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RBW Online ISSUE 229

Date: 25h March 2012

Words Exercises Assignments Fiction Projects Events Workshops Thoughts Your


Bill Bryson, Ian M Banks, Terry Pratchett, Jane Austen, Mark Billingham, Charles Dickens, Martina Cole, Bernard Cornwell, Stephen King. Daphne du Maurier, Sophie Kinsella, David Peace, Maggie O’Farrell, Audrey Niffenegger, Joe Simpson, Dodie Smith to name but a few ....

Poetry News Items

World Book Night Info ... 

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World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of volunteers give away free books in their communities to share their love of reading. In 2012 World Book Night will be celebrated in the UK, Ireland, Germany and USA on April 23. 25 titles are specially chosen and printed in World Book Night editions. Givers apply to give away a particular book (you get a first, second and third choice) which they must commit to give away to those who don't regularly read to share and spread their love of reading. Each Giver receives 24 copies which they pick up from their local bookshops and libraries - the very heart of our reading communities - in the week before April 23. The greatest reading journeys start when you put a book in to someone's hand and say 'this one's amazing, you have to read it' and by applying to be a giver you can help World Book Night give that experience to a million new It is difficult to quantify the value of reading on people’s lives, especially given the shocking statistics in the UK that outlines that one person in six struggles to read and write. Poor skills compromise health and well-being, confidence and employability. World Book Night’s charitable mission is to advance the education of the public by assisting in the promotion of literacy and the celebration of books and reading by creating unique moments which focus attention on adult literacy. By focusing on the enjoyment and engagement of reading we aim to reach and inspire those who have never discovered the value of reading. April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is both the birth and death day of Shakespeare, as well as the death of Cervantes, the great Spanish novelist. It is in their honour that UNESCO appointed it the international day of the book and that it was chosen to celebrate World Book Night.

Thoughts & Quotes ... Solemnity, refers to the quality of being solemn, deeply somber or serious, or ceremonies to be performed with such qualities. The word derives from the Latin sollemnis (ritual; festive, solemn, customary, celebrated at a fixed date), itself from sollus (entire). A judge can't have any preferred outcome in any particular case. And a judge certainly doesn't have a client. The judge's only obligation — and it's a solemn obligation — is to the rule of law, and what that means is that in every single case, the judge has to do what the law requires. Samuel Alito, in Confirmation Hearing on the Nomination of Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (January 2006), p. 56 Being solemn has almost nothing to do with being serious, but on the other hand, you can't go on being adolescent forever, unless you are in the performing arts, and anyhow most people can't tell the difference. In fact, though Americans talk a great deal about the virtue of being serious, they generally prefer people who are solemn over people who are serious. In politics, the rare candidate who is serious, like Adlai Stevenson, is easily overwhelmed by one who is solemn, like General Eisenhower. This is probably because it is hard for most people to recognize seriousness, which is rare, especially in politics, but comfortable to endorse solemnity, which is as commonplace as jogging. Jogging is solemn. Poker is serious. Once you grasp that distinction, you are on your way to enlightenment. Russell Baker, in "Why Being Serious Is Hard" in So This Is Depravity (1980), p.17 In the last analysis ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity. Perhaps, however, this impressive quality is rightly appraised; it is no easy task to be solemn. Ambrose Bierce, in The Devil's Dictionary (1911) Sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer. Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto 3, Stanza 107 He had a quiet way with the girls, and with the men a way of solemn, blinking simplicity which caused the more hasty in judgment to consider him a fool. James Branch Cabell, in Figures of Earth : A Comedy of Appearances (1921), Ch. I : How Manuel Left the Mire No one is exempt from talking nonsense. The great misfortune is to do it solemnly. Anthony de Mello, in One Minute Nonsense (1992), Introduction If you are different, you had better hide it, and pretend to be solemn and wooden-headed. Until you make your fortune. For most wooden-headed people worship money; and, really, I do not see what else they can do. Oliver Heaviside, in Electromagnetic Theory (1912), Volume III; p.1; "The Electrician" Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen. Robert A. Heinlein, in The Rolling Stones (1952) A serious writer is not to be confused with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl. Ernest Hemingway, in Death in the Afternoon (1932), Ch. 16 Scott took LITERATURE so solemnly. He never understood that it was just writing as well as you can and finishing what you start. Ernest Hemingway, in a letter to Arthur Mizener (12 May 1950); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker There was no Piggy to talk sense. There was no solemn assembly for debate nor dignity of the conch. William Golding, in Lord of the Flies (1954), Ch. 12: The Cry of the Hunters There must be something solemn, serious, and tender about any attitude which we denominate religious. If glad, it must not grin or snicker; if sad, it must not scream or curse. It is precisely as being solemn experiences that I wish to interest you in religious experiences. William James, in The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), Lecture II, "Circumscription of the Topic" Because of its tremendous solemnity death is the light in which great passions, both good and bad, become transparent, no longer limited by outward appearances. Soren Kierkegaard, in The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard as translated by Alexander Dru (1959) Issue 229 Page 2

