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RBW Online ISSUE 197

Words

Exercises

Assign-

Date: 23rd July 2011

ments 

Fiction Project

Events

Workshops

Thoughts

Your Pages Poetry

News

Wikipedia image

PAGE FOUR

Researched article by Peter Shilston


Thoughts and Quotes What I mean is, lots of time you don't know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn't interest you most. I mean you can't help it sometimes. What I think is, you're supposed to leave somebody alone if he's at least being interesting and he's getting all excited about something. I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It's nice. J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye

Wikipedia image & quotes

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful. The government assures the people that they are in danger from the invasion of another nation, or from foes in their midst, and that the only way to escape this danger is by the slavish obedience of the people to their government. This fact is seen most prominently during revolutions and dictatorships, but it exists always and everywhere that the power of the government exists. Every government explains its existence, and justifies its deeds of violence, by the argument that if it did not exist the condition of things would be very much worse. After assuring the people of its danger the government subordinates it to control, and when in this condition compels it to attack some other nation. And thus the assurance of the government is corroborated in the eyes of the people, as to the danger of attack from other nations. Christianity and Patriotism (1895), as translated in The Novels and Other Works of Lyof N. Tolstoï, Vol. 20 There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one; the regeneration of the inner man. How is this revolution to take place? Nobody knows how it will take place in humanity, but every man feels it clearly in himself. And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself. "Three Methods Of Reform" in Pamphlets : Translated from the Russian (1900) as translated by Aylmer Maude, p. 29 Variant: Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Lyof N. Tolstoï

BOOK ORDERING To

order : Cheques payable to Rising Brook Writers, please. (Do not send cash through the post.) All are plus £1.20 P&P Order via Rising Brook Writers c/o Rising Brook Library, Merrey Road, Stafford ST17 9LX Back Stock List Available: FARE DEAL (£5.00)

STILL WATERS (£5.00)

Assignment: payment in kind/ ethics/ accepting hospitality (400 words)

Random Words: bloody/flowers/forceful/carousel/potatoes/genius/ casket/sprocket/outgoing/ rockface/William (150 words) Issue 197 Page 2


Words of the Week saccade n A sudden movement of the eyes from one point to another, either voluntary or involuntary. nimbus n A circle of light; halo. 2. A grey rain cloud. fastidious adj 1. Excessively particular, demanding, or fussy about details. 2. Overly concerned about tidiness and cleanliness. arbitrary adj 1. Determined by impulse rather than reason. Chosen for no reason or at random.

Open source image

prevaricate v 1. To evade the truth; to waffle or be intentionally ambiguous. To speak with equivocation; to shuffle; to quibble.

LIFE OBSERVATIONS Observation Friday afternoon outside ASDA: Arguments while driving on a three lane bypass are very dangerous. Temper tantrums behind the wheel could have resulted in a driver and their shouting passenger being killed and other poor motorists unlucky enough to be either behind, or in front, or even at the side of them were put in danger. Potato crop has failed. Not enough rain. Tubers like marbles. Very sad. The unforgettable taste of raw peas picked straight off the plant. Fears of flying: is it an irrational fear? Flying at 30,000ft is no problem — however, stopping flying at 30,000ft is a different matter entirely. Headstones: payment was by the letter. Thus letters carved into early headstones led to strange name spellings with additional lettering. Notice how really nice it is to sit down.

Is stupidity contagious?

You may win £161m on the Lottery but if you don't go into the garden and dig up your own potatoes, your life is incomplete.

