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If David Walliams can write children’s stories, then why can’t I?

Posted on November 11th 2015

Maybe I should change my name like David Williams did to ‘David Walliams’ to create a distinctive resonance. Evidently, the change was not an act of shrewd marketing or vanity but simply because he discovered there was already another Equity actor with the same name. However, I am sure this must be the reason for his success as a children’s author and nothing to do with his well-earned celebrity status.

I am afraid Douglas Adams stole my thunder years ago and I have yet to catch up in the google rankings. I don’t think a name change will help me at this stage unless I go for radical re-incarnation like, Enid Byron.

Whatever, nothing ventured nothing gained, and I am not going to start cross-dressing in an effort to seek fame and fortune. More importantly, I have teamed up with Marek Jagucki (, a brilliant and established children’s book illustrator. Incidentally, Walliams used Quentin Blake for some of his books, so no-one well-known then! Marek has created a wonderful depiction of my character, ‘Gilbert,’ the ghostly road sweeper.

The story is a short, moral tale of a road sweeper, his sad demise and return to haunt litter-dropping children. Youngsters who have test-read it so far seemed to have enjoyed the story and not required trauma counselling or refused to go to bed after completing it. So I am pressing on with Marek’s help to find a publisher. I have written another couple of other ghost stories for children age 7-11 years and was thinking this might make a series. Ghosts are universally popular with youngsters as are Zombies so these may also feature somewhere in future tales. Here is a brief extract from Gilbert the Ghostly Road Sweeper©:

‘In a small town there was a road sweeper called Gilbert.

He had a big dull metal bin with rubber wheels that went creak, creak, creak. His bin had a wide handle so he could push it around the streets; at the end of the day when the bin was full it was very hard to push and made his arms tired.

He carried brushes for sweep, sweep, sweeping up the rubbish he found on the streets and a shovel that went clang, clang, clanging to pick up the rubbish and put in his bin;

Gilbert even had a special scraping tool to remove chewing gum from pavements. The scraping tool didn’t make much noise because it was made out of plastic and was useless.

Gilbert hated chewing gum more than anything and he refused to chew gum himself. Sometimes he found other peoples’ gum that had a few chews left in it but he would never pop any in his own mouth.

Gilbert thought chewing gum should be banned and he wrote to the chewing gum makers to tell them what he thought. They never replied.

Every morning he got up early and went to the Council depot to collect his bin and his brushes and his shovel and his useless plastic scraping tool which didn’t remove chewing gum.

Gilbert loved his job and was always first out on the street while his fellow street cleaners were still having a mug of tea and smoking cigarettes. He hated cigarettes too but he liked tea. 

He worked hard and tried to get around all the streets for which he was responsible before returning to the depot each night to empty his bin into a big, metal skip. Then a noisy lorry came along and took the skip away with all other road sweepers rubbish and dumped it in a hole in the ground where there were hundreds of seagulls.’


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