Sues Blog

FREE – Specially Adapted Play version of The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico

As we head into what promises to be a challenging winter, what better way to relieve flagging spirits than a lovely, simple inspirational read? I have read many books this last year – probably more than I would have in a ‘normal’ year and few made such an instant impression as The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. I have to admit to being a huge fan of novellas – I love the Dickens collection, affiliated to A Christmas Carol – The Battle of Life, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth and The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain – which I have also adapted into plays (still ploughing through Bleak House, six months on!)

I hope everyone enjoys reading this free offering, presented in the hope it will lift a few of your spirits at a time when we all need to be reminded of hope in all its different forms.

Brief Foreward from Sue Russell

I came across a copy of The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico, in the library, at a time that I was feeling rather sad and fearful. 2020 has not been an easy year and I found the reading of this book a beautiful, uplifting experience. As a great fan of novellas, I found this one to be an absolute gem, embracing so brilliantly the wonder of nature and the power of good. It is, in my opinion, the simplicity of the writing (and I don’t mean that in a detrimental sense – conveying important issues in a few words is a skill held by few) that makes it so powerful and its message and descriptions so poignant.

If you feel like a much needed injection of positivity, check out the following:

Both scripts are full of fun and generally uplifting material – much needed at this moment in time.

Also worth a mention, October 4 World Animal Day – there are lots of scripts available from this site centred around animals – I will be putting together a separate section on these, to include a script I am currently writing on The Snow Goose – I picked up a copy of this from the local library yesterday and on re-reading it, was blown away by its beauty and simplicity (there is another in the pipeline on a similar Francis Assisi story ‘The Small Miracle’ on Pepino and his donkey Violetta).

At last! Things returning to a bit of normality – for me, that means orders again, hoorah! And writing!

So excited about script I have in my head – on money – with following playlist:

  • Money money money – Abba
  • Money – Pink Floyd
  • Living in a Material World – George Harrison
  • Material Girl – Madonna
  • Money Makes the World Go Round – Liza Minelli (Cabaret)
  • Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
  • Gold – Spandau Ballet
  • Heart of Gold – Neil Young
  • Golden Brown – Stranglers
  • Money for Nothing – Dire Straits
  • You gotta pick a pocket or two – Artful Dodger, Oliver Twist
  • Jesse J – Price Tag ft B.O.B.

With above, how can I go wrong?! (Maybe write it first, then answer that question!)

Our Children’s Mental Health

I have just been listening to radio 4 – Women’s Hour – on the nation’s concern for the mental health of our youngsters and how they will cope with returning to school.

At the beginning of Lockdown, I wrote a script around the story of Chicken Licken which deals with the subject of fear – in all its different manifestations.

I would like to offer this KS II script to teachers to share with their students at this challenging time in the hope that it may give some solace and actual practical advice (including such suggestions as mindfulness).

I have also just added a Key Stage One version – with an extension to the original script (found in Collection II of Key Stage One Quickie Fairy Tales) which covers fear in an appropriate wayr for these younger children.

I have written many other PSHE scripts – the majority of my fairy tale adaptations deal with one theme or another. So do please take a look at these – I think they are an excellent way of giving indirect comfort at a time when our children’s mental health is top of the agenda.

Following are general observations – followed by personal ones

Reflections on 10 week lockdown:

  1. Time of fear of contagion – the level of anxiety obviously based on the level of risk of (a) exposure to the virus (b) own physical condition.
  2. Period of social isolation – again, depending so much on personal circumstances – whether living in high rise block of flats in the middle of city or house with a garden; and of course a number of ‘housemates’ – the anxiety of those ‘alone’ obviously greater than those with a support network.
  3. Period of economic anxiety – for those losing jobs and businesses/self-employed, many of whom will have gone under.
  4. General anxiety over how things will pan out in the future. The virus will not ‘go away’ so enforced social distancing will be part of our lives indefinitely – especially for those in ‘at risk category’ and those closely linked to them. 

