Radio Rivers – Rivers of London adaptation

So, we’re getting towards recording the final scenes, so I thought I’d share the only edited scene with you so far. This scene was written by me, it is not in the book, as a prologue. Hope you enjoy!

You can follow the progress of Radio Rivers on Twitter @RadioRivers.

The Snocker Elf

The Snocker is an elf that lives within the snooker table. He is especially active during major tournaments, and comes out at night to sweep the baize and collect dropped chalk. Although classed as an elf, The Snocker has a bit of the fairy mischief within him for he likes to play tricks on players, especially at crucial times in matches. He is responsible for kicks, which he does by prodding the baize from underneath with his broom handle. If you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of The Snocker in a pocket as he blows very hard so balls that should be certain just miss. When a ball seems to roll round the edge of a pocket or wipe its feet, you can be sure that is The Snocker Elf at work.

The Snocker Elf

If he’s hungry, The Snocker will guide balls into pockets with no warning. He considers the white one the tastiest. He likes nothing more than the sound of applause rippling through the crowd, but gets very angry when people shout out at inappropriate moments and will carry out his vengeance upon the flow of the table.

The Snocker Elf at work

An offering when a player has nearly worn down his chalk is much appreciated by The Snocker. Leave it under the table by one of the corner legs to ensure the tournament has a happy ending.


If you’re thinking should I post what I made in Made in Wakefield? The answer is YES, every time. Sometimes us humans don’t even realise we’re being creative. Whether you’re writing your next novel or cooking something from your leftovers for tea, you are being creative. Whether you’re an adult planning how to decorate your front room or a child scribbling on a drawing pad (or a newly decorated wall!) you’re being creative. If you’re in the moment, the flow, making something that didn’t exist before, you’re being creative. All these things should be shared in Made in Wakefield. If you’re planning an event where people can get in the flow, are encouraged to play and be curious, (and that’s preferably free and for all ages) you should post in Made in Wakefield. If you’re showcasing others’ creativity, at WHATEVER level, from charity cup cake making to master artists, you should post in Made in Wakefield.

We are conditioned at school to conform to a certain way of being, a sure fire way to become a successful human, and we all believe it. Why wouldn’t we? We are all children after all, sponges, waiting to be moulded into whatever our experiences and influences choose to make us. Curiosity, play, thinking, creativity become less important the older we get. We are told we will not receive any gain from pursuing these ways of life. Better to conform to a set way of thinking, a job description life, to guarantee ‘success’ as a person, a member of the human race, in accordance with standards already set by another member of the same race (usually financial, mostly superficial). It is a challenge set by yourself to be creative, to allow yourself the time to pursue the most human of activities, to ignore all the self perpetuated pressures of life, washing, shopping, working for someone else, and take an hour to let the mind wander to an undefined, unplanned destination. The destination that makes creative thought inevitable.

It is also a challenge to recognise and be proud of when you are creative. We often think we’re not good enough, there’s others better than us, we are not worthy players, we should go away and stop wasting everyone’s time. Well, you ARE good enough, there is NO ONE better than you, you ARE worthy, and I’d love to waste my time on you, because, simply, you are a Homo-Sapian. We are known for our amazingly complex and creative brains. It is the reason we are the most ‘successful’ species on this Pale Blue Dot of a planet. Next time you’re cooking dinner, doodling on your cappuccino napkin, building with Lego, gathering words in new ways, collecting colours in one space, crafting sounds with your most unique and intricate of hearing processes (your ears), or, most importantly, PLAYING and EXPERIMENTING, be assured we want you to post the results in Made in Wakefield. We are interested and happy that you’ve managed to achieve the flow in this most demanding of lives and we want to celebrate the fact you’ve achieved that. Nobody and nothing can tell you what is creative, what is art. It is a fundamentally human thing to do and EVERYONE can do it. Be proud of it, don’t take it for granted, and share. Made in Wakefield is made by YOU!

STILL unsure if you’re being creative or not?
John Cleese made this wonderful speech about how to get in the creative flow of things. And no, you don’t have to be a professional (god-like-genius) writer for this to apply to you…

But only children play. It’s not for adults. Big fat WRONG! Be better at being an adult by playing more…

Get posting!


1000 Snowflakes

Every night he'd ask his mum if it would snow this winter. His mum always said it depends if the snowflake fairy pays us a visit. But Harry had to be good for the snowflake fairy to visit. So Harry tried very hard to be good. He helped carry his mum's shopping home, he visited nan once a week and gave her a big hug and kiss before he left, he helped his dad sheer the sheep till they were naked of wool. He worked hard. Harry believed.

