Tag Archives: #LWG

3 pieces on the Liskeard Writers Group prompt: ‘Childhood’s End’

Childhood’s End – LWG Prompt ‘Childhood’s End’ 1

When does childhood end, and adulthood begin?

Or, is the period of puberty a gap between the two?

Do some people never grow up, staying childlike, or remaining childish?

Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up.

J.M. Barrie

Barry Island, not named after the author of Peter Pan, nor anybody else named Barry, or Peter – not even after ‘Barry Sheene’ – that shiny polished motorbike man, that was, but no longer is – sad face.

And definitely not after Barry Potter or his mum Beatrix Expelliarmus Potter.

Why do ‘I’ act like a child?

And, why do I write things like this, when I could be devoting my writing hours to writing serious… stuff? Well, the fact that I wrote ‘stuff’ there probably says a lot about me. I do like to keep it light, and, I try, (try) to keep it funny, it makes me no money, there is no fame, to my name, and very few know me – do you see?

You see, I am a poet, writer, day or nighter, is when I write, and the subject matter ranges from Cheese to Chinchillas,

– which is not much of a range if you think of their adjudication… conjunction… consumption? juxtaposition! that’s it – their juxtaposition’ in a divmvtuoobary. Sorry, that should read ‘dictionary’, but, I do sometimes suffer from BTS, that is BIG THUMBS Syndrome, which is definitely not helpful when writing upon an the teensy, weensy screen of my iPhone.

But, that’s better than… I can’t read this… I think that word could be ‘ferret?’ – not that having the word ‘ferret’ in the middle of a story about intergalactic space travel to the planet ‘Waffle’ makes any sense whatsoever.

And why the planet ‘Waffle’?

Well, I was looking for a mnemonic, mnemonic? Mnemonic – Ah! it has a silent ‘m’ like in the mbubonic plague – anyway, I was looking for – one of those thingies – to memorise, so that I could say it when I needed to know the names of the planets as you travel away from the Sun – which, luckily, I very rarely do.

The one I found – and liked – was,

‘My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles’.

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune – there is no Pluto in the phrase as Pluto has recently been declared a ‘dwarf’ planet – presumably, it’s where the dwarves live – allegedly.

Anyway, when I needed to remember the planet order, I recited the ‘mnemonic’ and made just a slight error, in that I recited,

‘My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Waffles!’

So Planet Waffle was born.

This, basically, is how planets, the wheel, fire, electricity, the hole in Polo mints and many other discoveries were… discovered.

All of which brings me back to dough, a deer, a female deer… sorry, that’s a song.

It brings me full circle – just imagine getting an all-day ticket for the Circle Line on the London Underground – can you do that? I mean, can you actually purchase an all-day ticket for the Circle Line? You can? Oh, that’s good – isn’t it? And that last question was a ‘rhetorical’ question – you need to watch out for those – crafty little beggars that they are.

So, round and round on the Circle Line for a whole day – is that possible? I mean, there isn’t going to be a buffet car or a nice man or lady popping along with a trolley of goodies for you to peruse and purchase, is there? I’m not sure if they have toilets, either. So, perhaps it’s not going to be a ‘good’ experience if you try and go round and round for approximately fifteen hours. And, if you did choose to try it, would you go clockwise or Widdershins (which is an old term for anti-clockwise – which is seldom used nowadays – widdershins, not anti-clockwise, that would just be silly). Anyway, old terms do go out of fashion, like ‘Larboard’ which used to be the left hand side of a boat if you were looking at the pointy end – Starboard was the right hand side of the same boat as you looked at the pointy end. Larboard and Starboard, being very similar, caused confusion – as did turning around on a boat and looking at the blunt end – and so Larboard was replaced with the term ‘Port’ – so as you look from the blunt end of a ship to the pointy end, Port is on the left, Starboard is in the right. This only helps if you know your left from your right – and you are not ambiguous – sorry, ambidextrous.

I don’t think that London Underground trains have pointy ends, so that probably won’t help you to work out which is Port and which is Starboard when you are deciding whether to approach Notting Hill Gate from the South or from the North.

—//—

fabian and Zelda – LWG prompt ‘Childhood’s End’ 2

fabian (with a small ‘f’) was less ‘fabulous’ than a fish in a frock.

