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Issue 557 11th Oct 2018

RBW is now on TWITTER @RisingBrookWrit

RBW’ Creative Writing Workshop 1.30 Mondays (Free) Rising Brook Library No experience necessary. (14th year)


Random Words: bread, clerk, hemlock, lace, Vienna, horse, mystery, toast, torn, thistle Assignment: witches

A warm welcome awaits. COME to WORKSHOP ... Rising Brook Library Workshops 1.30 start Mondays (closed on Bank Holidays)

has been chosen by workshoppers as the theme for the RBW 2019 Poetry Collection. Submissions are now being accepted for consideration. Guest Editor to be announced shortly. Poet laureate honoured with a postbox: Carol Ann Duffy was honoured with a special postbox in Stafford on National Poetry Day 2018. The poet laureate was educated at St Austin’s RC Primary School and said it was "the school where I was first encouraged to write poetry by the wonderful Mrs Tilscher". The postbox will remain in Market Square for a month and is covered in quotes from some of her most famous poems.



Doors the RBW Poetry Collection for 2018 is now online. Check it out for free on the Rising Brook Writers Facebook page and risingbrookwriters

MARKET RBW Workshop Project 2018 Now free and online at issuu/Publitas/ Twitter @RisingBrookWrit and Facebook. Memories, stories, poems and historical research. Click image to go to risingbrookwriters


YO HO shipmates ... After nearly 12 months of deliberation, research and jolly good fun the pirate comedy is complete and posted online on our Facebook page and on risingbrookwriters and Twitter. The salty tale has everything a reader expects in a pirate treasure hunt and more besides ... Ghostly pirates (3), navy ships (2), Treasure hunters (4), Pirate Captains (2, 1 with a fire brand hat), a white whale, castaways, a brothel franchise, a cornucopia of nationalities all after Captain Kidney’s buried loot. And who gets there first ... Vera and Gloria, of course, and what do they do? Dig a ‘place for convenience’ ... Course they do ... Welcome to ... X Marks the Spot

RBW Workshop Project 2018 Now free and online at issuu/Publitas/ Twitter @RisingBrookWrit and Facebook. Memories, stories, poems and historical research. Click image to go to risingbrookwriters


What the Dickens? MAIN CHARACTERS Mr. Godfrey Bluddschott: deceased The grandfather of Nicholas Bluddschott, Jr. and father of Ralph and Nicholas Sr. : who leaves an inheritance. Uncle Ralph Bluddschott: Godfrey’s son who becomes obsessed with money. Source of inheritance for Mikey after his death. Mrs Bluddschott Snr : the foolish wife of Nicholas Bluddschott, Sr. Nicholas Bluddschott Jnr OUR HERO Son of Nicholas, Sr., who is 19 at the beginning of the story Kathryn Bluddschott: the 18 year old sister of Nicholas, Jr. Oldman Bloggs: Ralph Bluddschott’s clerk, a ruined gentleman Miss Arthemia La Creperie: a painter who lets out her house Landlady to Mother of Nicholas and sister Kathryn. (Arthemia - French girl’s name, meaning from Greek mythology Gift of Artemis – goddess of virginity, child birth, midwives). Mr Brooks: a former clerk of Ralph’s Dicken Boys Hall, Yorkshire Mr Waterford Falls : a one-eyed headmaster of an institution who hires Nicholas Bluddschott Jr. Mrs Vera Falls : the bullying wife of Mr. Falls – Headmistress Master Damien Falls JR.: the son of Falls who is heir to the school and their way of thinking Miss Gloria Falls: 23-year-old daughter of the Falls. Nancy Stykes (ladies maid) Mattie Coster: Gloria Falls’ best friend Jock Finlay: the fiancé then husband of Mattie Coster. Helps Nicholas Bluddschott and Mickey escape Dicken Boys Hall. Helps Mikey escape being kidnapped back. Mikey (Ralph’s Jnr. son) a physical/ learning disabled boy at Falls’ school. MR. Yelwans: a stepfather who enrols his two stepsons in Falls’ school. The Theatre Troop Portsmouth Mr Brambly Crumbly: Manager of a theatre group that hires Nicholas and Mikey. Master Crumbly: son of manager. Master Percy Crumbly: another son of the manager. Mrs. Crumbly: wife of the manager. Miss Charlotte Crumbly, the Infanta Phenomenon: 18 year old daughter of the Crumbles, considered talented by some. Marries Mikey. Miss Gloria Smellevicki : considered one of the talented actresses of the theatre group Miss Vera Bedrock: fellow actress and friend of Miss Smellevicki. Nicholas at Employment Office Mr Charles Freudenberger : a German merchant, who finally helps Nicholas to find a good job, a home for his extended family. Ned Freudenberger: Charles’ twin brother Frank Freudenberger: nephew of the Freudenberger brothers Eclaire Choux: devoted daughter who makes sacrifices to take care of her father. Beautiful young woman that Nicholas Bluddschott eventually marries. Will inherited wealth. Mr Walt Choux: Father of Eclaire, in great debt and ruin Leon Scrunge: an elderly gentleman, Ralph’s mentor, who is in lust with Eclaire and nearly marries her to clear her father’s debts. Maggie Leech: deaf housekeeper of Leon Scrunge. Plus a cast of extras brought in from as many Dicken’s stories as we can find. E.g Miss Haveitall Uranus Heap, Jaundice and Jaundice Solicitors, Roberto Catchit and Little Tom, Ebenezer Squeeze, moneylender. You get the idea ...


