This page is dedicated to the stories, articles and poems penned by participants to our online and library workshops:

Each week there is a set assignment and also opportunities to share individual project work. Below is a tiny fraction of the work produced this year.

Work By:  SC assignment

Waiting – Watching

It was a cold frosty night; the sky was clear and covered with a million glistening stars. I was wrapped in a warm blanket sitting on my windowsill, looking out in wonderment at the beauty outside. My mother thought I was asleep in bed, but sleep was impossible, I was far too excited. I gazed in anticipation at the twinkling sky and wondered if I would be the only child this Christmas to see him. The shinning sleigh, eight strong reindeer and one overweight merry man in a red suit. The one man in the universe who I believed could grant my heart’s desire, the only thing that could make my Christmas special. The edges of the window were rimed with frost as I waited, shivering in my blanket. Then something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention, there was someone walking down the street. I could see them clearly under the street lights. It was not a large person and they were not wearing red, but it was a man and he had a bag slung over his shoulder. I stared and stared I could not believe my eyes. Then not bothering about the cold I tossed the blanket aside, and ran downstairs in my bare feet, shouting for my mother as I went. We opened the door and there he was, my father back from the war, home for Christmas. As I threw my arms around him, I could see across the street, and there stood Father Christmas smiling at me. I whispered “Thank you”, as we all turned to go inside and shut the door.




Work By:  SMS


Radio Times


Counting the weeks passing doing the crossword puzzle

in the new copy of the Radio Times,

which changes on a Saturday,

carefully noting what colour combination

of wheelie bins goes out on a Tuesday

seems an awful waste of imagination.

Old-folks have an appointed chair in the care-home,

becoming the safe haven. The centre of their universe.

Abandoned.  I realised today, I already have mine.

Chocolate, swivel leather with foot stool plonked in front

of the TV. Sheltering from the world outside’s peaks

and troughs, kept informed and educated by Sky

while days turn into weeks

and solitary years drift by.





Work By: EL


Christmas Eve

The hands are ticking their way round the clock,

Inching towards the day.

My skin is goose-pimply, my tummy’s a-flutter:

I can’t get to sleep – no way.


The night sky is loaded with quiet expectation

Electrifying my room.

Even the shadows are holding their breath

Where they hide from the light of the moon.


I’m listening hard in the quiet of the night

For the swishing of Santa’s sleigh,

Straining to hear the reindeer bells jingle:

I can’t get to sleep – no way.


I think I can hear the rustle of parcels

Being placed under the tree.

I wonder how many there will be by morning

And how many will be for me.


I’m lying in bed and I’m tossing and turning,

I simply can’t get to sleep.

Dare I creep down when no one is looking

Just to take a take a quick peep?


I’m lying in bed and I’m stretching and yawning,

The night sky has lightened to grey.

I can’t believe it, I must have been sleeping,

At long last it’s Christmas – HOORAY!








Work By CMH

Truly irresistible

Overheard at the Nevercombe Upwards Ladies All-in Wrestling,  Boxing, Cricket, Fencing, Croquet, Morris and Highland Dancing, Writers Circle and Competition Knitting and Embroidery Club.


‘Oh I don’t know if anything can be … well … really that good. I mean it really and truly takes some doing does that.’

          ‘Now, now Pipe, you know what you said about the Christmas cake last year? Fantastic you said. Absolutely and utterly unbeatable you announced. Then what happened?

          ‘Yes I know Shandy. Mind you; I blame Sherry Wine and the Vicar. Both of them said it was excellent and you know I’d lost me top set and couldn’t chew anything.’

          ‘Not an excuse Pipe, not an excuse at all. We got beaten by that lot from Cobbles and my missus has never let me forget it.’

          ‘Mine neither Shandy, nor E-types sister neither.’

          ‘Ha, keepin’ it in the family then Pipe! Your missus bein’ Auntie to E-types second cousin … twice removed.’

          ‘Yes. Well, but that’s nothin’ to do with it. I mean we’ve never really seen eye-to-eye with that side of the family. Not after Great Uncle Norris ran off with that fan dancer. We wouldn’t have minded too much, I mean he was turned 21.’

          ‘Turned 21 Pipe, turned 21! He was turned 51.’