PLEASE SEE LIZ TO BOOK YOUR SEAT

Issue 197 Page 3

RBW Annual General Meeting & Writers’ Lunch Monday 8th August 2011

Arrival 12.15 for 12.30 AGM —1.00pm lunch. Royal Oak Restaurant, Wolverhampton Road, Stafford


These Are Your Pages Extract from Peter Shilston‘s Blog 27 June 2011 http://petergshilstonsblog.blogspot.com/

Alexander Pope and Lord Hervey Alexander Pope (1688-1744) was the greatest English poet of the first half of the 18th century. What I am presenting here is, in my opinion, the most brilliant piece of vituperative satirical abuse in our language. It is taken from Pope's "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot" (1735), and its target is Lord Hervey (pronounced "Harvey"), a prominent bisexual courtier and politician of the reign of George II. What Pope did not know was that Lord Hervey was secretly writing his memoirs. The manuscript was only discovered more than a hundred years later, and in the 20th century Romney Sedgwick edited it for publication. It is all splendidly entertaining, telling us what really went on at George II's court. We can read how the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, considered the King to be ―As great a coward as ever wore a crown‖, and how Queen Caroline doubted whether her son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, was capable of consummating his marriage with his wife, the Princess Augusta, and what might be done about it (they wondered whether Hervey should impersonate the Prince in bed one night, but in the end decided this would not be advisable). There is a particularly touching scene describing the death of the Queen, who had suffered for years with a rupture, and had endured an unsuccessful operation without any anaesthetic. As the Queen expires, presumably in appalling agony, the King kneels at her bedside and they have a final conversation (which is in French, in Hervey‘s account). ―My dear‖, whispers Caroline, ―You must marry again‖. ―No, no!‖ sobs George, ―I shall have mistresses!‖ They don‘t write lines like that anymore! How different, we might say, from the home life of our own dear Queen! Here is Pope's assault. I have added a few footnotes of my own, indicated by numbers in the text. Note the ease and fluency with which Pope rolls out his couplets, with the result that thenceforth noone could write poetry in this form without sounding like a feeble imitation of Pope: later poets had to find other means of expressing themselves.

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"Let Sporus tremble (1) - What? that thing of silk? Sporus, that mere white curd of asses' milk? Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel? Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? (2) Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings, This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings; Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys, Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys: So well-bred spaniels civilly delight In mumbling of the game they dare not bite. Eternal smiles his emptiness betray, As shallow streams run dimpling all the way. Whether in florid impotence he speaks, And as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks (3); Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad (4) Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies, Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies. His wit all see-saw between that and this, Now high, now low, now master up, now miss, And he himself one vile antithesis. Amphibious thing! (5) that acting either part, The trifling head, or the corrupted heart,

John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey. Wikipedia images


These Are Your Pages Fop at the toilet (6), flatterer at the board, Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord (7). Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have expressed, A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest (8). Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust (9), Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust. Footnotes:(1) Sporus was a beautiful boy beloved by the Emperor Nero, who had him castrated in Alexander Pope the hope that his boyish beauty would not be ruined by the onset of puberty. Pope would know that his educated readers would grasp the reference, and recognise it as an allusion to Hervey. (2) This line was famously quoted, or rather misquoted, in the headline of a Times leader in summer 1967, criticizing the prison sentence for a celebrity. The Times, for some strange reason, rendered it as "Who breaks a butterfly ON a wheel", which plainly does not scan! (3) The "prompter" refers to the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. Hervey is seen as no more than Walpole's mouthpiece in the House of Lords (4) "Eve" is Queen Caroline, Hervey's particular friend and confidante. This line is a reference to the temptation of Eve in Milton's "Paradise Lost" (5) "Amphibious" is an imaginative metaphor for Hervey's ambiguous sexuality. (6) "Toilet" means not, of course, a lavatory, but follows the French "toilette", meaning how a lady applied makeup before going out. Hervey was noted for wearing large quantities of makeup. (7) When Hervey was given a peerage, one of his other enemies, William Pulteney, commented that he had been made "Lady of the Lords"! (8) "Rabbins" = Rabbis. Many Jewish and Christian theologians were puzzled by the account in the Book of Genesis of Eve's temptation by the serpent: particularly by the aftermath when the serpent is cursed to "go on thy belly", which seems to imply that the serpent had previously some different means of locomotion! There was a Jewish tradition that before this the serpent must have had legs, and perhaps a human face too: hence Pope's analogy. (9) To say a man had "parts" meant that he had qualities, talents or abilities. Pope does not deny Hervey's abilities, but denounces him for abusing them. Lord Hervey eventually fulfilled his ambition of becoming a cabinet minister under Sir Robert Walpole, but Walpole's government did not long survive his admission to its ranks...

