Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Mermaids, Ginger Cake and Vikings

 If you like children's books, then give  Ingo by Helen Dunmore a try. This story about mermaids off the Cornish coast was imaginative and thoughtful, and introduces the reader to two modern-day children who are grieving for their father. The mermaids may be enchanting but can they be trusted? I can’t wait to read the second in the new series.

Also good was  North Child  by Edith Pattou, which has elements of Beauty and the Beast and The Snow Queen. The heroine comes from a farming family who’ve run into hard times. She is pushed into a dangerous and scary life with a talking polar bear - but who is the polite stranger who sleeps beside her each night?

Several members of Riverside Writers enjoy reading children’s literature. They admit that having kids or grandkids is a great excuse to indulge in the latest stories. I have no such excuse - but who cares!
On Monday, May 24th, local author and playwright Marc Gee will be giving a public talk about his writing career and new novel. If you’d like to come along, you’d be most welcome. This event, which I organised, takes place at 7.30pm, West Kirby Library in The Concourse, Wirral. Entry fee £1.

Our bread machine died yesterday, mid-way through making ginger cake. I just transferred the dough to a bread tin and baked it in the ordinary oven, and it turned out fine - nice ‘n’ gingery! I do like ginger; my stomach likes it too. That probably sounds an odd thing to say, but you know how certain foods compliment your own body chemistry…?

Walking the dogs through Ashton Park at the weekend, I watched the Wirral Model Boat Club in full swing (full sail?) on the pond. They build themselves an obstacle course from thin, floating pipes then compete as to who can steer round it the best. There was quite a variety of toy boats - war ships, galleons, tugs, yachts, an oil tanker, a speed boat….

On the opposite side of the pond, huddled in the sunshine on the sandstone bank, was a family of mallards. The proud parents were standing over ten tiny, fluffy brown and gold chicks. Adorable!

Last time I’d been in Ashton Park was over the Bank Holiday (why do we have these, exactly?) when there’d been a kiddies fairground, plant and craft stalls, and Parkgate Pony Sanctuary were offering children rides round the Secret Garden. Of particular interest to me was the exhibition by local Viking re-enactment group Wirhalh Skip-Felag. I chatted to a lady, in full Viking costume, who was spinning combed wool by hand onto a bobbin ready for weaving.

In the corner of my eye I saw a certain Jack Russell Terrier about to clamp her sweet little mouth around a corner of one of the fur rugs they were standing on. Hmm… This is why door mats have a tough time in our house. Each time the postman calls by, the rug gets wildly thrashed from side to side by a nutty dog who’s doing her bit to show how tough she is, despite being the size of a bag of sugar. I had visions of Vikings sprinting round the park after a wolf-fur-stealing terrier.

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