Born in what is now the Czech Republic, I began to attend school in 1943, during the Second World War. I lived with my parents in Parish Zvoleneves near Prague. This meant that my education was,  from the beginning very challenging. Nobody felt safe. Our childhood was not carefree. As soon as I started to learn to write, I found everything was wrong; we were having lessons in German with a man wearing an Army uniform, who only spoke his own language – and unnecessarily loudly too. 

Once the War was over, there was to be a New Life with freedom. That was what everyone was saying, anyway, but this proved to be just an illusion and the Russian regime proved to be a variation on German hegemony.

I continued with dual languages and realised that I preferred literary subjects to Maths and Physics. I was influenced by nature, and started writing poetry and short stories, for which I won praise from my teacher. It almost seemed incongruous then that my next step was a secondary school specialising in Accountancy, taking me up to the A-level stage. There really wasn’t much choice. My heart wasn’t in that profession, and so, some years later, whilst on maternity leave, I studied for my Institute of Teachers qualifications from home. This was decidedly more “my cup of tea.” I could pursue my interests in art, reading and nature at last. 

The next “game-changer” in my life came after the Velvet Revolution, which took place in the Czech Republic in 1989. My daughters were already grown up and had left home. When my husband died unexpectedly and suddenly, I found myself alone. The borders of our country were open and my dream of seeing other countries and more nature was becoming a reality. I was amazed at the ease with which tourists were now passing through the Iron Curtain. I passed the course to become a Tourist Guide. This enabled me to learn more about history and geography, to write itineraries for coach parties and to work with travel agencies, paving the way for my next game-changing episode and my first trip to the United Kingdom. 

Within the space of a few years, I had met my next husband, got married and become a British citizen. I carried on with my second profession, as a teaching assistant in a primary school in Folkestone. I had lived through such upheavals and this was such an emotional period of my life that I felt compelled to write about it. And so, my first book, Goodbye Comrades, was born in 2008, followed by another four, in which I describe the life stories of Eastern Europeans coming to the UK.



Born an Essex girl I graduated to a Kent Lady in 1998, where  I live with my husband Roger and little dog, Teddy. I have three children and three grandchildren who keep me on my toes. In my previous life, I have done a variety of jobs from teaching horse riding to the disabled to arranging funerals. After a spell at Bible School in 2000, I worked in India and Nepal as a missionary.  I started writing in 2012 when I retired and have been on an exciting journey ever since. My first book was a memoir piece of how my life changed when I became a Christian, at age thirty. It’s called, I Met Him at the Well. I then wrote a children’s book called Peter the Pony, which encourages children to know they are all special and loved. I had the pleasure of doing book readings in the local primary schools, sharing Peter’s story. These books are both on Amazon. Currently, I am writing a longer fictional piece based in the village of Lyminge where I live. I am not sure whether it will make the status of a novel but certainly a novella. I also love to write poems and draw inspiration from life, nature and my faith in God. You can see this on my blog at I have just done a course as a volunteer news reporter for Academy FM and am looking forward to seeing what may develop from this. I belong to several writing groups but particularly enjoy the Write by the Sea group as it gives the opportunity and space to learn about different aspects of the arts.



Debby Jones grew up in Hythe, attended Folkestone Girls’ Grammar and then joined the Great Exodus to university in 1978.

After studying Law and French at the Universities of Sussex and Aix en Provence, Debby worked for the European Commission in Brussels for a while, then for a small law firm in Westminster, before starting a seventeen-year stint with Lloyd’s of London where she tracked down underwriters and brokers evading disciplinary fines and members of Lloyd’s who had defaulted on their underwriting liabilities. 

She then worked for a Private Investigator with offices in Washington DC, Geneva and Mayfair before setting up on her own as a genealogist. Now Debby can find herself investigating anything – from the Great Snowstorm of 1836 to missing beneficiaries. 

Her first novel, Dateline Haifa, which she co-wrote with a colleague, came out in 2019. A sequel is underway. She has contributed to and published the Write by the Sea anthologies and is currently working on turning Dan Hawk Psychic Detective, a film soon to be released, into a novel. 



I have been singing for my supper since the late 1960s, singing regularly in the streets of London, and South coast seaside towns, first as a Bottler for Paris Nat, a well-known Busker at the time. I formed my first band; THE RACE, working mainly in the London area with one or two visits to the Continent to play at Clubs and Blues/Folk Festivals. Recording with them began my life as a Singer-Songwriter, recording artist and Performance Poet. My second Band was called Delivery, and with them I first played at Ronnie Scotts which became a lifetime favourite of mine, playing there recently in 2022. With Delivery, and then subsequent work, I began travelling frequently, to the USA, South Africa, all over Europe and Scandinavia.  

Below, is a poetry performance.

During the early 1970s, I  became an activist. At first, in my local community in North Kensington, being the first Musician to step up for Rock against Racism and Sexism. I sang for Reclaim the night, the striking Miners, Troops out and the Brunswick Women, local community fundraising.

