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RBW Online ISSUE 232

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SHAKE UP THOSE LITTLE GREY CELLS Library Workshop Resumes On Monday. Old Friends And New Faces Always Welcome.

Date: 13th April 2012

Thoughts & Quotes ... Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse (8 September 1864 – 21 June 1929) was a British liberal politician and sociologist, one of the earliest proponents of social liberalism. His works, alongside writers such as T.H. Green and John A. Hobson make up a large section within the ideology of New Liberalism. Liberalism (1911) The modern state is the distinctive product of a unique civilization. But it is a product which is still in the making, and a part of the process is a struggle between old and new principles of social order. Chapter I, Before Liberalism, p. 9 At all times men have lived in societies, and ties of kinship and of simple neighbourhood underlie every form of social organization. Chapter I, Before Liberalism, p. 9 Both logically and historically the first point of attack is arbitrary government, and the first liberty to be secured is the right to be dealt with in accordance with law. A man who has no legal rights against another, but stands entirely at his disposal, to be treated according to his caprice, is a slave to that other. Chapter II, The Elements of Liberalism, p. 16 The first condition of universal freedom, that is to say, is a measure of universal restraint. Without such restraint some men may be free but others will be unfree. Chapter II, The Elements of Liberalism, p. 17 If there is one law for the Government and another for it's subjects, one for noble and another for commoner, one for rich and another for poor, the law does not guarantee liberty for all. Chapter II, The Elements of Liberalism, p. 17 Great changes are not caused by ideas alone; but they are not effected without ideas. Chapter III, The Movement Of Theory, p. 30 To be effective men must act together, and to act together they must have a common understanding and a common object. Chapter III, The Movement Of Theory, p. 30 The more the individual receives free scope for the play of his faculties, the more rapidly will society as a whole advance. Chapter III, The Movement Of Theory, p. 34 Government must keep the ring, and leave it for individuals to play the game. Chapter III, The Movement Of Theory, p. 34 If the child was helpless, was the grown up person, man or woman, in a much better position? Chapter IV, "Laissez Faire", p. 46 The more a class is brought low, the greater its difficulty in rising again without assistance. For purposes of legislation the State has been exceedingly slow to accept this view. Chapter IV, "Laissez - Faire", p. 47 True consent is free consent, and full freedom of consent implies equality on the part of both parties to bargain. Chapter IV, "Laissez - Faire", p. 50 He is a citizen of the world in that he represents his nation, which is a member of the community of the world. Chapter V, Gladstone And Mill, p. 56 Compulsion may be necessary for the purposes of external order, but it adds nothing to the inward life that is the true being of a man. Chapter V, Gladstone And Mill, p. 60 The Liberal does not meet opinions which he conceives to be false with toleration, as though they did not matter. He meets them with justice, and exacts for them a fair hearing as though they mattered just as much as his own. Chapter VI, The Heart Of Liberalism, p. 63 The foundation of liberty is the idea of growth. Chapter VI, The Heart Of Liberalism, p. 66 To move towards harmony is the persistent impulse of the rational being, even if the goal lies always beyond the reach of accomplished effort. Chapter VI, The Heart Of Liberalism, p. 69 Does scope for individual development, for example, consort with idea of equality? Chapter VII, The State And The Individual, p. 74 The fancied clearness of Utopian vision is illusory, because its objects are artificial ideas and not living facts. Chapter VIII, Economic Liberalism, p. 89 Other great sources of wealth are found in financial and speculative operations, often of distinctly anti-social tendency and possible only through the defective organization of our economy. Chapter VIII, Economic Liberalism, p. 97 In modern industry there is very little that the individual can do by his unaided efforts. Chapter VIII, Economic Liberalism, p. 99 Source Wikipedia Wikiquote Issue 232 Page 2

