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October 30, 2013

My Mother-In-Law

Marianne Hall tells of monumental mother-in-law problems.

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October 29, 2013

For The Birds

...birds of every description, most of which seem to live in our garden which, in October, is ablaze with brilliant red bottle-brush trees...

Jacqueline Dowling is keeping a friendly eye on neighbours of the feathered variety.

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For The Birds

...birds of every description, most of which seem to live in our garden which, in October, is ablaze with brilliant red bottle-brush trees...

Jacqueline Dowling is keeping a friendly eye on neighbours of the feathered variety.

Continue reading "For The Birds " »

October 25, 2013

Don't Forget The E-mails

...There is a kind of miracle for me in holding a piece of paper that someone wrote on centuries ago, to read their thoughts and discover through their eyes, the times they experienced...

Mary Pilfold-Allan relishes a lecture on Sir Frank Whittle, the pioneering designer of the jet engine.

Continue reading "Don't Forget The E-mails" »

October 23, 2013

Bitter Rivalry

Derek McQueen's story tells of a bitter rivalry - and its dire consequences,

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Bitter Rivalry

Derek McQueen's story tells of a bitter rivalry - and its dire consequences,

Continue reading "Bitter Rivalry" »

October 22, 2013

The Death Of A Motor Rallying Legend

Kul Bhushan records the death of Kenya's motor rallying legend, Joginder Singh, the first Kenya Indian driver ever to win an international rally.

Kul reported on some of Joginder's greatest rallying triumphs.

Continue reading "The Death Of A Motor Rallying Legend" »

October 19, 2013

Don't Look Up

Jacqueline Dowling brings the sights, the sounds, the scents of South Africa in this vivid tale.

Continue reading "Don't Look Up" »

October 17, 2013

A Day In Court?

Derek McQueen's story tells of disappointing days in court.

Continue reading "A Day In Court?" »

October 12, 2013

Nine Garba Nights: Dancing Round A Goddess

Chaarvi Modi, an intern with Kul Bhushan, shares her experiences of the vibrant Navratri festival from the very heart of Gujarat!

Continue reading "Nine Garba Nights: Dancing Round A Goddess" »

October 08, 2013

But I Do Care A Fig!

"I confess, faced with such waste, I do occasionally stoop to retrieve a recently fallen fig and taste its delicious flesh. The moment I savour the flavour I am instantly transported back to childhood,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan.

Continue reading "But I Do Care A Fig!" »

October 05, 2013

Community Spirits - Part Six

Martin Rother concludes his sci-fi tale.

Continue reading "Community Spirits - Part Six" »

September 29, 2013

On The Rocks

...There are some 3000 wrecks along the Southern African coast and, after shivering through our present and extended winter, it's not difficult to imagine why...

Jacqueline Dowling writes about the Cape of Storms.

Continue reading "On The Rocks" »

September 28, 2013

All Aglow In Te Anau

Karen Wilson tells of a visit to enchanting grottos.

Continue reading "All Aglow In Te Anau " »

All Aglow In Te Anau

Karen Wilson tells of a visit to enchanting grottos.

Continue reading "All Aglow In Te Anau " »

September 18, 2013

Petronella And The Petroport

Marianne Hall brings us the latest disaster experienced by Petronella.

To read more stories in the hugely entertaining Petronella series please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=marianne+hall

Continue reading "Petronella And The Petroport" »

September 15, 2013

Cup Cake Cult

"Why is there such an upsurge of interest in the - let’s face it – rather boring bun?'' muses Mary Pilfold-Allan in this tasty column.

Continue reading "Cup Cake Cult" »

September 14, 2013

Community Spirits - Part Three

Martin Rothery continues his sci-fi tale.

Continue reading "Community Spirits - Part Three" »

Community Spirits - Part Three

Martin Rothery continues his sci-fi tale.

Continue reading "Community Spirits - Part Three" »

September 11, 2013

Sikh Calendar - Enjoyed By President Obama?

Noted Former Kenyan Newspaper Editor, Kul Bhushan, reviews this heritage calendar with exultant memories of his 45-year stay in Kenya and his personal relations with many of the outstanding Sikhs pictured on its 12 pages.

Continue reading "Sikh Calendar - Enjoyed By President Obama?" »

August 30, 2013

Old Age Home

Marianne Hall vividly and memorably writes about her days as a volunteer in an old people's home.

Continue reading "Old Age Home" »

August 26, 2013

Bird Brain

"Pheasants are one of the pure delights of the countryside, an imported species that has thrived and added colour to many a drab winter’s day,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan.

But what about shooting the birds for sport?

Do read on...

Continue reading "Bird Brain" »

Bird Brain

"Pheasants are one of the pure delights of the countryside, an imported species that has thrived and added colour to many a drab winter’s day,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan.

But what about shooting the birds for sport?

Do read on...

Continue reading "Bird Brain" »

August 20, 2013

Me Me Me Generation

Most young people are in love with themselves, writes Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading "Me Me Me Generation" »

August 14, 2013

The Flour Sieve

...The garage doors swung open. Out rushed my father, frantically rubbing his eyes. He was covered in flour, from top to toe...

Marianne Hall tells a tale that is sure to please.

Continue reading "The Flour Sieve" »

August 11, 2013

MTS Nacella -Episode 11

In the past 10 weeks Alfred Mielacher has been telling the story of a young man who went to sea in search of adventure.

Today there is a shocking conclusion.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella -Episode 11" »

August 04, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part 10

...I looked straight up into the clouds. The monster under my feet was on a balancing act on top of a huge wave. In slow motion we tilted over it and a short distance away I saw the next wave rolling towards us...

Alfred Mielacher continues his tale of a young man who went to sea in search of adventure.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part 10" »

August 01, 2013

Memoirs Of A Veteran - Introduction

Ninety-five-year-old Elizabeth Kay launches into the story of her life.

Continue reading "Memoirs Of A Veteran - Introduction" »

Memoirs Of A Veteran - Introduction

Ninety-five-year-old Elizabeth Kay launches into the story of her life.

Continue reading "Memoirs Of A Veteran - Introduction" »

July 31, 2013

Inside Thailand

...The majestic Chao Phraya river curls like a giant brown python through the City of Angels...

Winston Ash brings a vivid word portrait of life in Thailand's capital city, Bangkok.

Continue reading "Inside Thailand" »

July 30, 2013

Land Of Drifting Shadows

...Drinking coffee on the quayside that early morning, while watching the passing parade of boats, it was easy to drift back down the centuries to when Vikings ruled and traded; their longboats facing relentless Atlantic furies...

Jacqueline Dowling visits the Faroes.

Continue reading "Land Of Drifting Shadows" »

July 28, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part 9

...Life had turned into an unforgettable adventure since I had left for Hamburg. My time on board the vessel was exiting and enriching...

Alfred Mielacher continues his tale concerning a young man who went to sea in search of adventure - and found it!

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part 9" »

July 26, 2013

Regarding Larkspittle Cornsutch

Fred Tidball

Continue reading "Regarding Larkspittle Cornsutch" »

July 25, 2013

Heir Is Here!

Kenyans have a special interest in the Royal Family despite 50 years of being an independent country. After all, the Queen became the Queen in Kenya! Prince Charles visited Kenya umpteen times on safari and remembers that William proposed to Katie on a farm near Nanyuki, Kenya. Kul Bhushan had an eclectic exchange of mails with his Kenyan friends as soon as the big Katie wait was over.

Continue reading "Heir Is Here!" »

Petronella Falls In Love

...Sannie rushed to the phone.

“Willem, you must come quickly, man. Your mother is changing into a hippopotamus!”...

Marianne Hall bring us another chuckle-filled Petronella story.

Continue reading "Petronella Falls In Love" »

July 24, 2013

Zamani

A vivid impression of the sights and sounds of daily life in the African port of Mombasa in the olden days is recalled by Kersi Rustomji, the author of Jambo Paulo, Jambo Mikhali.

