Monday, December 9, 2013

Sparks the Unlit Lamp - our prototype story book

We're excited to have the prototype of the first one in a bunch of stories about characters in the Hospital.
The first is Sparks, upset because owing to a sunlit summer, no one seem to need him. His attempts to get his friends to help him block Windy the window's light aren't that successful... until..!

We'll be trying the book out on willing readers in the next weeks so let us know if you'd like us to call on a  particular ward.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Postcard Book

Hot off the press is a little bound book of 'postcards' capturing twenty samples of poems, drawings, stories created in the Hospital during the 'All Write' project. We're very proud of it! It will be available in the shop in exchange for a donation.

Friday, October 4, 2013

National Poetry Day: Water

The 3rd October was National Poetry Day and this year's theme was 'water'. For our workshop activities, we concentrated on the theme of 'Sea Fever'. Cate had children contributing drawings to a giant sea mural and I helped some poems to be born out of John Masefield's original.

By Joy, aged 12

I also asked children, parents and staff their first thought when they heard the word ‘water’ and put together the poem below from what they told me.  


Water is the source of life
but also takes our thoughts
to being thirsty when we’re fasting,
diluting juice and cups of tea.
It cools and soothes, and its drip-drop sound
makes some of us want to pee.
Water is the source of life
but also takes our thoughts
to blue seas on our holidays
swimming, diving, feeling hot;
whales and dolphins; even sharks
with teeth going ‘clop clop clop’.
Water is the source of life
but also takes our thoughts
to relaxing in the bath
showers, soap and washing hands,
cold drinks, fountains, wishing wells,
waterfalls and desert lands.
Water is the source of life
Splish, splosh, splash! A drink, a drink!
taking our thoughts to all these things.
But most of all, ‘Rain’, we think.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Autumn's Coming

Yesterday Cate and I had a busy morning in the Day Case Unit, creating some displays for the windows of the play room with children, parents and staff. It's a busy place and everyone has to wait for a while before they go to theatre.

So Cate invited children to add hand-printed leaves to the tree above, making a wonderfully colourful picture of days to come. And I collected word-images to do with Autumn which became branches on the trees below.

We had fun!
spiders scuttling
a fox spying
collecting acorns
raking leaves
wearing woolly hats
glowing red cheeks
dark nights

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Journeys in the Hospital

Anyone who's been to the hospital will have met its geographical challenges. The winding corridors, choices of stairs and lifts and the spread of its buildings down Rillbank Terrace and Sylvan Place, almost onto the Meadows! It's my theory that it's partly the dance we do around its quirky ways that makes it such a friendly place.

At one of our recent workshops, we used our journeys as a focus.  Cate and I made a sort of map combining pictures and words of our journey from our mugs of tea at the Friends Foundation office in Millerfield Place to the first floor library.

A 13 year old patient who arrived from ward 1 by wheelchair chose to write a poem about his journey instead.

We'd love to hear about your journeys around the hospital. Draw a map or write something, whichever you prefer and attach a document or a scan to an email to, telling us if you'd be happy for us to post it here.

A couple of tips - for the poem, the patient thought hard about the verbs he used for movement - scoot, swirl, scamper. And he thought about animals and how they move. For our map, Cate and I thought about senses - sights, sounds and smells.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eunice and Leopold

The lion and the unicorn have sat above the hospital's main entrance for well over a century now. Cate and I reckon that Eunice looks pretty unhappy - what with King Leopold IV roaring next to her and having to sit on a thistle all that time. She's not very comfortable.

We've been making up a story about her in which she demands to get down and the other things of the hospital have to help her. The trouble is that nothing seems quite throne-like enough for her when she does leave Leopold behind.

We've started reading our stories to some of the children we meet on the wards. Seven year old Iona on Ward 4 reckoned Leopold wasn't quite as fierce as he was making out. This is her drawing of him winking at Eunice!

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to make a story book

One day in July we had fun with a delightful girl called Joy who was very keen indeed to create stories. We stitched together a simple book and thoroughly enjoyed filling it with a story, taking turns to come up with ideas, to write, draw, colour in etc. The main character and her cat, Lily Savage, were the creation of Joy herself and Annabelle was such a great character that the ideas took off from there.

