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What a fantastic first day! You Scots certainly know how to make an English poet feel very welcome.

During this week I will be visiting ten schools in East/Renfrewshire – giving performances of poetry and music (with my guitar, Keith – not to mention some rather wonky honky tonk piano). During the shows we will even write a piece which the children can then use as a model to write their own poems. Today we wrote kennings. These were invented by the Vikings. They have two words per line and the second word ends in –er.  The Vikings called their swords ‘skull-splitters’. Nice! Kennings are great if you write them as riddles. See if you can guess which wild animals these kennings are about below!


Spent the morning at the wonderful Carlibar Primary School with P3 – 7. The head teacher Mrs Macintyre was an excellent host and even joined in during the performance! A real treat for me was that Alyssa from P4 came up and drew a picture of a puffin for us – and then, at the end, Sean and two friends came up and showed me their shape poems. They were fantastic – really well-written. One of them was in the shape of a military tank and all was about the horrors of war.  Very mature writing for a P7 pupil.

Thank you, Carlibar!

W h a t    A m   I ?

(Kenning by Carlibar P3-P7)

Cub – lover

Hunter – hater

Fear – giver

Breath – taker

Meat – eater

Trouble – maker

Cruel – creature

Savannah – dweller

Fierce – fella

Of all the mammals

I’m the best!

I’m a shhh…

Had you guessed?

(answer at the bottom of this blog!)


The afternoon was spent with P4 at the lovely Braidbar Primary School, in the library/music room. The very enthusiastic P4 have spent much time doing poetry and reading my work – and even joined in during my ‘Tree’ poem. Now I know how One Direction feel!  It was great to hear Nyasha and Ruby give a fantastic performance of their joint composition about a dad. Fabulous. Well done, you two! And doesn’t the teacher, Mrs McCowan have a lovely reading voice? She was so good I had to let her read all of my poem ‘World Of Weird’! A big thank you to P4 for all your super questions, and to Matthew for standing up at the end and thanking me on behalf of the class. The very best of luck with your poetry book about endangered species, P4!

W h a t   A m   I ?










Of all the predators

I’m the best!

I’m a shhh…

Had you guesed?


And a HUGE thank you to Beth and Antonia whose warm hospitality and uber-organisation skills are second to none! But an equally MASSIVE thank you to the wonderful sponsors, Scottish Friendly, without whom none of this would be possible.


PS Talking about puffins, where are they? This is my fifth trip to Scotland and I’ve seen nuffin’ of a puffin! Where are they?


Answers to kennings – Carlibar, it’s a …LION! Braidbar, it’s a …TIGER!

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