A Network of Writing and Community Publishers

June 2012
 29 June 2012


Fascination flowers
The surface of speech.
Its brightly coloured petals
flow with every wind-born
Every flight of fancy.
Flights of fancy flowing flowers
Moving specks of colour
Under a blue, watchful eye
A solid blue sky.
Nothing is hidden from the open, solid

Helen Taylor


Miss Janet Brown, with her four young sons in tow, struggled whilst pushing the massive sheet wrapped bale of dirty laundry, which teetered on a tiny pushchair, down the winding cobbled pavement. The whole routine felt like a circus juggling act as the four poorly dressed boys, two on either side, tried to prevent the linen ball from toppling over, oblivious to the buckling wheels of the carriage.
The tiresome journey came to an end as the one parent family reached their destination.
A plethora of steam shot out of the grating by the curb, briefly cleansing the miasma, caused by the dust from the roads, the dirt from the nearby houses, and the smoke from the nearby factory chimneys. Janet and her sons felt refreshed, ridding the smell of damp from their clothes, and cleansing their pores and straight brown matted hair from grime, for they frequented a run down stone bricked terraced house full of rising damp, and mildew, that ran down the walls, not to mention no indoor toilet or bath, circumstances that may lead many to ask why she hadn’t made the effort to move away ages ago.
In groups of two, all four boys picked up the laundry, before proceeding to carry it forward, with Janet in front, akin to a royal carriage entering a palace, though the only thing in common here was the name, ‘Victoria’, positioned above the entrance of a grotty red-bricked building, in front of another word reading, ‘Laundry’. But this was indeed no palace, for Janet and her sons came face-to-face with rows of gigantic metal tubs, each one linked by numerous overhead and vertical pipes, like angry rabid monsters breathing out steam and foaming at the mouths with suds, constantly fed with dirty clothes, sheets and towels, by vulgar sounding female servants, of different ages.
“Over here love!” shouted a voice through the steam, which temporarily cleared to reveal a plump middle-aged brunette pointing to an empty tub
“Oh ta!” replied Janet, who was relieved that she didn’t have to wait around until a place became available.
Janet tied her hair back into a ponytail and straightened her pink mod dress before filling the tub with hot water and suds, creating a bubbling froth. She started to place items of linen into the rich white creamy foam, whilst her four children ran over to the other side of the laundry to make drawings with their fingers in the condensation, which had smeared the glossiness of the marbled tiles.
“Look!” said Toby, the youngest of the four boys. “I’ve drawn a motor car.”
“A choo choo train,” Raymond, the second youngest yelled out.
“Why a train?” shouted Gerald, the eldest, cockily.
“So that it could take mummy and us away from here for good.”
She briefly stopped to watch them, noticing their pale faces and puffed up eyes, the result of sleeping four to a bed in a cramped damp ridden bedroom, where their innocent pure breath would cut through the harsh cold state air.
As she was about to remove the first item with the wooden pincers, Janet became startled by the slow creaking sound of the laundry door opening. She quickly looked round to discover, emerging out of the steam, a young woman, with blonde hair, donning a pair of blue flared jeans and a flowery patterned t-shirt. The woman was holding and stroking a cat, its fur dyed in an array of colours; red, blue, green, yellow and white. She was staring directly at Janet.
“Tea up!” yelled a voice, which made Janet jump, making her turn away in the opposite direction, as the many punters stopped doing their chores and rushed over to the serving hatch.
Discovering that the woman and her cat had disappeared, Janet followed suit and joined the queue.
Through the hatch, inside the tiny kitchen, Janet spotted a calendar on the far end wall. It read Tuesday 18th February 1969. That very date, where two years ago, her husband walked out of the family home to take up residence with a younger woman, thus leading to the reason why Janet changed back to her maiden name, Brown, and how her circumstances came to be how they were. Leaving school, with no qualifications, at fifteen, married at sixteen, husband recently deserted, the consequences of which led her becoming trapped within the confines of the Welfare State. And how she had yearned of getting out, with her children, to far away places of golden wheat fields, royal palaces, the seaside, and enchanted castles in enchanted lands.
Janet handed over loose change to the tea lady, before slowly walking away, carefully holding the tray, trying not to spill the hot cup of tea, and the four plastic cups of weak diluted orange squash. This had become a balancing act, as the four boys struggled and fought to get to their refreshments, each one thinking that he was going to miss out.
Taking a cigarette out of a crumpled packet, Janet rested against the steamed up tiles, and proceeded to chat to the other female punters about dreams, poverty, children, and who’s flirting with whom.
