Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Chris Wardle and The Tinfish Series

Chris Wardle is on tour with his five-book Tinfish series. I've already read the first three books in this series and enjoyed these quirky characters who are drawn together as a result of climate changes to their world. I'll be reading the last two books and reviewing them at the end of the month on my kid's book blog, TC&TBC.

Here are the books in the series:

Book One: The lighthouse of Mr. Tinfish

Book Two: Mr. Choli’s River Trip

Book Three: Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea (my personal favorite so far)

Book Four: Mrs. Cat-biscuit’s search for the downward land

Book Five: Mr. Ginger and the disappearing fish

Chris is our special guest bloger today. I hope you enjoy his post.

Apple Crumble by Chris Wardle

In Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea, the third book from the Tinfish series, Mr. Ginger graduates from being a mere recipient of Mrs. Tinfish’s mackerel sandwiches to becoming the team’s head chef. This transformation is accompanied by his discovery of a cookery book containing elaborate recipes, for which he has limited understanding and none of the right ingredients. Needless to say, the results of his culinary endeavours have remained somewhat questionable.

In many ways, Mr. Ginger’s voyage of discovery into the world of cookery is similar to my own (apart from the mackerel sandwich bit, although I can be partial to one…). My cooking experience, up to the point that I left home for university, came from two directions. Firstly, from my pub-kitchen job on a Saturday night where, after considerable dedication to the washing-up, my responsibilities were elevated to doing the toast for the chicken-liver pate and rinsing the slugs out of the lettuce.

Meanwhile, at school I had been prepared for survival in the outside world with a curriculum based almost entirely on jars of stewed apple. At around the age of ten, the state education system deemed it appropriate for me to get about four one-hour lessons of home economics, after which we were moved on to the craft department to make strange-looking clay animals for the rest of the term. I was packed off to school with a plastic bag containing an oven dish and the ingredients for an apple crumble. The following week we attempted a stewed apple pastry thing, and I believe we also took on the ambitions of a stewed-apple pie before my education was declared complete. So, nothing in the skills department that actually enabled me to feed myself on a daily basis. Also, unless I was away sick on that day, I don’t recall any mention of economics within the home either.

Since leaving home on this thin grounding of apple crumble and de-slugged lettuce, it is perhaps no surprise that my current signature dish has not been plucked straight from the a’la carte menu. My most accomplished meal is in fact the humble spaghetti-omelette, a recipe which I picked up whilst I was working in West Cameroon. It’s one I think that Mr. Ginger would approve of, so long as a large helping of mackerel was thrown in there as well for good measure.

Chris Wardle holds a bachelor’s degree in physical geography as well as a Master’s degree for water supply in developing countries.

Over the last ten years Chris has travelled extensively in developing countries working on charity projects in poor communities. He has been able to draw on his numerous experiences to inspire his creative works, particularly living for long periods in communities with different cultures in Africa and Asia.

An orphaned kitten in Northern Uganda was the inspiration for Mr. Choli’s character in the Tinfish series. He now lives in the UK with Chris’s family (via a few months with a foster family in France to organise his European passport).

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Cheryl said...

Thanks for the great article, Chris. Wishing you much success.


Susanne Drazic said...

This was a fun post. The books sound interesting. I'll have to check out the kid's book blog at the end of the month for your review of the last two books.

Chris Wardle said...

Hi Cheryl. Glad you enjoyed the tales from my childhood cookery - or lack there of. I'm looking forward to your reviews of the remaining books later in the month.

Martha Moloney said...

Very interesting article from Chris. I have read all the books in the series and found them amusing, quirky and with a message. I was so impressed I purchased the complete series for both the primary schools in my town, the principals of the schools were delighted to recieve the books for the libraries.