members

DESCRIBING A SCENE

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. 

Scene

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.

Events

“The Grand Revisited” – Emre Araci introduces his new book on the history of the Grand.

28th APRIL 2022 @ The Grand, Folkestone, Kent

Everything you ever wanted to know about The Grand, such an elegant old building that could tell many a story. I liked the fact that Agatha Christie stayed there to write but Emre told me that it is not true. So come along and listen to the stories about this grand old hotel, all are welcome, there will be tea and coffee available for a donation or you can bring your own drink. Doors open at 6.30 for a 7pm start.

members

CONDENSING YOUR WRITING

CADBURY CREAM EGG 300 WORDS THEN REDUCED TO 100 WORDS – MEMBERS WORK

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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 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.

COMPETITIONS, Events

COMP AND EVENTS

March already and soon be spring, thank goodness. I had a tidy up out in the garden with the sun shining, little things make me smile and appreciate that I can just walk out into the garden. There is an idea for the next article about a competition for a short story.

Faversham festival has just finished so their short story competition has now opened, you can get all details from the website.

Our next event will be on Thursday at The Grand at 7pm. If you have ever wondered how to get the book you have spent years writing on to Amazon then you need to come along. This event is open to everyone, no charge! I would suggest bringing a notebook and pen as I am sure there will be lots to remember. The doors open at 6.30 so we can have everyone seated to start at 7. There will be tea and coffee available for a donation or you can bring your own drink.

Poems

MATTHEWS POEM

Christmas Poem 

What is a poem, without a rhyme? 

It’s like William Shakespeare sitting on the loo doing a ……. 

The same goes for Christmas, without any snow; dark and dank, without any cheer, just like 2020, no parties or fun, unless of course you live at number ………. 

So what was the highlight to brighten the year; it was friends and creativity, all coming together, not living in fear. 

Karen our leader, with her love for bags and high heels rallies the troops, to set minds free, just so we can all enjoy, what each other thinks, sometimes great works, sometimes more for the loo! 

Caroline,  yes; Caroline, doen’t like carols, so this Christmas we sing Carolines, outside please, under the mistletoe. 

Carol our songstress, I’m sure has written a few lines of Jaz, Rhythm and Blues; mostly about love, but hardship, injustice and possibly all of you lot too! 

David, yes David, we all love you. Always a smile, laughter, and a joke, you brighten the room wherever you go. 

Anne Nevelle, otherwise mysteriously named, Margaret, is a brilliant writer too; well educated in verse and storytelling, she’ll be ready to mark my school work, yet another ‘2’! 

Andy arrives with troops, so beautiful and well behaved. They bring down the average age, and keeping dad, in good order, ensure he behaves. 

Jana, the astounding, can write in English too. We haven’t learnt any Czechoslovakian, however ……‘Veselé Vánoce’  

All characters in the poem are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental  

News

NEXT ANTHOLOGY

Stories and poems for the anthology.

A journey that includes or involves Folkestone set in any period of time and written in any genre. Stories or poems, with a word count of up to 3,000 words. Any photos to be in black and white and jpeg format, please note that they will be reduced in size for the book. Closing date 31st August 2022 All submissions are to be sent to Debby at gorddinan@live.com.

All about us

ALL ABOUT US

To provide a safe, inclusive and constructive environment for local writers to share and discuss their work.

We meet twice a month on a Thursday evening at 6.00 pm, our venue for the group meetings is The Hideaway which opens just for us so as a thank you, we purchase drinks and food if required from the bar to consume during the evening. Our events are held in The Grand at 7pm.

Our group meeting includes a catch-up of all bookish news, competitions, events, submissions and writing-related opportunities. A group exercise is given by one of our members, which is normally a fun way to get your brain thinking about words, sentences and writing. A sharing of work for general discussion and constructive feedback for the writer. Planning for future events. There will also be a book swap at The Hideaway. 

We then have an event given by an author, illustrator, journalist, critic, poet, writer, publisher or anyone that is local to Folkestone and Kent in the book industry of some description. The talk is about an hour then we have a Q&A session for everyone to participate in. We have a day each week to meet and write, anyone can pop along to these, bring your notebook or laptop to get some words down.  

There is no charge for our events, everyone is welcome plus we are very friendly. Our members have produced two anthologies, which are available on Amazon. 

Our dream would be to build a community of ‘bookish’ people and offer Writing Retreats in Folkestone.