Earth and fire and water and air We solemnly promise, we solemnly swear Not a word, not a hint, not a sound to declare Earth and fire and water and air! Hilda Lewis, in The Ship that Flew (1939), Ch. 2 : And Continues

haricot n A stew of lamb and vegetables. A kidney bean. coalesce v (of separate parts) To join into a single mass or whole. (of a whole) To form from different pieces or elements. scion n A descendant; a son or daughter. A detached shoot or twig containing buds from a woody plant, used in grafting.The heir to a throne. crotchety adj Cranky, disagreeable, or stubborn, especially if prone to odd whims or fancies. wonky adj Lopsided, misaligned or off-centre. (computing) Suffering from intermittent bugs; broken. Generally incorrect. bromide n (chemistry) A binary compound of bromine and some other element or radical. A dull person with conventional thoughts. A platitude. lyonnaise adj Cooked with onions, especially caramelized onions. viraginous adj Resembling an overbearing woman; shrew-like. Resembling an Amazon; of a woman with great bravery, strength, or stature.

LIFE OBSERVATIONS Mothers‘ Day Card: I‘m smiling because you are my mum — and I‘m laughing because you can‘t do anything about it .... (So true, so true ...) Why don‘t bunches of flowers come with a label saying the name of the variety? Bad things come in threes. Is snow on Mothering Sunday an omen? Brambles pay their debts in blood to those clearing them. Freedom of speech is a great responsibility. Painting the ceiling in the outside loo can put a dampener on mother‘s day. Why do strangers expect others to sort out problems with their elderly relatives?

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ASSIGNMENT: Highlight of the week or dialogue between two characters in a sports changing room Random Words: twilight, grass, therapy, redeem, pawned, excoriate, dormouse, valley (150 words) Don’t forget the cryptic clues ... 20 words. (please enclose answer)

Here are a few more cryptic birds from JT 1. Cowardly striker? 2. Sounds like a cat’s funeral 3. Old joke about garden implement 4. Cut the ocean 5. Russian census? Answers in random order: Kittiwake, Shearwater, Yellowhammer, Redpoll, Corncrake.

Random words: SMS Black Wednesday they were calling it on the news. The broadcaster was delivering the soliloquy from outside the hallowed doors of the stock-exchange. The share price index had been revised down again and trading suspended to circumvent a crash. It was all a mystery to Carlos, the short-order chef, at the cafe in the Donkey Sanctuary, who was chopping onions for the saucepan totally oblivious to the chaos unfolding on the small screen, or of what the consequences of the economic downturn would be for them. At that moment Nectar, the oldest mare, snuffled her grey muzzle in through the open window and stamped her iron shod feet on the step – she couldn‘t resist the smell of onions cooking. Random words: CMH The onion skins in the saucepan were boiling nicely; another hour and they‘d be ready for the dye pan I thought. It was a pity my granddad had wrecked the black iron pan though. But, as I thought he‘d said at the time, his false teeth always gave him problems if he talked fast, ―It‘s always difficult to get the pips out of a soliloquy, Carlos, old chap. We‘ll stick to the old method, lad. The way they do it down in the village is a mystery to me but it‘s something to do with a donkey I understand. I dunno, but last Wednesday the head dyer told me it was all donkeywork.‖ Now, I just need to add the salt and then drain off the nectar to settle in pan. If I can catch about it right I can circumvent the need to reheat the brew after filtering. Then it‘s put the revised labels on and it‘s me for the bright lights. Well; the pub anyway.

