Friday, 12 September 2014

The Sun and stars Align to Improve Child Literacy & A Visit from a Hummingbird hawk-moth


The Sun newspaper has teamed up with some of the most popular children’s authors and entertainers to introduce a new weekly feature encouraging parents to read with their children.

Specially written ten-minute stories from authors including David Walliams (Mr. Stink), former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and Derek Landy (Skulduggery Pleasant) will be published in Saturday editions of The Sun.

The Get Kids Reading campaign is part of a wider Read On, Get On campaign with Save the Children that calls on the government, local organisations and parents to tackle illiteracy and get children reading. 

David Walliams

David Dinsmore, Editor of The Sun, said: Illiteracy in Britain should be something our schoolchildren know only from the pages of their history books. Getting kids to read about things they're interested in is half the battle. With exclusive stories by top children¹s authors and free e-book offers, we will be helping parents find ways to make reading an easy everyday part of life.

Justin Forsyth from Save The Children said: We want every child to be given a fair and equal chance to learn to read well. We applaud The Sun for getting behind this campaign, and look forward to working with its readers to restore literacy to its rightful levels in the UK.

Other contributors who have supplied ten-minute reads are Susanna Reid, Rizzle Kicks and David Baddiel. The newspaper is also running a national competition to find the next budding children’s author with the winning story published as the final instalment of the series.

The Sun bus is visiting schools giving away books throughout October and free children’s e-books will be available to download for Sun members.



Disclaimer; I received no financial compensation for writing this post and have no material connection to the brands or products mentioned. 

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Autumn has definitely arrived in Somerset. The dahlias are at their best, and the apple trees are laden with fruit. Yesterday, we received a visit from a hummingbird hawk moth and could hardly believe our eyes! What on earth is it, we asked? A baby hummingbird? A bug? Terry rushed for his camera, and I rushed for the Internet! The moth was too quick for the camera, but the Internet revealed all.


According to the BBC Nature Website Hummingbird hawk-moths are found in Britain all summer long, especially in Southern parts and in Ireland (odd that this is the first one we’ve seen?) They beat their wings at such speed they emit an audible hum. Their name is further derived from their similar feeding patterns to hummingbirds. Hummingbird hawk-moths are strongly attracted to flowers with a plentiful supply of nectar such as honeysuckle and buddleia. The one we saw was flitting between our honeysuckle and a neighbour's buddleia…


The photographs that follow were all taken in our garden…


In the Other gardens
 And all up the vale,


From the autumn bonfires
  See the smoke trail!


Pleasant summer over
  And all the summer flowers,


The red fire blazes,
 The gray smoke towers.


Sing a song of seasons!
  Something bright in all!


Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Autumn Fires by
Robert Louis Stevenson (from A Child’s Garden of Verses, 1885)


 Thanks for your visit...

38 comments:

  1. Morning Barbara,another nice one, post that is. Lovely photos too and if that is an example of your flower arranging, wow! you could win prizes with that talent. Beautiful!
    Have a lovely weekend. J

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    1. Well thank you kindly, but honestly those flowers arranged themselves. I used to ‘do’ the flowers in our local church when we lived at Bishop Sutton and was also involved in a few flower festivals, but that was a long time ago. I did get my picture in the paper once, the trouble was the photographer insisted I stand next to an arrangement that I hadn't done. I was very unpopular for a week or two! 
      Thank you for your weekend wishes, I hope yours is wonderful. Barbara

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  2. GOODNESS! I have never heard of or seen these creatures, Barbara! What an interesting cross between a bird and huge moth! The closest I've seen to anything like this was in Japan - these THINGS were in the trees and hummed loudly, and would dart out of the trees about the size of sparrows. They were in fact, large BUGS!

    Isn't this a lovely time of year? Your dahlias, oh my! There is still a shout of colour and we are loving it all.

    This is such a great campaign for literacy. What would we do if we were unable to read? What is the new generation going to do if they cannot expand their skills? Bravo for these programs, because we are a people who thrive on information, story telling and history. Our history!

