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Issue 322

7th February 2014

“Poetry Alight” at the Kings Head PH ,21 Bird St, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6PW, upstairs function room.

“Poetry Alight 9” at the Kings Head 21 Bird St, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6PW, upstairs function room. 7.30 to 10.30. New Venue for Poetry Alight 9. Promoter: well known local poet Gary Longden

Martin, game, irascible, pink, difficult, ostracism, sky, unravel, nerd, charity Assignment : Real People RANDOM WORDS : examples using last week‘s words (150 words maximum) A newspaper in Venice reported on a failed operation by twelve outsiders to reform a tart by placing a decrepit miniature yellow rose in her capacious cleavage. PP It was exactly striking twelve noon when the surveillance operation swung into gear. The mark was on time, wearing a, ‗Yellow Rose of Texas‘, band t-shirt and carrying a newspaper under his arm. He stuck out like a sore thumb leaning against the window on the pavement in front of the Venice Sasher-Torte coffee shop in Church Street. Born with a capacious appetite and a fondness for apple tart, tubby fellow, James Lloyd wasn‘t the first in line for good looks and his jacket was positively decrepit but it did conceal the miniature radio microphone very well. A young woman was approaching: she was attractive in a brassy sort of way. Lloyd was engaging her in conversation. Secreted in the cafe, DS Williams was impressed, he might have to reform his opinion of DC Lloyd‘s suitability for undercover work after all. SMS

New : Story from the Classifieds :

Addie Smith dead, freezer for sale.


For Sale: Baby shoes never worn

Spelling and typing seem to be more problematic as one gets older ... this is very weird for the person whose skills and faculties are becoming impaired ... Why are we so afraid of bright colours? Why do anal TV pundits want us to paint the world beige? Who do they think could ever be happy in a rigidly tidy, cream-coloured shoe box? So now TV cooking programmes are about using left overs ... They really don‘t get it, do they? You have to have food left over before you can use up left overs. Folks on benefits don‘t have left overs. They don‘t have enough money for befores let alone afters. Folks on welfare benefits either ‗heat or eat‘ ... Twas ever thus. I am fed up with rain. Friendship makes the world go round. The catkins are out! A shower every morning is very refreshing, but oh how I enjoy my long, hot Saturday baths! When does dust become fluffy? Hats off to carpet fitters ... never in my experience has a room been so quickly boarded, underlaid and carpeted ... three blokes 25 minutes ... not even a tea-break ... Impressive! All I‘ve got to do now is move Great Aunt Flo‘s wardrobe back in again ... sigh ... Having one‘s ear syringed can cause more problems than wax. 2

An hour or two of sunshine is a most welcome boost to one‘s spirits.

Oh! What a miserable Sunday. The rain just pours on and on. A grey sky drapes round my garden, I hope that spring won‘t be long. Winter is so depressing, So dark, so cold and so glum. Spring is my kind of season, With all of that daylight to come. This weekend I‘ve suffered strange feeling, Nothing I wanted to do, Stay in my p.j.‘s all morning, And most of the afternoon too. January‘s over next weekend, Watch days lengthen and hear the birds sing, And I will be positive and cheerful, Just as soon as I know it is spring.

Silent and still, settled in chair, Action must wait, just sit and stare At the clock on the wall or paper on floor, The dog fast asleep in the room next door. But all of this peace is making you sad, You wish you could party, dance and go mad. A taste of the good life you once knew so well, Instead of left here, one foot stuck in hell!


DRAG THAT FOOT BACK and find your high heels, If only two minutes remind how it feels, Slap on some lipstick, show that red pout, No staying in, we‘re all going out! A restaurant, the theatre, a night club in town, A night of good fun we won‘t be kept down! It might be a daydream but live it we will, I‘m writing to 'Prima' to dress us to kill! Control of our lives is hard to achieve, Positive thinking will help us believe. We must keep on fighting, never give in This Parkinson‘s struggle, one day we will win.