That is to say, fabian thought that ‘that’ was the case.

Zelda (with a capital ‘Z’) begged to differ.

They were twins.

And… they were Siamese twins.

Not, as a rule, did they share the same thoughts, nor have the same outlook on their life (or lives).

fabian would rather read an exciting crime thriller in a quiet corner; whilst Zelda liked to be amongst friends and having a cheerful conversation, with half a dozen engaging colleagues, about all things that there were under the sun.

This may have caused conflict amongst some couples; but, somehow, fabian and Zelda managed to make it work.

When, in their eighties, the unmarried fabian and the thrice engaged Zelda finally said ‘goodbye!’ to this cruel world (fabian first, Zelda two days later) it was the end of an era.

They outlived all of their childhood friends – mostly Zelda’s – and it was with a quietly fond farewell that the world said its own adieu.

Buried together, they still lay within a relationship that few could even begin to comprehend.

—//—

19:14 – LWG prompt ‘Childhood’s End’ 3

It was approaching a quarter past seven o’clock when the young men left their childhood’s behind and signed upon the dotted line for the reward of the King’s shilling and a muddy grave.

Lock Down – a history.

LWG prompt for 05-05-2020

‘Lock Down – a history’

Lock Down is the expanse of land to the north just beyond the Cornish town of Lostwithiel. Ancient Lostwithiel with its things, and it’s other things, pride of that part of Cornwall where it was proud to be the largest town within miles of itself.

Lock Down, as it is now known, was once, and only once, known as Loch Doen by the Scottish couple who visited there once in the 1820s. But, as they were Scottish, and only visited the once, it is not true to say that Lock Down was called that by any substantial number of people, at any time.

To be truthful, Lock Down was probably named after it being a down, and the Lock family being the owners from about 1535 to 1732 – late afternoon to round about tea-time, you could say.

One of the most amazing features of Lock Down is it’s Prehistoric and, almost certainly, Stone Age Triangular Henge, that is situated directly to the North West of Restormel Castle by about three furlongs – which is nearly half a mile. Who’s to say that this isn’t the only example of a 180 degree temple this side of Tripoli – I know I can’t.

Apart from its Henge, Lock Down also has a number of standing, leaning, or fallen over stones dating back to pre-knowledge-of-exactly-when-times. These menhir-type stones are mainly to be found loitering around in groups of twos or threes – the police are currently keeping an eye on them – sometimes two.

No discernible farming has taken place upon the Lock Down landscape, although a Portrait view does show that there may have been strip farming at certain times, until that naughty, naughty custom was put a stop to by a particular astute warden of the Maze – as he was called. His name has gone down in local history along with the phrases ‘spoilsport’ and ‘jobsworth’.

Lock Down, even to this very blustery day, has a mystery and a history that any other imaginary place would be jolly proud of.

The End

Sir Mordarthur.

LWG Christmassy Thing for 2019 – Sir Mordarthur.

‘It was the knight before Christmas.’

‘What was, dear?’

‘At the door. A knight in shining armour. He was selling his services door-to-door.‘

‘What sort of services, dear? We could do with some new tea-towels.’

‘Tea-towels? Hardly something that a Knight of the Round Table would interest himself in.’

‘Round Table? We could do with a new table cloth, too. Had he anything in that line?’

‘He was asking if we needed any dragons slain, evil wizards brought to justice, or any quests that were needing to be undertaken.’

‘Hmmmm. We don’t really believe in the slaying of dragons – all animals have a natural right to swoop upon poor unsuspecting townsfolk – if that’s the sort of thing they do.’

‘Exactly. And I don’t think we have any dragons in these parts – a few lizards, the odd tortoise – nothing that requires a knightly seeing-to.’

‘And no cotton goods, whatsoever?’

‘No.’

‘Couldn’t we have sent him on a quest to seek a Holy tea-towel. There must have been a venerable Saint somewhen in the past that used one to wash up the tea things – that would make it a holy relic.’

‘That’s a possibility. I’ll run out after him and see if he’s up for a bit of questing. He’s probably stopped in the village at the George & Dragon Public House (Est. 427AD), for a pint of mead.’

‘Okay. But, please stress that we desperately need at least one tea towel to dry up the Christmas things.’