Continue reading "Zamani" »

Zamani

A vivid impression of the sights and sounds of daily life in the African port of Mombasa in the olden days is recalled by Kersi Rustomji, the author of Jambo Paulo, Jambo Mikhali.

Continue reading "Zamani" »

July 23, 2013

The New India And The NRIs

Chaarvi Modi, an intern with journalist and author Kul Bhushan, recalls a US trip during which she challenged the misconceptions of non-resident Indians about India and discovered that settling abroad is not for everyone.

Continue reading "The New India And The NRIs" »

July 21, 2013

MTS Bacella - Part 8

...Finally the 4 hours came to an end. Four hours in a stinky, hot and deafening engine room were as much as I could handle in a single stretch. All I wanted to do was eat something and go to sleep. To be honest, I cannot remember what my first dinner consisted of or what it tasted like! My first sleep in that strange bed however I do remember clearly – restless and uncomfortable at best!...

Alfred Mielacher continues his story of a young Austrian man who goes to sea in search of adventure.

Continue reading "MTS Bacella - Part 8" »

MTS Bacella - Part 8

...Finally the 4 hours came to an end. Four hours in a stinky, hot and deafening engine room were as much as I could handle in a single stretch. All I wanted to do was eat something and go to sleep. To be honest, I cannot remember what my first dinner consisted of or what it tasted like! My first sleep in that strange bed however I do remember clearly – restless and uncomfortable at best!...

Alfred Mielacher continues his story of a young Austrian man who goes to sea in search of adventure.

Continue reading "MTS Bacella - Part 8" »

July 17, 2013

Chocolate Brownie Vindaloo

Jacqueline Dowling recommends a great place for Cape folk to meet.

Continue reading "Chocolate Brownie Vindaloo" »

July 14, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part 7

...On Monday with a pounding heart in my chest and right on time, I introduced myself to the receptionist at Deutsche Shell. She acted very pleased and cheerful for a Monday morning. Pleased because I would fill-in for the engineers assistant who had an unexpected emergency and could not take the pre-booked ride...

Alfred Mielacher continues his novel concerning a young man who leaves his homeland seeking a chance to go to sea and find adventure.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part 7" »

July 13, 2013

Blapse

Marianne Hall recalls her rocky entry into the world of work.

Continue reading "Blapse" »

July 11, 2013

Stoned!

... As we head for home on Saturday morning via Marble Arch tube station and the Central Line, the up escalator is awash with aged fans wearing garish T-shirts and vest tops emblazoned with vivid tongues, huge pouting lips or silhouettes...

Mary Pilfold-Allan says the Rolling Stones will always be number one in her book - though her admiration of aging Stones fans is distinctly lacking.

Continue reading "Stoned!" »

July 08, 2013

Noises On

Derek Mcqueen tells a ghostly theatrical tale.

Continue reading "Noises On" »

July 07, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part 6

Alfred Mielacher continues his story of a young man who decided to go to sea in search of adventure - only to find himself in the midst of a bigger adventure than he had bargained for.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part 6" »

July 01, 2013

Highly Flavoured

Jacqueline Dowling's story tells of apocalyptic events at the annual nativity play.

Continue reading "Highly Flavoured" »

June 30, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part 5

Alfred Mielacher continues his story concerning a young man who wanted to go to sea in search of adventure, then found himself in deeper waters than he could have imagined.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part 5" »

June 29, 2013

The Bhuki Cafe

Jacqueline Dowling tells of an inspirational group of friends who are encouraging children to read books.

Continue reading "The Bhuki Cafe" »

June 26, 2013

Petronella. The Priest And The Undertaker

In Marianne Hall's latest Petronella tale the lady is planning for her final event.

Continue reading "Petronella. The Priest And The Undertaker" »

June 23, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part 4

Alfred Mielacher continues his tale of a young man who leaves home to go to sea, only to find himself involved in a muder mystery.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part 4" »

June 21, 2013

Puffins' Paradise

...Late summer throbbed and hummed all around as our ship nudged the harbour wall, shuddered gently, and was still. Iceland, at last, with Ìsafjarđardjúp bay stretching out calm, silken and misty before us...

Jacqueline Dowling brings a shining word portrait of a magnificent country and its wildlife.

Continue reading "Puffins' Paradise" »

June 16, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part 3

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part 3" »

June 15, 2013

Feeling And Experiencing Virgin Nature

...How does one experience virgin nature? What do you feel after pushing yourself beyond your endurance and exhausting yourself after a death defying adventure?...

Kul Bhushan interviews an intrepid young Indian woman who travels the world alone.

Continue reading "Feeling And Experiencing Virgin Nature" »

June 10, 2013

Chapter 3 - A Beginning

...The sky in the West, was alive with beautiful yellows, pinks and reds only to be seen when the sun set in the Highveld. Jack looked around carefully to see if there was any sign of activity in the areas he could still see. The place he had selected would soon be dark, so he set off from his hideaway at an angle, and made his way slowly down the hill, careful not to disturb any loose material he came across. Once he reached the area he had reconnoitred, he moved quietly across to the nearest building: a burnt out hardware store, and knelt down among the charred remains...

Jack decides to make a momentous journey.

Jake van der Wilden continues his novel concerning a man struggling to survive after the collapse of civilisation.

Continue reading "Chapter 3 - A Beginning" »

June 09, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part Three

...Whenever Karl wasn’t looking Candice sent me one of those ice-berg-melting glances accompanied by a wink. Luckily I was sitting because my knees felt like jam ready to be smeared onto a croissant!...

Alfred Mielacher continues his story of a young lad who goes in search of adventure and encounters the beautiful Candice.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part Three" »

MTS Nacella - Part Three

...Whenever Karl wasn’t looking Candice sent me one of those ice-berg-melting glances accompanied by a wink. Luckily I was sitting because my knees felt like jam ready to be smeared onto a croissant!...

Alfred Mielacher continues his story of a young lad who goes in search of adventure and encounters the beautiful Candice.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part Three" »

June 08, 2013

Fearless, Daring, Bold…That’s Intrepid

Single Indian Woman ventures where hard-boiled, hardy types do not tread. Wanderlust addict Anjaly Thomas, takes you deep into tropical jungles, up in the rare mountain air and far-out destinations no normal woman has ever been , writes Special Correspondent Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading "Fearless, Daring, Bold…That’s Intrepid" »

June 02, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part Two

Alfred Mielacher continues his tale of a young lad whp, having left home in search of adventure, finds himself in Holland, looking for a blond girl he once met.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part Two" »

June 01, 2013

More Than A Picture On A Wall

"Bible Camp is a good place to make new friends, meet up with old ones, and it’s a good time for everyone,'' writes Pamy Blaine.

Continue reading "More Than A Picture On A Wall" »

May 29, 2013

Petronella - The Hiker

...“Good Heavens,” said Terry to Petronella. "I didn’t realize you had such big feet.”...

Marianne Hall tells what happened when Petronella decides to go hiking.

Continue reading "Petronella - The Hiker" »

May 26, 2013

MTS Nacella - Part One

Alfred Mielacher begins a most inriguing tale concerning a lad who is determined to go to sea.

Continue reading "MTS Nacella - Part One" »

May 22, 2013

Thank You Lord That I Am Not Sick

"The main thing I've learned about life is that I still have a lot to learn about life,'' writes Pamy Blaine.

Continue reading "Thank You Lord That I Am Not Sick" »

May 20, 2013

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

Yvonne Trunkwald reminds us of how lucky many of us are.

Continue reading "Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart" »

May 18, 2013

Holland During The War Years - 5

"A feeling of relief, joy and freedom pervaded. It had been such a long time...''

Aloysius Joosten tells of the ending of the German occupation of Holland.

Continue reading "Holland During The War Years - 5" »

May 14, 2013

St. Helena Island - Part 2

...'How do you know when to yield?' I ask.

