Have You Ever Wondered? #1

Have You Ever Wondered…

I have often. So, I just did the things I wondered about. It wasn’t always easy because sometimes there were those in established positions who, well, just didn’t want to see change.

Here are a few things I wondered about over the years.

Why did we have a Cub Pack of 42 boys (8-10 year-olds) but a Scout Troop of only 6 lads? That thought led to me volunteering to become the first female Scout Leader in the Greenford District.

I was 23 at the time, and our cubs just didn’t stay in scouts. I became the Assistant Scout Leader (ASL) and within 6 months was the SL as he stepped into the GSL post. So, there I was, in over my head, but determined to succeed. And I think that was a turning point in my life. I had always been fairly average at pretty well everything I turned my hand to up until then, suddenly, I was thrust into a position of responsibility and well, off I went.

When I was much younger, one of my proudest moments when my boys received their Chief Scout Awards from the Chief Scout himself

I had amazing support from ‘Uncle Tom’, “Come to a meeting,” he said, “and meet the other leaders.” I did just that and as I walked through the swing doors the hall fell silent and I heard, “It’s a Bl**dy woman.” That was ‘Uncle Ted’ as we called him. He became one of my greatest supporters, friends and colleagues in scouting in the Greenford District.

I visited ‘Uncle Tom’s’ Scout hut and he proudly showed me a trail of 6-inch shields which went along one wall, across the bottom and halfway back along the other wall. “They’ll be to the end in a year.” Announced ‘Uncle Tom’ proudly. I politely asked him what they were and he said they represented every trophy his troop won (there were 13 a year). “No, you won’t.” I replied. I can still remember the look on his face, “Because my troop is going to beat you.” Now Uncle Tom had arguably the best troop in the District. He laughed at me. By the way, this is not a sensible thing to do in front of me.

We won the next event 2 weeks later – The Underground Widegame, came 6th in the swimming gala out of 20 (with barely any kids who could swim, but I can tell you the rest of the troop shouted so loudly, they never stopped trying, and even if they came last we still got a point, whereas other troops wouldn’t put anyone in.

Then we started winning. By my second year, we won every competition except the Swimming Gala (our troop was the furthest from a public pool – eventually I persuaded a dad to drive our old minibus there every Thursday and I plus a friend taught our kids how to swim.) We only ever managed 3rd place as our best, but it was enough. We continued to do this for the next 8 years my lads and I.

We won: The Night Hike, Tent Pitching (holding the up and down records for 10 years until equalled and eventually beaten by mere seconds), Underground Widegame, Gate-building, Pioneering, Chess, Shooting, Fire-lighting (my kids were pyromaniacs on the quiet), and of course the jewels in the crown the Campcraft and Scoutcraft Competitions as well as the Tony Whyte Trophy and Country Trophy.


Easy. I told my boys what the all-male leaders had said that first night. “You only have a female leader. And they laughed at me and said you would never beat them.” They had something to prove, and prove it they did.

I remember walking into a Night Hike Competition where we had entered 3 teams and hearing another leader saying, “The 7th’s here, so guess we’re all playing for 2nd.” We came 1st, 2nd and 4th. The boys would get to our scout hut an hour before a competition and spit and polish their boots as we as the 10-year-olds boots, iron their uniforms and comb hairs, check hands and behind ears.

I am proud to say some of these lads are fine young gentlemen that I am forever proud of: Lee Walker, Marc Thorpe, Paul Walker, Stuart Songhurst, Mark and Alex Lindsay. You were all made of true grit. There were others but I only remember first names and some faces now as that was all 30+ years ago.

I didn’t do it on my own, I built an army: Uncle Ted, Mike Parker, Jimmy Dinglebell, Robyn,  Josie and Barry Cole,  Stuart Parsons, and others whose names escape me but who I hope will forgive me, but were essential in their support over the years.




Vision View Sports Radio Interview

I have always loved photography, but when you are behind the camera the world is a different place, especially when they place a mike in front of you too.

Here are some pics from my recent interview with Thabang at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

It was one of the best interviews I have done, as they had really done their homework and were really interested in my books. Thabang even bought a complete set for his children after the show. I sure hope they are enjoying them.

Radford House Primary

When I was invited to talk about being an author at Radford House, little did I think that I would be talking to pupils for 2 hours? Not only that, but they had the chance to escape and came back!

I received a call inviting me to give a talk about being an author – well, where to start, ha,ha,ha.  Being an author you see for me is a process, I sort of started and now I  can’t stop, it becomes a way of life and you crave to write each day. In fact, I get very moody on days I don’t write,  I have so many ideas flashing around in my mind it gets frustrating that I can’t put them down on paper, so I love it when I am tapping away on my computer.