‘I shall. Perhaps I can lay it on thick about the difficulty we have using bundles of straw to try and clean the plates – most unsatisfactory.’

He left, the door closing behind him.

Well, it was the knight before Christmas, and maybe, just maybe, a tea-towel could be found at short notice by a noble knight of the Round Table.

And, maybe, just maybe Thomas The Malory and Daisy also The Malory would be able to carry out a proper post-Christmas washing-up operation.

Thomas The Malory soon reached the George & Dragon Public House (Est. 427AD), and was relieved to see a huge charger tied up outside of the pub – it was Jimmy the Mediaeval Spiv, who charged over 4000% APR (All Pennies Recovered) on his ‘loaning of monies’ scheme – however, he was currently unable to answer any of Thomas The Malory’s questions on the availability of a payday loan at decent rates as he was a little tied up at the moment.

Leaving Jimmy the Mediaeval Spiv to rue upon the error of his Mediaeval ways, Thomas the Malory entered into the public bar of the George & Dragon (Est. 427AD) and then entered into conversation with the local yokels. They quickly pointed out that the seven-foot tall gentleman in the shiny armour was probably the questing-type Knight that he was looking for.

Thomas The Malory walked across the crowded public bar area, and into the reverential space that existed around the metal-clad potential quester and greeted the knight in the traditional manner,

“Y’arright?

What ya drinking, Sir knight,

may I, on your best behest,

on payment of a quest,

perchance purchase you

of another brew?”

The Knight, unaccustomed as he was to public bar speaking, nodded gravely, upon which action his visor slipped down with an almighty, ‘clang!’

Having huge decoratively decorated gauntlets upon his hand-areas, the noble knight was unable then to reopen his visor, or drink his drink (and, straws, having recently been outlawed, were not an option). Thomas The Malory saw an opening. Into which he poked a fire rod from the nearby fire. After a good deal of prising, the visor conceded defeat and rose with a ‘creeeeeeeeak!’

“Okay.” said the knight – for he was a worthy knight, for all that he was anachronistic – and slightly drunk, “I shall grant you the quest that you behest, I shall do my best, and shall not rest, until… I have travelled East, and I have travelled West (possibly going in all the other directions, too) until I have brought you that which you request.” and having said such, he gathered his wits about him and left the public bar of the George & Dragon Public House (Est. 427AD) and set off in a generally Southerly direction.

‘It was the Knight before Christmas.’

‘Was that who was at the door?’

‘Yes.’ said Thomas The Malory to his darling Daisy also The Malory. He left us this.’

‘Is it a tea-towel?’ asked the darling Daisy also The Malory.

‘Well…’ said Thomas The Malory, ‘I think that the knight may have misheard my words and requirements when we were stood in the public bar of the George & Dragon Public House (Est. 427AD).’

‘Why? What has the noble knight quested for us?’

“Well, it’s not a tea-towel: it’s a different type of towel, altogether; it’s a teat-owl, and it’s just had babies.’

The washing-up would have to wait for another year.

“The Title of the Book”

Liskeard Prompt for 03/12/2019

“The Title of the Book”

The title of the book was something that Elderad van Cinq had not settled upon. He had a ‘working title’ that is for sure, but as it was ‘Words Upon Pages’ it wasn’t to be taken seriously, and definitely wasn’t considered apt, six months later, when Elderad’s book was being edited for posthumous publication.

Not that the book warranted much at all in the way of editing – Elderad wrote with a perfectionist’s eye, and barely a tense needed tightening in the whole of the one hundred and thirty-seven thousand words – of which more than a hundred had been plucked from ancient obscurity, and almost fifty had been created solely for the purpose of adding a contrasting freshness to the reader’s experience when discovering the world of Cassigney and its environs.

Being Elderad’s first, last, and only book, he was unable to promote it by the usual means – book-readings, book-signings, book-selling door-to-door, etcetera – as I may have inferred, he was well dead by the time it hit the book-shop shelves.

The title of the book had caused the publishing company quite a deal of trouble; the subject matter of the book, the characters, the locations of the action, all had one defining factor – they were as dank ditchwater, deadly and dull.

So, why was it that this book was awaited for with such bated breath?

