- Mike Barfield (who wrote gags for Chris Tarrant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire – check him out at http://www.mikebarfield.co.uk/)
- Henry Raby (punk poet extraordinaire – http://henryrabypunkpoetry.blogspot.com/)
- Rob Nightingale, performing his ‘irreverent and hilarious songs’
- Union Jill (female acoustic duo – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Union-Jill/257257524321243)
- And me, performing poems about life, the universe and everything – including bacon sarnies.
It’s happened once before. Last July I was performing on a barge and was upstaged by … the resident parrot:
Yesterday I was performing in Poppleton, and was upstaged by … a musical tie! Yes, ’tis the season to be jolly, and so Mr Chris Spencer decided to get into the festive spirit by sporting his best novelty Christmas tie to my Rhymes of the Times show. Only he accidentally nudged said tie into action during my show – much to the hilarity (once we’d tracked down the source of the ‘music’) of the rest of us! Take a listen …
I performed two Rhymes of the Times shows this week, in which I ran through the events of the past year in satirical poems. The surprise hit of both shows was one of my February poems, entitled ‘Sports Thoughts’, which you can hear here:
Feedback from both this week’s shows was great:
‘Made me forget all my aches and pains!’
‘Really, really lovely!’
‘I enjoyed it immensely!’
But the Ledbury Poetry Festival is far from being a once-a-year flash in the pan. It works throughout the year to promote poetry amongst people across the age range. And as part of this work, I had the great good fortune to be invited back to Ledbury last week to work in a couple of local schools.
What did I get up to in these schools? Well, I’ll let the Cradley News tell you:
‘Poet and photographer Anneliese Emmans Dean entertained us all with her brilliant ‘Buzzing!’ show – a selection of her wonderful poems and stunning photographs with musical interludes. We also learned quite a lot of science along the way! Anneliese worked with all the children throughout the day: Years 3 and 4 wrote beetle haiku poems; Years 5 and 6 wrote minibeast poems and Key Stage 1 became a giant millipede!’
There are some very talented budding poets down Cradley and Bromesberrow way, and I very much enjoyed working with them and watching them perform their poems at the end of the day. I was also thrilled to read some of the poems that KS1 pupils had written in class after our Millipedes Galore workshop. Take a look at this wonderfully imaginative piece from Owen, for example:
There are also some talented naturalists. When I got to the ladybird section of my Buzzing! show, for instance, the pupils at Bromesberrow told me they had a whole crowd of ladybirds in the very room I was performing in. So, I went to have a look, and lo and behold it was a cluster of Harlequin ladybirds.
I had heard of Harlequin ladybirds massing like this, but I’d never actually seen them doing so. They provided a very useful springboard into our beetle poetry writing. But I’m not sure I’d like a whole host of them in my house!
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in my Herefordshire adventure, including the wonderful Fran Godfrey, who ferried me through beautiful countryside to the right schools at the right time, Victoria Patch and Chloe Garner of Ledbury Poetry Festival, and Alan who allowed us to stay in his beautiful house.
Thank you to the ladies of Adel Ladies Luncheon Club in Leeds for making me so welcome last week. I greatly enjoyed meeting them, sampling their delicious food, and then entertaining them with a ‘Garden Heroes and Villains’ Buzzing! show.
I have had some lovely feedback from the ladies about the show, including from Margaret who wrote that it was:
‘Fantastic. The best talk ever!’
Speaker secretary Maureen wrote that it was:
‘Excellent. Bright and colourful and lively and very interesting.’
Meanwhile, it was also very enjoyable to meet the Senior Tours Canada party who were visiting my home town of York last month. I entertained them after their evening meal at the Dean Court Hotel with a ‘Bugs of York’ Buzzing! show. I introduced them to, at one end of the spectrum, our beautiful Tansy beetles (only found in York) and, at the other end, the Death watch beetles that are trying to eat their way through some of our historic buildings. And there were plenty of butterflies and bees inbetween.
The Senior Tours Canada Tour Leader, Jane McKay, wrote afterwards that the show was:
‘Really fun and interesting!’
It was very interesting for me too to hear from members of the party about the wildlife they have in their gardens in Canada, including Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds …
If you’d like your after-dinner entertainment to be Buzzing!, then contact me to discuss your requirements.
John Rayson and I performed our Buzzing! show to an enthusiastic audience at the South Holland Centre, after which I led a Millipedes Galore workshop in the beautiful nearby Ayscoughfee Gardens. (Read all about it)
Children and grown-ups alike proved themselves very adept at being a millipede (see photo above) and at making up a poem and at finding all sorts of minibeasts, including hoverflies, woodlice, ants, worms, butterflies and lots and lots of 7-spot ladybirds.
When I left, one little girl asked her parents when she could come to a Buzzing! show again. Mission accomplished!
Thank you to all the staff at the South Holland Centre for making John and me so welcome. And thank you to the parents and children who accompanied me back to the South Holland Centre after the workshop, and for pointing me in the direction of the station!
“This is a moth
This is noth …”
followed by moth trapping in the cemetery grounds by Yorkshire Moth Man Dr Dave Chesmore.
The moths were a little backward in coming forward, but we did see Flame Shoulders a-plenty along with, amongst other things, an Ingrailed Clay, Green Carpet, Pale Prominent …
… a Heart and Dart and this utterly amazing (IMHO) Pale Tussock:
If you missed this Buzzing! Moth Night, fear not – Dave and I will be putting on a whole Moth Day at St Nicholas Fields/York Environment Centre on Saturday 27 August, in which you really will find out everything you always wanted to know about moths, but were afraid to ask!
Can’t wait that long? Then let us put on a Buzzing! Moth Night where you are! Contact me for more details!
Many thanks on this occasion to Clive Dawson of York Cemetery, Dave Chesmore and to Jean (for bringing me my bell!) And to everyone who came along and joined in the event.
OK, so it’s been quite a news-heavy week this week, what with the shooting of Bin Laden and, here in the UK, the referendum on AV.
However, the biggest news of all, of course, is that it’s been National Compost Awareness Week. Which is why I spent all day Wednesday in the company of Years 3 and 4 at Headlands Primary School in York, teaching them my eco-musical ‘Compost! The (mini-)Musical‘.
I was ably abetted in this venture by Rachel Simpson, the Sustainable City Education Officer for York.
The children learned fast and with great enthusiasm, and performed the musical at the end of the day to the rest of the school with great gusto.
The feedback we had from the children was great. Many thanks to them, and to the Headlands staff, for their warm welcome.