Planting Flowers To Cut For The House


Back in March last year I jumped the gun and decided to plant the biggest of my old Chrysanthemum stools in my allotment. They had been shooting very well, although many of the smaller, more exotic Chrysanthemums, hadn‘t come through the Winter. We had been trying to increase the number of varieties and colours by any means that we could and had bought some dwarfed ―Pot Mums,‖ the previous year that we had tried to over Winter. You don‘t see much choice in Chrysanthemums offered for sale in garden centres as young plants, so another way that we tried to gain more types was to buy the occasional bunch of cut flowers and cut some of the stalks off the bottom of the flowers. These were then put into root with some success giving us a few more young plants to grow on. Anyway, back to the subject of the big Chrysanthemums, I had already cut the big stools down once and of course the cuttings had been put in to root, but I needed to make space in the greenhouse for my seed sowing that had started in earnest. Consequently 17 of them went up to the allotment and were planted just before we had several nights of hard frost. Fortunately I had the foresight to cover them with two layers of fleece which protected them and the fleece was carefully held down by many stones, but what I hadn‘t expected was the deep snow drifts that covered my plot with up to two feet of snow at the beginning of April! Amazingly, after the snow had all gone and I plucked up the courage to inspect them, I found they were all fine and none the worse for the bad weather. Planting the large pots of Gladioli in the allotment also made some more room in my greenhouse. I didn‘t plant the bulbs directly in the soil, but plunged the pots into the ground, so that they should draw most of their water requirements from the surrounding soil. For Mothers‘ Day I bought mom a packet of mixed, Alstroemeria bulbs, or perhaps tubers is the right word as they look very like Dahlia tubers. They are also known as Peruvian Tree Lily, or Ligtu as they now seem to be called and will make nice cut flowers for the house. They were already shooting, so I took a chance and planted them in the allotment. The instructions said to avoid frost, so I covered the tender shoots with a layer of bark chippings to protect them. My Monarda also seem to be none the worse for being buried under the snow and are shooting very well, but my Sweet Peas are just sitting there. I thought the bad weather had finished by the time they were planted, but the strong winds and still very cold nights have stopped them from growing at all. On the subject of Sweet Peas, I have found out that there are such things as perennial sweet peas. Some garden centres sell them at extortionate prices, but they can be grown from seed. In fact there seems to

be quite a range of types offered with some being short and some tall, some being single colours and some mixed. Naturally I went for seed and it germinated fairly easily. For the this year, I have up decided to grow them on in pots before they are planted out as mature plants next year. This will mean that I should never have the trouble of buying, dividing, growing on and planting out, young, annual, Sweet Peas, ever again. They will be yet another perennial for my permanently planted allotment plot. Another popular type of flowering plant that I haven‘t grown before is the Dahlia. Of course there are many types, but I bought a mixture to try them. As per the instructions, I started them off in the greenhouse, out of the frost, until I was reasonably sure that they could go out and then I planted them between the young fruit trees on my new plot. The trees will take a year or two before the roots start to really spread and drain the surrounding soil of goodness, so to make use of the space I am planting between them with things that will be removed at the end of the season, which will also help to keep the weeds down. Perhaps, I will add a few more plants to my plot that will produce cut flowers, as time goes by.

Diaries from a Haunted House A ghost story set in the Ancient High House Read by author Sarah Rayne Baswich Library Thursday 6th March 7.30pm FREE ENTRY Contact Baswich Library To book a free place 01785 663355

Year 1589 : The Cast : The Queen‘s Men : a group of strolling players thrown out of London where the theatres have been closed due to an outbreak of plague. Elizabeth I was on the throne. Kit Marlowe (wordsmith/detective), Harry Swann (the murderer of thefirst victim who first found the chalice) Samuel Burball (Owner), Peter Pecksniff, Daniel Alleynes, young Hal who plays a girl‘s role very badly. Vesta Swann, Rosie Rippsheet. The Boar‘s Head Tavern, Trentby: Bertha landlady, Molly Golightly, Martha Goodnight wenches. Ned the bear keeper. The Trentby Abbey of St Jude : Abbot Ranulf knows something about the missing Roman hoard of silver plate/chalice etc The Manor of Bluddschott : sodden Squire Darnley Bluddschott, wife Mistress Anne, daughter Penelope about to be sold off into matrimony, Mistress Hood seamstress, sister to Penny, Mistress Tatanya The Sheriff‘s Castle : Magistrate Squire Humphrey Pettigrew, Black Knight, the Sheriff Burrowmere Lord Haywood, man-at-arms Richard of Hyde Leigh, a constable Daniel Smithers and a scribe Modern Day: Rick Fallon and Tommy Tip-Tip McGee** Private eyes in Trentby on case for Sir Kipling Aloysius Bluddschott (Sister Christobel) to locate silver chalice and Roman hoard of Trentby Abbey + corpse Jago Swann DI Pete Ferret and Lavender Pomeroy and Rose Rippsheet

PLEASE NOTE: It is imperative that those writing for the storyline read what other writers have already written before they add a new piece. AND the year has been changed and Moll Rippsheet has become Rosie.


