Thursday, 18 August 2011

Edinburgh in August - Festivals, the Fringe, the Book Fest - my idea of fun!

Living in Edinburgh, the Festivals have always played a big part in my life. I have been going to Fringe shows and Book Festival events since I was eighteen months old and always look forward to making the most of living in the middle of the world famous festivals.

My dog Charlie doesn't feel the same. He hates the nightly fireworks and fly past from the Tattoo and he isn't particularly keen on all the crowds. Unfortunately, he just gets to experience the down side and none of the fun and entertainment unlike me.

I've got more events lined up, but so far I have seen Potted Potter in the Fringe, all the Harry Potter stories told in a very fun two man show at the Pleasance Courtyard. It was brilliant and a must see for anyone who likes Harry Potter. Mind you, my mum also really enjoyed it and she has never even read the books or seem any of the films. I got to sit in the very front row and was personally greeted, as were most of the row, by one of the stars. The show is packed with laughs and the audience even get to play a game of Quidditch.

Now that I am eleven I have found that there are fewer shows for my age group on in the Fringe, particularly shows which I can access in my wheelchair. I think people tend to forget about access for disabled children. In fact a couple of years back my mum discovered that I was actually being charged more to attend shows than other kids because I needed a space for my wheelchair. The Fringe booking system had only been set up with adults who use wheelchairs in mind and not kids, so because I needed to go to the shows in my wheelchair I was been charged the same as disabled adults, which was more than the child's admission price. Thankfully, as soon as my mum pointed this out to the Fringe box office staff they rectified the problem immediately. Last year I also tried to go to a show at a venue on the Edinburgh University campus. Unbelievably the usual disabled access to the venue had been removed for the duration of the Fringe!

Accessing the Book Festival tends to be easier, but I was very upset to find at the last show I went to I had been seated behind a huge speaker where I wouldn't be able to see a thing! I'm hoping the organisers are sorting the problem so that I get to sit where I can see the show as I'm back there again this weekend.

Access problems aside I love the Book Festival. I love reading and writing, so it is two weeks of perfect fun for me. I remember the first book I ever bought at the Book Festival - it was Paddington Bear and I was eighteen months old. I loved it and went on to enjoy all the Paddington Bear adventures. Another early favourite was Maisie the Cat. I've met the author Eileen Patterson several times now and I learnt a lot about life in Edinburgh by reading about Maisie's adventures.

I still really like discovering a new author who has written several or who will go on to write several stories about a particular character. A couple of years ago I went to listen to Lucy Hawking talking about the books she had written with her dad Stephen about George. George goes on all sorts of adventures through space. The books are not just stories, but I have also learnt lots about Black Holes, Worm Holes and lots of other things to be found in space. This year I went to see Lucy Hawking again as she has just published George's latest adventure "George and the Big Bang". I was really interested in all she had to tell us about space and space travel and I'm really looking forward to reading my new book. I was delighted that Lucy remembered me from last time I met her and gave me a big hug and a great dedication in my book.

I also loved meeting Charlie Fletcher the author of Stone Heart, which I had just finished reading. My teacher recommended the book and I loved it. I told Charlie Fletcher that I liked it better than Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, and he was pleased to hear that. The story is set in London and I have been to most of the places mentioned, so the story really comes to life when I read it. The hero of the book is also called George, so it is obviously a popular name of story book heroes. He goes on a gripping adventure around London battling statutes which have come to life in search of the Stone Heart of London. I loved it so much I bought the rest of the series at the Book Festival and can't wait to find out what happens to George next.

I've got tickets to a number of other Book Festival events in the next couple of weeks. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Poet Carol Ann Duffy again. I saw her last year and she was really impressed that I had won a Brit Award for my poetry. She said she didn't win an award for her poetry until she was thirty, so thought I'd done well to win one at ten. I'm looking forward to telling her that I have won three more awards for writing since we met last year!

One thing I love doing now when I go to the Book Festival is asking the authors questions. As I talk by blinking I use my special voice I have on my iPad to ask the questions and funnily enough that voice is called George too.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


I've been working very hard, but also having lots of fun at Bobath Scotland this summer. Bobath is a special therapy for children with cerebral palsy and I really love it and it helps me alot.
You can read more about it at

I have been driving a smart wheelchair, doing lots of work on the computer and doing lots of moving and stretching to help me do day to day things more easily and to try and do more things by myself. I travel to Glasgow several times a week for six weeks and have worked out that the travelling is the equivalent to travelling from Edinburgh to Naples - but less sunny. Bobath have asked me to write a poem for them and I'm looking forward to doing that once my therapy block is finished and I have a bit more free time.