Tag Archives: #LiskeardWritersGroup

Liskeard Writers Group Prompt for 05-11-2019: “Explosive Possibilities.”

LWG Prompt for 05-11-2019:

“Explosive Possibilities.”

I wasn’t sure what to write for the prompt ‘Explosive Possibilities’ – in fact, I had the barest scattering of any ideas at all upon the subject.

So… I left it… for a week. For two weeks. For nearly ‘three’ weeks.

And, then, I started writing.

Then, I stopped.

Then, I considered whether I should write ‘sensible’ or ‘silly’.

Not much discussion inside my head to be had there.

So, it’s silly. It’s nearly always silly.

And so I give you (for what it’s worth):

‘Silly Explosive Possibilities.’

There was this guy, named Guy (or Guido, if you prefer) who was a bit of a wiz when it came to the world of explosives. He was a Cataholic. Which was not a good thing to be in the early Jacobean era: James the First (Jacobus Prima) was a lover of soft fruit, translating Bibles, and writing naughty Limericks – I may have made that last one up to fit the list to the ‘rule of three’.

‘There once was a king, name of James,

Who lived in a house by the Thames;

He was a Stewart, you know;

Back to Scotland, wouldn’t go;

and his house, almost went up in flames –

because of the Gunpowder Plot, as you like it as not.’

That wasn’t one of his naughty ones.

‘There once was a lady from Troon…’

No, no…

“There was a young man hailed from Glamis;

Who covered his body in jams—“

No, that’s not suitable for present company.

“There was a young lady from Buckie;

Who was always—

I can say no more of that one.

Anyway, getting back to this guy, Guy (or Guido) it seems (from my small amount of research) that he was also a bit of a drinker – he certainly liked ‘rolling out the barrel’, and, importantly to the narrative of this tale (sorry, this historical account) he liked cats. Well, it also seems that he got in with a bad crowd, a fanatical group of cat-aficionados, who were well unhappy about James the King, and his ‘not’ ‘liking’ ‘cats’ – at least they didn’t know about his grandson’s future ‘liking’ ‘of’ ‘dogs’, – that would really have rattled their… well, rattles.

So, we return to Guy and his antics; which were: being the ‘go-to-guy’ when any wrong-doing needing doing (not that he did the doing wrong, oh, no); he was proficient (and pretty darn good – but, not pretty darn good looking -he was pretty darn good at darning, too) in sourcing all manner of powders (washing, baking, gun, and so on) in quantities not to be sneezed at; and, you should never sneeze when you are around gun-powder, as it is very vol-au-vent and could explode in your face with the slightest encouragement.

Back to the story.

The telling of history is often written by the victors, and biased towards them, and against those defeated, as in the cases of William the Conker, Henry the Seventieth, Oliver The Crumb, and then immediately rewritten by those that followed them, as in the case of William Roofless, Henry the Ate-To-Much, and Victor-Victoria, the ‘I’m as wide as I am tall’ monarch who reigned until she stopped reigning, and her son came out (but, not in that way – allegedly).

But, that is ‘other’ history. We are focusing (albeit very loosely) on the events of the Earl of Seventeenth. Century.

The early seventeenth century, is what I meant. The threat of the Spanish Armadillo had long faded into the annals of time, whereby the Spinach Inquisition was a thing that was very real to a lot of Protesting warships that were docked in harbours in England, Holland, Grimsby, and the Newt World.

Back to the Fifth of November, sixteen hundred and six, and there is a very simple rhyme to help you remember this date:

“The Day a Fox Nearly Blew Up Parliament”

‘The Day was a Tuesday;

when the Lords were supposed to blow up;

the plotters’ plot was foiled on a Monday;

one day before,

(not four);

remember ‘this’ rhyme,

if you ‘ever’ have the time.’

which poem is, even today, taught to the small children at all the major universities, the length and breadth (or width, if you prefer) of the land.

Hoops! And this is the bit where I try to recite the continuation of the story whilst walking the dogs… because what could possibly go wrong there.

