Tales from Turnberry Readaround – 22 August 2018

For the final Readaround of the summer, six intrepid writers made their way to Turnberry. After a somewhat bumpy ride, they were rewarded with panoramic views and copious amounts of chocolate. What could be more inspiring?

Nigel kicked off proceedings with a glimpse into the ‘wealth encrusted coastline of the Cote d’Azur’, seen through the eyes of an Englishman out in the midday sun. We felt the sand in our toes and the sun on our skin as he described both the physical and social divide of the yet unnamed characters. From the ‘mirrored Ray-Bans’ on the beach to the ‘black and white stare of film stars’ on the cafe walls, Nigel gave us a taste of life on the French Riviera, right down to the mouth-watering ‘moules and steak-frites’. He ended with a ‘mellow peach and vibrant tangerine sunset’ not dissimilar to the one simultaneously melting beyond Turnberry lighthouse. Sort of.

Susan then changed the mood with her short story Off the Grid. This clever and thought provoking story ventured into the ‘state of consciousness’ and included an unexpected twist that raised eyebrows as well as smiles. Her main character, Ruby, encountered ‘scorching white lava’, a ‘babble of light’ and, at one point, ‘floated between glittering stars’. A story with much potential.

Yvonne chose to share a poem entitled Exit Egypt. Based on personal experience, the poem was written from the point of view of a tourist in the midst of Arab Spring 2011. Clever imagery included ‘hard-faced soldiers’, ‘long-gunned tanks’ and people ‘scurrying like beetles’. It set the scene brilliantly and for her appreciative audience of non-poets, there was much to admire.

From war-torn Cairo to the fantasyland of Spookledom, it was certainly an evening of variety. Carrie treated us to an extract from her young adult novel set in the peculiar underground ‘black market’. Her characters were experiencing a ‘frenzied return ride’ from the market. Their cart ‘clattered and shook’ but was driven by the ‘niftiest cart shifter’ as ‘warm wind buffeted their faces’. Carrie is already more than half way through this gripping tale. Keep going Carrie!

Time to Get Packing was the title of Linda’s complete short story. An intriguing beginning suggested a love triangle complicating the celebration of Lena and Sam’s Ruby wedding anniversary. But all was not as it seemed and a clever twist soon revealed the truth behind the mysterious ‘Bonnie’. It was a nostalgic tale (for those of us of a certain age!) with ‘a splash of Old Spice’ and a ‘Babycham’ really setting the 1974 scene. Thumbs up all round.

Gill rounded up proceedings with an extract from her yet untitled novel. Having (wisely) listened to, and acted upon, the feedback from a previous Readaround, she re-read the newly edited train scene. Her character’s progress up the country was now illustrated by ‘the fells and mountains of Cumbria’, ‘the castle at Carlisle’ and the ‘distant scattering of wind turbines’. She also added a hint of humour with a colourful (in every sense of the word) hen party passing through the carriage. Much improved was the verdict.

Chris, the seventh member of the group, declined the opportunity to read. His feedback, however, was both welcome and valuable. That said, his fellow writers, having learned of his lengthy detour from a previous Readaround venue, were less included to follow his advice when it came to getting home. That duty was bestowed upon a more than capable Nigel.

So there ends another summer of delightfully diverse Readarounds. All that remains now is to sharpen our pencils, dust off our notebooks and get ready for another season of inspiration, entertainment and, most importantly of all, friendship.

Gill Sherry

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