Assignment: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, that’s how they put it in America anyway, thought Edward as he shambled down the front of the dilapidated shopping centre. Life? Yes, well, I’ve got that. More or less, he thought. Well I have A LIFE, of sorts, even if it’s not what I’d like it to be. Liberty? Hmm. Difficult one that. What’s liberty? I mean, I’m not banged up in the nick so I’ve got some liberty, but, if liberty means freedom to what I want when I want to do it, then I’m not at liberty. I can’t just jump on a ‘plane and go to somewhere. Not got the money for that so I’ve not got that sort of liberty. Pursuit of happiness? I do pursue happiness, mostly. Me and Emma pursued it a lot last night. We’d have pursued it even further if her Dad hadn’t come home early and chucked me out.

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Random words: AB The twilight was turning the grass verges to shades of purple and black. In the valley below the chapel bell was ringing. Its comforting tolling sounded like therapy. There it still was in the shop window accusingly gazing with its seed pearl eyes. She needed to redeem it. How could she have pawned the family’s only heirloom. The silver plated dormouse was given to her gran by Lloyd George, or so she claimed. Her gran’s vile tongue would excoriate her when she found out what she had done.

Cobwebs and Brambles Blog Tour All this week, 19th-23rd March, RBW member Elizabeth Leaper has been guesting at Dragonscale Clippings, the blog of writer Freya Pickard. There are interviews with Elizabeth and a guest post about writing ‘Small Stones’. On Friday Freya will review Elizabeth’s book of poems ‘Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles’. To be in with the chance of winning a FREE copy of the book simply visit Dragonscale Clippings at

and leave a comment. Each day during the week Elizabeth is also posting a short poem from the book on her ‘Small Stones’ blog ‘By The Wobbly Dum-Dum Tree’. To read these poems visit To buy ‘Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles’ or her previous book of verse for children ‘Barking At Nothing’ go to Elizabeth’s web site: Both books are sold in aid of charity. You can save the postage by ordering or copy to be collected at a Monday workshop.

Steph‘s second FREE poetry e-chapbook is now published on (profile page) and on RBW main site and Facebook The chapbook is illustrated by some of her original artwork. She is a member of Stafford Art Group and has exhibited some pieces locally. CLIVE‘s three free e-books are doing very very well and are NOW PUBLISHED on RBW and issuu and Facebook

A Young Girl’s Thoughts The safest place in the world to be Is curled up tight on my Dad’s knee Dreaming dreams and thinking things In fantasy lands with kings and queens Where a handsome prince, a gallant knight Will win your honour in a fight Dragons fly, shy unicorns roam To find a place they can call home Here am I, a tiny ball With the bravest knight of all


Edge of The Blues Gulls hover Soprano wails over thrumming downbeats Semaphore wings Soaring sentinels shadowing flotsam prey. Scattered pebbles Bedded down in sandy slumber Rubbed and teased Tickled by ocean’s lingering fingers. Seaweed clusters Flung forward in primeval unison Strummed then plucked Nomadic fronds sucked in by salty pulse. Proud white horses Relentless beat with front line crescendo Furled flanks Strut out prodigious riff in deep sea blues.