Constable Daniel Smithers was musing to himself. He was feeling glum. There he‘d been, sitting in a quiet corner of The Dog and Duck, minding his own business and enjoying a well-earned pint of ale, when up turns the Sheriff, Lord Heywood, large as life and at least twice, if not indeed thrice as ugly. ‗How are your investigations going?‘ asks he. Daniel described to him his visit to Ned the bear baiter, his primary suspect. The Sherriff clearly wasn‘t impressed and had suggested he hadn‘t got time to sit supping, whilst a dangerous felon was still at large in the community and that he should get a move on and find the culprit. ‗Have you considered the bear?‘ he‘d asked. ‗Oh yes. I consider him one mean beast!‘ Daniel had replied. ‗As a possible suspect, Smithers!‘ Sheriff Pettigrew had snapped, irritated with his subordinate‘s dull-wittedness. Daniel had looked surprised. ‗Er, no. Not exactly‘. ‗Why not?‘ The Sheriff jabbed him with his index finger. ‗Why not indeed‘, Smithers had acceded. ‗Think about it, man. The victim was mauled, man-handled…. But maybe not by a man at all. Maybe bear-handled is closer to the mark. Found in two pieces. Virtually unrecognisable. You have been seeking a human culprit, when right under your nose is an obvious animal one‘. ‗I see...‘ Daniel had said quietly, whilst his brain struggled to process this new possibility. ‗Do you think it was the bear, acting alone, or in cahoots with Ned, sir?‘ he‘d offered. ‗That‘s for you to discover, Smithers. I suggest you get over there straight away and interview it!‘ was the Sheriff‘s response. Daniel had shivered, and broke into a cold sweat at the idea. That creature was an ugly brute, and if he had been responsible for Swann‘s death, what was to say he‘d stop at one killing? Maybe he‘d got a taste for human blood. Daniel Smithers wasn‘t the bravest man in Trentby. Oh no. ‗Huh? Pardon me, but how do I go about interviewing a bear?‘ ‗See what the bear baiter has to say. Can he account for the creature‘s whereabouts all that day? Check its feet for forensic clues….skin and hair deposits., for example. Heavens man! I shouldn‘t have to tell you how to do your job. Get on with it!‘ And with that, he‘d left, leaving his Constable to muse….and worry. So it was that Daniel Smithers was skulking in a dark corner of the tavern, wondering how he could do all that and remain alive, and pouring liberal quantities of ale down his throat in a vain attempt to gain some Dutch courage, before the unenviable ordeal ahead. He took out a small scroll and pen and ink, borrowed from the publican, and hastily jotted down his entire worldly wealth and goods and chattels, which were by no means extensive, and to whom they should go, in the event of his demise, and shuddered again. He resolved that if he did perchance get out of this with his life, he must put in for a modest pay rise. But then he resolved to go talk to Molly Golightly, as a first and much more pleasurable step

Early Thursday morning Rick and telephones had a kind of love/hate relationship. They loved to disturb him and he hated them, particularly he hated them when they woke him from a sound sleep. He pulled a pillow over his head and grunted words to the effect of 'go away' but didn't use those words, exactly, until it stopped. The next one of his senses to come back to life was his sense of smell, and that was saying things like: 'This ain't your bedroom buddy boy, 'cos you don't wear that perfume, and that's bacon cooking'. When the message, finally, got through to his other senses they decided that, as any good PI should, the rest of him had better investigate. Springing out of bed was, it painfully turned out, not a viable option because there was a wall in the way. This was yet another clue to his finely tuned mind that, quite possibly, this wasn't his flat. By this time his eyelids had started opening and eyeballs had begun tracking. The pillow over his head; the yellow and brown striped pillow, wasn't his familiar, rather more than slightly off white, decidedly in need of washing, £1.75 from the market and throw it away when dirty job. Eventually he found the other edge of the bed and sat up to get his bearings. Definitely NOT his flat and, from the female underwear piled neatly about the room, maybe he hadn't slept alone. His clothes, the ones he'd worn last night, were draped over a chair back. A female voice, one he had heard before, drifted through the door. ‗There‘s towels in the bathroom and breakfast will be ready when you've showered and dressed, Rick. You've got about ten minutes. Get a move on!‘ The note of command in that voice got Rick moving. Sitting over a plate of bacon, sausage, egg and fried bread, Rick tried to get his thoughts in order. Rose, sitting opposite, with her spoon in a bowl of cereals, took the weight off his mind. ‗You're looking better this morning, Rick. When we piled you into my spare room last night I thought I'd have a corpse on my hands this morning.‘ Rick looked at her, amazed at the cold blooded way she'd said it. Almost as if she'd been there before. Rose, dressed in a track suit that looked well worn but well cared for, carried on talking. ‗Have you ever passed out before, Rick? Any signs of hypertension? Ahh, sorry, silly question that. Diabetes in the family? Anything like that?‘ Rick shook his head in a no to all those. ‗That means a trip to the Doctors for you then. We can't have our main man keeling over from whatever it was. Bad for business.‘ Finally getting his mouth clear of smoked bacon and egg Rick said. ‗You're taking this very calmly, Rose. A strange man, me, passes out and then wakes up to find himself in your spare room, you feed him bacon and eggs and ask him medical questions. That's odd to say the least.‘ ‗Not really. Just me being careful of an asset. You. All you know about me is that I'm Rosemary, called Rose, Rippsheet and I'm a partner in the firm, doubling a researcher and receptionist.‘ ‗So what should I know about Rose then? Any vices, vampire tendencies, things like that?‘ ‗No, Rick, just the usual. Rose, female, 36, parents deceased, left school, went to Uni,