          ‘Well … he was in his 2nd childhood: but he took the family heirloom with him. That’s what upset E-types mother.’

          ‘Heirloom? I’ve never heard about no heirloom! O’ course MY family never had one. Couldn’t afford ‘em in them days, now-a-days they’m ten pence a dozen. The old Sexton was tellin’ me, only las’ week, that he’d started a collection. Until the burglary up at the shop that is. Took the lot they did. Shame, but it only goes to show.’

          ‘Anyway Shandy what’s the chances THIS year? I mean we’ve got a good team again.’

          ‘Pretty fair I should think. Specially now they’ve got the cement out of the new mixer. They’ve got a secret recipe, something to do with liquid parafin, or somethin’, I’m told. Does rock cakes a treat, have you tried one?’

          ‘What and risk me top set again? They’ve never been the same since Mrs Vicar gave us them scones. Hey look they’re opening the shutters, that means it’s dinner time. Rabbit stew I believe.  Ah! Now THAT’S what I calls truly irresistible.’





Work By:  MH(2)

Hi, I read with interest every week and glad to see you going from strength to strength.


Both my grandfathers’ stories inspired me to write a play, one got gassed by his own men, came home never really recovered, died of bowel cancer, the other was a bit of a free thinker, he refused an order in the trenches and was tied to the wheel of a canon and his mates were ordered to fire the shell, he came back physically and mentally shattered. Alcohol became his best friend.

 . . ..  this poem . . .   comes from the play ‘Someone else's shoes’. 

Police officer Reginald Burrows has witnessed half his village go to war and not return, and through all his turmoil of the war he sat back and watched his (police sergeant) father slowly drive his mother to suicide, Reg has had a revelation, but he sees only one way out.(Reads this out to a photo of his dead mum)

(Reg's suicide note)

Hold out your hand, Oh giver of light
Peace too!
My life uphold.
Reveal these men of steel, who point their finger

Go fight! (pause)
Ten Million lost souls,
Silenced screams cast aside to roam no mans land without fear.
Only now can tears of joy stream, and with your light sparkle from the dead mans eye.
Healed hearts, arms outstretched,

With patience, through the thin veil of life they gaze
Oh giver of light
Be a friend (kisses photo of mum)
No longer shall you wait

I dare my thoughts,  I quiver at the knee
to take a peep and smell the void beyond the parapet.
I dare my thoughts to see beyond the lies that wait ahead
hard men, brave, cowards not
Again will gather to haunt their sons
Millions will join me........................




Work By:  PE




The shaper streams


and I follow - join


crawlclaw, squeeze, stretch,


scrawl and lever, gasp-




parody of flow,


splaying shafts of sight


through Giant's Hole and Ghost's Rift,


a mythic anatomy of petrified time,


ferociously vast and unyielding to the palm.


Only the shaper has the rushing


boneless patience to sculpt here.





Work By: LW




One day you will hear a song you used to know                                                         

Playing load on your radio                                                                                            

One day you will see a place where you had once been                                                           

A city, not those fields of green       


Someday soon I will find a place                                                                                     

Where we can be alone                                                                                                                    

Far from fighting, wars disease                                                                                                 

A place we can call home


And there I will write a love song                                                                             

For you, so you will not cry                                                                                              

Forget about the wars outside                                                                                           

 And young men forced to die


Soon we will be free from here                                                                                         

From air unreal, unclean                                                                                            

And we will find no cities dear                                                                                                  

 Just long vast fields of green


One day you will see the man that is no more                                                        

Staring at you from a valley floor                                                                             

One day you will find a land unspoilt by man                                                                             

 A re-birth – just like when time began


EJW  2009-11-09




Work By:  LW Armistice Day Assignment




The silence crept across the night as if a cloak had covered the stars. Snow had begun to fall huge velvety flakes that lilted down. He watched, selecting an individual flake from the flurry, following it down to the earth beyond.

His thoughts wandered above this place drawn to the memories of winter nights at home. The cosy kitchen, small but filled with love, his mother greeting him, pulling him close. Fussing over his cold hands and feet, rubbing them warm as he sat by the roaring fire.  The smells now invaded his thoughts. Steaming washing drying on the rack suspended from the ceiling, stew bubbling in a well blackened pot, bread baking in the oven but most of all the smell of lavender as his mother kissed his cheek.