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We are delighted to announce three further Writers' Workshops for 2012. Following the fantastic feedback we've received from the events over the last year, we are enjoying giving writers direct feedback and advice as well as a clear insight into the publishing industry. And we are particularly excited about the new events - two of them book pitch events where writers will pitch a work or idea directly to literary professionals for immediate feedback and the other a new no-holds-barred panel discussion event. And the excitement is generated from the panellists we have confirmed so far - from top authors, to editors, to literary agents, to publishers, to book marketers. Places fill quickly, so to view details and to book your place, visit Alternatively, email We look forward to receiving your bookings and to meeting you at the events. Best wishes, Legend Press

Jet White Say what mischief dallies here Lurks then squats on swaying haunch To mind the wheel where guile spins The vivid palette of my days. Tell me who rubs sticky fingers, Now draws out the short white threads Has swiftly banished vibrant colours To merge in sycophantic praise. What his measured tread conspires Short inconsequential lies Draining hues from life’s bold pattern To dazzle in a mourning blaze.


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Announcement ... RBW are pleased to announce that the result of the vote means that ―Going to the dogs‖ is to be the scenario for the 2012 jointly written fiction project. Now is the time to sign up for this project. Naturally it is a farce set in Trentby. Two charity shops, Puss in Boots and a dog charity Man‘s Best Friend, are in rivalry from opposite ends of the High Street. They each have a mismatched cast of charity volunteers —- and a lost scarab beetle broach worth millions to add to the mayhem. The action will take place over five days beginning with the charity collection van making collections and deliveries to both shops. The driver of which, a said Mick Grabble, being a dishy ―poster boy‖ for Ragmen and an object of desire for both manageresses of the rival charity shops— one a former military type in gumboots and tweeds and the other a retired dancer in fluffy pink slippers. If you‘ve ever wondered how we do this, it is not as easy as we make it look, but, by following a few simple rules everything eventually drops into place. Each piece of action has to take place within a few minutes time frame and be complete within itself. Characters cannot be in two places at once so it is important to keep abreast of what other contributors are writing. The characters are not for the sole use of any one writer. The characters are for joint usage. This is very hard for some writers to get their heads round. If you start a plot line then you have to complete it. You can‘t write one piece and leave it hanging.

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This exercise has a real purpose — it teaches plotting, team work, character building. It imposes discipline and the concept of writing to deadlines. It improves use of dialogue and encourages research. It also is a lot of fun and there is a real sense of achievement when it is finished.

The office of the ‗Puss in Boots‘ manageress was a shrine to her youth. Pink gossamer curtains festooned the window and Princess Barbie perched on the sill among her attendants. The computer sat on a white and gold Queen Anne style desk and the chair into which Cynthia was squashed was of rosy translucent plastic. She swivelled round at Tim‘s knock. ‗Come in,‘ she trilled, for she liked to start the day on a positive note, whatever the weather. Tim entered and carefully put down her special cup and saucer. ‗Thank you,‘ she said. ‗Now you wanted a word?‘ ‗Yes, I don‘t think…‘ he began Cynthia raised her cup and took a sip. ‗Ahh,‘ she breathed. Wonderful. What was it, Tim?‘ ‗Well,‘ he began again. ‗It‘s not… it‘s not really… ‗Not really what?‘ ‗Not really working out here for me.‘ She replaced her cup, regarded him. For goodness sake what did he expect at his time of life? A proper job? He must be all of 50 and his qualifications – well! Ferreting among old bones and things – what call was there for that? Even if you were entitled to call yourself ‗Doctor‘. Not that he ever did, but word was he‘d written a very good book on the Ancient Egyptians which meant he could if he wanted to. He wasn‘t allowed to cure anyone though so what was the point? You can be extremely clever without being in the least useful, reflected Cynthia and at the same time, have no qualifications at all like herself and be very useful indeed. After all, who had clothed the man but the shop she ran so successfully? He stood before her, skinny as a match in the fraying shirt stuffed into corduroys with matching plastic belt. His hair was dragged into a long greasy queue – it had obviously been imprisoned in the 80s and never released since. What hope did he have of any job? If it weren‘t for the likes of herself… ‗You‘re happy with us aren‘t you?‘ she asked in gentle tones. ‗Oh yes, very happy. No it‘s not anybody here. Not exactly here.‘ ‗What then?‘ She was becoming rather interested. ‗It‘s the cats.‘ Cynthia groped for understanding. ‗The knitted ones? Are you allergic to wool?‘ ‗No. The real ones.‘ ‗We don‘t have any real ones. Tim, would you like to sit down?‘ There was only the floor available, but Tim sat. ‗I just can‘t stand the things.‘ ‗But you love cats, Tim. You‘ve got lots of cats at home. ‗Yes, 17 of the things. They just keep coming. Producing more. They mess all over the garden, they stink the house out, and they kill things. Birds, little baby mice. They keep bringing them in. I hate them!‘ Tim dropped his face into his hands and his shoulders started to shake. ‗So why do you keep feeding them?‘ ‗Because they‘d starve otherwise. I thought if the shelter had more places they‘d be able to take them, so that‘s why I came to help here. I thought I‘d be able to make a difference. But I can‘t.‘ Issue 229 Page 9