After the birth of my second child in 1987, I began working with a group of young people in Poplar near where I lived in East London, adding sessions as a voice tutor at The City Literary institute, various Universities and internationally. In the late 1990s, I trained as a Voice Movement Therapist. During the 1980/90s I worked a lot with young people through the Prince’s Trust and others, around the UK including Somerset House in London. 

As Musical Director for choirs, I helped found the Sing for Joy Choirs in London, for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. The First Choir in Kentish Town Health Centre, London and the National Hospital for neurology in Bloomsbury. The Choirs performed regularly in London, in Hospitals, Southwark Cathedral, Westminster Hall, St. Pancras Station, The Stoke Newington Town Hall and TUC Congress Hall.  The BBC made a documentary about the Choirs. See below.

I have recorded my own music in the UK, USA, Sweden, The Isle of Jura,  Romney Marsh and Poland. Performing in the UK and Internationally with my own Music and Contemporary composers such as Orlando Gough, who directed The Shout, a 16 piece Choir/ Theatre company, winning several awards for its work, in The USA, Germany and other places, touring internationally for 12 years. The USA, Japan, including performing at The Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, The National Portrait Gallery, on the River Thames and Embankment, and The Albert Hall in The Proms as a soloist, recorded live for the BBC. The singers, from very varied backgrounds – gospel, jazz, blues, contemporary classical, opera, and early music – and include several accomplished improvisers. It has been called a ‘vocal big band’, a ‘club choir’, a ‘vocal Stomp’, a ‘dangerous choir’, a ‘choir of Babel’ and a ‘choral phenomenon’.   

See below link 1 The Shout

Romney Marsh below  2

In 2004 I took part in The Channel 4 series Soul Britannia, together with a wonderful band and singers, Madeline Bell and Linda Lewis, recording a concert live at The Barbican, then touring the UK. In 2015. A documentary was filmed by The Welcome Trust in London and Folkestone.  During the 2020s I travelled both as a Performer and  Voice facilitator in The USA Canada and South Africa.
Below – is a documentary. Click in the centre.

Writing has been a long-time passion and I have had several articles published around my work with young people and local communities and the  Parkinsons choirs My memoir, The Singers Tale, was published in 2017. I performed my show, The singer’s Tale at The Edinburgh Festival and other places. I love writing as much as I love Music.  

For more information and full discography see the website. Click on my Blog.  Thank you.  A poetry performance. London 2019 


The Observer 

George Hall

Proms 20, 21, 24, 25, 26

Royal Albert Hall, London SW7

After the first performance of a new work, composers sometimes have to wait years for a second. A few hours after the first realisation of his choral piece We Turned on the Light in an afternoon Prom (20) given by the BBC Scottish Symphony under Martyn Brabbins last Saturday, Orlando Gough heard it again that evening with the BBC Symphony under David Robertson. It went down a storm on both occasions.

 Setting a new, ecologically correct text by Caryl Churchill reminding us how our over-consumption of the earth’s resources is landing us in big trouble, Gough’s work is scored for large chorus and full orchestra – forces he handles with immense flair and panache. As with the orchestra, the main body of singers changed between the two performances – youth choirs from all over the UK sang the first; the BBC Symphony Chorus and Huddersfield Choral Society the second. But, in both renditions, a lot of the punch of this explosive piece came from Gough’s own diversely constituted choir, the Shout – whose members come from backgrounds taking in gospel, jazz and blues, as well as contemporary classical, opera and early music – and from more informally assembled participants operating under the name of the Rabble.

These two Proms celebrated the singing voice. Getting the afternoon event off to a flying start was an atmospheric opener by Gough called, aptly, Open, which featured the mesmerising vocalism of Carol Grimes and Manickam Yogeswaran, among others, ricocheting around the Albert Hall at all levels and from every direction.  

Vortex Club, London John Fordham Tuesday, September 3, 2002
The Guardian 

The Vortex Club in north London, an establishment at which the alfresco nature of the decor has generally reflected an indifference to showbiz superficialities in music, has had a summer lick of paint. Carol Grimes, the forthright and defiantly independent jazz, blues and world music singer, has not had a summer lick of paint; nevertheless, she emits the same fierce glow that has been her trademark for 30 years. She played the relaunched venue at the weekend, having assembled an oddly balanced but fitfully luminous band in endorsement of the club’s return to health. 

Grimes appeared with some familiar sidekicks in percussionist Josefina Cupido, trombonist Annie Whitehead and multi-instrumentalist Ian Maidman. It was an accomplished, impromptu ensemble hauled together for a limited purpose, but Maidman acts as several musicians (pianist, guitarist and bassist), so for the most part the set-up served Grimes well. 