joined the RAF on a short service commission, married, divorced, no kids, came up on the lottery, lady of leisure, bored to tears, Lavender roped me in. End of story.‘ Rick doubted the last bit. Rose carried on blithely. ‗Anyway, never mind me, we've got just four days to solve the case, counting the week-end that is, and so far we're no nearer to a conclusion. The old murder, if it was a murder, can go and whistle. There's no way we can solve that one at this speed. We need to find that treasure and pretty quickly. Bluddschott will be champing at the bit; I know that family, and I'll bet that we get a visit from that nice Mr M'Bekod before long. He's got a fantastic voice you know? It sends shivers down my spine every time I hear him sing.‘ ‗I always welcome ideas, particularly from partners in the firm,‘ Rick announced. Rose grinned as she put the dirty crockery into the dishwasher, ‗I'll bet! Just not the ideas that I have though. Ideas like you getting yourself back to your flat and ready for work while I go for my morning run. Like getting to the office and seeing what the mail may have brought in, odd things like that!‘ She was right, Rick didn't.

Rose hated with a venom the nursing home she’d been sent to following her hip replacement operation. She’d always felt an outsider amongst the other residents, whom she thought decrepit, and who sat around all day with nothing to live for. The men had sickly, yellow complexions and the women, capacious, saggy backsides. Even the stodgy lemon tart on the lunch menu made her heave. The place needed serious reform! Rose sat in the lounge, hiding behind her newspaper, and taking a surreptitious sip from a miniature brandy bottle she’d managed to smuggle in, and which helped make life tolerable. On page four was an advertisement for a twelve day break in Venice. It was somewhere she’d always promised herself to visit before she died. Rose was planning an escape! (PMW)

Assignment – Anonymity Living in the shadows, Beneath the radar, With no name,Slinking in the slime, Searching for prey Below the underbelly Of society, Lurks the unknown enemy. Malicious, cowardly, vile, You suck the lifeblood From the weakest, most vulnerable And helpless. Seek out the powerless Take pleasure from The sense of power, Sad inadequate. Dominate, intimidate, Assert yourself.

You are inadequate, warped, corrupt, malign. With a black hole for a soul. Hidden from view In the deepest, darkest depths, Inviolable, untouchable. The devil rubs his hands For such a diligent disciple. And the naivety of others, Unminded to act To stop you. They call you ‗troll‘, Yet you have no appeal Unlike the mildly scary Characters of my childhood Fairy tales. You are all dark.

Random words After weeks and weeks of rain, my garden has turned into a quagmire. Last year. We actually had a summer, and by August, it was a desert; dry and dusty. But spring is a joyful time for gardeners. On a bright, sunny day, I can‘t wait to get busy and get my teeth into some jobs which have been on my mind for ages. My plant pots, for instance. They badly need weeding. I grow my beans in huge pots, and at the moment, the beanstalks are withered and black, and need cutting back. This year, I plan to try a new variety, called Santa Fe, which I am assured is a heavy cropper. But it‘s easy to do too much, and get fatigued. Still, I‘ll soon have it all sewn up and shipshape, given some sun.

Assignment – After Christmas Now Christmastide is over And everything feels flat, We‘ve pulled the final cracker And worn the final party hat. The house is looking very bare Decorations in the loft. The Christmas cake has nearly gone, The icing‘s gone all soft. The turkey‘s all been eaten. The dog has had enough. The kids have done so well this year, Where will we put the stuff? The tree‘s gone in the shredder, Tinsel bits are hovered up. The mulled wine bottle‘s empty, There‘s no more left to sup. All presents have been opened, Thank you letters have been sent. Credit cards have come into their own, Lots of money has been spent. Gran and Auntie Flo have left, So now the loo is free. Young Johnny‘s got his bedroom back. No more nights on the settee. Yes, as I say, it‘s all gone flat, And we‘re all feeling glum. But I must start a diet Because what isn‘t flat‘s my tum!

