#MondayMotivation

I happened to hear Ed Sheeran on Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 yesterday. Time and again when he was setting out he was told by record labels he approached that ‘No-one wants to see a ginger white guy rapping’. Despite that, he stayed true to himself, stayed true to his dream and kept on knocking on doors. And the rest is history.

This inspiring story reminded me of a poem of mine. So for anyone in need of a little motivation today, be it because of SATS or GCSEs or dissertation or … life, here’s a little something I hope will inspire you to reach as high as high can be:

If you’re interested, you’ll find more of my poetry videos on my Videos page, or at my YouTube channel.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

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Berberis sawflies 2016

They’re back again! For the 11th year in a row we have Berberis sawfly larvae on our Berberis bush here on the outskirts of York- as you can see below:

Berberis sawfly larva on our Berberis bush, 8 July 2016

Berberis sawfly larva on our Berberis bush, 8 July 2016

I first saw the adult sawflies here this year on 12 June:

First adult Berberis Sawfly of 2016, spotted on 12 June

First adult Berberis Sawfly of 2016, spotted on 12 June

Despite minor depredations by the larvae, the Berberis bush is still stonkingly healthy.

Our Berberis bush

Our Berberis bush

This year its beautiful orange blossom attracted the daily attentions of a Hornet – the first time I have seen this happen.

Hornet feeding on our Berberis bush, May 2016

Hornet feeding on our Berberis bush, May 2016

You may recall that when I first spotted Berberis sawfly larvae here, it caused a minor sensation – in the sawfly world, that is. To read the full Berberis sawfly larva story, click here  and here. It’s a long story, and includes the Natural History Museum in London and a World First for me here in Heslington. You might want to brew a cuppa before you embark on the saga …

Meanwhile, if you’ve got Berberis sawflies – or any other sort of sawflies – where you are, there’s a British Sawfly recording scheme that would like to hear from you. Email your sighting (including date and location) to britishsawflies@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk.

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Fizzing at the University of York

I had the honour of being invited by the University of York Disabled Students’ Network to speak as part of their ‘Access Your Future’ event last week.

Their invitation explained the nature of the event as follows:

‘We are inviting speakers who we believe to have interesting and empowering experiences to talk about their journeys and successes. We are looking for our guests to speak or run interactive workshops addressing achievement in the face of adversity.’

It was a great pleasure to meet the attendees, and I’d like to thank them all for making such fabulous real and metaphorical lemonade with me during my workshop.

Making lemonade at the University of York

Making lemonade at the University of York

I trust you found the event as a whole useful – inspiring, even – and I hope most sincerely that you will all succeed in making your futures fizz!

Making lemonade at the University of York

Making lemonade at the University of York

A big ‘thank you’ to Evelyn Kramer of the Disabled Students’ Network for all her excellent organising and administrative work around this event.

Fizzy metaphorical lemonade, as created by members of the Disabled Student Network

Fizzy metaphorical (poetry) lemonade, as created by members of the Disabled Student Network

And congratulations to the DSN committee as a whole on being ‘Highly Commended’ in the recent Love York Awards.

Anneliese Emmans Dean theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

 

More big garden thrills

This time last week it was a Hummingbird hawkmoth and young robins that were providing big thrills in our small garden on the outskirts of York.

This week it’s a Hairy shieldbug (Dylocoris baccarum):

Hairy Shield 2SM

A Hairy shieldbug on one of our poppies, 15 June 2015. Dig those colours!

and a recently fledged blue tit harrying its parent for food:

Blue tits - 16.6.15 - SMppm

Blue tits on our aquilegia, 16 June 2015

There’ll be more about these blue tits in my next book, Flying High, which is the bird sequel to Buzzing! But you’ll have to wait till next year to read that …

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for big garden thrills where you are!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

 

Food Fabulous Food for Life

Friday 13th doesn’t sound like a very propitious date for an awards ceremony. But the one held at Clements Hall in York on Friday 13th March was a big hit. I know. I was there!

Food For Life Partnership Award winners

York Food For Life Partnership Award winners

Six local York primary schools gathered to receive their Food For Life Awards, and to show us what they had been doing  to improve – nay transform – the food culture in their schools. It was very inspiring!

The schools received their awards from the Director of York Food and Drink Festival, local restaurateur Michael Hjort of Meltons. As part of the celebrations a variety of food-related activities were put on for the children, including an interactive poetry performance from me, smoothie making with UGOT, and seed sowing with Garden Organic.  Oh, and there was poetry writing too …

Yes, ably assisted by Vikki Pendry of York Edible Schools, I ran a couple of poetry writing workshops in which the children created some fabulous poems about mystery fruit and veg.

Here I am trying to guess the veg …

What's that veg? Pupils read their mystery veg poems to me

What’s that veg? Pupils read their fabulous mystery veg poems to me

A big thank you goes to Chloe Smee of York Food for Life Partnership, who put so much work into making the afternoon such a success. (And, indeed, into making the whole FFLP work so well in York.) You can read more about what we all got up to here.

Chloe Smee of York Food for Life Partnership

Chloe Smee of York Food for Life Partnership

Best of all I was given a special invitation to go and enjoy a school lunch at one of the award-winning schools, Fishergate Primary. I’m very much looking forward to this!

However, now comes the hard work, as a group of us grown-ups have to select the very best of the poems the children wrote. Why? Well, these poems will feature on special place mats that are going to be created for local restaurants to use in this September’s  York Food and Drink Festival. (You may recall I have performed as part of this festival.) I’ll let you know when and where you can find these place mats. Will you be able to guess the fruit or veg?