Janet and her four boys struggled to wedge the large round ball of clean linen through the living room entrance, finally releasing it pushing all five of them backwards, and colliding with the veneer peeling sideboard, knocking over the ornaments in the process.
Suddenly, as they all gained their balance, Janet stared across the living room, her four boys cowering behind her.
Amidst the fading peeling wallpaper, the chintzy curtains, the dull worn carpet, and threadbare settee and easy chairs, which had been stained by the soot from the open fireplace, stood the colourfully clothed blonde haired woman, with her dyed cat.
“’Ere! Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” demanded Janet angrily, yet warily. “And why were you watching me and my kids in the laundry?”
“My name is Nikki and I’m here to accomplish your dreams,” she answered.
“What do you mean?” asked Janet suspiciously. “Look! We don’t want any charity.”
“Look at one of the colours of my cat!”
“Go on! Look at one of the colours.”
“Go on, mummy!” said Toby, whose eyes lit up excitingly. “I want it to be yellow.”
All five looked at the yellow.
“’Ere!” exclaimed Janet. “Nothing’s happened.”
“Go on out through the back kitchen door,” said Nikki.
Janet and the boys entered the kitchen. She opened the door. Instead of the cold harshness of winter, they were faced with a blanket of warmth, as it wasn’t the back yard they entered, but a sweet smelling garden, with its rose bushes, apple blossom, and hedgerows, of a tiny thatched cottage. They passed through the gate, before running, hand in hand, bare footed across a gentle blowing field of golden wheat. Reaching a meadow at the bottom, Janet began to worry, mainly about their whereabouts, and how they were going to get home.
Entering the cottage door, they found that they were back in their kitchen.
“Can we have another go?” said Daniel, the second eldest.
“Oh! I don’t know!” replied Janet hesitantly.
“Oh! Please!” pleaded Toby.
“All right then!” said Janet, finally giving in. “But make it the last for today!”
“Let me choose!” demanded Gerald. “Red.”
All five stared into the red fur, before leaving through the living room door into the hallway, which appeared to be longer, wider and taller. The carpet was red instead of a dull chintzy pattern. Damp embossed wallpaper was replaced by four foot gilt edged framed paintings, each one as tall as Gerald. The shadeless bulb had transformed into a row of chandeliers.
As Janet and the boys approached two large doors, a couple of footmen, donning white wigs, beige trousers, and red jackets, with golden buttons, approached them.
“Her Majesty will see you now!” said one of the footmen, pushing open the doors. “Miss Janet Brown, and young masters Gerald, Daniel, Raymond and Toby.”
They were led along a red carpet, in a large room, until they reached The Queen, dressed in majestic robes and a crown.
“How do you do?” she said in all her splendour.
Each knelt before her in turn, kissing her hand.
“Oh! Won’t you stay for afternoon tea?”
“Would you care to step this way?” said the footman, leading them through a doorway to the left.
It was via this entrance that caused the four boys to stare in amazement, for on a very long table stood an array of jellies, of different colours and flavours, cream cakes as large as vehicle wheels, plates of chocolate bars, bowls of dolly mixture, and cup cakes stacked up in the shape of cones.
The boys jumped onto the table, diving into the jellies, and scoffing sweets and cakes until they felt sick.
“Will you come this way please madam and young sirs,” said the footman, who had noticed the children holding their aching and bloated stomachs.
They were escorted into another doorway, leading to a hall, which had appeared to have shrunk and transformed into a small, dingy, and damp corridor.
For the first time in a long while, they were happy. Janet and her four boys rushed out of the dilapidated house, full of excitement. It had been snowing all night, and the temperature had dropped to below zero. They were heading to the park to go skating on the frozen lake.
“Weeeeeeeeeeee!” each one shouted as they skidded along and around the snow driven ice, amidst a rising mist.
Suddenly, as they skidded into each other, the ice started to crack into segments. Janet and the boys were trapped on a single piece of ice, which began to slowly melt as it drifted towards the bank.
As they started to panic, Nikki and her cat appeared by the water’s edge.
“Quick!” said Gerald, acting quickly. “Look at the blue colour!”
Janet and the boys entered the thickening mist. The temperature began to rise, and the cawing of seagulls could be heard in the distance. The mist cleared, and they approached the edge of a sandy beach, before the ice completely melted.
As they made their way across the sand, oblivious to the watchful eyes of sunbathers, picnicking families, and children building sandcastles, Janet and the boys were greeted by a small stocky man donning a red and white top hat and matching suit.
“Roll up! Roll up!” he declared jollily. “Step this way please!”
As the man led them away from the beach, onto the promenade, the day-trippers left their beach activities and followed suit, shortly joined by a carnival procession, a cascade of colours, and different costumes, ranging from historical figures and superheroes to dancers and animals. As the day-trippers and carnival goers broke into dance, windows, from Victorian white washed guesthouses, opened and people leant out, waving flags and cheering. Cars stopped and sounded their horns, walkers joined the procession, and customers, in cafes, stopped eating and drinking, and rushed out onto the street to wave at Janet and her boys.