Banish Those Winter Blues With Poetry! The 8th International Welsh Poetry Competition, 2014, now launched .

Our annual competition has gone from strength to strength each year and is a significant part of the literary calendar. Writer and competition organizer Dave Lewis said: “The continued success of the competition shows there is a great hunger for honest appreciation of the spoken word. Many feel the competition is unique because it is truly independent, we do not use filter judges and all our entries are judged anonymously. So, whether you are an established writer or a complete beginner, everyone has the same chance of winning. This, we believe, is vitally important because it allows exciting new talent to emerge.” This year the competition will be judged by Welsh writer, poet and environmentalist, John Evans. “We are delighted that John has agreed to judge this year’s competition. He has become an internationally respected figure both for his writing and his tireless work campaigning to conserve our wildlife and natural environment. The competition has had seven great years already and recently published an anthology containing all the winning poems from the first five years of the competition. Copies can be obtained from the competition website. As always, we hope to discover previously unpublished voices alongside the more familiar literary names. We are not interested in dry, pseudoacademic, writing but believe good poetry should be raw, passionate, and honest – this is what we want to see bursting onto the creative writing scene in Wales! Are you brave enough?” Prizes are: 1st Prize - £400, 2nd Prize - £200 and 3rd Prize - £100, plus 17 runners-up will be published on our web site and in a future anthology! To enter you just need to compose a poem, in English, of less than 50 lines and send to the competition organizers. Entry forms are available by post, can be downloaded from the web site or picked up from all libraries. It is just £4.00 to enter and the closing date is Sunday 15th June 2014. Competition Website - Competition Judge –

February, and the wuthering lows of the winds howl throughout the northern hemisphere, but online we've got lots of warm words and love to keep us warm. So join us tonight for another unique selection of spoken word, stories, poetry, music, ambience, soundscapes and any and every combination of these live on Radio Wildfire. There'll be new tracks from Wez Jefferies in Huddersfield, Charles Lauder Jr in the East Midlands, Surreal Realm from Indianapolis, Kinsâme in Tokyo and Montpellier, Dave Mignam in Lockerbie, and from the ever-prolific Mark Goodwin - all newly uploaded to the Submit page of the Radio Wildfire website. We'll be taking a sideways look at love this month with contributions from Angela France, Win Saha, Michael W.Thomas, Sally Crabtree, Chris Rowley Lorna Meehan and Stephen Mead.And this month‘s play from Bunbury Banter Theatre Company follows the theme with Passed Glories by Cath Boare, where an ex-movie star seeks love and attention - in a round-about sort of way. The show is presented as always by poet and performer Dave Reeves. Join us: Monday 3rd February from 8.00 pm UK time at Radio Wildfire: re.Lit Live! produced by Vaughn Reeves with support Ali McK.

… Why not send your own tracks to Radio Wildfire by going to the ‗Submit‘ page of our website and uploading MP3s of your work. Spoken word and music, comedy, storytelling, poetry, song and aural art, they are all part of the eclectic mix we are looking for to create Radio Wildfire Live! Follow Radio Wildfire on Twitter @radiowildfire WHAT IS RADIO WILDFIRE? Radio Wildfire is an independent online radio station which blends spoken word, poetry, performance literature, comedy, storytelling,short stories and more with a novel selection of word/music fusion and an eclectic mix of musical styles. broadcasts live 8.00-10.00pm (UK time) on the first Monday of every month. Listen to Radio Wildfire at where The Loop plays 24 hours a day.

Part 2.