The nights grew darker and the townsfolk covered themselves in woolly clothes to keep out the chill. But still the snowflakes wouldn't fall. Harry was trying to be good every day. Sometimes he'd try twice as hard. He even shared his sweets with his sister in the hope that the snowflake fairy was watching, somewhere.


Harry's mum had just tucked her boy into bed. She was worried. For once she was wishing the snow would come to the town, just to reward her hopeful boy who'd tried so hard on behalf of the lucid snowflake fairy. She thought, and wondered, and imagined and dreamed.


A few weeks later it was Harry's seventh birthday. He climbed trees and made a den in the woods with his friends. When he got home there was a party with streamers and silly hats, and a cake with seven candles. When he blew out the candles he made a wish. He wished it three times just to make sure the snowflake fairy could hear. That night, after he'd checked through the curtains one last time, his mum tucked him safe and sound into his warm bed. His mum told him that night his dreams would be special.

On their way to the shops the next morning Harry wondered why his dad was with them. He never came shopping when he had the sheep to tend. The town was busy too. But everyone was heading in the same direction, towards Wellgate in the centre of town, and, Harry realised, so were they. His mum didn't answer him when he asked, she just smiled a watery smile.

Harry, his sister, and his mum and dad rounded the corner to Wellgate into a throng of people clogging up the small entrance. When they turned and saw Harry they parted like a drift of snow, all the way to the end where the town well had always stood. Harry's eyes widened at the sight. The well, lacy white, was patterned with snowflakes. 1000 snowflakes. As he got closer he could see they were made of wool. All eyes of the children of Ossett town gaped wondrously at the grand sight before them. The townspeople smiled as Harry gazed at the well, his eyes studying each carefully crafted snowflake, each one made by those watching him, each filled with the joy of a child. Harry's mum gave him the biggest hug he'd ever had and told him how the people of Ossett wanted him and all the children to have their own snowflakes, just for them.



In bed that night Harry smiled into his pillow wrapped in the dreamy day he'd just had. He didn't think of the snowflake fairy. He thought of his mum and his dad and all the nice people he'd met that day who'd made him and his friends such a special present.


The moon shone in the dark swirls of the night and cast a bright beam upon the well in Ossett town. The woollen snowflakes danced, but there was no breeze. From deep in the well something shivered. A flurry of wind carrying shimmering silver dust flowed from the well's opening. Jack Frost rose up into the white woollen flakes made by the people of Ossett. Up he rose, into the eaves, calling to the night, calling to the snowflake fairy.




Harry woke the next morning with his mum's excited voice telling him to look outside. He pulled open his curtains to the scattering of soft white flakes of snow that lay as far as he could see. He shut his eyes and thanked the snowflake fairy for listening to all the people of Ossett. Then he ran downstairs to find his bobble hat and red wellies.






The Naked Sheep of Ossett Town

This is a myth I wrote for the wonderful Flock to Ossett event on 30th June 2012. It was adapted and performed by the Yew Tree Theatre company as well as retold by the very talented story teller Susanna Meese from Telling Tales.


A merchant was approaching the end of his long journey from Leeds to his home in Ossett having sold his cloth for a little over cost price. As he neared the Dale Street Well he spotted a sheep layingat the side of the road. The merchant climbed from his cart and found the sheep completely naked of wool. The sheep was cold and seemed unwell. The merchant took pity on the creature and carefully placed it on his cart and took it to his home with him. He placed the sheep near the fire and brought it some fresh water. The sheep could hardly lift its head to drink and was shaking with exposed chill. The merchant looked for materials with which he could fashion a crude bed and blanket, but being so poor from having had such little gains from the cloth trade the merchant only had one blanket in his whole home. He fretted that the sheep would not make it through the night if he did not provide cover, and so he went into the town and knocked on the doors of the spinsters and weavers, telling them of the naked sheep and asking for any blankets or scraps of cloth they could give to keep the animalwarm through the night. The wool makers of Ossett Town, also penurious due to the low sale price of their cloth, had very little they could offer the merchant, but each being of a generous and kind naturetore a scrap from their own blankets and gave it humbly. The merchant took the scraps and rags and feared they would be useless. Nevertheless, he covered the naked sheep as it slept by the fire, hoping it would be well again come morning. Satisfied the sheep was comfortable, the merchant retired to his bed. He lay there, worrying that he would not be able to sustain his cloth business with the cost of wool becoming so high and pricing him out of the market. He worried for the spinsters and weaverswho relied on him to provide the wool that they spun and weaved which he sold at Leeds market. How would they survive? After a restless few hours the merchant finally fell to sleep. Within his dreams St Blaise appeared. St Blaise held what seemed like a scrap of blanket in one hand, much like the ones given by the spinsters and weavers that very evening, and a fine piece of drapery in the other.It was cloth like he’d never seen before. The merchant sensed a calming hope in the presence of thepatron saint of wool makers and slept soundly until morning.