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Knock, knock. The tradesman‘s entrance door shook on its hinges as Marge Potts, wiping her hands on a teacloth, struggled to push back the huge bolts. ―Hold your water there, Michael Grabble, don‘t you know an old biddy can‘t be all of rush this time of a morning.‖ The door screeched ajar and snagged over the flag stone floor of the scullery. ―He hasn‘t got this fixed yet, then,‖ said Michael adding his shoulder to the ancient woodwork and pushing his way inside. ―Too tight to spend a penny that one.‖ Marge said nothing but gestured towards the teapot on the Aga. The man nodded, it was parky outside and he had carried the cold. dewy morning in with him on his donkey jacket. The dampness had settled on a row of wild Irish curls plastered against his brow and was glistening on long dark lashes and handsome chiselled features. Caught off guard for a second by the nearness of the swarthy young man, Marge had a momentary flashback to an indiscretion on the Mountains of Mourn in her early spring with that devil-of-a-boy Jamie O‘Farrell who bore an uncanny resemblance to the talk-of-the-town to women-of-a-certain-age, the said Michael Grabble. To her mind Michael Grabble was far too sure of himself and needed a good woman to take him in hand. Had she been thirty years younger she might have thrown her own hat into that ring. He was helping himself to tea as he waited for her to gather her composure together. He knew he had this effect on women, he took their breath away, whenever he entered a room perfectly sane women started gabbling and pouring coffee over themselves: this marvel was great in some circumstances but a right nuisance in others. ―So how many today?‖ he asked eyeing the stack of bin bags lined up by the scullery door.‖ ―Five each,‖ she replied pushing a strand of grey hair out of her eyes. ―There‘ll be loads more, but I can only do so much at a time.‖ ―I don‘t suppose the Missus does a hands turn to help you.‖ Marge didn‘t reply, it wasn‘t her place to comment on the lazy nature of the quality. Bone idleness was inborn in the aristocracy, sure didn‘t anybody with a head on their shoulders know that, indeed. ―I miss her,‖ she said her eyes misting over. ―Good old stick was Lady Lucy.‖ Mick picked up the first two bags and made for the door. He, too, missed Lady Lucy, she had been a character, alright. Not many ninety--year-olds encouraged a schoolboy to play hooky to go fly fishing with them or taught them how to smoke a joint without burning their lips. As he loaded the charity donations into the back of his van his eye caught sight of the oak tree by the gate. A stray tear mingled with the drizzle as he remembered sitting high up there in the branches with Lady Lucy listening to her stories as she began his education into the life and times of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The things she had seen and done in her long life were simply amazing to a boy from the back streets of Trentby. The things she told him had made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end, and the things she had taught him and shown him had broadened his horizons. Throwing in the last bag of Lady Lucy‘s unwanted possessions, he slammed the van door and as he did so a gust of wind rattled the leaves like a message. A shiver ran down his spine. His sister would have said a curse had been cast.