    Many hugs to you today! Enjoy the garden..Anita

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    1. Hello Anita, to be honest with you, we thought we had discovered a new species and were quite disappointed when we found then on the web! It really is a lovely time of the year. The sun over the last few days has been beautiful, and the flowers are obviously enjoying it – as are we.

      The literacy campaign is a wonderful idea, if it helps just one child to read it will be worthwhile.

      Thank you for coming to see me today dear friend. Have a happy weekend, Barbara. xx

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  3. Well done The Sun, I cannot imagine a childhood with no books.

    What lovely photos. We had a butterfly take up residence behind a book case in the summer only to leave us earlier this week. Funnily enough the same thing happened last year as well and I was convinced the poor thing would die stuck behind the shelves which are fitted so can't be moved but no it was fine.

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    1. That is exactly how I feel Tracy, lots of my happiest childhood memories revolve around books.

      The butterfly community must have sent out a message saying yours is a safe house!
      It will be interesting to see if the same thing happens next year.
      Thanks for your comment, Barbara x

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  4. Barbara - such lovely photos of your garden. I have seen hummingbird moths in mine but never have caught them on film. Thank goodness you had a camera handy. Hope you are enjoying lovely weather - thanks for stopping by to visit me. Have a blessed week end!!

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    1. Hello Debbie, Terry has one of those cameras that take dozens of ‘photos per second, but he was only able to get fuzzy shots, so we resorted to using one from the net.
      I love the sunshine – long may it continue. Thanks for your visit and lovely comment. Enjoy the weekend, Barbara. x

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  5. A campaign to encourage children to read, brilliant and about time too.

    Jean
    x

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    1. Absolutely Jean, I could not agree more.
      Have a great weekend. Barbara x

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  6. Barbara- I love these photos! I cannot get over the amazing shots you and your husband were able to take. I have never heard of nor seen a hummingbird moth! So cool! :)

    I also think the reading program is fabulous. I stand behind anything that gets kids reading! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! Glad you enjoyed both the ‘photos and the info about the reading programme.
      Hope you are having a good Saturday. Barbara.

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  7. Good morning dear and wonderful Barbara!

    How kind your words are to me on my post! I must tell you, when I first get my messy and unorganized thoughts down on my draft page, I cringe. It takes me hours to pull the main ideas together, then a day to think about it, then come back, find music, and re-do everything again. But you know what? There is no other feeling like it, to SIT in front of the computer, ALONE, only with this "muse" over your shoulder, next to you. I so appreciate anyone telling me that they have either shed a tear or felt encouraged.

    A writer is PRESENT then waits, then types. That's about it.

    Have a splendid and Sweet September my friend!!! Anita

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    1. Thank you for being you Anita & for being my friend. Hugs, Barbara

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  8. Thanks for the reminder of "A child's Garden of Verses" - this collection captures the spirit and imagination of childhood so beautifully. When I was young, I had "The Book of a thousand Poems" - maybe you know it? - which contained many of the RLS verses.

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    1. Hello Sue, I don’t know the book of a thousand poems, but it sounds wonderful. I will be looking out for it now. Thanks for your visit.

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  9. Brilliant work Barbara..Amazing clicks..I loved each and every pic :)

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    1. That’s so sweet of you Nagini, thank you. I hope your week is going well. Barbara.

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  10. Great post Barbara! I love your photos! We have the hummingbird moth here in the USA also, I have a photo somewhere. When I find it I will post on G+. I'm not familiar with the second butterfly you have (the orange one). I love its scalloped wings! Your dahlias are gorgeous! Have a lovely week! :)

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    1. Hi Diane, I saw your pic of the hummingbird moth on G+, it looks much larger than the one we saw. Thanks so much for sharing it. There are some weird and wonderful things in this world of ours. I didn’t know the name of the orange butterfly, but I found a site with lots of pictures of the same one, and they say it’s a Comma Butterfly (polygonia c-album), and apparently it’s widespread in Enlgand and Wales. There, we both learnt something today. Thanks very much for your visit and sweet comment. Barbara.

