Sunday, 12 February 2012

8th Feb. I didn't get this on the blog without the usual blood, sweat and tears

Ian thought it was interesting to hear last week about group members' thoughts about the books they are reading, and would like the group to undertake a book review twice a year.

Douglas told us that he has received a plea from the Gurkha museum in Winchester which is looking for people to be friends of the museum. You can become a member for £15 or a life member for £150.  If anybody is interested let him know and he will print off an application form.  It is apparently worth looking at the website just to see the Gurkha’s kukri!

Rob has discovered how to upload a book on to Kindle and get it published free. The formatting is tricky, so he advised taking it slowly. To read a Kindle eBook you don’t have to have a Kindle, you can download books from Amazon/Kindle to your laptop or PC, the software is free. 

John told us about the open mic evening the evening before, which was a very sociable evening. 

Iarla gave us a book review of The sense of an ending by Julian Barnes.  He was waiting for a revelation and kept wondering if there was something that he had missed.  He never warmed to Tony, the narrator of this Booker longlisted novella, which is a meditation on ageing, memory and regret. John McGregor agreed with him.
Heinke thought that book reviews should be no more than 250 words.

Heather continued her woman in Spain story.  After the party she told us about last time she was asked to join the community committee and arranged to meet someone to discuss this in a cafĂ© bar that served English breakfasts.  ‘It was sad to see that the English were infecting Spain with heart attack food and bad taste.’  She was told about Mick who had a heart attack in the Irish bar – murdered by sausage she thought!  Very funny. Don’t join that committee Heather!

Jane wrote on the theme ‘I didn’t get where I am today…’
A couple was having rows about lack of money.  Bill blamed his wife Susan because she had gone back to work for only 3 days a week. ‘Who would look after your mother if I did that?’ she retorted. ‘You do nothing.’  ‘I didn’t get where I am today without being an undermanager in a supermarket in a market town like this’ he said.  He rushed out and slammed the door.  Please let tomorrow be better than today, she thought, then she remembered mother was coming for lunch.   Beautifully written and gave the sense of frustration of the wife.

Heinke – ‘I would not have got  where I am today if my father Leo had not abused me and forced me to be a child prodigy, making me compose requiems and ending up in a pauper’s grave.’  It was written by the young Mozart.

Ann – I didn’t get where I am today without some setbacks on the way.   Things could be much worse.  She ended with ‘I love my life here in the sun; I have made friends and would like to say I am happy where I am today.’ Amen to that.

Avril’s piece was a poem – ‘I didn’t get where I am today without standing up and having my say, ….. getting my own way, thinking of all the things I have acquired and best of all I am now retired.’ 

Mery gave us a piece of prose.  What!? She told us how she came on an inspection trip to Spain and became proud owners of a villa.  It was freezing cold and they had brought the flimsiest of clothes.  The next day they brought 2 tracksuits each, one to wear in the house and one to wear in bed.  They thought about going back to the UK but things brightened up. They decided to sell up and move into a flat which is easier to keep clean and tidy, she hopes never to leave her home, but she didn’t get where she was today without going through some learning curves.  Didn’t we all!

Chris – ‘I didn’t get where I am today without a lot of grief. Looking back I felt quite at ease, I didn’t regret gaining wealth, rank and power.’  Written by Rupert Murdoch. He will certainly get some grief this week after five staff at his flagship British tabloid The Sun were arrested over bribery allegations.

Brenda continued her story about Lottie and Ivy.  Lottie didn’t want Ivy to leave and go to live with a family who wanted to adopt her.  Ivy left for a house in Whitechapel where her adoptive father was a parson ministering to the unfortunates in the East End. He spoke about the whores there and said he had been selected to seek them out and save them from themselves.  He put his hand on Ivy’s knee.  ‘Come sit beside me and I will comfort you.’ They arrived at their destination and she was shown into her bedroom.…… watch this space. 
Comments were that it was very atmospheric, and was pitched just right to create suspicion. Some small refinements were suggested.

Judy – I didn’t get where I am today without my husband Stuart.  She told us of his stressful job in the stock exchange.  He started off as a messenger boy at 15 and worked his way up.  He was diagnosed with high blood pressure and stress and his doctor told him to change his job or move to a desert island.  They went to look at cottage in the Cotswolds as the couple there were moving to Spain.  Stuart asked her what she thought about a move to the Cotswolds and she said ‘I think we should move to Spain.’ Sensible decision.

John – I didn’t get where I am today without a bit of luck.  He told us of an ex who told his boss that he had been banned from driving.  ‘Talk about a woman scorned.’ Luckily he managed to get a replacement licence which didn’t show that he had been banned at some stage.  ‘Now for my revenge.’  Should he let her family know that she had changed a will in her favour? He decided against this and came to Spain to live a more tranquil life in the sun but remembered how close he came to disaster. Entertaining as ever.

Douglas wrote about a self-made man who developed into a bully surrounded by toadies.  He prospered although he was of interest to the police.  He made sure families were looked after if they took the rap for him.  He didn’t get where he was today by being a choirboy. One of his rivals was found dead and he was standing over the corpse.  He was found guilty and sentenced to the maximum punishment.  Now he really was at the top of the heap, as the rope was placed around his neck and he was topped.  An interesting take on the theme and he received some good comments.

Mary Morris – I didn’t get where I am today without blood, sweat and tears, without hurt and despair.  I did get where I am today by sticking in a knife.’  Remind me not to upset you Mary.

I wrote a poem about the futility of war but at the end the group laughed.  It wasn’t meant to be funny!

I didn’t get where I am today by stepping back from joining the fray
I joined the army my dues to pay, my family’s fears I did gainsay
I was deployed without delay, and keen to serve my part did play
by going out the following day, on patrol with Sergeant Grey
‘There’s gunfire incoming’ is what he said, and the very next moment I was dead

Ian told us about the workshop starting next week.  The workshop will be in 4 parts, each linking in with the others, although each one is a stand-alone piece. He gave no other clues damn it!


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