Latest Competitions: POETRY LIBRARY UPDATE Elmet Poetry Prize |Closing Date: 15-Jul-11 http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/ competitions/?id=1040 The Ted Hughes Young Poets' Award |Closing Date: 15-Jul-11 http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/competitions/?id=1041 Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2011 |Closing Date: 29-Jul-11 http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/competitions/?id=1043 Malton Literature Festival Adult Competition |Closing Date: 24-Sep-11 http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/competitions/?id=1037 Malton Literature Festival Young Person's competition |Closing Date:24-Sep-11 http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/competitions/?id=1038

Issue 197 Page 5

Latest News: Happy 200th Issue, PN Review |09-Jul-11 http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/news/poetryscene/?id=817 1951 Poetry London added to Poetry Magazines site |06-Jul-11 http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/news/library/?id=814 Items added to the Poetry Library in June 2011 |01-Jul-11 http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/news/library/?id=813


These Are Your Pages

Additional information: http://www.havergalbrian.org/sitemain.htm

Genius in Later Life Nick Le Mesurier

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Though he is credited with composing the biggest symphony ever written, Staffordshire born composer Havergal Brian lived modestly all his life and in almost complete obscurity. During a very long life, he composed hundreds of works, including thirty two symphonies and five operas, most of which he never heard in his lifetime. I had never heard of Havergal Brian, but became interested in him very recently when I listened to an interview with Christine Rice, the mezzo-soprano, who was about to perform his great symphony, The Gothic, along with a thousand other musicians, at the BBC Proms. But it wasn't the size of his ambition and repertoire that drew me to him, but the fact that in a long career spanning almost all his 97 years his most prolific period came when he was in his eighties and nineties. Of his many symphonies, over twenty were composed during that period of late flowering genius. Havergal Brian was a man of extremes, despite appearances to the contrary. His work is challenging to listen to. He was ahead of his time and his works make significant demands on orchestras and audiences alike. He was reputed to have a cussed streak by some people, which no doubt served to give him the strength and self confidence to keep on working when no-one was listening. Brian was born in 1876 in Dresden, Stoke on Trent. His family were working class, and he left school at twelve to work in a colliery. Though he showed his musical ability early, performing in local churches and ensembles. He was largely self-taught and began composing at the age of 16. Brian had the good fortune to be recognised as a musical prodigy and an unusual representative of the working class by a wealthy Staffordshire businessman who paid him a generous stipend to compose freely. However, the sudden accession to wealth turned his head, and he spent most of the money on good living and pleasure, and his marriage broke up as a result. He managed to scrape a living and support a second family by doing menial jobs until the late 1920s when he was appointed assistant editor on a musical journal. This provided him with a rich source of information and contacts. Over the years he gained some impressive allies, including Richard Strauss, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Henry Wood. But though his work was broadcast from time to time on the radio from the 1950s, he never gained the prominence that some outstanding musicians of the day thought he deserved. It isn't clear to me from my researches quite why he enjoyed such a burst of creativity in his eighties and nineties, when most people, especially those who had suffered lifelong indifference, might have been glad to give up. Brian's health remained good right till the end, though he suffered from deafness in one ear. Perhaps it was his stubborn character, or a certain pleasure he took in ploughing his own furrow for its own sake, that kept him going. Perhaps he felt that his quarrel with time was not yet over and it deserved a hearty blow. Whatever the reason, I find his achievement intriguing, and it begs a lot of questions about the creative mind and how it works. There is a charming sequence of three documentary films from the 1970s now on YouTube, called The Unknown Warrior, (Part 1: http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f7_wiFeDIU&feature=related). It features excepts from his music and a fascinating interview with Brian at his home in Shoreham shortly before he died. The audience for the interview is the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra, who had taken a trip to visit him as part of their rehearsals of his work. As Brian speaks candidly about his life and music a wonderful moment of engagement across two or three generations is created. Many artists have had distinct late periods when they produced some of their greatest work, and some did not achieve recognition till late in life. Mary Wesley published her first adult novel in her seventies. Flora Thompson published her trilogy Lark Rise To Candleford in her sixties. Kenneth Grahame was almost fifty when he published Wind in the Willows. Other late blooming composers include Cesar Franck and Leos Janacek. Among painters, many of the so-called 'na誰ve' artists, who by definition often lacked formal training, began very late. Alfred Wallis, Bill Traylor and Grandma Moses are some of the most famous who began their careers and flourished well past their youth.


