CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway

Silence is golden

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Silence is golden

Or – How a pair of ear defenders saved my sanity/marriage!

What’s a CKG Judge to do?  The nominations are announced, you’re giddy, enthusiastic, a little bit overwhelmed and DESPERATE for those book deliveries to start hitting the doormat so that you can get cracking!

It’s amazing, you have a few INCREDIBLY productive weekends where you’re ticking off titles left, right and centre, you’re organised, your notes are impeccable, you could move mountains!  Hurrah, you’re a reading machine!  You’re in control!  This CKG judging lark is a breeze!

Then….If you’re anything like me, you realise that you haven’t actually seen or spoken to anyone for quite some time.  Your Facebook & Twitter pages have been left abandoned, your friends are beginning to wonder what they have done to offend you and you start to forget what your family actually LOOK like! I realised that there had been a few weekends where I had not left the house at all since arriving back from work on Friday and going back to work on Monday!  I started to become conscious of just how much I hated the colour of my bedroom and how desperately I needed some company other than the company of my marvellous books.

Now I know that some people are just brilliant at reading anywhere.  They can zone out and switch off, lost to their reading and oblivious to the chaos swirling around them.  I am not one of these people!  I need peace, I need quiet and I preferably need a significant stash of biccies close to hand.  In my first year of judging especially, I did almost all of my reading at home, upstairs on my bed in complete silence.  The occasional ‘whoop’ or choice word from my husband downstairs as Liverpool scored (or did not) as he shouted at the tele was the only sound that invaded my reading space.  I started off the same way this year and you know what?  However great the company was of Apple and Rain, Seth, Comity and the hundreds of characters I was sharing experiences with as the weeks ticked by – I  realised I was a bit lonely.  Then I had a revelation!

I was back in Yorkshire one weekend visiting my parents when good old Dad (probably sick of my moaning) appeared from the garage with a pair of industrial ear defenders.  He used to be a mechanical engineer you see, so he had a couple of pairs hanging around.   These slightly dusty, unglamorous earmuffs were a total game changer! I loved them!  I was soon nestled on the couch surrounded by my family, the TV was blaring, chatter was relentless, but I didn’t care!  I couldn’t hear a thing and was able to concentrate on my reading, but I didn’t feel quite so cut off from the goings on around me.  I was part of it and yet I wasn’t. It was perfect!

I spent the whole of Christmas in my ear defenders, even if I did get a few funny looks!  I was happily lost in my reading but not isolated and left out of all the fun that was going on around me.  I had my fair share of Roses & Quality Street and I still got to see everyone, I could multitask! My poor husband had barely seen me since October so it was great that I was downstairs with him and could still cosy up on the couch.  (Though he doesn’t look too thrilled in this pic does he?)

Ear defenders are my BIG tip for future CKG judges, I might even pass mine on to the next judge for Wales now that my time is coming to an end.  Yes, you look a bit crackers I admit, but the pros far outweigh the cons.  I only wish I had discovered their amazing benefits a year earlier!

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