Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on the above date.
Present: Adele, Harry, Jenny, Jonathan, Kaz, Michele, Ian (chair).
Apologies: Fiona, Gill, Lesley, Malcolm, Pip.
Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.
Harry recounted his experience with marketing his books with Amazon. He had 150 downloads of his book of short pieces during the brief period it was available gratis, and this has increased the sales of his other book, of which the free book contains an extract.
Harry — continued reading from his memoir of life as a radio officer in the Merchant Navy in the 1950s, detailing the accommodation a merchant seaman enjoys on board ship. He handed out hardcopy of the piece he read aloud.
Adele — continued reading from her Covid Diary for a period in September 2021. Her mother was in the final stages of moving house. There was much to do, and due to her age and the possessions she’d accumulated she needed a lot of help doing it. But she was determined to attend the wedding of Neil’s son. After the strain of the preparations and journey there, the day itself was relaxed and enjoyable.
Schools have reopened fully, and covid precautions appear to be minimal: it was to be seen if this would work out.
Boris Johnson has laid out his plans A and B, the latter if the NHS is overwhelmed during the winter.
Michele — read a further instalment of her novel in-progress: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902. Life in the concentration camp grows harder for Anna as winter approaches. She has to find ways of buying food through the camp guards to supplement her family’s meagre rations. The children have forgotten how to play. Anna discovers her mother is pregnant as a result of being raped, and wonders how they will live through the shame of it.
Kaz — described her experiences of life on board a merchant vessel as the cook, even though she had not known how to cook beforehand. A hurricane hits the ship and scenes of panic ensue.
Jenny — continued reading from her 17th century novel in-progress about Mary Eleanor Bowes, the heiress of a vast fortune from the Durham coalfields. In this part of the book Jenny wants to describe through childhood incidents the character of her heroine. Mary Bowes had 7 children and several abortions, but had little appreciation or understanding of children. By the standards of the day she was too close to her servants. But she taught herself botany to an advanced level, in the days when a lady of leisure was not expected to excel in any field of study.
The young Mary accompanies a party of servants who walk through the woods to see the new baby of one of their colleagues of late, Peggy. Mary knows the Latin name of the Star of Bethlehem, but a servant needs to tell her what ordinary people call the flower. Reaching Peggy’s cottage, Mary is more interested in the kitten than the baby. She can’t see its arms or legs for the swaddling and wonders if it is deformed – and is shocked at the noise it makes when it needs to be fed.
The meeting closed at 1:05 PM.