These Are Your Pages

NO SAUSAGES WERE HARMED IN THE EXECUTION OF THIS CONTRIBUTION. (Editor ... Oh crikey he‘s got me at it now ...) Open source web image.

Free Range Sausages (CMH)

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The lorry drew up outside the gate bearing the wobbly sign saying, “Maureen’s’ free range sausage ranch”. Leaning against it, more to assist it in a doomed, not to say flawed, endeavour to remain vertical than anything else, was a figure clad in red. Red hat, red coat, red overalls, red trousers, and red wellies all with a smart red trim. „Ten tons of tastefully tinted toilet tissue,‟ said the driver to the figure. „Round the back,‟ said the figure in a tenor voice, „got to wear your reds though. Health and Safety, you know?‟ The driver, knowing that red can be a broad term, put on a pair of orange coveralls, yellow and green wellies and a red hat – all with bluish bits – and drove “round the back”. On a handy, only three hands high, but still growing, wall was a football shaped object. „Vegetarian Sausages‟, said the figure in red. „I‟m using the wall to train them against. I think I should be able to get on to the size of a punchbowl, a small one of course, any day now, or by Tuesday at the latest, or by the end of the year for sure, probably.‟ „Brave man,‟ said the driver. „Not,‟ said the figure. „Not?‟ queried the driver. „I should say that anybody that was growing wild vegetarian sausages, was brave,‟ the driver replied. „I mean we both know about that chain reaction last year. A whole field of Tomato and Chilli went up at one go.‟ He sighed deeply, „Terrible it was! I‟ll never forget the sight; the whole county was knee deep in it.They do say that them who were quick with a dust pan got a ten year freezer ready supply.‟ „Not a man!‟ the figure replied. „I‟m a woman; except on alternate Thursdays when I‟m a Pop Diva, and the first Monday in the month when I‟m the local blacksmith.‟ „You must be Maureen then,‟ the driver, always quick on the uptake, said. „No, that‟s my twin brother, I‟m Ted,‟ the figure in red said. „Mum was never very good with names. Very confusing it was. Still I did get to play with the train sets.‟ „Ahh,‟ said the driver. Ted, as we now know her, put on her business face – it was the same as her normal face but had additional eye shadow. „Now you want two tonnes of piecrust,‟ she said. „That‟s it,‟ remarked the driver. „Just like last time. We sold that lot to the MoD.‟ „Did they like it?‟ asked Ted. „Mainly,‟ the driver said. „Don‟t know how you do it.You‟ve won awards with it you know, magic stuff not liable to hog or sag in the centre if more than two inches thick and guaranteed to be bullet proof when cooked for thirty minutes at gas mark six.That which wasn‟t cooked was used by the army as bullet proof vests.‟


