Havant and Waterlooville vs Yeovil Town – 28.8.23

It was my first time at Westleigh Park this season to watch Havant and Waterlooville who are yet to win in their 2023/24 campaign. I wasn’t expecting a win considering the Hawks start to the season. My pre-match prediction was a 2-2 draw even if they were at home.

The Line-Up

How The Hawks lined up…

  1. Worner 3. Innocent 5. McNerney 8. Mehew 9. Kealy 10. Faal 11. Busari 12. Willson 19. Blair 20. Deacon 21. Roberts (Captain)

First Half

The first chance came on six minutes for the home side with captain James Roberts crossing in for Muhammadu Faal, and after taking a touch he blazed the ball over the bar. Faal made up for his mistake two minutes later. From a second Roberts cross, Faal, from near the penalty spot, headed the ball home. 1-0 to the Hawks!

Just 4 minutes later, Kealy finishes off a move and it was 2-0 to Havant. The Hawks were flying.

Roberts looked lively down the left from the start and I could see why he was captain.

On 26 minutes, Yeovil pull one back through Olly Thomas. 2-1 to Havant!

Yeovil brought a good sized crowd with them and were well supported by 658 passionate fans.

Just on the brink of half-time, Jordan Maguire-Drew was bundled over in the box. Maguire-Drew took the penalty and scored. 2-2!

But the first half action wasn’t over there. Another penalty was awarded, this time to the Hawks after five minutes of added time. Faal stepped up and Buse, the Yeovil keeper saves the first attempt but the rebound fell to Faal and he began his hunt for his hattrick. 3-2 to the Hawks at half time!

Faal’s second goal makes it 3-2 to Havant at half time

Second Half

On 51 minutes, Jamie Collins, the Hawks manager, gets sent off after speaking to the linesman. Yeovil spent much of the early part of the second half on top, but it was Havant who had the better chances in the opening exchanges, hitting the bar and the post with two chances in rapid succession.

It was quite scrappy for most of the second half with loads of yellow cards – 8 in total. Eventually, Yeovil did create an opportunity when Rhys Murphy went through on goal and slid the ball across Worner into the far corner. 3-3! This was getting exciting!

But it wasn’t over yet. In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Kealy finished off a smart move. 4-3 to the Hawks and the crowd went wild.

There was still time for a little bit more drama when Charlie Cooper got a second yellow for diving in the box and trying to win a penalty. Yeovil finish the game with ten men!

Speaking after the match, Jamie Collins said, ‘The quality of the goals we scored was superb but I think the grit, determination, desire not to lose, to concede a goal in the 90th minute and to come back and get a winner just shows what the team is about.’

Full Time!

Player Ratings

My man of the match was James Roberts, he was involved in everything good in the first half. He dropped off a bit in the second half though but was still probably the best Havant player. Two goal each for Muhammadu Faal and Callum Kealy was pretty good as well.

Worner 7, Innocent 7, McNerney 8, Mehew 8, Kealy 9, Faal 9, Busari 8, Willson 7, Blair 7, Deacon 7, Roberts 9

The Lion King

The Lion King – August 2023


What? – The Lion King

Where? The Lyceum Theatre, London

When? – Since 1999

What’s the show about? The show is about a lion cub called Simba who is next in line to become king, the king being his father, Mufasa.

Scar, Mufasa’s brother and Simba’s uncle, is the bad guy and he tells young Simba about the Elephant Graveyard to try and tempt him to go there. When he goes there with Zazu, Mufasa’s trusty African red-billed hornbill assistant and Nala, Simba’s best friend, they meet Scar’s evil sidekicks, the hyenas. They close in on Simba and Nala and Zazu can’t do anything to help them but luckily they are then saved by Mufasa. He then teaches Simba about the mighty kings of the past, and that they are watching him from the stars above and so when he’s alone the kings will be there for him.

At a stampede of wildebeest, Scar sets a trap for Mufasa’s death and puts Simba in the middle of it. Mufasa saves Simba, but couldn’t save himself, as Scar shoves him away into the middle of the stampede where he falls to his death.

Simba is told by Scar to run away and never return and Simba obeyed, so Scar claims the crown of the Pride Lands. Scar claims that it was Simba who killed Mufasa and that Simba is dead.

Simba runs away and finds a meerkat and a warthog, Timon and Pumbaa, and they teach him Hakuna Matata which means take it easy. Over the many, many years they spend together they become a good trio.

