Thursday, 18 July 2013

From Brüggen to Barnham

Last week Mike and I set out on another international adventure. It was a flying trip to Germany (in both senses of the word): we left home at 3.30 on the Wednesday and were back home by Thursday tea time... But boy did we manage to pack a lot into that time!
Our journey from Gatwick Airport (A) to Brüggen (B)
We were visiting Brüggen School, a British Forces School located right on the border between Germany and the Netherlands (see the map above). After a 1 hour flight we were picked up from Dusseldorf airport by Jimmy Caldwell, the deputy head, and whisked away for an evening meal with some of the other staff.

Brüggen Castle!
It was lovely to see a little bit of Germany as we sat outside, eating a delicious meal and chatting away. It turned out we were sitting right next to Brüggen Castle!

After this we headed into the British Forces camp where we were staying in the Officer's mess. Everything you could want was located inside the camp: a restaurant, the Naafi (just like the Coop in England), and even a bowling alley! On Thursday morning we were taken the short distance to the school (still within the camp)... and what a day we had!

The children were full of enthusiasm and we had so much fun bringing my books to life with them. It was a wonderful (and weird) feeling to be entertaining a group of British children in a British school, but in a foreign country. Both KS2 and KS1 were a delight to work with, and full of laughter. In the afternoon I had the pleasure of running workshops with KS2, turning their classrooms into spooky, haunted places.

As soon as the school day finished, we had to head straight back to the airport, in order to catch our flight home to England. We had a brilliant time in our first visit to a British Forces School, and we certainly hope it won't be our last! Thank you to Jimmy, Mandy, Di, Tony and all the staff at Brüggen who helped make our visit such a fantastic experience.

Back in the UK this week, we have had sweltering heat, and on Tuesday we headed the short distance to Barnham Primary School in Sussex for an afternoon presentation with KS2. But this visit had something extra special - my grandmother, who I call Nana Army, came to watch! She was going to take some photos of my presentation, but in the end she was enjoying it so much that she forgot to! So instead, here is a photo of me and Nana Army (if you can't tell, I'm the one on the right).

We were greeted by the enthusiastic head, Mr James Everett, and Clare Wallace, who helped us set everything up. The fans were all spinning in the school hall, which made the hot weather just about bearable. Having come in from lunch break, I thought the children might struggle in the heat of the presentation, especially when I got them all dancing, but they were amazing! They all got themselves fully involved and their laughter was infectious. Because they were enjoying themselves so much, it meant I put even more energy into my performance than usual - this was probably not a sensible idea on a hot day, and by the end I was exhausted. But I did not mind one bit!

The following day I returned for a big book signing. After over 2 and a half hours of signing books, it felt like my hand was about to drop off... Thank you to James Everett and Clare Wallace for making sure our visit was the perfect end to our school year! I hope this won't be my last visit to Barnham Primary.

Now I have a summer of writing to look forward to. Not only will I be writing my next 'Ghost' book, The Ghost Lord Returns, but I also have another REALLY exciting project that I'll be working on over the Summer. I can't tell you what it is yet, though. If you want to find out, you'll just have to check out this blog in September!

For now, I hope you all have brilliant, fun summer holidays!