Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on Thursday 9 January 2020.

Present: JonathanAdeleSue, MalcolmLesleyPipMikeJennyB, Ian (chair).

Apologies: RoyLouiseGraham.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Ian welcomed members back to another new year of hobby writing. There being no other business, the meeting proceeded straight to…

Members’ Readings

Mike — regaled the group with tales of out-and-about Christmas carolling in his North Pennines village.

Lesley — read us Hoodie and the Wolf, a modern slant on the traditional folk-tale of Little Red Riding Hood in which the eponymous beast emerges as a defender instead of a threat. A schoolgirl braves a woodland walk in the dark to take pastries to her granny, but dreads being overtaken by the local gang who are hot on her trail.

Adele — reported on a human story she came across in the course of her job as an outreach librarian. Art Unpacked is an Arts Council-supported lecture series by artists to promote their work: the artists all having endured life-changing personal challenges. With Limbo, the featured artist (“Martin”) suffered his third cardiac arrest whilst out cycling with his son. He happened to be filming his cycle-ride through his head-cam, which captured the whole disaster, including his ride to hospital. Recovery has been slow and painful, not only for him but for his family, sadly estranged by his erratic behaviour. Martin’s art is an expression of his experience: making sense of, and extracting value from the horrors he has undergone, and from which he may never fully recover.

Pip — recounted her experience of journeying to Sierra Leone at the age of 12 to rejoin her diplomat family. Her tale was full of charming detail, such as the hotel in Tenerife where there was not only a bottle of drinking water at her bedside (which was not that remarkable) but also in the bathroom (which was). She subsequently learned that the tap water was not potable, not even for teeth cleaning.

Ian — re-booted Anitra’s Petition after a few months’ hiatus. Goubernator Sviatoslav Krov’ is preparing to sit in judgement upon Anitra’s petition for human rights. Unusually the petition is being opposed. He cannot understand the concern of his son Hermes for the outcome of the court case, until Hermes reveals he has become acquainted with Anitra and fallen in love with her.

Malcolm — read two short but satisfying extracts from his memoir of being a tea-planter in Zimbabwe. A plantation worker turns up drunk at his house, bleeding from an almost-severed ear. An Australian house-guest just happens to be a doctor, but lacks medical supplies. They stitch up the man’s ear with a darning needle and yarn. A week later the man thanks the author, saying his ear “is fine now”.
The second story has the author instructing his driver, a man he trusts implicitly, to take a pregnant woman to hospital several hour’s drive away along bumpy roads. He later learns that the woman gave birth in the car, at which point the driver simply turned around and took her home. And it wasn’t the first time such a thing had happened.

The meeting closed at 12:58.