As they were led through a funfair, at the end of the promenade, children on merry-go-rounds joined in the excitement, smiling and waving.
The procession suddenly halted in front of The Enchanted Kingdom ride. The red and white clothed host escorted Janet and her boys onto a car in the shape of a gold and white winged unicorn, which is whisked into a dark tunnel, the wheels clunking and screeching as it turned sharp corners.
Suddenly, the car stopped. Janet and the boys stepped out onto some grass. Next to them stood a statuette of a dashing prince, with blonde hair, donning a golden robe and blue stockings. Several dwarf like figures accompanied him.
“Look mummy!” shouted Toby, pointing in the direction of a castle, which stood against a backdrop of grey mountains that appeared to be ascending into the deep blue heavenly skies.
A sudden clunking noise distracted their sightseeing. The car was moving off along the track.
“Oh! What are we going to do now?” asked Raymond.
“It’s all your fault,” snapped Gerald, thumping Toby. “You and your stupid sightseeing.”
“Now! Now! Children. Stop squabbling,” said Janet, “or we’ll never get away from here.”
“Looks like we are going to be stuck here forever,” said Daniel, who had burst into tears.
“We’re lost!” said Toby.
Suddenly, Nikki and her cat appeared.
“Quick!” said Gerald. “Look at the green.”
They were then distracted by a hissing noise, which came from behind them, soon discovering that the source to be coming from a green hot air balloon.
“Quick! Jump in!” ordered Gerald, as the balloon started to take off into the air.
It was not long before an angry large eagle spotted the green balloon floating along, high in the sky. Flying down ferociously, the bird of prey sunk its claws in the rubber latex, popping it in the process. Janet and the four boys descended towards their hometown.
“Wahhhhhhhhh!” the boys screamed out as the balloon sweeped between the factory chimney stacks, skimming the roofs of mills, and crashing towards a row of terraced houses.
Janet and the boys crashed through the roof of the house landing in the living room.
Nikki and her cat suddenly appeared, as they clambered out of the balloon covered in brick dust and rubble.
“That’s it!” snapped Janet, brushing her dress. “No more colours.”
“But there is one colour you haven’t looked at,” exclaimed Nikki. “The white.”
“And what does that stand for?” Janet snapped.
“Your destiny!”
All of them became fixated onto that final colour.
“So why did you visit us, in particular?” enquired Gerald.
“To redeem myself,” replied Nikki, as the front door bell rang.
Janet, followed by the boys, went to see who was at the front door.
“Miss Brown,” said a short stocky man in a suit. “Would you and your lads care to follow me?”
“Where to?” she enquired suspiciously.
“You’ll see,” he said, as they were escorted into a car.
“’Ere! Didn’t I see you on the beach, earlier on?”
“What, me love. Don’t think so. Happen I must have a double,” he chuckled.
They were driven to the outskirts of the town into what appeared to be a newly built council estate, passing identically built houses and maisonettes, neatly sandwiched between towering blocks of self-contained flats, before entering a street.
The sun shone in the deep blue sky as the car approached a newly built detached house, with its own garage and veranda, one of many that frequented the street, each with its own grass verge, some of which sprouted golden daffodils.
As the housing officer unlocked the door, he escorted Janet and her boys into the property.
“All yours love!” he said.
Janet couldn’t believe her eyes. Indoor toilet and bath, central heating, wall to wall red carpeting, and no damp nor mildew, not to mention a back garden, next to a wheat field.
“Come down to the office tomorrow morning, then you can sign for the keys,” said the housing officer, as he escorted them out. “By the way, you saved the demolishers a job after what you did with that balloon. They’re planning on pulling the whole street down soon.”
As Janet and the boys were about to walk away from the house, a man, with blonde hair, donning a green suit and blue shirt, approached them.
“Miss Janet Brown!” he said.
“Yes!” she replied suspiciously. “Didn’t I see you inside the fairground ride?”
“Don’t think so love,” he laughed. “No, I’m from the solicitors. I represent your late husband. It appears that he has left you some money.”
Janet couldn’t believe what she heard. It appeared that her ex-husband won a fortune on the football pools, got drunk whilst celebrating and crashed his car whilst driving home.
“Now, I’ll be able to afford some decent furniture for my new house,” she thought.
But what became of Nikki?
Whilst Janet was strolling through the cemetery, she came across her ex-husbands grave. It read, ‘Gerry James. Died 10th February 1969’. Scrolling down the tombstone, Janet came across her sister’s name, that very name she had excluded from her life when she took off with him two years ago. It read, ‘Nikki Brown. Died 10th February 1969’.
On a nearby tree, sat a cat, the light of the sun creating a kaleidoscope of colours in its fur. Its eyes were fixated on the grave of Gerry and Nikki’s grave as if guarding it.