'It's simple' he replies. 'Fella comin' down make way for fella comin' up. Ye jus' gotta hoot plenty.'

And 'plenty' is exactly what happens...

Jacqueline Dowling concludes her wonderful word-portrait of the island where Napolean spent his final years.

Continue reading "St. Helena Island - Part 2" »

May 10, 2013

Holland During The War Years - 4

..."There were children who were homesick. It was very traumatic at that young age to be placed with strangers during the German occupation. They had to adjust from city to rural life. They were used to running water and sanitation.''...

Aloysius Joosten continues his account of life in rural Holland during the war years.

Continue reading "Holland During The War Years - 4" »

May 08, 2013

Lammetjievanger

...“This job will make you grow,” said Mr Havenga, Secretary of the Germiston School Board.

The position of school attendance officer was vacant and I had decided to transfer from that of administrative officer at Jeppe High to one at the school board...

Marianne Hall tells of the astonishing experiences she had in he job.

Continue reading "Lammetjievanger" »

May 07, 2013

St. Helena Island

... A short walk along the sea-front and we cross a narrow bridge over the dry castle moat, through an archway set in massively thick stone walls, into the most perfectly preserved replica of an eighteenth century colonial town...

Jacqueline Dowling paints a gorgeous word-portrait of St. Helena Island.

Continue reading "St. Helena Island" »

May 05, 2013

Holland InThe War Years - 2

Aloysius Joosten was nine years old when the Germans invaded Holland in World War Two. He still has vivid memories of those times.

This is the second article in a five-part series.

Continue reading "Holland InThe War Years - 2" »

May 03, 2013

Holland In The War Years - 3

...During the winter everyone gathered in the living room. There was only one lamp on the table so all activity centred around it. Those who had to study did so by lamplight...

Aloysius Joosten continues his account of what life was like in Holland during the German occupation.

Continue reading "Holland In The War Years - 3" »

April 28, 2013

Master Smoke - 10

...Days went by without as much as a single spark of contact from Sir Log. I was starting to wonder if that whole thing about having spoken to fire wood was just a figment of my imagination. Perhaps I have gone cuckoo...

Alfried Mielacher concludes his highly imaginative story.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 10" »

April 27, 2013

Holland InThe War Years - 1

Aloysius Joosten was nine years old when Germans invaded his homeland, Holland.

Holland had declared itself neutral. The Germans had other ideas. As the Dutch were unprepared they virtually had no resistance to offer, and when Rotterdam and Utrecht were threatened with bombing they surrendered.

This is the first of five articles by Aloysius about his wartime experiences. The second article will appear next weekend.

Continue reading "Holland InThe War Years - 1" »

April 24, 2013

Near Death Encounters

Ed Hootstein of Gloucester, Massachusetts, has stared death in the face so many times its amazing he has survived to celebrate his 70th birthday!

Ed today tells us of some of his adventures - and misadventures.

Settle down for a long edge-of-your-seat read.

Continue reading "Near Death Encounters" »

April 21, 2013

Master Smoke - 9

Alfred Meilacher continues his astonishing tale.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 9" »

April 14, 2013

Master Smoke - 8

...“My friend, we consider you as unrefined when you are under the influence of alcohol and only then! Otherwise, in an un-inebriated state of consciousness you are a great human being. About your second question, we forgive you for being in a state of tipsiness!”...

Alfred Mielacher continues his astonishing tale.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 8" »

April 10, 2013

Time Shift

...She kissed him back, but soon pulled away and said urgently, “Tom mustn’t see us together. He’s vowed to kill you again, -if you ever come near me. But as we’re soul mates, we’re destined to be together. So hopefully one day we’ll break through the time barrier that’s keeping us apart and then we’ll be together, forever.”...

Joy Bassetti Kruger tells a time-spanning tale of love and murder.

Continue reading "Time Shift" »

April 07, 2013

Master Smoke - 7

...The mania about this communication with logs is the discomfort one suffers by knowing one’s thoughts are not private. This at the best of times is not a superior position to find one-self in...

Alfred Meilacher continues his astonishing tale.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 7" »

April 01, 2013

Petronella In The Lift

...As it surged up to the eighteenth floor Petronella felt her stomach do a sudden drop and a wave of nausea swept over her. Then, suddenly, with a tremendous bump the lift came to a stop.

"Damn!” swore Willem irritably. “It looks as if the bloody thing is stuck.”...

Marianne Hall brings us another of her delicious Petronella sories.

Continue reading "Petronella In The Lift" »

March 31, 2013

Master Smoke - 6

Alfred Mielacher continues his imaginative tale.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 6" »

March 24, 2013

Master Smoke - 5

Alfred Mielacher brings us the fifth part of his astonishing tale.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 5" »

March 17, 2013

Master Smoke - 4

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 4" »

March 16, 2013

Coping With Cancer - 2

Marianne Hall tells movingly of nursing her husband Bob through his final days.

Continue reading "Coping With Cancer - 2" »

March 10, 2013

Master Smoke - 3

...“Are you saying that you know what I am thinking before I am actually thinking it?”

“Not before you start thinking a thought.”

“Start thinking a thought? Are you saying you know the full extent of it before I do? That is hellishly scary, you know!” I replied.''...

Alfred Mielacher continues his highly original tale.

Alfred's story was edited by Anne Coetzee. Watch out for further episodes in Open Writing on forthcoming Sundays.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 3" »

March 09, 2013

Coping With Cancer - 1

" I looked down at the skeletal face of a stranger, wisps of hair on a head practically bald, desperate eyes devoid of emotion. Was this the man I had married thirty-five years ago?''

Marianne Hall tells of confronting the situation we all dread.

Continue reading "Coping With Cancer - 1" »

March 05, 2013

Kenyan Indians Voting In General Elections

Kul Bhushan brings a report on the Kenyan elections.

Continue reading "Kenyan Indians Voting In General Elections" »

March 04, 2013

All Saints’ Church, Bright, Australia

Liz Thompson, a regular columnist in Open Writing, wrote this history of the Anglican church in Bright, a beautiful village in the hill country of Victoria, Australia.

Continue reading "All Saints’ Church, Bright, Australia" »

March 03, 2013

Master Smoke - 2

...“It is only fair for you to know that it has been a very long time since Master Smoke had chosen another Earthling to open up to!”

“What do you mean by Master Smoke? Who is this guy? What is going on here?”...

Alfred Mielacher continues his highly original tale.

Alfred's story was edited by Anne Coetzee. Watch out for further episodes in Open Writing on forthcoming Sundays.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 2" »

March 02, 2013

Bach's Christmas Oratorio

Here is a link to St. Matthew's Choir Ealing's performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

The orchestra was brought together by David Marsh from friends and a few Royal Academy of Music students. David okays the viola in the orchestra.

Sit back and give yourself the time to enjoy some of the finest music ever composed.

Continue reading "Bach's Christmas Oratorio" »

Evening Classes

...The craft was not difficult for someone of Helen’s artistic ability; what she found much harder was learning to talk naturally, to show an interest in the other students’ work, to admire their techniques, to ask Julian for advice, and generally to appear as a member of the human race...

There's a reason why painfully shy Helen has become a recluse as Judith Power reveals in this intriguing story.

Continue reading "Evening Classes" »

February 27, 2013

A Party And A Visit To The Turf Bog - Part Two

...As we approached the cottage we heard the sound of someone singing and we were able to make out the words of “The Rose of Arranmore” which happened to be one of Jim’s favourites. “Boys o”, he said but Mrs Dorian has the gramophone going early this day.” Hardly had the words left his mouth when the good woman herself appeared at the door.

“Ach, it’s yourself Jim and the caddie. Willie, isn’t it? Sure you’re stretching up. I’ll warrant you you’ve grown a few inches since I last saw you. Come away on in the both of you. It’s a good drop of tay and a bite to eat you’ll be ready for after your journey and your work at the turf bank.”...