These Are Your Pages year/shoes/spirits/delicious/payment/fixing/Mrs. Rudge/Dad/trust/chocolate/quixotic/ unsaturated/Christmas/Hilary Random words (SMS) Fixing her hair in the mirror Hilary was despondent. It was that time of the year again. Christmas. Hilary hated Christmas: her spirits fell. She stared at the present, a ‗payment for being good‘, a box of delicious chocolates. ‗Unsaturated Guaranteed‘ said the label, she pushed them away. She couldn‘t trust herself not to devour the lot in one go. Dad and Mrs. Rudge would be coming as usual. She still couldn‘t bring herself to think of the woman as a step-mother. She hadn‘t forgiven dad this quixotic attachment to a woman who sold ballroom dancing shoes for a living. Random words (CMH) A quasi-quixotic gesture, thought Mrs. Rudge as she opened the box of ‗Almost Chocolates‘ sent by Mr. Hilary Christmas, at least that was what she thought his name was, but with that accent it could be anything. The label said it was a, ―Delicious mixture of spirit centred bonbons. Guaranteed to be free from unsaturated fats and containing at least 200g of sugar per 100g of contents. Contains nuts, eggs, monosodium glutamate, sodium phosphate, beetroot, iron filings, and wheat.‘ That sounded nice, even though Dad had told her never to trust a label, especially the ones fixing a lid down to stop the contents escaping and definitely one where the contents ate away the lead box they were packed in. After giving the van driver a good tip, it wasn‘t exactly payment on delivery but he did block the road until he‘d got one, and it was a good job she‘d tripped him up after he‘d seen the yellow-greenish glow when opening the back. Yes! Those new shoes she had last year were good for grip, if you didn‘t mind the screams of those underfoot. She would have to set Doris to fixing up another trip to the Monsterland shopping centre quite soon. Random words (EH) Mrs. Rudge put on her shoes ready to go shopping, Christmas was near so she looked for her list of presents. Hilary loved chocolate but argued about the unsaturated fat that was used, never mind thought her mother it's only once a year. Dad, always quixotic in his approach to the season, would be fixing the payments no doubt, they trusted him to do that. So keeping up her spirits for her shopping trip she had a cup of coffee and a delicious cream cake.

Random words (JB) The spirits in the delicious liqueur chocolates were starting to tell. Mrs Rudge had given them to Hilary as a Christmas present more than a year ago. Hilary had buried them amongst her shoes to hide them from her Dad. She didn't trust him to leave them alone, he was always mooching round when she was out at work, looking to get into some mischief or other. Though, why Mrs Rudge gave her a box of chocolates was beyond her. The unsaturated fats in the list of ingredients weren't likely to help with the potato diet she was attempting at the time. Her quixotic determination to loose five stone had led her to try many diets, the cabbage diet, the protein diet, the fibre diet, etc, etc. They hadn't worked. Hilary slurred the words again, "I'm not fixing the toilet until I receive the payment in full. That's what he'd said ... so you'll have to go next door." Issue 197 Page 8


These Are Your Pages Assignment: Physical enhancement SMS Ten little tiny fingers, ten little tiny toes, umpteen whitened new teeth, an‘ shiny new nose. Stitched and stapled jaw line stretches up to the brows, raised an‘ plumped up boobies under that stretch blouse. Crow‘s feet are a memory, tummy tucked and flat, thighs sucked and cellulite beaten with a big cricket bat. Hair roots golden blonded, all trace of grey removed, lots of horse tail extensions stapled in and glued. Legs and underarms are shaven with a trusty blade, nails and lips are painted ... just so we‘re ready to get laid .... Random words (CMH) From half way up the rock-face, William, a genius with sprockets and chains, but a nerd with anything else, uttered a forceful word. ‘Stuck,’ he said, licking his bloody hands, ‘My rock climbing bike hasn’t worked, now I’ll have to get those flowers the easy way.’ Alice, his ever-loving wife, sighed. An outgoing person she loved riding on roundabouts, Carousels as the Americans called them. ‘Bring me back a basket of flowers and ten pounds of potatoes,’ she’d told him. Twelve hours later, William staggered in, she wouldn’t, have minded but it was only half a mile to the shops, so where had he been. Unloading a pound of spuds and ten caskets, she smiled. ‘Well done dear’, she shouted, ‘you need a new battery in your hearing aid!’ THE ATLANTA CYCLORAMA - JP (America assignment)

