A Network of Writing and Community Publishers


October 2010

05 May 2012

AUTUMN OCT. 31. 2010

Shades of russet
and reddish brown,
gold, green and yellow
from my window look down,
the roof tiles are wet
with the fall of rain,
the colours please me
I cannot explain.

London surrounds
like an artist I draw,
familiar the shapes
that I like to explore,
like a traveller each season
plays just a part,
the East End I love
from the depths of my heart.



It's raining outside.
I am lying on the sofa
under the light of the lamp
with the pink shade,
wrapped in the warm blanket,
reading a mystery book
and sipping hot tea
with lemon and honey
from my favorite mug.
The cat is sleeping
at my feet.
Marie Neumann



He looked around him and wondered how he had come to this place. It wasn’t sudden, he knows that, it had been a gradual thing, with many twists and turns and choices and decisions. How many good? How many bad? How many deliberate? How many unconscious? He couldn’t tell, not anymore. It would require hours and days of thought and introspection which he did not feel up to right now, at this moment. But it would come on its own, he knew, like a pot boiling over in the back of his mind.

The room was small and furnished and came with a bathroom of its own, at least. It was not nice, but it was not bad either. It was clean and relatively bug free. The neighbors were quiet and kept to themselves, mostly. The rent was cheap, but he did not figure you would have to mention that, it would seem obvious. It left him with the ability to take a lower paying job. One less demanding of his time and energy, that way, he could write.

He was not writing anything. He wanted to. It was a constant pressure within him, pushing up, pushing out. But still nothing came. So he waited, and he thought. He thought about how he had gotten here.

There was the original home, the family home, which he tried to feel good about, but really didn’t. For a long time while he was there, it was all and whole and completely the world. He remembered sunshine days and new fallen snow. It was rural and there had been endless exploring. But as he got older, it got smaller, more stifling, constricting. There were conflicts, competitions, rivalries, jealousies that got in the way. He never felt that he had gotten a lot of support there. Too much pride, much of it his, but not only his, had gotten in the way.

Then there was the apartment, the first place of his own. That had been good for a long time, well, awhile anyway. At first, there had been a contentment and satisfaction in independence and freewill. A space, a place of your own, where you could do anything and nothing you wanted. It was not long before it became a trap, a cage full of everything and nothing. Expectations and longings, hopes and desires and even ambitions that he did not know he was in possession of, and never would have admitted to, even if he had been aware of them. And then of course there was the house in Holbrook, where, for a time, it seemed that all and everything was encompassed and included, that there was nothing more to hope for or want.

Through all this he saw a line, a rising, curving, descending arc; the trajectory of artillery shell, the fall of his own ambition. He had not seen it then, but now he could see it clearly. The need to write always gnawing and clawing at the back of his mind. For a long time he did not even know what it was, could not have identified it. But it was there, so deeply instinctual, apparently, that it came expressed only as a vague and consistent dissatisfaction. A distraction, a constant itch, always, at the back of his mind, pulling him from every discipline and deed. Without thinking about it, he absently rubs the base of his left hand ring finger with the ball of his thumb. His eyes are deep, dark, distracted.
Holbrook. The house in Holbrook. Things had been good there for quite a long time. All his energy, creative and otherwise, went into loving it and them. Still, distraction found him out there as well, came calling. Tensions escalated, were exaggerated? He did not know now. It was difficult to separate the wheat from the chafe, and did it matter anymore? The responsibility and the blame were not his alone, but still, he could not help but feel that he had sold something or someone out. And for what?

Now this place, one of many in a string that did not matter at all. Not to him or anyone else. Like the jobs, it was just a place, sufficient and suitable, and nothing more. A place and not a home. And still he did not write. Not anything.

Thomas Ritchie

Hostess at Home (a monologue)

My Dinner Guests; Sir David Attenborough, Richard Rodgers and Queen Victoria (accompanied by John Brown)

I didn’t expect him to turn up with a monkey. Very cute though; the monkey, that is, not David. He said he had picked it up in Indonesia and out of all the animals he had filmed, he had found this one hard to resist.

