Ian Whybrow

…coming soon…

Feb 28th, 2015. Fitness, Fastness and a Shrinking Latvian Chum

February 28, 2015 - Filed under: Blog - Leave a comment


Still able to play the sympathy card when I went to Hemel on Thursday to spend the day at Galley Hill Pri. it’s easy when you sound like the creature from the lagoon.

Invited by Emily the Literacy Co-ordinator to bring her 3 year-olds along to a session with Years 1 and 2, the lady who ran the afternoon nursery session very wisely decided that she would wait until she heard from the morning lady how her smalls got on with me. Come the afternoon, they turned up, the children blinking up apprehensively as 3 year-olds and baby owls do when they’re sat in a row in a strange room. The reports can’t have been too bad, then.

My darling has decided to fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays, inspired by a visit to old Latvian chums in Kington last week. Viktor had slimmed impressively by employing this method and Biruta assured us, “He gets ratty only in efenings”; so Ann decided that she’d give it a go. Biruta doesn’t say much. But she does like to get her oar in now and then. For example, Viktor was lamenting something that his put-upon- by- Nazis- and- Russians dad had told him “before he died…”

“Oh!” put in Biruta sweetly. “BEFORE he died, was it?”

Ann thought this was particularly neat, so I am expecting one or two chastening sideswipes as well as a more sylph-like companion.

Neatness of figure must have been on my mind this morning when I saw two mallards flying over Long Melford at astonishing speed early this morning:



One More Slice?

Those two ducks that just flew past

had their skates on!

How fat can you be and still go fast?

The debate’s on.



February 26th 2015. Animals: What is the Point of Them? The Unfluffy Truth.

February 26, 2015 - Filed under: Blog - Leave a comment

For the past few days I’ve been incapable of coherent thought and without motivation. It’s me chest, doctor. And me doze. Gawd, the stuff I’ve bin a-corfin up. I blame it on the Guernesaiaise. I spent a week among those Channel Islanders between Feb 9 and 13 visiting three primary schools a day in regions as much as twenty-five minutes from St Peter Port, to talk about my books for one of the best Schools Library Services still in business with professionally trained children’s librarians regularly seconded to schools to advise and direct reading . Sadly, there are not many of these left on the mainland and our children are the poorer for it.

Anyway. Those schools. And all that time ago. Delightful establishments they were, every one of them, but there is a rule that I always overlook until it’s too late: it states that the younger and more  innocent-looking the kids in the audience, the more potent , gripping and poisonous their germs. What I am suffering from is the authorial equivalent of farmers lung or pneumoconiosis. Every fule know that.

I did manage a short visit to St Martin’s Prep in Northwood on Tuesday 24th Feb but had to cut my losses and pack as many small boys as possible into a combined session in their splendid hall. I played the sympathy card, natch, and they responded with a quiet and intense attention – except during the Raaahry bits – that was humbling. Oh, come off it; it swelled the head, temporarily cleared the pipes and got the blood squirting round nicely.

The theme was animals, so that was alright; they got dinosaurs, endangered creatures, small wolves, meerkats, heroic hamsters, the lot – animals being the stock-in-trade of writers who need, not just to co-edition but simply to get published as children’s writers these days, while avoiding the problems that writing about humans incur – such as appealing to a particular race or sex; acting independently of parents; discovering secrets; doing daring things like rowing a boat, cycling through the countryside or the city, swimming without supervision in a lake, climbing up things, striking up relationships with strangers, etc. In other words, animals can get away with the things that health and safety rules and political correctness no longer permit. Of course, you can stay out of trouble by writing fantasy, by being facetious and exaggerated and by shifting the action to another time – but these modes don’t necessarily suit the readership or match the writer’s shifting sensibility. Oo, it’s a demanding bizz, this.

By the way, if in your germy state you visit (as plagues are said to visit) independent schools, naturally you get a kind and attentive minder like Dawn Davies here, but every now and then you get one of these, too … your own parking space.




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I’m off to Hemel today to Galley Hill Primary today. Softly I go now. Pad, pad. Cough cough.

Space! I must have space!