Spoiler alert: after the failed plot, King James the first day the first day the first day Thursday the first day the thirsty know the thirsty thank you decided do you have pictures drawn of the plotters the pictures with and cut into 4/4 and hung in galleries around London and hand and galleries around London straight enough none of the pictures had hence so you couldn’t really tell who was home or who with who apart from their initials which were embroidered onto there I am jackets shall we say GF Prosam Paul was Guy Fawkes and GS was goalscorer I am and this is How the cat a Hollick netball team gained their notoriety.

(… don’t you just hate it when the ‘auto-correct’ function on your phone autocorrects-corrects’ something that you wanted to write incorrectly).

Perhaps I should wait until I finish the dog walk before continuing.

Here, I am; and not a dog-walk in sight – by the way, is a dog-walk different time a cat-walk? and, come to think of it, what is a cake-walk

I’ll translate that previous section for you:

Spoiler Alert: After the failed plot, King James the Thirsty decided to have pictures drawn of the plotters, the pictures were then cut into four and hung in galleries around London, although none of the pictures had heads, so nobody could tell who was whom, or whom was who, apart from them having their initials embroidered onto their jackets, GF was for Guy Fawkes, and GS was Goal Scorer, and this was the Cataholic Netball Team destined to be remembered for all of posterity.

The Plot for the whole caper was discovered when a Christmas Card to the 4th Baron Monteagle was sent with the PostScript: Sending this early, Nuncle, as busy blowing up the inflatable House of Parliament at the moment.

Guy Fawkes may have died… I think that that is the case, as no records of his having lived after 16-0-5 have been found… but his memory… probably died with him – I know not how the brain works.

And, to finish with a bang?

Hold on, is that the King or Queen’s Royal Loyal Men running up the stairs that I hear, with their fire extinguishers primed ready for action? And are they all too closely followed by the King or Queen’s Royal Loyal Bomb Squad?

I told Catesby it was too early to send out his Crimbo cards!

“Absent Friends!”

“Absent Friends!” – A Liskeard Writers Group prompt for a 15-minute exercise.

(LWG exercise 02-07-2019)

We gathered around the round table and took the register of names.

It was sad that every year the knights became fewer; this time Sir Lachrimae was absent (tears were shed for his loss) and Sir Hector de Maine was counted as being amongst the fallen at Caer Baden.

The spaces at the grand old table of Arthur were almost matching those places filled by the elderly knights.

That was another thing, there were three present that wouldn’t be lasting past Lammas-time, their ailing and failing bodies soon to succcumb to ‘la Morte’.

Arthur raised his chalice. The room hushed as the knights, standing strong around the circle, finished raising their armoured arms to place their own goblets to within a touch of their stubbled and bearded chins.

“Absent friends!” Quoth Arthur.

“Absent friends!” came the response from the room.

They drank, thinking of those who had taught them to bear arms, fought alongside them through quests and battles, and who had fallen in mortal conflict when their time to go had arrived.

It was soon after this meeting that many of the knights decided to go on individual quests in search of grails; to find saintly places lost to knowledge, or to take up hermit status in caves in the woods or the mountains.

The Holy realm of Logres was fading quickly and would soon become a legend that would inspire the hearts of many in the centuries and millennia to come.

Arthur, king, hero, knight of the round table, founder of Camelot, was to become the once and future king – if legends are to be trusted he will return at the time of England’s greatest need.

But, legends being what they are, he may never be seen by any, apart from in a few written documents and the many tales that were ignited by England’s need for a giant in history.

The legend is still growing, Camelot, Tintagel, Arthur’s Seat, Badon and Silbury Hills, Logres, Glastonbury, and the like have claimed his name throughout the centuries, and shall do so for many more.

Hic Jacet Arthurus. Here lies Arthur.

“Somewhere in Cornwall…”

“Somewhere in Cornwall…”

LWG Prompt for 02.07.2019

Somewhere in Cornwall; not a specific place; but, within the confines of the Tamar River, the English Channel, and the Atlantic Ocean; or, to be similarly imprecise, somewhere within the triangulation of Torpoint, Bude, Land’s End and back to Torpoint, to finish the scalene triangle – a distance of some… if not many… many miles, and an area of quite a few square, and even more triangular, miles.

