With her silver hair, trademark chunky jewellery, silver nails and silver-toed ankle boots, and consulting a silver pocket watch, Jacqueline Wilson sparkled yesterday at the Cambridge Literary Festival.
Of course, the packed-out audience expected no less from this twinkly star-author. She held us enthralled with a whizz-through of her early life, revealing that a general lack of encouragement from parents and teachers just made her ever more determined to become a writer.
Her English Language teacher scrawled ‘I don’t like your tone’ on an early essay, but these days Jacqueline has a legion of young fans who adore that instantly-recognisable tone.
There’s a treat in store next month, when Jacqueline’s latest book, Wave Me Goodbye, hits the bookstore shelves. It will feature Shirley, a 10-year old Second World War evacuee. She promises to be a fitting addition to Jacqueline’s line of remarkable protagonists.
Some trees look as if they were made to be story-tellers. I recently came across this one, mournfully watching the corridors of Heath Road Hospital in Ipswich:
I think he’d tell cautionary tales, urging us: Be careful of sharp things or Don’t play with fire.
And then there’s this cheery fellow, beaming out over a Suffolk village churchyard. I’m certain he’d tell us light-hearted, spooky stories:
Meanwhile, at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire, the magical Himalayan silver birches wistfully dream of their spiritual home in an ageless elven forest:
The Abbey birches are at their best just now, with their carpet of tiny tulips. Visitors this spring might also see this sleepy swan. If you spot him, look out for his mate nesting behind a curtain of foliage.
Details of Anglesey Abbey are here
This morning a hawkish pirate came plundering. He left me a neat garland of black feathers and one less song in the garden. Perhaps he has hungry baby pirates to feed.
I didn’t get a photo, but he had silver eyebrows and stripy pantaloons, and he looked like this:
So, I thought he was a goshawk, but no. Apparently female sparrowhawks also sport white eyebrows and stripy pantaloons, and they are much bigger than their males. So now I know my pirate was actually a girl. A mighty female buccaneer, but not quite as mighty as a goshawk.
Later, I found a pair of 7-spot ladybirds among the violet leaves. They made me smile. I hope they have a clutch of hungry babies!