Character List Robert Bluddschott Earl of Trentby deceased Lady Angelica Bluddschott deceased wife to Robert — Aunt to Lucy Dowager Lady Lucinda Bluddschott — recently deceased Colonel Bluddschott — nephew to the late Lucinda, Dowager Lady Bluddschott— recently inheritor of Bluddschott Manor — breeds gundogs Lady Bluddschott wife of Colonel Marge Potts - cleaning woman at Manor Mick Grabble - charity collection driver — lives with sister Jean Puss in Boots Charity Shop Cynthia Saunders Manageress — pink and fluffy Volunteers — Timothy Toogood—50s — owns 17 cats — long grey hair tied in a queue thesis specialism Ancient Egypt, rebellious tendencies Iris, Dylis and Evadne who knits cats Dogs Charity Shop — Man‘s Best Friend Geraldine Vickers Manageress — gumboots and waxed jacket — rides to hounds —exmilitary Volunteers— Randolph Andover — Community Service — Internet hacker Rosemary Thorne - Twins Daphne and Deirdre Drinkworth — knit dogs Customer PC Daniel Smithers — built like side of house but enjoys AmDram/Musicals and dressing up in stage act — always buying costume materials from both shops — very high pitched voice. Stage Name: Danni la Do on account of large purple wig

House Style RBW uses Franklin Gothic Book font size 14pt and single spaced Word files. NO fancy fonts — no tables — no underlining — no centred headings — no coloured anything. Names of contributors will appear at the front of the book but not on each piece. The copyright will be RBW and the book will hopefully be published as a free e-book.

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Mick. Monday 6.30 Sitting down to what he referred to as his ‗Full English Breakfast‘, because he said it filled him up until lunch time, of: six rashers of Bacon, three jumbo sausages, two eggs, half a link of black pudding, fried bread and half a tomato, which was only there because his sister Jean said he should have more roughage. Mick Grabble opened his hand and pushed a horseshoe shaped brooch set with red and white sparkling stones across the table. ―What do you reckon this is, Jean? Worth anything do you think?‖ Jean reached over, picked it up, and examined it. ―Well, if the back of it‘s gold, it‘s heavy enough so it could be, it could be worth a few quid. We couldn‘t flog it as gold anyway, ‗cos there‘s no hall-marks. Foreign I‘d think; these stones could be diamond and ruby, not to my taste though. Where‘d you get this, Mick?‖ ―It was in the stuff I collected from old lady Bluddshott‘s place, up at The Manor. Fastened to an old fur coat it was. Marge didn‘t bag it for charity, it just was chucked in lose.‖ He paused to shovel in another helping of fried bread and sausage. ―That one‘s not going to the charity shops neither. I‘ve got that contact in the fur trade I‘ll take that too. No point in giving money away is there?‖ ―What‘s the plot for today then?‖ Jean asked. ―Normal Monday drop-offs first, Jean. Then I‘m going back to the Manor, ‗cos I told Marge Potts I‘d clear out the rest of the stuff today. I‘ll need to take some boxes with me this time though! Marge says that the old lady had a real load of junk that she‘s been told to get rid of. Then I‘ll rag some of the house clearance rubbish I‘ve got in the shed and take it to the collectors. They owe us for last month‘s stuff anyway. That‘ll pay for the work on the van that needs doing. After that, it depends. May not have time to do much. What about you?‖ ―What do you think about another leaflet drop? Around the cattle market area I was thinking. We didn‘t do too badly on the last one. Funny isn‘t it? Now it‘s gone all upmarket, with them posh flats and all, they changed its name; but it‘s still the slaughterhouse!‖ Mick thought for a few seconds. ―Collection on Wednesday then, Jean.‖ There was another pause while he used the remainder of a loaf to chase the last of the bacon fat around his plate and slurped some tea to help it down. ―I don‘t want to keep on going up that drive to the Manor, I can tell you. All them statues and stuff half hid in the bushes; it fair gives me the creeps it does. Not like when I was a nipper and the old dear was alive. She used to tell me stories and go fishin‘ with me. Now it‘s like going through a lost world, or somethin‘‖. Issue 229 Page 12

To assist newcomers into the world of RBW joint workshop projects, below is one way being used to sort out the characters being jointly built up:Character detail sheet Book/Work Name. GONE TO THE DOGS Full.

Michael Grabble

Character Name aka. The scrappy or the ragman.

