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

Present: Adele, Gill, Harry, Jenny, John, MicheleIan (chair).

Apologies: Barbara, Kaz, LesleyPip.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Adele distributed copies of the What’s On at Whitby Coliseum, May-July 2023, and Scarborough Book Festival, Sat-Sun, 10-11 June 2023.

Jenny thanked Adele for organising and running a successful morning of events at Whitby Library on Saturday 20 May 2023 in connection with the Fish & Ships Festival.

Members’ Readings

Harry — distributed a printout which he read, of a further instalment of his seagoing memoir. The author takes up his new post as 1st Radio Officer on the SS Malakand berthed at Tilbury docks. He introduces the reader to the equipment which he will have charge of during the voyage, and entertainingly describes the idiosyncracies of each device.

Adele — read a further instalment from her Covid Diary, beginning on New Year’s Day, 2022.
Deaths have risen 31% and hospital admissions are up 50%. Secondary-age schoolchildren must wear face masks in school. The confusion and inconsistency surrounding self-isolation is described.
Monday 3 January: Scotland is seeing record new cases. France is bringing in a “covid pass” for entry to public buildings – seen as a draconian measure.
Tuesday 4 January: The Omicron variant has reached North Yorkshire with a big rise in new cases. A record 3.7 million now have covid. Cases are doubling every week for old people. Omicron is completely out of control. Measures to relax the requirements for lateral-flow tests (LVTs) seem to be governed less by science that a shortage of LVT kits.
Novak Djokovic flew out for the Australian Open Tennis, but was arrested by the Australian Border Force for allegedly breaking covid rules.

Michele — read a further instalment of her novel in-progress: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902. The new Dr Milne tours the nearby concentration camp for black people, accompanied by Anna, now a trainee nurse, who acts as interpreter. Dr Milne declares that the dominant disease is typhoid, a disease of filth. Several measures are put in-hand to halt the progress of the disease: the digging of new latrines and the boiling of all bedding. Besides infectious diseases there is mental confusion arising from pellagra, a deficiency disease brought on by the inmates’ diet of maize. Children are inadequately clothed, if clothed at all. Since there are around 5,000 inmates, effective measures will prove difficult to carry out.
Back at the hospital tent in Camp Irene, Anna and Dr Milne wash and then share a meal together. Anna teaches Dr Milne how to dunk a rusk without it falling apart. They exchange a little information about their lives.

John — continues with his novel in-progress Jack the Painter. The hero, in a drunken state at Portsmouth docks on Hallowe’en and contemplating suicide, is importuned by a ghost who tells the story of how he met his end: publicly hanged from the mast of a sailing ship.

Ian — read a poem entitled Eleusinian Mystery, a title which the group found requiring some explanation. The poem enlarges on the rumoured climax of the strictly-enforced secret rite: uncovering for silent contemplation a dish containing a single ear of wheat with the words: in silence is the seed of wisdom sown.

Gill — distributed a printout which she read aloud, of a synopsis of her YA novel: Fabric of the Earth: Seven Witches and a Boy. Tommy Bradley, on a visit to his grandmother’s care home, is recruited as “tailor” by a coven of witches to help sew up the fabric of which the Earth is made. This has become damaged by centuries of abuse by humanity. The party undertake magical journeys by the strangest means of transport to different parts of the world. On the way they plan to rescue one of their number who has been captured by a wicked warlock.
Ian volunteered to collate corrections emailed to him by members and forward them to Gill.

The meeting closed at 1:05 PM