East End As Nicholas turned left off the main thoroughfare the stench was indescribable; an open sewer rang down the centre of the cobbles heading towards the river twinkling and only just visible many yards away. Even though the day was cold the odour of excrement pervaded everything. A butcher’s shop on the corner added to the misery, as the carcasses of half dissected pigs swung from hooks outside the window. Nicholas snatch a kerchief to his nostrils. Urchins were playing at the entry to an alleyway where a young girl with vacant eyes asked him if he was looking for business. A long way outside his comfort, he hasted his step until he spotted a sign saying “Marley Courtyard”. This was the address scribbled in haste on the scented pink paper clutched in his hand. “Ebenezer Buildings” was where he was assured he would find his family renting two rooms from a Mrs Cratchet, the widow of a hand loom weaver. Nicholas heard the clatter of the loom long before he located the door of Mrs Cratchet. It took some time of knocking before he was admitted to the ground floor room which was taken up almost entirely by the loom, except for a makeshift cot in one corner by a pot bellied stove, where he supposed the widow made her bed of a night since renting out her upper rooms. ‘I wish to see Mrs Nickleby,’ he said. Then had to repeat by shouting as the woman was clearly stone deaf. ‘I’m her son.’ At which Kate appeared atop the open stair. ‘Oh Nick, you’ve found us,’ she cried tears welling. He climbed the stairs and wondered if they would take his weight they swayed so beneath his boots. One look at the bare boards, damp walls and straw filled bed was enough, ‘Out, you’re not staying here another moment.’ Already below the loom had resumed its clatter, motes of dust fell from the ceiling with every pass of the shuttle. His mother had not acknowledged his arrival; she sat on a hard wooden chair by a cask covered window overlooking the yard where the children played in filth. She was muttering to herself. ‘Mama is not well,’ said Kate. ‘Her mind ...’ Nicholas gasped, he had not been prepared for any of this, ‘She’ll recover at Miss Crepererie’s.’ ‘She won’t take us without money. I’ve no job. Mother ...’ ‘I’ll get a job. We’ll manage. Come on. It’s a long walk, take only what you can carry. I’ll try to fetch mother down those stairs.’ As his eye alighted on the pot cupboard without a door he fully appreciated the degradation to which his uncle had subjected his family. You will pay for this Raff ... oh you will pay, he thought taking his mother by the arm and guiding her, as if a child, down the steps towards the door and freedom.


