Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Itchingfield is up to scratch (yes, you may groan now)

Village schools are quaint. They just are. And Itchingfield Primary School is particularly so, nestled at a bend in the road, overlooking fields a few miles outside Horsham, not too far from Gatwick.

They don’t use a piercing alarm to start school they use an old school hand bell. It’s fabulous. What a way to start the day when the sun is beating down outside so that you can wear short sleeves in mid March. Of course Keith is from Scotland, so I had to explain to him what sun is as he had never seen it before, only read about it in books.

The pupils gathered in the hall, one of the smallest we’ve presented in and all the more fun for it. And off we went.

Great session, fantastic pupils and really friendly, helpful staff. And yet again a teacher won one of the books! That’s now 7 times in the last 14 school visits. Yes, we’re still keeping count.

Afterwards loads of people wanted books but of course we’d sold all that we could carry back in Crewe, so a lovely member of staff made a list of who wanted what and Keith will be popping a big box of them in the post to the school on Saturday morning. Most ordered books at this school were Lee and the Consul Mutants and Lee’s Holiday Showdown. It’s strange how favourites vary from school to school.

En route to Horsham rail station we dropped into Waterstone’s. There’s a great children’s bookseller there (Katie), wonderfully friendly and keen to hear about new titles, so we had a great chat. She ordered copies of DarkIsle, the Royal Mail Awards winner, and if anyone is interested in grabbing one of those I can highly recommend it.

She also ordered copies of one of the author bloke’s favourite books, Firebrand by Gillian Philip, which Amanda Craig in The Times described as ‘the fantasy novel of 2010’. They’ve sold copies of this one before and no wonder, it’s an amazing read, though for teens and adults rather than for those of primary school age.

Onto the train for the trek north to where the forecast suggests masses of snow will await us. Sledge time. Excellent!

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