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.

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


The Royal Wedding

Well, I certainly hadn’t expected that I would end up as part of the BBC Radio York Royal Wedding commentary team on Friday, but that’s exactly how things turned out …

The Royal Wedding in BBC Radio York's Breakfast Show studio, with host Adam Tomlinson and Fashion City York's Russell Norton

The Royal Wedding in BBC Radio York's Breakfast Show studio, with host Adam Tomlinson and Fashion City York's Russell Norton

I had been invited in to encourage BBC Radio York listeners to write some Royal Wedding ‘ditties’, and to perform some Royal Wedding poems of my own, which I duly did:

But as the morning went on, and the guests arrived in their stunning (and not so stunning) hats, and Princes William and Harry set off for Westminster Abbey, I became more and more engrossed in the spectacle …

and more and more carried away by the whole affair …

And along with Russell Norton of Fashion City York, I stayed right up to the moment Kate Middleton entered Westminster Abbey at 11 o’clock, at which point BBC Radio York handed over to Radio 4 for coverage of the wedding service itself.

As Kate made her way to Westminster Abbey, I was serenading her (had she but known it) and the Radio York listeners with a poem:

When I left the BBC Radio York studios in the centre of York, I was greeted by the fabulous sound of the bells of York Minster pealing in celebration:

Then I made my way back to my home village of Heslington …

Heslington Village decked out for the Royal Wedding

Heslington Village decked out for the Royal Wedding

… for our Royal Wedding street party:

Our Royal Wedding Street Party, 29 April 2011

Our Royal Wedding Street Party, 29 April 2011

Many thanks to host Adam Tomlinson and all the team at BBC Radio York for inviting me to be part of this historic day.

A shop window display in Bootham, York, on Royal Wedding Day, 29 April 2011

Janette Ray Antiquarian Booksellers' window display in Bootham, York, on Royal Wedding Day, 29 April 2011

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz

First Kindle book – Rhymes of the Times 2010

Maybe you missed my Rhymes of the Times show last Saturday (described by one audience member as ‘Electrifying!’) Maybe you were there but want to savour the poems at your leisure. Well, either way,  Rhymes of the Times 2010 is now available for you to read on Kindle!

No Kindle? No problem! You can also read it on your PC, your iPhone, your Android phone, your Mac, your iPad or your iPod Touch – just by downloading the free software available at Amazon (Click here and scroll down to find the ‘Read books on your computer or other mobile devices’ links on the right-hand side.)

Rhymes of the Times 2010 - Cover

Rhymes of the Times 2010, available now for Kindle

Rhymes of the Times 2010 whisks you through the events of 2010 in lively satirical poems – including some you heard first on Radio 2, Radio 4 and the BBC World Service.

From the British General Election to the football World Cup, from the Icelandic ash cloud to the launch of the iPad, from women bishops to our awful weather – all these and more are included in poems to amuse, provoke and entertain you.

All this for an introductory price of just £4.99. Go on – treat yourself!

Anneliese Emmans

A poem for the BBC World Service

It’s not every day that I get asked to write and perform a poem to be heard by 50 million people around the world. But that’s exactly what happened this week.

The BBC World Service’s flagship environment programme, One Planet, commissioned me to write a poem about the wildlife of my home city, York, here in England. My poem is included in this week’s programme, broadcast to coincide with an important UN biodiversity conference taking place in Japan.

In my poem, ‘My Biodiverse City’, I highlight some of the wildlife wonders that so enrich my life in York – including the stunning Tansy beetle, which is only found along the banks of the river Ouse here.

Tansy beetle in York. Photo © Anneliese Emmans Dean

Tansy beetle in York. Photo © Anneliese Emmans Dean

York is justly famous around the world for its history, but less so for its natural history. It was great to have the opportunity to celebrate some of the wildlife we have here too.

You can hear me performing ‘My Biodiverse City’ at the One Planet page of the BBC’s website (click on the 28.10.10 episode), or as an audioboo here. And there are some photos of mine to accompany the poem at One Planet’s flickr pages.

And if you’d like to find out more about the wildlife of York – in verse – then come along to my award-winning Buzzing! show, which celebrates just that in poetry, music and projected images. I perform versions for adults, for families and for schools.

Anneliese Emmans

World Poetry Day thrill

Today is not only the first day of Spring, it’s also World Poetry Day. What a great combination!

To mark the beginning of Spring, we had a visit from a Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee, who spent much time in our garden sunbathing, preening and looking for a suitable nest site, as you can hear here:

To mark World Poetry Day, I was invited to discuss poetry on the Radio 2 Arts Show with presenter Eve Pollard and – what a thrill! – the most marvellous Roger McGough.

The Arts Show also commissioned me to write a poem for the occasion, ‘And the winner is …’, which I read live on air. You can read my poem here:

and listen to the poem here:

World Poetry Day is a UNESCO initiative, and the poets they are promoting particularly this year are the Indian Tagore, the Chilean Neruda and Césaire from Martinique.

If you’d like to find out more about any of these poets, then I think a good place to start is with Neruda’s ‘Arte de Pajaros’ (Art of Birds). If your Spanish isn’t tip-top, then try the bilingual edition published by Lynx which has beautiful colour illustrations.

Now that Spring has sprung, the birds in our garden are starting to sing gloriously. Enjoy the poetry of the birdsong where you are!

Anneliese Emmans

Poetry on BBC Radio York

For my first paper review of the year on Julia Booth’s Saturday Breakfast Show on BBC Radio York, I took along a little poem I’d written specially for Julia. You can hear it here:

Anneliese Emmans

Musical superstars at Sutton Bank

Well, I don’t think many of the people who braved the elements today to come to Sutton Bank Visitor Centre in the glorious North York Moors were expecting to become world musical superstars today. But that’s exactly what happened!

Radio York’s own Jonathan Cowap was at the ‘My Awesome Planet’ event being held at Sutton Bank, where I was teaching ‘Compost! The (mini-)Musical‘ to any of the visitors who fancied taking part.

The children, mums, dads and grandmas who volunteered learned the complete musical in a mere 30 minutes. And then they performed it!

Their audience consisted not only of visitors to Sutton Bank, but also, thanks to the presence of Radio York, the whole of the rest of the world …

‘Even Africa?’ asked one participant. Yes, thanks to the internet, even people in Africa could hear these wonderful performers!

‘They look like they’re having a fantastic time!’ said Jonathan Cowap.

Thank you to everyone at the Visitor Centre for welcoming us so warmly. And to Jonathan Cowap from Radio York for coming and listening to us. To Sally Ann Smith for organising the My Awesome Planet event. And most of all to the fantastically talented performers.

Think global! Compost local! Now!

At the 'My Awesome Planet' event at Sutton Bank, North York Moors

At the 'My Awesome Planet' event at Sutton Bank, North York Moors

Fancy putting on Compost! The (mini-)Musical yourself? Find out more about the Compost! The (mini-)Musical Teaching Pack with Resource CD here.

Return to theBigBuzz website