Alan McConnell brings us another delectable slice of life as it used to be in rural Ireland.

Continue reading "A Party And A Visit To The Turf Bog - Part Two" »

Self-Service At The Supermarket

Wendy Ogbourne has plucked up the courage to combat the supermarket self-service checkout.

Continue reading "Self-Service At The Supermarket" »

February 26, 2013

Gareth Llewellyn Wynn-Dawes

...Throughout my childhood I nurtured a deep held grievance against my parents. I loved them dearly but could not forgive them for landing me with a double barrelled name – and a silly one at that....

Wynn-Dawes was mocked because of his name but there came a day of sweet revenge, as revealed in this tale by Jean Cowgill.

Continue reading "Gareth Llewellyn Wynn-Dawes" »

February 25, 2013

Petronella At The Kareoke

Was Petronalla a "hit'' when she went to the Kareoke?

Mariannce Hall brings us another choice tale involving her unforgettable fictional character.

Continue reading "Petronella At The Kareoke" »

Three Feet - Less Two

"So, my favourite king of all time, the last Plantagenet Richard Crookback aka Richard III, has been found. Three feet under, sans crown, sans horse, sans feet. Sans everything actually. The final ignominy of this discovery has surely to be the nature of the latters' disappearance: to wit the erection in the 19th century of a privy, right over his noble remains, in the process,severing his feet.Hall's Croft, Stratford upon Avon, sometime in the 20th century,'' writes Jacqueline Dowling.

Continue reading "Three Feet - Less Two" »

February 24, 2013

Master Smoke - 1

...“Stop looking so worried and confused! Look into the fire and you will stare right at me!”...

Alfred Mielacher begins a most intriguing tale.

Alfred's story was edited by Anne Coetzee. Watch out for further episodes in Open Writing on forthcoming Sundays.

Continue reading "Master Smoke - 1" »

February 21, 2013

Are We Alone In The Universe?

Wendy Ogbourne asks the big question.

Continue reading "Are We Alone In The Universe? " »

February 19, 2013

Caminito Por Favor

Jacqueline Dowling takes us to hot and humid Buenos Aires.

Continue reading "Caminito Por Favor" »

February 14, 2013

Baboons Among The Beads

Jacqueline Dowling tells of unexpected guests at the craft fair.

Continue reading "Baboons Among The Beads" »

February 10, 2013

Earl Grey

Derek Mcqueen's tale concerns a lady who sought revenge with a cup of tea.

Continue reading "Earl Grey " »

February 02, 2013

Harry's Boots - My Books

"Far too many children are Apping instead of reading. How do we fix it?'' writes Jacqueline Dowling, who is engaged in helping to fix the problem.

Continue reading "Harry's Boots - My Books" »

January 19, 2013

Immune To The Elements

With snow and ice holding Britain in their freezing grip columnist Mary Pilfold-Allan asks a pertinent question: "Have those born after 1980 been blessed with a central heating gene that the rest of us have been denied?''

Continue reading "Immune To The Elements" »

Switching On The Light

"Science changes matter to such a state that one can know the unknown. Spirituality transforms an individual to such a state that he/she can discover the unknowable. Science focuses on matter. Spirituality on individual. Science explores matter. Spirituality enlarges awareness. Science searches outside. Spirituality digs inside,'' writes Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading "Switching On The Light" »

January 10, 2013

Love And Loss

...I was a "pick-up". I was standing at a bus stop when a car stopped in front of me. All I remember clearly was a pair of brown eyes asking me if I wanted a lift...

Marianne Hall brings a deeply moving account of love...and loss.

Continue reading "Love And Loss" »

January 05, 2013

A Treasure Chest With Trivia

"Leave alone an autobiography, even Osho's biography presents immense challenges - for how can you fill or even distill an ocean into a tank? If you want to drink Osho, savour him in pegs and sip him neat,'' advises Kul Bhushan, a follower of Osho.

Continue reading "A Treasure Chest With Trivia" »

December 29, 2012

Bernard

Brian Lockett brings us a matter-of-fact tale about end days.

Continue reading "Bernard" »

December 27, 2012

A Christmas Ghost Story

...Yet all wasn’t quite as it should have been. The people he passed were dressed in the style of the 1950s and the traffic on the road was decidedly thinner. Usually at this time of day, the cars were nose to tail coming out of town as the offices closed early on Christmas Eve...

John Waddington-Feather tells a timely tale.

Continue reading "A Christmas Ghost Story" »

December 24, 2012

You Abuse it, You Get it Cut

"The male reproductive organ is meant to make love, not war. It contains the most potent and the most powerful human energy of sex. So when this energy goes berserk, all hell breaks loose. Or, rape. This is happening with sickening regularity in India especially in Delhi,'' writes Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading "You Abuse it, You Get it Cut" »

December 23, 2012

And She Smiles At Me

Jacqueline Dowling brings a wonderfully uplifting Christmas story from Western Cape, South Africa.

Continue reading "And She Smiles At Me" »

December 22, 2012

Summer's Music

"Mine was a magical childhood. One spent running wild with ponies on Dartmoor, exploring Cornish lanes and hearing everywhere the music of the wind, gulls wheeling, eagles
soaring over crags and, on long summer nights, nightingales in the woods,'' writes Jacqueline Dowling.

Continue reading "Summer's Music" »

December 15, 2012

Wellness Is The New Buzz Word

"Wellness spas are all the rage,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan "or should that be, a sign of the age?''

Continue reading "Wellness Is The New Buzz Word" »

November 24, 2012

Petronella And The Coppers

Petronella finds herself involved in high drama when she takes her small change to the bank.

Matianne Hall brings us another choice tale about a very special character.

Continue reading "Petronella And The Coppers" »

November 18, 2012

Phosphorescence

...We are a bit of a pack, the neighbour's magnificent, pure white husky, my son and I. We have spent six years pounding the suburb's pavements together on our daily walks...

And the husky could be a life-saver, even in sunburnt Australia, as Jean Cowgill's story reveals.


Continue reading "Phosphorescence" »

October 28, 2012

Chaos

"An ominous cloud swirled in from the north. Thunder rolled and lightening zig-zagged across the sky. The wind came up. Then the rain came down …….in sleets! This was followed by hail, first small but then increasing in size to that of large golfballs! All hell broke loose!.''

Marianne Hall brings a dramtic account of a violent storm which wreaked a huge amount of damage upon areas in South Africa.

Continue reading "Chaos" »

October 27, 2012

Black Money

"Despite condemning Black Money, non-resident Indians have helped to increase it,'' reported Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading "Black Money" »

A Love That Is Lost

Sonia Noble writes of lost love.

Continue reading " A Love That Is Lost" »

October 26, 2012

Sojourn In The Sun

"How many lessons the weaver birds could teach some of us?'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan, having observed a colony of the bright yellow nest-builders during a recent soporific sojoun in the southern hemisphere.

Continue reading "Sojourn In The Sun" »

October 21, 2012

Up, Up And Away

"I have always been interested in aircraft. As I child I read all the “Biggles” books. When other girls were playing with dolls, I was building model aeroplanes.''

In this wonderfully engaging feature Marianne Hall recalls her airborne years.

Continue reading "Up, Up And Away" »

October 20, 2012

Sojourn In The Sun

"How many lessons the weaver birds could teach some of us?'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan, having observed the bright yellow nest-builders during a recent sojourn in the southern sun.

Continue reading "Sojourn In The Sun" »

October 19, 2012

Bitter Rivalry

Derek McQueen tells a horticultural tale with a gruesome concclusion.

Continue reading "Bitter Rivalry" »

October 13, 2012

Home And Heart

Kul Bhushan writes on the dilema of migration.

Continue reading "Home And Heart" »

October 07, 2012

How Much Is Enough

Jacqueline Dowling, writing from South Africa, brings a vivid portrait in words of the snoek fishing season.