So, as Mij the otter, had become part of Gavin Maxwell’s life, so Wicket, had become part of his. But Gavin never married, I said. Otters could run amok in his croft, their being no wife to shoo them of the kitchen table – albeit a table made up out of fish boxes.

David replied, in that open mouthed laughter way he had, that at home, Wicket had a cage and a large enclosure, and that he spent more time in there, with his monkey, than he did with his wife, so it was never an issue!

Well this was going to be a dinner party with a difference! Richard had already cried off, as he had a wonderful new melody, running through his head and if he didn’t get it down this minute, the notes would fly away, never to be retrieved! Food, he said, would be the furthest thing on his mind. He and Oscar would be up all night, working on the new musical and strong black American coffee would suffice. Any other time, he said, he would be delighted to come.

I was disappointed, but tried not to show it, saying in reply ‘oh that’s alright Richard, I understand the creative need. Another time would be lovely’. I thought maybe a free ticket to the premier, would be offered as an apology, for crying off the dinner, but none came, just a polite goodbye, followed by a distant humming, as the phone was laid back in its cradle.

I offered David a seat; and would he like an aperitif? That would be lovely, he said. But as I reached for the sherry, I saw to my horror, Wicket had beaten me too it, and not liking the taste, had proceeded to pour the whole bottle over my best hand made, blue fringed, Persian rug.

Just then, the door bell rang, my last guest had arrived. Oh well the rug was ruined anyway and I knew it wasn’t protocol to keep Queen Victoria waiting. So I turned my back on the chaos of a cavorting monkey, running riot on my neatly laid – with silver cutlery and sparkling crystal, antique dining table. The starter it took me all afternoon to make, now a soggy mess on David’s head, as he just sat there with a silly grin all over his face – and answered the door.

‘Good evening your Majesty’ I curtsied as she swept straight past me, taking in the scene in one disapproving look.

‘We are not amused’ she said disdainfully. ‘John, we are going home immediately!

Jan Hedger

A Guest
“This evening great it’ll be lovely to see you! Are you here with the kids and your wife, how lovely. Around 7 great, bye!"

A household with six children of varied ages can be kept clean. Things can be hidden but not from the eyes of the guests wife who announced just this morning how especially they were coming to visit us. Quavers and Wotsits would not suffice for special guests neither would a hobnob. Thank God they’re not staying to dinner, tea is stressful enough.

A relative on my other half’s side, sailing(or flying) the seven seas just to meet us(cowpats! We’re just a stopover but I don’t have the heart to tell the kids or my husband). I’ve seen many a guest since childhood claiming only to have come to see us whilst actually we were a pit stop on the way to their real destination. Asian sweets and savouries bought, new tableware brought out and oh poo! The teapot’s cracked! Last minute dash and a new one is purchased at an extortionate price! Hoovered dusted and items hidden, we’re ready! 1 hour early four people are expected and we’ve catered for 20!! The bell rings 1 hr later than they said and only two people stand before us. Both of who we don’t recognise. My husband greets them, sits them down on the sofa (wiped of all spillages) and very kindly asks “How are we related, by the way?”
Zahida Shah
Goodmayes writers

The Male Chauvinist Gardener

At home I have no company.
There’s nobody to talk to me.
So, in the garden, I spend hours
In conversation with the flowers.

But our discussion is one way
They don’t seem to have much to say
Because, you see, in truth, a plant
Won’t answer back, because it can’t.

Unlike a wife, with much to say,
The flower stands silent on display;
Living to perform its duty,
Smelling sweetly in its beauty.

