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

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Buzzing! anew

I’m delighted to be able to announce that the first print run of Buzzing! has sold out! So, whereas my Buzzing! book used to look like this:

Cover of 'Buzzing! - Discover the Poetry in Garden Minibeasts' by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Original cover of ‘Buzzing! – Discover the Poetry in Garden Minibeasts’ by Anneliese Emmans Dean

It now looks like this:

Cover of the new 2014 reprint of Buzzing!

Cover of the new 2014 reprint of Buzzing!

Yes, the second print run has a slightly different front (and back) cover, and now proudly bears the logo of the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize.

I first got to see this new impression at the Hay Festival, where halfway through my book signing the books changed from old to new covers.

My first glimpse of the new reprint of Buzzing!

My first glimpse of the new reprint of Buzzing! at the Hay Festival

I’d like to guarantee anyone who bought a copy of the first print run that – if they keep it in pristine condition – it will one day be worth as much as a first edition of the first Harry Potter. However, although I’ll do my best, I don’t think that’s a guarantee I can guarantee!

Instead, I suggest you take your copy of Buzzing! outside with you and start putting it through its paces as you enjoy looking for the creatures that appear in its pages. That’s what the book is for. Enjoy!

If you’d like me to sign a copy of the new-look Buzzing! for you, then come along to the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London on Saturday (5 July), where I’ll be performing my Buzzing! show at 1pm and signing books afterwards. Entry is free! See you there …

And if you can’t make London on Saturday, you can always order signed copies (with a personal dedication, if you’d like) from my website.

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

Sisters are doing it for themselves

You may recall we have Tree bumblebees nesting in the birdbox in our garden. A couple of weeks ago I noticed something strange going on there. My husband thought he might know what it was. I ran his idea past the ever wonderful Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and they confirmed he was correct. (Of course!)

What was going on? All is revealed in this video.

Be warned: Maria Callas I am not! Oh, and I’m no Steven Spielberg either! But enjoy, nevertheless …

If you want to know more about Tree bumblebees, you can listen to me perform a poem about one particular such bee (on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour) here.

And you can see me perform a couple more of my bumblebee poems here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life

 

Feed them bees!

Although it’s now the beginning of November, on sunny days you may well still see some Queen bumblebees out in your garden, feeding away. They are certainly out and about here in York:

Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee feeding on Mahonia here in York, 29 October 2013

Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee feeding on Mahonia here in York, 29 October 2013. Photo by Anneliese Emmans Dean

These Queen bumblebees need to build up energy stores to see them through their upcoming hibernation. And in many areas it’s up to us to provide them with flowers to do this! In fact, it’s up to us all to provide as many bumblebee-friendly flowers in our gardens as we can all year round. Why? Well, check out this video:

So, have you got flowers blooming in your garden now? Have you got bumblebee-friendly flowers in bloom right through the bumblebee year? How bee-friendly is your garden? To find out, try out the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s simple online Bee Kind tool.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust's Bee Kind toolIt will help you create a fabulous bee-friendly garden all year round.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust's online Bee Kind tool

What do we want?
Lots more flowers!
When do we want them?
Now!

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

Bee happy!

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust‘s Buzzword newsletter arrived today, and I was delighted to read the first article, all about the Bees for Everyone launches I took part in in May. Turns out they thought the poem I wrote for them, and performed with local schoolchildren, ‘stole the show’ in London and was ‘show stopping’ in Edinburgh too!  Take a read below (or as a pdf):

Bumblebee Conservation Trust's Summer 2012 Newsletter

Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s Summer 2012 Newsletter

Well, that’s very good to hear! Especially on the day I saw a huge (and gorgeous) Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) queen on the lavender in my garden. At least I think it’s a queen . I’ll upload it to the BBCT’s BeeWatch scheme and double check! (Meanwhile, you can find out more about Tree bumblebees  here.)

Tree bumblebee queen in my garden in York, 27 July 2012. Photo by Anneliese Emmans Dean, www.theBigBuzz.biz

Tree bumblebee queen in my garden in York, 27 July 2012. Photo by Anneliese Emmans Dean, http://www.theBigBuzz.biz

Check out the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s website for how you can Bee Kind in your garden, and for how to submit photos of the bumblebees you see to their BeeWatch survey.

