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Dale Neal - the hairdresser turned author

PUBLISHED: 21:08 24 November 2016 | UPDATED: 21:08 24 November 2016

Dale Neal

Dale Neal

Archant

Skateboarding hippos, alien grandparents and breakdancing beetles are all in a day’s work for a Barrowford hairdresser who has the write stuff.

Dale NealDale Neal

What do hippos do when Sir David Attenborough isn’t watching? According to a hairdresser from Barrowford, they go skateboarding. That’s the premise of Dale Neal’s book Hippo in a Half Pipe which will be released next year. Until then, readers can delight in the antics of his Grandad Burt who’s an alien.

Dale’s poem about his extra-terrestrial grandfather is included in an anthology of sky-themed children’s stories and rhymes, but it was family matters of a different kind which prompted him to pick up his pen.

‘My wife Marie and I went through seven years of IVF and I thought I’d write some silly poems with the idea of reading them to our children,’ he said. ‘We’ve not had any children yet but I have kept on writing.

‘I showed some of the stories and poems to some friends and their children liked them and someone suggested I send them off to a publisher. I did that and I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be a part of the anthology.’

Dale NealDale Neal

Dale, who runs a salon on Gisburn Road in Barrowford, has amassed a library of nonsense stories and poems – including one which combines both his skill sets about a character called Vidal Baboon.

‘I’m having ideas all the time,’ he said. ‘Marie has given up asking what I’m thinking when I go quiet because she knows it’ll be another silly idea. Some bugs appeared during the summer on a plant in the garden and that led me to write a story about a troupe of dancing bugs with a river-dancing centipede and a break dancing beetle who needs help getting back on his feet after he’s been spinning on his back.’

But although he’s enjoying writing – and the readings and book launches he’s now required to attend – Dale has no plans to hang up his scissors. ‘I like the creativity of hairdressing too,’ he said. ‘There’s instant feedback and it’s very gratifying to cut someone’s hair and have them like what you’ve done.

‘Everything in publishing takes a long time – it was eight months between sending the poem to the publishers and finding out it would be in the anthology. I’d like to carry on doing both. I like writing, but I definitely don’t want to give up the hairdressing.’ w

Dale NealDale Neal

Watcher of the Skies, published by The Emma Press, is out now priced £8.50 Hippo in a Half Pipe will be released next year.

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