I guided them through the nuts and bolts of what an author is, our tools of the trade, and why I choose to be an Indie (Independent) Author. Then I chatted about how I actually write a book – where I start and how my thought processes work when I write. This is always the section I enjoy the most, as it becomes very interactive. I show them how to create a Spider Diagram, which forms the backbone of a book. And also, how they can adapt it for an essay – which is pretty well a miniature story.

They were engaged and excited as we created weird and wonderful characters and started to spin our web. (I just love how kids minds work. ) We talked about Genres,  Beta and ARC readers, as well as the importance of book reviews to an author.  We seriously covered a lot of ground and I was left with the sense that there was more than one budding author in the audience – let’s wait and see shall we, as I have been asked to return next term – maybe there will be a book waiting for me, written by one of them, who knows.

But, what I do know is, I can’t wait to go back for another visit.

Radford House is a small private school for gifted children. It differs from traditional schools, in that,  it tailors the educational environment to suit the pupils, through a very holistic approach to their learning schedule.


Jann Weeratunga and Abdul Manack team up

Polly’s Piralympics (Jann Weeratunga) and Abdul Manack (SA cricketers and commentator) will be teaming up to offer a unique anti-bullying programme to primary schools.

Kicking off soon, so if interested for your school contact us as places are filling up fast.


Vision View Sports Radio Interview

Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, interview with Vision View Sports Radio

VVSR_FB_LogoThank you Thabang from, I just loved doing the interview with you guys. You made me feel at ease from the minute I met you all.

Sitting out on the verandah 19th Hills with the sun setting was such a wonderful venue. You entertained Polly and I just loved you line of questioning – one of the best researched interviews I have had, it really made me feel relaxed.




An Elephant in My Kitchen

Finally, I got to meet the author.

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, my two front teeth.”

Well, l not exactly, all I wanted was ‘An Elephant in my Kitchen,” by Francoise Malby-Anthony. It didn’t quite happen for Christmas, but I did get it for my birthday in January and had finished it within days. It made me laugh and of course cry, but it also made me angry. Angry that in this day an age, there are not enough consequences in Africa to prevent an animal that has been on the planet since the dinosaurs being poached to the brink of extinction. Angry because humans can be so callous and cruel. Angry because I felt helpless.

I had the pleasure of meeting Francoise in the Green Room at the Kingsmead Book Fair, where the authors mingle and meet their interviewers, before heading off for their sessions. Mine had just finished and hers was due to start. Of course, I knew she was would be there, and I just so happened to have my copy of her book with me, ha, ha, ha.

Even though I am a recognised author in my own right, with my Polly’s Piralympics Series, I was still a little nervous to approach her; which is strange because I had been approached by and had approached other authors all morning. Maybe it was because I had read her book, as well as ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ and ‘The Last Rhino’ by her late husband Lawrence Anthony. I don’t know, but with her book firmly clutched in my hand and butterflies in my stomach I walked over to her.

Immediately as she smiled at me all the butterflies dissipated, and at that moment I realised that that is probably how the youngsters feel when they come up to me to get their books signed. Well, nerves gone, we chatted for about 5 minutes before she had to leave for her talk.

Well, I can tell you I was dead chuffed and Francoise, thank you so much for the special personalised message, I think we will be talking again.

Oh, and what did we chat about?

Hmm, I think you are going to have to read #7 in the Polly’s Piralympics Series to find out –’ Polly Returns to Africa’.  And maybe, just maybe, there is another parallel series being written at the moment that you can get free, by signing up to my newsletter. Click below.


#PollysPiralympics, #RichardtheRhino, #PollyReturnstoAfrica #AnElephantinMyKitchen



Back to The Ridge School to Deliver Even More Books

So, it was back to the Ridge Preparatory School, in Westcliffe to deliver more books today.

I met with their librarian who needed more Toucane and the Rubbish Rangers books. As I was handing them over, some grade 1’s appeared,

“Aren’t you the author lady with the birds?”

Well, I suppose that is one way to describe me, ha, ha, ha. I actually think they remember the puppets better than they remember me.

I think deep down every little boy wants to be a superhero, and Toucane and the Rubbish Rangers teaches children how to pick up rubbish/litter and put it in the bin. There is even a song in the book, which is very catchy and the kids love it.

So, with the extra books delivered, I bid the adieu and said I would see the Grade 3-5’s again in August, with Polly the Parrot. Who knows, maybe Hegwig will pop in to meet Polly the Parrot?



Beat the Bully

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