Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on Thursday 28 April 2022.

Present: AdelePeterMicheleJonathan,  LesleyPipKazFionaIan (chair).

Apologies:  Jenny.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.

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Matters Arising

Adele drew our attention to the Coverstory Poetry Competition.

Michele drew attention to Poem a Day on the web.

Ian congratulated Peter on his recent graduation from Teesside University with the degree of MSc in Creative Writing.

Members’ Readings

Michele —  read a further instalment of her novel – The Unmentionables. It is 1899 and the Boer War begins. The women make the normal preparations for winter, preserving fruit etc., to have everything right for when the men return home. The men steel themselves for war, looking forward to the day they will reunite with their loved ones. Anna and her brothers kill an antelope they have tracked.

Fiona — read a revised version of her rhyming children’s story Hetty the Hedgehog in a strict metre described as anapaestic by Jonathan. Hetty is trapped in a hedged-in garden with a badger. She is afraid the badger will eat her because mummy has warned her against badgers. But the badger is friendly and suggests they co-operate to escape from the garden.

Adele — read more of her Covid Diary, commencing at 21 June 2021. Today should have seen release from all restrictions, but some remain. It is the author’s wedding anniversary, and she is glad she phoned ahead and booked a table because the restaurant is crowded. Japan Olympics go ahead despite widespread criticism. 10,000 nationals will be let in regardless.
24 June. WWG has its first meeting for months, and attendees rejoice at getting through lockdown intact by using email. The author is struck by the number of cars on the road.
25 June. A leaked photo (taken covertly in his office?) shows Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing a colleague, in violation of social distancing rules. He apologises to the PM, who declares the matter closed. This proves far from the case and Hancock resigns the following day, to be replaced by Javid.
375,000 pupils are now out of school, due to the virulence of the delta variant. Suspicion is cast on the bubble system which replaced testing: one pupil getting covid makes the whole bubble go pop. The bulk of hospitalised covid sufferers now consists of people with no vaccination at all, or only one shot.
The author becomes a grandmother. Hospital restrictions to one visitor diminishes this family experience.

Lesley — read the first half of a macabre tale based on a historical event. In 1847 three rescue parties sent out from Sutter’s Fort, CA bring in the scattered remnants of a group of settlers that had broken away from the main wagon train for a new route that proved disastrous to attempt in winter.

Kaz — read two poems: Facing my Dragons, about fighting personal dragons (for which she passed round a colour illustration of her own which was much admired), and Neatly Naked, about the burial of a teenage girl.

Jonathan — read a poem Menace from his ongoing collection of astronomical poetry. The sky is unchanged since the time of Hammurabi. Yet a breakaway piece of star once ended nearly all life on Earth.

Peter — read a further instalment of his novel: We gotta get out of this place.
Elizabeth has become a WRN in 1947 and been assigned to Operation Eclipse, which curbed postwar Russian expansion into Western Europe, notably Denmark and Norway. At the visit of a Russian admiral in 1947 she meets Valentina, already introduced as an internal refugee from the Siege of Leningrad, also Hanna, a German civilian working for the Allies.

The meeting concluded at 1:00 PM.