But on the positive side:

  1. Our planet taking a much-needed break. Great news for the environment. Pollution right down. World of nature loving it.
  2. Greater appreciation of nature – hopefully having knock-on effects for the future.
  3. Enhanced community spirit – looking out for others. Again, hopefully continuing into future.
  4. Different standards/recognition of what is important – less materialism. We can survive without new possessions every week!
  5. Given the conduct of certain politicians, an even greater cynicism among the British public about whose interests are being served in society.
  6. Sadly, the division between the haves and have nots will be increased further, as those with wealth or at very least, jobs, have a massive advantage over those without. It will be interesting to see how humanity deals with this increased disparity – whether it will ‘happily’ help those without or resent any sacrifices demanded of them to bring about less disparity

Personal Experience of Lockdown

The first few weeks were, for me, pretty manic – trying to readjust to situation of no income! The last time I was ‘on the dole’ was, I won’t say how many years ago, as a student – but even then I generally managed to get jobs to see me through. 

All three sources of income for me dried up literally over-night – Zumba classes, play orders from schools, and TEFL work – both teaching English as a foreign language to foreign students over here and taking them out and about as a guide.  

So, my first efforts were to ‘adapt’ to new circumstances. Hence on-line Zumba and providing Home Schooling resources. Sadly neither of which ‘took off’ sufficiently to provide me with an income so new life for me became providing online Zumba for those interested – on a voluntary basis, and doing some writing for a time when schools would start making orders from my plays website again.

As for many other self-employed folk, this has taken me time to ‘get my head around’. And the anxiety of no income has been BIG. But compared to so many others I consider myself extremely lucky. I have a garden! I have my health! I have family living with me. And I now strangely really enjoy my online classes! It’s so lovely seeing everyone and I am not now quite so freaked out by the technology!

What lies ahead? Your guess is as good as mine. But for the time being, I am loving the sunshine and am thankful for ‘all my blessings’.

Days in the Past

June 22nd

1949: Birth of of Meryl Streep

1989: in China, 7 students involved in the Tiananmen Square protest are shot after televised show trials.

June 21st

1982: Birth of Prince William

June 20th

1837: 18 year old Victoria accedes to the English throne on the death of her uncle William IV

1909: Birth of movies swashbuckling hero Errol Flynn

June 19th

1829: Founding of London Metropolitan Police Force

1953: No clemency for Rosenbergs

June 18th

1928: First woman to fly Atlantic – 30 yr old Amelia Earhart

June 17th

1775 Battle of Bunker Hill

1944 Iceland becomes independent republic

1991 World in AIDS fight – 8,000 scientists and researchers gathered in Florence for an international conference on the AIDS pandemic.

June 16th

1961 Ballet star Nureyev leaps to freedom

June 15th

1752 Franklin’s kite stunt – to prove electricity and lightning same thing.

1919 Capt John Alcock and Lt Arthur Whitten Brown  completed world’s first non-stop flight across the Atlantic.

1934 Hitler and Mussolini meet for the first time

June 14th

1917 German planes bomb London for the first time

1928 Birth of Che Guevara – legendary Argentinian-born revolutionary

1964 Nelson Mandela sentenced to life imprisonment

June 13th

1381 Peasants Revolt – Workers march against poll tax –  – crowd of angry peasants led by Wat Tyler

1989 Mikhail Gorbachev and Chancellor Kohl agree that East and West Germany should be reunited.

June 12th

1929 Birth of Anne Frank

1991 Russians go to vote in first democratic election

June 11th

South Africa The Good News /

1946 Italy becomes a republic

1979 Death of John Wayne

1988 Celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday – 80,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium celebrating biggest 70th birthday party ever.

June 10th


1692 Witch Hunt Fever Sweeps Salem

1967 Israel doubles in size (200% expansion in territory)

1921 Birth of Prince Phillip Duke of Edinburgh

1922 Birth of Judy Garland

June 9th

1781 Birth of George Stephenson English engineer who developed greatly improved steam locomotive.

1870 Death of Charles Dickens

June 8th

632 Death of Mohammed, prophet and founder of Islam.

1968 Martin Luther King’s killer arrested in London – James Earl Ray

June 7th

Paul Gauguin

1848 birth of Paul Gauguin

1905 Norway declares its independence from Sweden

1960 Birth of Prince American singer and musician

1971 India seals its border with newly independent Bangladesh to keep out cholera-stricken refugees

June 6th

1949 1984 George Orwell’s novel published

1961 Death of Carl Gustav Jung- founder of analytical psychology. “Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you”.