What we possess has its intrinsic value, but how we came to possess it is also an important question. Chapter IX, The Future Of Liberalism, p. 117 Some men are much better and wiser than others, but experience seems to show that hardly any man is so much better than or wiser than others that he can permanently stand the test of irresponsible power over them. Chapter IX, The Future Of Liberalism, p. 118 We need less of the fanatics of sectarianism and more of the unifying mind. Chapter IX, The Future Of Liberalism, p. 126-127

roundabout adj Indirect, circuitous or circumlocutionary; that does not do something in a direct way. a priori adj (logic) Based on hypothesis rather than experiment. Self-evident, intuitively obvious (linguistics, of a constructed language) Developed entirely from scratch, without deriving it from existing languages. be mother v (idiomatic, UK) To pour out tea for others. dystopia n A vision of a future that is a corrupted (usually beyond recognition) utopian society. A miserable, dysfunctional state or society that has a very poor standard of living. (medicine) Anatomical tissue that is not found in its usual place. acculture v To familiarize oneself with, and adopt a new culture, especially by an immigrant. senescence n The state or process of ageing, especially in humans; old age. ventripotent adj Having a big belly. commiserate v Feel or express compassion or sympathy for (someone or something).


petrology n (geology) The study of the origin, composition and structure of rock. apologia n

A written defence of a position or belief.

kettle of fish n An awkward situation; a predicament. A situation which is recognized as different from or as an alternative to some other situation, and which is not necessarily unfavourable.

LIFE OBSERVATIONS When the weather is unseasonably warm, it is tempting to overdo things in the garden! Women it is said marry men in the hope they will change, whereas men marry women in the hope they will not change. Inevitably both are doomed to be disappointed. Midlife crisis: when a fool of 40 gets involved with a girl of 20 it is not her youth he is craving but his own. Washing dishes is a great leveller. If a man gets out the lawn mower for his spouse to use ... is this relationship doomed? A violin is a wonderful piece of engineering until it is being strangled by the child next door. The inane antics of other people’s grandchildren are not so wonderful. Only one’s own are so blessed.

ASSIGNMENT: the rowing boat or the pig and nightgown club Random Words: More next week Issue 232 Page 3

Don’t forget the cryptic clues ... 20 words. (please enclose answer)

Poet Elizabeth Leaper introduces ... Elfje This poetic short form originates from Holland where it is used to teach young children to write poetry – now why don’t we do that here? The word is made up from ‘Elf’ (Elf, Elven, Fairy) and the suffix ‘–je’ (little) so means ‘Little Elf’ or ‘Fairy’ poem. An Elfje consists of 11 words (do I detect a pun on Elven?) spread over 5 lines, each of which is a sentence in itself, and the basic rules are as follows: Line 1. One word. A colour or feature. The word symbolizes the atmosphere. Line 2. Two words. These two words are something or someone with this colour or feature. Line 3. Three words. Giving more information about the person or the object. You describe where the person or the object is, who the person or what the object is, or what the person or object is doing. This sentence usually starts with the word ‘he, she ‘or ‘it.’ Line 4. Four words. Here you are writing something about yourself in relation to the person or the object. This sentence is your conclusion. Line 5. One word. The ‘Bomb.’ The essence of the poem. Here is an example of a strict form Elfje that I have written: White.


Cherry Blossom.


Covering the tree.


I gaze wide eyed.

(Me in relation to it)


(The ‘Bomb’ or essence)

As you can see this is a little restricted and stilted in poetic terms but if we bend the rules a bit, make it flow better, then we can make it more poetic as in my own example below: Pearly half-moon up before time watches the setting sun blush. This is a form that I believe deserves wider recognition and you can find more examples of Elfje on my new blog, ‘Simply Elfje’ which is dedicated to these little poems. You will find it at I am inviting others to submit Elfje poems to the blog so if you would like to have a go check out the site for details. Issue 232 Page 4


