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Issue 327

14th MARCH 2014

Shakespeare Week is a NEW annual celebration to bring Shakespeare vividly to life for millions of school children. Starting 17th to 24th March 2014, Shakespeare Week will be celebrated in schools, theatres, historic sites, museums, galleries, cinemas, and libraries all over the UK. Beginning in March 2014, children will be given the chance to be inspired by Shakespeareâ€&#x;s stories, language and heritage.

As You Like It Sun 29th June 2014 - Sat 12th July 2014 Shakespeare Festival whats-on/shakespeare#sthash.ltvR8Yeo.dpuf

Random words : polar, Valentine, smoke, nuggets, monument, staircase, rumour, animal Assignment : „Open to suggestions‟ Word of the week: phillumenist n A person who collects match-related items, like matchbox labels, matchboxes, matchbooks, or matchbook covers.

The deadline for the CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition is this week end This competition is for unpublished stories of no more than 3,500 words. This competition is open to anyone over the age of 18, no matter where they live but the story must be in English. First prize is £1,000 (kindly sponsored by the Margery Allingham Society) plus Bloomsbury Reader, who publish amongst others The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham, will publish the winning story in ebook format for sale worldwide through all ebook retailers within 6 months of the announcement (subject to standard Bloomsbury Reader terms). Full terms and conditions are available on our website as well as the entry form. The deadline is Sunday 16th March. The submission fee is £10. Happy writing! Crime Writers' Association

Jealousy is one of the least pleasant of human emotions. Amongst writers and artists it is often not well concealed. Talent in others breaking through the glass ceilings is very hard to bear for some still struggling. What gives writers an edge? Good grammar! A wonderful storyline and great plotting are often thwarted by a failure to grasp basic grammar. Proofing costs lots of time and money! It may be thought by some self-publishing writers that grammar doesn‟t matter ... but, is that self-delusion and denial of an obvious truth? Daffs are out ... Blossom is blooming ... Spring, it must be ... Isn‟t it?

"Being a sex symbol is a heavy load to carry, especially when one is tired, hurt and bewildered." Marilyn Monroe "I don't want to make money, I just want to be wonderful." Marilyn Monroe “Dreaming about being an actress is more exciting than being one.” Marilyn Monroe “Fear is stupid so are regrets.” Marilyn Monroe


“A girl doesn‟t need anyone who doesn‟t need her.” Marilyn Monroe

Should I give up Chocolate for Lent? I am looking at a cupboard, a cupboard over there, Shut and firmly closed, but I am well aware Three steps will take me to it and if I open up the door, A bar of milky chocolate will fall out and hit the floor! Shall I stay here looking, pretending not to care About the milky chocolate, on a shelf in there? That I don‟t want to taste it, the silkiness of cream, Or feel it in my mouth, (a regular routine!) I have no wish to smell it as the wrapper is ripped off, That I can walk away with a nonchalant little cough. Not a chance in heaven, I‟m up and out of chair, Two steps are all it takes to get me over there! Two big steps will be enough, not three as I first thought, Sure enough it starts to fall, but very deftly caught. Torn apart and eaten, not a moment more to wait, Pure greed and self-indulgence (can anyone relate?) I am looking at a cupboard, a cupboard over there Once held a bar of chocolate but sadly, now completely bare! Lin Priest


Sitting painting a bowl of crocus, two top coats and gild to taste he‟d thought, and managing to ignore many of the bystanders, Ricardo was struck by the beauty of some music he heard floating from a nearby building. “That‟s brilliant,” he thought as the notes of the harpsichord managed to weave their way through counter points of the woodwinds. “I‟d never have thought that you could do that. I‟ll have to go across and see who it is.” Never one to look about him he didn‟t see the danger until it was far too late. He was run down by a speeding waiter on a skateboard and had coffee thrown over him. (CMH)

