In what I can only describe as a complete moment of lunacy, I volunteered to run an activity for my school's Activity Week which begins tomorrow. Activity Week is where the normal curriculum is suspended and students take part in other activities like business challenges, fishing, building dodgy looking go-karts and travelling to foreign climes. (Although I hope the foreign clime folks actually manage to get to foreign, because this week most of Kent has ground to a sticky halt thanks to the implementation of Operation Stack on the M20 because a bunch of arson-bonkers, self-serving French people have gone on strike in Calais with scant regard for the lives of anyone but themselves. Just don't get me started. Last time I buy a Citröen, I can tell you. And I may have to change my French-derivative name. Pah!)
Anyway, last September I said I'd run a cheap on-site activity. I thought, what can I offer? Sew a rucksack? Write a mini-novel? Papercraft an aardvark? Knit a Clanger?
Well, no. Because that would be too easy, wouldn't it? Too obvious.
What did I decide to do, then?
Doctor Who, of course!
Oh yes! I am tooled up with chicken wire, glue and several months'-worth of squirrelled away newspapers for paper mâche larks. I've got corrugated paper, tissue paper, crêpe paper, glittery paper, rainbow paper. I've got enough paint of many colours to cover a battleship (no grey though!) and felt pens and glitter and sheets of felt and foam. We are going to design and create Doctor Who monsters! We are going to do quizzes, watch classic episodes on DVD! We are going to storyboard a new Doctor Who episode and film it! We have got a real-life DALEK paying a visit! (But sshhh! Breathe not a word - the students don't know about the Dalek. It's going to be a massive Dalek surprise!)
I am almost getting excited about the whole palavar.
My last encounter with a Dalek was when I was around six or seven years old. I remember going with my mum and gran into the old Army and Navy store in the centre of town. Upstairs, in the toy department, there was a visiting Dalek. I could hear it - 'EXTERMINATE!! EXTERMINATE!!!' - and there was NO way I was going up that escalator towards certain death. I stayed on the ground floor with my gran whilst mum went upstairs with my brother. I tell you, I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't stuck to my six year old guns.
...today, the heatwave broke a little, thank goodness. Woke to a marvellous downpour which freshened up the garden and the air, and did its best to refill the water butt. The garden is looking good. We are picking courgettes, and the tomatoes, chillis, beans and aubergines are all putting on flowers like billy-o. The apple tree looks like it is going to crop very well, as does the Kent cobnut. Baby cucumbers are developing, too. We have lavender galore!
My press pass has arrived for my visit to the County Show next week in my new capacity as 'paid writer!' I get to park in the designated press car park and can avail myself of the facilities in the press tent, including free tea and coffee. I shan't avail myself of the coffee because I can't stand the stuff. I shall let my press cartoonist, Andy, have the coffee. He is coming along, too; he is going to draw a cartoon of a chicken on a forklift truck. There are minor ructions at the moment 'twixt Primrose and Camilla about who is going to pose atop the forklift. To be honest, neither of them looks great in a safety helmet. Or tankini.
Have spent today visiting the Dogs' Trust at Canterbury for the purposes of research, and reading for the purposes of having peace and quiet time. I am currently reading this...
...it is very entertaining and very thick so will last me a few more days yet. It also has no swearing, of which I approve wholeheartedly.
And that, my friends, is about it for today. I should have done some more novel writing this weekend but I am in 'thinking mode' with 'Clive and Min' at the mo. I had to delete the last bit I wrote because when I reviewed it I decided I didn't like one of the characters because he had become too major. This meant I then had to go back through the whole previous 20,000 + words and delete him and all his other interactions bar the one he fulfilled as a minor character which was my intention for him all along. I don't know - you take your eye off these characters for a few pages and suddenly they give themselves a promotion and write themselves into the limelight. Tut!
Timey-wimey then, to brace myself for a time-travelling week of Doctor Who. If I don't return, you'll know the Dalek, after 43 years, finally got me!