Continue reading "How Much Is Enough" »

October 06, 2012

Cheated Out Of Properties

The property experiences of Non-Resident Indians in the land of their birth can put any horror film to shame, wrote journalist Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading "Cheated Out Of Properties" »

September 29, 2012

Cybercrime

Kul Bhushan reports on a rise in cybercrime in India.

Continue reading "Cybercrime" »

September 25, 2012

Finding Happiness

Continue reading "Finding Happiness" »

September 24, 2012

Petronella - Call Me Madam

Marianne Hall brings us another Petronella story. This time Petronella blunders into a job for which she is totally unsuitable.

Continue reading "Petronella - Call Me Madam" »

September 15, 2012

Landing In Grandmother Land

"'May I have your attention please?' cooed the airhostess, 'We have landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi….' The bleary-eyed passengers perked up to grab their handbags and deplane. “India, my love,” mumbled Jackson Shermann reminding himself to respond to his real name Jaikishen Sharma for the next two weeks,'' writes Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading "Landing In Grandmother Land" »

September 08, 2012

Dream Home In India

Kul Bhushan says Indians living outside their own country face many hurdles in buying property in their homeland.

Continue reading "Dream Home In India" »

September 01, 2012

Coconuts - Brown Outside; White Inside

"Indians settled in Britain are sometimes called 'coconuts' by some of their own social commentators. Brown from outside, e white inside,'' writes Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading "Coconuts - Brown Outside; White Inside" »

August 30, 2012

The Awaiting Place

"Though I am sad, contentment and acceptance settle over me as I remember years of love and laughter, happiness and fulfillment, and the remembrance keeps me warm,'' writes Miriam McAtee.

Continue reading "The Awaiting Place" »

August 26, 2012

My First Teacher

“Paaaammmmmmyyyyyy, come home!” my Mother would sing my name loudly as she stood in the back door to call me home. Her song started on a low note and slowly made it's crescendo to at least an octave higher. You better believe I came home quickly not only because I was taught to come but because the whole neighborhood, and possibly the whole town, would soon know that I was missing, writes Pamy Blaine.

Continue reading "My First Teacher" »

August 25, 2012

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Mirror, mirroron the wall
Who is the most beatiful of all?

Kul Bhushan writes "The problem today is that nine out of ten times you want the mirror to respond 'You. Yes, you'.''

Continue reading "Mirror, Mirror On The Wall" »

August 24, 2012

Yellow Bile

Derek McQueen tells of bleak times in a 19th Century northern industrial city.

Continue reading "Yellow Bile" »

August 18, 2012

Dreams To Nightmares

Kul Bhushan, journalist, editor and author, highlights scandalous fraud which is ruining thousands of lives.

Continue reading "Dreams To Nightmares" »

August 14, 2012

The Hugely Underestimated Earthquake Threat To North America

"While we have sophisticated equipment that monitors and records earthquakes and helps experts narrow down locations that are more susceptible to earthquake occurrences; it is still very difficult for experts to precisely predict when an earthquake will strike a particular region. It is not a question of if what happened in Japan will happen in North America. The question is when,'' writes Deanne Robichaud.

Continue reading "The Hugely Underestimated Earthquake Threat To North America" »

August 11, 2012

Time To Return

"The gap between a western and an Indian lifestyle has narrowed dramatically in the last five years,'' advises Kul Bhushan addressing Indian emigres who are thinking of returning to their homel;and.

Continue reading "Time To Return" »

August 04, 2012

"Anything To Declare?"

"Professionals returning to India have special concessions under the Customs rules. Used household articles that have been in his possession for at least six months abroad can be brought in custom free up to a value of Rs 75,000,'' writes Kul Bhushan.

Continue reading ""Anything To Declare?"" »

July 30, 2012

Saltwater Crocodiles

Australia’s federal government is to consider permitting the hunting of saltwater crocodiles for a trial period as their numbers soar in the country’s tropical north. The salties - which can grow up to seven metres in length and weigh more than a ton - have been protected since the 1970s, with their population estimated at over 150,000. Derek Hudson recalls a 1986 visit to salty territory.

Continue reading "Saltwater Crocodiles" »

July 29, 2012

The London Olympics

"As a veteran of six Olympic Games, which have stretched over four continents, it seems surreal that London 2012 is so close to home,'' writes sports journalist Tony Bugby in this exclusive report for Open Writing.

Continue reading "The London Olympics" »

July 25, 2012

Economical Comments

"If we search our hearts, most of us would not change places with any of the people who are in need of the money the various charities raise,'' writes Shirley Stow.

Continue reading "Economical Comments" »

July 23, 2012

Go For Gold India!

Kul Bhushan reports that Indians around the world have high expectations of their team competing in the Olympic Games which open in London on Friday.

Continue reading "Go For Gold India!" »

July 16, 2012

God Save Our Gracious Queen

"I am proud to be British, English and Yorkshire born,'' declares Shirley Stow.

Continue reading "God Save Our Gracious Queen" »

July 15, 2012

Childminding By Remote Control

"Faced with looking after three children for a morning, all of them under four years old, I drew on my armour plating and sallied forth,'' writes Mary Basham.

Continue reading "Childminding By Remote Control" »

July 14, 2012

Rumbling Noises

"The house had corrugated iron roof and the rain on it was very loud which I loved. Every evening or some nights even, a strange thing occurred in the roof. The ceiling was made of thick compressed paper pulp. During the heat of the day the roof tins and the timbers expanded. In the cool of the evening or the night as these contracted, there were very loud rumbling noises in the ceiling.''

Kersi Rustomji vividly and entertainingly recalls his early days in East Africa.

Continue reading "Rumbling Noises" »

July 07, 2012

Kersi's Opus - 2

"On sixth of January 1936, my Mummy, your Grandma Jeroo, was taken to the Mulago hospital in Kampala, Uganda. It was late in the evening and I had started mischief in Granny Jeroo’s tummy. At exactly five minutes past six on the morning of the seventh I was born and cried a lot because I had my bottom smacked,'' writes Kersi Rustomji, recalling his early days.

Continue reading "Kersi's Opus - 2" »

July 02, 2012

Kersi's Opus - 1

Today Open Writing introduces you to a new author, Kersi Rustomji.

Kersi was born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1936. He spent his early childhood in Mwanza, Tanganyika, now Tanzania.

As a child, he grew up with a man of the Sukuma tribe, who mentored him in the magic of the wilderness, its flora and fauna.

Here are some words of introduction by journalist and author Kul Bhushan, then some introductory words by Kersi himself.

Continue reading "Kersi's Opus - 1" »

June 21, 2012

A Chat With Joan Von Memerty

“Life is the journey not the destination so we should never confine ourselves to only one level of thought, there is a little bit of truth in everything. But we do need to give ourselves goals or challenges to keep us on course. In the end I think our only rewards are brief moments of enlightenment.''

Marianne Hall brings us an interview with a fascinating character, Baroness Joan Elizabeth von Memerty.

Baroness Joan Elizabeth von Memerty

Continue reading "A Chat With Joan Von Memerty" »

June 14, 2012

The Falklands War - 3

Former Yorkshire Post chief reporter Derek Hudson, later publishing editor of Writers’ News and Writing Magazine, concludes his account of experiences with British troops during the Falklands Campaign which ended on June 14 1982 when Argentine forces on the islands surrendered.

Continue reading "The Falklands War - 3" »

June 07, 2012

The Falklands War - 2

Former Yorkshire Post chief reporter Derek Hudson, later publishing editor of Writers’ News and Writing Magazine, continues his account of experiences with British troops during the Falklands Campaign which ended on June 14 1982 when Argentine forces on the islands surrendered.

Continue reading "The Falklands War - 2" »

May 31, 2012

The Falklands War - 1

Former Yorkshire Post chief reporter Derek Hudson, later publishing editor of Writers’ News and Writing Magazine, recalls his experiences with British troops during the Falklands Campaign which ended on June 14 1982 when Argentine forces on the islands surrendered.