On Bullying "The best way to deal with a bully is to punch him on the nose." That's one method anyway. In literature the classic example is in 'Tom Brown's School Days' when Tom, new to the school, is repeatedly picked on by Flashman an older bigger boy. Tom takes up boxing, 'the noble art of self defence,' training systematically in the school gym until the day comes when cornered by Flashman once again he is able to give him his come-uppance, in a fair fight, once and for all. This 'punch him on the chin' principle also applies in international affairs. When Hitler invaded Poland with merciless bombing of undefended Polish towns and cities he did so believing that he could get away with it. He was right. And soon the Nazi German empire straddled the whole of Europe. And just as Tom Brown had to learn the 'Noble Art of Self Defence' so the British and their beleaguered allies had to equip themselves and learn the arts of war so that in due time, at a terrible cost in blood, in sweat, and in tears, we could "punch the bully on the nose", close down those concentration camps, and set the peoples of Europe free. So what qualities are needed in those who want to be able to "punch the bully on the nose"? They are, I suggest, Courage, Capability, and Love - yes, love - for 'greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.' The conflict of war requires not just the willingness to kill but also the willingness to be killed rather than to suffer the enemy to prevail. The willingness to face danger and pain rather than let the bully rule the roost. But there is a spiritual conflict that precedes and underlies the physical one a conflict that begins when the underdog determines to defy the bullies of the 'might-is-right' brigade whatever the risks, whatever the cost may be. So Mandela takes on the allpowerful might-is-right apartheid regime and after half a lifetime in prison comes out on top. So Gandhi, so Luther King so, Solzhenitsyn, so Churchill and a million others who never make the headlines. So when it comes to dealing with bullies we do well to remember the Bible's advice, “For we wrestle not against flesh and

blood, but ... against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.�

Dick Venables

Preparing For The Winter With Autumn on us and Winter approaching fast everybody on the allotments has been busy getting the last of their crops gathered in. Most things have done well, especially all things fruit, whether it was Apples, or Blackcurrants, Tomatoes or Courgettes. One thing that didn‟t grow as hoped was the Ciboule, or Welsh Onions, which didn‟t really divide after re-planting in the late Spring. It may have been too dry for them in the crucial growing time, but I won‟t need to disturb them this next season so they can really settle in where they are all Winter and be ready to do their thing as the Spring comes round again. I am hoping that they will also help to deter the Gooseberry Sawfly, from my bushes growing around them, next season as well. The recent wet spell has made the weeds seeds germinate and give one last burst of growth before the colder weather comes, but at the same time the wet softens the soil and makes it easier to clear of all the end of season rubbish and to weed properly before manuring and resting the soil over Winter. One problem that the wet has caused is that my Climbing Beans, on which the pods were supposed to dry off before harvesting, have started to go mouldy again. We shelled a big bowl full, but some have a tinge of brown on them and may not keep. Where I took my Runner Beans down I decided to re-plant with something entirely different as they had been there for 3 years in a row. I am replanting with another of my exotic fruit trees, a Feijoa, or Acca Sellowiana. The tree was grown from seed so is not on a dwarfing rootstock, but it is planted in a “Rootex bag pot.” This is a special long life, flexible pot, made from a plastic type material, that has been chemically coated so that it‟s sides chemically, rather than physically, repel the trees roots. This stops the roots from “Circling,” and stops large tap and other anchor roots from developing. The theory is that it in effect dwarfs the tree because of restricting its roots. Even if it doesn‟t dwarf it much, I am hoping, that as the natural size of the tree is smaller rather than larger, it will keep it a manageable size. The Feijoa is an evergreen that is supposed to be grown as much for its Fuchsia like flowers as for its fruit. Elsewhere my outdoor cucumbers did surprisingly well especially as only one of the plants really grew and fruited. The Cucumbers were rather shorter than normal, about half the length and were prickly, so we found them best peeled. 6

Another of my exotics, the Oca, self set itself all over the place from bits left alive in last years compost heap. Some of the plants I left to grow and about mid October I dug one of these up to see if there were any tubers developing. As the books suggested there was absolutely nothing there to see then, so I covered, the two proper plantings in my overgrown cloches, up with fleeces in the hopes that I can hold off the frost from them long enough for them to develop their tasty tubers. The roots of the Forcing Chicory must be dug up also before the first frosts come. They will then be stored and later replanted, in large pots in the dark, in a frost-free greenhouse, to grow their “Chicons,� that will then be harvested. One last vegetable that needs attention before the Weather changes too much is the Black Kale. As usual I planted it too early, but it does mean that I can cut the tops off now to give me one harvest and leave the roots and some stem in the ground to re-shoot and give me another crop later.

