Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on the above date.

Present:  MicheleJonathan, Jenny, KazLesleyPip, Adele, Fiona, Gill, MalcolmIan (chair).

Apologies: (none)

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Michele drew attention to the Whitby Advertiser, which carries a review of her book My Brother Themba. Adverts like this are free, and you can email your own review to the Editor.
Adele reminded members of an event at Scarborough Library tonight (26 May 2022): a celebration of Yorkshire dialect poetry.

Members’ Readings

Kaz — read an extract from her uncle Ronnie’s memoir of her dad’s war service. Dad was due for demob in 1939, but with the outbreak of war was transferred from the cavalry to an armoured regiment and sent to France. Following Hitler’s blitzkrieg he was evacuated via the port of Le Havre, and saw action in North Africa and Italy.

Jenny — read the first chapter of a novel about Mary Eleanor Bowes, the heiress of a vast fortune from the Durham coalfields. Her fraught family experience led to reforms of the Divorce Laws, plus indirectly to the rise of the gutter press. The novel is being written in collaboration with Karen.

Michele — read a further instalment of her novel in-progress: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902. The Khakis (British soldiers) evict Anna and burn her farm in pursuance of their scorched earth policy against the Boer rebels. Anna and her family are forced to flee in their wagon with the few possessions they have been allowed to take. Whilst humanely slaughtering her shot livestock, she tricks the khakis into stripping a poisonous bush of leaves, imagining they are tea. On a later occasion, soldiers rape the womenfolk, and Anna seizes the opportunity to shoot two of them. She feels she has crossed a red line, and is now one of the combatants.

Gill — read the first chapter of her new YA novel. Tommy lives with his single-parent mother in Sheffield. He is told to visit his demented grandma in her care home. A strange green-eyed woman in a nearby bed catches his attention, as does a sinister jackdaw that haunts the ward.

Lesley — read the second half of her macabre tale based on a historical event. In 1847 three rescue parties set out from Sutter’s Fort, CA to bring in the scattered remnants of a group of settlers (the Donner party) that had broken away from the main wagon train for a new route that proved disastrous to attempt in winter. Snow prevented them crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains into California, and the starving settlers have resorted to cannibalism.

Adele — read more of her Covid Diary, commencing in July 2021. The author feels guilty about visiting her baby grandchild in hospital: will they bring covid? Cases are rising in England, making people doubt the wisdom of relaxing restrictions. Deaths however are significantly among people who had not had their full ration of jabs, or have refused vaccination altogether.

Ian — read a short poem: Thoughts of profundity set down on waking in the middle of the night.

The meeting closed at 1.00 PM.