Suddenly the sky and the ground’s blanket of snow lost its comfort, the bombardment  started again. A whistle shrilled as the order to charge out of the trenches into no man’s land bought him back to reality. He followed his comrades running towards the barbed wire.  He only felt the pain from the bullet when he could run  no more, the tangle of the barbed wire cut into him deep, there was no escape.  He turned his head towards the falling snowflakes, the smell of lavender came to him as he called for his mother.


EJW 09.11.2007

Work By:  SMS Hallowe’en Assignment

When a fae moon is riding high


When a full-blood moon rides the night sky
and puking newborn in their cribs do cry,
and keening wolves take up the howl,                                                                                    

Happenstance and Queen Mab begin a trawl.
When elves and sprits dance in wanton flight
their innocent sacrifice bleats out in fright;                                                                        

while sinful folk in powerful dread stare on
and all around darkling shadows merge into one.

When the trickster wind begins to bluster
those wicked souls, who tremble all a fluster,
rush pell-mell, screaming, towards a bolted door;                                                                              

laughing, accomplice storm adds downpour.
Evermore the thirsty waiting moon rises higher,                                                                                                                     pinkish glimmer out-picking the sins of the liar,                                                                                          

souring the milk, poison-tainting the wine,                                                                                                                             sending blood shivers down a goblin’s spine. 

2008© SMS



Work By: CMH - Armistice Assignment





Dulce et Decorum est, Pro patria mori

The old lie ran not so long ago

And the flower of manhood of the country went;

And they died in their tens of thousands. For what?

A political squabble.

One in ten of the country died they say

But they get it wrong.

Not one in ten of the young men

But 1-in-10 of the total.

Half the total are women - Strike them out!

A quarter are too old or young to be slaughtered. Strike them out!

Only the best can appease the God of War:

Machine guns, Mortars & Mud, Artillery & Aeroplanes,

Disease, Poison gas, Incompetence.

Trumpeted as 'The War to End all Wars'

The sages got it wrong!






Work By: GW  Assignment


*War is best played with pixels*


Every so often a group decide that a piece of territory, or an ideology or a resource is worth fighting for.

The powerful people decide to have a war.

The little people get sent to fight it and get killed.

The rest of us are fed propaganda so we don’t mind so much when our friends and loved ones don’t come home.


We are vicious animals under our thin skin of civility. Too long without a war and we get it spilling into the streets.

Fear of the different, of losing out, of not being a “winner”…gang culture for those who cannot fit into mainstream, or who have no army to facilitate their aggression.


The culling of the many for the profit of the few. Makes no sense to me.

Never has.

Can’t people see…that War is best played with pixels?


© GW November 2009


No feedback required thanks



Work By:  AB Assignment


What I think of on Armistice Day


The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders was an infantry regiment  formed in 1793. In 1961 it was merged with the Seaforth Highlanders  to form the Queen's Own Highlanders. The regiment is now continued byThe Highlanders, 4th Battalion of theRoyal Regiment of Scotland.

First World War: During the Great War, The Cameron Highlanders was expanded to thirteen battalions, of which nine were in battle. The 1st, 2nd, 4th (TF), 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th Battalions all fought onthe Western Front. Ten representativebattle honours were displayed on the king's colour and three Victoria Crosses for bravery were gained.

  • Marne1914, '18
  • Aisne 1914
  • Ypres1914, '15, '17, '18
  • Somme 1916, '1917  and Arras 1917, '18  are a few of the battle zones in which they fought. 

My mother’s father  spent his time in service with the Cameron Highlanders even though he was by birth an Irishman.  He was gassed in the trenches and never really recovered from that experience. He survived the War and in Stoke on Trent married a war widow. They had two children one of whom was my mother. He passed away in 1952 and I never knew him,  all I have to remember him by is a WW1 service medal which has his name, number and regiment stamped around the rim.

My other grandfather  was a Yorkshireman,  he too served in the trenches until wounded and shipped home to the military hospital on Cannock Chase. He stayed on and became a guard at the prisoner of war camp on the Chase of which little is left today but for a few train lines if you know where to look.