Please Note: these blogs are not following a current 2014 timeline -o0o- Vikings: Life and Legend (British Museum Publicity) 50% off with National Art Pass Bloodthirsty, war-mongering raiders and pillagers? Not quite, according to the British Museum's Spring Show, which suggests the Vikings were culturally enlightened folk, whose travels across the globe exposed them to a wide range of ideas, beliefs and practices. A series of new archaeological discoveries means that as well as swords, amulets and treasure hoards, there's plenty of myth-busting matter on display. (Did you know they didn't wear horned helmets either?) This is the first exhibition in the museum's Sainsbury gallery, and its new capabilities mean the space is able to hold the surviving timbers of a 37-metrelong Viking warship, the longest ever found.

Feeling incredibly fragile this week. Bits disappearing first the joie de vivre then the voice whilst other bits (head, ears, muscles) are making themselves very much felt. Surely the virus was never this virulent? We used to have 'just a cold' and need a couple more hankies than normal. A day in bed would have drawn the most contemptuous jeer. But that's exactly where I was on Tuesday because there seemed to be no alternative. Of course I'm not alone in this enhanced suffering. Employers actually encourage those afflicted to take a week off, partly in the interests of self preservation but mainly because such people are totally useless. Have we gone soft? Would our mothers and grandmothers have laid down broom, dolly tub, smoothing iron and taken to their couches? I can't remember such a thing. On the other hand they did make more of a meal of childbirth than we do so perhaps we shouldn't beat ourselves too much. That leaves the virus. Has it got harder? Now there are various things usually blamed for modern ills, the foremost being Global Warming. Maybe warm wet weather is rather romantic for frolicking viri who meet, whirl and reproduce like never before. Counter measures like vaccines are doomed to failure because the ace up the sleeve of any virus is its ability to mutate, adapt to new circumstances and carry on getting stronger. Darwin's star performer. Moreover the indisposition currently flooring myself can be caused by any one of at least 200 types. The NHS website tries to mark out a damage limitation exercise. 'if infected wash your hands frequently,' it says. 'Use your own cup, saucer, plate, cutlery and kitchen utensils'. There are currently five persons in our family and, even allowing for the virus to romp merrily through us all, we're probably all right for the first few categories with the help of a permanent marker. But kitchen utensils? Must I trail my infectious infection through the charity shops for extra saucepans, frying pans, fish slices, colanders, bread boards, bread knives? Where am I going to keep them all? How am I going to fit everything on the stove? Must we eat separately? Separate tables? Kitchen extension? Viruses, apparently, have been on earth for 3.8 billion years. Since before the first signs of life. Before bacteria even. No wonder they like to demonstrate they have the upper hand. I would myself. 8

Anne Picken

March, Marches and other Borders all crop up in this month's edition of re.Lit when it transmits live on Radio Wildfire - So join us for another unique selection of spoken word, stories, poetry, music, ambience, soundscapes and tracks uploaded, posted, begged, borrowed and Lent. (3rd March broadcast which will eventually be uploaded onto the loop) There'll be new poetry from Adrian Johnson and from Wild Child; a truly beautiful song from Sara Clark; and the voice of Stephen Mead in a choral tinged mix: all uploaded through the Radio Wildfire Submit page. We'll also be interviewing Mark Goodwin ahead of the exhibition of digitally produced sound-enhanced poetry that he is currently curating; and with Tony Stringfellow about his poetry films and his collaboration with Rob Cairns as the aforementioned Wild Child. And this month‟s play from Bunbury Banter Theatre Company is the healthcare satire Within Regulations by Yolande Ferrato. All this, a dig down into the Radio Wildfire archives, and a trip to Carnival with the samba rhythms of the Sambassadors of Groove ... The show is presented as always by poet and performer Dave Reeves. Join us: Monday 3rd March from 8.00 pm UK time at Radio Wildfire: lend an ear, steal a march. re.Lit Live! is produced by Vaughn Reeves with backroom support from 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. Spokenword and music, comedy, storytelling, poetry, song and aural art, theyare all part of the eclectic mix we are looking for when we create Radio Wildfire Live! Follow Radio Wildfire on Twitter @radiowildfire WHAT IS RADIO WILDFIRE? Radio Wildfire is an independent online radio station which blendsspoken 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.

WOW!!! Thank you Getty Images! Getty makes 35 million photos free to use online for noncommercial sites entertainment-arts-26463886 Obviously, this opens up a whole new era for the concept of online copyright and equally obvious some commercial photographers who rely on photos for their living are saying they are not happy. NB: Not all Getty images are being provided free. GETTY IMAGES

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.