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‗Major General Logan. What can I do for you, sir?‘ ‗Well Mr Wehner, I wish to commission a painting – a great painting – of a panorama depicting the Battle of Atlanta and my part therein. I intend to run for the Vice Presidency of the United States and the painting will promote my campaign. We shall call it ―Logan‘s Great Battle‖.‘ ‗What size of painting are we talking about, sir – 12 feet by 10 feet, 16 feet by 12 feet?‘ ‗I said a great painting, Mr Wehner. I had in mind a canvas some 42 feet in height and 358 feet in length.‘ Three years later, in 1886, the painting was completed. Sadly it was two years too late for the presidential elections and two days too late for Logan, who died just before the work was completed. But there he is on his horse, hat held high, charging the Confederate Army on the morning of a hot day in July 1864 as they desperately defended Atlanta against Sherman‘s Union forces with the loss of 12, 000 American lives. ‗Logan‘s Great Battle‘ was bought by a travelling circus and toured the state fairs as a cyclorama, the popular Victorian precursor of the movies. Spectators stood at the centre of the cylindrical painting and a narrative, usually to a musical accompaniment, brought the story to life. In 1898 it was purchased for the City of Atlanta and eventually housed in a permanent building. A more recent three-year, $11 million dollar restoration programme repaired the ravages of being nailed to trees, torn down, rolled up, not to mention being treated with protective arsenic, and installed the painting in a theatre with state-ofthe-art revolving seating. In 1935, a three-dimensional diorama was added resulting in soldiers, cannon, wagons and trees spilling out of the painting on to the stage. As part of the celebrations for the premiere of Gone with the Wind in 1939, Clark Gable visited the Atlanta Cyclorama and modestly announced that the only way the display could be improved was if he himself were to be in it. Subsequently Gable‘s face was painted on to a dead soldier lying in the foreground of the diorama.


Fiction Project: ARE WE THERE YET? Editor’s notes. A message from the manuscript editor:

HOUSE STYLE Indenting: Except for the FIRST line of a chapter or after a line break all other first lines including speech should be indented. Speech marks: A SINGLE inverted comma (‘) around dialogue; Notice 14pt; Notice no line between paragraphs; Indent speech by five spaces; DO NOT indent first line; Notice how speech is punctuated and NEVER put speech into italics; Times New Roman font; NEVER use fancy formatting; NEVER use text boxes; NEVER underline; NEVER centre headings DO NOT capitalize ordinary nouns Notice the action takes place over a few minutes between characters all in the same place and that the story progresses. PLEASE Send pieces in embedded in emails not as attachments. Many Thanks

Character list:

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Charlie Witters and his brother, Brendan They own the coach company Angelo Driver FC Tours Coach No: 666 – Anglo-Italian – diamond smuggler Samantha Goodright Courier FC Tours – niece of the Witter brothers Ted Fetler Relief driver FC Tours Vera Pensioner - bladder weakness (Coldwynd Sands and Fare Deal) Gloria Pensioner - tubby companion to Vera Dan Forthright Inept, pompous PI – former rank DCI (Coldwynd Sands and WTAWTAW) Pete Ferret Sidekick to Forthright PI Tudor and Dewi Davies – Welsh sheep farmers won a ticket in a raffle Cyril & Muriel Pinkney Pompous Headmaster and long-suffering wife Henri, Comte de Monte Donne - French aristo (?) Henri’s unnamed brother – a black sheep Mrs Richardson (Fare Deal) still carrying Dickie’s mortal remains in a carrier bag Bobby Owen (Fare Deal) accompanying Mrs Richardson Jason Ratisson (JR) and Jacqueline Gardien (Jacqui). Lovers having a preliminary honeymoon. Martin Man of Mystery Mrs Grace Ferret Pete’s wife and partner in the PI business. Doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Mavis. Mrs Mavis Forthright Dan’s wife and partner in the PI business. Doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Grace. Lady Antonia Garibaldi Italian grand dame – diamond smuggler Miss Wainright Mousy companion to Lady Garibaldi Barry and Beryl Smith Pools Winners. Parents to Harry and Cilla Sandy Rathe, and his friend, Julian, Grapes of Rathe Guesthouse Sister Margarette and Sister Bernadette – the fake nuns Sister Ignatius and Sister Teresa the real nuns