Grimes likes humane songwriters with an ear for life’s rawness and ironies, and she made Joni Mitchell’s Two Grey Rooms vibrate with a haunted nostalgia. The singer’s jubilant earthiness came out on
Wild Women Are Wonderful (co-written with keyboardist Janette Mason), her raw R&B edge given extra buoyancy by Whitehead’s improvised counterpoint on trombone. Whitehead’s playing, as Robert Wyatt has pointed out, makes her sound uncannily like a singer herself, with the trombone’s plummy sonorities and emphatic weightiness transformed into an airy, dreamy sound in her hands. She sounded like a softer edition of the Crusaders’ Wayne Henderson as Grimes roared, scatted and squawked on Women Are Wonderful, and became fluently sax-like on Randy Newman’s Baltimore. An old Grimes song, the Kurt Weill-like Alexandria Dance, wound up with the singer ascending into yodelling extemporisations over Cupido’s whispering hand-drumming. It was the kind of informal, no-frills, suck-it-and-see show from classy performers for which the Vortex has become so loved – and it is heartening to note that the club goes back to a full seven-night programme from October. 

Carol Grimes  CABARET Sunday 7 March CAFÉ PRAGUE
Welcome spring with Cafe Prague hostess Barb Jungr accompanied by Adrian York. Barb will be delighted to present British blues singer Carol Grimes and her band – a Komedia premiere! Carol is one of Britain’s top-drawer singers with a breathtaking performance history – most recently composer Orlando Goff’s The Shout. With a new CD for the first time in ten years, Carol is in new and outstanding form.
7.30pm – £8.50/£6.50 Cafe Prague @Komedia 09 March 2004

Is there a better way of spending a Sunday evening, than trying to forget the fact that in twelve hours’ time, the working week begins again? Clearly, most of the over 40’s in Brighton thought not.
Cafe Prague is Komedia’s regular mêlée of musical acts hosted by Barb Jungr.
As hostess and singer she is probably an acquired taste – larger than life but not quite as funny – but clearly had a following in the audience. With her overwrought-chanteuse voice and wild gesticulations, she livened us up with enjoyably confident and stylishly delivered New Orleans blues, Cole Porter, and several Dylan songs, very ably accompanied by Adrian York whose barrel-house blues style was only slightly marred by the miked-up underwater muddiness of a rather inadequate upright piano.
 The second half was given over to Carol Grimes and band. With a voice that was delicate and agile, precise yet powerful, and with the band delivering a consistently tight and cooking blend of country-tinged jazz (bass, drums, guitar and the excellent Stan Adler on cello) she led us from Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell to an exhilaratingly bluesy version of the Pogues USA and a stunning Tom Waits encore (New Coat of Paint).
Komedia is one of Brighton’s best venues, but I always think they try to pack too many people into the upstairs cabaret bar. All the apologetic tapping on shoulders and shuffling of chairs whenever you need to get up for a drink or a pee is very irritating – but otherwise a chilled and uplifting way of taking the pain out of Sunday evening. 

Foundation Big Band Vortex, London John Fordham
Friday September 19, 2003 The Guardian
You often find musicians trying, in myriad small ways, to change the world at the Vortex. But these highly skilled players are always fully committed to having a ball doing it. This combination of good causes and good fun, in the club’s liberal-bohemian ambience, is what makes the place special. On this occasion, the 11-piece, all-female Foundation Big Band was launching the Vortex’s latest campaign: to raise £250,000 to fit out its new premises in east London.
Since it came to life during the London jazz festival last year, the Foundation Band has grown from tentative beginnings into a charismatic bravura. The band has been touring lately, and the members’ growing mutual sensitivity to one another’s strengths and idiosyncrasies were evident from this show. 

Though there were plenty of punchy solos – notably from the notional musical director, trombonist Annie Whitehead – the variety and richness of the compositions provided the biggest surprises. On this showing, the band is building a distinctive repertoire of its own, with connections to quite unexpected big-band jazz landmarks such as Oliver Nelson’s glossy sophistication and Don Ellis’s left-field funk.
This liberation wasn’t apparent, at first, from Kim Burton’s tautly interlocking but faintly static Latin opener Pigeon Post. But Diane McLoughlin’s New Day was an ebullient tussle of glowing melody lines, with Andrea Vicari injecting a vivid postbop piano solo over Josefina Cupido’s snare-drum crackle. 

The pianist then added understated, Bill Evans-like chording under McLoughlin’s soaring alto solo, which vibrated with echoes of the late Cannonball Adderley. 

Carol Grimes’s restrained power and Whitehead’s warm lyricism intertwined on the ethereal Now the Hour, with Grimes boldly veering into a kind of north African-inflected scat at the close. The eccentric Don Ellis element came from baritonist Izzy Barrett’s Showtime, with its trombone solo of exuberant percussiveness from Gail Brand and a vivid, bluesy guitar break from Deirdre Cartwright. Much more than a right-on gesture, this is a new British big band with a future. 

gig reviews.pdf


Carol is married and now enjoying retirement, following a long and varied career as a secretary, personnel officer, shorthand teacher and HR Professional. Although having spent most of her working life in London and Kent, she did live and work in Norfolk for several years but missed her son and daughter and two grandsons, so in 2018, she moved back to Kent to be nearer to them. 

Carol is a volunteer reader with primary school children for Bookmark, and for recreation enjoys dancercise classes, writing and swimming. She studied for a postgraduate qualification to become Chartered in Personnel, at the University of Greenwich, an area touched upon in her first work of fiction “Celia’s Retaliation”, which follows the adventures of an ill-treated young woman, who leaves her family, becomes involved in the world of espionage and moves to France. 

