Ian Whybrow

…coming soon…

March 22 and 23 Basingstoke and Back and a Bracing Evening

March 23, 2013 - Filed under: Blog - Leave a comment

I’ve been contacted via ianwhybrow.com by a chap called Ian Whybrow who was, as was I, born in Gillingham, Kent.

My darling’s name was once Ann Jones, so she’s used to having namesakes, especially among the Welsh and hearty tennis-playing types, but this is a first for me. Ian and I are going to have a chat at the weekend, I hope. It’ll be interesting to find out which branch of the family he sprouted from.

Slept badly and not looking forward to the drive through the rain to Basingstoke, though I know I shall enjoy South View Junior when I get there. I’m scheduled to talk to parents as well as kids, so I may test the waters to see whether they’ll take part in the Read a Book and Raise a Reader experiment.


Arrived incredibly early at South View Junior in agreeably clement weather. A large school with an Infant school attached, it’s on a very green, spacious and pleasant site. A lovely welcome from Liz, the Literacy Co-ordinator, whose ear I bent about the RABARAR scheme. She seems keen to give it a go. The displays around the school are magnificent both in the corridors and in the attractive library – where Harry and Little Wolf both got the treatment.



I spoke to Yrs 3 and 4 – and some keen, supportive parents. “Does anyone know anything about meerkats?” I asked. A smiling girl raised her hand. “Uhuh?” I said. “Honey,” she answered. “I don’t think so,” I said. “Maybe you’re thinking of bears.” One of the teachers told me afterwards her name was Honey.

It was a real pleasure to discover that the lady from the local School Library Service had turned up and that the school has a very successful working-relationship with her and her department in spite of all the pressures on both.

Shame it took me nearly 3 hours to crawl home in the crawling rain and pouring traffic. Wrung out, I suddenly remembered I had been called to The White Horse to celebrate the retirement of an old mate, Brian Holgate, after 42 years of Fizz and Fizz Ed. The celebration brought out so many cheery old ex-colleagues and ex-students of his and mine that I was really glad I went. One guy failed to respond when I put out my hand – and I realised that his right arm was hanging at his side. He reminded me that it had been rendered useless in a motorbike accident years ago. I asked him how long it had taken to readjust to life with one arm. “I sulked for a year,” he said. “And then I realised there’s nothing I can’t do – except clap.” He still plays squash, drives a motorbike and now owns a racing car with a gear shift on the steering wheel. Brrm brrrm.

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