Yes, I abandoned John again this week and have been working away from home for 2 nights.
On Monday afternoon, straight after my life-drawing teaching at the university, I took a train to Bristol, to pay a visit to Chewton Mendip Primary School, in a little village near Bath.
They have been having a Book Safari - great eh? Fortunately, I have plenty of books featuring wild animals, so we were all set.
I began Tuesday morning with the littlies: the children in Rabbit and Hedgehog classes. We read stories about wolves and anacondas, then they helped me to create this VERY wild looking Googly-Oogly creature, pictured here gobbling up poor Mrs Graham!
The older classes had animal names too: Y3/4 were Badgers, Y4/5 were Squirrels and Y6 were Foxes, so I began their workshops with a big flipchart drawing of their animal. Thank goodness they weren't named after anything weird that I couldn't draw (I once had real trouble when someone requested an off-the-cuff seahorse!).
We had 2 whole days to play with, so I could see each of these classes twice: once for a writing workshop, and then to illustrate the stories they had written.
We had a 'lucky-dip' to decide which animal each class would write about and what their hero's particular problem was. We had stories about crocodiles with belly ache, warthogs who wanted to learn to fly, and badgers who were consumed by jealousy!
Everyone was really enthusiastic and the children came up with some lovely ideas: one of Mrs Johnson's Badger class for instance, described their crocodile as being 'scaly like a swimming pool' - what an original thought.
A massive thank you to Mrs Huffadine for putting me up, feeding me and keeping me company in the evenings. I had a lovely view from my bedroom window - just look at this sunset from Tuesday night:
The drawings are my train sketches from the journey: a 3 hour trip to Bristol. As usual, the sketching got me into conversation: two women on their way home from an outing to see Strictly Come Dancing, were celebrating with a bottle of champers, and they insisted I have a glass (well, a cardboard ex-coffee cup). It's wonderfully up-lifting when complete strangers are so kind.
There's not room for all my train sketches here, so I'll put the overflow in the Picture Gallery if you're interested.