Mark Crittenden

All Saints Street, Hastings

Down in the Old Town, up from the sea
Lies an old street that fascinates me
It sits in the sun and dreams of the days
When none but the fisherfolk trod its ways
Old oaken beams and mellowed bricks
Untouched by any restorers tricks
There's 'Shovell's' with it's crooked gable
Where once an admiral sat at table
A hundred years can come and go
That street would have no change to show
Except, perhaps, that lichen spreads
And here and there old tiled heads
Of houses, curved with weight of time
Seem to bow, with grace sublime
Contemptuous of our modern scurry
It's not a street down which to hurry
But to savour something made to last
By all those generations past
And isn't it nice to think that you,
When you come to Hastings, can see it too!

Walter William Smart



Through expelling networks of
Narrowed watery veins
Carved deep into Mother Nature’s
Earthy flesh
Across towering aqueducts pulsated
The hidden tunnels dug deep
Beneath her brawn
The controlling rise and fall of
Durable substances flowed
Supplying lifeblood to the hearts of
Industrialised cities
Pumping out through the
Arteries of this sceptred Isle.


Watery lifeblood soon ceased to flow
Snaking paralleled networks of steel
Scratching the very surface of
Mother Nature’s earthy rugged skin
Surgically gnawing at the cities’
Industrial hearts
Watery arteries pumped no more
Her flesh wounded deep by the
War torn atrocities of man
The vein like watered graves soon drained
Discarded by the decaying remnants of time
Injected by the neglectful minds of
Those passing by.


A trickle of watery hope flows
Through the new lifeless veins
Cutting through the discarded rusty
Remnants of yesteryear
Dredged by the celestial saviours’
Clawing hands
Unclogging the decaying vessels of
Our industrialised heritage
Restitching the wounds of Mother Nature’s
Earthy infected scars
Transplanting new lifeblood
The watery arteries pumped once more
Durable substances no longer abound,
The leisurely pursuits doth flow.

Mark Crittenden


I have completed a BSC degree in animal management. It was a three year course and we went on lots of different animal based trips and outings. I think the best trip that I went on as part of the course was one of the best holidays I have ever been on.

We went to Tenerife for 2 weeks to work as volunteers for the Atlantic Whale Foundation.
For the few days we were based at the site at which we would be staying for our time there. We spent those first few days being educated on whales and dolphins. A lot of people didn’t like this and found it boring but I was fascinated and wanted to learn more about these beautiful creatures. We were also taught to some basic Spanish phrases. This part of the trip was essential to prepare us for what was coming next.

