Sunday, 28 June 2015

Summer for Shannon

You are afraid.

There is blackness all around you, bottomless void.

You fall into darkness, only down.

Disgust and self loathing overcome you; exhausted, depleted, so very ashamed.

You are heavy with futility, everything beyond your control.

You can't touch them or hold them or weigh them.

Yet they feel so real, so true, the words that torment you.

Feel the warmth of the sun, the safety of your mother's arms.

Taste the sweetness of honey, the purity of cool water.

Smell the scent of sweet fresh grass, succulent vegetation, piquant spices.

Hear birdsong, the buzz of insect wings, a choir singing in unison, waves lapping on the shore, the gut wrenching twang of a blues guitar, children's laughter.

See the cobalt blue of the sky, the sparkle of sun on water, the myriad colours of rainbow parakeets, a baby's smile.

Winter or summer; you choose.

You are loved. Don't go.

Please live. Stay with us. Live.

Choose summer.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Toy train ride and romantic dinner

Here is the updated piece after your feedback. I realised after our meeting that I had photos and video clips of the fort and the train, so I didn't add much more description of their appearance.
Many thanks as always for the extremely useful critiques!

Maureen Moss

Salutary advice

      When in the summer of you life, enjoy
       Live for the day and have a ball.
       The years will fly, too soon you're old
       And winter pains will take their toll.  

       Store memories to make you smile
       So you can live them all again,
       Recalling friends who've meant a lot
       But now are gone, while you remain.

                          Anne Grierson

Thursday, 25 June 2015


We are going back to Blighty, to sample the summer air,
A trip across the Peninsula, the first step to getting there.
Can't take the heat any more, prefer it a little colder,
We loved the sun and all that fun, but not now, a little older.

The journey starts in humid heat, we go, no trepidation,
When we get home, we settle in to warmth with precipitation.
But we are hardy folks, brought up in tougher times,
When you come from "way oop North", you are used to harder climes.

We summer in the premier resort, Blackpool to be precise,
Most think of it as a dump, we think it's rather nice,
So if you make it back to see what makes us Northerners tick,
Give us a call and pop right in, we'll give you a little stick,
( of rock that is)

The stars appear each summer, the folks to entertain,
Who come from every corner, by bus and car and train,
So please don't worry if I'm stuck in rain and wind or fog,
I'll keep you all well informed, but you must peruse THE BLOG.

Tommy Frattaroli

A Northern Summer

Dreich days
allow no fun,
No heat haze,
No summer sun.

A wind, chill
from northerly breezes,
May make you ill
with coughs and sneezes.

A mountain mist
that can get you lost,
Whilst hills are kissed
with a touch of frost.

Black waves reach
for the nearest land,
And turn the beach
to damp, brown sand.

And shorter days
bring no cheer,
When everyone says,
"Winter's here!"

Ian C

Blogspot Day

At yesterday's meeting, members were encouraged to write on the subject of "Summer" and for the work to be published on this media. There was a limitation of 100 words or 5 verses of poetry. Needless to say they came up trumps with a variety of poems and prose, some funny, some serious, some colourful, some remembering their childhood days. Hopefully the authors will have been encouraged enough to publish them and showcase their efforts.

Ian C 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Poetry Writers of Stanza Mar Menor

Poetry Writers of Stanza Mar Menor met up once again before the heat of summer gets too much and before David has disappeared again to Murmansk, Douglas back to Scotland and Margaret seeking a cooler place in Sheffield.  I will be here until October.

Margaret challenged herself with a 'Love Poem' and we think that it is a 'Poem of Love'. The challenge was to create your own list of non-loving words and use them.  The first stanza contained the disaster element with the opening lines The day began like a farce/a comedy of events and then picking out two lines in the second longer Stanza 'You cooled and soothed me/with your hands and voice.

Douglas with his mind firmly set in Scotland gave us one 'On the Eve of the Vote' which produced an amended longer version written two days after the Independence result was known.  Amendments pending and so no comments.  He followed this with 'SignifaTory' and maybe we will see some small changes.  It is good to get political!

