Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Talk on Teaching and Quotations

The group leader made the introduction based on information emailed earlier by the speaker
Author Angela Lansbury did teaching practice at a girls' Grammar School in London's East End and taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in four Singapore Schools.

I began:
"The time has come the walrus said
To talk of many things ..."

I paused (to catch my breath and remember the next line) but immediately three members of the audience started to chant the rest of the rhyme

"Of shoes and ships and sealing wax," no point in stopping them, nor trying to talk over them, but I wanted everybody to hear so I encouraged them to speak louder by lifting both my hands palms upwards.

I take my props the horse and a cat or dog puppet to get the children's attention.

My assistant will read the poem on the horse from Angela's Animals.

My assistant will read the poem on the cats and dog from Poetry, Pets and Pests.
Most of the adventures which happen to the cats are true, either because they happen often to lots of cats and cat owners, or they happened once to somebody I know. For example,  

I take poems about animals to recite to schoolchildren. I read some poems about animals to children at a local library on a national book day. I read poems and short stories from my books and library books to two classes of schoolchildren and some toddlers in arms.

Afterwards one of the teachers invited to speak to English classes at a nearby primary school.

My book Angela's Alarming Animal Poems has an alliterative title. I wanted my title to b completely alliterative, just Angela's Alarming Animals. However, that might have suggested that it was a book of fiction or prose.

I wrote a poem about an unusual animal. When I was booked to speak to the school, I understood that the children would afterwards write a poem about an animal, (with my help). I thought they would be more likely to want to write about a family pet such as a cat or dog.

Gradually my collection of poems grew, and to keep them in order I wrote them out on card index cards and filed them alphabetically by subject: cats, dogs, rabbits. I already had poems on cats, dogs and rabbits. I soon had about ten poems. That list grew to about 20. In case I needed or was asked about another animal, I thought it would be a simple task to add a poem on each kind of animal. But I was sure to be asked questions such as, what do they eat, and how long do they live. As you can imagine it took a day or two to research all aspects of each animal, find suitable sketches or out of copyright cartoons, write a poem in rhyming couplets, check the rhythm, then shorten the poem or lengthen it.

After several months I had plenty of poems. But I could not read my own handwriting so I decided to print them through into a handy booklet.

I soon got into self-publishing. You needed a cover, a copyright notice, a bar code, a dedication. I then had to paginate and add all the page numbers. That took a day or two.

I showed the book to the family. My wonderful book, starting with Ant - our son's name is Anthony, ending with Zoo. They pointed out an ant was not an animal but an insect. But I had crocodile but had not included alligator. So I changed the listing. Now I was ready for the final check.

Anything missing. Yes, Aardvark. Do you know what an aardvark is - ant-eater. Double AA. I had to paginate again, right from the beginning.

What about axolotl. I have a poem on that, too.

By now I had too many poems for a book at a price which people would be prepared to pay. So I cut the book into two sections. I thought of calling it animals part one and animals part 2. But that was too confusing. So I called the second book: Poetry, Pets and Pests. That was alliterative. It told you that the book was poetry.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Winning a table topic contest - a speech with a twist end

I loved this article on how the writer won a table topics competition. 

L'Chaim: To the Toastmasters -

11 Dec 2010 - How Judaism helped me win the Toastmasters Table Topics Championship ... 

He did five good things.
1 History - timeline through life from childhood onwards.
2 Relates to everyone.
3 Metaphor.
4 Twist end.
5 Ends with message to you.
It is a mini-sermon.

My name is Angela Lansbury. I am an author. 
I wrote a book called Wedding Speeches and Toasts.
More recently I wrote Quick Quotations.
My latest book is Who said what, where, when?

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