His Lordship was not a happy man. The solar looked like a tart‟s parlour in his opinion festooned with drapes and curtains suspended from the cross beams. Why he had allowed his good lady wife to talk him into this theatrical performance was beyond him. On the other hand, at which point he scratched his pointy beard, the prospect of an entertainment when the great and the good of the county would be coming was a business opportunity for all concerned. He had some fine sows ready for market and the best sheep ready for clipping in all the dale, what he didn‟t have was customers with the chinks to buy the beauties. He was ruminating on these thoughts and scratching his ... when, „Good morrow, Squire,‟ said a voice approaching from behind the curtains. „Burball, just the fellow,‟ bellowed Bluddschott. „This play. What‟s it about my good fellow? Nothing to afright the ladies, I hope. No battles. No sword play.‟ Burball swallowed before making a reply. „Afright good dames. Why sire what a notion.‟ It was difficult to cross one‟s fingers behind one‟s back when wearing leather riding gloves. „And will there be a merry jig? I do like a merry jig with comely lads a prancing about dressed up as gals. Dashed good sport, I say.‟ „And a merry jig? I‟m sure Master Marlowe has a few merry jigs up his sleeve for the company to learn all in the one rehearsal.‟ „Excellent, and a tumbler or two. I do like a tumble, eh!‟ At which point Burball bowed his lowest bow so his hat feathers brushed the flag tiled floor as he attempted to back away before his host had any more bright ideas on Kit‟s play. -o0o-

Reflecting back across the years Now approaching retirement, the last few years of me life, Reflecting back across the years, the happiness and strife, Of how we worked and struggled, through the hard times years ago, And how we came out tuther side, how we got by never know. We pulled together working hard, and helped each other out, Discus the problems as they come, and never did we shout, A helping hand now and then, received and gladly given, It‟s part of life of living life, and the thing for which we‟ve striven. Owd Fred

How well do we know the people we live near to? When did we bother to interest ourselves in the old person who lives across the road? Should we have to protect them from scammers? A few weeks ago strange set of circumstances led me to spend half an hour in the home of widowed lady who had appealed to me to help her after being the target of a solar panels sales scam.

Some pond slime salesmen, who deliberately target the elderly, were trying to part this octogenarian from a small fortune for installing solar panels. They had not encountered her tenacity previously. Before calling for my assistance she had contacted the police and been trying umpteen other avenues. Of course these vile con-merchants target old folk on Friday evenings with „wonderful offers‟ only available that weekend (when all checkable places are closed). They claimed that they were affiliated to an age related charity and that the scheme they were offering had government backing, none of which were true. Despite my checking on the internet for her, despite the police saying not to open the door, she still wanted to see what was being offered, and was trying to mitigate their access by saying she would leave a side gate open so they could access her roof, something they had said they needed to do in the Friday telephone call. It wasn‟t until I spoke very firmly saying she shouldn‟t be so trusting and she should do as the police had advised, and not entertain these people at all, that the seriousness of letting a complete stranger of dubious intent into her home gradually sank in. „My daughter says I‟m too trusting,‟ she said as we sat in her conservatory waiting for the appointed time, me in full Britannia, shield maiden, battle mode with a camera slung round my neck and chops full of verbal at the ready to send said salesman packing. Of course, the bounder didn‟t turn up at the appointed time, he came half an hour later by which time I had hung up my imaginary sword-and-shield and was putting the dustbin out, fortunately I still had the camera to hand and managed to get off a few pictures of the salesman and his car, so he is traceable. Common sense ruled and the widow did as she had been told by the policewoman and her daughter on the phone and myself and did not answer the door. Just as well as judging by a forum on the internet posted up by family members of other elderly folk not so clued up ... Some poor souls had paid up front thousands of pounds after enduring five hour sales pitches. Some had been bullied by threats that if they cancelled the agreement all the other old people placing orders that weekend would lose money and have their „exclusive‟ deals cancelled and have to pay full price and it was all the fault of that particular old person cancelling. Evil isn‟t a word strong enough for these vile predators. Solar energy is expensive to install and it does take time to recoup the outlay. Years before one goes into profit, I expect it will be five years before I am in profit as I have a solar energy system on my roof, but, hopefully, I still have those years ahead of me. Does a person in their mid eighties? It begs the question: if the authorities know that these predatory companies are operating and are getting away with intimidating the elderly into signing dubious contracts, why aren‟t they being shut down and prosecuted? Where‟s Corporal Jones with his bayonet when we need him? 12