Anyway, some might say, if they were that way inclined, ‘Anywhere in Cornwall’, as that is all that really matters; be it at any point along the almost three-hundred miles of coast (296.2 miles to be exact – at the last count), or inland, at one of the drier places; upon the moor; or stuck in a traffic jam upon the A30 or A38 on any Bank Holiday.

As long as you are within the previously mentioned boundaries, you are going to be okay.

As to ‘your’ particular choice of location, that would depend on your pre-existing favourites (for myself, Looe, the beautifully charming fishing town; Polperro – Porthpyra In Cornish, meaning Pyra’s Cove; The Minack Theatre, hewn from the rock by Rowena Cade; Tintagel – of Arthurian legend; or the like) and choosing one of them; or heading off for a different castle, out on the wiley, windy Moor of Bodmin, or one of the many other amazing places that Cornwall has to offer.

“That was an advertisement on behalf of the Cornish Tourist Board ‘Kernow a’gas dynergh!’ Welcome to Cornwall.”

However, somewhere in Cornwall, there is a place that only I know of.

And how is it that only I know of it?

Well, I shall tell you…

many years ago, I was wandering along a leafy lane, close to where I lived at that time, when I found an old stone cross at the side of the road. Not that unusual, you might think, Cornwall has numerous stone crosses; however, this ‘was’ unusual in that it had never been there before, yet it looked as if it had always been there.

Upon that cross were written the words – in Latin – that roughly translated as ‘One day in a million I shall appear, to show you the way, then I shall disappear.’ My Degree in Latin – although non-existent – has always been a help to me at those times when a roughly incorrect Latin translation is required.

Back to the message – ‘The way to what?’ you might ask. And, even if you don’t, I shall answer you thus, as if you had.

I don’t know. I was flummoxed and a little non-plussed, my nom-de-guerre had become all guerre-de-nom, if not with a little confusion added on the side.

I sought help – which is highly believable, if you know me – and found it in the shape of one Professor Tremaine Penholder – there not being two of him – a Cornish institution (such as the Cornish County Asylum at Bodmin) with a wealth of experience under his belt, and a pocket-knife, in his pocket.

He showed me his pocket-knife, but was rather blunt (as wqs his pocket-knife) about my lack of interest in it. Then he asked me what I knew about fourteenth century peasants – I admitted to knowing little, then after he questioned me upon what I knew, I admitted to knowing nothing apart from when they were likely to have been present in history – he was rather impressed with this and offered me his help with my Cornish Conundrum.

“Nine letters, you say?” he asked. I nodded.

“And we only have thirty seconds in which to decipher the hidden word?”

I nodded again.

“Okay!” he announced. “Let’s just do this!”

SFX Countdown Music

As the music started the strangely hidden word appeared and we stared at it.

Less than thirty seconds later we had it.

“GoonHavern!” We both shouted – we were wrong, GoonHavern has ten letters.

After a further week of due consideration we realised that the word wasn’t ‘Penzance’ or ‘Tintagel’ but ‘Merrymeet’.

[MEETMRRYE]

The riddle was solved.

Well, that one was.

We then turned back to our task of deciphering the meaning of the translated-into-English-Latin-message that we had received from the illusory cross.

Tremaine poured over some ancient texts – trying to see who was sending them to him; eventually, I persuaded him to put his phone away and get on with the job in hand.

We soon (also, eventually) realised that somewhere in Cornwall there was also a Brigadoon- type place that appeared once every two thousand, three hundred and eighty-seven years for the space of a day.

The cross was a marker. And we had missed the date of the appearance of Trebrigadoon.

“Oh, well, maybe next time.” said Tremaine calmly. “I shall put the date in my diary.”

So, somewhere in Cornwall, in two-thousand, three hundred and eighty-seven years time…

“The Perpetual Calendar”

LWG 22/01/2019 prompt: “The Perpetual Calendar”

‘A very simple perpetual calendar consists of two cubes in a holder. One cube carries the numbers zero to five. The other bears the numbers 0, 1, 2, 6 (or 9 if inverted), 7 and 8. This is perpetual because only one and two may appear twice in a date and they are on both cubes.’

