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Seeing JK Rowling in a cafe…

At least, we think so…Having lunch in a cafe near the University of Edinburgh, on our wedding anniversary back in June, we saw someone writing who looked very like JK Rowling.  When I looked across, she hid behind her hair a bit more.

Given that the final Harry Potter is awaited by lots of people round the world, it would have been rude to interrupt…On the positive side, it seemed nice that someone who started her writing career by writing in cafes is still continuing this.

Edinburgh has been given the title of UNESCO City of Literature in the last couple of years.  We’ve not tried tailing other Edinburgh authors such as Ian Rankin or Alexander McCall Smith, but there’s plenty of good writing going on here.

Chicken in a school…

Spending time with our friends R and D in Italy is also an opportunity to catch up with their kids’ special phrases.  Their youngest, T (now 2), is fully conversant with Thomas the Tank Engine stories, and these are the phrases we came back with from our October visit this year:

1) “Chicken in a school…” For use when sounding a note of caution.  (Thomas the Tank Engine gets his deliveries wrong one day: the children are delivered to the farm, the chickens to the school etc.) Particularly useful for when grownups are continuing to talk for far too long at the dinner table, and you wish to gain attention.

2) “James happy again!”  When you want to bring a happy ending to a situation.  This is T’s own invention.  It mostly relates to the character James the red engine in the Thomas the Tank Engine stories.  Given that Dan also has a colleague, James, there is potential for expanding its use, particularly if bringing James hot chocolate.

3) “Cinders and ashes!” cried Thomas.  When words fail, it’s good to know that Thomas the Tank Engine has given us an acceptable way out for expressing strong emotion.

4) “What’s that?” (repeat at 10 second intervals) Mainly used when reading a book together.  T knows full well what it is: Thomas a Train, Bertie a Bus, Terence a Tractor etc.  But you volunteered to read to him, after all – he has to let you feel included.

We’ll probably need to devote a separate post to all those great phrases we’ve picked up on previous visits – and from other kids we’ve met.  But at least you can speak fluent Thomas the Tank Engine after reading this.

The Princess Bride

We have to reassure readers that the name of Dan’s company, Inigo, was not in fact taken from this film.  It makes for fun reading though (thanks to Dan’s colleague Colin for lending us the book).

The Princess Bride has joined the collection of books or articles that we read to each other from time to time.  The other main contender at the moment is a book about a man who chose to read his way through the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

We’re up to ‘n’ now.  Perfect for long winter nights.  However, have to confess that The Princess Bride has taken the lead for now.