David asked us to comment upon his latest Tonka story which we did.  This is a subject that has enthused him ever since his first visit to Russia.  He now introduced 'Sex and Squabbles' based on his observations of House Sparrows and other birds he has seen around his house.  Then 'Barents Beauty' relating his own observations of that part of Russia.  Both so descriptive.

With Future Learn he is involving himself in lyrics and enjoying it.  His knowledge of rhythm and metre will be honed even further.

We may be only a small group, but there is a mix of work being produced.  I am involving myself in story writing which has been inspired by the themes of the Torrevieja Writers Circle. However, a poem is never that far away.

Our next gathering will be in late summer at the earliest although we will be in contact with new work through emails.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Another Wednesday Morning

After much discussion we consider that our blog is important for our writing group and it's continued regular use is an item to stay with us.  This subject was thrashed about for a good 15 minutes, and out of it, thanks to one members perseverance the following was agreed upon.

NEXT WEEK, the matter to be written upon, will be 'SUMMER'.  All are commanded to write something during the week for it to be examined, in full, next Wednesday morning.  That should not be too demanding as we are looking for a mere 100 words.

After considerable perusal it is intended that these efforts can be posted on the blog.

I am of the opinion that those daring to write and read their work should be the only ones to be allowed to comment upon another's work.  Being negative for a split second I feel that this subject does not excite me (at the moment), but since I will feel compelled to comment I will have to write!

No old stuff, please, although you can re-work something from the past.

Betty is excused this theme as she wants to write ' about her visitor from hell'.  It better had be fun and she can now relax and tell us all about her, now that the bitch has gone home.

Discussions on readings were many, they were varied and dealt with the words before them.  One discussion took the form of whether work should be 'polished' or recent and raw.  Although one can look ahead for themes to allow more time there is the other view that writing for every theme only gives the writer a few days.  Several members said that they wrote on impulse and hence their work was new.  So, your choice, take the gamble or edit it to death.

From a group of 18 attendees, 13 read some of their own work which created different ideas on the theme of 'Wedding Party'. Some were serious, some were funny and invoked laughter with some being poetic.  I have notes on all of them, but I have chosen to select two for different reasons.

Tommy gave us 'Rosie'.  This story has been in his head for 20 years and ought to have been written long before.  It was powerful.  It was compelling and written with a female voice.  Images were very well created with comments that resounded with us.  Like, when referring to two participants, as 'Bitch and a Fraud' and ended with with the recall of a dream.   Details of this story can be told later.

Andrea recently has joined us, challenged our senses, with a full account of a church wedding, but with a twist.  Beautifully crafted and read.  I won't say anymore as you could read it elsewhere.

Okay and finally this is group of writers and the challenge for next week is to write a hundred words on SUMMER - so get at it!

I have made this one shorter and I will not write up the next one.  Anyone prepared to do it?

COMMENTS please.

John Edwards 17th June.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Beyond Belief

You've always played with my mind,
Forever causing so much grief,
Always cruel, never kind,
You're so totally beyond belief.

Every day you stole part of my life,
So villainous, just like a thief,
While I tried to be a loving wife,
Why? It's just beyond belief.

A loving wife and doting mother,
Until you tried to cause mischief,
Accusing me of being with another,
Your imagination is beyond belief.

Everything that you say,
Has me trembling like a leaf,
How I ever got this way,
Is to me beyond belief.

From the games you've played,
There has never been relief,
I'll never know why I stayed,
It is so far beyond belief.

But I'm leaving now, without excuse,
And I'll hire myself a brief,
And he'll hear of taunts and abuse,
That I hope he'll think is beyond belief.

Ian C

Wednesday's Meeting

On a hot Wednesday in Mil Palmeras we had an excellent couple of hours.  There have been criticisms in the past about people not actually writing and reading what they have written.  There is no demand to do anything, but as this is a writing group there surely has to be a need, even a compulsion to write something.  The same can been said of some who have not made any contributions in commenting upon items that have been read, in making suggestions and in giving feedback.  Now I can say that we had great pieces being read, followed by suggestions, advice with some items creating an atmosphere for discussion.  There was so much positivity and this could persuade them to 'put pen to paper' more often and to have their voices heard.