Having explained all that, let us move on to our little story.

Data Cat was unsure whether it was a Tuesday or not. It could have been. Or it quite easily have been one of the other numerous days available; Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Yesterday, Today, Someotherday and so on.

Data Cat knew exactly the date, and the month, but not the day, and not the year – never the year.

Actually, Data Cat was often a day or, occasionally, a month behind, because he relied on the human to change the numbers and the words of Data Cat’s Perpetual Calendar.

And sometimes the human forgot.

Humans often forget, and elephants, who never forget, are simply unable to change the date due to their thumbs being slightly too large for the job.

Data Cat considered an idea that he had just thought of: what if there could be made a Perpetual Calendar that just told the day and the year?

An ideal companion for a date and month Perpetual Calendar!

Truth be known, Data Cat was a little lonely for one of his own kind; a Perpetual Calendar mate?

True, he did have Sergeant Salt and ‘Boxy’ to keep him company; but, they were not PC (in so many ways) and could not be the soul mate that Data Cat yearned for.

Another day passed.

Data Cat was a watchful cat – and that doesn’t mean that he was a cat full of watches, that would be silly.

He kept his eyes wide open as life continued to proceed before him.

Nothing escaped his attention.

There was another cat that shared his life, Rosie Cat; but, she never noticed him.

This also made Data Cat a little sad.

The days passed. The months changed in order. Life went on.

One Day – if could have been a Thursday – there was a knock upon the door: ‘Knock!’ but, nobody was around to answer that knock.

Then the doorbell rang: ‘Ring!’but, there was nobody around to answer that ring.

Then there was the sound of smashing glass: ‘Smash!’ and, as before, nobody was around to hear that sound.

Somebody had smashed the window in order to break into the house where Data Cat lived.

This was actually very silly, and a lot of wasted effort – never mind the damage caused – as the door wasn’t locked in the first place.

Data Cat stood silently and awaited the forthcoming events.

No days passed.

It was a matter of seconds.

The Burglar moved into the house, passing Data Cat, and into the lounge.

Data Cat noticed that the Burglar was dressed in a black and white striped shirt, black trousers, soft-soled shoes and had a black mask covering his eyes.

Data Cat didn’t notice the black beret that the burglar was wearing as the burglar wasn’t wearing one.

Luckily, Sergeant Salt was taking notes.

The burglar turned the place upside down – everything fell down on to the ceiling – and then the burglar decided that he wasn’t the sort of person that would tidy up after he had made a mess.

There was nothing of value to be found. Data Cat (now laying at a strange angle from where he could see up to the floor) whispered to Sergeant Salt: “He’s a messy tyke!”

To which comment Sergeant Salt heartily agreed: “He could do with a good stiff talking to.” was his reply. “If only I was six foot tall like my father.” Sergeant Salt, being only three inches tall, was in no position to apprehend the naughty burglar.

Data Cat noticed that all the numbers and months that he treasured so proudly had fallen to the ceiling and were now proclaiming that it was August, May or February the 91st – although whether it was a Thutsday or not was still unknown.

The burglar, a little miffed at finding nothing of any worth in the house, stole away.

Part of a day passed; midnight came and went; but Data Cat’s date didn’t change – as things stood, it wasn’t likely that that would happen for a while yet.

Data Cat, Boxy and Sergeant Salt just lay there on the ceiling, looking up at the floor, patiently awaiting the return of the Humans.

As to whether Data Cat found a Day and Year Perpetual Calendar to share his time… well, that is for another story

Prompt: Abacus #LWG

Prompt: Abacus #LWG – 10 Minute Writing Exercise

10-minute Exercise #2 – 04/12/2018

“So, if I push one along here that makes five. Then I have to push one of these along here to signify the five that I have, and push these five back here to the beginning.?”

“Yes. That is correct. You now have the basis for a far-reaching knowledge of Mathematics. When you become the 13th Emperor of the Ting Dynasty you shall be able to add to your wisdom and to the happiness of your subjects through being able to add, subtract, divide and multiply numbers.”

“Is this all that I need? A knowledge of numbers?”

