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Posts Tagged ‘ThirskWriteNow’

Following on from the success of Golden Clippings in 2016 Thirsk Write Now has published Golden Clippings II, a further collection of stories by local writers.

Golden Clippings II

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“Our special guest today is a Roman general and statesman, so a warm salutation and ‘Salve’ to Julius Gaius Caesar. So Julius Gaius, if I can make so bold, welcome home from your latest campaign in Asia Minor and please tell us all about it. Where did you go, what did you see and what did you get up to over those long months away?”

“Veni, vidi, vici.”

“Haha, very ‘ad rem’, to the point. Seriously Julius, there must be a little more to your campaign. I’m sure your audience is dying to know.”

“Well, no, that’s about it really. One campaign is much like another. ‘Audere est facere’, to dare is to do as we say in the military. You set off with the lads from Legio Decem; a few forced marches; a little sightseeing, getting to know the lie of the land; mingle with the natives; negotiate with their rulers, which on this occasion  culminated in a bit of slash and bash and a battle at Zela. Then we split a few amphora of wine, had an impromptu bacchanalia before a triumphant return home to the adulation of the plebs.”

“Oh ‘mea culpa’, such modesty, Jules. There must have been one or two hairy moments, a few escapades and incidents you can share with us. You know, anecdotes from the edge of the world. You must have kept a diary or despatched the odd wax tablet or papyrus to Rome you can let us in on? Just between us, ‘bona fide’, it’ll go no further.”

“No. As I’ve already said. ‘Ceteris paribus’, all things being equal, it was all in a day’s campaigning. ”

“Oh. Well you must have been showered with tributes, looted and taken treasures from conquered tribes, brought back captured chieftains in chains and cart loads of slaves for the glory of Rome?”

“Err, ‘ars gratia artis’, art for art’s sake, the usual trinkets, some gold for my own coffers, a couple of good horses. That’s about it. The lads in the Legion laid waste the odd settlement or two, got smashed and raised merry hell, as I said earlier, and generally subdued the populace leaving our ‘Roma invicta’ stamp on society. Like I said earlier, all in a day’s campaigning.”

“So, no new discoveries then. No exotic creatures, wild animals, foods and spices, drinks, customs, wonders of the world?”

“No, ‘nihil novi’, nothing new.”

“Oh. So what’s next for our glorious commander in chief? A Gallic charm offensive, silencing the Germanic hoards, ‘Pax Brittanica’, or something closer to home?  Anything you’d like to tell your audience today, Jules?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“So back to work then, Roman nose to the grindstone haha. No time in your schedule for a few weeks off; perhaps a well earned trip south to the Bay of Naples, a spot of R and R, chillaxing in Pompeii or Baia?”

“Well if you must know. I’m looking to further my political ambitions. ‘Lacta est alea’, the die is cast, as you might say, I’m crossing the Rubicon. As for you; you are the stench of a low-life latrine with the brains of a sleeping two year old. ‘Vade retro me, Satana’, get behind me Satan. No, sod it, here, you deserve this; suck my gladius. ‘Valete’.”

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

 

Written for ThirskWriteNow, a group of talented local writers meeting every two weeks at The Golden Fleece Hotel, Thirsk. (If you would like further details please contact me.)

 

 

 

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As many readers will know I belong to a local group of writers, ‘Thirsk Write Now’, and at every meeting we come up with a theme on which to write a short story to be read out when we next meet. This week the only stipulation being the tale must contain the following words:- Worm. Shortlisted. Tender. Oriflamme. Missing. Flip-flop. Orange. Car park. Quicksand. Usually stories run to between 500/1000 words. On this occasion I went for brevity!

James suspected his new novel, ‘Tender smells the Oriflamme’, written after he went missing in a car park might flip-flop.

Instead the poignant tale of a worm in quicksand was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange award.

 

Words and photographs Copyright 2017 by Antony J Waller

 

 

 

 

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The latest challenge at my local Writing Group this week was to write a short piece inspired by the lyrics to Pink Floyd’s ‘Another brick in the wall’. I’m afraid my inspiration came from a visit to the Baltic, the Art Gallery on the quayside at Gateshead, and an exhibit by Mark Wallinger. Here it is:

Bricks

“Morning Gilbert, another fine and sunny day beckons. I can feel the warmth seeping through me already.”

“Morning Elisha. It’s yet to reach me, I’m a few layers down from you and it’s still shady here.”

“Sorry, old chap. Still could be worse. You could be an engineering brick further down or even worse one of those white-washed basement Johnnies. Dank and dreary if ever was. At least we get to see a bit of life. Procession for the Royal Jubilee was rather well done don’t you think.”

“I was draped with a flag, old thing, but I remember the one before. The soldiers, the bands, the cheering crowds and the good queen herself.”

“Oooh, hark at you two. What about the Olympics celebration cavalcade. That really squeezed my mortar.”

“Ah, morning, Thaddeus.”

