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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Eat, drink and write poetry!

What a beautiful park Rowntree Park is!

Rowntree Park in York on a sunny August day

Rowntree Park in York on a sunny August day

And what a beautiful place to have a Reading Café.

On the balcony of Rowntree Park Reading Café

On the balcony of Rowntree Park Reading Café

I have performed in this Reading Café before, and it seemed the perfect place to have the official launch of our York Food and Drink Festival ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats.

Now it just so happens that Salma was 8 last week, and one of her birthday treats was a trip to the Reading Café. Which is where I met her. And introduced her to our new placemats.

Introducing Salma to our new ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats in the Rowntree Park Reading Café, York

Introducing Salma to our new ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats in the Rowntree Park Reading Café, York. (Photo: AR Marketing)

I had the honour of performing my ‘Passion Fruit’ poem (which appears on the placemat) specially for her as a little extra birthday treat. And then she wrote a fabulous poem (in the space provided on the placemat) about her favourite food – which she’ll be entering into the Festival food poetry competition.

Salma with her freshly written food poem!

Salma with her freshly written food poem! (Photo: AR Marketing)

Not to be outdone, her 5-year-old brother Larbi also came along and wrote a poem for the competition about his favourite food.

Larbi writing his food poem

Larbi writing his food poem on our ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemat. (Photo: AR Marketing)

Well now, if Salma and Larbi can, so can you!

You can find our Poetry on a Plate placemats in cafés and restaurants around York, including Library Cafés (across York), Pizza Express (on Lendal Bridge), York Cocoa HouseWinner WinnerCafé No 8Walmgate Ale House & BistroEl PianoBirdies PerchCakes Delicious, Evie Brown’s Tea Room and Waterstones café.

Enjoy!

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

World Book Day 2015

World Book Day 2015: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It was the best of times, because I spent the day edu-taining the pupils at Byron House, St John’s College School in Cambridge with Buzzing! shows, poetry workshops and Rhyme Time Rambles:

A World Book Day Rhyme Time Ramble at St John's College School

A World Book Day Rhyme Time Ramble at St John’s College School

More Rhyme Time Rambling at St John's College School

More Rhyme Time Rambling at St John’s College School

And I got to meet lots of lovely pupils as I signed copies of my brand new paperback Buzzing! book:

15 - 03 - Buzzing at Byron House 1

Signing copies of my brand new Buzzing! paperback at St John's School in Cambridge

Signing copies of my brand new Buzzing! paperback at St John’s College School in Cambridge

It was the worst of times because I had to judge the school’s Buzzing! bookmark competition. This was an impossible task, as the children had come up with such a wide variety of fabulous bookmarks. See for yourself here:

Just some of the entries to the St John's School Buzzing! bookmark competition

Just some of the many entries to the St John’s School Buzzing! bookmark competition

Buzzing bookmark comp - 2

Eventually I did manage to select some winners, but I would like all the pupils to know how wonderful their bookmarks were, and what a joy it was to look at them all.

More beautiful Buzzing! bookmark entries

More beautiful Buzzing! bookmark entries

Thank you to all the staff and pupils at St John’s College School who made my World Book Day visit such a pleasure. Special thanks go to Julia Clarke, the school librarian, who did so much to enthuse the children about my visit in advance and to make it the success it was. I particularly enjoyed working with her to prepare my library poetry workshop.

What did the school make of my visit? Well, one member of staff said it was:
the best author visit we’ve had‘.
I can’t ask for better staff feedback than that!

More brilliant Buzzing! bookmarks

Yet more brilliant Buzzing! bookmarks

But did the children enjoy my visit? Well, here are some of their views:

‘I loved the way Anneliese performed her poems  – they were great!’

‘I liked Anneliese because she said that if you want to remember something you should write a poem about it. I think that’s really clever.”

‘I loved Anneliese’s visit as she was so inspiring.’

‘I loved Anneliese’s story telling in her Buzzing! show and I liked learning more about minibeasts.’

‘I loved the way Anneliese acted and the way her voice matched the insect and the way she remembered all those poems that she’d written.’

So, there you have it. If you’d like your school to have a buzzing visit, then do get in contact.

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

 

Ribbon cutting at Elvington Primary School

I have done many jobs in my time, from shop assistant to translator for the High Court in London, but last Thursday I added another string to my bow: I became a Ribbon Cutter! Yes, I had the enormous privilege of cutting the ribbon to formally open the new wing of classrooms and library at Elvington Primary School – as you can see in the article from The Press below:

Article from The Press, 5 March 2013

Article from The Press, 5 March 2013

The pupils of Elvington Primary School are extraordinarily lucky to have such a fabulous new block to learn in. I visited their school when they had a couple of Portakabins as classrooms instead, and this new building is so much better! It even has underfloor heating – so I was able to teach an entire lesson in my stocking feet! Deliciously warm! (And the good news is that where the Portakabins used to be, the children are going to have a wonderful garden where they’ll grow fruit and veg! F.A.B.!)

To celebrate the fact that the new block includes a library, I wrote a poem specially for the children to perform in praise of their ‘brilliant, brand new library’. Class 4 gave the world premiere performance of this poem as part of the opening ceremony in front of the whole school and lots of grown-ups who’d come specially for the ceremony. I’m pleased to say that the children did my poem proud!

