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 20th

Writing Competition 2014 - Just a Backward Glance - By Irene L

By Mary B

Recently, I just had my 25th birthday, which made me to a life stage that preferring the day be remembered instead of my age.  There is no feeling could be more mixed than birthday, which may be the best time to recall your past. However, maybe just a backward glance is for better setting out our future road. 


Looking back this year, what firstly springs to my mind is I did a lot of travels. Indeed, actually, I will set out another trip tomorrow.  Why I want to travel I asked myself.  Maybe I just want to see the world before I die, I want to expose myself into different cultures and views, after all, exploring new things always makes people exciting and living. Maybe, in fact, I just lost in or be tired of routine life or confused about future, I desire my appetite for life.  Travels also sometimes will exhaust you and make you want to go home.  Therefore, maybe what really important is not running away the routines you are suffering rather than dealing with yourself.  Yeah, sometimes, if you think deeper about the things, the truth will terrifies people.  However, we have to face it directly.  Things need to change, I shouldn’t disappear into the routine life or the life I want.  My solution may be grateful to daily life that I am still living and can breathe and embrace.  Observing carefully to discover the wonders of life, even enjoying the happiness of doing nothing, bravely facing the unknown future, preparing to taste the sweets and bitters of life, after all, it’s my life, unique private life, which has only one time. Therefore, embracing life, taking each day as an exciting life trip.


Goodbye my old days and hello my following beautiful life!

Jun 19th

Writing Competition 2014 - Just a Backward Glance - By Phyl G

By Mary B


When I became aware of my facial features, I decided I just did not like my snitch. I have never liked my snitch. If I complained to my mother about it she would say, there is nothing wrong with your nose my girl, you have a characteristic nose. Well it was alright for her, she didn’t have it in the middle of her face did she and anyway she was fifty per cent responsible for me having it in the first place and said that my snitch wasn't something she had given any consideration to when she had agreed to marry my Father.

Well, I had a Rodent Ulcer and do you know where it was, yes, right slap bang on the end of my snitch, serves me right for always complaining about it. The Dermatologist inspected it under his microscope  and seemed very apologetic when he said that he was afraid they would have to cut off the end of my nose and replace it with a piece taken from close to my ear but it would be the Surgeon’s decision how he dealt with it. I don't know to this day why I said it, perhaps I felt rather sorry for him having to impart such news but it just sort of popped out, I said ' well I had never liked it very much anyway and maybe it would end up being a bit of an improvement but to be careful around my ear as I was already slightly deaf in one of them. ' The expression on his face left me in no doubt that my comment was not appreciated and I was left feeling rather embarrassed and wishing the ground would open and swallow me and that I had kept my mouth shut. I admit to feeling a little nervous as my GP had asked them to look at it rather urgently although of course I didn't know that until the Hospital 'phoned me a couple of days later. Now I know that once the Doctor has referred a patient to Hospital it usually takes weeks and weeks for an appointment but they asked me to go the following day and and I kept wondering why everything was happening so fast. 

It was done under a local anaesthetic, which I was pleased about as our Boss at the Office had only recently had a fairly minor operation, well for piles actually, or so it was rumoured under a general anaesthetic and the Hospital Staff had found it a bit difficult to bring him round afterwards so naturally I was a little apprehensive, but whatever it was, my Boss returned to work with a much improved temper for which we were all very grateful.

The Surgeon gave me the injections and MY! did they make my eyes water!!! Another very nice young doctor was holding my hand and stroking my arm and telling me how brave I was being. Someone told me afterwards that years ago when anybody died at sea ( I don't know how true it is) that before they tipped them overboard they would drive a needle through their nose to make sure they were dead and they would jolly well soon know whether they were or not.

I came away from the Hospital with a really large white dressing plastered to my nose and another one close to my ear and I hid away indoors until it was time to have the stitches taken out. My snitch did look a bit odd though, as though there was a tuppenny piece or twopence as it is called nowadays sewn on the end of it but eventually the scar faded and although it’s the first thing I notice when I look in the mirror it doesn't look very different to the way it always has been, but after being told that half of my nose could have been eaten away if they hadn't cut it out, I feel very lucky and grateful to the Surgeon, the Hospital and to my GP that they had caught that Rodent in time and that I still have a snitch and decided I would never ever complain about it again. AND I NEVER HAVE.

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