“Morning Gilbert, Elisha. Have you heard the good news? Maurice had his graffiti cleaned. Took them long enough, Banksy it most certainly wasn’t.”

“No, things are not like they used to be. Gone are the days of ‘Votes for women’ and ‘Kilroy was ‘ere’.”

“Chads, I liked the Chads. The big doleful eyes and that bulbous nose followed by ‘Wot, no sausages’. Sorry, where are my manners.  Morning Thaddeus, Gilbert, Elisha and Maurice if he’s listening.”

“Morning Winston.”

“’Ban the bomb’, ‘CND’, ‘Yanks Go Home’. That one got a bit sticky.”

“Yes, a few heads cracked that day. I don’t like it when they start throwing bricks. Could be someone you know. An awful way to go. Broken up and smashed, skittering along the road to end up in the gutter. Reduced to dust and swept away. Not everyone gets re-constituted you know.”

“Winston, are you getting re-pointed?”

“Next week, Maurice. It’ll be good to get some fresh joints. Hey, Elisha! Did you know you’re going to be shrouded in plastic for a while? That’ll spoil your view; stop some of your nocturnal habits, the velux windows opposite!”

“I bed your pardon. I’ll have you know there’s nothing untoward about my evening activities whatsoever, thank you very much.”

“Oh, pull the other one. We all know what you get up to from your lofty vantage point.”

“You should have more respect. Height has its disadvantages too you know. The 1940s, the Blitz. I still shudder when I hark back to those dark days. Fire and flames shooting into the night skies, the baking heat, then drenched in water, buckling timbers, collapsing roofs. Walls disappearing before your eyes. Dreadful times, simply dreadful.  Isn’t that so, Gilbert.”

“23rd December 1941. I remember it as if yesterday. One minute a terrace, next an exposed gable end. But we pulled through, survived. Didn’t lose a single brick. We all clung together, held firm. Every last one of us.  Dust and smoke swirling everywhere. Do you remember?  We had a full roll call that night, basement east corner to apex top, each brick shouting out in turn, name, number, level. Never been a night like it. Individually we may be just a block of clay, a brick in a wall but together, collectively, en masse and in unison, we’re a structure, an edifice, a monument….”

“Oh well said, Gilbert, well said. We’ll make an old brick of you yet.”

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It is usual for writers to say, “The characters and events portrayed in this story are fictitious and any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended.” All I will say is, Walter and Nimrod are characters from my imagination, two Yorkshiremen in their later years, but as for the rest…..!

It was a balmy summer’s evening in North Yorkshire and the horizontal rain had slackened to a dreary downward drizzle leaving the countryside cloaked in a damp and misty murk. The puddles on the footpath were tinged with an orange glow as two figures clad in damp tweed jackets with cloth caps pulled firmly in place met by the village’s solitary lamp-post.

“Nah then, Walter. Thought you were away on yer holidays with the Missus.”

“I am, Nimrod. Went on Friday for an all inclusive long weekend break to that new holiday park down the road. Problem is all the caravans were booked so we’re stopping in a yurt. And they don’t allow pets in yurts so I’ve come home on me bicycle to see to Sabre.”

“Good job you chose a short haul holiday then. So what’s with the piece of string?”

“I haven’t got a lead for t’dog.”

“You mean there’s somat tied to the other end? What sort of dog you got?”

“A Mexican sheep dog, Sabre’s a Sheepwowah.”

“Well I’ve heard it all now. Walter, tha’s been ‘ad. T’only way he’ll be wowing owt is if he starts crooning Mexican love songs to lull sheep at shearing time. Aye up, Walter, mind that puddle!”

Walter bent down and picked up the dog as the pair walked on in silence for a while.

“Anyway, Nimrod, what you doing out tonight? It’s not your usual night for going out.”

“I’ve been down the Village Hall.”

“Village Hall? But it’s W.I. night. Nimrod, what you been up to?”

“Tonight’s the night they were picking the months for the new Calendar Girls and doing a photo shoot. Mrs Newman was misty March, Mrs Lane hot July, Mrs Fallows and young Julie autumnal harvest….”

“And you were helping out?”

“Well not exactly, Walter. I went with me camera and was peeking through the windows hoping to get some shots in full digital colour.”

“Joined the hoards of the papparazzi now have you? Fancy a quick pint down The Feathers and you can tell me more.”

Nimrod sighed and shook his head.  “I didn’t actually manage to get any photographs. I was thwarted, Walter. Thwarted by that Amanda. Too clever by half she is. She’d covered all the windows in bubble-wrap.”

“Well I hope you didn’t see my Enid in there. I don’t fancy giving her a croggie back. Anyways, Nimrod, time I was getting Sabre home and back to me holiday. Right fancy them yurts, you know. Ours even has a chandelier.”

This was written for my writers’ group, ThirskWriteNow and the idea was to write a piece using the following 8 words…Lamppost, Bubble, Chihuahua, Bicycle, Chandelier, Feather, Caravan, Camera.

You are the judge of whether I achieved that aim!

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