Saturday 25 April 2015


Missing you. 

Matthew - 1998 - 2015.

I've talked a lot about Matthew on this blog over the years and posted quite a few pictures, so it's only right I post a little something here. 

Matthew had cerebral palsy, but for someone with such profound disabilities, he had bags of personality. He couldn't talk, but loved listening to stories, and loved hearing people swear (especially his gran). He couldn't use his hands, but he loved hearing others drop things. And he couldn't stand or walk, but he took an enormous amount of pleasure from seeing others fall over.

Unfortunately, his CP got too much for him and Matthew passed away a few weeks ago (it's taken a long, long time to decide whether to put something on here). There is a huge hole in our lives now, but we're lucky to have had nearly seventeen years with the most fabulous kid I've ever known. 

No comments required - I just wanted to put a post on here. And here's a link to my favourite post, from the day when I took him for a walk in our mucky old wheelbarrow. Can't help posting the pic again here...

Saturday 15 February 2014

Always wanted to do this

Class 4 had a visit from a few snakes a couple of weeks ago. I went in to take a few photos, but while I was there, got the chance to hold this fabulous carpet python. I've always loved snakes, and held a few smaller varieties, but never anything like this. Childhood dream come true!

Monday 3 February 2014

Silly old fox, doesn't he know..?

There is such a thing as a Gruffalo! And today, I was it.

Possibly the worst Gruffalo costume ever.
 A few weeks ago I was asked if I would come down to the Foundation Stage of our school, dress up as the Gruffalo and read to the little'uns in Reception. I'm game for a laugh, so yeah, of course I would. I already had a home made costume from a few years ago when we came to work dressed as our favourite book character.

A few days later I was told there might be one or two parents present too. Last Friday, I was told it was going to be taking place in the hall, not the classroom. Today, five minutes before walking in, I found out why. The place was packed. About sixty kids, from Reception, plus morning and afternoon nursery, and all of their parents. There was a book stall, refreshments... I couldn't shake the feeling that they'd been keeping these little extra details quiet.

Anyway, when I got the shout, I ran in, roaring and waving my arms and let lunacy commence. We had a great time. I got most of the words right, avoided making any kids cry and only fell over once.

A big thanks to Sue D for asking me along. And yup, I'd do it all again. Great fun. :)

Monday 30 December 2013

Stephen King ruined my bathtime

Carrie - her bathtime clearly spoilt too.
I've just spent the last half hour in the bath with Stephen King. I don't mean I was in there reading his latest book - he was actually there in the bath with me! And it happens too many times to be just the wacky coincidence he claims.

Most people think Stephen King lives in Maine, USA. Wrong. He actually lives in a council house in Penshaw, just a few streets down from me. In most cases, that should be enough for us never to even see each other, but here he was, once again, trying to sound all casual as he smiled and said, 'I was just passing.' Then he sticks his head in through the door, sniffs and his eyes light up. 'Are you running a bath?' He holds up a loofah and a soap-on-a-rope and adds, 'Care to share?'

A voice in my head is crying out to tell him to get lost. He can't keep coming round here like this. But he's been my icon since I was a kid, so I sigh a reluctant, 'Come on in, Stephen.'

Let me make things nice and clear - bathtime with your hero is not the fantasy you might think. For a start, he's like six foot four or something, which doesn't leave a lot of room for me, but because he's so mega-famous he insists he gets the good end, which means I have to sit hunched up with the taps in my back.

This time, it was too much, so I told him straight. 'You know something, Steve-O?' (he hates it when you call him that). 'If I make it big in 2014, I'm going to build an extension, get a bath fitted and a totally separate combi-boiler, and charge you the cost of the bloody gas!'

He just sneered and said, 'Like that's gonna happen.'

And this is what gets me. The only reason he comes around here is because he thinks we've got something in common. 'Come on, Col. You're a writer, I'm a writer. Why run two baths?'  But as soon as he's all relaxed and happy he tries to belittle me. Every single time.

I'm going to start taking showers instead. 

Sunday 1 December 2013

Puppy Poppy Postpones Publishing

Well, how can you edit when you've got a 5 month pup on your keyboard demanding a walk?

Monday 5 August 2013


Came home from hols to find this.

I am now a black belt Teaching Assistant, capable of putting up bright displays in record time, straightening chairs to 1 tenth of a millimetre and sharpening pencils until they're really, really sharp.

On a more serious note, this marks a lot of hard work. Back in 2005, I was out of work. My son was in Year 1 at the local primary school and they needed parents to help out with a Walkwise Programme - helping children learn to cross the road. My wife suggested I go along, so I did and joined in for about 6 weeks. It was kind of fun, so I wrote up a CV and handed it in to the headteacher, telling her I'd like to do some voluntary work if she had any going. A few weeks later, I got a call asking me if I wanted to help out in Year 5. I can still remember the lesson - Miss Wardle teaching the cross pollination of flowers. I went back, two days a week for the next year. In the following year, I continued as a volunteer, but went to college too, to do a Teaching Assistant course. A year after that, I got a job. Over the past few years, I've done more and more teaching, so my head put me in for this HLTA thing. 
People complain that there aren't jobs out there. Well, maybe they're not falling off the trees, but if you look, and try, and actually knock on doors, you can find them. 

Same thing with writing. Put the work in, send it off, keep badgering those agents and editors and eventually, things start to happen.

Monday 17 June 2013

Arabesque Shortlisted for Award

Arabesque has made the shortlist of the Stockport Schools Book Award in the KS4 section. It is up against Cracks by Caroline Green and Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale.

There is a Q&A interview page on the Stockport site. Click here to take a look.

Writing Round-up and a Look ahead to 2024

2023 was a busy year writing-wise because I rewrote my first romcom in 1st person and relaunched it under a new title, Trust Me, I'm a L...