Built and cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the better known cemetery was established during the First World War, when the military camp at Cannock Chase became the base for the New Zealand Rifle Brigade. There was also a prisoner-of-war hospital with 1,000 beds, and both camp and hospital used the burial ground.  The prisoners of war included captured U-Boat personnel.

Spared from frontline duty due to his injuries he had yet more tragedy to endure as the Spanish flu epidemic killed his two eldest sons and caused him to shift his wife and remaining children from Yorkshire to Tixall where they remained.  It could be said that without the events of WW1 and the survival of these two men, who both endured the hell that was trench warfare, I would not be here today which is a sobering thought for Armistice Day.         

Fred shared these with us from his regular blog on Farmers’ Weekly (Google ‘Owd Fred Pig.’)

Pig Stopping Days are Over? not now.

Find it hard to go up stairs, the Misses she's the same,
Fourteen steps long and steep, were both getting lame,

Many of you older reader of this blog will know what it’s like when your knees start to bow out and they get very painful (it's when bone rubs on bone and they creak), my old dad always said, when he saw anyone like that "his pig stopping days are over", well nowadays it’s not. My knees went out to almost eight inches apart, such was the wear on the joints and cartilage almost none existent, and at the age of ### I had both knees done. It has revitalized my life although to help guard against wearing the new joints out too quickly we have installed a stair lift.

I know of a few folk who are afraid of going "under the knife", but short term pain (of the op) is well worth the long term gain of pain free joints, they never will be as they were when you were in your twenties, but you can get about relatively comfortably.   


Knees are what you sit on when you small and cannot stand,
Knees are what you rely on when walk and need a hand,
Knees are what you bend, when you want to duck ya head,
Knees are what you rest when you finally hit your bed.

They carry all ya weight when ya walking out n' about,
They carry all the load when ya lift and think ya stout,
They start to give ya notice when they're getting worn out,
They're creaking when ya up and down nuff ta mek ya shout.

Joints they need some basting with goose fat to lubricate
Joints they give you pain day and night and won't abate
Joints they need replacing with some metal good and strong,
Joints that are pain free and ya life it will prolong.

I can tell you they're well worth it, under the knife must go,
I can tell you who to see, and explain and tell you all I know,
I can feel the benefit of these new and shiny joints,
I can stand and bend and walk pain free, out away on jaunts.


A Lift it is a Must

Find it hard to go up stairs, the misses she's the same,
Fourteen steps long and steep, were both getting lame,
We puff and pant as we go up, our joints are getting stiff,
Not much better coming down, like walking down a cliff.

We looked and looked for way to help, a lift it is a must,
One that would take us up the stairs, one that we can trust,
Save our legs and save our breath, we’re getting older now,
Sent off to the knacker's yard, if we were a lame old cow.




Work By:  Peter Shilston

John Shilston’s childhood memories

(Recounted to me by my father. Peter G. Shilston)

When I was two years old, my family moved to Hartlepool, where my father worked as a marine engineer and shipping inspector. I was the youngest of seven children, so apart from Ruth, who was five years older than me, my brothers and sisters had left home by the time I was growing up, and I only saw them occasionally.

Hartlepool is still well-known throughout the north-east as “the town where they hung the monkey”. We rented a big semi-detached house on the main Stockton road, with the trams running outside the front door. I remember it as always being very dirty. We could sit in the garden and watch the smuts from the Seaton steelworks falling around us. Sometimes the night sky would glow as the slag was tipped. Ruth and I discovered that if we rubbed our hands on the trees and then wiped them on our faces, we became completely black; which did not please Mother!

We didn’t often go to the seaside, although there was a good beach quite close. The sea was always cold, and I don’t remember ever bathing in it with any degree of pleasure! Further up the coast, at Black Hall Rocks, you could find coal dust washed up on the beach from an undersea seam, and the unemployed men would come to rake it up and take it home in sacks. We preferred to have picnics up on the moors at Hobhole, where I could go fishing from the footbridge. Once, when I was about 8 or 9, I proudly told Mother that I had caught two cod and five kippers!