1984 Amritsar Massacre – At Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s orders, Indian troops storm Golden Temple in Holy City of Amritsar to arrest Sikh militants taking refuge there – 712 Sikhs and 90 soldiers killed.

June 5th

Montgolfier brothers

1783 Hot air balloon, made of linen and paper, launched over Annonay, France – made by brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacque-Etienne Montgolfiier – rising 6000ft in air, for 10 minutes

1963 John Profumo – British Secretary of State for War – forced to quit after affair with Christine Keeler – allegedly also involved with Russian diplomat Captain Ivanov, a former naval attache at the Soviet Embassy 1968 Bobby Kennedy shot

June 4th

By Jon - Trooping the Colour, 16th June 2007, CC BY 2.0,

1798 Death of Casanova – writer, traveller, adventurer, soldier, spy, diplomat … and dedicated ladies’ man

1805 First ceremony of Trooping of the Colour at Horse Guards Parade, London

June 3rd

1875 Death of French composer Georges Bizet best known for opera Carmen

1899 Death of Johann Strauss – composer of the Blue Danube

1924 Death of German novelist and short story writer Franz Kafka

1937 Former King Edward VIII of Great Britain and Ireland married his American bride, Wallis Warfield Simpson having chosen bride over crown.

June 2nd

1946 Italy becomes a republic

1953 Queen Elizabeth II crowned

1964 PLO formed in Jerusalem 1985 English football clubs banned indefinitely from playing in Europe on account of hooliganism by British fans abroad.

June 1st

1926 Birth of Marilyn Monroe

1942 T.V. licenses first issued in Britain

1979 Zimbabwe becomes Rhodesia

2002 Queen celebrates her Golden Jubilee

2004 Nelson Mandela announces retirement from public life

May 31st

1930 Birth of Clint Eastwood

1961 South Africa becomes republic independent of the British Commonwealth

May 30th

1431 Joan of Arc burnt at the stake

1819 Birth of Queen Victoria

1941 Birth of Bob Dylan

1974 Death of Duke Ellington

May 29th

1660 Coronation of Charles II – after England’s only period of republicanism.

1903 Birth of Bob Hope

1917 Birth of John F. Kennedy

1953 Everest crowned by Hillary and Tenzing

May 28th

1908 Birth of Ian Fleming – creator of 007

1968 Birth of Kylie Minogue

1985 thousands drown as cyclone hits Bangladesh.

May 27th

1900 Belgium first country to elect gov by proportional representation

1977 God Save the queen released by The Sex Pistols

2003 Over 2000 dead following earthquake in Algeria

May 26th

1865 American Civil War over – half a million dead

1703 Death of Samuel Pepys

1907 Birth of John Wayne

1940 Dunkirk

May 25th

1768 Captain Cook sets off from England on voyage to explore the Antipodes in ship the Endeavour.

1935 Jesse Owen, 21 yr old black student athlete from Albama set 5 new world records and equalled a sixth – in one afternoon in a single hour! He equalled the 100 yards record, then set new records for the long jump 220 yards and 220 yard hurdles, breaking the 200 m records on the way!

1990 Brit pm Margaret Thatcher warned of dangers of global warming and pledged Britain to 30 % reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

May 24th

1543 Death of Copernicus who turned heavens upside down.  – or at least Church’s doctrine on man’s place in the universe. i.e. our world is not the centre about which all else in the heavens urns, as Aritotle and Ptolemy claimed. His book, On the revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres claimed that the Earth and other planets revolve round the sun; the universe far greater than previously understood to be and man’s place in it is far from central. Very controversial at the time.

1686 Birth of Gabriel Fahrenheit German physicist who invented the mercury thermometer.

1819 Birth of Queen Victoria

1941 Birth of Bob Dylan

1974 Death of Duke Ellington

May 23rd

1701 Birth of Carl Linnaeus Swedish botanist who established the principles for classifying and naming plants and animals.

1701 Captain William Kidd was hanged for piracy and murder in London.

1948 The Empire Windrush sets sail from Jamaica with the first boatload of West Indian immigrants invited to Britain to help with post-war reconstruction.

