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Summer Readaround 1st July 2015

Maggie’s Menu

Where better to enjoy a nourishing evening of words and creativity than the birthplace of a Nobel Prize winner? Maggie not only shared her garden for the recent Readaround, but also revealed that John Boyd Orr, who was given this accolade for his work on nutrition, was born in the house where we met.

So, how were our appetites whetted?

For an amuse bouche Cunningham, a character created by James, lured us into linguistic mantraps. Vociferous objections to the overpowering scents of pot pourri triggered violent reactions when combined with marching bands, sashes and pipes. Not sure how this works? Try the Kenneth Williams “Carry On” gag about infamy and you’ll get it.

Crime a-plenty came for starters. Martin, Nigel and Fiona took us beyond the torture of being super-glued to a radiator and introduced us to the Mauchline Special Crime Force. A potential terrorist waited to be interrogated by a retired, beer-swilling, bacon butty eating former cop, then we shared the suspicions and anxieties of a child whose family is in witness protection.

Karen’s richly visual Man in the Long Black Coat was a meaty dish from 1930s America. “Long endless graves of ploughed land” were the dustbowl backdrop to a wife’s sacrifice to the man whose “teeth are razor blades.” Dorothy offered alternative on the menu: grandma, having spent life sorting and ordering the family, is lured outside and turns her attention to the lush green arms of the garden.

A pair of Helena’s poems was tasted before the next courses. “Home, heart and hope” were taken from refugees in despair while ageing love, like maturing wine, awaited the arrival of spring. Then Janice sought advice from sommeliers present regarding her own magnum opus : not an ice cream but a history of Ayrshire’s dairy industry. Where would those choc ices be without the cows?

Sparkling desserts followed. Gail’s Scayr Club Blog was an amusing collation of Eventually Earning Novelists, Massive Rejection Walls and competition with the Lager Louts Writing Club while attending some mythical congregation. No one knew what she was blogging about. Pearl’s flash fiction legal drones then made us wonder about the machinations employed by those high up the corporate greasy pole.

Finally we called for the bill. The accompanying bowl of mints contained Maggie’s build-up to the End of the World Pop Concert on Planet Superior: an unearthly noise needed to save civilisation. Suggestions to write backwards and a lengthy discussion on canine wave-lengths saw the bill divided fairly but left one critical question: should the dogs save the world?

What’s the standard nutritional advice? Eat a well-balanced diet. On the evidence of Maggie’s menu, the summer Readarounds successfully continue to provide just that.

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