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First Summer Readaround

Barely has the diary page turned on May’s Awards Dinner than the Summer Readarounds have started. And what a start! Nearly a quarter of the membership were present at Pat’s house to hear an amazing variety of pieces: we laughed – all of us; we cried – some of us; and we were put well out of our comfort zone, but above of all we had most enjoyable evening. It wouldn’t be true that we left wanting more for at nearly eleven o’clock it was time for some of us to retire, think about what we had heard and keenly look forward to the next Readaround in just a fortnight.
Pieces varied dramatically – loosely sketched ideas, polished extracts from nearly complete novels and the usual mix of memoirs, short stories, articles and sketches. One theme emerged, pilgrimage and journeys, not always connected to the topic of The Scottish Book Trust’s competition. We travelled through China, to previously war-torn Normandy villages, up Scottish glens to see the remains of a mountain railway, accompanied commuters transforming from murderous to sympathetic, and followed the rhythms of the school year as it marked the growth of a family.
Few will ever forget Gail’s portentous comedy commentary on the spring activities of council flat dwellers, as interpreted by a reality TV natural history programme. Pearl’s rules for the use of mobile phones on trains should be inscribed throughout the network and as ever, witchery reared crooked-nosed head and its bony finger, yet we know Pandora will not be the worst witch but one of the best, by the time the Academy of Witchery has finished with her. Sadly the reputation (in AWC at least) of one of Britain’s better known thriller writers may not survive the imagined conversation between his agent and his editor. Though neither did he.
It was not all jolly frolics and misty memories. Oh, no! Apparently if you super glue someone’s hands to a pipe and heat it up, it’s a toss up between the glue melting at a temperature that burns your hands or whether you rip your skin off pulling away from the burning pipe. ‘Do you know that?’ No, Martin I didn’t and my gratitude for your imparting that information is not unalloyed.
I love the idea of being taken somewhere new, but I was less sure when it turned out to be Guyana in 1978 and the Jonestown mass suicide of a thousand people, which we experienced through the eyes of a cult member, thanks to Karen. I so wanted her to survive, the cult member that is, not Karen. Well, yes Karen too but I do so worry! Stunned silence was a most appropriate and appreciative tribute to this powerful piece.
We will need to be patient to hear what happened in the Nursing Home in a Victorian mansion, into which our seemingly easily smitten detective is drawn, what happened to the misdirected presents and will we ever makes sense of what is going on in the minds of that therapeutic creative writing group? There’s always next time.
Many thanks to Pat and her successful, but apparently accident prone, cyclist husband for their hospitality and for those who brought cake, a much needed antidote to those buckets of cyanide we’d just left behind. I’m hoping that Pandora will be able to keep us all safe until we meet at Fiona’s on Thursday 18th June, when who knows what will happen.
James Rose 5/6/15

One comment

  1. Nicola Prigg

    Sounds like a good night. I was invited by Pat but sadly couldn’t make it.

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