Day 3 - Tuesday 11th September

Fort William & Aviemore

Fort William library was quite modern and included an area devoted to the Macmillan cancer charity. Like yesterday, we got a big welcome from the staff and schools. Caol Primary did an excellent performance of the “What the Ladybird Heard” song, accompanied by Malcolm on guitar. The ladybird’s costume was really effective, especially the wings, made out of cardboard and slit in two so that they opened when she bent over. And the Prize Cow looked irresistible in her spotty costume which she told me “My mum got for twenty pounds on the computer”.

Book Tour Day 3

Banavie Primary did a very sweet and original version of “Miss Macdonald Had a Class”, based on the characters from my books (“with a Stick Man here and a Stick Man there”, etc). We did the Nut Tree song with them and I felt quite weepy seeing them all grow from hazelnuts into trees with waving branches. Then we acted out “Monkey Puzzle” and “A Squash and a Squeeze”. At the long book-signing afterwards the kids were only supposed to get one book from home signed, but a little boy called Hamish kept joining the back of the queue with an extra book, hoping I wouldn’t recognise him.

In the afternoon we were in a brand new library in Aviemore. The library was attached on one side to the primary school and on the other side to the leisure centre, which seemed an excellent arrangement to me, as it meant the children could benefit from a professional librarian and good stock of books, while the library also drew in people who were visiting the leisure centre. We were treated to another version of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Alvie Primary. I especially liked the way they represented the egg by having one child curled round another, and also the cardboard circles they used for the caterpillar.

Then Gergask Primary performed “Jump In!” by Ian Whybrow, which was very entertaining – about a woman giving a ride to lots of animals who then got eaten by a tiger and hiccupped out again. The children were quite young but had bags of enthusiasm and confidence.
We then did the “Under the Water” song with the children making up verses (including “Swordfish spike you”!) and acted out “Paula the Vet” and “A Squash and a Squeeze”.

From Michael and Beth:

Very excited children, superb singers ... it was a very rousing rendition of A Squash and A Squeeze. I think we sold more books to the staff and teachers, than we did to pupils!

In the afternoon we were so very glad to be in a NEW library – and one that acts a focal point for the community. The library is in the same building as a leisure centre, service point, and primary school. It great to think that someone in the Highland Council has their head screwed on right.
Also, Beth has changed her mind, she now wants to live in the woods of Nairnshire.