Father was only able to take us on longer outings on Bank Holidays. For three or four summers we stayed in a farmhouse in Kildale, up in the Cleveland hills. This was a very traditional little settlement, with a pub, a church, a local squire, and even a village idiot. The farm was run by a family called Tait: a husband and wife with a son and daughter in their 20s. This was a period of severe depression in farming, and the Taits must have been very poor. They had no motor-vehicle, and just one horse to provide all the pulling-power. It was a dairy farm, and they had their own creamery, which I remember as being the only clean part of the farm. We once bought a local cheese (though I think it was from another farmer) which weighed 14 pounds! The farm had no gas or electricity, water came from a spring into a trough, and the only lavatory was a hole in the ground in an outbuilding. We enjoyed our time at the farm, though I suspect Mother would have preferred something more sophisticated.

When I was about ten, Father bought me a second-hand bicycle for £3.10/-. He took me on cycling tours, stopping for bed & breakfast overnight; up Teesdale or Weardale; to Richmond or Barnard Castle. Later I went for rides with a school friend: once we did a day’s run to Whitby and back, which must have been about 80 miles.

When I was 13 I went away to boarding school, where I became a close friend of Francis Crick, who later won the Nobel prize for his work in the discovery of DNA. Then, three years later, Father retired and moved to Bexhill in Sussex, and we never returned to the north-east.

Work By LP:

Farewell to you, I whisper fond goodbye,

Through cloying mist you stride away from me.

Watery sun fails to light a darkening sky,

Soft breeze sighs through branches of each tree


Marching forth, with hope now in your heart,

No backward glance to witness tear stained face,

Each step means freedom, hail a brand new start,

Leave nothing, let there be no single trace.


Yet those bonds you thought easily untied

Grasp with firmness to halt your wayward flight.

Those special times, refuse to be denied,

Turn around to see the blinding light.


No-one can compare with that summer’s day

Nor will that lady let you walk away!




Work By: Another dollop from the little red colouring book of Chairman Clive




‘Over there,’ whispered Plodd as he and Rob crept into the town park.

          ‘What is,’ Rob replied from inside her fiendishly, sneaky, disguise as a watering can. ‘I can’t see a thing down this spout.’

          ‘The trampoline of course,’ Plodd whispered.

          ‘There’s a lady tramp on the bench but not a trampoline in sight,’ Rob said.

          ‘That’s what I said, a trampoline. That’s foreign, and French as well, for a lady tramp … isn’t it?’

          ‘No, it’s one of them things you jump up and down on. A bit like a bouncy rubber bed.’

          ‘Ah-ha!’ said Plodd. ‘Definitely foreign then. Only a foreign would invent such a fiendish device. Could be a gang of human smugglers do you think? I should think they’re trying to evade the import taxi’s.

          ‘Sheesh,’ said Rob, trying to stamp on the floor, and missing. ‘They probably have one on each side of the border and bounce packets of Sage and Onion off them. Gets around the sniffer snails that way. It’s called hair male or something.’

          ‘Ah-ha,’ said Plodd, who was getting quite good at saying that by now. ‘You don’t think it could another Cinderella Scam do you?’

          ‘Fairy Godmother routine you mean, boss? I don’t think the old Pumpkin into Coaches would work, you just can’t get the Pumpkins now-a-days!’

          I was thinking of the Glass Slippers ploy,’ Plodd said.

          ‘No way guv,’ Rob replied. ‘You can only get them made abroad and anyway they’re plastic. Added to which there’s a world shortage of Prince Charmings.’

          ‘Ah-Ha,’ said Plodd, yet again. ‘ I have it!’

          ‘Lie down quietly and I’ll get you some pills for it boss! Marvellous what they can do today innit?’

          ‘The answer’s staring me in the face. They smuggle it across disguised as something else.’ Plodd had a note of celebration in his voice. It said: ‘Book early for Xmas’.

          ‘What do they disguise it as then, guv,’ Rob the Rab, who was really Roberta deHare in disguise; but we’ve already done that line.

          ‘Simple,’ said Plodd.

          ‘Yes I know that but but I’m working with you anyway. You could improve with training,’ replied Rob.

          ‘Not that; they get the good fairy to change it into something else. Something legal like Yahunny sauce for a short time.’