Ralph Bluddschott’s Secret Discovered When Ralph disappeared into the fog carrying his large carpet bag he thought he had been unobserved. He was wrong. Oldman Bloggs had hidden a doorway opposite Ralph’s decaying house. As Ralph slid through the fog, he had gone down a couple of narrow alleyways before hailing a hansom cab just in case he had been followed. Nevertheless, Oldman had not been confused he kept Ralph in sight or if he vanished in the fog he could hear Ralph’s footsteps on the cobbles. When he heard Ralph hail a hansom cab his heart sank, he could not keep up with a fast trotting horse. However, the fog came to his rescue, the driver of the cab could only proceed at a slow walk because the fog was so thick that it was difficult to pick his way through the maze of London’s streets. After some time the Hansom came to a halt and Ralph got out, Oldman just managed to keep him view as he went down a narrow alley and went into a house. Oldman was baffled. What was Ralph up to, why did he have a large carpet bag and when he knocked the door he had knocked in what seemed to be some code. Oldman was determined to find out, he had walked quite some distance and as far he knew Ralph was so tight fisted that he never paid for a cab. Oldman watched the house for a little while and noticed that there were no lights downstairs, but upstairs was brightly lit. As he puzzled as what he noticed that at one window the curtains were not completely closed. Just as he noticed this a lamplighter came to light the gas lamps in the street. Oldman spotted this and the following conversation took place. ‘Can I borrow your ladder for a moment,’ asked Oldman ‘What yer wannit for? Anyways the answer’s no,’ replied the gaslighter. ‘There’s a shilling in it for you,’ said Oldman in his most soothing voice. ‘Well, just for a couple of minutes then,’ there was the clink of coins changing hands. The gaslighter looked the other way as Oldman put the ladder against the house, shinned up it as fast as he could and looked through the gap in the curtain. He nearly fell off the ladder when he recognised Ralph in a dress dancing. He got down as quickly as possible, handed the ladder back and walked back to his lodgings. All the way he kept stopping, scratching his head and wondering what to do about Ralph’s secret. Whatever he did with this knowledge he was sure he would be able turn it to his advantage. (Nigel Peckett)

A London lamplighter. Note: In early Victorian London there were plenty of gas street

-lamps but a lamplighter had to climb up a ladder, turn on the gas and light the gas.


LETTERS Dear Nick, I hope life is treating you well. Things have changed a little since you left. Uncle Ralph has been a bit of a cad. Firstly he moved poor Mama and I away from the lovely if not a little barmy Miss La Creperie’s. I can only describe these “new” dwellings as a swat. Then he took it upon himself to find me employment working for a milliner. Hats Nick, Hats! I can’t stand things, there is absolutely no need for the things and making them is worse than having to wear them.. To top it all the people there were awful to me, very rude and unfair, especially Miss Hassle and she really was one. I talk in the past tense as since she took over from Mrs Amalfi (that is a story for another day) she fired me. Can’t say I’m all that sorry but Uncle Ralph didn’t take the news too well, he hit me Nick. I’m not sure what’s going to come next. Don’t let this go to your head but I really miss you Nick, so does Mama. I know she can be a bit of a drama queen and loves playing to the crowd but the spark is fading, I caught a glimpse when we managed to sneak out to see Miss La Creperie but she’s not the same. Miss La Creperie has been very kind and passed on your letters so Uncle Ralph has not been able to get his hands on them. I hope to hear from you again soon Nick, Take care. Love you Bro. Katie To Mr R. Bluddschott, I am writing to you in regards your Nephew, Nicholas. I took him on in good faith, you vouched for him therefore I find it my duty to inform you that your trust is misguided and should be withdrawn before your affiliation with this scoundrel ruins your good name. He has corrupted the young boys in my care, he has shown violent tendencies toward myself and others and that was before absconding with one of our much needed servants. There is not telling what those two young fellows will get up to. The very worse of his behaviour came when he lead my poor sweet Gloria on, he convinced her to fall in love with him, no doubt to get at my money and then went and trampled on her fragile heart. Due to the amount of damage that he managed to cause in the short time he was here I must call for justice and compensation. I will show you one last sign of trust and allow you to administer punishment as you see fit and await payment for my time and trouble. Yours W. Falls (Rachel Hope)