We look forward to seeing books two and three, as something very interesting is promised by the final page of book one - see below!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A name for the Sick Kids characters?

Have you been to see 'The Croods'?  Or perhaps you remember 'The Clangers' and 'The Borrowers'? We need your help in finding a similar group name for our hospital characters. Here's some of them.

What do they have in common?  They all belong to the Sick Kids Hospital and have jobs to do there. They're all 'things' but have different hopes and fears and strengths and weaknesses just as we do. We're putting them in some illustrated stories and need a name which helps them belong to the hospital but still makes sense after it moves to the new site at Little France in 2017.
The Thingmies?
The Sick Kids Nitwits?
The Friends?
Please tell us the one you like best or add your own ideas in the comments box below.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hot Hospital

Tuesday this week was the hottest day of the year in Edinburgh, with temperatures reaching 27 degrees. While trains melted causing chaos at Waverley Station, the Hospital continued its work. On Wednesday, Cate and I made a little book, created a first page (see below) and toured the hospital asking children on wards and waiting rooms to add a page to an ongoing story in words and pictures.
An enthusiastic Dad wrote several pages in verse, one illustrated by Mum, one by Granny and one by the patient herself. The story had Lorna the Play Specialist making all the children well with a magic spell but getting chicken pox herself. A girl with a broken wrist waiting for an x-ray decided that the children would then help Lorna with a potion of frogs' legs, mouldy old cheese and leeches! Amazing what heat can do to the imagination...
And here's poor Lorna before she is made well again.

Find the whole story with illustrations here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to Move a Hospital

Cate and I asked patients, staff, parents, volunteers, to suggest how the old and ailing hospital might make its restorative move across town to Little France as it’s destined to do in 2017. We’re developing the ‘things’ of the hospital into a cast of characters (see here) and some of them will certainly be involved.

Needless to say we’ve been delighted with the creative ideas offered. Several people saw the opportunity of so many bits of hospital equipment being on wheels. So we had this suggestion from 13 year old Mami:


And 12 year old Hannah’s combination of a ‘ginormous skateboard’ with the pushing power of all the children from Sciennes Primary School!

Megan and a group of parents and volunteers at one of our workshops imagined a great cavalcade across the south of Edinburgh of all the wheelchairs, wheeled things of the hospital, and even the idea that the hospital might be dismantled and carried brick by brick to be rebuilt into a lovely new establishment at the other end.

Evie envisaged this enormous NHS ‘Hospital Mover’:

While 12 year old Emma had PJ Bear driving a limo with all the other characters on board. Unfortunately it seems PJ’s sense of direction isn’t too good…

And Ava, daughter of a Friends Foundation staff member transported the hospital on a huge bed!

The important role played by seagulls and pigeons in Mami’s suggestion was backed up by another idea from Danellia involving butterflies ...
...and even the penguins arriving across town from Edinburgh Zoo to help from eight year old Charlieanne!

Other assistance came from hospital equipment – 14 year old Anna suggested that the bandages would volunteer to help:
“We’ll wrap the Hospital up tight so she doesn’t feel the bumps on the flight to Little France”.

Sam decided a catapult would send the building flying for three miles:

And one of the Play Service staff suggested that a child suffering from asthma might get well enough, after practice, to blow the hospital all the way to Little France! 

Some of the ideas took quite a magical turn. Rowan, a patient, saw these creatures lending a wing:

Ten year old Noah invented a time machine which could transport the Hospital across space in only two seconds ...
...while his mum saw a role for the strange duct that worms through the building and might also provide an opportunity for travel!

Another parent foresaw a torrential downpour creating a huge wave that the hospital would surf across town on with all the characters on board, transforming at the far end and making Stephanie the Stethoscope remark:
“Look at the Hospital – it’s so shiny, so new.’ 

A nurse made the lovely suggestion of a flock of angels lifting and flying with the hospital while Summer, a patient, had this idea:

But of course as a member of Friends Foundation staff pointed out, with the great moment of the hospital’s move and all the commotion going on, the volcano at Arthur’s Seat is bound to awake.  Perhaps its sleeping lion shape will take us by surprise with a roar, or volcanic lava will help move the hospital?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Teddy Toddle!