Oh, and if you’d like a poem writing and performing for your event, get in touch!

P.S. I’ve just heard back from the BeeWatch people, who tell me: ‘it is difficult to separate queens from large workers as there is an overlap. All I can say is that it is possible to be a queen because of the time of year. It is the end of their season.’

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz

Bee Kind to bumblebees

It’s not often I find myself edu-taining the Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries (Richard Benyon MP) and the Scottish Environment Minister (Stewart Stevenson MSP) about the importance of bumblebees, but that’s exactly what I was doing last week, at the national launches of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust‘s ‘Bees for Everyone’ project:

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) had commissioned me to write ‘a political poem about bumblebees’ for these launch events.  As you can see, I performed the poem with the able assistance of deely-bob-clad schoolchildren.

Richard Benyon MP, Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, helping to launch the BBCT's Bees for Everyone project

Richard Benyon MP, Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, helping to launch the BBCT’s Bees for Everyone project

The London launch took place at Battersea Arts Centre, whose entrance is decorated with beautiful bee mosaics!

Bee mosaic at Battersea Arts Centre

Bee mosaic at Battersea Arts Centre

The children assisting me were from Stoneydown Park Primary School – all prize-winners from the BBCT’s bumblebee art competition. Their prize included copies of my newly published Buzzing! book – with a Foreword by the BBCT’s CEO Dr Ben Darvill – for their school library. (The copies kindly donated by my publisher, Brambleby Books.)

Me with one of the prize-winning children and his copy of my Buzzing! book

Me with one of the prize-winning children and his copy of my Buzzing! book

Take a look at some of the children’s wonderful bee pictures:

Prize-winning bumblebee picture

Prize-winning bumblebee picture Prize-winning bumblebee pictures

The Edinburgh launch was at the stunning (and gorgeously sunny) Royal Botanic Garden (where I had performed my Buzzing! show a couple of years back as part of the Edinburgh Fringe).  The children at this launch were from Duddingston Primary School in Edinburgh, and they had also taken part in a bumblebee art competition:

Edinburgh prize-winning bumblebee pictures, by Duddingston Primary School pupils

Edinburgh prize-winning bumblebee pictures, by Duddingston Primary School pupils

These children were also presented with a copy of my Buzzing! book – by the Scottish Environment Minister …

With Environment Minister, Stewart Stevenson MSP presenting a copy of my Buzzing! book to a young bumblebee artist

With Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson MSP, presenting a copy of my Buzzing! book to a young bumblebee artist

… and Scottish tv’s Beechgrove Garden presenter, George Anderson.

Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson and tv's George Anderson presenting my Buzzing! book

Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson and tv’s George Anderson presenting my Buzzing! book to Duddingston Primary pupils

The Edinburgh launch also featured rather fabulous bee cakes and buns, created and donated by Edinburgh Cakes.

Fabulous bumblebee cake and buns

Fabulous bumblebee cake and buns

The great and the good were at both these launches, during which the Bumblebee Conservation Trust introduced their new ‘Bee Kind’ app. Go take a look – it’s a great way of making sure you have the very best selection of flowers in your garden to attract bumblebees through the year.

Professor Michael Usher OBE, FRSE, Chair of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, launching the Bees for Everyone project

Professor Michael Usher OBE, FRSE, Chair of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, launching the Bees for Everyone project

And in case you were wondering why you should bother about bumblebee numbers – bear in mind that 84% of our crops are pollinated by insects, including bumblebees. (A point I tried to make in a slightly more entertaining way in my poem, as you’ll see in the video above.)

Many thanks to everyone from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for inviting me to be part of their launch events, especially to CEO Dr Ben Darvill for commissioning  a poem from me and seeing its potential, to Gill Perkins who organised the London launch, and to Linda Evans who organised the Edinburgh launch. Thank you too to all the schoolchildren who joined in my poem with such gusto – and to the staff who chaperoned them.

I wish the BBCT the very best of luck with their vitally important Bees for Everyone campaign.

With Gill Perkins, who organised the London launch of Bees for Everyone

With Gill Perkins, who organised the London launch of Bees for Everyone

Anneliese Emmans Dean – info@theBigBuzz.bizwww.theBigBuzz.biz