Jul 7th

Join the Writers' group!

By jenny p
If you have been fired up a little by the competition, do join the Writers Group, as I suggested below, and use each other as sounding boards for things that you write or that you might like to write. Another thing that is sometimes done is to write a group story, each adding a paragraph or two as it goes along.  Great fun! 
Jul 6th


By Ann R
Congratulations to Colin for winning the competition, I am just going to re-reread it now (memory isn't what it was lol).

Great to have this sort of challenge, certainly got the brain working.

Thank you to the judge(s) for their hard task in deciding.  Not an easy choice.

Jul 6th

Individual comments on entries.

By jenny p
1. Ann R.  This piece is original and imaginative, clear and coherent. The author really tries to get into the mind of the cat and to portray how the creature might perceive the world.  She  was clever to slip in the competition theme of 'a backward glance' in passing!There was some very nice phrasing, e.g., 'the night was wasting away'. 

2. Tony T. This is a vivid memoir, full of interesting detail. The backward glances the writer has chosen to show us were well selected and the whole presented us with a very clear and entertaining snapshot of the author's childhood. The final paragraph is delightful. 

3. Larry F.  An inventive piece, with a neat twist at the end. This fantasy dream story displays a very colourful imagination! There are some lovely and appropriate touches of phraseology, like the description of the inrushing sea with its fringe of 'twisting white foam' and 'that teenage magical time of knowing everything' which many parents will recognise. We did find the time frame slightly  bemusing.  

4. Irene L.  Such a brave and thoughtful entry.  Starting with her birthday, the author looks back at her approach to life and forward into the future, clearly and colourfully communicating her strength and the message she wishes to convey.  There were some lovely phrases such as 'the happiness  of doing nothing'. This is an original and fascinating response to the theme. 

 5.  Mary B.   This is a lovely piece, telling us not only a little about the proud mother's family,  but also conveying her emotions skilfully and succinctly.  The reader can sense the mother's resignation at what life throws at her and her anxiety that she may lose her favourite son. The author cleverly used the phrase 'just a backward glance' to highlight the departing soldier's final words to his young son . As Mary is the Moderator, she asked for her entry to be omitted from the list for consideration. 

6. Phyl G.   The sun often bathes our memories of childhood holidays and the writer uses small details - peeling sunburn, the smell of calamine lotion, the use of a knotted handkerchief as a make-shift sunhat - to give a real sense of this. Her mother comes across as a character, from her matter-of-fact response to the holiday as 'different pots and pans' to the hard rock cakes that couldn't be mentioned. The author has chosen her words carefully and the picture she has composed is clear and evocative. 

7. Colin L. This piece has a lightness of touch which conveys gentle humour whilst giving us a very clear and colourful picture of the author's childhood. It opens and closes effectively, reads smoothly and fits the word count. In addition to personal anecdotes, there are insights into relationships within the family and some interesting  details - a house in the 1940s with a bath and mains drainage but no electricity (mine was like that too, Colin! J.). The author's choice of words (e.g. the VI  'coasted over', his grandfather's garden had a 'scattering' of gooseberry bushes), his sentences of different lengths   and his apt use of repetition -( 'I remember that... I don't remember that...' ) make for strong images and variety, creating an interesting and well-written memoir.  

8. Ann R.   A coherent, well constructed description of a day out written to a near-pefect word count! The author explains the reason for the treat without giving it too much space and the images she creates carry the reader along with her. She communicates her delight so skilfully that the reader is able to share her pleasure. A lovely memoir.  

 9.  Chrystie M.   An amusing catalogue of the many pitfalls encountered by this keen gardener.  Who would not empathise with her on the pitfalls she so colourfully describes? The piece was well constructed, starting with the muntjacks and travelling via the cats and the slugs and the snails and the squirrels and rounding off neatly back with the muntjacks! 

10. Phyl G.  This was an engaging and well- written piece  and an original interpretation of the theme. The opening paragraph is very effective. To write with such a light and humorous touch about something as unwelcome as facial surgery shows skill. It leaves the reader feeling respect for the author's approach to life and offers us all a lesson in how not to be brought down by life's nasty little surprises. 

Well done all! We do hope you enjoyed taking part and thank you so much for getting involved. Colin, you will be hearing shortly about your prize. 

Very best wishes to all.

Gill and Jenny. 

Jul 6th

General Comments on the Writing Competition

By jenny p
When we chose the competition theme we hoped that it would lend itself to different interpretations, from a physical glance backwards to memories from the past and from fact to fiction. We were looking for smooth writing, an original approach, an engaging use of words and, my goodness,  we were not disappointed! There were several interpretations of the title and the entries were varied, with some excellent ideas, construction and imagery.