We were given information packs and thrown in at the deep end. We were sent onto whale watching boats. Our role as Atlantic Whale watch volunteers was to talk to anyone that would listen, try and educate them on whales and dolphins, and answer any questions that they had. Most people we found were very friendly and interested in what work we were doing.
The main species we saw on our regular trip were bottle nosed dolphins and Pilot whales. If we came across any whales or dolphins, it was all hands on deck.  It was amazing to see them as their dorsal fins gently broke the waters surface. They would pause for a moment as their blow holes opened to let the air in, then closed before they went back under the water. They would arrive in groups, sometimes there would be small groups of 3 or 4 but there could be up to 20 in a group. Sometimes if they were feeling playful, the dolphins would jump out of the water with a flying leap, sometimes somersaulting mid air before crashing back into the water with a huge splash. It was truly amazing to watch their acrobatics.
Volunteers had to take pictures, it was particularly important to focus on the dorsal fins as the dorsal fins are completely unique to the individual. Every fin is different as  they all have marks and injuries from attacks from other whales or dolphins and other marks. Some have bits of their dorsal fins missing.  We also had to try and encourage people to send their children to our club for kids.
When we were not working on the boats, we were either sited near the boat ports where the Atlantic Whale Foundation volunteers were running an educational club for kids, trying to educate the younger generation about whales and dolphins, and teaching them how important they are. It was important to target children as if we can get them interested, they would pass their passion down to future generations.
Either that or we would be sited at the Atlantic Whale foundations main base. At the main base, they have a computer system with pictures of all of the known whales and dolphins in the area and have given names to them all. Our job, with support from more experienced volunteers was to match up pictures taken by volunteers from the whale watching boats with pictures on the system so we they could record which dolphins and whales had been seen. This information is important as it helps the Atlantic Whale Foundation with ongoing research projects into things like behaviour and the impact of boats.
I really enjoyed working for the Atlantic Whale Foundation, it was a very memorable experience. I didn’t want to leave. All of the older, more experienced volunteers were so approachable and friendly, I learnt a lot from them. The end of the volunteering came too soon, I didn’t want to leave this beautiful place. I hope I can go back there someday and help them with the invaluable work that they do to conserve these fascinating creatures.

Elizabeth Jury

The Miniature Railway     

Brian was a successful business man in the City, an high flyer in the insurance world. He always travelled up to the office by train. He had a great love for trains going back to when he was a young boy.

He had never married, but Gladys his mother lived with him. As a young boy he had become interested in miniature trains, and as he got older it had become an obsession. Upstairs in the attic, he had a layout for his trains and he had bought more and more expensive engines. He spent hours upstairs. He always said he couldn't share his trains with a wife, who would want to interfere and stop him spending time with them. They were really special to him.

It began when he was a young boy, he started talking to his trains, his parents used to laugh at him and say listen to him he's talking to his beloved trains. But they thought it was harmless fun. As he grew up he spent more and more time with them.

At work re had done really well and had been promoted several times, he was always very good with his employees and helped them any way he could.

But when he got home he was a different man, he went up to the attic to his trains and stayed there for hours. Gladys could hear him murmuring up there. Sometimes he got really aggitated and would start shouting at his trains, then he would run downstairs and out of the house. He would be gone for hours, when he returned he was calmer and sat down and watched television with his mother.

Heather Benn

Pay Strategy

There’ll be no resuscitation,
Operation, medication,
For those over sixty five.
Why should they be kept alive?
We must curb our fascination
To preserve this generation.
It’s proving to be much too dear
To let them have an added year.
They’re burdens on society,
Drains on the economy
And that’s why we should set them free
To occupy the cemetery;
The Country taking what they’ve got
As payment for a six foot plot.
Housing, then, would be released;
We’d have less problems for the police
And we would need less social care
Because old people won’t be there.
The hospitals would have more beds,
With older people leaving dead
And pension savings that we make
By not keeping the old awake
Can pay for decent salaries
For hard-up bankers and M.P.s.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers

Word Fascination

Words are tools;
they invent civilisations and navigate seas.
Sprinting sinews of sporting events where
commentators rise with loud decibels.
The plots and pitfalls of a story hold their
audiences in exotic locations, where the girls are tanned
and wear sun hats and the men are barechested riding
bikes on hairpin bends.

Words bring to life stories of mysterious spies in
dark overcoats who hover below the surface,
observing from a distance before moving in for the kill.
Words let loose the passions after inhaling the indifference
or draw on the bow of suspense.

They can be cobalt clinical,saunteringly streetwise or
irritatingly pedantic.They take the nightcovers off the beds of celebrities,
wipe off the fascile grins of politicians or bring ecstatic cheers with
tales of a soldiers return home from duty. Words swell the undulations
of human complexity inside a kaleidoscope of prying eyes.

Words spiral down with eagles wings grabbing and digesting their
unexpected prey. We can get hooked in their claws if were not carefull;
or we can deck ourselves with jewels passing insights from one to another;
polishing familiar ornaments and making them shine.

Simon Walker
Goodmayes Writers

The Project

As I’ve had a birthday
I’m going to start a project
And so create a new star gate,
An object that will fascinate.
This will take me seven years
And it will be completed
When I reach three score and ten.
I’ll build myself a pyramid
Just like the early Pharaohs did
And that’s where I’ll be laid to rest
With all of my possessions.
I won’t leave them to the kids
Because they don’t deserve them.
I’m sure that will unnerve them.
I’ll make provision for my wife
So she can live in luxury,
Maybe in a nunnery,
Until her time to come to me.
I will build it out the back
With special stone that doesn’t crack.
It will be terrific;
I’ll write a hieroglyphic
With which I will petition
To get planning permission
And if it isn’t granted
I won’t be downhearted.
If their decision stinks
I’ll just build myself a sphinx!