          ‘Yahunny sauce boss! I mean you could run a steam engine from that stuff, without a fire under the boiler. Two drops into the water and it’d run for three weeks,’ Rob exclaimed. ‘ Well that’s what happened to my brother anyway!  He had two drops in his water and he couldn’t stop running for three weeks. He’s selling it as a slimming medicine now. Says you can lose five pounds a day, if the plumbing will stand it.’

          ‘Hand over your liver,’ said a voice from the bushes.

          ‘It’s OK boss, it’s Approximate Pete,’ said Rob. ‘Hi Pete how are you today? Got your water pistol filled yet?’

          The voice came from the bushes. ‘You couldn’t give me a hand with the step ladder could you?’

          ‘Sing us your song Pete and we’ll have a go,’ replied Rob.

          A song came out of the bushes, in tune with a known key; approximately. 


¯’Oh I’m Approximate Pete the mad Bandit

My feet they smell so good I can stand it.

And I live in a cave in the wood,

except that it’s a house on the main road with a big garden

And there’s some more I can’t remember but it’s quite good.

Tee Dee!!!



          ‘Underlay?’ Plod queried.

          ‘Well it’s about right innit,’ said the voice from the bushes. ‘Approximately anyway.’         

          ‘Hmm,’ said Plodd, ‘that was OK.  You could almost get a place on bottom of the flops with that.’

          ‘’You do realise he’s three metres tall don’t you,’ said Rob?

          ‘Three metres?’ Plodd queried as a short figure, wearing a hat that was nearly as tall as he was, appeared out of the bushes.

          ‘Well he is when he’s standing on a two metre step ladder,’ explained Rob. ‘Approximately! He’s one of the nine and a half dwarves you know?’

          ‘Ah-ha,’ said Plodd, with triumphant note in his voice, it was a B-flat: ‘but there are only seven dwarves, everybody knows that!’

          ‘They’re only the famous ones’ boss. You don’t hear about their sisters Burpy, Flatulent and little brother Approximate.’

          ‘Approximate? Why approximate?’ Plodd queried. It was a good query it had flashing yellow lights and blue wheels; but the engine wasn’t up to much.

          ‘He’s the half of the nine and a half dwarves. He’s too tall to be a proper dwarf and runs around with garden gnomes. Sad innit?’


* * * * * * * *

          Has Plodd really managed to get his act together or is it still in rehearsal?

          Can he pack his wardrobe into the teabag?

          Why is a duck?

          Is the dish still running around with the spoon looking for the  sugar to form a popgroup? 

          Will they make into the hit parade?

          Find the answers to these questions in the next fairly ridiculous episode of:-  


Market Inspector Plodd and The Golden Goose Mystery?






Stanley Matthews, Stoke City and England wizard

Played seven hundred games and never a yellow card

With his trickery he left defenders all undone.

His dad, Hanley’s Fighting Barber, had boxed my granddad and won.

One day Stan left for Blackpool and cup final glory,

Returning to take us up, a football fairy story.


I watched in admiration his deeds of skill and courage

with dreams of being just like him when I had come of age.


Len Hutton, Yorkshire County’s cricketing legend,

Learned to bat again, one arm by injury shortened.

Forever to be a pillar of cricket’s folklore

With three hundred and sixty-four runs a record test match score.

As he handed me the school certificate I’d won

The great man shook my hand and smiling broadly said, ‘Well done’.


I watched in admiration his deeds of skill and courage

with dreams of being just like him when I had come of age.


Denis Wilshaw, Wolves and England number ten

was my maths teacher when I was about eleven.

One morning the headmaster told us in assembly

Denis scored four goals in the England-Scotland match at Wembley

As if it was something that every day ensued.

He was a fifties Ronaldo – without the attitude.


I watched in admiration his deeds of skill and courage

with dreams of being just like him when I had come of age.


Tom Price, businessman, speaker, singer and dad.

Even now when I go back, I’m still Tom Price’s lad.

He preached in chapels near and far with wit and wisdom,

His tenor voice ringing out a favourite hymn or anthem.

From day to day his words he always turned to action

Mentor, leader, friend to customers and congregation.


I watched in admiration his deeds of skill and courage

and dream that I’ve been a bit like him now I’ve come of age -

But without the singing.