Carol joined the Write by the Sea writing group, based in Folkestone, in 2020 and has since contributed stories to its Anthologies: “Ghosts by the Sea”, “Doorways to the Sea”, and the forthcoming Anthology, “Journeys by the Sea”. She has also written “Dishonour Amongst Gentlemen”, which appears in the “Out of Cinque” Anthology of Stories and Poems about Hythe and Prince’s Parade. All of these stories can be accessed on Amazon and she can be contacted at

In the pipeline, Carol is writing a children’s fantasy fiction entitled “Popple Planet”.



She was born, bred and buttered in Blackpool.

That’s what Dublin means. Originating from the Gaelic: dubh meaning black: linn meaning pool. Dubh linn = Dublin.

Ria has always had a love for stories, possibly because of the culture she comes from. A seanchaí (shan-a-key), meaning a storyteller, has been part of the Irish way of life since pre-history, handing down stories by word of mouth before they were ever documented in text. She learned of this in her early years at school through the stories of mythology. Growing up, she found a passion for stories through movies, TV and books and this has always stayed with her.

Now in her latter years, she is creating her own stories which she loves sharing. These always include some humor, whether it is a novel or short story, her passion for writing is forever expanding. Ria has always had a love of all that is art and craft, which has bled into her hobbies, such as, painting, photography, bonsai, and creating three-string cigar box guitars. Obviously writing is there also.  She even studied art and technical drawing as additional subjects outside of her school curriculum.

As a teenager, she was involved in school productions as an art director and stage and prop manager. In third level education, she chose to study Architectural Technology.  On qualifying in 1984 she moved to London as Ireland was heading into recession and architectural work was getting slim. The UK however, was shooting out of recession under Maggie Thatcher.

She has lived and worked in the southeast of England up to the present day with no thoughts of moving back to the ‘Auld Sod’. Working with some of the top fifty architectural practices in her career, she has been involved in projects like Guy’s Hospital, Disney’s Offices, London and Smith Klein Glaxo office complex in West London among many others. She currently works in Canterbury, still as an architectural technician, producing the drawings a builder builds from and overseeing works on site.

Retirement beckons in the next few years, however, she will never be bored.



Jane Cottle is retired but not retiring and has had an interesting life which is probably why she has a vivid imagination and enjoys writing.

Her mother ran a music hall troupe so from an early age she was singing and dancing on stage.  Her father was a politician so she got introduced to quite a few famous people and appeared several times on television.

At 17 she was offered a recording opportunity by Apple Core, the Beatles recording company but turned it down!  She wanted to study and became a teacher instead.

Her first degree was in English from Sussex university and all her working life has been in education, initially in a primary school in London and later at a school for the blind in Kent. Whilst working she continued to study at Birmingham and Canterbury universities specialising in visual impairment, physical impairment and multisensory impairment.  She has tutored both Birmingham and Cambridge universities, training teachers to become specialists in visual impairment.  Her last post was as an education manager for Kent working specifically with children and adults who were blind or deafblind.  In 2011 she won Kent teacher of the year for her work with blind students. Her work with blind people has often inspired her writing because she had to paint pictures with words for them, particularly when describing abstract visual phenomena such as clouds and rainbows. 

She has always loved writing and performing and has written several musical plays for schools and also academic texts including one on writing in Braille. Outside of work she has performed in many amateur shows and pantomimes and as a result met more famous people and occasionally appeared on television.

Jane has been married twice and is now a widow. She has one son.

When she retired she completed an open university course in creative writing and joined Write by the Sea and also Shepway writers.  She writes for herself as a hobby because she has a head full of words and just has to write them down!  She has entered a few writing competitions and has won a couple and been shortlisted for a few.  She had two stories in Ghosts by the sea and there will be a couple in the new anthology.

She doesn’t particularly yearn to be a published writer but wants to leave a legacy behind of the thoughts in her head and the person that she is.  

After her mother died Jane discovered a treasure trove of poems and plays that her mother had written which brought great pleasure to the whole family.   Jane hopes that at some time in the future someone will read her own scribblings and understand her thoughts and feelings about life in the same way.



Carol’s version of The Tudor room

  Standing in the doorway, my neck craned forward into the empty room, head first, as if the rest of my body did not want to follow, a tangible fear prickling a shower of goosebumps onto my skin. The room was large and chilly. An electric fire was making little effect on the temperature, releasing a musty smell of electrically heated dust. It was dark outside and the heavy curtains were closed. The curtain moved? But there was no open window behind them. A low hum hung in the air, was it electricity? 

  A garish 1970s red patterned carpeted floor, clashed horribly with floral wallpaper, scattered with Pink Flamingos. A magnificent high vaulted ceiling, heavy brown wooden doors and panelling, a palatial mantlepiece, a forest of chairs, sofas and tables all displayed its Edwardian origins. It was built as a gentlemen’s residential chambers and club rooms in 1899. I imagined the gentlemen twirling their moustaches and doffing Derbys and top hats in a  thick swirling smog of pipe and cigar smoke. Posing in frock coats in the Palm Court conservatory, dancing with society in the ballroom with its modern, sprung dance floor. 

