actually ‘with’ would be a much more accurate term, as the Youth Club members joined in with great gusto. They joined in with the poems I performed and they told us all about the birds in their gardens and then at the end, we all made up a story together, about a robin.

Joining in the storytelling

Joining in the storytelling

Catherine and I were thrilled to read the feedback forms we asked our audience to fill in. All the young people and all their support workers said they’d enjoyed the show ‘a lot’, and they all said they’d learned new things about birds.

Filling in the Feedback Form!

Filling in the Feedback Form!

My feedback about the evening: it was a joy to perform for (with!) these young people, and to chat with them afterwards. Thank you for having us!

Me with Catherine Heinemeyer and one of the Youth Club memb

Me with Catherine Heinemeyer and one of the Youth Club members at the end of our show

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life

Flying High on Friday

Have you heard your first chiffchaff of this (so-called) Spring yet? A member of the audience at our ‘Flying High’ show on Friday has – in York Cemetery.

Don’t know what a chiffchaff sounds like? You obviously weren’t at our ‘Flying High’ show! I defy anyone who was there not to be able to instantaneously recognise a chiffchaff when they next hear one!

Thank you to everyone who packed Jacob’s Well on Friday and joined in our York Literature Festival ‘Flying High’ show with such gusto. And listened to Catherine Heinemeyer’s telling of the Sumerian Anzu Bird story with such attentiveness.

Particular thanks to John Illingworth, for taking these fabulous photos of the event:

Flying High with Catherine Heinemeyer at York Literature Festival. Photo by John Illingworth.

Flying High with Catherine Heinemeyer at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

How big is a herring gull's wingspan? This big! From Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

How big is a herring gull’s wingspan? This big! From Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Catherine Heinemeyer telling us the tale of the Anzu Bird, in Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Catherine Heinemeyer telling us the tale of the Anzu Bird, in Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Thank you too to Conor and Paddy, without whom we never would have got the venue set up in time!

And a big Thank You to Festival Director Miles Salter and his band of stalwart volunteers for putting on another fantastic York Literature Festival.

Oh, and if you’d like us to come Fly High at your school or event, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing Poetry to Life