But flowers can’t clean, or wash my clothes,
Or cook my meals, or wipe my nose.
So if I had a wife named Flora
Maybe I’d learn to adore her.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers


BT Phone Home

We’ve now got a booth, put up by BT,
On the pavement outside the library,
Containing a phone, erected today,
For the public to use as long as they pay.
There, late after dark, some kids from the town
Meet up with their mates to let their hair down
And the people I know keep away from the area,
For who wants to go where the youngsters will scare you.
So now there’s a booth to tempt all the youth.
I know what they’ll do and I guess you do too!

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers



Home is a nest
Where birds build and thrive
I watch from my window
The small come alive.

Their breasts have colour
To set them apart
Red, blue and yellow
They sing from the heart.

So much in nature
The meaning of love
The miracle of learning
Come from above.

My home is a haven
My window the door
With friends and good neighbours
Who could want more?




A Moment in October

Enclosed by trees
I am home in this moment
Autumn leaves
make a carpet
for my feet.
A robin sings and blends
the wind with earth and sky
and a little rain waters
the garden of my soul.  
Lucia Birch
Stevenage Survivors



Fantasy Home


I’ve lived with my parents all my life as long as I’ve known

From a child until adults that’s where I’ve grown.

Now my parents are old and they need my help a lot

So I give them everything that all I’ve got.

In the end I’d like to move and a house on my own

But will I be with someone or will I be alone.

Either way I’d like it peaceful all around

With a peaceful place with hardly any sound.

Inside I will decorate it my way

Colourful and bright like the light of day.

I’ll find some nice pictures which suit the place

But they’ll have to be one or two sewn by me in any case.

They’ll be chairs of great comfort, nice tables of wood

People who come will say it’s so good.

Beds with much comfort and a wardrobe at hand

With a cabinet of draws in the colour of sand.

The kitchen will have everything it needs

They’ll also be extra so it is perfect and can please

I’d have a garden at the back and a pond with fountain and fish

In front of it I’ll sit alone quietly meditating in bliss.

Around the garden they’ll be flowers and a tree

And starting walking out the door they’ll be a conservatory.

I’d stand in the conservatory and look around

At the lovely scene of my very own ground.

Then I start to walk as far as I can and everywhere I roam

I think to myself as I take in the site that this is my home.

Jamie Fidgett



Home is where is the heart is.

I live in Hastings. I'm very happy in my flat.

I was born in Wales. I call it my first home. All my children were born there.

My home is very special. It was where my four children were born.

My home is very special and my home makes me very proud.

My home is a happy one, where my partner and I live.

It's a happy home.


Maria Gethin



In my life I have lived in four assorted dwellings. The first can never be named 'Home' When recalled to memory I feel such hatred for the people that were in charge I switch my thought to vistas very pleasant.

Then I lived with my widowed mother and siblings. The home was filled with love and lots of cuddles for me. My elder siblings did have upsets between themselves but never with me, the youngest. When I think of my mum's home, I feel so happy.

Then I was married. Getting used to relying on one person was strange. Being responsible for running the kitchen, the housework and managing money was growing up time. After a while I asked my husband to work with me and together it was perfect. All in all my husband and children were my Sanctum Sanctorum

Now I live in a high rise flat. It's just somewhere I lay my body and feed it.

Maggie Palmer




Home is what you make it

Where 'ere you made reside

Home is how you build it

And what you put inside

Inside you have possessions

That each family member owns

Even in your garden

Flowers and veg that you've grown

The most important things are

Our father God above

And everything your home needs

Is loads and loads of love

Bernard Weekes-Lock





Home is where you feel at ease. Relaxed, unstressed, where my future is secure, by the looks of things. Where you feel cosy and warm, especially when you are in bed at night, all locked up for the night in a safe neighbourhood. Not much crime, place where you see comfort, good food, warmth, kindness. All your needs met. Feel settled. It has a pull on you with. You’re happy with company life there. Home sweet home. An environment with plenty of activities. Comfort of being helped in the bath. A garden to sit in and contemplate. You don’t get stressed . Sometimes peaceful and quiet, especially at nightwith no fear of danger or people breaking in. You want to live there for years or a lifetime, until you die. A place where everyone knows your ways and habits. Your little mis-haps, struggles with venturing out a lot of times, a feeling you like of freedom, activities outside. Something to gaze at. Things you like around you.  Being able to sleep at night, this heavenly place. Sleep all through the night. You can have a quiet smoke. A space you feel you can pray, think and concentrate. Feel in pensive mood, not surrounded by people dying or old. Cosiness, stress-less, feeling calm, not shut in.