  100 years of human energy hung in the air, invading the shadows, creeping into the dimly lit corners of the room. I don’t believe in ghouls and ghosts, have never seen a spirit or a spectre, I don’t believe in hauntings and demons. A scuttling sound. Rats? In this moment, in the year 2022, there was War once more in Europe. 

  More than a hundred years ago, previous occupants in The Grand, the Belgian Royal Family, along with many Belgian refugees fleeing carnage in Europe and living in the town. Agatha Christie created Hercule Poirot whilst staying in The Grand. I needed his little grey cells. A whistling sound? No, it is my tinnitus. I stood frozen in the doorway, legs like lead pipes, lurking on the cusp of danger. 

The sky outside resembled a child’s painting – a pale, pink wash. The Night Porter’s shift had finished. His old war wound, a bayonet gash from the Ypres Salient, was troubling him. The previous evening’s top-secret dinner had been a rum do, with all those dignitaries. A right nuisance they had been too. Home and a stroll to the allotments beckoned now.  

The hotel was coming to life. Baths were being drawn upstairs. In the basement, the kitchen staff were rubbing the sleep from their eyes. Having checked her reflection in the  mirror in the servants’ corridor, Elsie Tomkins hurried towards the drawing-room, taking care not to slip on the polished black and white tiles, holding the coal-scuttle carefully for fear of smuts on her apron. Mr Ashby, the hotel manager, liked a fire to be laid in there early, so guests could retire in there after breakfast. 

Last night’s staff had been careless. The poker was lying on the rug. Dried flower petals were scattered across the hearth. One of the leather chairs by the fireplace seemed to be occupied already. Elsie prepared to execute a neat curtsey. Then, she dropped the scuttle and screamed and screamed. 


Jane Cottle March 2022

The room was grand both in proportion and appearance.  It carried itself like a dowager duchess who looked patronisingly at us as we sidled through the door in our jeans and Puffa jackets.  This was a room that really demanded dinner jackets and bow ties, jewelled gowns and tiaras.

Large sofas and polished wood tables were carefully arrayed inviting you to sit and be served by uniformed flunkeys that no longer existed.  Despite the grandeur of its panelled walls and fluted columns that framed alcoves something was missing.  It was cold, bone-chillingly cold, like a house that hasn’t seen human occupation for a long time.  There was the tell-tale musty smell of unused furniture and a general air of faded gentility. 

This was a room that had once seen gaiety and life.  A room that had framed parties and felt champagne spilt on its carpets and echoed to the sounds of tinkling laughter.  Where well-dressed couples had shared secrets and gazed into each other’s eyes.  Were men in designer suits had discussed investments over a single malt.  This was a room that had once smelled of money.

Now it was a room aching to be brought back to life.

The sky outside resembled a child’s painting – a pale, pink wash. The Night Porter’s shift had finished. His old war wound, a bayonet gash from the Ypres Salient, was troubling him. The previous evening’s top-secret dinner had been a rum do, with all those dignitaries. A right nuisance they had been too. Home and a stroll to the allotments beckoned now.  

Debby Jones

The hotel was coming to life. Baths were being drawn upstairs. In the basement, the kitchen staff were rubbing the sleep from their eyes. Having checked her reflection in the  mirror in the servants’ corridor, Elsie Tomkins hurried towards the drawing room, taking care not to slip on the polished black and white tiles, holding the coal-scuttle carefully for fear of smuts on her apron. Mr Ashby, the hotel manager, liked a fire to be laid in there early, so guests could retire in there after breakfast. 

Last night’s staff had been careless. The poker was lying on the rug. Dried flower petals were scattered across the hearth. One of the leather chairs by the fireplace seemed to be occupied already. Elsie prepared to execute a neat curtsey. Then, she dropped the scuttle and screamed and screamed. 

Paul Robinson

Charlie’s hazel eyes narrowed as she pushed at the heavy revolving door and entered the abandoned hotel. She was determined to take in everything, miss nothing. 

She entered a large room on her right, through wide double doors. Once it would have been luxurious, now, though, it gave off an air of grandeur that was very faded, the high white ceiling greyed with age and neglect, with a shabby, once garish, orange carpet. 

The L-shaped room was ten metres long, ‘ten big strides’ Charlie measured. ‘And ten wide.’ At the end was a picture window. The room was furnished with cast-off settees and chairs, scattered all higgeldy-piggeldy. The walls were papered with a faded birds-of-paradise pattern in faux William Morris style. 

Very beige!’ Thought Charlie. Two large mirrors, one in a circular sunburst design, and one rectangular one, reflected back the light of the impressive electric chandeliers. 

They haven’t shut off the electricity then’ realised Charlie. Then she spotted the one splash of colour in the room. ‘The boys were right’ she thought. A large woman was artistically posed in an armchair. Her white dress was splashed with red, and her sightless eyes stared up at the dingy grey ceiling.