With this latter point in mind and with our members traveling to cooler climes they should be prepared to email their work so that it can be read in their absence.  How about that for a challenge and to fill the time on a cool English summer's day!  Also, if the blog is maintained then our 'overseas' members can comment and still be informed of our mornings.

Now to this morning.  Sue, one of our regular contributors, brought Andrea and introduced her to the group.  Maureen's exercise on punctuation will now be discussed next week.  ( How many times have you read something that could be better punctuated and also contains mistakes?)

Margaret started with Billy, the OCD man, versus his ever loving domesticated wife Sally, and that was until she had been damaged too much.  The knife came out and was put in. This subject of 'domestic abuse' is a re-occurring one that always stimulates writers and discussion.  There was a multitude of comments that praised the story, on the whole, and some particular lines specifically.
One such as 'Sally's face gripped her' as she looked at herself in the mirror and comments like 'mind games' and 'he still loves me' were mentioned.

Phil stated that there is a site controlled by Ruben Wooley that deals with abuse with the title 'I am not a silent poet'.  Something to refer to.

John then read a lengthy story on 'Where do screams go to?'  It was a venture into the unknown with gushing earth water and collected screams.  Descriptive scenes and the images he created were spoken of.  The sign of the 'pig bench' is something to watch out for and be afraid of.  There was death on every page and with tormented screamers being invited to leave us.

Another John(he with an S.A. accent) gave us a piece of poetry about a lottery winner or not.  All good rhyme with some excellent combinations and such fun!

Anne was stimulated by the TV programme ' Homes under the Hammer'.  Enunciated in a very good rhythm that made it all flow.  It was that good as not all the rhymes were obvious.

Phil followed this with a beautiful piece created about fishing with all the technical terms and a story of apparent well being and not-so-well-off.  We liked the turn at the end and like other good readings you can have your own ending.  I won't say anymore because as for other items you can ask for them and read via Email. Why not?

All these were on the theme of 'Beyond Belief' and so was Sue's.  She always brings an extra dimension to her writing and in this was able to combine the work of ants with The Crucifixtion. This prompted Christina to dive into her file and bring out one from April 2004 that simply dove-tailed into the previous one.  Both were deep and thoughtful with the latter asking is 'God Good?'. Adaptability or not?

Ian stayed with the theme and in his poetic style gave us a rhyming version and with a repeating line echoing the theme.  I think that this will be a blog entry and so I will say nothing else.

Maureen' contribution was to read part of her travel blog and asking for comments.  More of this bit or less of this?  The comments flowed.
Tony staying with the theme came with an unfinished piece and asked for suggestions.  He got them and has now much to chew upon.  It is a simple story really of about two rural friends who were summoned by Kitchener to go to war.  It is a good advert for our group that any member can ask for advice, mull it over and go away and write more.  We will see what transpires.

We ended the morning smartly on time and ended with two of Phil's 'A Woman Scorned' and 'The Witch was Right'.  It was totally political and why not?  By them my note taking was minimalistic and so I will ask to read them.

I think that there is so much value in maintaining this blog, not only for the obvious reasons but to ensure that we all stay focused on our writing.  It is an exercise in itself and if any one else would like to write one then do so.  I will be asking because it is a group effort.

The theme for next week is 'The Wedding Party'!  May the writing, reading, feedback and discussion continue.  It is effort that will win in the end.

Comments please.

John Edwards 9th June

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Stanza Mar Menor Poetry Group

Whenever members of the poetry group, with the grand title of Stanza Mar Menor, meet I always write it up and send it to the participants.  It is not only about what is written, read and discussed and there is very often discussions on what else is being written and our views on it.  We are only a small group and for the past twelve months we have been dispersed across Europe, but the writing has continued by means of emails.  It works.  So please read on.

Members of Stanza Mar Menor meet again now that we are together in Spain.  We cannot think of a better way to share a few hours than doing what we do.  There is much value in the time that we spend together which is to encourage, evaluate and to make suggestions.  As a group it is self led and the work in the meetings just flows from one item to the next.  It is so easy.

