A Kickaboot at Troon – Readaround, 11 July 2018

As England prepared to bring football home, some of us headed to Troon for the latest Readaround, and a warm welcome from Anne.

The ball was set in motion with my entry for the Catherine Walker Short Story Competition. The theme is conservation with a wordcount of 2000. Closing date is 21 July, so there is still time to put pen to paper and submit an entry to Janice Johnston. Go on . . . you know you want to.

Kirsty came next, steering us away from the warm delights of summer, telling an evoking tale of a Christmas ornament, and its desire to be bonded in a different ornamental scene. Fed up being stuck in the dark for eleven months, the little ornament is happy to see daylight, but is unhappy being stuck in a skater pose, poised on one leg. The ornament scans the room to see a setting that is home to Ye Olde Bakery and imagines how wonderful it would be to swap skating for baking.
When a human accidently knocks the ornament from its scene, this gives opportunity for dreams to be fulfilled. With a severed foot and many obstacles in its path, including a beady-eyed spider, the little skater eventually arrives at the bakery.
Well done Kirsty, as this piece was short listed for the Swanwick children’s short story competition, set with the theme of bonding.

Back to football, and Linda shared an article Hugh Wilson – A Scotch Professor. Linda gave an intriguing account of an Ayrshire lad, born in Mauchline in 1869, who went from lace mill worker to playing football for Scotland’s national team.
Having an excellent scoring record, Hugh’s reputation spread and at the age of 21, Hugh won his first Scotland cap to play against Wales. Scoring the first goal in the opening minutes of the match, there was no doubt that this young man’s talent would lead to great things. Signing a contract with Sunderland put a halt to international prospects as, at this time in history, Scotland’s football was an amateur sport. Hugh, like many others from Scotland who joined English teams were labelled ‘The Scotch Professors’ and were known as ‘traitorous wretches.’

Staying on track with history, we were to learn of Trooper John Nimmo, in a heart-rending piece from Carolyn with a title of When Johnny Came Home Again. In beautiful prose, she gave an account of a young ploughman who took the King’s shilling and went off to war.
Carolyn captured the element of forfeiture, describing Johnny’s pre-war existence to the horrors of war. Fooled by the enemy in a construed act of surrender, Johnny was caught in the firing range and badly wounded. Carolyn brought the piece full circle, as in his last moments, Johnny drifts away, thinking of home.

Stopping for coffee, none of us could say no to the feast of Victoria sponge and cream scones. We were truly spoiled and a special thank you should be given to Douglas, who put Mr Kipling to shame.

Eddie kicked off the second half with Chapter 33 from the novel he is currently writing. We were thrown into the realm of Westminster, where a back-bench MP, Roger Curzon-Hope, took to his feet to engage in a debate about stalking.
As well as showing insight to the unsavoury conduct between politicians, Eddie highlights the serious matter of stalking, and how this can go unreported and unpunished.
During the debate, Roger is asked to withdraw a statement he has made. Having watched Minister’s Questions on several occasions, I could almost hear the speaker call for ‘Order,’. As the piece continued, we are met with sparring of words with members jeering and cheering. We look forward to hearing more, and to find out what the consequence will be to Eddie’s main character.

Our hostess, Anne, took us to the morgue with her protagonist Detective Inspector Ian Ogilvie. We entered a room smelling of preserving fluid mixed with other rank and deathly smells. The detective engages in conversation with Ben Haggo, who is carrying out the post mortem of the victim, Rosalind Isles.
As Ben studies the body of Rosalind, he ponders the fact that she is not the ‘usual sort of victim’. Roll on the next evening, when we find out more about Rosalind and her demise.

Graeme entertained us with an extract from his novel. His character, Jamie, is apprehensive with his latest assignment. As well as this, he’s trying to figure out how to end an affair with Clara Whitehead. This is a quandary for him as Clara is not is not just his lover, but a confidant who offers an element of security. The chapter ends on a cliff-hanger, as to whether Jamie will go through with the break-off, or not.

The evening came full circle when Matthew gave his view on ‘Football’s Coming Home,’ written for his blog in a unique tongue-in-cheek style. The quirky reference to some of football’s greats – David Buckam, Gerald Linekar and Madonna, was cleverly done as well as reference to Charles Manson and his quote, ‘Home is where you’re happy.’
The piece ended nicely, and significant for those who followed the World Cup – football’s staying just the way it always has. Going into extra time, Matthew took a final shot, sharing a funny story about a barman turning water into alcohol.

For Ayr Writers’ the evening ended on a high, with fair and constructive feedback and no red cards.

Susan McVey

One comment

  1. Great blog Susan. I have to say the work read out was every bit as good as the cake. It was a really good and entertaining night. I’m back in France now and am sorry I’ll miss the next readarounds. Hope you all enjoy them as much as I have.

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