Meanwhile, back in the Pride Lands, there is no food left because Scar has made it a barren and lonely piece of land. Nala eventually also leaves and then comes across Simba in the jungle. At first, they don’t recognise each other, but once they do, Nala tells Simba all about what has happened in the Pride Lands and that Scar is king. Simba still doesn’t yet decide that it’s time to leave Timon and Pumbaa, but after a talking-to from Rafiki, he goes back to challenge Scar to take the crown back as he is the rightful heir to the crown.

He completes his mission and becomes king with Nala as his queen.

What was really good about it? I enjoyed the songs and the performances to go with them. I especially enjoyed I Just Can’t Wait To Be King and Hakuna Matata. The puppets were also really impressive and there were loads of them, including; lions, Zazu, Timon & Pumbaa as a duo were great, the giraffes, the hyenas & elephants as well.

I Just Can’t Wait To Be King included Zazu and a few giraffes. Some of the characters came right down the aisle beside us which was quite cool.

The stampede of the wildebeest was impressive and it looked like the wildebeest were literally stampeding.

Scar, played by George Asprey, was an impressive bad guy. He came across as a really scary and cunning character.

The hyenas are funny, especially Ed, whose puppeteer is called Mark Tatham. Ed just sticks his tongue out and laughs a lot which made me laugh a lot too.

Timon (Jamie McGregor) and Pumbaa (Mark Roper) were probably my favourite characters because they were funny but also really kind to Simba when he needed a friend.

This was my first show in London and it was great to go to the West End and we got to see Covent Garden before the show. There was a juggler performing and he was really good. The Lyceum is a big, old theatre and I enjoyed sitting in the stalls.

What could be better?  I think it was quite hot in the theatre, but that meant that we needed an ice cream at the interval, so that was okay. I had a strawberry one and my sister had a salted caramel one which she didn’t like. According to her, the salted caramel ones in Chichester are much better.

What my mum thinks? I really enjoyed seeing this for the first time with the family – its been on the list for a while! The opening was epic and I loved seeing the animals walk past and onto the stage. Visually impressive with epic singing and costumes/puppetry. Great for the kids and I loved it too. Also big shout out to the staff who were super helpful and friendly.

Star Rating –  🧡💛💚💙

This is the theatre before the show.
Us before the show.
Me and my sister after the show.
Me as we got into our seats before the show.
Me and my sister doing our best lion impressions.

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music – August 2023

Who? – Chichester Festival Theatre

What? – The Sound of Music

Where?  Chichester Festival Theatre

When? – 10 July – 3 Sep 2023

What’s the show about? The show is about a young nun called Maria who is sent by Mother Abbess on “God’s errand” to become a governess to the seven von Trapp children. As soon as Maria arrives in the house she is welcomed in by Frau Schmidt, Captain von Trapp’s housekeeper, and after only a matter of few seconds Captain von Trapp enters and greets Maria.

The Captain brandishes a golden whistle and uses it to command the children to march down the stairs and into a straight line. However, only six arrive on time and around ten seconds later the seventh child enters the room, engrossed in a book and Captain von Trapp snaps it shut and she runs to join her siblings. Captain von Trapp tells Maria that they each have a whistle signal in case Maria needed them.

He tells Maria to listen carefully and then instructs the children to step forward and step back once they have said their name. The order is oldest to youngest, like this: Liesl (16), Friedrich (14), Louisa (13), Kurt (11), Brigitta (10), Marta (7) and then Gretel (5).

Captain von Trapp goes to Vienna for a visit to Frau Schraeder and his friend Max. He ends up being engaged to Frau Schraeder and nearly getting married. Meanwhile, Maria had taught the children how to sing (starting with the unforgettable Do, Rey, Mi) so that when the children meet Frau Schraeder for the first time, they sing to her. Afterwards, Captain Von Trapp sings Edelweiss to the children.

They then have a party where Maria feels as if she is falling in love with Captain von Trapp and, because she feels like that is unprofessional, she leaves to go back to the abbey. After having a talking to from Mother Abbess she decides to face the problem rather than hide from it, and so she goes back.

Once Maria takes her job up again she finds out about the engagement between Captain von Trapp and Frau Schraeder. However, the Captain and Frau Schraeder have an argument and the engagement is called off.