Random words: - March 30th

The Windmill Theatre in the village of Cricket St Thomas was showing ―The Mikado‖, by Gilbert and Sullivan, and Deborah had been chosen to play the part of Katisha. Years ago, she had attended language night classes, and so had a smattering of Japanese. To her, it was a fascinating country and culture, and she loved the geisha-style costume which went with her role. Another major plus was that it gave her the chance to get close to Derek, the love of her life, who was playing Nanki Poo. He was a big teddy-bear of a man, and she was in no doubt that he did not reciprocate the feeling. But what she didn‘t know, because she had never been invited to join them, was that after each performance, he and his cronies went on a binge, and consequently, Derek was suffering from a severe case of gout. Assignment: - Careless Why is mankind so careless with his world? Given a beautiful planet to inhabit, with everything we need to sustain us, yes everything in abundance, we squander and pollute. Incapable of sharing, we war over land and resources. People and nature are the losers. We put pressure on the poorest, through greed and exploitation. Not content with what we have, - which is more than enough-we strive for more,- ignorant of the consequences, blissfully unconcerned for the repercussions. But problems tend to stack up. Chickens have a tendency of coming home to roost. Times of reckoning come around. Extreme weather patterns, global famines, the decline of natural habitats and species, contaminated soil and watercourses, rainforests torn up. Why are we so careless about our wonderful world? Why is mankind so careless with his words? The pen can indeed be mightier than the sword, and it‘s not always so that ‗sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can n ever hurt me‘. Tell that to the people who have been victims of press misdemeanours. Stories written for sensationalism, to sell newspapers, and in which truth is often sacrificed for pecuniary gain. And how often have each of us spoken in haste, only to wish with all our hearts that we had held our tongues? A thoughtless word can destroy a relationship. The hurt can not easily be forgotten and forgiven. And of course, those of us who lived during the Second World War will well remember the injunction that ‗Careless Talk Costs Lives‘. Why are we so careless with our words?

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

This is subsequent to the last thoughts – a blog [whatever that is] Some odd thoughts on Language. No 2.


May I thank my respondent to the original meander through my ragbag mind. The reply of:'If CMH reads any SciFi it seems odd that she hasn't come across the gender neutral word "Androgynous," as I am sure most of the great modern authors within that genre, used it frequently in the books that I read in my youth, '. Was for me a lesson in the requirement I was arguing over. In my previous ramble, I had put forward the idea that the English language was limiting our thinking by the absence of sex or gender neutral personal terms. He or She, but not much else. As I had deliberately omitted any reference to my own sex, and that most members of RBW are female, the understandable, albeit erroneous, assumption was made. Much more importantly, the reply said that I had missed the term 'Androgynous' from my article. Whilst I agree that many of the classical SciFi writers have used the term to indicate a lack of sex the term is borrowed, or stolen, from the Botanical lexicon. Whilst it is often used to indicate some being that is sexless or of an indeterminate sex, it is so used incorrectly. The dictionary gives the definition that the flower has both Pistil and Stamen and is thus the equivalent of the Biological term Hermaphrodite. Both words are used to describe the simultaneous inclusion of both sexes in a single flower or individual, which is outside the discussion as originally conceived. That said, I agree that the being bisexual could be the viewed as being the equivalent of being unsexed; provided, that self fertilisation is a possibility. In botanical terms being androgynous is a valid reproduction strategy, as it does not require any additional energy input during the seeding process, however, the usefulness of such a strategy for mobile life forms is much more problematic. Fascinating as it undoubtedly would be I am not going to get involved in some form of comparative botanical/biological argument. I would assume that the writers who originally used Androgynous to indicate sexlessness knew that they had it 'wrong', but, as language is, to understate the case when SciFi is discussed, fluid, ignored the fact. To take the discussion a step forward let me moot a new word 'Ke' (pronounced 'key' to line up with he and she) to be the equal of He or She but without sexual connotations. It's difficult to imagine such a sentence but I'm sure that it's not impossible and it could be something of a step forward in human consciousness. As before I would like to continue this discussion with others, therefore, I would ask you to respond in the usual way as if submitting material for the bulletin.

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OBSERVATION: emmm ... Food for thought ... I can think of a few mindless oafs society would benefit from being neutered ... But seriously does a rigid gender definition really matter? There are so many grey areas and sexuality is fluid, it can and does fluctuate in some people and is the gender, or orienteering, of others anyone’s business but their own? In a legally inclusive society how should these ‘gender neutral’ folks be identified? Tattooed forearms, yellow star on their coats, perhaps? Not a good idea! What do you think?... My brain hurts now so this little old granny is going for a shave, a pint down the boozer, a game of pool and to watch a bit of footie on the box ... Good luck with classifying that!