All your belongings with you in a place you like. You get used to some people that you have come to know. It smells clean. I’d like a home where nothing bores me, and I'm not always looking at the clock for the next cigarette. I’d like to have a drink or meals at my own time and have a cigarette straight after meals. Moving towards access to outside activities easily.

Privacy, space, independent, feel warm. No noise, having daily visitors, access to shops, day centre, taking the bus or train. To get support and be free of mental turmoil and anxiety. Free from noisy neighbours, with the TV on until late at night. You take yourself home. In a place I’m appreciated and liked, well known to the owner. A table to write on and quiet to think. Access to a phone and a lounge to sit in. with company. Christmas activities, togetherness, able to be alone in my room, lie on my bed and watch TV. A feeling of a secure future.  Residential homes don’t have a secure future. They get closed down and staff come and go round about, moving your belongings. I want to live in a good atmosphere where people are happy.

Sue Horncastle




My shell is my home
but without table and chairs
Just a cool empty space
in which to lay my head
Do I get pleasure from being
afloat in the salty sea?
Do I gleefully scoff as I escape
the trawler man’s nets?
Do I find comfort in clinging
steadfastly to the rocks?
Do I get a thrill from being the first
in the race to reach the shore?
Do I feel sorrow or sadness
at the end of my life?
No, I feel deep joy at the
squeal of delight
Of a girl in a pink summers dress
as she picks up the shell
Off the beach, from where
I left it behind


Jan Hedger




The Unused Room

Speckled dust, dances on the mahogany table
Flecked particles perform acrobatics in the stale air
Caught in the footlights of the afternoon sun
They perform for no one, but themselves.

Closed book’s, bound in secret line one wall
Two portraits hang opposite, seeing only each other
No one else to say goodnight too, or God bless
The bed linen folded pristine, cotton creases sharp.

Spiders seek refuge in the darkened corners
Scurrying away from the searing brightness
Surging its way through the leaded windows
Into a waterfall of light, on the bare wooden floor.

Few home comforts remain in this modest room
Perfume, long since evaporated and a silk gown
Are in themselves just hints that a woman slept here
An authoress who penned her work, undisclosed.

People talk of her now, read her stories of romance
Adapt her works for film and television audiences
The historic family home preserved by English Heritage
A blue plaque sited by the solid front door.

The room itself remains virtually untouched
Sacrosanct to her memory
And her life.

Jan Hedger





Men of the city of London
Eat Marks and Spencer sandwiches
Visit the local sushi bar
And drink cool chardonnay
Under a striped parasol
Of a trendy street café

The homeless boys of London
Eat scraps from litter bins
A crust and half a sausage roll
A can of cheap cider, quenching
An ever growing thirst
In the heat of a July day

Men of the city of London
Go home to four bed roomed houses
Nestled in the Kent countryside
Home to their socialite wives
And four course dinner parties
Cigars and glasses of wine

The homeless boys of London
They have nowhere to go
Just a doorway as their haven
And a cardboard box or two
A sleeping bag wrapped round them
Alone they beg for food

Jan Hedger




He’s Just One

A New York Street after the rain
yellow cabs swishing as they
take the bejewelled and bedecked
home to suburbia

Steam issuing in a hiss from
the grid iron drains
resonates a silent sound
which permeates the damp air

The heckler staggers home
his words slurred
no rhythm or rhyme
at all in his life

Head down, he turns his
frayed collar up against the
creeping dankness

Neon lights flicker
in rainbow reflection
a contrast to his
monochrome existence
and for a moment
he hesitates
before descending the
cracked concrete steps
to his one roomed
basement apartment

Jan Hedger




My home is my life
where I know I belong
so many memories
that haunt like a song,
my children have left
their imprints remain
for me, they are precious
I want them again.