© John Price 2009

Work By:  Countryman


I had a Good Old Bike


Remember years ago, when I had a good old bike,

Its mud guards loose and rattled, a new one I would like,

The brakes were none existent, and rims they had a dent,

And wobbled as I rode it, and the wheels they were bent.


The seat was ripped and torn, springs were showing through,

A Saddle bag was hanging, off two little straps askew,

It had a carrier on the back, with long and snappy spring,

A clip to hold my jacket down, save tying it on with string. 





Work By:  GW


Granny vs Rabid Snail!


Oh fear the wrath of Rabid Snail, and his scaryloud war cry!

With an “owahahahah!” and a “heheheheheh!” and “Your lettuces are mine!”

Yes fear the wrath of Rabid Snail, a hero strong and true

as he rides the length of the map and back, full of derring do!


On a horse called Rat (peculiar name that) he gallops South and North

With a “Heheheheheh!” and an “Owahahahah!!” robbing for all he’s worth!

Loyal to his warlord, Tarkus Monk, he always does his duty.

He died ten times in the last two months but he won’t lie down! (It’s the booty)


Gold and gems and silks and things, metal, clay and wheat

He steals it all to return it home, so the hordes of Monk can eat

The dread of the Romans, and the Gaul’s despair, a  Teuton through and through!

With an “Owahahahah!” and a “Heheheheheh!” ( well I’m scared, how about you?)


“Owahahahah!” and the market stall is as empty as a beggar’s hand!

“Heheheheheh!” and the palace is missing that pretty gold cake stand!

Yes fear the wrath of Rabid Snail, coming soon to a town near you!

Hide all your lettuce and shiny bling, or he’ll  away with all that too.


“Owahahahah!” comes the distant cry, but our stuff was locked away.

“Heheheheheh!” said my old Granny “He’ll get nowt from us today!”

A fiendish trap for the slimy one was clicking into motion

The only thing that Snail could find was a barrel of beery potion


“Snail by name and Snail he be” cackled the wrinkled crone

He’d made straight for the pub and a barrel of ale, all sat there on its own

Well they pushed him in and held him down and he’s stuck in it still they say

With  “owhahahanoooo!” and  “heheheheheeeelp!” and a “hic hic oops” all day.


So fear the wrath of Rabid Snail (if ever he gets free)

Out-heroed by Granny and bar steward Pete and last, but not least, by me!


© Gill Whitehurst 25/09/09



Work By: Another page from the little red colouring book of Chairman Clive:


Overheard at an informal meeting of the Nevercombe Upwards Ladies All-in Wrestling, Morris Dancing, Boxing, Cricket, Fencing, Croquet, and Competition Knitting and Embroidery Club.


Pipe was giving his annual state of the onion address. ‘All in all I think we’ve done well this year, what with E-type getting married and getting that contract,’ he said, ‘and the vicar’s wife’s down off the roof after that cricket match.’

          ‘Well I don’t know about the getting married bit,’ disagreed G&T. ‘There’s some funny noises coming out of their cottage late at nights. Sounds like he’s rebuilding it or something, and she’s egging him on. She keeps shouting more and harder.’

          Shandy looked thoughtful as he said, ‘I think that young E-type’s takin’ after his mother you know. I was younger at the time but I remember when she got married. Seems to me she changed overnight then.’

          ‘What way,’ asked Pipe?

          ‘Nothin’ you could put your finger on, not exactly,’ he said. ‘She kept her hobby of bare hand horseshoe plaiting and threw  the bull out of his stall to clean it out. Same as usual. But she just wasn’t the same and, sometimes she’d … well ! …Smile!’

          ‘A sight to make strong men quail I understand,’ said G&T.

          ‘Ohh no. No! She was fine looking lass then. According to my old Dad anyway. That was before she got that job at the garage and started nibbling piston rings and kick starting railway engines.’

          ‘I didn’t know she worked on the railways,’ said Pipe.

          ‘No, no, she didn’t do that,’ Shandy replied in a commemorative voice. ‘Well not until Regiemuld Beechnum shut the local line. Then she worked for Scrappy Mundings arippin’ the tracks up. I seen her in her lunch hour, just asittin’ there wi’ a far away look in her eyes, and  abendin’ them rails into lovers knots.’