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers

State of the Nation

One million youngsters out of work;
Half are unemployable,
Unequipped to get the jobs
Which aren’t there for them to do.
A fascinating figure
That's getting even bigger.
A desperate situation;
An indictment of our Nation
Where a lack of innovation,
Due to over regulation,
Has removed our motivation
And condemned a generation
To a lifetime of stagnation.
We blame their education,
But it’s not the lack of courses,
It’s because there aren’t resources
To develop an economy
That gives us all stability,
A national identity
Supportive of the family.
But as I’ve clothes upon my back
And still can say, “I’m all right Jack,”
In spite of this despair,
Why should I bloody care?

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers

Jolly good

Tangled roots,
clusters of bulbs,
teeny seeds,
one pack for dollar,
everything in soil,
ready for Spring,
sunshine and rain
to grow.
Something is all ready
They must be zinia seeds,
no, the plants are too big.
It must be something
what came from bird feeder seeds.
No, definitely,
they are not giant zinias.
They must be future brooms.

Tangled roots,
cut into pieces
are making their home
on the bank of a brook.
Sitting in the soil,
basking in sunshine,
sucking water.
I almost can hear them
Jolly good.

Marie Neumann

Home made ice-tea

Henry is brewing
his own ice-tea.
We don't have a samovar.
He has his own machine,
although he uses tea bags,
sets up his machine,
ads sweetener and water,
no oranges, or lemons,
just plain tea.
Machine brews for hours-
- like espresso.
At the end of process
he brews
from three to five gallons
of his own diet ice-tea,
which lasts him for a week.
I sit, drink coffee
and watch,
how Henry is brewing
his own diet ice-tea.

Marie Neumann

The Vision of God

Glow worms of light in celestial fascination
Sprinkle the night sky in crystal illumination
Thrown by his hand they suspend as they fall
As glass chandeliers in God’s grand entrance hall

Open the door of your heart to God
Know his light in the colour of your eyes
Open the gate of your soul to God
Know his love in the seeing of your eyes

Planets of mystery and intense fascination
Only earth as we know it from the time of creation
With a spreading hand he gave light to our world
And into black space, white diamonds he hurled

Open the door of your heart to God
Know his light in the colour of your eyes
Open the gate of your soul to God
Know his love in the seeing of your eyes

He spears a leaden sky with lightening
His brilliance shines as fire in the sun
He sent forth a rainbow in softest shades
His spirit through Jesus is totally enlightening

Open the door of your heart to God
Know his light in the colour of your eyes
Open the gate of your soul to God
Know his love in the seeing of your eyes
Know his love through the whole of your being
Pour out your oil and anoint him with praise

Jan Hedger


Where does it begin?
This fascination of words,
As a child I learnt my alphabet
Played with sound and listened.

Accents in the East End
Cloud my memory with love
From Europe came the stereotypes
My culture made me different.

The war years brought many fears,
Now I listen to dialects
Of the far east, surrounding my mind
With pictures of other worlds.

My mind travels beyond the streets
Far beyond any horizon
Losing me in a world of imagination
That only I can travel.



I remember you well. You fascinated me, all of you fascinated me: your pretty face; your long, blonde hair; your slim figure; your smooth skin; your perfect make-up; your brightly-coloured, fashionable clothes. I was in love with you, but you only went out with me the once.

I still thought about you, a lot, all through my marriage. I was not in love with her; she was a companion, a way of compensating for not being with you. Even when I made love to her, I thought of you. I thought of what it would have been like to be making love to you; I pretended it was not her I was inside, but you.

That was then, fifty-something years ago. Now she is gone and I am lonely. We are meeting again. Will you be the person I remember? Or will your marriage, your children, your being widowed, have changed you from the person I knew? You will be older, of course: your skin will no longer be so smooth; you will no longer be slim; your hair may well have changed colour, either naturally or with the fashion.

I wait for you at the Arrivals Gate. I hold up the sign with your name, just in case I have changed too much for you to recognise me. I watch all the passengers, wheeling their luggage. None is you.

Then I see the plump – no, that word is too kind - fat, elderly woman with wispy, badly-cut, badly-coloured hair, struggling to wheel even that small case, bent, shuffling towards me, giving me a lopsided smile. I realise it must be you, under all the changes that have happened over the years. I kiss the over-rouged cheek, avoiding the badly applied lipstick. I take the case.

