Day two and the sun was shining as we skipped and danced like carefree children from our hotel to the Bookmobile.
Okay, that’s only half true. I’m not a “morning person” and as a flabby 40-year-old I’d probably do myself a mischief if I tried to skip or dance anywhere.
But it was definitely sunny, which was something of a relief as ever since we left Scotland Beth, Antonia and I had been receiving smug updates from north of the border telling us how utterly AMAZING the weather was back home. Thanks a lot , Scotland!
Our first stop of the day was City Academy Whitehawk, a large red-brick school in the shadow of a low, grassy hill.
One of the first things we noticed as we looked out over the playground after setting up, were the 15 or so heavy-duty plastic pipes set upright into the ground.
Now, you may think plastic pipes are a fairly mundane, uninteresting part of life – but you aren’t a six-year-old. Judging by the massive queue of children waiting for a go, pipes are the in thing. Pipes are the new black. If you want to invest in something, invest in pipes.
The future is bright, the future is pipes.
Most of the play seemed to revolve around shinning to the top then simply dangling. We saw one red-haired girl who dangled for the entire time we watched. She may still be there for all I know.
The three of us oldies could only watch on enviously, knowing in our heart of hearts that our dangling days are behind us.
The “gig” (I’m going to start calling the events gigs to make me sound more rock ‘n’ roll) was a hoot. There were around 200 children from Reception age (5-ish) up to Year 3 (8-ish) packed into a large hall with a cinema-sized screen at one end. Seeing my face projected four-feet across isn’t something anyone should have to witness, but there was nothing we could do about it.
They were a lovely lively bunch, with some great imaginative ideas and loud, happy singing voices. Perfect!
A quick zip to a popular supermarket chain that rhymes with ‘jazzda’ to shovel a chilli cheese sandwich into my mouth and it was on to school number two of the day.
The staff at Saltdean Primary were wonderfully welcoming and ushered us into a bright hall with plenty of room for 200 children, a large author and a magic story hat.
We kicked off just after 1pm and before long the crowd of little-ones was bopping along to Zoom With A Boom – one of the most vocal groups yet. The Saltdean version of the song is a good bet for Christmas No.1 this year, gambling fans.
They also managed to come up with a decidedly spooky Jumblebum, with a row of eyeballs for one of his four legs and an arm made entirely of slime. Even the addition of a string of lovehearts for a mouth couldn’t sweeten the picture as my dreadful drawing skills made it look like a face-full of fangs!
Afterwards I signed books for a long line of delightful tinies. Yesterday the only child who picked Ping (which isn’t in the event) was, by sheer coincidence, called Evie, which is the same name as the girl who stars in the book. Today only one child out of 200 bought Ping – and guess what her name was . . .
If there’s anyone called Evie at the schools tomorrow I might just save time and give them a copy of Ping.
But for now the sun is still shining and the beach is calling. If you’re in Brighton and you see a middle-aged dad wearing saggy shorts and skipping shambolically towards the shore, avert your eyes – it will be best for both of us.