Food for Thought

Writing Workshop and Writers’ Lunch

At the Swindon Festival of Literature

Lower Shaw Farm West Swindon Wiltshire SN5 5PJ
Tel 01793 771080
12.30pm – 5pm 19 May • £25

12.30pm – 1.30pm WRITERS’ LUNCH

where healthy homemade food will nourish you and meeting other writers at table may inspire you!

1.30pm – 5pm WRITING WORKSHOP: Sugar and Spice and Food for Thought with Cherry Potts

Writing is a solitary business. Writing well is a tricky one. Writing well for others is even harder. How can we do it better?

Explore the possibilities that come from using more of your senses when you write. Discover ways of writing what you really want to say to your readers.

You will be in good company, and if you have any questions, you can ask them, and reckon to receive good answers. If you are serious about writing, then this is a workshop for you. It will inspire, inform, and help you, even to have fun.

Cherry Potts is a mentor, coach, and the author of Mosaic of Air and Tales Told Before Cockcrow, and runs a fledgling publishing business, Arachne Press.

This will be based on the workshop I ran as part of the Streatham Food Festival, Sugar and Spice, and will draw in a few tasters from other senses to explore ways of spicing up your writing. (Puns strictly optional, especially bad ones).

Lester in Brockley (and Croydon)

Light relief from nursing A (she wouldn’t agree I’m nursing, but that’s shorthand for everything I wouldn’t normally do, and am now doing at high speed and with one arm strapped up and the other coming out in sympathy) five happy hours, round the corner at St Hilda’s church hall, learning new songs with Lester Simpson of Coope Boyes & Simpson.  Quite a tonic.

I’m perched on the corner of the sick bed now, having played A my recordings, and promised to teach them to her while she womanfully pretended she wasn’t both disappointed and jealous.  But disaster – the laptop then decided to corrupt the files, and I’ve lost half of it.  I’m not coping with small reversals at the moment, and am in a raging fury now, and I’ve lost the recordings of the harmonies for Sweet Thames from Wednesday as well.  I hate it when technology conspires.

Yesterday was a joyous afternoon with thirty others, sun pouring into the rather lovely hall (great acoustic for which – obviously – I take full credit, as I made the booking). Songs from Chaucer to Cherokee; songs that use the word for freedom in dozens languages; and magnificent harmonies: quite lovely … and I was so pleased with myself for asking Lester …

Those who know me well will be able to tell what kind of temper I am in currently, others can imagine thunderous brow and foul-mouthed spitting.  I’ll get over it.  I  know in the great scheme of things it’s a minor irritant but camels and straws and all that.  Hell, I can’t even be bothered to employ my cliché screen.

Anyway. Thank you Lester for a brilliant afternoon, in which I quite lost myself.

Lester is performing at Croydon Folk Club on Monday evening.

© Cherry Potts 2012

Easter Breaks and Sense and Sensibility

We had such a nice weekend planned; travel down to Bath Thursday evening, stay with J&T until Sunday, then go on to J&S for another couple of days.  The plans were full of good food and long walks in the spring filled valleys.

Bluebells in woods below Westwood copyright Cherry Potts 2012

We started well, with a walk round the fields and woods of the Limpley Stoke Valley, in glorious sunshine with A instructing the boys on botany as we went.

Pretty quickly everyone was able to identify Celandine, Bluebell, Wood Anemone,Stitchwort, red and white Deadnettle, Yellow Archangel, and Herb Robert.

The following day was more urban with a visit to Wells, involving some unlikely retail opportunities with T buying hoses for the dishwasher which seems to want to leak on his newly stained floor, and A finding some shoes we think will match her outfit for her daughter’s wedding at the end of the month.  A also fell upon Lardy cake, a local delicacy (not that it’s delicate) which is increasingly hard to get.  Thanks to ‘Burns the Bread’ for this treat. Then we had a walk round the cathedral having rejected the Bishop’s palace as too expensive. (This was a first visit for T, but not for J who visited in his teens, and not for A and I; we stayed in Wells for a week yonks ago, and at Croscombe more recently, and came back for another look then.  A lovely building that is worth several visits, for its west front,

The dead rising on west front Wells Catherdral copyright Cherry Potts 2012

and its glorious clock.  We coincided with the clock striking at 11:00 inside, and saw the knights jousting, and 12:00 outside for the knights whacking the bells. very satisfying.  Wells also has a reputation with us for the astonishing language on its monuments. There is one that describes the deceased as

A pattern for her sex, regretted by not a few, deplored by her husband and children

which just goes to show how language has changed since the eighteenth century; (and makes me think of how disappointing PD James’ Austen sequel Death Comes to Pemberley is, and how Reginald Hill does it better in There are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union)

We took a look at Vicar’s Close, a delight that on previous visits was locked up.

I occasionally have a fancy to live somewhere like this, but I wouldn’t want people like us peering at my house, and the gardens aren’t big enough.  we snacked our way around the market place, and then headed back for an afternoon of cutting wood on T’s part, and barrowing it to the store, on A’s, then a last walk up round the valley before tea.

Snacking in Wells copyright Cherry Potts 2012

Easter Sunday started with another walk to Westwood by a different route, taking in more botany and an old quarry that has been used as a dump through the ages, full of broken bottles.  On the way down the track to the boy’s home, disaster struck, and A, who is a bit given to falling in, through, or on to any obstacle or danger, slipped on slightly wet stones and went down with a crack onto her back, with her right leg twisted every which way. It looked very nasty indeed, but she could straighten it after a couple of goes, and move her foot, and wriggle her toes, but not put any weight on it.  After not very helpful advice from NHS direct, we opted for J getting the car (we were only a few minutes from the house) and an ice pack and cup of tea interval while A decided what further treatment she needed.  This led to a couple of hourswith the very kind nurses at the local minor injuries centre in the Community Hospital in Trowbridge (the very building A was born in 70 years ago)  and opportunities for J and A to reenact Willoughby’s meeting with Marianne in Sense and Sensibility several times as he carried her to and from the car and so on.

No x-ray was available as it was a weekend, but despite the bank holiday they invited us back for the following day, for xray and plastering, which will almost certainly be necessary as ligaments badly damaged, if no bones broken.  So there’s another visit to the community hospital booked for later. Train home clearly out of the question, and we have been negotiating a taxi the whole way with a very pleasant young man, D.  J&S are bringing the meal they planned to J&T’s so at least we’ll get to see them, if not go for the walk we’d had planned.  Mulling on the point of planning…

© Cherry Potts 2012