Rome 2.00am after a night on the town Gloria and Vera stagger homewards ‗Are you sure?‘ asked Gloria, taking the small flask carried for medical emergencies from her handbag and gulping down a mouthful of neat Gin. ‗Of course I‘m sure,‘ scolded Vera. ‗He‘s dead as mutton.‘ ‗It is ‗im, isn‘t it? That bloke from off the back seat?‘ ‗It‘s him all right.‘ Vera lit a match and leered fumes of Lacrima Christie over his face. Holding on to the wall for support Gloria ventured, ‗What‘s he doing here?‘ ‗He‘s not doing anything. He‘s dead, isn‘t he?‘ muttered Vera who was taking control of the situation and doing what came naturally was riffling the dead man‘s pockets. ‗But he‘s under the coach?‘ It was by falling over his feet that the body had been located as they had used the coach for support crossing the dimly lit car park. ‗He‘s been here for some time I should imagine. He‘s stiff as a board.‘ ‗Which pocket have you got your hand in?‘ asked Gloria suspiciously. Vera tutted and withdrew a wallet. ‗Well, look at this ...‘ The wallet was stuffed with folding money of several denominations. Deftly Vera extracted a large handful and replaced the wallet where she had found it. ‗It‘s no use to him anymore, is it?‘ she smiled. ‗Nice watch,‘ said Gloria wistfully. ‗Too obvious,‘ muttered Vera. Struggling to her feet she had a gulp of red wine flavoured conscience, ‗Had we best report this?‘ ‗Call the rozzers?‘ asked her cousin. ‗Can you speak Italian all of a sudden? We‘ve found a body half hidden under our coach at 2.00 o‘clock in the morning. Can you imagine the questions, dragging interpreters out of bed, and we‘re leaving in four hours for Sorrento.‘ ‗I‘m not missing Sorrento sat in a pokey.‘ Vera had strong memories of interrogation by authority – all over a tin of salmon and a packet of ginger nuts found up her sleeve and all an innocent mistake, it should have been chocolate digestives. ‗Nor me either, girl. Nor me.‘ ‗What should we do with him then?‘ Gloria had an idea. It was a Gin based deduction but nonetheless: ‗Grab his legs,‘ she ordered as she opened the baggage locker. It did not occur to her that it was strange Angelo had left the baggage compartment unlocked. Ten minutes of shoving and pushing later, Martin, man of mystery deceased, was crushed into the rear of the luggage locker and covered with a handy piece of blanket. It did not occur to either of the Good Samaritans that the luggage locker was a strange place to keep a piece of handy blanket. Thus Martin was deposited for his ride to Sorrento in third class and light several thousand lira. As the two tipsy old dears tottered off towards the hotel and bedtime, Angelo emerged from the shadows on other side of the coach and scratched his head. By himself it would have been tricky to manhandle the stiffening corpse into the luggage bay, perhaps his luck was changing.

Images open source : Rome tourism.