The Sick Kids Friends Foundation will be fundraising with small people and their furry friends on a Teddy Toddle on Saturday 15th June at Meadowbank Stadium. Cate and I will be there too, offering to draw and write personal cards in honour of best teds!  Come and say hello.

And here's a silly ditty I wrote in celebration of the event, obviously intended to be read aloud (and possibly shouted at the end!):

best bears
ready steady
gee up neddy
furry tummies
follow mummy
bears bumbling
round the ring
with Yan Guang
and Tian Tian
PJ’s the DJ
spinning discs
for fidgets
and nitwits
walking for
Sick Kids
at Meadowbank’s
running track
what a doddle

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Me and my teddy bear

Favourite teddies have been a good prompt for writing and drawing in the hospital recently, both with children and with adults who have long memories. Many of the teddies come into hospital with patients who are happy to talk or write about where their cuddly friend came from as well as the most exciting place he or she has been and what she gets up to when left alone. Six year olds Eliza and Lilley made these drawings of their respective purple duck, Angeline, and ragdoll, Sophie, while they waited for surgery in the Day Case Unit.

Watch this space for more news about words and pictures at The Sick Kids Teddy Toddle on Saturday 16th June at Meadowbank Stadium.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

When I visit my brother...

What Hannah, aged six, would like when she's in hospital visiting her brother

When I visit my brother
I’d like my own tent
with a torch and a tablet
a notebook and pen.

It’s cosy and private
with my books and TV.
When I pull down the zip
it’s just Fizzy* and ME!

Beside it’s a garden
a see-saw and tree
that I climb up inside
with flowers beneath.

Please give me a disco
with music and lights
and colourful balloons
so it’s sparkling and bright.

A cafĂ© with ice cream,                                   
juice, biscuits and chips,
served by a chef
with a smile on her lips.

And, okay, if you say so,
there’s maybe a school
with a smart board and pens
and a teacher who’s cool.

Our black labrador Murphy’s
there with us too,
bringing Noah his slipper.
Or just having a chew?


*('Fizzy' is a precious white dog who wears a pink tutu)

Friday, April 12, 2013

What Happens Next?

We've already been given a few great ideas about how our characters are going to move the Hospital to Little France, from patients, staff, volunteers, parents.

Without giving away too much here are a few: PJ Bear drives them all there in a huge lorry, with the rocking horse from Ward One left to gallop alongside; the penguins and other animals from Edinburgh Zoo cross town to come and help; a flock of angels lift it up and fly with it; and a Tardis-type transport machine is the answer!

Please help us with more ideas. All the details and the story so far are to the right.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Please help with our story!

Cate and I have started a story about the move of the Hospital to Little France. All the things of the hospital - the beds, the toys, the machines and equipment - are getting worried about the age and health of their home. But they have to think of a way of helping the hospital to move. Sasha the Sats monitor (below) goes into a panic and dashes about bleeping. The others gather together to discuss the problem.

And they need your ideas - whether you're a patient, a relative, a member of staff, a neighbour, or even if you have nothing to do with the hospital, we'd love to hear and see your ideas.

To read the story, you can go to the 'Poorly Hopital' page to the right. And for instructions on how to send us your ideas in drawings or words, see the page below it. The pages can be enlarged or printed by clicking on them.

Please help! More about it all on Cate's blog here.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Valentine's Day

Cate and I had a lot of fun with the Valentine's Card we made for the Hospital, with her lovely illustration on the front and my story about Stephanie the Stethoscope on the back. (See the full story via the side bar). We gave it out throughout the wards, via Radio Lollipop and the Friends Foundation shop.

Stethoscopes are very good at listening so make good match-makers. We invited other people to make up stories about Stephanie.  Ten year old Noah had her making a match between Serena the syringe (sad because no-one likes her) and Pat the Plaster who's  a bit of a joker and believes in laughter as a way of healing. Here they are having their first date on Dave's arm - broken while doing karate. The sun even shone for them!

One or two children also made their own cards for loved ones, including this beautiful one by 10 year old Freya.

Posted by Linda

Thursday, February 21, 2013

To see what we were doing in the 'All Write' programme up to January 2013, please follow this link.