You are now bent with arthritis, but even standing upright you would never be as tall as in my memory. I remember your voice as soft, if not mellifluous, and not this raucous caw. And your talk was always so precise, so careful in the choice of words; I do not remember this incessant, inconsequential babble.

You were always so smartly dressed, so neatly turned out, even on that picnic where you sat on the rug, back straight, slim legs elegantly crossed. You would never have worn anything so ill-fitting, or so shapeless, or so lacking in colour co-ordination.

I did not expect you to be exactly as I remember; I knew that time would have changed you, as it has me. But you are hardly even a shadow, a semblance of my memory.

Has my memory played me some cruel trick? Perhaps you never did dress as fashionably as in my memory; perhaps I was too in love to notice your off-putting, raucous voice. Perhaps you never were as tall and as elegant as in my memories.

Perhaps the person with whom all my life I have been so in love, so fascinated by, is just a memory.

John Malcomson
Heeley Writers

Fascination of fear.

My fascination is fear of the idea of what the world would come to when a virus or if a virus wiped out humanity. The virus that would manipulate our bodies and turn us into rabid humans, like rabies in an animal. Zombies....Yes the most popular fictional stories told and movies made about an apocalypse when mankind falls sick to a virus that turns a man into a man eater. This is my fascination and my fear; I am fascinated by the idea if it were to occur what would I do? How would I survive? Who would I want to survive with? And where would I want to survive?. As for my fear...the fact and chance that my loved ones may become infected would I have the heart to take their lives away before they become part of the undead? Or would I leave them behind....fear of losing friends and family, the fear of losing a normal life....the fear of change....so much to fear! But yet it is so interesting, it is so fascinating! How can the human mind be capable of handling such drastic change if the world suffered a zombie apocalypse?...

That is what I am going to write about today, the fascination of fear about a zombie apocalypse if it were to occur. It is my fear but yet it is something that in my mind that wants to happen so I can see how the world would act against such a virus. But then again would I be there to see it? Would I survive long enough to see if we survive? Would I be able to survive? Or would I be a part of the undead army that rampages across the world devouring every soul it comes across. Let me type out how the events would occur before it leads to the main war against the undead...

Phase one. It’d start off as minor out breaks around the world, where a single zombie may be sited and the authorities would remove it and try to hold back as much from the media as possible or even not even show it on the media if it were to happen in certain countries such as China or Russia where most of the media is censored. Eventually more out breaks would occur and the government would tell the people it was new drug on the streets or a virus and that they have it under control.

Phase two. The government would attempt to eliminate all outbreaks immediately with whatever resources they have and cover it as much as possible to avoid public disorder. This of course would be done off the books and without the knowledge of the majority even within the government.

Phase Three . Outbreaks will occur a lot more than normal, the government has stretched its resources too much to control the situation and would need assistance from the public. It’d become public over the media sending information and advice to people to stay indoors and to avoid the undead or zombies whatever you want to call them as much as possible. Martial Law would be enforced in every major city and every town if possible. Soldiers posted around the world would be pulled out and put onto the streets of their own country to attempt to hold order on the streets. Health centres will begin to pop up around the towns and cities for those who are infected but yet have not turned are taken in to be helped. These places would get over crowded quickly, these places would end up under staffed and not enough protection too because of the amount of victims of the virus would be coming in droves.

Phase Four . When the health centres are full, hospitals and many other places. The people who are in need of assistance are turned away from the health centres and such would eventually turn. On the streets or in their homes, this would ofcourse start off as minor problems for the army to deal with but eventually more of these problems will occur and the army would not be able to handle them. The public services such as the police force would be forced to eliminate these subjects but they’d get over runned and the army would have to deal with the problem at hand instead. This of course will be the last stand since the army is the only ones left to stand up against such a force that will not die from beatings to the body or loss of blood. They’d need to be eliminated with a head shot and nothing else.

Phase five. Once the army have been defeated, the apocalypse will now be at it’s peak. Nothing will hold back the horde of undead roaming the streets and country sides, whole cities would become places of death and no living soul would occupy them. The government may drop nuclear bombs on major citys killing millions. The reason why they’d drop them in major cities is because it is where most of the people will go to for help and ofcourse become infected due to the fact that the cities would become overcrowded and authority would not be able check every single person if they had been infected. This of course would be the error and our downfall to control the situation....I’m sure you can figure out what will happen if people are not checked.