Then in a scene where Maria and Captain von Trapp are alone together, they find out that they both love each other so they get married and go on their honeymoon. When they return the Nazis have taken over Austria and the Captain is expected to join their navy and fight for them. He doesn’t want to do that, so they make a plan to sing at the Salzburg Music Festival and then flee the country. It’s sad that they had to leave, but good that they could stay together as a family.

What was really good about it? I enjoyed every song and the way it was performed. I was told that the singing was quieter and the lights were brighter because we went to the relaxed performance, I didn’t actually think the singing was quiet because it still sounded good to me.

Just, on the whole, it was an amazing show to see. If you don’t go to see this show you will regret it.

Gina Beck as Maria was incredible, especially her singing. She was just like Julie Andrews in the film.

Ed Harrison plays Captain von Trapp really well. I liked him because he sticks to his morals throughout but changes from being a stern father to a nicer, more loving one.

I really liked Max’s character because he was funny because he always wanted to be around rich people and was always trying to get his own way by getting performers for his show. Ako Mitchell was great as Max.

I got a salted caramel ice cream at the interval. It tasted so, so nice.

I was lucky enough to meet some of the cast after the show and they were all really friendly. There was Ed Harrison who plays Captain von Trapp, Ako Mitchell who plays Max and Rebecca Ridout who plays one of the Nuns. You can see me with them in the photos below.

What could be better?  I think the only problem was that, in my opinion, there was slightly too much kissing and that is not one of my favourite things.

I didn’t really like all of the Nazi symbols and soldiers because they were a bit scary, but it did give us a good understanding of what it would have been like for them.

What my dad thinks? I’m not ashamed to say I got a bit misty-eyed at this one. The first act is all warm nostalgia brilliantly executed but the second act hits a whole other level of powerful poignancy.

All of the singing was fantastic, but the harmonies created by the Nuns particularly blew me away.

The performance we went to was a relaxed performance and I must give enormous credit to the cast of SoM and the staff at CFT who did a great job. They really considered everyone’s needs and made it an enjoyable experience for all. Inclusion really does matter and they did a great job of making everyone welcome.

Star Rating –  🧡💛💚💙💜

Me with Ed Harrison, Ako Mitchell and Rebecca Ridout from the Sound of Music cast
Ed Harrison plays Captain von Trapp in the Sound of Music
Ako Mitchell plays Max in the Sound of Music at CFT
Rebecca Ridout was one of the nuns in the Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is on at CFT until 3 September

Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire

Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire – Andy Stanton

Although this is the second book in the series, this was the first Mr Gum book I ever read when I was a trainee teacher. I loved it, and have since read it to both of my children and many of the classes I have taught.

It’s the story of a very wealthy gingerbread man with some curious ideas about friendship. The evil Mr Gum and his side-kick Billy William, steal the money and try to escape to France. Fortunately, a little girl called Polly and her friend Friday are on their trail to save the day. Despite a few set backs (and a lot of laughs) along the way, all ends well.

Bella, age 5, says: “I liked that Jake showed up in the end, because Polly was missing him and she was worried. I also liked that Alan Taylor and that he got his money back and threw it in the air.”


The Land of Roar – Jenny McLachlan

We LOVED this book. It’s a magical adventure featuring dragons, a wizard, mermaids and a particularly scaring scarecrow. The journey Arthur and Rose go on is truly epic as they venture through a portal in their Grandfather’s loft into a realm created by their own imaginations.

The adventure they go on in order to save their Grandfather is incredible and full of danger and excitement. However, it is how the relationships between the characters develop that I really enjoyed. The twins at the centre of the story are growing apart at the beginning. This is often the case with siblings, as they mature at different rates and find different interests. It’s lovely to see them grow closer together as they find a new respect for each other and remember how much fun they can have when they believe.

The Land of Roar is a modern classic and I’m sure it will be made into a major feature film at some point soon. The follow up, ‘Return to Roar’, has recently been published, and it’s already in the pile of books next to my bed, waiting to be enjoyed.

Tom, age 7 says, “It was very, very dangerous at times, but I liked it lots.”

The Night Bus Hero

The Night Bus Hero – Onjali Q. Rauf

It’s rare that you don’t like the central character in a book, but in The Night Bus Hero, Hector is particularly unlikeable to the majority of the story. He’s a bully and it’s a really interesting take to tell a story through this lens. Rauf doesn’t really make us try to sympathise with his awful behaviour, but we do get to understand some of his motivations and his thinking.