The Magic Mirror Clive Hewitt

Things get worse It was a while before the Queen stormed into the front office of the King. ―Reggie all the mirrors in my dressing room have been broken and I want them replaced!‖ The King turned away from his desk, took off his spectacles, and looked at her. It wasn't the look that a husband gave his beloved wife. It was more a sort of, ‗What the deuce are you on about now woman!' kind of look. Then said in a weary voice. ―All broken are they? Done by some kind of magical bad tempered fairy no doubt? The kind that slips in through a window, smashes things, and leaves without a trace I suppose?‖ The Queen was taken aback; this wasn't how it was supposed to happen! She was supposed to demand things and others gave them to her. Having this kind of thing said - and by her husband as well - wasn't in her script, not any way at all. ―You have an allowance,‖ the King said to her, ―use that to buy some new mirrors, also use it to get the gutters fixed on your apartment, they're a disgrace.‖ ―But … but, Reggie dear, I don't have that big an allowance and I've spent it all for this month.‖ ―Humph,‖ the King snorted as he consulted an incredibly thick file marked 'The Queen'. ―I see that you have managed; with remarkably little assistance, to comfortably support the businesses of three drapers, four milliners, two shoe makers, five bakers, and a fine wine emporium without any trouble. You also have four hundred pairs of shoes, two hundred and fifty three dresses, sixteen dozen hats and almost thirteen kilograms of assorted jewellery and regalia, which has never been worn. Now you storm in here demanding instant replacements for a lot of expensive, antique, imported, mirrors you've smashed in a temper tantrum. NO WAY!‖ The shout took her by surprise; she'd never seen Reggie in a temper before. The King continued, in a hard, cold, voice. ―I have instructed all those businesses I mentioned to cease supplying you with goods of any kind. You may eat in the Royal Dining Room with the rest of us or starve, that's up to you. The Royal Lawyer has been instructed to commence divorce proceedings. I'm not throwing you out without a penny as your staff will sell all that jewellery and pay off your debts. You will have what's left. I think, Madam, that you had better find yourself a job somewhere.‖ ―You can't divorce me, Reginald! Kings do not divorce Queens, it's part of being a Royal Family, divorce is not done.‖ ―Until now!‖ The King replied. ―You have been flouting precedent ever since we were married, and now it's my turn.‖ He rang a small bell on the desk. When his secretary answered he said, ―Show the lady to the guest quarters please, Babbage. The above ground guest quarters.‖ There was little doubt that the underground 'guest' quarters remained an uncomfortable option. ―She is not to speak to any of the staff about anything.‖ *** Meanwhile; back at the Old Library, Rose Red and Snow White where contemplating a sign to be stuck to the door. ―I still think that TAXATION PLANNING OFFICE is better Rose. I mean what does this Minister of Information do?‖ ―Nothing Ellen, that's the point of it. There's nothing like an unknown Minister to make people keep away from the office. That's why we should put 'Authorised Persons Only' on it as well.‖ ―Well I suppose so. But who is this Minister? Do we know him?‖ ―Of course we do Ellen, you goose. It's us! We are The Minister of Information, and the staff, and the guards, and the accountants, and everything.‖ Ellen was, suddenly, not dubious about things. ―Daddy will be furious when he finds out, Rose. You know what he says about us working. 'You are Princesses,' he says, 'Princesses don't work'. Silly Daddy. We're going to have some fun and do something serious as well. Just you wait and see.‖ They wielded paintbrushes and soon there was a large and very important looking, sign on the outer door saying: MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AUTHORISED PERSONS ONLY — KNOCK AND WAIT 14

There was also a slightly smaller sign on the door to the back room saying:MINISTER OF INFORMATION Security Planning Office ―Right, once we've made sure that we've got the only keys to both doors, we can start. Lets ask the, what did it say it was, Rose, an avatar, whatever that is, what the next trick is. Anyway we can't call it Mirror so we'll have to ask what its name is.‖ Entering the back room, they approached the Mirror; now set onto a firm desk. The front lit up showing a pleasant but meaningless pattern. ―Good afternoon Your Highnesses. How may I be of service?‖ Ellen, usually the shy one, asked the question. ―What do we call you? We can't carry on calling you Mirror, and Avatar seems to be wrong as well.‖ There was a flash of light from the Mirror before it said, ―You can call me anything you like as long as it‘s in time for breakfast.‖ There was a puzzled silence before it spoke again, ―Sorry, bad joke there. Peter's a good name. What do you think?‖ ―Peter it is then. Okay! Right now, we need to keep this little office secret so we need all the keys. Have you any idea where they are?‖ asked Rose. ―Top left hand drawer of this desk and the reserve bunch in the housekeeper‘s cupboard.‖ Came the immediate answer. ―There's another one but that's down beneath the floorboards in your bedroom Ellen. Anything else?‖ ―Money! As the Minister of Information we want to know who is cheating our father and how they can be unmaskéd.‖ ―Goodness me, Ellen, unmaskéd, now that does sound dastardly. At this rate you'll be brandishing a forsooth about before long, and it really hurts does being hit with the sticky raw end of a forsooth.‖ The two girls giggled. Silly jokes seemed to be the thing. Rose, the bossy one who really wasn't all that good at sums, put it in a nutshell. ―Daddy is worried because his income, the taxes you know, have gone down when it should have gone up. We,‖ waving her hands to indicated both of them, ―think that somebody is cheating, and not paying what they should. Can you help us?‖ Peter, or the Mirror, they still couldn't get it straight, brightened. ―Pens and paper ladies! Lots of paper and a bucket full of ink. Official looking paper with crests and everything, and black ink and very red ink. Lists and amounts by the hundred.‖ The Princesses looked crest fallen, they hadn't thought that THEY would be the ones' doing the writing, but there wasn't anyone else. Peter took pity on them. ―This is the first step,‖ it told them. ―Then you get to go visiting lots of rich people and bully them into paying up or else.‖ ―Or else what, Peter?‖ asked Rose. ―Or else they find themselves in your father‘s dungeons of course! What else?‖ Ellen was unsure of her role in all this. ―How do we do that?‖ ―Simple really. For elegant young ladies such as yourself, used to playing various diplomatic games it should be easy. Let us call him Mr Bun the Baker, you roll up at his door in your royal coach, with outriders and everything, and one of them bangs on the door. When it's answered you sweep in looking all regal, and there they are all flustered and running around giving you tea and things. Then, during the course of conversation, you casually mention, just in passing, that there seems to have been a silly oversight on the part of Mr. Bun. It seems that he hasn't paid his correct taxes this year, and, although the Exchequer hasn't got around to spotting yet your sure they will. Which, when you think about it, would be a great pity because that would mean a large fine. Just a word to the wise of course, absolutely no hurry to do it, but, if you could take it away with you, well, you could settle the whole thing quietly. And, oh look, it just happens that you have an exact note of how much there should be, together with an official receipt for his books. No fuss, no bother. Like I said, easy.‖ Ellen looked at Rose who grinned back and they both broke into giggles. ―Yes, I like it. As you said, easy.‖ Rose exclaimed. ―I like sneaky, and this is devious as well. Lots of paper and red and black ink you said, Peter! Come on, Ellen, let‘s get writing!‖