Continue reading "The Falklands War - 1" »

May 14, 2012

Neo - Table Tennis

Derek McQueen tells a future tale of a sporting business trip to Australia which goes disasterously wrong.

Continue reading "Neo - Table Tennis" »

May 06, 2012

Marianne Joins The Commandos

"We were taught camouflage, using mud, cork or burnt grass. My most embarrassing moment was my inability to cross a high mine dump with a full pack. 'Walk sideways!' shouted the Sergeant Major. Finally, two men hauled me to the top and I rolled down the other side,'' writes Marianne Hall, telling of her time in the Commandos.

Continue reading "Marianne Joins The Commandos" »

May 01, 2012

Three Unwritten Rules I Think You Should Know About Using Your Library

Nilam Ashra-McGrath brings entertaining thoughts on how to use your public library in this modern age.

Continue reading "Three Unwritten Rules I Think You Should Know About Using Your Library" »

April 21, 2012

Not My Problem

A writer called Firecracker sends this sobering tale from South Africa.

Continue reading "Not My Problem" »

April 16, 2012

Newspapers Going Global In Print

Dan Bloom reports that American and British newespapers are now going global in print.

Continue reading " Newspapers Going Global In Print" »

March 24, 2012

Faceless In The Hall Of Fame

"For almost a year I have been researching a woman with a unique place in history yet there is little trace of her existence,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan. "That woman, or more precisely, nineteen-year old girl, became the mother of the first English child to be born on North American soil.''

Continue reading "Faceless In The Hall Of Fame" »

March 21, 2012

Top Soil

Derek McQueen tells the tale of a load of top soil delivered into the wrong garden.

Continue reading "Top Soil" »

March 17, 2012

Time Out

...Life is a happy game that begins at the crack of dawn and only improves as the day goes on...

Mary Pearl conveys the joy and responsibility of looking after her grandson Eden - but does a two-and-a-half-year-old fully understand all the words he uses?

Continue reading "Time Out" »

March 12, 2012

Wondrous Moments

"I hope when we catch a glimpse of one of God’s wonders we stop and accept the offering and give ourselves up to the moment and the release that is there for each of us,'' writes Ellie Braun-Haley from Western Canada.

Continue reading "Wondrous Moments" »

March 10, 2012

Terra Firma

Derek McQueen's tale tells how quizzers Ken and Graham decided to go treasure hunting.

Continue reading "Terra Firma" »

February 28, 2012

In The Commandos

...Just before a route march I seriously sprained my ankle, but found that once the ankle was strapped firmly into the heavy boot I felt no pain. We marched with full pack for nearly three hours and, to this day, I have never had problems with the ankle...

Marianne Hall recalls her days as a commando.

Continue reading "In The Commandos" »

February 20, 2012

Somali Kiss - A Novel Worth Reading

Mike Wood, a writer who has delighted Open Writing readers week by week with his thrilling stories, has had another book published - Somali Kiss.

This story was first serialed in Open Writing under the title A Court Of Fowls. Mike has extensively revised the work.

Continue reading "Somali Kiss - A Novel Worth Reading" »

February 11, 2012

Sweet Revenge

In this tale by Marianne Hall Petronella gets sweet revenge on a troublesome neighbour.

Continue reading "Sweet Revenge" »

February 04, 2012

Finding Frank

...Frank sat at the head of the of the beautifully, and specially, laid table and when we were all settled, bowed his head and prayed thanks for our safe arrival and the meal to come...

Derek McQueen sheds tears for a wonderful man he only met once.

Continue reading "Finding Frank" »

February 03, 2012

Wagner's "Ring'' Cycle In 105 Minutes

Huddersfield Recorded Music Society members had a special treat this week.

Jim Bostwick introduced them to the first complete cycle recorded in stereo of Richard Wagner's four "Ring'' operas - some say the best ever recordings of these monumental works.

Jim told how the recordings have remained "hidden'' for more than 50 years, then, with wit and humour, outlined the "extravagent'' plot of the Ring saga.

The four operas comprising the "Ring'' cycle - Das Rheingold,
Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung - take some 15 hours to perform.

Jim, in a talk laced with musical highlights, summed up the tale in 105 enjoyable minutes.

Continue reading "Wagner's "Ring'' Cycle In 105 Minutes" »

February 02, 2012

Humanticide / Humanicide

Dan Bloom, a freelance writer based in Taiwan where he blogs for the Polar Cities Research Institute, profiles a new ecological term coined by Michael Adzema in Oregon.

Continue reading "Humanticide / Humanicide" »

January 26, 2012

Jugs And Apples

...Arthur knew he would only be able to steal one of the thirteen paintings in the room. Size would be all-important...

Derek McQueen brings us another tale.

Continue reading "Jugs And Apples" »

January 24, 2012

Polar Cities

Dan Bloom, a freelance writer based in Taiwan where he blogs for the Polar Cities Research Institute, issues a wake-up call about gobal warming.

Continue reading "Polar Cities" »

January 06, 2012

Petronella Has Her Suspicions

Petronella's detective work has disasterous consequences.

Marianne Hall brings us another choice tale.

Continue reading "Petronella Has Her Suspicions" »

December 28, 2011

Petronella - The Karate-Ka

...Petronella began to feel quite dizzy. Her heart threatened to pound right out of her body. She collapsed on to the floor...

Marianne Hall tells another choice tale.

Continue reading "Petronella - The Karate-Ka" »

December 24, 2011

Central Heating Santa

"Disaster! It’s the week before Christmas and the central heating boiler gave up the ghost. One minute it was chugging along nicely, providing comforting background warmth to every room, the next it had developed a loud and persistent ticking noise and refused to deliver anything resembling heat,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan.

Continue reading "Central Heating Santa" »

December 23, 2011

The Living Library

Last summer, writer and researcher Nilam Ashra-McGrath (www.nilamashramcgrath.co.uk) completed a writing-residency at Huddersfield Library, UK, and is now writing a non-fiction book about her experiences. The book will be out in 2012, and you can read the prologue here:

Continue reading "The Living Library" »

December 22, 2011

My Santa

Colin Fisher tells a Christmas tale.

Continue reading "My Santa" »

December 19, 2011

Boy Scouts

Marianne Hall tells of the origins of the Boy Scouts’ song.

Continue reading "Boy Scouts" »

December 16, 2011

The 16th Of December...

Marianne Hall tells of a battle fought on this day in 1838.

Continue reading "The 16th Of December..." »

December 15, 2011

It's Never The Ones Ya Hope

"Is it any wonder we feel like marriage is doomed to fail? If we look around, we see divorce everywhere.,'' writes Shannon Appleby.

Continue reading "It's Never The Ones Ya Hope" »

December 14, 2011

Winter Walk

...“Ahhhh. Yes, definitely the air smells of wolves today.”...

Anne Steward's tale is filled with love, and the imaginative wonder of childhood.

Continue reading "Winter Walk" »

Only Seeing Is Truly Believable

"‘An der schönen blauen Donau’, better known as ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’ has ingrained itself into my subconscious and whenever I hear it, visions of a snowy Vienna come to mind with all the fun of the festive season eddying around it streets. Waltz tents, buskers, mulled wine and ice cold champagne, braziers for warming hands and roasting chestnuts, fir boughs decorating the streets, market stalls twinkling with lights, the visual memories flood back,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan.

Continue reading "Only Seeing Is Truly Believable" »

December 13, 2011

The Craziest Thing Happened To Me

"The Highveld in South Africa is particularly vulnerable to electrical storms. One such storm happened this week. A violent wind blew up, followed by pelting rain. A swirling and circulating electrical storm cell rolled across the landscape. I watched the lightening, zapping from cloud to cloud, illuminating the sky.

"Suddenly, a massive bolt of lightening struck!'' writes Marianne Hall.

Continue reading "The Craziest Thing Happened To Me" »

December 12, 2011

The Eulogy

... “Would you mind saying something at my funeral?” he said.