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. 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. Issue 232 Page 7

Mick Grabble, the Ragman, sauntered down Trentby High Street, pausing briefly to check himself out in the plate glass window of the florists. He ran his hand through his thick, black, curly locks, lightly gelled, and pulled up the collar of his bomber jacket, assuming his John Travolta pose. This was the same jacket that Iris, a volunteer in the ‗Puss in Boots‘ shop had found for him amongst some good quality items recently donated, and which he knew she liked. He also knew that she had a thing about the star of ‗Grease‘, so hopefully, he would be onto a good thing. It was five to six, and the shop closed at six. He stuck his head round the shop door. Iris was busy with a customer, but looked up, blushing. He gave her a cheeky wink, and parked himself on the chair in the corner, where Cynthia‘s large Persian tom had previously been sitting, idly surveying the world from the comfort of his cushion. Cynthia had taken him with her when she finished her shift. Mick waited somewhat impatiently, until she had rung the item through the till and slipped it into a carrier. ‗Thank you, Mrs. Brown. Have a nice evening‘. ‗Looks like you will!‘ the woman responded, glancing at Mick‘s handsome, chiselled features, his startlingly blue eyes and the slight hint of designer stubble on his chin, as she exited Iris swivelled the ‗Open‘ sign round and pulled down the blind on the door. Before she turned round, Mick‘s strong arms were round her waist, and he spun her towards him. ‗I must be the envy of every woman in Trentby!‘ she thought to herself, contentedly. Meanwhile at the other end of the High Street, Daphne and Deirdre Drinkwater were identical twins, who gave a few hours a week to help out at the ‗Man‘s Best Friend‘ shop. Physically, they were alike in every way, and even dressed the same; a fact which caused considerable confusion at times. But though they were so similar in appearance, there was a fierce rivalry between the two young women, and both had hopeless crushes on Mick Grabble, the handsome and eligible delivery driver. Never one to turn down any attention from the fair sex, Mick was on good terms with both young women, and it has to be admitted, with most of the female population of Trentby, and saw quite a lot of all of them. But each twin was under the impression that she and she alone had his heart, and was blissfully unaware that her sister imagined the same. ‗If Deidre knew about me and Mick, she‘d be so jealous! It‘s great he chose me.‘ Daphne smiled to herself. ‗My poor little sister!‘ thought Daphne. ‗She doesn‘t know what she‘s missing! I‘m glad he picked the right one of us.‘ Mick had sworn them to secrecy, and this added a certain frisson to their relationship Oh yes, he was a very exciting man..

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Tuesday 1700h Thomas returned to the Puss-in-Boots charity shop shortly before it closed. ―I saw a fur coat when I was in here last,‖ he said to the overweight, bottle blond, woman behind the counter. She was dressed, mainly, in different shades of pink, which didn't suit her, and like a teenager, which definitely didn't suit her. ―A dark colour it was, sable I think my sisters would call it.‖ ―Oh, they are lucky girls to have a thoughtful brother like you‖, she replied batting her, obviously fake, eyelashes at him. ―We've just had it in. The last owner decided that it wasn't what they wanted. I'm afraid it's a bit expensive though, for a faux fur that is, £20.00 is the price our valuer put on the tag. ―I'm afraid I didn't leave the office with more than a few pounds on me, but, if you'll take a cheque there‘s not too much problem there.‖ ―Well, I don't know you, and it is against the shop policy to take cheques from unknown customers‖, she replied. Obviously torn between wanting to make the sale and shop policy. ‖£20.00 is quite a lot of money you know. I know you came in earlier, to see Tim Toogood about something, and he told me you're a solicitor. What was it he said; Green and something I think, from by the Minster.‖ ―That's right. I'm Thomas Green, the junior in the firm,‖ Tom said as he handed her his business card. ―Solicitor! Hmm. Definitely a reputable person then.‖ ―Not according to some people.‖ The bitterness in his voice showed he knew exactly what; some people, thought. ―They say we're an overpaid bunch of money grabbing...ermm... well let's just leave it at that shall we.‖ ―Surely not! Not a nice person like you Mr Green. I'm sure that you do a very good job for your customers. I'm Cynthia, Cynthia Saunders that is,‖ the eyelashes went into overdrive. ―I can't see any problem with a cheque from you...Thomas. Are you … sure … I can't … help … you choose something else for your sister? We've some very nice designer label clothes that have just come in. I'd buy them myself; if the policy wasn't strictly against it.‖ Tom thought, 'not that that'd stop you if they were anywhere near your size', but, tactfully, said nothing as he rapidly wrote out the cheque while Cynthia wrapped the coat in some brown paper and put it in a local supermarket carrier bag. He was glad to get out of the shop as he thought she'd be very ready to try to seduce him, given the opportunity, or something worse and he didn‘t fancy being ravished.