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  11. Great post Barbara. Your garden is beautiful and the images you have clicked are clear and beautiful.... The R.L. Stevenson poem is an icing on the cake... loved it and your garden images :) Best wishes :)

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    1. Thank you Kokila, you do say the nicest things. Thanks for taking the time to visit and leave a comment, Barbara x.

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    2. Dear friend, you do deserve all and more :)
      And it was really forgetful of me to actually forgot telling you that i had passed on The 'Very Inspiring Blogger Award' to you as I truly believe you to be this ... with blogging about books, publications, vintage collection,travels,guest posts and family lineage AND managing your sweet Bookstore, buying and selling ... .... you are certainly the right person Barbara. Hope you will enjoy it here -
      http://sunshineandblueclouds.blogspot.in/2014/09/an-award-and-open-letter.html
      Love n wishes :)

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    3. Dear Kokila, congratulations on receiving this lovely award, and thank you so much for thinking of me. I love visiting your corner of Blogland, and I’m honoured to be thought of as one of your blogging friends. I certainly think of you in the same way. Thank you. xx

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  12. Looks like a great campaign and your garden photos are GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. And thank you for coming to visit Marcia, I’m always happy to see you here. Barbara.

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  13. What beautiful flowers and the Hummingbird hawk-moth is quite something (and the first I have heard of it) I hope your fall is as lovely as ours has been.

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    1. Hello Darlene, it was a first for us too, and an exciting one. The Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, (with thanks to John Keats) is just arriving in the UK and very misty and fruitful it is too! Thanks for your visit, Barbara.

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  14. Oh, my goodness! The photos of your garden are simply wonderful!

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    1. It’s very sweet of you to say so, thank you.

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  15. It is wonderful that The Sun and others are trying to get kids reading although it did surprise me a bit because one always tends to think The Sun as one of the frivolous newspapers, however it is wonderful to know that effort is being made to get kids reading. I know kids generally love to do things with parents and reading is one of those enjoyable activities which can be done in the comfort of a sofa or a bed on a cold grey damp day while the wind howls outside. I know I used to love to read with mum on a cold rainy day cozily snuggled beside her.
    Oh your garden is so beautiful and so full of colour and activity even in the autumn. What a lovely surprise to see a humming bird hawk moth. I shall go and google it a read a bit more about it. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Hi Shashi, I was surprised the idea came from The Sun, but then again, it doesn’t really matter which newspaper takes up the cause just so long as one of them does. You never know the others might get involved now, which could only be a good thing. I loved reading with my parents too; those were the times when I felt the most loved. My dad used to read with me more often than my mum, especially if I was feeling poorly, he would spend ages trying to make me feel better but the only thing that ever worked was a good story (or a piece of chocolate!)
      What would we do without google? There is a lot of information, so I’m sure you will be able to find out about it. Thanks so much for your visit and comment, Barbara.

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  16. At first, I thought that was a bird! I have this slight inexplicable fascination with moths and actually, have written a short story about one. There's something quietly beautiful and mysterious about them.

    As for the reading movement, I'm glad the sun and stars have come together to promote it. Reading isn't just about improving literacy or vocabulary levels, but there is so much to take away from stories. Much courage, much honesty, much imagination, much discoveries outside and inside.

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    1. Hello Claudine, we thought exactly the same. Without the internet, we would have concluded it was a baby hummingbird – it looked so much like one. Have you published the short story?
      I couldn’t agree with you more regarding the reading movement. Can you imagine how much sadder life would be if you weren’t able to read? Books and stories have got me through some of the harder parts of my life.

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  17. What beautiful photographs. The colours are amazing.

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    1. Thanks Anne Marie, the dahlias were lovely again this year, not looking so happy now though. It will soon be time to dig them up and store them away for the winter.

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  18. Oh my gosh, hummingbird moths scare the bugeeses out of me. A few years ago a pitch black one hovered in front of my face, and ever since then I'm petrified of them. :p

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    1. Hi Kristin, it’s the first one I’ve ever seen so I didn’t have time to be frightened. Had it been a spider it would have been a different story – one that involved lots of screaming and running away!!!

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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