Give Write By The Sea writers a topic and you can guarantee that they will all come up with something different. Had a great night Thursday at The Grand with our Cadbury’s Creme Egg Challenge. Three hundred words, which we then had to condense into one hundred. A good exercise; it makes you think about what can be left out and what can be said more succinctly.

Paul’s winning story had a definite touch of Lord Byron. Jane’s story was on a similar theme and was powerfully written in the second person. Avril, in the same vein, made us think about actually eating one of these things. New member Chris raised the tone with her informative piece about the history of Cadbury’s (which used to be Fry’s) creme eggs.

We don’t all like creme eggs but we did love Carol Grimes’s story about a children’s tea party and the resulting sugar rush. Maryanne kept us entertained with an account of two schoolgirls on an escapade (or should we say “eggscapade?)

Matthew conjured up a terrifying vision of Donald Trump about to tee off, wearing an Easter-egg themed outfit. It was never going to end well. Debby introduced us to the dear little character of Egg, who was anxiously awaiting purchase at a small supermarket in North Wales, as Easter Sunday approached. Jana’s gentle reflective story on the theme of forgiveness and generosity made us all reflect on the meaning of Eastertide.

Well done, Karen, for thinking up all these themes!

Cadbury’s Crème Egg by Maryanne

The glitter of slightly crinkled yellow, red and purple is bright. But not as bright as the thing inside is sweet. The recalling of this triggers a desire for saccharin within the brain that won’t be foiled by its outer tinsel-foil, but seeks gratification in the promise from within. Teeth, bite. Smooth milk chocolate, cracks.  A creamy sugar flow like lava, not glacier like mint, oozes into the mouth. An instant hit of fondant sweetness.  

But has this sumptuous, syrupiness stronger than honey overstepped the mark? What once we coveted for immediate satisfaction seen now as a quick shot of energy that just as quickly fades? 

Or is that the point? What do we want with long-term if we can be absorbed by the present? Hey, in the devouring IS the mindfulness, The here and now gloopiness of smearing the mixture around our tongues, along the walls of our cavernous mouths, no hollow-egg hollow-moment but one ripe to orgasmic, creamy, bursting?

Forgetting death by chocolate and remembering springtime. Sap rising, life birthing, and then the easter egg hunt to discover the brightly wrapped blisses peeping out from behind clumps of daffodils. But watch it. Don’t take more than your friend or you’ll turn as green as the grass before throwing up. It is an art to see how many or much you can keep inside, would taunt the older ones not yet turned to alcohol.   

Is it true that while these eggs can be vegan, their beef gelatine content was dangerous at the time of Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), and that I and a friend had been expelled from school for eating some along with cheesecake in a café in town when we should have been in a lesson. And that, when castigated for taking the law of pleasure too much into our own hands – and laughing behind same hands in recollection of our mock-sensual rendition for our café audience, while still in our school uniforms, of consuming the silk-lined chocolate ovoids – had retorted. Pleasure is essential for our education. 


The glitter of slightly crinkled yellow, red and purple is bright. But not as bright as the thing inside is sweet. The recalling of this triggers a desire for saccharin whose gratification unfoilable by its outer tinsel-foil, is promised within. Teeth, bite. Smooth milk chocolate, cracks.  A creamy sugar flow like lava, not glacier-like mint, oozes into the mouth. An instant hit of fondant sweetness.  

But if its sickliness oversteps the mark it still works for me as a symbol of when I consumed a forbidden ovoid at school and learnt that pleasure was an aspect of education.

Egg by Debby

To the casual observer, Egg No 88 (hereinafter referred to as “Egg”) was identical to other Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. Some eggs were worth thousands of pounds to their purchasers. Others had white shells or tartan wrappers. Egg’s gold, red and purple foil was not a distinguishing feature. Sentience marked him out, something with which he was endowed as soon as two chocolate shells were clapped together. Where would life take him? Anywhere except America, where they preferred more sugar and less milk content. 

Egg’s journey from the Quaker-built town of Bournville was quite short. He reached his new home in late December, with time only for a fleeting glance at the slate heaps that loomed over the town before the driver dropped the pallet at the Spar, stamping the snow from his boots. 

Weeks passed. Times were hard. People had little money for frivolities. Valentine’s Day and Mothering Sunday came and went. On Holy Saturday, the local priest arrived, to buy Easter eggs for his young parishioners. Egg inched too late towards the front of the shelf. Pockets laden and with a cheery Diolch the priest left the shop. Without Egg. 

For left-over chocolate, the outlook was grim. “Rejects” were tossed into a basket with a red label.  Many ended up dented, the cavernous skip outside their final, smelly destination. As the shop opened for Easter Sunday, Egg glanced at his shelf companions; a large dark chocolate egg, three more crème eggs and a packet of mini eggs. Rather unprepossessing. 

A family walked in. “Dad, how could you have forgotten?  the children wailed. 

A hand-scooped Egg and his companions up. “You’re a lifesaver, “ the Dad beamed at the shop assistant, as Egg and his companions slid into the carrier bag. His short life had not been in vain. 

Egg in 100 words – Debby Jones

In his bright foil wrapping, it was impossible to discern what set Egg apart from the other Cadbury’s Crème Eggs.  