This would be a fantastic book to read aloud to a class because of the two main central themes of bullying and homelessness. I can imagine it starting interesting conversations within class and certainly giving the children a better understanding of the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.

The Night Bus Hero is a modern classic that I have been thoroughly recommending to many people ever since we finished it.

Tom, age 8, says: “It’s was unusual at the start because Hector was being a bully and I didn’t like him. It’s different when you go from a bullies point of view. I enjoyed the book very because as you get further into the book Hector becomes more of a nice person. The favourite bit was when they broke in and crept through to catch the thief. My favourite character was Thomas because he was interesting and clever and has a good name.”


Scribbleboy – Philip Ridley

First published in 1997, Scribbleboy is certainly one of the older books we’ve read together. I was keen to share it with my son because I ‘ve always really enjoyed it myself, as have the children in the classes that I’ve read it with. Given that it’s now a quarter of a century old, some of the cultural references are a little dated, but that is also a great learning point for everyone. I was first introduced to Scribbleboy by Jo Payne and she has written here about why it’s such a great book.

Real life issues of divorce, disability, mental health and more are all touched upon in a way that is appropriate for KS2 children, making Scribbleboy an excellent jumping off point for meaningful conversations with children.

The story centres around a boy called Bailey who moves to a new flat with his dad and brother after his mum leaves them. Bailey is introduced to the world of Scribbleboy by Ziggy and together they develop a fan club in honour of the mysterious graffiti artist who brought colour to an otherwise dull neighbourhood.

While Bailey becomes deeply involved in the fan club, his dad and brother begin to move on with their lives. Bailey doesn’t find it easy to accept this and doesn’t approve of all the changes going on around him. He throws himself into the world of Scribbleboy as a way of forgetting what’s going on at home, but ultimately finds that the two worlds are more closely linked than he had realised.

Tom, age 9, says: “I really enjoyed Scribbleboy because it’s really interesting how they come up with the new scribble language. It’s funny how the letter S on Ziggy’s typewriter is broken, so he has to write them on himself. There are some really good twists in the story and you never know what’s going to happen or who the real Scribbleboy is. I would like to visit Tiffany the Ice Cream Doctor and Monty the Pizza Doctor to see what food they would give me.”

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday – Jo Simmons

My son and I were instantly hooked with this one because the opening chapter is: very funny; sets up an intriguing story; and leaves you really wanting to read on. It left me with the feeling that I had discovered a book I really wanted to tell people about, like the first time I read Mr Gum. I did then spend the next few days recommending the book to loads of people. I really liked the fact that it was funny and a little close to the bone (WARNING: do not read this book to a child who has recently lost a beloved pet, especially a dog).

It’s not the first Jo Simmons book we’ve read (see below for The Dodo Made Me Do It) and we’ve come back to her because I’ve really been enjoying her writing. Particularly that she doesn’t go for the lazy stereotypes that some celebrity children’s authors tend to favour. I enjoyed the relationship between the brother and sister in the book because it’s real. Yes they have their fall outs, but on the whole they really love and care for each other, like most actual siblings do.

The title is great and made me start to guess why the birthday had been cancelled. My assumptions were all wrongs and this book had many more layers to it than I had imagined. Brilliant for children aged 6-11 I would say.

Grk and the Pelotti Gang

Grk and the Pelotti Gang – Joshua Doder

First published in 2006, I have been using this book in class on and off for the last 10 years or so. It’s a great class read for lower KS2 children to go alongside a topic about Brazil or rainforests. The Grk books all take place in different countries and help readers get a good understanding of each countries geography and culture as a backdrop to exciting narrative.

In this particular Grk adventure, the small, white dog and his owner Tim find themselves in Brazil. After being kidnapped by some street children from a favela in Rio de Janeiro, they come across Brazil’s most wanted criminals – the Pelotti Gang. Together Tim, Grk and one of the boys set out to bring the Pelotti’s to justice.

I adore this book because it’s action packed and it’s great to read in class or as a bedtime story because there are so many cliff-hangers that leave the children desperate to find out what happens.

Tom, age 8, says: “It’s really intriguing because you always want to know what happens next. I really like Tim because he’s really confident and brave and doesn’t let anything stop him from catching the Pelotti brothers. I’d like to read other Grk books because I think they’ll be intriguing and exciting like this book.”