Monday 22 November 2010

Latin and Greek for All & Felix The Fast Tractor

I met the author of Felix the Fast Tractor yesterday at Hexham Christmas Fair and I immediately wanted to rave on about her books.

Catherine Cannon is based in Cumbria, Penrith and she has written four books about Felix. The illustrations and storyline are delightful and my little son (aged 4) already loves them. They are a good mixture of story and fact e.g. "Want to know more about low-loaders?" (a different fact tip is written inside a tractor tyre in the corner of each page at the bottom). We have searched and searched for books a bit like Thomas, the Tank Engine, but they seem to be thin on the ground. This is why it is so fab to have a local author discussing life on a country farm with some interesting facts and tips. The stories are all about a family: Farmer Story, Mrs. Story, Max, Lucy and their dog, Ben..not forgetting Felix the Tractor! There are more (f)activities on the Felix website and a competition to win a ride on a tractor on Facebook. My daughter (aged 7) loves the Felix tales too!

Catherine Cannon has not paid me to review her books and we paid to buy them...that's how enthusiastic I'm being! (I've asked her if I can display Felix on my sidebar. ) The marvellous and very lifelike illustrations are by Jean Murphy and June Allan.

At the fair I also met Julie Oswald from The Cloth Shed and her vintage stall looked very inviting. So I'll be popping over to her blog and website on a frequent basis. She's just blogged about her recent visit to Paris to see her daughter (and there are some super photos of Paris all lit up for Christmas). She recognised me from this blog (I'd not met her before) which knocked me for six. I'm chuffed to bits! She's a lovely person too so why not take a look?

I also caught sight of a £2.5m campaign being rolled out by Bettany Hughes, Ian Hislop, Colin Dexter, Boris Johnson, Tom Stoppard, Joanna Lumley to name just a few to get Latin and Greek taught in all Britain's state schools within ten years. The article "Latin lovers march on UK schools" was printed in yesterday's Sunday Times (page 3 main news section). It is impossible to reproduce it here sadly. Bettany Hughes, who is spearheading the campaign, was quoted as saying that she gets 150 mails a day from people asking where they can go to learn Latin and Greek. Minimus has sold 115,000 copies now and the movie 300, about the battle of Thermopylae, took $72m in its first weekend.

Forest Murmurs (a.k.a Fr. Michael Brown) reproduced the Bettany Hughes on Women's Hour Transcript (talking to Jenni Murray) here and there is a fascinating debate on the level of interest in Classics (at a local level) as well in his blog's comments' section.

I cannot contain my level of excitement at this. We are currently deciding how best we can teach it here - say, over a weekend, as I'd love to teach it from the New Year onwards and combine it with a site visit over to Vindolanda. My brain cells went into overdrive at 2.35 this morning I could not get back to sleep! I've started teaching it for practice to my mum and Patricia, a fellow volunteer. So hopefully watch this space!

(P.S. My City memoirs (Part IV) are on their way...)


The Cloth Shed said...

Thank you for the link to my blog...and I didn't pay you either!
I've popped you on my sidebar under the lovely blog section....
Glad you liked the post about Paris, it is a beautiful City as you well know and I had a great time with my daughter. Must return soon...
Julie x

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Thanks for the recommendation about the Felix books Hadriana, I will have a look for my 6 year old grand-daughter. I may pop over and have a look at the web site too. A x

Troy said...

On a somewhat related topic to your Roman interests, I am presently reading a great novel "Boudica - Dreaming The Eagle" which is set in the period AD32-AD43 and to quote one reviewer - "the story of this legendary woman warrior and her battle with the occupying arms of Rome is told like a vast thriller".
It was heavy going to start with but now I've really got into it - 690 pages long and with an "epic sequel".

the fly in the web said...

Great to hear of a campaign to promote Greek and Latin teaching...and great to hear you so enthusiastic!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you, Julie :) I need to revamp my blog selection but I am a follower of yours already. Hx

SJA..I was much taken by Felix and his friends. Lovely words and pictures.

Troy-thanks for the recommendation - I will have a look at that asap. :)

Fly: I think this has come at just the right time. Serendipity!

Sorry that my replies are so short..I am literally rushing out the door to The Society of Antiquarians at Newcastle Uni. Prof. Haynes is lecturing on Roman Auixiliaries - Lifeblood of the Roman Empire & Provinces. tonight.

Bye for now and back soon. Hadriana xx

The bike shed said...

You sound sparky again which is good. So long since I was in Hexham - great town

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Mark,

I'm relatively as much as I drove all the way to Hexham with a friend to go to the lecture...hit snow blizzards just into Newcastle (at 5pm). We decided to play it safe and drive back! Never mind - I'm sure that there will lots of other lectures. Time to concentrate on the cricket...

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Drove all the way to Newcastle (picked friend up at Hexham). Duh! Time for coffee! :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi everyone,

Sorry - am a bit behind with posting. Will try to catch up. We went into Newcastle yesterday (which took all day because of the snow) to buy some more Minimus books in preparation for the Latin courses I'll be running in the New Year.

Today I was in Carlisle meeting a very good friend. Tomorrow it's Winter Wonderland Day at Kielder...and it's due to snow some more tonight.

East coast and some of Northumberland is most affected. West not so much. Carlisle looked beautiful today all lit up for Christmas. We had some mulled wine from the Christmas stalls although I went for the non-alcoholic version! :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I've had one glass of wine. Brain has turned to mush. Think I will try blogging and tweeting again on Sunday! Until then....Have a great weekend! Hadriana xx