“You will also need to know how to treat your subjects. Be a benefactor and not a tyrant – bring prosperity to all and not just some.”

“And these people here who perform the part of a human abacus… are they not worthy too?”

“They are the subjects of our enemies – they have been treated kindly and given jobs. Some are Abacusians like these, others man the human table-football games; and yet others are models for our Terracota army.”

“Have we a need for an army?”

“It is a Terracotta one. It’s hardly going to be much use in a battle.”

“True. So what is the point of it?”

“We do have rather a lot of Terracotta that we didn’t know what to do with.”

“Figures.”

“Indeed. So, let us get back to our sums, Little Master. We move one across here and that makes…?”

Prompt: Magnet #LWG 10-Minute Exercise 04/12/2018

Prompt: Magnet for 10-Minute Exercise #LWG

I felt a strange attraction pulling me towards the horse – even though I was not a horsey person. I needed to feed a handful of hay to the grey mare. And, there, was some hay just right for purpose.

The horse seemed to appreciate the hay and ate as much as I could offer.

There appeared a saddle, stirrups, a bit, reigns and bridle – in fact, all the things needed to allow one to ride a horse.

I, on the other hand, was now appropriately dressed in a pair of riding boots, jodhpurs, riding hat and jacket – well, bless my soul and calm me The Lone Ranger.

“Away!” I called and off we went.

Past 100-Acre Wood, all along, down along, our along Leigh, past the Old Jockey and Horse public house and off to the moor.

We seemed to Canter, Gallop and trot as if we were one being.

That was when I noticed that we had become a Centaur. All the paraphernalia of horse-riding had gone and there were just the four legs and upper torso of the previous incarnation.

Oops! Did this thing really happen?

I tapped one metal-clad hoof twice for ‘Yes!.

It’s not often that I am lost for words – but, hey!

I cantered on, now searching for a lady Centaur with whom I could share my horsey life.

Positive or negative, there was no way back now – the elemental forces of Nature were set on pulling me forward.

‘Twas the meeting before Christmas! #LWG

‘Twas the meeting before Christmas!

LWG for 04/12/2018

Prompt: Christmas

‘‘twas the meeting before Christmas,

in old Stuart House,

and all the brave writers

were unaware of a mouse,

who was chewing on paper

whose fine words were at risk,

for they, the bold writers of Lisk,

had been careless as to where they stored their stories, kept their tales of seas and sails.

The mouse was oblivious

as to the worth of the words;

the adjectives sublime;

some similes quite fine,

and one compelling metaphor,

never heard before.

“Nibble, nibble!” nibbled the mouse. his stomach filling with verbs, as he happily chewed.

“When I grow up I want to be a writer!” He exclaimed. On and on he chewed.

“I’ve devoured many epics, some longer than need be;

short stories and poems-

the writers don’t heed me-

and I quite liked the comedy writings of some;

although they cause a funny

feeling when they got to my tum.

Nibble, nibble!” nibbled the mouse.

“And now for our homework!” was announced to the room. “Our prompt was ‘Christmas’. to brighten the gloom

of a dark December’s day;

who shall go first, start off reading today?”

They ‘ummmmed’ and they ‘ahhhhed’ and then one did speak:

“I’ve written a story about a Christmassy Week.”

The story told, the response quite pleasing, a circular route to read was now teasing. But, clockwise or widdershins? Which way would it go? It always varied, so no one did know.

“I’ll go next!” from the clockwise direction. The rest now relaxed by this natural selection.

“My story is about the state of the National Elf at Christmas!” We did laugh. And this was followed by many a fine sentence and adroit paragraph. Until the story had been told with sufficient aplomb. “That was most uplifting!” a voice spake from the room.

SO, clockwise we travelled, the stories well told; one about Christmas Trees, and one of The Old, Old Christmases before rationing ended; when an orange was thrilling, and a broken stick mended.

Then it came to my turn.

What should I say?

What had I written Upon Christmas, for today?

I took a deep breath…

prepared all my words…

and began:

‘‘‘twas the meeting before Christmas

in Old Stuart House…”

“Nibble, nibble, nibble!” nibbled on the mouse.