Shortened form: Mick Self employed. Does Charity collections [any charity] van driver. [THE MAN with a Van!] House clearances and local ragman. Biological Build. Tall and well built. Hair. Black Curls Eyes. Blue. State of health. Good. Sexuality. Male (Very) Assets. Willing worker Flaws. Hasty Gait. Quick. Swaggers. Voice. Pleasant tenor

Height. 5' 9 [1.75m] Age. 30s

Psychological Intelligence. Good. Temperament. Even until roused Un/happy. Happy Self-knowledge. Oozes sexuality and knows it. Babe magnet Unconscious aspects. Deep thinker — keeps intellect hidden Cultural & Interpersonal Family. Extended Marital Status: Single. Friends. Lots of local ladies would like to be EXTREMELY friendly with him. Birthplace. Trentby [local] Education Secondary school Hobbies Am-Dram Beliefs Atheist tendencies Lifestyle Lives with his sister Jean. Personal history Typical „White Van Man‟, owns his van and runs just about every collection route in Trentby. At the end of each run, he sorts the stuff for delivery to the charity shops or the „recycling trade‟. Major events in the life [best and worse]. Undecided but was influenced by Lady Lucy as a child Brief summary Appearance. Looks like a scruff but this is deliberate. Part of his sex appeal [“Please give generously” could be his motto] Speech. Takes no prisoners Issue 229 Page 13

Habitual/repeated actions. As yet undecided

Memories: Fred Waterfall, Yews Farm, Seighford. I was born in the middle of the Midlands of the UK, just on the outskirts of Stafford at Brook House Farm Doxey and still even now live just a mile and half from where I was born. I am second of four children, father was eldest of four, grandfather was one of eight, G. grandfather was youngest of seven, (and it was G. grandfather that brought his young family from Fenny Bentley Derbyshire in 1862 to live at Litteywood Manor Farm Bradley Nr Stafford) G.G. grandfather was youngest of eight, and my G.G.G. grandfather was born in 1753, all farmers. Out of the six generations of farmers, I and my father were the only ones to benefit from the use of tractors, we have always milked cows, my father had to help with the hand milking when he was a lad before he went to school every morning, and started his own herd not long after leaving school. In fact he had a sow with piglets and swapped it for his first cow, when he acquired his first fifteen acres. After meeting and marrying my mother they moved to Brook House Farm Doxey on the edge of town where the milk was sold and the surplus turned into butter and cheese to sell, also sold potatoes. He had twenty six cows that they milked by hand, they were at this farm through the depression of the 1930s and on up to the World War 2. I was born there in 1938 just at the start of the war, I can just remember mother talking us under the kitchen table when we heard the air raid siren go off in town, it was the humming of a lost German bomber looking for the factory in town that was making and building tanks for the war effort. 1942 we moved to a larger farm two miles distance, at Seighford where we were brought up, and where my youngest brother went on to farm to this day. I started farming on my own 1960 on a farm half a mile away, again milking cows for the next 26 years, then I moved to where I am now (another 26 years up to now) on 250 acres, I gave up milk in favour of a suckler herd and reared calves for beef, also grew wheat and barley for sale as cash crops. Fred Waterfall — Countryman The picture is a family wedding group outside of Littywood Manor farm house in June 1897, it has not changed much other than now it has all tiles and no thatch. If you tap in Littywood Manor into Google, there are pictures of it as it is now.

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(Editor’s Note: Owd Fred had a regular column in Farmers’ Weekly and a blog with a following readership of many thousands — his series of poetry books have raised considerable sums for charity.)