Extracts from the Journal of Kate Bluddschott Dear Diary, I finally got word from Nick today, I think there must be something wrong, maybe he got hit on the head? Anyways apparently he’s in Portsmouth of all places but the really funny part is that he’s acting, can you believe it? It did make me chuckle, Romeo and Juliet of all things, I can see him rocking a frock but alas he was Romeo. He says they got rave reviews, not like he would admit he sucked. It’s been a nice change having something fun going on what with work and Uncle Ralph. Now I have an address I can send him note, let him know what’s going on. TTFN Dear Diary, Well I’m back in employment and it has nothing to do with hats, unless you include the vast collection Mrs Wisteria Ramsbottom has in her closet. Back to the Ramsbottom part, do you know how much effort it took not to comment on that plus she really does resemble one. Anyway I am her official companion, thrilling I know but at least it is a wage which is keeping Uncle Ralph off my back. TTFN Dear Diary, The most unusual turn of events, dear Uncle Ralph has requested my presence at a dinner he is hosting tomorrow. It was such a shift in behaviour, gave me the heebie jeebies, I don’t like him at the best of times but it’s even worse when he is being nice, it’s creepy. I’m a bit worried, he even got me a dress, I wonder where he got it, it is rather nice, lets hope he not expecting me to do him a favour in return if you get what I mean. On that nasty thought TTFN Dear Diary, I don’t know where to start except I was right to be worried. I was the only woman I was the bait Those horrid men bet on me (I will not repeat the details, I am a lady) One tried to have his way with me (I did not agree) Apparently Uncle Ralph has a heart albeit a small one I was about to hit the very slimy Sir Malmsey Sparrow, he had me cornered and was getting rather excited when Uncle Ralph came to my rescue, he was so nice, I couldn’t believe it. Then he was back to his normal despicable self and not so subtly implied if I told Mamma there would be no more aid. It’s not as though he does a lot for us but I’m sure we wouldn’t be able to cope just the two of us, so this is our secret, TTFN (Note this is before the sacking from the hat shop) Rachel Hope


Random Words: Snobbery, violence, blue, ridge, ridiculous, nugget, Georgian, New York, gloaming,

The Most Holy Church of Saint Genevieve

One day we looked at our finances and found that we did not have finances but instead a lot of debt. It was March and the community charge was due in April. What could we do, no money, no food and clothes falling to pieces? Then I had a brainwave, churches and religious buildings do not pay any rates at all. We looked through the list of likely saints and thus founded the ‘Most Holy Church of Saint Genevieve’. We chose Genevieve because she is the patron saint of disasters. A couple of weeks later the back room was converted into the Most Holy Shrine of St Genevieve and the front room Assignment: Being Plausible x2 into the chapel complete with a simple altar and a few random chairs. A simple painted signed was screwed to the Space Search house announcing the opening of Saint Genevieve’s church. A couple of dressing gowns were turned into On board the Galaxy class space cruiser, the Endeavour, robes. I am afraid we went to the local church and Captain Chapel turned to his first lieutenant Mr Shamrock ‘borrowed’ a few bibles, hymn books and prayer books. My and ordered, wife and I were the co-bishops and cultivated a sombre ‘Set course for the Rigel star system.’ demeanour. ‘Yessir’, replied Shamrock, ‘at best speed we should be A couple of adverts put in the local paper and we waited there in a week.’ for our first ‘customers’ on the Sunday at 10.30. Unfortu‘We need to be there in three days, number one,’ Chapel nately, the first person through the door was the Council’s said. rating officer who gave us a hard time, but we eventually ‘I’ll see the chief engineer.’ convinced him that we were running a church. We sent Shamrock left the bridge and went to the engine room him off blessed with the holy water of Saint Genevieve, where Blodwen McTavish, the chief engineer was having a luckily, we had an unending supply from the kitchen tap. nap. All went well for a few weeks. We had a small congrega‘The Captain needs the ship to go at top speed, McTavish, tion whose offerings on the collection plate paid for food ‘we need to be in the Rigel system next Wednesday.’ and our debts. We had it made, no work, just a couple of ‘OOOah, I didna think I can do it, Boyo,’ replied Blodwen. hours on a Sunday and the rest of the week off. As I menNote: Blodwen had a Welsh mother, a Scottish father and tioned it was all going so well until an unfortunate member was brought up in Bristol which accounted for her strange of our congregation who had a bad stutter asked to be accent and vocabulary. blessed and sprinkled with the Holy (tap) water. His stutter Back to the story. was instantly cured, and he praised the Lord, Saint Gene‘I’ll have to install some more balonium crystals and cross vieve and the church. link the neochrosium brackets with the macropodium Word got around and on Sunday the ‘chapel’ was full of plasma outlets.’ people with various ailments all begging for the Holy (tap) ‘I’ll help and climb up the Lionel tubes with my nacropodic water of Saint Genevieve. Next Sunday we had a queue screwdriver and recalibrate the naxonium conduits. and the Sunday after that we had a queue and two coach Note: I hope the reader appreciates the technobabble of loads of pilgrims. Our neighbours were not at all pleased. this passage.’ Eventually we had to buy a large warehouse and convert it One hour later the Endeavour was whizzing through the into an enormous church. We were on a treadmill which Galaxy at quantum tunnel factor 93.8. we could not get off of. Sure enough next Wednesday the ship arrived on time but I think Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of disasters, was with the plasma outlets fused and distorted. up in heaven having a laugh and getting her own back. We Captain Chapel called the crew together and announced, were suffering from the ‘it seemed like a good idea at the ‘We need to collect the vaccine from the Rigellians and time’ syndrome. How plausible the idea was at the start. proceed at top speed to prevent a terrible outbreak of techno-twaddle back on earth.’ ‘Crivens, oooaah, boyo,’ shouted Blodwen, ‘I’ve only just recalibrated the engines.’ ‘No matter, home at top-speed .’ So by the next Sunday all the earth people had been inoculated against techno-twaddle and several film and television companies went out of business because the public were now hooked on soap operas based in Australia and Manchester. Well it is a plausible story anyway. Herbert Dogsbody III lived in an enormous house in the exclusive Oyster Bay Cove suburb of New York. Where there was a ridiculous amount of snobbery but violence. The house was on a slight ridge well above flood level. He loved Georgian furniture which filled his mansion. His pride and joy was a large nugget of gold displayed on a blue plinth in his study. In the gloaming he would put out the lights and sit watching the nugget glinting in the flickering firelight.