Unfortunately, some very good entries fell quite a bit short of  the specified length. We did allow some leeway, but sticking to a word length is one of the skills of writing. A word count helps writers think about the value of words and phrases:  cutting an over-length piece can make it tighter and more effective, while adding extra information or colour can enhance an under-length piece. It is very hard to judge entries when some are half as long as others and to try to do so is actually rather unfair to those who have carefully crafted their entries to comply. 

You set us a hard task.  We were spoiled for choice, but Colin L's entry was the winner because it was a most enjoyable read, it was engaging and amusing and effective and of consistent quality from 'The day I was born' right through to 'and so we moved.' And yes, it adhered to the word count!

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. We loved reading your entries and hope that you will continue to hone your skills, produce work that makes you proud and above all, enjoy writing! Why not join the Writing Group? It hasn't really got off the ground yet and it needs YOU! 

Individual comments to follow. 

Jul 6th

Result of the 2014 Writing Competition

By jenny p
And the winner of the 2014 Writing Competition is... (Drum roll, drum roll... Keep you waiting for ten minutes because that seems to be the way it is done these days at least on television!)... COLIN L!!! Hearty congratulations, Colin.


Jun 23rd

List of Entrants to the Writing Competition

By jenny p
We have the following list of entrants to the Writing Competition:-

Ann R.               Just a Backward Glance  
Tony T.            Just a Backward Glance
Larry F.             In Dreams maybe
Colin L.             The early years
Ann R.               My Magical Day
Phyl G.              Cockles and Winkles
Mary B.             A Mother's Anguish
Phyl G.              A Lesson Learned
Irene L.             Just a Backward Glance
Chrystie M.        Gardening.

Have we missed any? I hope not, but if you don't see yours, do let me know! 

Very many thanks to all!  The result will be posted on the 6th July. 
Jun 22nd

Writing Competition closed

By jenny p
Well, here we are! Many, many thanks to all  of you who took part  in our first Writing Competition, which is now closed. Gill and I will do our best to get the result to you as soon as we possibly  can. 
Jun 21st

Last day for entry into the Writing Competition!

By jenny p
Last day, last call for the Writing Competition, which closes at midnight. ! Gill and I are looking forward so much to discussing the entries and we hope that you will all be pleased (and, hopefully, in agreement!) with the decision at which we arrive. We hope to have the result posted by the end of the month. 
Jun 14th

Writing competition closes at midnight on the 21st June 2014!

By jenny p
Roll up, roll up! We have reached the last week for entries. We have had some lovely pieces posted - but if anyone has the time and the inclination, we would love to see a  few more.
Jun 13th


By Chrystie M

Lobelia what a good idea for my pitiful little small bed just under my window. And then I was told this morning that the muntjacks will eat them They don't like blue, but I wanted to have white ones. A Friend had put a lot antirrhinum, in, just the other day, but the animals have taken all the leaves off them. Lovely as it is to have all these wild animals, the muntjacks really are a bit of a trial. They gave been barking all day this morning.
I have been remembering all my trouble with my gardens over the years. We lived in a large house with a large garden, and we had no trouble with them, in fact enjoyed having pheasants, muntjacks, a badger and many many birds, but then we moved to a smaller house with a small garden, and then the trouble began. The neighbours had two cats who did all their necessities on our lawn. They never covered it over, and the flies came in their hundreds.
I tried to deal with them in so many ways. I bought a large gun affairs that you filled with water and then fired it, but I found it was too heavy and sometimes the water had gone, or I was just too late, but spraying the cats didn't work. I then thought of putting Jeyes Fluid on their path, but then washed it off as I thought it might burn their paws. I then bought a tool, which gave out a high note, and also a light when it was dark, which was supposed to frighten the cats, but when I aimed it at one of them sitting on their own fence, I saw it's eyes glowing red, but the cat just sat their looking at me.
I bought a very expensive anti cat tool (having bought cheaper ones before) but I found bird feathers all around it..The neighbours actually came to complain about the noise that it was making!
Then we had huge black and brown slugs, which were crossing the lawn, at such speed that by the time I had found something to get rid of them, they had disappeared.
They were always on the plate that I used to feed our hedgehog.

Every evening we would find hundreds of snails, and we managed to throw them over the fence, sometimes the neighbour's but usually on the fence at the bottom of our garden, My daughter tried to get rid of their snails, but was upset to see a mother snail, dead, but with a baby snail on her back.

Now I am in this big garden, and the squirrels are very aggressive, and will get the bird food at any way they can. I am almost beaten, but Vaseline on the whole thing see
ms to stop them climbing up. And of course - muntjaks.

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