Nature’s kick-start Today - nature kick-started my spirits; melancholia had to wait in the wings. The air was awash with expectation: Cowslips coughed and Sarcococca sneezed as mad march rain hammered on their heads. Raindrops bounced and bubbled on a murky, unkempt pond. Shrivelled autumnal leaves clung to springtime boughs. Bleached white birches glowed in the gloom. Sparrows beak-butted and nibbled fat balls. A blackbird pecked at a bruised, discarded Bramley. A lone bee buzzed a tune as he alighted on a Celandine. „‟Morning has broken‟‟ hung in the air. Faber & Faber with Arts Council England announce the recipients of the Faber New Poets scheme 2013-14.

The Faber New Poets The Faber New Poets scheme exists to encourage new writers at a crucial point in their career. Open to those who have yet to publish a first collection or pamphlet, the scheme offers mentoring, pamphlet publication and financial support. In 2013, the scheme welcomed over 850 manuscript submissions. Faber & Faber and Arts Council England are delighted to announce the four Faber New Poets for 2013–14: Rachael Allen Will Burns Zaffar Kunial Declan Ryan The pamphlets will be published in October 2014 and the Faber New Poets will be on tour, reading and performing at a number of venues, festivals and universities across the country in the Autumn, dates to be announced.

SHORT STORY COMPETITION WIN PRIZES !!!!!!!!!! We’re offering the chance to win tickets to the very first performance of The Life and Times of the Tat Man, a powerful and stirring new play by acclaimed local playwright David Calcutt at Walsall Museum on Saturday 12 April 2014. How to enter: Horses feature strongly in the story of the Tat Man, a one man show performed by actor Tony Barrett, and so our competition is about horses too. To enter all you need to do is send us your short story on the theme of ‘horses’. All stories must be 500 words or less and must be typed. Stories can be entered into the competition by emailing them to, posting them to Walsall Museum, Lichfield Street, Walsall, WS1 1TR or dropping them off at the Museum in person. Please ensure you include your name and a contact phone number or email address. The competition is open from Friday 28 February 2014 and the deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 28 March 2014. The winners will be announced on Friday 4 April 2014. The competition will be judged by playwright David Calcutt and Head of Libraries, Arts and Heritage at Walsall Council, Sue Grainger. The prizes: The first prize is one pair of tickets to the first performance of The Life and Times of the Tat Man Tales on Saturday 12 April 2014 and one free riding lesson at Lodge Farm Equestrian in Aldridge. The second prize is one pair of tickets to the first performance of The Life and Times of the Tat Man Tales on Saturday 12 April 2014. For full terms and conditions and further information please contact Walsall Museum:

2014 Midlands Poetry Festivals and Events Oxford FT Literary festival Mar 22nd -29th Sat 1st mar -6th Apr The Cheltenham Poetry Festival; Leek Arts Festival May30 Fri 25th-27th April Much Wenlock Poetry Festival Sat 26th Apr Stratford upon Avon Literary Festival -until 4/5: 6th May-11th May Chipping Campden Lit Festival sat 3rd-5th May Shrewsbury Bookfest 1st-14th May Swindon Festival of Literature including youth and adult poetry slams 17th May-24th Nailsworth Festival inc Poetry Slam 22nd May- 26th Audlem Festival, Cheshire including Poetry Slam 22nd May -1st June Hay Festival Fri 5th- 8th June Warwick Words June Worcester Literary Festival Sat 14th/15th June Leamington Spa, Peace Festival Fri 20th June -6th July Ashbourne Festival Sat 14th June- 22nd, Ludlow Festival 4th July- 13th July Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thur 4th -13th July Lichfield Festival Fri 11th -27th July Buxton Festival Aug Shambhala Music and Arts Festival Northants – Poetry Tent Aug 22nd – 31st Bridgnorth Festival Wirksworth Arts Festival 5th -21st Sept

Sat 6th Sept Stafford Arts Fest Sept Shifnal, Shrops Festival http://www.¬shifnalfestival.¬com Fri 2nd- 5th Oct Swindon Festival of Poetry Fri 2nd- 5th Oct Warwick Words Oct Birmingham Book Festival Nov Derwent Poetry Festival, Wellington Literary Festival October Leicester Literary Festival November

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