Douglas has his own way of obtaining ideas of what subject to write upon.  His sonnets are of before, during and after, and now that he has recovered we get more words.  This afternoon there was one more entitled 'Re-Awakened' with the last two lines detailing a deep thought: 'Here I am, so here am I once more/Once dying, now reborn, still to the fore'.

His second piece was with reference to the nursing care where he talks of 'The True Reality' of it and found many individuals that were not that caring.  This prompted several lines of thought and one in  particular was that experiences of this nature needs to be said.  The question is where and how?  It made me consider what we could do.  

Moving on, he then has tackled the premature death of Charles Kennedy with the appropriate title of 'Bonnie Charlie's Noo Awa', taken from the first line of a song.  It was his tribute and begins with 'The Hielan' gentleman has left the room'.  Incredibly appropriate and timely and isn't this is what writing should be about?

Margaret contributed 'Commuters' that dealt with the 'scrolling brigade' of the silent screen tapping silent ones.  There is always more in her lines than one theme and the final stanza dealt with the non-commuters, the beggars and the homeless.  Her 'Passing By' dealt with the serious matter of child abuse and with a line that made listeners 'sit up and take notice': 'he strokes her cheek with his knuckle'.  This was inspired by a local book club book of the other month by Corban Addison, ' A Walk Across the Sun'.

David, who only two days ago returned from Murmansk with a 'truck load' of experiences, ideas and images in his mind had nothing for us to comment upon.  Apart from carrying on with his children's stories, and maybe continuing them on into animation he says that he has seen so much of the natural world that wildlife is a subject that he intends to write upon.

Iarla and this scribe listened, observed and commented.  Margaret Rowland had introduced her book 'Give Voice to Verse' (ISBN 9781511567763).  Poetry that was inspired, in part, by 'open mics' and her desire to write poems that should be said out aloud.  She has every reason to be very proud of this collection. 

What next shall we do?  Margaret is the third member of this group to publish after David Leslie Urion's 'In Praise of Rails' (ISBN 10 14959116510) and Douglas Wilson Hill's  'Streams of Conscience' (ISBN 9781499189254) and so we need to continue with our writing and to see what other projects we can complete.

The idea of gathering together in 'an open mic event' is to be considered and discussed further. After all poetry and prose has always been said out loud and is never just to be read in isolation.
Poetry, prose and lyric writers are people that we know.  We could also add music to our event.This is for the cooler months. 

Douglas with his poems and David with his short stories have been involved with 'Poetic Republic' where the results will be known shortly.  This is something that we all know about and something to plan for.

It was wonderful for us to meet up and to share time together.

John Edwards 8th June, 2015.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Have a look at my Tour Guide Course blog.......and my Facebook page

I'll be continuing to post regularly on my Tour Guide Course website, and also on my Facebook page

Please send me any travel related articles, short stories or poems you'd like to share.....

How well do you know your punctuation?

Hi everyone
Here's the punctuation exercise I promised I'd post. Maureen.


Match the following uses with the appropriate punctuation:
1. Full stop
2. Question mark
3. Exclamation mark
4. Comma
5. Brackets
6. Colon
7. Semicolon
8. Apostrophe
9. Dash
10. Hyphen
11. Inverted commas

a) to show quoted comments; for titles of books, plays, ships; to indicate special meanings of a word; to enclose words or phrases being defined
b) to mark the end of a sentence unless a question or exclamation mark is used; in abbreviations
c) to separate an opening expression from what follows; to avoid ambiguity; to show a natural pause; to separate items in a list
d) to indicate the start of a list or series of ideas; before an explanation; to show a contrast with what has gone before
e) to insert an 'aside' into a sentence
f) to link different ideas in one sentence; before explanatory phrases introduced by words like 'for example', 'that is' or 'namely'
g) to indicate missing letters; to form plurals of abbreviations that have full stops; to show ownership
h) to show emphasis; to indicate a break; to identify a part of a sentence which is separate from the main theme
i) to help pronunciation where a prefix creates a double letter; with combined words; to help prevent ambiguity; to link words; with prefixes; when the end of a line splits a word
j) to show an answer is expected at the end of a sentence
k) to show emotion or urgency

Here are some examples to help:

Inverted commas: (either single or double)
'Qualifying teams' indicates those with less than four players under 6 years old.
Some 'colloquialisms' are really slang.
The 'Daily Express' reported the incident fully.
My assistant said ' I will never resign'.