May 22nd

1813 Birth of Richard Wagner

1927 Richard Nixon first US president to visit USSR

1981 Peter Sutcliffe the Yorkshire Ripper found guilty of murdering 13 women and attempted murder of seven others

May 21st

1840 New Zealand proclaimed a British colony

1927 Completion of first solo flight across Atlantic by Charles Lindbergh

1966 Cassius Clay still the greatest after British Henry Cooper failed to defeat him

2003 Over 2000 dead following earthquake in Algeria

May 20th

1506 Death of Christopher Columbus – in Spain, virtually penniless at 55 still believing he had reached Asia.

1588 The Spanish Armada sets sail on mission to conquer the English

1609 The sonnets of William Shakespeare are published

1802 France restores slavery and the slave trade in her colonies

1895 Income tax is declared unconstitutional in the US (good times!)

1910 End of the world didn’t happen – as comet passes

1939 First Chelsea Flower Show in London approx. 200,000 attending

1945 Birth of Cher

1961 Final voyage of The Orient Express – killed by jet travel

2006 The world’s largest hydro-electric dam, The Three Gorges Dam, is completed in China.

May 19th

1836 Anne Boleyn goes to the block

1649 England declared Commonwealth by the Rump Parliament

1898 Death of British statesman William Gladstone at 88, elected Liberal prime minister four times.

1935 Death of Lawrence of Arabia in motorcycle accident down Dorset lane

1945 Birth of Pete Townshend – guitarist with The Who

1994 Death of Jacqueline Kennedy

2007 Official opening of new Wembley Stadium

May 18th


1919 Birthday of Dame Margot Fonteyn, British ballerina and partner of Rudolph Nureyexv

1954 European Convention on Human Rights comes into effect.

1975 First woman, Japanese Junko Tabei, to reach summit of world’s highest peak, Mount Everest in Nepal (29,029 ft)

May 17th

1510 Death of great Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli aged 65 – penniless

1861 Birth of package holiday

1993 Rebecca Stephens first British woman to climb Everest

May 16th

1989 First successful hole in the heart operation carried out.

1991 Frances’s first female prime minister Edith Cresson

May 15th

1918 World’s first regular air mail service begins between Washington and New York

1928 Medics take to the Skies of Oz. Medical care went airbourne in Australia today with the launching of a Flying Doctor Service.

1936 Amy Johnson arrives in England after a record breaking return flight from London to Cape Town

1991 Cyclone death toll in Bangladesh climbs towards 250,000.

May 14th

1796 British physician Edward Jenner carries out the first successful vaccination against smallpox

1847 HMS Driver completes the first round the world voyage by a steamship

1900 The second modern Olympic Games open in Paris

1948 Birth of Israel – 400,000 Jews proclaim Zionist state of Israel

May 13th

1981 Pope John Paul II shot I Vatican by Turkish gunman but survived

May 12th

Edward Lear

1812 Birth of Edward Lear

1820 Birth of Florence Nightingale

1969 Minimum voting age in Britain lowered from 21 to 18

May 11th

1812 British prime minister Spencer Perceval is shot dead in the House of Commons

1904 Birth of Salvador Dali

1941 Blitz batters London

1956 Elvis Presley first enters UK charts with Heartbreak Hotel

1985 The main stand at Bradford City football ground in norther England catches fire, killing 40 and injuring more than 170