In freezing December, Egg caught a glimpse of the slate heaps that loomed over the town, before disappearing into his new home.

Money was tight here. At the back of the shelf, Egg was easily overlooked. Left-over chocolate had a grim future; handled carelessly, dented, destined for the cavernous skip outside. 

The Spar on Easter Sunday morning proved a lifesaver to holidaymakers who had left their eggs behind. Sliding into their carrier bag, Egg reflected that his life had not been in vain. 

The Cadbury’s Crème Egg by Paul

Oh, you tempting, teasing ellipse, clad in glistening hues of midnight blue, and glittering gold: and harlot scarlet. Your gorgeous, slightly crumpled gown clings to the perfect symmetry of your body beneath. The script running round your raiment is wrinkled as if by some unseemly haste in dressing; looking like a quizzical captcha. No robots here, though, just lustful human appetite!  

Your salivating ravisher, pausing only to stare in wonder at your perfection, with trembling fingers undresses you, you gaudy little flirt. An involuntary moan issues from their parted lips, as your apparel is torn asunder and cast aside to reveal your silken-smooth, gleaming brown skin. 

‘I want you; I want you now!’ Complains an impatient id, but super-rational super-ego admonishes: “wait, wait, take it slowly!” So, the first bite is self-denying, self-restrained; it does not even break the skin; but oh, the first heavenly pulse of liquid chocolate, oozing over the tongue and down the throat…  a pause, hungry eyes feast on your naked body. Your plump, curvaceous shape is etched with sinuous lines, like virgin tattoos on shy young skin. The pattern makes twin cartouches, one on each side, in which starbursts blaze. Your oval perfection now is marred by love bites, where your licentious exploiter seized their first glorious taste of your delights. Their heart beats quicker now, the panting lust swells and will be contained no longer. One libidinous snap removes your top, exposing luscious ivory and golden flesh beneath. The taste is divine, ambrosial – truly the food of the gods! Heedless of stains on fingers the greedy tongue plunders your delicious interior, the ravisher does not stop, not even when your chocolate skin is devoured, but greedily sucks each finger and thumb, until consummation is utterly complete. 

But…surely…murmurs Id, just one more won’t hurt.


The Cadbury’s crème egg is an ovoid confection, 4.5 centimetres long. It weighs 35 grams. It is wrapped in a thin metal foil in the three primary colours. The writing ‘Crème Egg,’ along with the signature of ‘Cadbury’s’, due to wrapping practicalities, are distorted; the barcode on the thickest part of the egg – the Lilliputian ‘big-end’ if you will – is more legible. Unwrapped, the egg has a thick chocolate shell, inscribed with concentric oval lines, culminating in an asterisk on each side. The egg ‘white’ and ‘yolk’ are formed of vanilla-flavoured white and yellow fondant cream. A delicious small treat.

Miracle of Easter Eggs by Yana

Matthew is standing in front of the damaged door leading from their house to the back garden. Looking at the smashed glass panel, how could he make the situation easier for his parents when they would see what he had done?

To apologise for his hockey training would not be enough. Repeatedly apologising, with pouring tears, would irritate his father, but what about his mum? Matthew, glancing at the green garden decorated with daffodils and hyacinths, reminded him that Easter was fast approaching. A quick step to the drawer, picking up all of his cash, Matthew ran as fast as he could to the nearest convenience store.  Here you are! Just on the middle shelf he could see a display of Mum’s favourite chocolate – Cadbury’s Eggs. What a big choice! The boy decided take one in a pinky box, richly decorated with the words “Happy Easter to my dear Parents”, that is it! Without hesitation he grabbed it and ran back home.

Matthew’s heart beat faster, as he could see his father’s car on the driveway, so he casually walked into the house. Carrying his present in front of his chest, he appeared face to face with his parents. Their response was unexpectedly calm, so that made their boy more easy.

“I am very sorry for that, I so enjoy my training…”, bending his head down and passing the present to father.

“OK! Give it to your mum and just behave and be more careful next time! Any injury, you sportsman?”, said father with a frowning face.  While mum was taking her luxury egg from Matt, her eyes flooded with tears as did her son’s.


Matthew is worried how to explain to his parents the problem of a damaged door, where he smashed the glass panel, within his hockey training. He made a quick step to his drawer, picked up his cash and ran quickly to the nearest store. On the middle shelf he could see Cadbury’s Eggs. Grabbed one, with sign “Happy Easter to my Parents.” When he arrived back home, he faced his parents.

“I am very sorry for that, I so enjoy my training…” bending his head, sad face, passing that present to father.

“OK! Give it to your mum and be more careful!” Mum took her luxury egg and her eyes flooded with tears.

