Diana, Richard, Judy and me
It is – as anyone with a pulse must realise – exactly twenty years since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and I have been reminded all this week of the tiny part I played in the strange events of the week immediately following the shocking news. As well as the inevitable tributes and […]
My poor old piano: what do I do?
My piano has been ruined and I don’t know what to do about it. I can honestly say my piano has – by quite a long margin – given me more hours of pleasure than any else I own. I’m no great player. I’m a thumper who settles for “good enough”, but I practice almost every […]
Leo Baxendale, and how I nearly became a cartoonist
When I do school visits, the Q&A often includes the question: “If you had not been a writer, what would you have been” The answer, usually, is “a cartoonist”. (More accurately, I suppose, a cartoonist is what I would have liked to have been, rather than what I would have been.) The inspiration for this is Leo […]
Me and the world’s greatest magician (and Keith Chegwin)
Uri Geller is at it again, and proving once more that our appetite for his particular brand of film-flam remains remains unsated. Check this out: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/uri-geller-cia-wanted-turn-weapon/ Yes, this is Uri is on the front page of the UK’s Daily Telegraph today with a story picked up by most of the other newspapers. He is claiming (yet again!) that, back in his […]
World Book Day and the nicest school I have ever visited
I have now done two World Book Days as an author, and I always think back to the ones when my own two children (now 14) would dress up for school as a favourite book character. We did, among others, Angelina Ballerina (a fairly easy costume, that one, largely achieved with face-paint and a […]
Lost ‘Two Ronnies’ sketch
Well, by “lost” I mean “not on Youtube” which, I realise, is a different thing altogether, but I’d love to see it again. It’s one of their wonderful songs: they are street sweepers and that’s about all I can remember, other than it was hilarious. Every now and then I check to see if someone […]
You’ve GOT to see this (honest!)
A ragtime version of Fur Elise? Bring it on! It got me thinking: is Fur Elise the best-known “classical” piano piece? Or is it just a staple of British piano lessons? Anyway, this is great, and gets better. Just when you think, “Oh yeah, I get it, very clever…” he turns it up a […]
The first copy!
Exactly a year ago, I was eagerly awaiting the appearance of Time Travelling With A Hamster in the shops. If you had asked me if there would be another book in a year’s time, I’d have said, “I hope so,” with little idea of what that would entail. In fact, I knew there would be another: I […]
“Blue Peter” and me
From the age of about six to twelve, one thing marked the passing days as surely as swimming with Dad on Saturday, church on Sunday, scouts on Friday, and that was – every Monday and Thursday on BBC-1 at 5.00pm – Blue Peter. Even the Blue Peter year had its own internal calendar: the lighting of […]
Accent mystery solved!
In my last post, I queried the accent given to the late Duke of Windsor by the actor Alex Jennings in the Netflix series “The Crown.’ A reader, Mr RT of New York, emailed an explanation for the apparent failure of the actor to reproduce faithfully the “received pronunciation” of the time, and to pronounce words […]