The reason was that Elderad was the King of Cassigney, well, he had been until his untimely death at the ripe old age of thirty, and at the hands of person or persons unknown,

‘The King is dead,

Long live the next one!’

thus the king’s words were thought to be of worth.

And, it was rumoured that the king had written within the book about his imminent (to his mind) death.

Luckily, for the plot to thicken enough, but not too much, the hand-written manuscript was kept under lock and key, and the copies upon the shelves, and in the hands of the excited amateur sleuths (of which there were many), although they had been lovingly produced and packaged (‘value for money’ being a watchphrase of the particular publishers involved) it was only to be from the original that the murder was to be solved.

For ‘Murder’ it had been.

The book was given the title, ‘The King’s Tale’, that had been changed to ‘The King’s Story’, followed by, ‘King Elderad’s Tome’, ‘The King an Die’, ‘King E and the Mysterious Affair at Styles’, and lastly, but not least, ‘How a King Was Murdered.’

This last, and also not least, title was proudly gilded upon the cover of a print run of one hundred thousand books. They literally flew off of the shelves – and, as is the usual case, there was one selling for pennies in a charity shop long before lunchtime on the day of release.

There were also ‘signed’ copies being touted around – as much as this was an impossibility – and that had added a few shillings to the prices asked.

The title of the book was destined to be the title of the book at the top of the best-sellers list of Cassigney for many months.

It turned out that the book was there for three months exactly, until it was discovered that the butler had done it.

The book entitled, ‘My Story’ by A. Butler was rush-released, and it was this book that knocked ‘How a King Was Murdered’ off the top of the best-sellers list.

It, too, was published posthumously.

‘Remembering Things’ – a poem.

‘Remembering Things’ – a poem.

Remembering things;

watches, and strings

on ancient guitars;

places I’ve been,

bands that I’ve seen,

the purchase of dodgy old cars;

people I’ve known,

styles I’ve outgrown,

that time that I landed on Mars;

the toys that I’ve had,

hols with Mum and Dad;

collecting bugs in jam jars.

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!

Two 10-Minute Exercises – Upon entering a room (happy and sad versions)

Two 10-Minute Exercises – Upon entering a room (happy and sad versions)

(LWG Exercise 06-08-2019)

Entering a room (with a happy perspective)

I walked in and looked up – the ceiling could do with a coat of paint… perhaps, even an overcoat; maybe a thick trench-coat. I chuckled.

Well, at least our eight-legged friends were enjoying their lofty playground – I could just imagine them hop-scotching across a numbered grid.

Come to think of it ‘that’ was an image that didn’t quite work – ‘two legs good (at hopscotch): eight legs four times better…?

Ha! I would leave that mathematical conundrum rolling around the empty corridors of my mind. I was happy for the spiders; they were probably indifferent to the plight of all mankind, not just me.

‘It’s one small step-ladder for man;

one giant leap-frog for mankind.’

I was in that sort of a mood.

I pulled out a chair and sat down – much better than doing sit-ups.

The room had seen better days – and, admittedly, it had almost certainly seen far worse ones. If Charles the First had visited this space would he have thought of the illustrious being that would follow in his footsteps nearly four centuries later?

I giggled at this, and thought:

if you can’t keep your head

whilst all around are round heads

then you will just have to be relevant in the

memory that you leave behind.

Wasn’t there a portrait of him just down the stairs?

What a Charlie he had been.

—//—

Entering the same room (with an unhappy perspective)

I walked in and looked down – the floor was dank, dreary, dusty. Scuff marks had left a series of black lines that looked like somber crossings-out or redactions upon the tarnished surface of the dry tongue and not so groovy floorboards.

A layer of something vaguely human skin-cell like coated the furniture – it pays to clean otherwise the flakes of humanity build up and can create dust-bunnies in a room. Dust-bunnies? Yes, evil little critters with dark red eyes, they live under tables and in the knot holes of skirting-boards, waiting for a chance to steal away the joyous life of a happy chappie, leaving only a deep pit of loss and a numbness that feels like a curtain hanging by its neck, swaying morbidly from a wooden pole as the life-force drips from the drop… one. molecule. at. a. time.

My eyes settled upon my feet; which seemed to be sinking into the wooden floor surface – that may not have been likely; but, it now turned out that it was possible.

I awaited my descent into the fabric of this room with all the enthusiasm that I could muster – which was none.