(Stop press: You can read about a similar event in Calderdale here. And if you’d like some poetry performance and workshops on the subjects of food, healthy eating and growing where you are, just get in touch!)

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

Buzzing! for grown-ups

For a Buzzing! review with a difference, may I point you in the direction of Mark Avery’s blog?  There you’ll find an assessment not only of the content of my book, but also of my drinking habits and even the quality of my handwriting!

The bit about my book is interesting as it gives you a grown-up’s perspective on Buzzing! Which, in Mark’s case, is that:

‘The poems are very catchy and often contain a lot of information – learning the poems is an easy way to learn the information … This seems like one of those rare successful mixtures of science and art … I really like the book.’

Phew! And I, as it happens, really like the book Mark Avery has written called Fighting for Birds. I shall tell you more about his book on another occasion, but for now you can find out more about it here and more about Mark (whom you may recall I met at the Hay Festival recently, when we were both recording programmes for BBC Radio 4) here.

If you too are a grown-up and would like to experience a live grown-up version of Buzzing!, then come along to the ‘green heart of York’ that is St Nicks this coming Tuesday 15 July, where I’ll be performing a promenade version of Buzzing!

The nature reserve at St Nicks is a fabulous place to wander through on a summer’s evening (weather permitting), so who knows what flora and fauna we’ll find there. Indeed, some of its fauna found their way into my Buzzing! book, and I’ll be showing you exactly where I found them and took the photos.

A Cinnabar moth caterpillar that features in my Buzzing! book and that I found and photographed at St Nicks, York

A Cinnabar moth caterpillar that I photographed at St Nicks, York, and that features in my Buzzing! book

The evening starts at 6.30pm with formal St Nicks matters. You can arrive in time for that or come a little later, at around 7pm, when the promenade will begin.

Either way, the evening’s events are free, and will be followed by a (discounted!) Buzzing! book signing session at the end of the promenade, with 20% of the price going to St Nicks.

St Nicks is just off Melrosegate in York. You can find directions here.

I’ve performed lots of Buzzing! shows for grown-ups before, but I’ve never done a promenade version, so this will be a world first! I do hope you can come and join us.

(P.S. Older children are welcome along too!)

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

St Nicks – then and now

What a difference 6 months makes!

Last December I was at St Nick’s (aka York Environment Centre) lamenting the demise of the much-loved York Rotters, as you can see below:

Today I was back at St Nicks (now minus apostrophe) for a much more upbeat occasion: a triple celebration!

We were celebrating the relaunch of the 16-year-old charity that is St Nicks (now aka ‘The Green Heart of York’) , celebrating 20 years of turning this former landfill into a wonderful green haven, and celebrating 10 years of its being designated a Local Nature Reserve.

The great and the good turned out for this occasion, and they were introduced by St Nicks Chair Yashpal Anand:

St Nicks Chair Yashpal Anand introducing the speakers at St Nicks, 10 May 2014

St Nicks Chair Yashpal Anand introducing the speakers at St Nicks, 10 May 2014

Speeches were given by the MP for York Central, Hugh Bayley:

Hugh Bayley MP speaking at St Nicks, 10.5.14

Hugh Bayley MP speaking at St Nicks, 10 May 2014

by the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Julie Gunnell:

Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Julie Gunnell, speaking at St Nicks, 10.5.14

Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Julie Gunnell, speaking at St Nicks, 10 May 2014

by the Chief Officer of St Nicks, Tom Waring:

St Nicks' Chief Officer Tom Waring gives his speech

St Nicks’ Chief Officer Tom Waring gives his speech, 10 May 2014

Oh, and by yours truly – in my role as a newly appointed Patron, no less:

St Nicks Patron Anneliese Emmans Dean gives a speech at St Nicks, 10.5.14

Giving my first speech as a Patron of St Nicks, 10 May 2014

I was ably assisted in my speech-giving by Bethany who, at the crucial moment, provided the ‘Ta Daa!’ moment, by unfurling (what we boldy claim to be) the world’s longest apple poem, written by visitors to St Nicks on Apple Day 2011:

Bethany unfurls The World's Longest Apple Poem, written by visitors to St Nicks' Apple Day 2011

Bethany unfurls The World’s Longest Apple Poem, written by visitors to St Nicks’ Apple Day 2011

I read out a portion of this poem at the end of my speech, as it – inadvertently – encapsulates the history of St Nicks, from a forgotten seed in a desolate landscape, to a richly biodiverse community hub.

(from left) The Lord Mayor of York, me, Hugh Bayley MP, and Tom Waring admiring (what could be) the world's longest apple poem

(from left) The Lord Mayor of York, me, Hugh Bayley MP, and Tom Waring of St Nicks admiring (what could be) the world’s longest apple poem, 10 May 2014

After the speeches came green activities for all ages, including smoothie-making by pedal power:

Making smoothies with pedal power! St Nicks, 10.5.14

Making smoothies with pedal power – as invented by Alfred Chow.  St Nicks, 10.5.14

and a tour of the Nature Reserve, led by my former English teacher Mrs Green. (Now there’s a terrifying thing – giving a speech with your former English teacher present!)

Mrs Green leads a tour of St Nicks, 10.5.14

Mrs Green leads a tour of St Nicks, 10 May 2014

If you haven’t been to St Nicks yet, then I thoroughly recommend it. It will recharge you, body and soul. Today the chiffchaffs were singing, the newts were swimming in the pond, and there was delicious home-made cake to eat. What more could you ask for?

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