More follows ...

Sir Henry Rider Haggard,

KBE (22 June 1856 – 14 May 1925) was an English writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, and a founder of the Lost World literary genre. He was also involved in agricultural reform throughout the British Empire.

Early years: Henry Rider Haggard, generally known as H. Rider Haggard or Rider Haggard, came from a line of Danish descent and was born at Bradenham, Norfolk, the eighth of ten children, to Sir William Meybohm Rider Haggard, a barrister, and Ella Doveton, an author and poet. He was initially sent to Garsington Rectory in Oxfordshire to study under Reverend H. J. Graham, but unlike his older brothers he attended Ipswich Grammar School. This was because his father could no longer afford to maintain his private education. After failing his army entrance exam, he was sent to a crammer in London to prepare for the entrance exam for the British Foreign Office, which he never sat. During his two years in London he came into contact with people interested in the study of psychical phenomena. South Africa, 1875–1882: In 1875, Haggard's father sent him to South Africa to take up an unpaid position as assistant to the secretary to Sir Henry Bulwer, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Natal. In 1876 he transferred to the staff of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, Special Commissioner for the Transvaal. It was in this role that Haggard was present in Pretoria in April 1877 for the official announcement of the British annexation of the Boer Republic of the Transvaal. Indeed, Haggard raised the Union flag and read out much of the proclamation following the loss of voice of the official originally entrusted with the duty. At about that time, Haggard fell in love with Mary Elizabeth "Lilly" Jackson, whom he intended to marry once he obtained paid employment in Africa. In 1878 he became Registrar of the High Court in the Transvaal, and wrote to his father informing him that he intended to return to England and marry her. His father forbade it until Haggard had made a career for himself, and by 1879 Lily had married Frank Archer, a banker. When Haggard eventually returned to England, he married a friend of his sister, Marianna Louisa Margitson (1859 - 1943) in 1880, and the couple returned to Africa. They had a son named Jack (who died of measles at age 10) and three daughters, Angela, Dorothy and Lilias. Lilias became an author, edited The Rabbit Skin Cap and I Walked By Night, and wrote a biography of her father: The Cloak That I Left (published in 1951). Haggard in England, 1882–1925: Moving back to England in 1882, the couple settled in Ditchingham, Norfolk, Louisa's ancestral home. Later they lived in Kessingland. Haggard turned to the law and was called to the bar in 1884. His practice of law was desultory and much of his time was taken up by the writing of novels being more profitable. Haggard lived at 69 Gunterstone Road in Hammersmith, London, from mid-1885 to circa April 1888. It was at this address that he completed King Solomon's Mines (published September 1885). Heavily influenced by the adventurers he met in Colonial Africa (most notably Frederick Selous and Frederick Russell Burnham), the great mineral wealth discovered in Africa, and the ruins of ancient lost civilisations of the continent, such as Great Zimbabwe, Haggard created his Allan Quatermain adventures. Three of his books, The Wizard (1896), Elissa; the Doom of Zimbabwe (1899), and Black Heart and White Heart; a Zulu Idyll (1900), are dedicated to Burnham's daughter, Nada, the first white child born in Bulawayo; she had been named after Haggard's 1892 book Nada the Lily. Haggard belonged to the Athenaeum, Savile, and Authors' clubs.