For once in my life I didn’t know what to say. So I followed the usual bantering line...

Brian Lockett tells a choice tale.

Continue reading "The Eulogy" »

December 09, 2011

Truffle Balls

Is Fred the seets salesman really a nice man? Derek McQueen brings us another surprising tale.

Continue reading "Truffle Balls" »

December 04, 2011

To Be A Pilgrim In The Footsteps Of St Paulinus

"I can’t really remember when my interest in pilgrimages and pilgrims started. Perhaps it was way back in Sunday School when we read about the most famous pilgrim of them all – John Bunyan’s ‘Valiant’,'' writes Sally Codman, bringing details of the new 65-mile St Paulinus Way which follows the footsteps through Yorkshire of a famous 6th Century Saint.

Continue reading "To Be A Pilgrim In The Footsteps Of St Paulinus" »

November 26, 2011

Le Repas

Derek McQueen tells of a terrible French meal and a wonderful chateau.

Continue reading "Le Repas" »

November 19, 2011

One Of His Kind - Alive Or Dead

Hariharan Balakrishnan has an "encounter'' with J B S Haldane, an incorrigibly optimistic English scientist who abandoned his native land in protest and emigrated to India.

Continue reading "One Of His Kind - Alive Or Dead" »

November 18, 2011

Appreciating The Moment

"By nature I am quite perky about the festive season, the whole shebang. I love the smell of it, fir trees and frost outdoors, spices and warmth indoors. I love the preparation for it, the buying of presents, wrapping them, writing the cards, sending and receiving them. I love the intangible magic of Christmas, but it takes a lot these days to conjure it up after having my senses mauled by the major stores,'' writes columnist Mary Pilfold-Allan.

Continue reading "Appreciating The Moment" »

November 13, 2011

Fake Sugar

...Ugh. Mom and Dad’s annual Fourth of July boating party is coming up. Boating’s great, but it requires a bathing suit. And mom uses this festivity as her annual opportunity to put my full figure and lack of procreation in front of the jury....

Shannon Appleby tells a deliciously funny tale of daughter-mom friction. Settle down now. Enjoy a good long read.

Continue reading "Fake Sugar" »

November 12, 2011

Peppermint Creams

Mike Shaw tells of home-made war-time treats.

Continue reading "Peppermint Creams" »

November 03, 2011

A Party And A Visit To The Turf Bog - Part One

...In those days an unsprung cart was not the most comfortable way to travel what with none of the minor roads having yet attained the luxury of tarmac. Nevertheless, however uncomfortable the mode of travel I was being borne away from the numerous chores mother invariably found for me on a Saturday and I considered a ride of a few bumpy miles a fair exchange...

Alan McConnell brings us another wonderful, flavourful tale of old Ireland.

Continue reading "A Party And A Visit To The Turf Bog - Part One" »

October 27, 2011

The Trials Of Adrian Wheeler

"Now that it’s official—the war in Iraq is about to come to an end, at least for American soldiers—I have resurrected something I wrote this past Memorial day. When I wrote this piece, my thoughts were directed not to those soldiers who died in battle, but to those young men and women who came back (and are continuing to come back) from Iraq and Afghanistan—only to discover a battlefield far more relentless and infinitely more lonely,'' writes Steve Shear in this brilliant article about the true, and on-going, horrors of warfare.

Continue reading "The Trials Of Adrian Wheeler" »

October 12, 2011

At The Soccer

Marianne Hall brings us another story featuring that extraordinary character, Petronella.

Continue reading "At The Soccer" »

October 08, 2011

The Claim

...It was a thirty-minute walk into Sheffield, over the fields and the two friends, neighbours and work-mates set off briskly down Alma Street, past 'The Fat Cat' pub. Both were in working clobber; cloth caps, white scarves, waistcoats and rough jackets. Joe was thirty-six, Jim thirty-three. They looked at least fifty...

Derek McQueen bases his tale on real events which were harsh beyond the imagining of 21st Century man.

Continue reading "The Claim" »

October 06, 2011

Down Dymchurch Way

...For years I have wanted to visit that bit of southern England from Hastings to Folkestone taking in Romney Marsh and some of the Cinque Ports, principally Rye...

Mary Pilfold-Allan fulfills a dream.

Continue reading "Down Dymchurch Way" »

September 29, 2011

The Dog Who Wouldn't Let Go

Poet and story teller John Cooper brings us a tale to be read to children. It features Rumple, a golden labrador, and delightful creatures such as Heavylump, Terroducktail and Pider.

Print out this story! Perfect bedtime or any time reading!

Continue reading "The Dog Who Wouldn't Let Go" »

September 24, 2011

Here And Now

...Aboard ship I had an intense curiosity and fascination with everyone and everything, entering areas forbidden to passengers. My mother had great difficulty in keeping me under control, and I spent a lot of time over her knee in tears...

Marianne Hall vividly recalls a sea passage from Europe to South Africa.

Continue reading "Here And Now" »

September 22, 2011

The New Apprentice

...Norman managed the drawing office and sat at one end, behind a windowed partition. He shared the space with his deputy, Arnold Worsman. Arnold was hard of hearing. He wore a large, brown Bakelite deaf aid and played games with it. Sometimes he turned it down and heard nothing. Most times he heard but pretended he didn't...

Derek McQueen, with a vividness as though it occurred yesterday, and not decades ago, recalls the characters he met on his first job interview.


Continue reading "The New Apprentice" »

September 03, 2011

Eric

...There was not much time for socialising, so I can’t tell you much about Eric’s private life or even if he had one. On the few occasions when we chatted I learned that he had quite a few well-known, even important, friends. For instance he knew Bill Gates quite well. And Richard Branson. And Alan Sugar - as well as several senior government ministers and religious leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury...

Is Eric For real, or is he a Walter Mitty dreamer?

Brian Lockett brings us a deliciously entertaining tale. If your read a better story than this before 2012 comes around we'll be surprised.

Continue reading "Eric" »

August 31, 2011

Developing Our Wings

Ellie Braun-Haley has positive thoughts on coping with grief.

Continue reading "Developing Our Wings" »

August 30, 2011

The Ivory Maid And The Boeresun

...“Hey, sit close!” shouted Andrew. Then, with a loud crash the wagon overturned and hit a large boulder. The impending darkness added to the confusion.

“Anne, where are you? Are you hurt?” Andrew had been thrown clear...

Marianne Hall weaves a tale from true events set in what is now South Africa more than 200 years ago.

Continue reading "The Ivory Maid And The Boeresun" »

August 18, 2011

No Way Back

Derek McQueen's sci-fi tale tells of disaster on the hour-long rocket flight to Perth, Australia.

Continue reading "No Way Back" »

August 17, 2011

Lawrence Green - Journalist And Author

...‘Writing is a trade just like woodworking or plumbing, and just as difficult to do. The writer must assemble all his tools and materials, then fit them carefully together as a master carpenter constructs a cupboard or a set of bedroom furniture’...

Marianne Hall brings a vivid word portrait of the South African author, Lawrence Green.

Continue reading "Lawrence Green - Journalist And Author" »

August 14, 2011

Who Am I? - An Introduction To MY BPD World

"Three words leapt from the paper, hitting me like a kick to the stomach 'Borderline Personality Disorder'. I was alone at the time and it sent me into a panic.,'' writes Sharon Howard.

Continue reading "Who Am I? - An Introduction To MY BPD World" »

August 13, 2011

Familiar Fare

"Food is indeed a very uniting ingredient in our lives, something comforting and familiar that can instantly make us feel ‘at home’. The smell of baking bread for example, always takes me straight back to childhood, reproducing in a moment Mr Child’s bakery that once occupied premises in the neighbouring street to ours,'' writes Mary Pilfold-Allan in this deliciously tasty column.

Continue reading "Familiar Fare" »

August 10, 2011

The Old Man And His Dog

Catherine Moore tells an uplifting story concerning a four-legged angel who saved a life.