Counting livestock It may seem to most folk a simple thing to do to count a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep, but quite often you don’t get a second chance to re-count at that time or in that place. If you miss count and you’re one down or perhaps gain one, and think they are alright you clear off to your next job thinking they are all okay, when that one you mis-counted might be stuck in a peaty ditch or in trouble away from the main group of animals, and left overnight could be found dead by morning. With sheep, counting them as they leave a fold, they will run out at high speed, so a narrow gap wide enough for two sheep to get through is usually about right, any narrower and two will wedge in the gap and block the flow of sheep. It was an old practice to count the sheep by the score, (in twenties), if you look at that counting up to twenty, they are all one syllable words, into the twenties and beyond they are two syllable which does not make for fast counting. So count up to twenty and drop a pebble into ya pocket, or if you have less than two hundred sheep you just curl one finger up for every twenty you’ve counted. That’s okay as long as no one or nothing distracts you when you grab or need to prevent a hurdle from falling and you cannot remember how many fingers you had curled up. Pebble in the pocket was a surer way of recording how many score of sheep you have, and can go beyond how many fingers you own. Cattle I find easier to count from slightly higher vantage point when they’re spread out grazing, I take the view of the group like the top half of the face of a clock, and bring the imaginary finger round the clock counting all whom it passes over, then do a check count going the opposite way across them to get the same count again. This way of counting is okay when you have cattle all of the same age and size, the problem come when the suckler cows have calved and young calves are wandering about around and behind their mothers. It’s best to establish that all the cows are there, then go round and count all the calves in a separate count, check counting each time, it just reassuring when you get both counts the same. When one is missing for some reason or other, you count and recount just hoping that the count will come right, then begin the search for who is missing, most of the older characters of the herd would be missed and know who you’re looking for. Some of the younger ones, all of whom would no doubt have the same father/sire may all be the same or similar markings and out of a group of fifty or more its near impossible to know which one is missing. Cows that are calving will go off on their own, and very young new born calves will get their first belly full of milk and find a bog of rushes or a bog of nettles or even duck under the wood fence and lay down and hide in the under growth, as nature tells them to at that age. Very often the only way of finding them, is to find the mother who when alerted will raise her head looking in the direction of where she knows the calf is, very rarely will she walk and take you to it. So counting is not just for fun, it’s a serious matter to know if one is missing, if they get out through the broken fence it more often than not be a number missing, if you have a bad leader of the herd (If she gets in the habit of getting out) the lot will have gone. Keep the leader happy and contented and the herd will be happy. As with people, they are all individuals, all have their own characteristics and mannerism, and you can almost read their minds as well.


