Monday, 2 April 2012


Last Thursday Julia and I visited Solway School in Silloth to read extracts from The Boy with Two Heads, and to tell the students about the origins of The Olympic Games. We had a mixed group of years 7 and 8. There was much hilarity at pictures such as the following, and lots of interest. 

"He's got a laptop", they said in amazement. Actually, what he has got is a tablet, made from wood and coated in wax, and he is writing on it with a stylus. The children were intrigued to learn that these words originated in ancient Greece. 

Children can be quite prudish: when they learnt that Greek athletes ran, jumped and wrestled naked, they giggled and blushed, but when Julia showed them this picture of a boy with his penis tied up, I thought we were going to have a medical emergency- some of them went purple from laughing! 

Nobody knows exactly why Greek men did this, but it might have been something to do with the fact that they oiled their bodies, then rolled around in the sand wrestling!

Solway Community College is a pleasant, calm and friendly school: we thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and are very grateful to Head Teacher Mrs Lois Baird,  English Teacher Mr Bernie Green, and the lively and polite pupils themselves.


  1. Hello, That's a very good image of the man with a wax tablet. I'm looking for such an image to include in a book, and wonder if you could tell me the source and whether you have the rights. Thank you!

    1. Sorry Richard, I don't know. You could try visiting Julia's blog and ask her the question: