Hooray – It’s the Guernsey Literary Festival!

Last weekend I was in a local dance competition – Strictement – to raise funds for St Saviour’s Community Centre. Huge tick on my bucket list, I can tell you… But I won’t go on about that here. Instead, it’s time for the Guernsey Literary Festival, and I get almost as excited about books too. I’m helping out at a couple of talks, and really looking forward to the (sorry, sold-out) session tonight with Adam Kay, of This is Going to Hurt fame.

It always astounds me that our little island is such a creative hub, and the range and fame of authors coming to treat us this weekend is as mind-boggling as ever. As a volunteer I could have given Lionel Shriver a lift from the airport but I was worried I’d be too star-struck and might say something stupid (although I adored her short story collection, Property).

There’s always too much to cram in – next time I think I need to book myself a mini-break at the Old Government House Hotel and pretend to my family that I’m not here, so I can max out on all the opportunities.

But back to that family… My daughter was thrilled to write to Nigella a few months back, and get an actual hand-written response to her questions, so now, enthused by the Literary Festival, she’s penned a little note to David Walliams in the hope of getting him over next time:

Fingers crossed. In the meantime, there are still tickets available for a number of child-friendly events, including story time with Sophy Henn and her Ted stories, and a session with local husband-and-wife team Charlie and Magnus Buchanan with their original illustrated folk tale, Invasion of the Wavelets.

There are also some mummy-focused talks by blogger and novelist Helen Wallen, and by author and adventure activist Jessica Hepburn who will be discussing her biography 21 Miles – the story of how she met and ate with 21 inspirational women and then swam 21 miles in search of the answer to the question: ‘Does motherhood make you happy?’. Great question. I can’t wait!

Read the book, got the tea towel…

Photo from VisitGuernsey

Guernsey has had such an exciting time in the last week, when Hollywood came here for the Guernsey premiere of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society film. I tried really hard to win tickets to the black tie premiere event or the special preview screening, but to no avail.

I had to make do with the ITV facebook livestream of the red carpet event, with the lovely Lily James, Greg Powell, Sir Tom Courtenay, producer Paula Manzur, director Mike Newell and screenwriter Thomas Bezucha strutting their stuff.

I’ve also been following Lily’s official instagram feed  and was completely delighted to find photos of her in very familiar Guernsey locations – including Cobo, Fermain Bay, the Little Chapel and in the little alleyway in between Town Church and the Albion pub –  dazzling in stunning Valentino, thanks to her (Guernsey!) stylist, Rebecca Corbin-Murray.

The Guernsey Literary Festival has also launched early with some special Potato Peel talks, and I was at St James on Saturday to hear local film aficionado and presenter Wynter Tyson interview producer Paula Mazur, co-novelist Annie Barrows and screenwriter Thomas Bezucha (modelling a brand-new Guernsey, btw) about bringing the novel to the big screen. Really fascinating (and moving) insights with some interesting questions from the floor. PS Paula said she’d never been treated to such a great black tie premiere before, so well done Guernsey!

Guernsey is well and truly in the limelight right now. Here’s a great short film about the history behind the film, on the Telegraph website, made by the film producers. And here’s Lily James’ interview in Saturday’s Times… She’s even wearing Guernsey wool whilst being interviewed!

I’m a big fan of the novel (think it’s time for a re-read) and I really do have the tea towel. My friend Athene Sholl is a jewellery designer and even has her own range of gorgeous potato peel-themed jewellery (you can take a look at her Etsy shop here.) Another friend, Jessica, is running a Guernsey giveaway competition on her instagram page/blog The Open Home. I just need to watch the movie now.

While I’m waiting, I might just try out one of these this potato cake recipes we found at the Occupation Museum too…

GO GO GO Joseph!

We’ve had a busy season ’round here with the Guernsey Eisteddfod – with countless classes in Music, Speech, Drama, French and Arts & Crafts including a bit of family involvement – and just a teensy weensy bit of pride on my part – *sniff*. So many islanders really get involved and give the Eisteddfod their support, and I loved seeing the few classes that I managed to get to.

