I am really saddened – and angry – to hear of the Coalition’s latest funding cut, principally because Bookstart was my first proper job out of university. It’s a scheme I care deeply about it because of its simplicity; and somewhat ironically it was ‘Big Society’ a full 18 years before the present Goverment coined the term.
For those unfamiliar with it, Bookstart is a national programme that encourages all parents and carers to enjoy books with their children from as early an age as possible.
The scheme works by gifting a canvas bag of baby books at every child’s 7 – 9 month health check; with an invitation to join the local library to get them started on the path of early reading and lifelong literacy.
Outside Barcelona Town Hall, the Christmas crib takes pride of place on the cobblestones.
Mary, Joseph and the shepherds are all gathered around the baby Jesus in his manger, as loudspeakers emit the occasional animal sound for extra, rustic effect.
But this is Catalonia, and no crib is complete without one additional figure.
He is known in Catalan as the caganer. That translates most politely as 'the defecator' – and there he is, squatting under a tree with his trousers down.
We now know, thanks to the junior environment minister Jim Paice's frank evidence to a recent House of Lords select committee, that the government is considering the sale of not just "some", or even "substantial", amounts of woodland as the public was originally led to believe, but of all state-owned English trees across the commission's 635,000-acre Forestry Commission estate. This includes many royal forests, state-owned ancient woodlands, sites of special scientific interest, heathland, campsites, farms and sporting estates.
2011 sees another fabulous range of new and re-released products for Airfix, covering a wide range of subjects and scales. Available in January, the new catalogue is bigger than every with over 70 NEW introductions, many of which are brand new tools.
Ian Pattinson’s Facts and Fictions is a regularly updated blog to read on your Kindle. You’ll get everything from Spinneyhead’s “Facts and Fictions” category, straight to your ebook reader. Content includes short stories, very short “fast fiction”, serialised snippets from works in progress and articles on writing. It gives you an insight into what I’m working on and details of the research I’m doing, methods I use and subjects which inspire me.
You can sign up for a 14 day free trial before committing to subscribe and then it’s a very low rate (99p in the UK, I don’t know exactly what in the US, but not much.)