Press Release: Roy McFarlane - Birmingham's Poet Laureate 2010/2011

Birmingham Library & Archive Services were delighted to celebrate National Poetry Day 2010 by announcing that the city's new Poet Laureate was Roy McFarlane. Roy took over from Adrian Johnson as Poet Laureate 2010/2011. Online Poems by Roy McFarlane (see web address below) The struggle of normality Michelle Obama in Harlem I found my father's love letters Where you from? Roy McFarlane was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage and spent most of his former years living in Wolverhampton. As Resident Poet at Starbucks, a solo performer and a member of the New October Poets he‘s performed in numerous venues, sharing the stage with poets such as Roi Kwabena, Fred D‘Aguiar and Talking Brothers. A regular with City Voices and Writers without Borders. His play For the Love of Auset premiered at The Drum, Aston, in June 2007. His short story Conversation with an Ant has also been published in Original Skin. As the new Poet Laureate, Roy's stated aim was to make poetry fun and accessible to Birmingham‘s diverse people, celebrating the vibrancy of performance poetry as well as encouraging the beauty of poetry on the page. Roy has performed and read in libraries, pubs, cafes, theatres, conferences, art galleries and many other poetry venues. He can be heard regularly on internet Wildfire Radio. In 2010 Roy was involved in a poetry anthology called 10 Birmingham Poets. He hopes that his tenure as Birmingham Poet Laureate will be" fun, dramatic and diverse to include all our communities across Birmingham". http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=Lib-Reader-Development% 2FPageLayout&cid=1223338275579&pagename=BCC%2FCommon%2FWrapper%2FInlineWrapper http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/birmingham/hi/people_and_places/arts_and_culture/ newsid_8401000/8401629.stm

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http://www.thepoetrytrust.org/stuff 23rd Aldeburgh Poetry Festival 4 - 6 November 2011. Fergus Allen – celebrating his 90th birthday this year – will be this year‘s most senior participant at the festival. Having written poetry throughout his life, he saw the publication (by Faber) of his first collection – The Brown Parrots of Providencia – in 1993 at the age of seventy. He has published five books of poetry, including most recently Before Troy (2010), from CB Editions.


Edith Holland

Hero of the woodland 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 round and cared for by a friend.

Leaning Lean on the gate to take in the view of the river valley and the hills beyond. Watch for the first swallows arriving as they dip to pick off insects from the water, skimming away and returning in a loop. Lean by the willow trees edging the pool. Soon dragonfly nymphs will be climbing the reeds to transform into brilliant gauzy wings and a short hectic life. Lean from the window on a still black night. Marvel at the million twinkling stars going on forever like crushed diamonds.

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Lean over the cot gently smooth the covers, turn out the light. One more day over.


Sequel to the village show Edith Holland

The village show is over all the people gone, marquees standing silent, empty and forlorn, Echoing the rustles of rising wind and storm. The day has seen great moments of elation and delight. Smiling winners clutching trophies, glad they got it right. Unlucky loser, downcast Dad. his carrots had a blight. Happy Grandad again a winner taking back the shield. Weary Mum her scones and bread praised and judged by feel. Tired children, dragging footsteps home across the field. Was judging fair, a quiet remark by one not satisfied. Tomatoes let him down again no matter how he tried. Next door always seemed to win, luck was on his side. Up the road the sunflower goes tallest in the show. Grandma will be proud of him, she had shown him how to stake it safely in its pot, ready for the show. Show committee chairman flushed with their success calls the next meeting, can't waste time to rest. Next years show will soon come round: Let's give it our best.

Ad Lib Mrs. Malone liked being alone and that was what she said. Mr. Malone installed a phone and went to live in his shed.

Pat Malone. all of eighteen stone, decided to stay in bed. Maggie Malone ate her scone and went to live with Fred. Issue 197 Page 14

EDITH PERFORMING ON DRAMA DAY 2011 AFTER RECENTLY CELEBRATING HER 90th BIRTHDAY


THE POETRY SLOT AD LIB Opportunity For RBW Registered Onliners AD LIB will be the title of the 2012 collection.

Cover picture: Faith Hickey

Submissions are now being accepted Up to three poems for consideration. The aim is for each writer to have up to three pages of space allocated. Please send in by email SEND NO ATTACHMENTS Embed (write or paste) the poems into the body of the email. Many thanks.

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Issue 197

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Issue 197 RBW Online  

Issue 197 RBW Online

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