1991 Cyclone death toll in Bangladesh climbs towards 250,000.

May 10th

1849 Death of Hokusai, great Japanese printmaker

1899 Birth of Fred Astaire, American actor, dancer and singer.

May 9th

1860 Birth of J.M. Barrie Sottish dramatist – best known as writer of Peter Pan.

1911 British parliament agrees to Home Rule for Ireland

May 7th

1840 Birth of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky

1926 The voting age of women in Britain reduced from 30 to 21.

1945 Surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allies

2010 First Coalition Gov in UK since WW II led by Conservative party leader David Cameron

May 6th

1856 Birth of Sigmund Freud Austrian pioneer of psychoanalysis

1877 Sioux chief Crazy Horse surrenders and gives up all claim to Nebraska (Wild Wild West)

1910 George V accedes to throne on death of King Edward VII

1915 Birth of Orson Welles (Time Machine)

1937 The German transatlantic airship Hindenburg exploded while landing in New Jersey killing 35 of 97 aboard.

1954 Four minute mile broken by Roger Bannister.

May 5th

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1818 Birth of Karl Marx

1865 First train robbery carried out – Ohio, USA

1963 Launch of Britain’s first satellite

1967 Flower-power anthem ‘San Francisco’ enters US singles charts

May 4th

1852 Birth of Alice Liddell – inspiration for Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass books.

1926 First ever General Stike – Britain comes to a standstill.

1970 Four students shot dead by US National Guardsmen at massed anti-war protest. 2 more shot dead at Jackson State University, Mississippi – nationwide demonstrations following President Richard Nixon sending US troops into Cambodia week before.

1979 Maggie Thatcher moves into No. 10!

May 3rd

1915 In Flanders fields the poppies blow – written by Canadian poet, John McCrae, this day.

1937 Gone with the Wind writer Margaret Mitchell wins a Pulitzer Prize for this her first novel

2008 Over 84,000 die as Cyclone Nargis sweeps through Myanmar

May 2nd

1519 Death of Leonardo da Vinci – Florentine painter – as famous for his scientific brilliance as for his art

1729 Birthday of Catherine II Empress of Russia – gained throne in 1762 after coup in which husband Peter III was murdered.

1904 Birthday of Bing Crosby

1975 Birthday of David Beckham, English footballer

May 1st

1851 Queen Victoria opens Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, Hyde Park, London.

1873 Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone died of malaria in central Africa aged 60.

1904 Death of Dvorak, composer of New World Symphony.

1931 Then tallest building in the world, Empire State Building in New York, opened by US President Herbert Hoover.

1967 Elvis Presley married Priscila Beaulieu.

1997 Tony Blair elected UK Prime Minister.

April 29th

1980 Death of Alfred Hitchcock ‘Drama is life with the dull bits cut out’. Through films like Psycho, Vertigo, and The Birds, legendary director proved the master of his art.

2011 Prince William marries Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.

April 28th

1770 Captain Cook lands at Botany Bay

1789 Mutiny on the Bounty

2009 Mexico confirms the outbreak of swine flu in humans

April 27th

Ferdinand Magellan

1521 Death of Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan at hand of locals in Philippines. (Tudor Explorers)

1828 London Zoo ‘inauguration’ – open to general public soon after.

1937 Opening of Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

1986 Chernobyl. Meltdown in nuclear reactor following fire at Chernobyl nuclear power station, Ukraine. No word of warning from Soviet authorities as radiation spread to neighbouring countries.


1791 Samuel Morse American inventor of the magnetic telegraph and Morse code

April 26th

1900 Massive fire makes 12,000 homeless in Hull and Ottawa area.

1937 Fascists unleash terror on Guernica. Civil war in Spain – bombing by German planes of medieval Basque town of Guernica – German and Italian forces supporting rebel Nationalist forces of Fascist leader General Franco.

1994 First Multi-racial elections in South Africa after three and a half centuries of white domination.  Nelson Mandela of ANC tipped to become president.

Word of the Day

Illation – a deduction or conclusion

April 24

1660 The English Parliament votes for restoration of monarchy.

1719 Robinson Crusoe published in London.

1953 Scientists (British Francis Crick and American James Watson) crack the genetic code – publication of paper establishing structure and function of DNA.

1964 Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen loses her head to thieves.

1559 Birthday of Oliver Cromwell – Lord Protector of England 1653 – 8.

Word of the Day

Ikebana – the art of Japanese flower arrangement.

April 24

1858 Ben is back. The best and biggest bell in the world, Big Ben, is at last ready to behung in the clock tower of Westminster Palace, at 2nd attempt.

1949 The rationing of sweets in post-war Britain comes to an end, but is reintroduced 4 months later due to unsustainable demand

1986 Death of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, for whom Ed VIII gave up his thrown. She was 89

1942 Birthday of Barbara Streisand – Oscar winning star of Funny Girl

Word of the Day

Zymosis – fermentation

From the BBC website today:

It’s 30 years ago to the day that the Hubble telescope was launched – and to celebrate its birthday, the veteran observatory has produced another astonishing image of the cosmos.

This one is of a star-forming region close to our Milky Way Galaxy, about 163,000 light-years from Earth.