Haggard was heavily involved in reforming agriculture and was a member of many commissions on land use and related affairs, work that involved several trips to the colonies .It eventually led to the passage of the 1909 Development Bill. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament as a Conservative candidate for the East of Norfolk in the 1895 summer election, losing by only 198 votes.

He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1912 and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1919. The locality of Rider, British Columbia, was named after him. After returning to England in 1882, Haggard published a book on the political situation in South Africa and handful of unsuccessful novels before writing the book for which he is most famous, King Solomon's Mines. He accepted a 10% royalty rather than ÂŁ100 for the copyright. A sequel, Allan Quatermain, soon followed, and She and its sequel Ayesha, swashbuckling adventure novels set in the context of the Scramble for Africa (the action of Ayesha however happens in Tibet). The hugely popular King Solomon's Mines is sometimes considered the first of the Lost World genre. She could be considered one of the classics of imaginative literature and with 83 million copies sold by 1965, it is one of the bestselling books of all time. He is also remembered for Nada the Lily and the epic Viking romance, Eric Brighteyes. Haggard also wrote about agricultural and social reform, in part inspired by his experiences in Africa, but also based on what he saw in Europe. At the end of his life he was a staunch opponent of Bolshevism, a position he shared with his lifelong friend Rudyard Kipling. Haggard was praised in 1965 by Roger Lancelyn Green, one of the Oxford Inklings, as a writer of a consistently high level of "literary skill and sheer imaginative power" and a co-originator with Robert Louis Stevenson of the Age of the Story Tellers. The first chapter of his book People of the Mist is credited with inspiring the motto of the Royal Air Force (formerly the Royal Flying Corps), Per ardua ad astra. Influence on children's literature in the 19th century: Morton N. Cohen described King Solomon's Mines as "a story that has universal interest, for grown-ups as well as youngsters". Haggard himself wanted to write the book for boys, but it would ultimately have an influence on children and adults around the world. Cohen explained that, "King Solomon‘s Mines was being read in the public schools and aloud in class-rooms". He died on 14 May 1925 aged 68 years. His ashes were buried at Ditchingham: his papers are held at the Norfolk Registry Office.

Chronology of works King Solomon's Mines (1885) Allan Quatermain (1887) She (1887) Cleopatra (1889) The World's Desire (1890); co-written with Andrew Lang Eric Brighteyes (1891) Nada the Lily (1892) Montezuma's Daughter (1893) The People of the Mist (1894) "The Wizard" (1896) Stella Fregelius: A Tale of Three Destinies (1903) The Brethren (1904) Ayesha: The Return of She (1905) Moon of Israel (1918) When the World Shook (1919) She and Allan (1921) Allan Quatermain series King Solomon's Mines; online version at Project GutenbergAllan Quatermain; online version at Project Gutenberg Allan's Wife & Other Tales; online version at Project Gutenberg Maiwa's Revenge: or, The War of the Little Hand; online version at Project Gutenberg Marie; online version at Project Gutenberg Child of Storm; online version at Project Gutenberg Allan and The Holy Flower; online version at Project Gutenberg Finished; online version at Project Gutenberg The Ivory Child; online version at Project Gutenberg The Ancient Allan; online version at Project Gutenberg

She and Allan; online version at Project Gutenberg Heu-heu: or The Monster; online version at Project Gutenberg Australia The Treasure of the Lake; online version at Project Gutenberg Australia Allan and the Ice-gods; online version at Project Gutenberg Australia Magepa the Buck (included in the collection Smith & the Pharaohs); online version at Project Gutenberg A Tale of Three Lions; online version at Project Gutenberg Hunter Quatermain's Story; online version at Project Gutenberg Long Odds; online version at Project Gutenberg Ayesha series She; online version at Project Gutenberg Ayesha: The Return of She; online version at Project Gutenberg She and Allan; online version at Project Gutenberg Wisdom's Daughter: The Life and Love Story of She-Who-Must-BeObeyed;

Source Material: Wikipedia & other websites

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Issue 322 RBW Online  

Live Poetry Event in Lichfield, adventure novelist remembered, poems and competitions