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Navigating the house door whilst managing an overfilled carrier bag and a briefcase was a bit tricky and the door banged shut behind him. His sisters, Barbara and Megan, both stuck their heads out of the rooms they were in to see who was, as their father put it, wrecking the house. ―Hi Babs, Hi Meg. Are you ready for the family dinner party then?‖ Sour faces were pulled in answer. ―Obviously overjoyed at the prospect I can see. A nice night with the relatives at the behest of Grandpa, who sees it as a bonding exercise for the firm.‖ ―Where does he get his ideas from,‖ asked Babs. ―That sort of thing's for manufacturing and retail. We're solicitors for heaven sake! Bonding and team yeuch isn't for us.‖ ―Too true, Babs, but he is the head of the firm and if he says we do it, then we do it, full stop.‖ Tom replied. ―Besides it'll be a good to have a natter to Auntie Vi.

She's always good for a laugh.‖ ―Well I suppose so, Tom.‖ ―I hope so, Babs. Anyway, I've got a present for you‖, he heaved the carrier bag in her general direction. ―You always did want to go for the retro 1930's look, so there's a start,‖ he said as both the girls gathered around to open the bag and wrapping. ―This is fur,‖ stated Babs, ―and you know...‖ ―It's fake fur, not the real thing, so you can't get on your high horse about cruelty to animals.‖ ―Not that you idiot!‖ Megan burst out. ―We‘re both allergic to fur, cat fur particularly, and if this has been anywhere near a cat we'll both be in trouble.‖ ―Ohh. Well! In that case, you'd better not put it on then. I got it from the cat charity shop.‖ The coat went on the floor as if it were radioactive. ―Well! Thomas James!‖ The formal use of both his forenames was a family signal that meant Barbara, as distinct from Babs, was hopping mad at him. ―You can damned well take it back tomorrow then.‖ He knew better than to argue with his sisters. Wednesday 1045h Thomas stuck his head around the door of the secretarial pool. ―I'll be going out for a few minutes,‖ he told the secretaries he shared with the rest of the firm. ―Anything on your diary, Mr. T?‖ asked Phyla, the head of the secretarial team. ―Nothing until later, Phyla. I hope that the valuation of those coins in the Bluddschott estate will be phoned in sometime today. If the valuer does call, get the value and his number and I'll phone him back later. I'll have my mobile switched on if it's really, really urgent.‖ ―You mean if your grandfather wants you you're out of contact, I suppose, Mr. T?‖ He winked and smiled at her. ―Got it in one. Phyla. Anyway I don't expect to be more than half an hour.‖ So saying he withdrew his head.