          ‘Ah, yes! Love. I remember it well. I think!’ Pipe mused. ‘Went down with a bad dose of it myself once; but it cleared up nicely. Once I’d got married.’

          G&T interjected, ‘What’s all this about a contract the E-type’s got then? I don’t remember any talk about it.’

          ‘Well you wouldn’t would you! You were on holiday at the time,’ replied Pipe. ‘In Greenland; on that brickmaking course. Old George had to give up you know, too much stress on his major chuckle muscles he said. So E-type’s gone from relief to main mulligrubs contractor to the council. Good money as well !’

          ‘Mulligrubs?’ G&T interjected.

          ‘Yer. Big job I knows, but he’s got experience, and been on the course,’ said Shandy. ‘He was sayin’ t’other day that he’d cleaned out three nests of politicians in the council offices alone. Sent ‘em ‘ome on half pay. Makes you wonder if the mayor hasn’t got it right when he says, “The floggings will continue until morale improves” dunnit?’




Work By: EH


There was a plot,

A dastardly plot,

Wrapped in mystery.

We are told to remember

The fifth of November

As part of our history.


Think of Catesby planning revenge,

Fighting authority,

Helped by his friend Guy Fawkes

And other nobility.


Their plan was to blow up the King

And His Protestant Parliament

Was frustrated at the last minute

By one of their coterie.


And so they hung poor Guy

And Catesby shot at Holbeach,

While we celebrate with bonfire high

And rockets which soar into the sky.

Remember, the Gunpowder Plot

Should never be forgot. 


Edith Holland


An Old Oak Tree


By chance the acorn fell an untrod way

Covered soon by Autumn leaves

Not hidden, buried by a busy jay.

But then to grow among the other trees.


Kings and Princes rode beneath his boughs,

The baying dogs and taranta echoed across the sward

Smooth and green, untouched by ploughs,

Deer and soft-eyed does scattered as they heard.


He saw his neighbours felled for Royal timbers;

Still he stood with pride through year on year,

Felt the joy and thrill of the young climbers

Hiding among his branches without fear.


Now, ancient, gnarled and hollowed like a cave,

Waiting sadly, what’s to be his end?

Tree-ringed, labelled, numbered with the brave

Fenced around and cared-for by a friend.


Edith Holland


Work By: CMH

Saturday morning. CMH


There was never anything like routine to my youthful Saturday mornings.

Sometimes the Albert Hall had my custom and sometimes the Odeon or the Picture House, now and again the Sandonia was the venue. Although I never liked the Sandonia as it seemed to be the wrong shape and the wrong place to have all that marble.

            “The Singing Cowboys”? Even in my early years I thought “What’s the good of a cowboy who sings?” The PROPER way for a REAL cowboy to act is to break in a few bucking bronco’s before breakfast,  shoot all the baddies, helping the frightened or sick or both sheriff of course; and then, naturally using some fancy lariat tricks, gallop off to round up all the cows. Win at the rodeo in the afternoon, ride off down the Chisholm Trail to rescue the Princess – carefully disguised as a cowgirl of course – all before teatime and without dirtying his white shirt.  

            Easy Peasy stuff, any cowboy worth his saddle could do that!

            Once it was pointed out to me, telling the baddies was easy: they always wore black hats so that you tell them from the goodies who didn’t, and the princess was always either the sheriff’s daughter, who was a real wimp, or a ranchers daughter who could shoot the left eye out of gnat at 200 yards - and had cougar/wolf skins to prove it - but somehow never managed to hit a baddie.

Except that sometimes it was the other way around.

            None of which really squared up with life outside the cinema, but, I thought it must be different in cowboy land; ‘cos they didn’t have lorries or milk floats to start with and there wasn’t a sweet shop, chippy, butchers or fishmongers in sight.

            Dad, who worked nights, was up at mid-day so that he could go to the Rangers match. To his dismay I didn’t like football; I could never understand what was happening and it was noisy and frightening on the embankment.

            Once I could read the public library was my goal. All those books you could look at and touch and read, if you knew the words anyway, FABULOUS! The Gaol Square library (long gone) and the Town Library (orchestral music centre now) became my favourite places. Also it didn’t take any of my infrequent pocket money.