Saturday, 26 November 2011

Another New Experience

Another turn of events this week.

A temporary supervisor's position has come up at the local college and, through my work there as an exam invigilator, I got the job. It's just a few hours each day until Christmas. I get there in time to supervise their official morning break and leave just after lunch. There are two ladies who do the job on a permanent basis and they have been looking after me.

The students are 16 to 18, studying for A levels. Most of them want to be there, are hard working and serious about getting to university. A small number are just there to party and I've had to reprimand a few for giving me lip and ignoring reasonable requests.

Nevertheless I'm enjoying every minute and I'm keeping my eyes and ears tuned for any inspiration for future stories. We've recently had a tip-off that some sort of prank is about to be pulled. I'll say no more except that we're on streaker alert at the moment.

Had a story accepted for the Lincolnshire Echo this week. This is for a competition organised in collaboration with Writing East Midlands which I learned about from Helen Yendall's blog.

Also managed to get hold of a copy of Ireland's Own through my son working over there this week. So I may have another possible outlet for short stories.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Reading Aloud

I went along and supported my local library last night on their second Reading Aloud event. This is where you can go along and read out anything that takes your fancy. There were about twenty of us – about the same number we had last March – and again we had a good mix. These are the ones I can remember:

A bit of Pam Ayres. Not poetry but a book about her family life and a hilarious piece describing her attempts to learn French.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.
A couple of Walter de la Mare poems.
Gervase Phinn – always popular.
A couple of the pieces reflected this time of year with WW1 books The Monocled Mutineer and Testament of Youth.

In the interests of blogger solidarity I chose to read out a passage of Frances Garrood's The Birds, The Bees and Other Secrets. I picked a piece near the beginning where Cass's mum tries to teach her and her brother the facts of life. It went down very well and I had difficulty finishing it with all the laughter going on.

By the end of the session we had come to several conclusions:

War is terrible.
If you can learn to read you can learn anything.
Kids don't read enough these days.
The English language is magic.
Anybody who closes down libraries should be shot.

Saturday, 5 November 2011


It's been a heck of a week again.

Wednesday I was due in at college for some more exam invigilating. There are a few exams during November so I get the chance to go in for a day or two. My timetable said I was needed for a 1.15pm start but I got a call from the administrator just after nine in the morning asking why I wasn't there. I thought I had read my timetable correctly but she asked me to get there as soon as possible as they were short staffed. I shut the computer down, changed into cycling gear and locked the house. I went down to the changing room as soon as I arrived and decided not to have a shower but to get changed and dash straight up to the exams office. When I got in (out of breath and red in the face) she was most apologetic as the top half of the timetable had somehow been deleted before it was e-mailed out and several others hadn't turned up either. So it was a hectic day but at least it wasn't my fault. I hate it if I let people down.

In the evening it was Nottingham Writers' Club manuscript of the year competition where we take in our little stories of 250 words max and have them read out anonymously by a team of readers. We then all vote for our favourite. I was one of the readers and anxious to do my best so that each entry was presented at its best. The theme was 'stormy weather' and it was fascinating for the number of different ways this was approached. Some entries used it as an analogy for stormy relationships. Others used it in the conventional sense with rain and winds causing danger to shipping and flight delays. I didn't win but I still got something out of the effort and from hearing the other entries.

Thursday morning I logged in to find I hadn't won Helen Yendall's mini saga competition either. Having read the short listed entries I could understand why. You can read the top five stories on her blog here. Amongst them is fellow blogger Patsy who came second.

Thursday afternoon I received an e-mail from Jill Finlay at The Weekly News to say that one of the two stories I had submitted had been accepted. Yippee!