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Well, Tom, you've wasted twenty quid. So what are you going to do with this darned fur coat? He said to himself as he walked along the High Street. You'd look a real fool if you took it back to that cat charity place and you can't get your money back. Caveat Emptor is the rule there. Anyway, there's no way you could face that awful woman again. Then he spotted a sign 'Man‘s best friend' it said. Right, he thought, that's it. I'll give it to them; going to the dogs is about right. He entered the shop and said to the man behind the counter, ―Just a little donation for you. You should get at least £40 for it.‖ ―Right you are, sir. Thanks a lot for this valuable donation; we'll take good care of it.‖ Opening the package he looked at the coat, ―If you don't mind me saying so sir, does your young lady know you're giving this away? I mean a sable coat in good condition is something that most ladies, young or not, would kill for.‖ ―An allergic reaction to fur, I'm afraid. Almost any fur it seems.‖ Tom replied. ―This is real fur you know, sir,‖ the man behind the counter said, ―not the fake stuff.‖ ―Are you sure?‖ Tom asked. ―It was bought as faux fur, you see.‖ The man turned and called. ―Rose, can you come out here a moment please. There's this coat I'd like your opinion on.‖

A slight, grey haired, woman in her 60s came, slowly, out from the back. Thank heavens, thought Tom; at least this one's not likely to think about throwing herself over the counter and ravishing me. That one at the cat place is a menace to men. ―What do you think this fur coat is made from, Rose? Real or fake?‖ Rose ran her hands through the fur, turned it over, and found a label. ―Well lads, one thing I can tell you is that it's as real as the hair on your heads. It's got that lovely real fur feeling and anyway these people,‖ she pointed to the label, ―don't make imitation fur coats. I'll just take it in the back and give it a quick inspection, but, with that label, and this lovely sable colour, about a £100 price tag I should think.‖

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 Lionel Bluddschott — nephew to the late Lucinda, Dowager Lady Bluddschott— recently inheritor of Bluddschott Manor — breeds gundogs Lady Annabelle Bluddschott wife of Colonel, too fond of G&T, heiress of Sausage Millionaire Barry Cumberbatch deceased 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 — mistress of Lionel Bluddschott 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 Mrs Smithers - Danni‘s long suffering mother MAXIE - young treasure hunter Thomas Green - solicitor Issue 232 Page 11

Wednesday 10.00 ‗Ooh, that‘s nice,‘ said Evadne as she took the coat out of the Tesco bag. ‗Feel that Cynth.‘ Cynthia turned from rearranging the knitted cats and felt. ‗Fake,‘ she said, ‗You can put it out,‘ and turned back to the cats. No air freshener she‘d tried on them yet had killed the repulsive smell of cigarettes. ‗Nice though,‘ said Evadne, still stroking the fur. ‗I‘d look a picture in that, wouldn‘t I Cynth?‘ ‗You know the rules,‘ said Cynthia. Perhaps if she soaked the damn things in bleach? She was trying not to think about the new window display in that wretched dog shop, which meant they‘d had a fresh delivery, which meant Mick had been, whereas she, Cynthia, hadn‘t seen hide nor hair of him for a fortnight. That high and mighty Geraldine Vickers who mucked about pretending to run ‗Man‘s Best Friend‘ had got her claws into him, she, Cynthia, knew she had. ‗Hey,‘ said Evadne. ‗There‘s something down here on the hemline. Is there a hole in the pocket?‘ ‗Why don‘t you feel?‘ Cynthia hated Wednesdays because she was on alone with Evadne, her stinking breath, her bristly chin. She‘d be far better off by herself. And then when Mick did call in… But no matter what hints she gave out the mad old woman persisted. Evadne felt. There was a hole, quite a large one. She pushed her hand through it and fished around until her fingers grasped something hard and sharp. She pulled it out. ‗Look,‘ she said. Cynthia glanced at the brooch. It was of tiny green and blue mosaic held together in the vague shape of a butterfly by some yellow metal. ‗Uh-hu,‘ she said. ‗Tina‘s coming in today to value the new jewellery isn‘t she?‘ said Evadne. ‗OK, stick it in the box,‘ said Cynthia. ‗But it‘s probably some student from the college on a craft course. Or something someone from St Paul‘s made for Mother‘s Day.‘ Evadne stuck it in the box and went outside for a fag break. Wednesday 2.30 Tina brushed her blonde hair behind her ear and squinted through her lens. ‗There‘s a lot of scratches on the back,‘ she said. ‗But no hall mark. So it‘s not gold. The stones – could be lapis and turquoise and carnelian, but probably plastic - look at the size of that orange one! Not that there‘s anything wrong with plastic of course. Can look quite good.‘ She pushed back her errant locks again and pocketed the lens. ‗You might get a pound or two for it,‘ she said.