Phase Six. Total apocalypse. Human survivors would either be on their own or in small groups, surviving the apocalypse with no government or law. This is the biggest part I fear most is not the zombies but the people. Criminals, war lords and others would cause enough havoc as the zombies themselves.

Now I’ve explained the process, how would you survive? I would like to know how so maybe one day if it does happen, your ideas and advice may come in handy.

Ifran Kasim

Soft Play

She is fascinated
With climbing on the sofa.
It's her soft play area.
She's thirty one months old
And learning to be bold.
"Five, four, three, two, one," she says,
"Blast off." Then lands on her head,
Tumbling on the seat,
Or falling on her feet.
She can do this day and night,
Giving everyone a fright,
Climbing back onto the arm
Yet never doing any harm;
Until she stops for food or naps
Or nappy changes when she craps.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers

Fascinare - (latin) to bewitch

We walked under the Ribblehead Viaduct, looked back to see its railway arches shaping up to Whernside and Penyghent, and picked up the trace of a Roman road. There was a bed of hardcore,overlaid with stones where otherwise the moorland and bog holes would have made of walking boots cold wet sponges. The achievement of the legions in driving a road across moorland and onwards to Ebecorum isn't as hyped as that of the Irish navies' work on the railway, but still it felt tangible under my feet. We must have walked a couple of miles when we came to an incline, and at its summit what I took to be a rock, standing upright and to attention,until it shifted and disappeared. The cries of oyster catchers sounded like lost children, but there weren't any out there; the birds had left the kids on the beach to come inland and feed. As we crested the summit, I felt the presence of someone watching, not spooky, not us in part icular, but at something that intrigued them. As a recent convert to bird watching, I know the feeling, to be completely caught up in looking, so the bird appears magnified and vividly coloured, a recipe for some doodgy identification. The so called bleak moorland landscape is full of such stories if you look and listen hard enough;one begins and ends with a centurion on road-building duty bewitched by a bird's haunting cry.

Bruce Barnes

The Arrangement

His fingers caught in the tresses of her hair,
As he whirled her - high in the dance.
His dark, deep set eyes held possessiveness.
The intensity of her eyes flashed defiance.
He would not be denied;
She would not be promised.
As the music lifted, his arm
Tightened around her belted waist,
Slender - against the breadth of him.
The light from the all-consuming fire
Reflected lambent upon her wilful face,
But it did not diffuse the anger there.
Dust swirled in the charged air as the beat
Intensified its pace; the notes hypnotic
The deftness of their feet tracing a path
Of pre-determined destiny.
Palm to palm, the onlookers encircled the pair,
Knowledge and tradition uniting their eyes,
In the taming of the child.
The strings of the fiddle pulsated
In response to the travelling bow
Enrapturing, capturing the girl with its spell.
As the sweat emerged in silver beads,
Upon his brow, he pulled her in
To the aroma of his manly scent.
Intoxicating her senses, quickening the blood
That flowed through the chambers of her heart;
Infusing her cheeks with a blush of softness.
His rough hands – instinctual - felt the burning passion,
That mirrored his bodies own needs and desires.
Detecting the change, he halted in his step,
And met the full force of a woman’s eyes.
Coquettish - she loosened the red cotton twill
He wore knotted about his neck - tantalisingly,
Feeling its coarseness - running through her,
Soft velvety fingertips. She was his.
The music slowed - became still - as the evening’s breath.
In one body, the onlookers retreated to their beds;
Consigning the embers to shift and settle within the dying fire.

Jan Hedger

Elements of Alliteration

Because we British are fascinated by the changing weather!

Breezes Banter Bashfully
Winds Whip Wildly
Gales Groan Gloriously
Hurricanes Howl Hungrily
Tornados Twist Traumatically
Cyclones Circle Centrifugally
Showers Scantily Saturate
Drizzle Dampens Deceptively
Rain Rampages Rampantly
Rain Refreshingly Rejuvenates
Downpours Drench Deviously
Floods Frequently Flash
Hail Hurtles Haphazardly
Sleet Scornfully Soaks
Squalls Scatter Spasmodically
Thunder Tempestuously Trembles
Lightning Lustrously Lights
Storms Shatter Spectacularly
Mist Merely Muddles
Fog Frustrates Fearfully
Frost Fancifully Flickers
Ice Idly Illuminates
Snow Softly Settles
Blizzards Blind Blatantly
Sunlight Simmers Seductively
Sunshine Sensationally Sizzles

Jan Hedger


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