I live in the past
I won’t change a thing
call me a hoarder
this word has no sting,
behind my closed door
my feet resting high
alone with my memories
till the day that I die.






(Metered English Pindaric Ode)

Home’s door opens and halls lead in-to
My home where something’s smelling good;
Flowing out though
The kitchen where I prepare food.
The fridge and sinks of the kitchen are full,
As a one-time-guest smiles and prepares broth,
And watches as it’s cooking,
While I’m stirring—
Home-made memories of a time which will not stop.

Jean Elizabeth Ward





I try hard to look bereft

Now my kids have flown the nest

But I can scarce contain my glee

At last my nest is all for me!


When the phone starts a-ringing

No more cushions am I flinging

In a vain attempt to find it

Before the call is disconnected


I don't have to go a-questing

On its charger stand, it's resting

Nothing interrupts my flow

For the battery's never 'low'


No more clutter on the stairs

My socks are in my drawer in pairs

No more mad, last minute, rush

I can always find my brush


My keys are hanging on their hook

I don't even have to look

The 'remote' is on my knee

I only watch what I want to see


Their dreadful rave and hip-hop stilled

With sweet tunes my home is filled

Bath-time is a joy once more

No more hammering on the door


The stamps and pens are in their place

Of teenage angst there's not a trace

Today I feel most truly blessed

My home, my castle, repossessed!


Ashley Jordan




I hate being home.
Washing, ironing,
Making the bed,
Dusting, shopping,
Ensuring I’m fed,
Keeping things clean,
It’s all such a chore,
You know what I mean.
As for cutting the grass
It’s a pain in the arse.
And then there are bills,
Water, gas, electricity.
Repairs, decoration,
Costs rise with inflation.
And when I get mail
My heart starts to race,
“Who’s bothering me now?”
The same with the phone.
And yet when away
I long to be home!
Andrew Diamond
Newham Writers (Monday Group)


The Shop Next Door to Home

I really like the idea of HOME being the challenge for October because I've always wondered what it would be like living next door to a big super-posh shop. I guess we're all going to find out when we walk out of the front door and turn to the past, the shop next door, September. In the September Shop window there is a display of some fantastic, fidgety really great time pieces. A lot better than my Argos Casio, that's a no brainer. Give yourselves a big round of applause for “Septembertime” as Jan termed it.

Goodonya all

Dave Chambers
Newham Writers Workshop


Your Comment: I love coming back to this page, so many thoughts, it is a meeting of friends, thank you Jan for your comments and your commitment, everyone puts so much into it I would like to thank you all, c u all soon luv SALLY

Your Name: Andrew Diamond
Your Comment: Zahida, good to see that your reflections on life are now getting into print, which is where they should be!

Your Name: jan hedger
Your Comment: Uproar of laughter Andrew!

Your Name: jan hedger
Your Comment: Love it Lucia!

Your Name: jan hedger
Your Comment: It does indeed Sally! You write so well - London isn't all city and grime - you paint it's hidden beauty!Thanks for comment on Unused Room!

Your Comment: I love the unused room, the images it conjures up, I can almost feel the ghosts among the books, the writings are so diverse, The Fed lives on

Your Name:
jan hedger
Your Comment:
Well done GROW members!

Your Name:
Marie Neumann
Your Comment:
I am sorry to read that, Ashley. Marie

Your Name: jan hedger
Your Comment: Challenge started without me, as I was AWOL in Italy! Great work to come HOME to! Diverse as always!


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