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Randolph Andover wasn‘t what one would usually expect to find serving behind the counter as a volunteer in a charity shop, thought Geraldine on his first day a few weeks ago. But security tagged ankle bracelet or not, Randolph had been a godsend to Man‘s Best Friend. His computer skills were nothing short of genius. Bless his cotton socks he had reformed the wretched spreadsheets within a twinkling of an eye and the daily returns sheets were a pleasure of simplicity: even Rose, she of the keyboard skills of a snail on tranquilizers, couldn‘t mess them up. If one looked passed the neck tattoo and the enormous black and steel earlobe extenders then Randolph was one of life‘s gentlemen. Nothing was too much trouble for him: he had a kind and gentle manner with the older clientele and was adored by kiddies who were fascinated by the pictures of Chinese dragons and serpents covering his arms from wrist to shoulder. How the youngster had wandered from the path of righteousness on to the wrong side of the local magistrates bench was a mystery to Geraldine. His mother was such a lovely woman and pillar of the WI. But wandered he had, well his fingers had anyway, even if his size twelve trainers had never left his bedroom. Boys will be boys, she thought when he turned up accompanied by a parole officer, she had read through his application to join their happy band and decided to take him under her wing. As she watched him that morning making short shift of heaving a van load of collections bags into the sorting room, his biceps rippling, she grinned, ah yes, that was the other reason she had set him on. ‗Randolph, if you could make a start with the unpacking I‘ll be in shortly to start pricing up,‘ she said. ‗No probs,‘ came the mumbled reply. Randolph was very shy around members of the fair sex. Unless, of course, they were online. Online Randolph had various personae including Victor the Vulongarian, a warrior king of the Vulongars of the planet Vulongaria, who had a harem of gigantic proportions. It was because of developing this manga resembling harem that the said Victor i.e. Randolph had started online gambling, which had led to online debts and then online frauds to cover the online debts resulting from the online gambling which started out to cover his ever increasing purchases of flamboyant online girl characters with which to grace the harem of Victor the Vulongarian. It was only after the trial that he learned to his dismay that many of the gorgeous manga online lovelies he had purchased were being produced by Barry Norman-Stanley, the four-eyed geek who nobody used to speak to at Trentby High School. Stinky Barry, still as acned as a pavement pizza, was now driving round in a brand new beamer which stood out like a sore thumb in Pear Tree Avenue, where most of the other vehicles had different coloured doors or bonnets and which were supported on piles of house bricks. Had Randolph known the expensive exotic bimbos online were springing from the fertile imagination of five foot two Barry Norman-Stanley then things might have been very different. Barry had always been terrified of Randolph at school. Randolph had been giving this some thought of late and decided it was time to strike up an alliance with said manga doodler. A new beamer was a powerful incentive to an online loner who had recently acquired a criminal record. After all hadn‘t his parole officer told him he needed to get out more.

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(NB For those unaccustomed to all things manga – these are doll faced, big eyed cartoon figures featured in Japanese comic books)

Signs of Spring


Signs of spring are starting to show, Though on the hill tops forecast snow, Bright sunshine warms the sodden ground, Cold showers and hail still abound. Lawns and fields look brighter green, Daffodils open and trumpets beam, Grass it grows on lawn and verge, Not on the fields, for the stock to purge, Birds in hedgerow look to build nests, Leaf buds appear as if by request, First eggs are laid soon to be sat, Full cover of new leaves, hides them thereat. Badgers are trailing litter to nest, Digging and cleaning for breeding quest, Rarely seen but they root for worms, Under hedgerows and cow pats presence confirms. Soil it warms in the suns rays, Germinate seeds dormant upraised, Soon the countryside transformed and fresh, Everything growing and looking its best.