I never cease to be blown away by the incredible pool of talent we have here in Guernsey. I’m going to resist saying  that we ‘punch above our weight,’ because that phrase really annoys me, but you know what I mean. In sport, music, the performing arts…you name it!

We’re barely out of another incredible Eisteddfod season, and here GADOC are with their latest, wonderful production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. With quite a few, fresh-out-of-the-Eisteddfod faces too. How do they fit it all in, I wonder?

We had the privilege of a) actually getting tickets (as ever, it was a sell-out) and b) seeing the first performance. And it was jaw-droppingly good.

The choreography was first class, the singing and acting flawless and the costumes stunning. It was lovely seeing the 21 youngsters in the choir integrated with the ‘older’ cast members and I seriously had to stop myself from joining in with the iconic numbers. Not that it would have really mattered.

If you haven’t got tickets, I’m sorry, but for those lucky ones who have, you’re in for a treat.

Caring Café

My daughter spent yesterday evening fiddling around with an origami book and a stash of gorgeous paper squares, so she was tickled pink when we arrived at the Caritas Community Café in Town this morning to discover their perfect display of delicately folded paper cranes in the window.

It’s a wonderful community initiative, run by volunteers, and the inclusive welcome those people provide is heartwarming.  We’ve always been made to feel at home. The food and drinks are home-cooked and very good value (my coffee and three hot chocolates came to £5), and the philosophy is that, if you can, you pay a bit extra to pay ahead for someone less fortunate than you.  Continue reading

Mini obsession

IMG_3815It’s pouring with rain outside, so it’s a perfect time for some West Show prep. My 8 year old is planning a mini fairy garden and I’ll admit that I’ve become a little obsessed with all things tiny. It’s actually very therapeutic. We’ve been collecting mini windfalls, got thimbles from the Red Cross, bought a couple of things from Oatlands craft shop and have been debating whether to actually plant some grass seed (I think not).

I’ve just found our little Goodness Gang seed pots from the Co-op which would be great in a mini garden; I’m just hoping they will germinate as we’re a bit late with it!  Cress ought to be safe.

Right now, my daughter’s Fimo toadstools are baking away in the oven.

Les Bibides

This morning, we were so glad to discover the Les Bibides class, run once a month by the Guernsey Language Commission, and Jo in particular – to teach Guernésiais (Guernsey French patois) to pre-schoolers. Held in Le Grand Courtil in St Martin’s, we popped along there for an hour or so with my three-year-old and his eight-year-old sister and they really enjoyed it. Continue reading

It’s Showtime!

It’s that time of year when this lovely old-fashioned booklet starts appearing in every (properly) local shop and veg stall.  Two came home in book bags.  It’s West Show time!

Now, I’m a relative newbie to this scene; I’m imported from the UK, for a start, and we’ve only lived ‘out west’ for the last five years, so we’re pretty insignificant in this neck of the woods.

Let’s be clear.  The West Show is a BIG DEAL.  It’s also a whole lot of fun.  The summer holidays just wouldn’t be the same without it, and I’m proud to have taken part in our own little way since the kids have been at the local school. Continue reading

SING at Beausie

Yesterday didn’t start well on the weather front, but Beau Sejour had a solution for the afternoon in the form of a ‘Sing’ event in collaboration with the School of Popular Music. On the concourse, the school had set up electronic drum kits, electric guitar and bass stations, keyboards and ukuleles for kids to try out, and in the Dave Ferguson Hall you could try your hand at karaoke or dancing to the sounds of the DJ. Then we chilled out in front of the fantastic film, Sing.  Highly recommended, and well done for an inspiring afternoon, Beau Sejour.

Bibliotots

This week we joined the bubbly Juliana of The French Workshop for her fun-filled session of Bibliotots at the Guille-Alles library. It happens every Monday, 11-11.30 term-time only for pre-schoolers (you can book by calling the children’s library on 743635).  She also visits local pre-schools and nurseries. My little one’s been along twice now and has enjoyed sharing the French books and nursery rhymes with Juliana.