 Cream egg by Carol

  When I was a child, I liked Marmite sandwiches – egg and cress, cheese, even fish paste. A salty, savoury child. The Cadburys creme egg is the polar opposite of Marmite. My son was born In 1967. Sitting with several children around a fifth birthday tea table, plates of sandwiches, biscuits, bourbons and party rings, trifle, angel delight and a cake in the wings with 5 candles for blowing. Happy birthday to you, tra, la, la. Chaos ensued, kids on sugar. Pass the parcel was a riot. I settled them down to watch The Clangers, cross-legged on the floor for a moment, whilst I scooped up wrapping paper, bread crusts and crumbs. There was a short-lived calm whilst Clangers entertained. It was an Easter birthday, and in a little bags, as a party gift, a glow stick and a Cadburys Creme Egg. Each child left with a face smeared with brown chocolate and Physcadelic yellow, glowing gloop. 

 There was one egg left, and once I had settled my hyper child into his bed, I had to try the chocolate egg. It set my teeth on edge, all of a judder. Inside the milk chocolate case, a gelatinous albumen wrapped around viscous yolk, dyed a violent yellow. My tongue revolted and curled up into the back of my throat as the glutinous contents slid down my throat. Sickly and cloying. I was sick. An ingredient list of sugar, corn syrup, high fructose, corn syrup, artificial colour, artificial flavour, calcium chloride with a dash of egg white. Not the healthiest sweet treat. This was the day I learned the results of a sugar rush. Too much sweet stuff and Children = mayhem. Me? I will stick to Marmite on toast. 


 100 words

When I was a child I liked Marmite sandwiches  – egg and cress, even fish paste. A Cadburys creme egg is the opposite of Marmite. My first bite of one of these Glutinous eggs set my teeth on edge, all of a judder. My tongue revolted and curled up in disgust into the back of my throat. Inside the milk chocolate case, a gelatinous albumen wrapped around viscous yolk, dyed a violent yellow. Sickly and cloying. An ingredient list of sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colour, artificial flavour, calcium chloride with a dash of egg white. Not the healthiest sweet treat. The first time I ate one of these I was sick. Me?  I will stick to Marmite.

Jane Cottle March 2022

I hold you delicately in my fingers, tight enough to feel your firm outline but softly enough that my warmth doesn’t melt you.

Slowly I start to strip off your silver skin exposing the rich brown of your body and the filigree of lines that cover you.

I lift you to my nose and inhale that rich sweet scent as anticipation starts to build and saliva fills my mouth and gradually, I open my lips and hold the tip of you between them.

I feel you as you start to become soft as my lips caress you and the sweet taste blooms in my mouth as the excitement overwhelms me.

I cannot help myself and my teeth close on you like sharpened pincers and bite down hard.  I stop to look at what remains as I run that little piece of you around my mouth, delighting in the excitement of your flavour.

I have exposed you.  Now I can see your deliciousness.  Your soft white silkiness and your forbidden yellow core.  In one swift movement, I thrust my outstretched tongue deep inside you and drown in your sweetness, lapping and lapping at you like a starving creature.

Then suddenly it is all over.  The sweetness starts to cloy.  Your firm, brown body has become a distasteful slick on my hands. Your crème is no longer exciting and is now vaguely nauseating.  I push you away into a bin and seek hot water to wash my hands and cold water to wash my mouth.

My love affair has not lasted, and it is shown up to be mere infatuation. The anticipation was too much and the delivery too little.   Just as it was last Easter.    

A bit like marmite you either love them or hate them, I love them.

Want to try your hand at writing? Join Write By The Sea on 28th April at the Grand, 6.30 for 7. More details will follow soon.



The lovely Carol

My name is Carol Grimes.  I have been singing for my supper since the late 1960s, therefore I have more T Shirts than one woman could possibly need.  I began as a Busker and fell in love with singing.  Working as a Singer Songwriter, Performance Poet, and in later years as a Workshop facilitator, Voice Movement Therapist and Musical Director.  In the late 1990s I founded the Sing for Joy Choirs, for people with Neurological, MS and other conditions working with them for many years.  I recorded my own music in the UK, USA, Sweden, The Isle of Jura, Romney Marsh and Poland and collaborated with several other artists over the years.  In the 1970s I became an activist.  At first, in my local community in North Kensington, at the time area of severe deprivation, being the first Musician to step up for Rock against Racism and Sexism.  I sang for Reclaim the night, the striking Miners, Troops out and the Brunswick Women, I was angry, seeing injustice, poverty and cruelty all around me, nicknamed Benefit Bertha by some of my friends.  

Performing in the UK and Internationally with my own Music and other Contemporary composers such as the composer Orlando Gough, who directed The Shout, a 16-piece Choir/ Theatre company who specialised in large site-specific events.  I toured with that company for 12 years, including performing at the Albert Hall at The Proms as a soloist – Blimey!  In 1998 I trained as a Voice Movement Therapist, worked for The Princes Trust and many other projects, mainly with young people.  From 1993 I ran Singing workshops at The City Literary institute in London, Lewisham College on the Dance course and travelled around the UK and internationally, South Africa, Canada the USA and beyond!  Subsequently, I am now, not too fond of Airports.  Writing has been a long-time passion and I have had several articles published around my work with young people and local communities and the Choirs in London, alongside my poetry and songs then in 2017 my life book, The Singers Tale. I love the writing as much as I love the Music.  For more information, click on my Blog.  Thank you.