Life’s Time Clock You Cannot Beat You wonder where the time, and all the years have gone, They pass so quickly now, going one by one, Season’s sequence come in turn, no control have we, Wind and rain and sunshine, day and night decree. Snow and frost in winter, new start for New Year, Spring and summer showers, and then the sun appear, Autumn fruits and berries, for the birds to eat, Repeat with little change, life’s time clock cannot beat. Issue 232 Page 14

Countryman Owd Fred

UPDATE 2012 memories project WORKERS’ PLAYTIME pageID=75 ALL the recorded memories from the Workers Playtime project are now available on the main website The book manuscript is being proofed prior to going to the printer. The book has 64 pages of colour photographs and four pages with black and white images. The project is on schedule and the distribution round of workshops will begin in late Spring. Volunteers welcomed! Ten senior citizen groups took part and there will be two additional venue presentations as well.

Issue 232 Page 15 The Poetry Trust latest bulletin is available now online. Top issue ... The Big Questions ‘What’s happening with The Poetry Trust?’ and ‘Will there be another Aldeburgh Poetry Festival?

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And INK, SWEAT AND TEARS has a new website (poetry and prose webzine) And Various competitions/workshops/events ..... Always worth a look at The Poetry Trust bulletin

Wirral Festival of Firsts, Hoylake, July 2012 MUSIC – ART - DRAMA – POETRY ! This is a call to all poets for the Poetry Proms on 8 July 2012! Now in its 2nd year, Wirral’s Festival of Firsts (Hoylake) is once again scouring far and wide for poets to perform at this years poetry events. Sunday 8th July is the date, 14:00 to 16:30 the time, – but the venue, well that’s for you to choose! Perhaps local venue “Poets Corner” appeals, or “The Bards” (combining the best of Bards of New Brighton and Liver Bards), or Liverpool’s own Dead Good Poets are more your taste, or the Birkenhead Writers? Or maybe you’d just like to circulate and strut your stuff at whichever appeals on the day? The choice is yours. Either way you’ll be in good company, with scores of poets from all over the country (quite literally) as well as the (very) friendly locals. If poetry is your thing you won’t want to miss this. There are no fees or tickets but we do need to have an idea of numbers so we can organise the venues and make sure everyone gets a fair crack of the whip. So if you’re a seasoned practitioner of the verbal stuff, or simply want to try your hand, it couldn’t be easier to take part. Simply e-mail your details to including full name and postal address, telephone number, and we’ll sort out the rest. Please let us know by 1st June 2012 latest.

Gallery Hoylake - Have your poems exhibited to the public in shop windows throughout Hoylake 23 June – 8 July 2012 All poets who register for the Poetry Proms are invited to send in a poem to be displayed in Gallery Hoylake 23 June - 8July, 2012. What this means is that we will print off and laminate poems you send us and display them in shop windows up and down Hoylake’s Market Street – this is one of several ways we are trying to bring poetry into the heart of our community. We will need to have these poems from you by email by Friday 8 June 2012 to give our volunteers enough time to get them ready for the “Gallery”.

Enter the Festival of Firsts Open Poetry Competition – closing date 1 June 2012 festival_of_firsts_poetry_competition.html Don’t forget to enter the Festival of Firsts Open Poetry Competition 2012. Any surplus from the competition will be donated to Claire House, Wirral’s Hospice for Sick Children as last year. Winners will be notified on 1st July 2012) with prizes to be awarded at the Festival of Firsts Poetry Concert on Friday 6th July featuring John Hegley. There are 3 categories, each for poems up to 40 lines: (a) Open poetry competition. First prize £100, then 2 x £50 prizes; (b) Humorous poetry competition. Prizes as category (a); (c) Under 16s Poetry competition. First prize £50 in book vouchers. 4 x runners-up at £25.00 each. Adjudicators: Jan Dean, Andrew Rudd and Colin Watts. Entry Fee: £3 per poem, £5 for 2 poems (Free for under 16s category) Address for entries: FOF Poetry Competition, 71 Alderley Road, Hoylake, CH47 2AU

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NB: RBW does not endorse any third party competitions.

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