The next morning, when the merchant awoke and went to check on the poor naked sheep he found the scraps given by the wool makers had all disappeared and the sheep had grown a full new coat of wool, luxuriant and bright. Within the wool he could see fibres of different colours, and he could tell they were the scraps given as alms which had somehow coalesced with the sheep’s own wool to make a full fleece like never seen before. Astonished, the merchant embraced the sheep and fed it some leafy alfalfa and laid down fresh water. The merchant was in awe of this new material and wondered what use he could make of it. He washed the sheep and carefully sheared it. Then he took the fleece to the spinsters and weavers, who could hardly believe their ears as the merchant recounted his tail of finding the naked sheep that very morning with a full new coat that incorporated the scraps of blankets they had donated just the night before. The weavers were keen to see if this new material could be woven, and the spinsters set about spinning it into yarn. When they saw the golden lustre of the wool mixed with their old rags and then felt it between their fingers as they span it and sent it through their looms they knew this was no ordinary cloth they had crafted. The merchant gathered the sturdy cloth and took it to market in Leeds where a tailor from far away lands spotted it and offered 7s. Having borne no cost to himself, the delighted merchant accepted the amount, and returned to Ossett where he distributed the profit evenly between himself and the spinsters and weavers. Delighted with this turnaround in their fortunes the wool makers brought their old flannels and hosiery to cover the naked sheep that night. The merchant fed and watered the sheep and left it that evening beside the fire, comfortable and fast asleep.


The next morning, much to the merchant’s disbelief, the sheep had once again grown a fine covering of wool. He sheered the animal and took the fleece to the spinsters and weavers who, in grateful astonishment, spun and weaved the wool into robust cloth and the merchant once more took it to market in Leeds and sold it for a goodly sum. That evening, intrigued by the happenings reported to him, the local tailor arrived at the merchant’s home with a bundle of off cuts and scraps of old clothes from his business, which he would usually donate to the local manure heap. The merchant thanked the tailor and placed the felted scraps on the sheep. Ossett Town slept a restful sleep that night, and the next morning the sheep had once again produced a full new coat. This time it felt of a finer quality, smoother and softer. As he had done the previous mornings, the merchant took the fleece to the spinsters and weavers who marvelled at this hardy pelage. They produced a cloth that seemed less course than before and the merchant took it to Leeds market. This time there were two drapers who started to outbid each other for the fine looking cloth. The merchant was aghast as the bid increased from 8s to 10s, then to 12s. Finally a draper to the Lords of the southern cities won the bid for a healthy sum of 15s. The merchant returned to Ossett to share the profit from the cloth with the spinsters and weavers.


That night, and every night, the wool makers of Ossett Town would bring their scraps and rags to cover the naked sheep. The same events occurred the following morning, and the next, and the next. Each day the merchant would return from market and share the profits with his fellow craftsmen. Astounded by the Ossett man’s fortunes his fellow wool traders pestered for the merchant’s secret. What was this wool and how was it made? The merchant did not tell the tail of the naked sheep, but instead offered to sell them the much lower cost flock from which the cloth was made so they too could produce a fabric of quality that would aid their floundering fortunes. A fair sum was agreed. The merchant returned to the wool makers of Ossett and told them of the deal he had struck with his fellow wool traders. The wool makers set about sorting through rags and old cloths and collecting off cuts and old felted clothing from the tailor and visiting bailor. They combined the cloth rags with half of their virgin wool from their sheep flocks and the felted rags with the other half to make shoddy and mungo, and the merchant sold this along with the cloth produced from the naked sheep’s daily yield at Leeds market, returning to Ossett each day to share the profits.


Ossett Town became well known for its wool making reputation and all its residents prospered from it. The spinsters and weavers would bring offerings for the sheep, coverings to keep it warm, food and water, all manner of hand crafted wares, and each day the sheep would produce a fine thick coat of shoddy and mungo for them. This continued every day until the naked sheep’s death a year later. The merchant and the craftsmen buried the sheep near the old pinfold and made coverings from recycled rags and cloth mixed with wool, just as the sheep had shown them, to keep it warm in its shrine. For generations the wool makers of Ossett Town would return every year to the shrine with gifts in remembrance and lay a new covering made in just the same way as a mark of gratitude to the naked sheep for making Ossett a reputable and prosperous town, which it still is today.