Category Archives: Getting to know the author

Sometimes I think I’ll Never Grow Up.

The most wonderful thing about being a Children’s Author is that you have every excuse under the sun to never grow up. Well, that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.

I recently attended the Edutech Exhibitions at the Sandton Conference Centre with Evadeen Brickwood, a friend and fellow and author. Afterwards, we had spent the morning wandering around the stalls we headed back towards the car, when low and behold, a toyshop jumped right out in front of me.

Now, those who know me well, know I have a weakness for toy shops and bookshops. It was just too much, I had to go in – for research purposes, I explained to Evadeen, who having experienced me on a book tour to the Eastern Cape, knew to just go with the flow, I love how she just does that.

Well, as we wandered around checking out the toys – for research purposes, of course, I spotted a mechanical Polly, actually I think she spotted me because as I passed her she started to chirp, and talk, flap her wings and raise her crest. I WAS IN LOVE! Only one slight problem, a R1700 (£100) price tag – Owch. Never mind, nothing can replace my Polly.

Oh and I think the 50+ was for the suggested appropriate age – JUST RIGHT FOR ME ha, ha, ha. Maybe next time Mechanical Polly…

Play Time for Big People.

Sometimes we also need some downtime, so after visiting the Edutech Exhibition and seminars, Evadeen and I walked back through the Sandton Shopping Mall, near Mandela Square. Unfortunately for Evadeen, as we crossed the bridge between the Conference Centre and the Mall, Jann spotted one of the exhibit booths slightly ajar and empty. Well the temptation was just too much and i decided to play at being a mannequin for the day with the following results:

Evadeen you were a great sport taking the pics, and don’t worry we only had our name tags on so that the cameras can identify us ha, ha, ha.


So you chill out. And?

Well my favourite times are when I’m in the bush/jungle/forest. I love safaris and bird watching. Something I grew to love when I was living in Sri Lanka. Rukshan a close family friend would take me with him on trips into the jungle and teach me how to look.

Sounds daft doesn’t it. It’s not as as easy as you think just spotting animals or birds, you need to know where to look. He was very patient and slowly I got the hang of it. I’m glad I did because on Sunday after the Blues in the Park concert I wanted to check out how far away the lion and rhino park was, as I have family coming to visit soon.

So off we went. 400 meters ha,ha,ha. and there it was. As we turned the car the car to head home we spotted  giraffe and 2 buffalo by the fence – they call this the POOR MAN’S GAME DRIVE here in South Africa – when you spot game along a road adjacent to a game park. we were driving off when I spotted a lions leg sticking up out of the long grass on the other side of the road.


“Are you sure?”

My friend who was driving asked. So we turned around and sure enough there were 3 lions lying together and another 3 a short distance off. I got out of the car – glad that there were 2 electric fences between me and them I just stared. I was literally 2 meters from the nearest male lions. Shortly after another 6 lionesses walked through a gap in the bush and we watched 12 lions frolicking in the late summer sun.

NOW IF YOU REALLY WANT TO PUT A SMILE ON MY FACE – TAKE ME FOR A GAME DRIVE. I was in heaven! 12 lions just there on the other side of the fence. we continued to watch for about 1/2 an hour and then moved on as about 10 cars had pulled up to see what we were looking at and it was starting to get crowded.

I was soooooo lucky.

#jannweeratunga, #authorofpollyspiralympics, #kidsbooks, #lionsinthestreets



Christmas is the time for MY little children

img-20161224-00969As Christmas Day draws near the feeling of Christmas Spirit in our home has been awakened. Our tree has been up for 3 weeks now and ever since the first boxes started to appear our pups have been hyper excited. So even though it is holiday time they are still waking me up at 5am every morning, (just watch, when it’s time to go back to work, love nor money would drag these dogs out of bed at that time in the morning.) no rest for the wicked eh?

This is one of my children, Jessie, checking out the her Christmas stocking and those of her two brothers. She is just so excited, she checks her stocking every few hours, and then sits by the staircase watching them, ha,ha,ha.

My big brown boy has had his head under the tree smelling out the presents. And the new cushions bought today have already been ‘stolen’ and dragged around the garden – because we are too busy to play with them, as we finish painting and making cushion covers ready for guests.

I can’t wait until tomorrow. It is such a wonderful time with MY children, they give unconditional love – barring a few treats and toys from time to time, and are always there to lick away my tears. They make my life feel complete. So tomorrow morning will be their time as balls and squeaky toys get thrown and played with, and chew get metered out over the next week or so.

