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Chae Strathie

Day three began with a muffin (tasty) and the Bookmobile almost getting trapped in an underground car park due to a faulty exit gate (less enjoyable).

Thankfully Beth managed to negotiate our release with a disembodied voice on an intercom or else I may have had to conduct my first ever school visit over a phone from a car park.

Once we had a taste of freedom we flew like the wind – or drove like a people carrier, if you’re being picky – to the first school on the day’s itinerary, Brackenbury Primary.

After a warm welcome from cheerful Sue Langfield we were furnished with cups of tea and set up shop in the hall, which quickly filled practically to bursting with tiny people – or children as they’re also known.

The school or parents – or perhaps both – had clearly instilled a very positive attitude towards books and reading in the children if the responses were anything to go by.

To Beth’s question “Who likes books?” a forest of hands shot up. But one child clearly couldn’t contain himself. “I LOVE books!” he cried, his voice rising in an impassioned yelp above the hubbub of tiny chatter.

Small child, we salute you!

The kids had also practised a dance to go along with Zoom With A Boom, which was very pleasing to me as I’ve always seen myself as an innovator, inspiration and role model when it comes to dance. My “uncoordinated and humiliating dad shuffle” is legendary in my house. All you have to do is mention me dancing to my wife and daughter they burst into peals of happy, inspired laughter. It’s great to spread such joy. You’re welcome, world.

From thence it was on to Carden School on the other side of town.

We were shown to a large hall upstairs with an IMAX-sized screen at one end. Coming soon: Jumblebum 3D – just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bedroom . . .

More than 200 bright and bubbly children from 5 to 8 years old packed into the room like sardines with arms and legs and school uniforms and off we went again.

Many of the children had watched my “song choruses” video on YouTube before I arrived so knew the words off by heart. And, boy, did it show. They raised the roof with their fantastic, brilliantly boisterous singing.

Some great imaginative work resulted in a fine example of a Jumblebum, called Mr Jinglebingle Poopenator. The drawing was later won by young Sam, who bravely volunteered for some mindreading, although it turned out his name wasn’t Dougal Noodlebag as I guessed. My powers appear to be waning.

Later Antonia overheard him say winning the drawing made it “the best day of his life”! Good to hear, Sam.

As we left the school, tired but happy, we could hear a rousing chorus of Zoom With A Boom echoing down the corridor from a classroom.

It was tremendous to hear, but if you’re one of the teachers can I just take this opportunity to apologise. You may grow to hate that song.

Tomorrow is the penultimate day of the tour. Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself!

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