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Saturday, 29 October 2011

A Horny Problem ...

After the last author talk for a while, it's time to get back to preparations for The Kelpie's Song panto. Rehearsals are going well, and the actors are beginning to do without their scripts so their acting's coming on in leaps and bounds (literally!).

Masks for the 'fish sprites' are made, and now all that's left to do is finish King Kelpie's mask ... and there's the rub. Because - sshhh! don't tell - King Kelpie is ACTUALLY King Unicorn, who's been put under a wicked spell by Esmeralda Crystal (boo! hiss!). And the culmination of the panto is the re-attachment of his Royal Horn.
Now, making this horn has been quite unexpectedly challenging. Here are the Horns So Far:

Horn no 1 - cardboard with paper mache
Horn no 2 - kitchen roll inside 
Horn no 3 - Adam's idea, an ice-cream cone coated with PVA
Horn no 4 - foam rubber ...
... carved into shape
There's still a bit of work to be done because - yes, you spotted it, the 'horn' looks more like a courgette at the moment. Or a baguette. Or The Gherkin. Or ... suggestions welcome, but be careful!!!!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Castle Hamster goes to Turnberry!


There can't be many more salubrious locations in Scotland than the famous golfing hotel, Turnberry, and that's where Castle Hamster and I headed yesterday for the Turnberry Children's Book Event today.

Alongside Linda Strachan, Frank Rodgers, and Maggi Gibson, I gave a talk about There's a Hamster in my Pocket which - of course - culminated in the Toffee 'n Caramel game!


Books were provided for sale by Scotia Books, and the event was sponsored by The Herald, so of course there were lots of photos taken. Here I am with Calum and Emilia (and Caramel and Toffee, balanced precariously on their shoulders) being posed on the grand staircase. I was particularly impressed by Emilia's wonderful PINK outfit - she was a perfect Castle Hamster helper!

Thanks also to Emilia's mum for taking this, and several other, photos.


The event was organised by Gayle Harthill, and it went extremely well.

I spent Thursday night being thoroughly spoilt - wined and dined to the accompaniment of a lone piper pacing the ramparts, then sleeping in the most luxurious bedroom I've ever seen; and after my event Gayle kindly took this photo of me with the doorman, Mark Armit, who is seen here wearing his special Turnberry tartan. Could Castle Hamster be Turnberry's new Pets' Wing I wonder? It does match remarkably well!

And after all the excitement, I went off to the delectable spa and swam and sauna'd to my heart's content - a great end to a great day.

Amazing the places a couple of robot hamsters can get you into, isn't it ...

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

EAR we go!

Today I worked on the Kelpie mask. I covered the wire armature for the nose with plaster bandages, then attached ears:

It's definitely looking more horse-like. I'd have liked the nose to be a bit longer, but I feel that would cause major problems with weight, and make the whole thing very awkward to wear.

Mind you, I think even as things stand it IS going to be very awkward to wear, and before I do too much more I'm going to let Allan try it on.

He must, after all, be able to:

BREATHE
SEE
SPEAK
and
SING


Fingers and hooves crossed!!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Wigtown Book Festival

Well, the Wigtown Book Festival is over - and Toffee, Caramel and I had a great time!





Here I am in the Children's Marquee waiting for the audience to arrive. I'm with Esther, who introduced me very professionally.










And in full flight, ready to start the Toffee 'n Caramel Game ...




... with my two helpers, Ben and James.

We're preparing to play the game with the Toffee 'n Caramel 'robots', and we did play four quite exciting rounds with them; but Ben and James had brought along a very, very special little visitor and so we got to play one very very special round with HIM ...



Yes - here he is - Jock the Real Live Hamster!

Jock must have an Equity Card hidden about his little person, because he was a real pro!

After a bit of a clean in the middle of Castle Hamster, he proceeded to explore. First he gave the portcullis an exploratory nibble, before moving on for a more serious chew of Exit 2.

Fortunately he then (to my relief) delighted the audience by EXITING - and believe me, it was one of the most EXCITING EXITS in Castle Hamster history!

Three Cheers for Bold Sir Jock of Wigtown!

And many thanks to Zoe Bestel for taking the photos, and for Heather for being such a Calming Presence!