So to all with furry children, enjoy this special time with them, they may on;y be a dog for many, but they are our children.


Who am I – The Tsunami and me


So here goes. This is part of who I am, a very important life changing part. I mentioned in the blurb on me the Author that I was close to having been a Tsunami victim. I passed friends who I never saw again, because I wanted to be with my mum in the UK for Christmas. She had lost my father shortly before and needed me.

On Sunday morning at the crack of sparrows mum came into my room to say,

“Something terrible has happened in Sri Lanka.”

I leapt out of bead and watch the TV. I recognized Galle, the huge Michelin man holding tyres was on a 3 story building. People were clinging to the windows around his head. Some lost their grip and were sucked away. I didn’t know if they lived or died.

“Mum I have to go back.”

I picked up the phone and prayed someone would answer at the other end. My dear friend did. I told him I’d come straight back. But he said,

“NO stay there, you can do more good there. Tell people. Get their help.”

That was the start. I did just that.

Mum was brilliant of course and soon with all the donations flooding in of cloths, bedding, toys, towelling etc. Her home soon started to resemble a jumble sale in full fling.

Neighbours too were wonderful. They knew I had lived in Sri Lanka for about 8 years by then and had got involved with smaller projects I had run in my own village, high up and safely nestled in the Kandian Mountains.

But this one would be the most challenging and most rewarding.

Firstly the garage filled then the rooms in the house. Neighbours came to help us sort everything into boxes and clearly label them for when they would arrive in Sri Lanka.

“How are you going to get everything there?”

“I’m not sure yet, but I will.”

And I did.

The travel agent in Acton, London who booked my tickets to and from Sri Lanka every year offered to take whatever I managed to get together over to the Island for me free of charge – I think he may have regretted that later.

OK so I could get everything to Sri Lanka, but how was I going to get it all up to London? Again I was being watched over. A local business man in West Parley knew a lorry owner,

“He’ll take everything up to London for you free, you just need to pay the driver.”

So it was settled 3 weeks after the Tsunami had struck everything would go to London. Boxes piled up all over mum’s house, but bless her she said nothing and we carried on collecting. A neighbour two doors down offered his double garage and the completed boxes where moved in the evening when we had a bit more muscle.


Mum’s neighbours started collecting at the McDonalds they owned. Two local schools got involved and pretty well every neighbour my parents had spoken in the days when my father was still alive and they walked their dogs around the block. I knew few of them, but everyone wanted to help.

When I had lived in London I had been a Scout leader in Greenford Scout District. Glaxo’s as they had been in my day responded to a letter I wrote to them and donated hundreds of adult and children’s toothbrushes as well as toothpaste. The Scouters in my old district rallied. Josie my best friend turned her garage into another Tsumani collection point. Half way to London friends from Hawley Golf Club too collected

“I hope this lorry’s a big one.” Thoughts now started to cross my mind.

The day came for everything to get loaded up into the lorry. The driver was brilliant, I can’t remember his mane now sadly, but he is another example of kindness I crossed and have continued to cross in my life again and again. The men in the neighbourhood came out in droves that night, it was like a well-oiled machine at work and soon the boxes were all aboard and mum’s house empty.

“Be careful.” Mum kissed me and I was away. Travelling in the lorry up to London. We collected the Golf Club donation on the way, then Josie’s house where Scouters gathered to help.

“How are you going to load all this load on to the container?” Lou asked.

Hmm hadn’t thought of that.

“Hang on a giff.” She was on her phone. “Ok they’ll meet us in Acton. Better get going then hadn’t we.”

As we arrived in Acton, it seemed that half of Greenford had turned up and a few hours later the container was full. And I mean literally full. I’ll never know who the guy who loaded that last box was. He just wandered up and said we looked like we could do with some help, what was it all for? Sri Lanka. He spent 4 hours helping us and then just walked away.

The driver Graham too was brilliant. He refused to be paid. Once he had learnt that I was a Scout leader he told of happy days scouting as a boy.

“Just get me a breakfast, I’m starving,”

It was then well into the afternoon and he still had to drive back down South.

Too many un-named fabulous people, some I will never know the names of, and some whose names I have unfortunately forgotten. They all helped to change my life and lead to where I am now. An author

I look back now and a lump starts to form in my throat again, as it has done many hundreds of times before, at the sheer generosity of folk, material and time, without them all I could never have done it.

Why am I writing about this now? I suppose because the tears have finally dried up and I can, and of course because someone asked me WHO I AM?