Thank you to Head Teacher Mrs Rogers for inviting me to take part in such a special day at Elvington Primary School, and thank you to all the staff and pupils for for making me so welcome. I won’t forget the day I became a Ribbon Cutter in a hurry!

www.theBigBuzz.biz – Anneliese Emmans Dean – bringing poetry to life

Buzzing! in Haxby Library

Well, the weather was kinder this time than the last time I performed at a library in York – when the surrounding flooding was rather dramatic (view photos).  This time it’s New York that’s contending with flooding (and to all those affected by it, I send my best wishes). Here in old York we have blue sky, sunshine and stunning autumn leaves. Perfect weather for minibeast hunting! And for my Buzzing! minibeast show and book signing.

What a haven Haxby Library is! I hadn’t been there before, and was very impressed by the range of books and audiobooks for children and for adults, and by the warm, welcoming atmosphere – due in no small measure to the warm, welcoming librarian Linda.

Linda Parker, Sue Matthews and me at Haxby Library, 1 November 2012

Librarian Linda Parker flanked by Sue Matthews of CYC Library Service and me at Haxby Library, York, 1 November 2012

Our audience included some very knowledgeable children, who jolly well knew their arachnids from their insects! What did they make of my Buzzing! show?

‘It was fun and egecatinol’

‘Funny Poems’

And what did librarian Linda think?

‘I did not know what to expect.  45 minutes of looking at pictures of bugs projected on a screen did not inspire me.  I was very pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the event as did all who came. Many thanks for entertaining and educating us all in such a fun way’

Sue Matthews of City of York Library Service said:

‘The children (and me!) were transported to a fabulous, interesting world of mini-beasts. I really enjoyed your animated rendition of the poems.’

Well, that’s all very good to hear!

The cover of Buzzing!, by Anneliese Emmans Dean

The cover of Buzzing!, by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Thank you to Linda and to  Sue Matthews  for joining in with my Buzzing! show, and for being so helpful before, during and afterwards.

Oh, and you may like to know that City of York libraries are carrying out a public consultation at the moment. If you live in York, then do take part! You can find questionnaires at your local library, or online here for grown-ups and here for children.

Whilst preparing to fill in my questionnaire, I discovered that over half the population of York use our libraries, and that they  ‘are amongst the top 10% performing in the country whilst being in the lowest 10% in terms of cost to the taxpayer’.

Long may our excellent libraries continue, say I!

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz

Buzzing! Reading Café

Compare and contrast! This was Rowntree Park in York a week last Tuesday (25 September), just as it was being closed because the River Ouse had burst its banks and flooding was imminent:

Rowntree Park, viewed from the Reading Café, 25 September 2012

Rowntree Park, viewed from the Reading Café, 25 September 2012

And this was the same view yesterday (6 October):

Rowntree Park, viewed from the Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Rowntree Park, viewed from the Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Here again, the park on 25 September:

Rowntree Park play equipment, viewed from the Reading Café, 25 September 2012

Rowntree Park play equipment, viewed from the Reading Café, 25 September 2012

Versus the same view yesterday:

Rowntree Park play equipment, viewed from the Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Rowntree Park play equipment, viewed from the Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Though the Ouse has gone down now, the water seems to be staying firmly put in Rowntree Park.

‘The ducks are happy!’ said a young boy looking down on the remarkable view yesterday, as I was, from the balcony of the Rowntree Park Reading Café. Being high up, and having its own park entrance, the café is still open. Which is just as well, as that meant my Buzzing! event there could go ahead.

This was the first children’s event to be held in the wonderful Reading Café, and it was organised by City of York Library Services. I put on a Buzzing! show, and this was followed by a Buzzing! book signing and some wonderful minibeast craft activities, courtesy of Park Ranger Rachel Bell.

Judging by the smiles on people’s faces, the number of Buzzing! books they bought and the fabulous crafts they made, I’d say this first event seems to have been a success. Take a look for yourself:

A minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event in Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

A minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event in Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

Tansy beetle key ring, made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

Tansy beetle key ring, made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

I’d like to thank Danielle and her staff at the café for working around us on a busy Saturday, Frances Postlethwaite of the Library Service for inviting me to put on the event and for joining in with my show, as did Rachel Bell, whose craft activities were such a hit.

'Rainbow' dragonfly made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

‘Rainbow’ dragonfly made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

I’d also like to thank Stephen Lewis of The Press for the fabulous article he wrote for last Saturday’s edition, which several audience members told me was what had brought them to the Reading Café event.

Bumblebee made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

Bumblebee made by a minibeast crafter at our Buzzing! event, Rowntree Park, 6 October 2012

What I enjoyed most about the afternoon was seeing grandparents, parents and children all enjoying themselves together. Very rewarding.

Multi-generational Buzzing! book buyers, Rowntree Park Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Multi-generational Buzzing! book buyers, Rowntree Park Reading Café, 6 October 2012

Oh, and I was particularly chuffed when one father told me that he and his family had come along to my Buzzing! show at York Theatre Royal last year, and that when his daughter had seen the recent Press article about this event, she had insisted they come along to see me again. Gosh! What a compliment!

My next City of York Library Buzzing! event is on 1st November at 10.30am at Haxby Library. Tickets are free, and you can book yours on 01904 552660, or Haxby.library@york.gov.uk See you there!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life