The Farm Sale The years have come the years have gone, it’s time to sell the lot, And now I’ve got to organize, the sale of all I’ve got, To pull it out the sheds and then, n’ lay it out in rows, For all and everyone who comes, to have a damn good nose. The tools and all machinery, bought it years ago, Ploughed the land and worked it, encouraged crops to grow, Harrowed all the grass in spring, soon as the Daff’s appear, Cattle would be turned out, and sold that big fat steer. Job to know where to start, and find things long forgotten, Things we used like brushing hooks, n’ pitch forks stale gone rotten, Shovels spades and muck forks, all standing where last used, Some I’ve had a long time, and some they were abused. Workshop that’s a nightmare, the scrap ruck will increase, Wading through the junk to find, that lost now found tailpiece All the things you save as spares, but things move on apace, Out dated now and far too small, with newer one replaced. The tractor that’s seen better days, reliable it has been, Well used and got a loader on, could do with a damn good clean, Worked it hard all day long, every day of the year, Last day now it has arrived, and to the field must steer. A second one it’s older still, with a draughty cab, Tyres worn and torn about, n’ the paints a little drab. Steering wobbles brakes no good, useful to have about, It’s winter when it wonner start, I have a damn good shout. Be sorry to see an empty yard, and all the cleaned out sheds, The damp old house abandoned, and empty old farmstead, Silence now for few a weeks, until new folk move in, Then once again start from new, new livestock make a din. Countryman (Owd Fred)

POETRY AT THE FILM THEATRE College Rd, Stoke, ST4 2EF Wednesday, 4th April, 2012, 7pm - 10pm Jo Bell, Peter Branson and John Lindley, with Roger Elkin, W. Terry Fox, Gill McEvoy, Andrew Rudd, ‘Trentvale Poet’, Phil Williams, John Williams & Joy Winkler plus ‘open mic.’ and music from ‘Parish Lantern’ and ‘Roaring Owls’

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Drinks available from 7pm and during the interval. Tickets: £4.00 For ticket info, contact: or 01270 883410 or just send a cheque, (pay ‘Poetry at the Film Theatre’), to: ‘Poetry at the Film Theatre’, c/o Peter Branson, ‘Ash House’, 226 Sandbach Rd, Rode Heath, Nr Alsager, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 3SB (Your reserved tickets will be available at the box office from 7pm.) All ticket proceeds to Cystic Fibrosis

Patrick Reginald Chalmers Author and poet who wrote on a wide variety of themes. He was born in Ireland in 1872 and was employed as a banker in London as his day job. His first book was published at the age of 40 - Green Days and Blue Days and was followed three years later by A Peck Of Malt (1915). He is best remembered for writing on country pursuits such as deerstalking, horse racing, biography works such as of Kenneth Graham and J M Barrie as well as humorous articles for magazines such as Punch. He also edited the hunting diaries of the Prince of Wales. His poetry includes pieces featuring war, cats and dogs, hunting and fishing and Irish life in general.

It was early last September nigh to Framlin'am-on-Sea, An' 'twas Fair-day come to-morrow, an' the time was after tea, An' I met a painted caravan adown a dusty lane, A Pharaoh with his wagons comin' jolt an' creak an' strain; A cheery cove an' sunburnt, bold o' eye and wrinkled up, An' beside him on the splashboard sat a brindled tarrier pup, An' a lurcher wise as Solomon an' lean as fiddle-strings Was joggin' in the dust along 'is roundabouts and swings. "Goo'-day," said 'e; "Goo'-day," said I; "an' 'ow d'you find things go, An' what's the chance o' millions when you runs a travellin' show?" "I find," said 'e, "things very much as 'ow I've always found, For mostly they goes up and down or else goes round and round." Said 'e, "The job's the very spit o' what it always were, It's bread and bacon mostly when the dog don't catch a 'are; But lookin' at it broad, an' while it ain't no merchant king's, What's lost upon the roundabouts we pulls up on the swings!"

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"Goo' luck," said 'e; "Goo' luck," said I; "you've put it past a doubt; An' keep that lurcher on the road, the gamekeepers is out." 'E thumped upon the footboard an' 'e lumbered on again To meet a gold-dust sunset down the owl-light in the lane; An' the moon she climbed the 'azels, while a night-jar seemed to spin That Pharaoh's wisdom o'er again, 'is sooth of lose-and-win; For "up an' down an' round," said 'e, "goes all appointed things, An' losses on the roundabouts means profits on the swings!"

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Issue 229 RBW Online  

Issue 229 RBW Online weekly magazine

Issue 229 RBW Online  

Issue 229 RBW Online weekly magazine