LXXXII I grant thou wert not married to my Muse, And therefore mayst without attaint o'erlook The dedicated words which writers use Of their fair subject, blessing every book. Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue, Finding thy worth a limit past my praise; And therefore art enforced to seek anew Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days. And do so, love; yet when they have devis'd, What strained touches rhetoric can lend, Thou truly fair, wert truly sympathiz'd In true plain words, by thy true-telling friend; And their gross painting might be better us'd Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abus'd. LXXXIII I never saw that you did painting need, And therefore to your fair no painting set; I found, or thought I found, you did exceed That barren tender of a poet's debt: And therefore have I slept in your report, That you yourself, being extant, well might show How far a modern quill doth come too short, Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow. This silence for my sin you did impute, Which shall be most my glory being dumb; For I impair not beauty being mute, When others would give life, and bring a tomb. There lives more life in one of your fair eyes Than both your poets can in praise devise.

Th e Sha kespea re sonn ets are to be found on PROJECT GUTENBURG and are reproduced here for educational purposes and are nfp.


Extracts from Articles by the late, horticulturalist, Mrs F. Hartley who so kindly and freely shared her knowledge online Oct Autumn arrives and some of the trees have already turned colour giving a beautiful display of reds and yellows. Other shrubs can still be seen in flower. An Abelia that is practically evergreen and is smothered in tiny very pale pink trumpet like flowers giving the insects one last free source of nectar before the coming winter.

your baskets and borders before clearing out the displays. The cuttings should be put into pots as normal, but keep them fairly dry all winter, unlike normal cuttings. The scented varieties can be difficult to obtain from one year to the next so try to keep some cuttings from those as well. Winter Pansies seem to be very advanced this year, but if you see Pansies that are very cheap and look as though they are being cleared out make sure they are not the Summer flowering ones. Winter pansies should give a nice splash of colour until the Spring bulbs come through. There are plenty of Winter veg’ plants about now such as Cabbage, Sprouts, Chinese Greens, and Winter Lettuce ready for planting out to give you fresh greens straight from the garden, or you could grow a few in large pots.

With the colder nights approaching Begonia corms should be taken in and dried off. Then, store them in a cool, but If you have put Hyacinths in pots for frost free place until next Spring. Christmas flowering don’t bring them If you have light well drained soil Dahl- into the light until the leaves are a few inches high and the flower buds are ias can usually be left in the garden. showing. Poinsettias are difficult to get When the foliage has died down put a to colour up a second year, but they good layer of leaf mould or compost over the tubers. This will act as an over- should be kept in the dark for about six weeks. coat and keep the worst of the weather off them. For most people, however, the only way to keep them is to dig up the corms and dry them off. They should initially be stored upside down to drain all the moisture out of the stems before being placed in a cool frost free place for the winter. The Geraniums need to be prepared if you are going to keep them for next year. dig them up and pot a few of the best ones, then keep them inside in a nearly dry, cool room, starting them into growth about the end of January. Another way of keeping some of them for the next year is to take cuttings off the old plants in


Random Words: Betty had raised her family in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia, so called because in the gloaming, they appear a smoky blue colour. She was a country girl to her core, but the house was mock Georgian, because Betsy's ancestors hailed from Bath, and she loved the architecture there. Her eldest son, Ed was a techno geek. One day, surfing online, he spotted a nugget of information that led him to a possible new, lucrative job in New York. His ma was not happy. "Why would you want to live there?" She asked."All you ever hear about is the violence and lawlessness!" "Don't be ridiculous, ma. That's pure snobbery. There's good and bad everywhere." And he spoke in such a determined tone that his mom knew there was no use arguing. (PMW)

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RBW Online issue 557  

Fiction project progress, gardening blog, local poetry events

RBW Online issue 557  

Fiction project progress, gardening blog, local poetry events