Pre-conceived ideas; the New York-Chicago route; know-it-all; multi-tasking; co-operative.

Dave and Maria's house; John's computer; the M.D.'s assistants; it's not cold.

We travelled by rail - a long and terrifying experience - all the way to Mumbai.
It is not too difficult - so they say!

Bring the following items: mosquito net, anti-malarial pills, tent.
The conference was a huge success: over three thousand delegates attended.
Business here has been good: in the USA it has been appalling.

Tim Messenger (the chief accountant) wnts to see you.

There are three types of prophylactic; namely......
It is not difficult to see the connection; only an imbelice would fail to notice.

Exclamation mark:

Whenever I see him, I feel embarrassed about the incident.
It is not a bad film. However, I have seen better.
The water, having run over the bank, was stained brown.
The water having run over, the bank was stained brown.
It is available in large, medium, or small.

Question mark:
When will I ever learn?

Full stop:
Following your enquiry, I am pleased to enclose a brochure.

Answers at next meeting!!!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Cutting for Stone review

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese

pub. Vintage

Expect to be swept along by the drama of this roller-coaster of a novel. Over five hundred pages of beauty, horror, poignancy, tragedy and charm.

Verghese takes us from India to Ethiopia and the USA, revealing intricate details of surgery, rebellion, war, passion, faith and love. It is not often that a book can lift your spirit to new heights, and this one is right up there with the likes of Shantaram and similar great novels.

An unforgettable read

Maureen Moss

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Wednesday's Meeting


It is getting more interesting as we approach the commencement of our new programme with some very good work being read.

Today sixteen members attended with most reading (sometimes more than one item) either on the theme or from a piece that they have been working on.

Today's phrase was 'My tyre is flat' and it went through many interpretations as active minds went into overdrive.   Yes, again, there was humour and laughter.  One piece entitled 'Swaledale Singers' had a change of name to 'The Swaledale Swingers' where with a clever use of musical terms and an imagination that went with the change of name it received plaudits. Other work was in poetry form and it is pleasing to see how this genre is progressing in styles and quality.

There was one poem that originated from last week's theme and this shows that work can/should be 'ongoing' and when is a piece ever finished?

We also had one that was based in a real life experience in South Africa, also on the theme, and with a great twist at the end said in the South African way with a fun ending.  This was a wonderful cameo making good use of 'word association' and political correctness.  The theme was also taken seriously with one 700 word story.

Again we had supportive discussions on the work of individuals and what the end result could be.  Word usage and meanings were also bandied about. More in depth feedback could be the useful end product of emailing work in advance.

Some of the writers had based their story or poem on past life experiences, presumably, believing in the adage of, write what you know.  The thinking is that there will have to be future occasions when the imagination will have to be the main source of words on the page.  The new programme will encourage this.

Writing on a theme I have found to be a challenge and worth taking on.  It can send me somewhere that I had not considered I would ever arrive at.  That, for me, is the challenge and with only a week between each meeting a good use of time has to be paramount.

Next week we hope that the words 'Beyond Belief' could open up some thoughts.

In writing this report I have used 'PROGRAMME' a British way of spelling except when talking about 'computer programs' which is the same spelling as used in the USA.  The verb 'to program' has the same spelling.  It just goes to show that one can never be too careful with the the written word.

I have not alluded to all the work that was read so that this entry is not too long.

John Edwards

Monday, 1 June 2015

Wednesday 3rd June

So glad to be back and looking forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday.  I thought I would put the cover of Give Voice to Verse on our Blog.  I've received all the blog information and it sounds as though I've missed some good stuff, but what's new?

The poems went down well at the three open Mics I attended and sold one at each.