Continue reading "The Old Man And His Dog" »

August 06, 2011

Petronella At The Auction

...Petronella went up to collect a packet of Brooklax. “Indigestion?” asked the auctioneer.

“Oh, no,” she whispered into his ear. “I am going to bake my daughter-in-law a chocolate cake. She was very nasty to me the other day.”...

There's fun and games in abundance when Petronella goes to the auction in this high jinks tale by Marianne Hall.

Continue reading "Petronella At The Auction" »

August 03, 2011

Let Go Worry

Ellie Braun-Haley brings advice to the worried.

Continue reading "Let Go Worry" »

July 27, 2011

Brown Leather Shoes

...The old man looked up. A young White woman stood before him. She held out to him a pair of brown leather shoes. He was mystified. These were obviously new, and did not need mending.

“These are for you,” she said.

He became very suspicious and uneasy...

Marianne Hall tells a story you are never likely to forget.

Continue reading "Brown Leather Shoes" »

July 23, 2011

Fair Day

...Fair Day brought a great buzz to the village. From early on the streets would be a mass of people and livestock and by midday the buying and selling would have reached fever pitch. I always enjoyed the spectacle of two men haggling over the sale of one or more animals. There would first be the asking price, answered by a pretended look of disbelief on the face of the prospective buyer who would then quote a price lower than that asked...

That wonderfully evocative writer Alan McConnell conjures up mental pictures of Fair Days in the Ireland of yesteryear.

Continue reading "Fair Day" »

July 20, 2011

John Copestake's Bad Leg

Derek McQueen's sombre tale makes you glad to be living in the 21st Century.

Continue reading "John Copestake's Bad Leg" »

June 29, 2011

The Bystander

“A teenage life more than half a century ago presented clean cut options. Some of my classmates chose drink and boys. Most of us followed the activities of earlier generations,’’ writes Jean Cowgill.

Continue reading "The Bystander" »

June 18, 2011

Climbing The Bridge

John Powell takes a "stroll'' over the mighty arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Continue reading "Climbing The Bridge" »

June 12, 2011

The Interview

There are three candidates for the specialist driving job - but who will get it?

Derek McQueen tells a most intriguing tale.

Continue reading "The Interview" »

June 07, 2011

Mary Ann

...Where strong waters were concerned the nature or brand was of no concern to Mary Ann. She loved them all. When she had imbibed what she deemed to be a sufficient quantity her feet took over and she would dance a jig with incredible agility...

Maintaining the great tradition of Irish tale-telling, Alan McConnell introduces us to Mary Ann and her sister Biddy.

Here's hoping that Alan brings us another hundred of his unforgettable tales.


Continue reading "Mary Ann" »

June 06, 2011

Paul Wells

In this powerful article Derek McQueen tells of a true hero.

Continue reading "Paul Wells" »

John Waddington-Feather's Edward: A Review

William Ruleman, Professor of English at Tennessee Wesleyan College, reviews John Waddington-Feather's play Edward, which highlights "a scandal that shook the foundations of mid-twentieth-century British society: that of the Prince of Wales’s dalliance with an American divorcee he later renounced the throne for and married.''

The play has been performed in London, and may soon be staged in New York.

Edward was serialised scene by scene in Open Writing and can be read by click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/feathers_miscellany/

To read some of Mr Ruleman's poems visit http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=william+ruleman

Continue reading "John Waddington-Feather's Edward: A Review" »

June 03, 2011

Cometh The Day, Cometh The "Doom''

...n opening that door the unexpected took the breath away, a Doom, so colourful on a grey day, but at the same time, so weighty in its message, stared at us from the north wall...

In this fascinating article Mary Pilfold-Allan tells of her family's chance "discover'' of the Wenhaston Doom.

Continue reading "Cometh The Day, Cometh The "Doom''" »

May 23, 2011

It Has Nothing To Do With Us

...I suppose as a former freelance journalist who during his career often exposed the wrong-doings of others, I should be in favour of total transparency in society. But frankly I am sick and tired of the dishonest ramblings of columnists and commentators, furious at being prevented from naming footballers, entertainers and others in the public eye who are accused of acting immorally...

Stan Solomons vigorously argues the case for privacy.

To read more of Stan's articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=stan+solomons


Continue reading "It Has Nothing To Do With Us" »

May 15, 2011

Barney And The Revenue Man

...Barney McGreevey has always maintained that his narrow squeak with the Revenue man would never have happened if Michael” Yankee” Murphy had been more discreet. You see, Barney has a rare skill in the manufacture of Poteen...

Ace storyteller Alan McConnell tells a fine Irish tale.

Continue reading "Barney And The Revenue Man" »

May 10, 2011

Underworld

...A tattooed weightlifter grunts,
her mirror image ego boosts.
Weights, defined by colour,
spur her to new records...

Jean Cowgill is no fan of exercising in Stygian gloom.

Continue reading "Underworld" »

April 09, 2011

My Way

...The history books will tell you that this was written for him by Paul Anka and was based on a French song called Comme d’habitude. The facts are, however, quite different, and the time has come to give credit where it is due...

Brian Lockett brings us the results of fascinating musicological research into how the song My Way came to be written.

(Note to editor: should this have appeared in Open Writing on April 1st?)

Continue reading "My Way" »

Lost Pleasures

Jean Cowgill suggests that recalling lost pleasures is in itself a pleasure.

Continue reading "Lost Pleasures" »

April 01, 2011

Tending To The Roots, Nurturing The Shoots

...There is an enormous dash of pride too as I trace the line back and discover the daring of some of my past kin. One in particular, a pioneering great-great aunt, packed up her few worldly goods, husband and six of her children and travelled to America in 1872. Not only that, she didn’t let them stop long in New York but also carried on to Nevada. What drove her? What is it that I don’t know? Within a few generations, her great grandson had made it to be Governor of the state and then a Senator...

Mary Pilfold-Allan finds that the whole structure of her life seems stronger as a result of delving into family history.

Continue reading "Tending To The Roots, Nurturing The Shoots" »

March 30, 2011

How Can I Tell My Grand-Daughter That She Looks Like Wayne Rooney?

In this story Jean Cowgill poses the most difficult question of the week...the month...the year....

Continue reading "How Can I Tell My Grand-Daughter That She Looks Like Wayne Rooney?" »

March 08, 2011

National Trust Spring Gardens

"Spring has nearly sprung! We are seeing beautiful spring flowers bursting into life in our parks and gardens, a sure sign that the dark winter months are nearly behind us,'' says Sally Airey, bringing information on the National Trust's top spring gardens in the UK.

Continue reading "National Trust Spring Gardens" »

March 02, 2011

The Miracle Of A Voice

...Last year my birthday fell on a Sunday. It was also Thanksgiving Weekend for Canadians. I was in church that morning and when I saw the hymn we were about to sing I got very excited because it was a favorite of mine. Oh how I wanted to be able to sing it...

Ellie Braun-Haley brings us an uplifting personal story.

Continue reading "The Miracle Of A Voice" »

February 19, 2011

A Card From The Queen

...July 10th 2010 brought our 65th Blue Sapphire wedding anniversary with a card of congratulations from Her Majesty the Queen...

Eileen Perrin continues her life story.

Continue reading "A Card From The Queen" »

February 14, 2011

Outdoor Nation

The National Trust is now carrying out a survey to find out of British people are losing touch with the great outdoors, reports Stephen Field.

Continue reading "Outdoor Nation" »

February 11, 2011

Love Is In The Air

"Love is in the air and for romantic inspiration this Valentine’s weekend, look no further than the National Trust. With tales of royal newly-weds and historic love affairs, our houses, castles and outdoor places continue to provide the perfect backdrop for love to blossom,'' says Sally Airey.

Continue reading "Love Is In The Air" »

February 07, 2011

Weather-Proof Days

Half term is just around the corner: the kids are off school, there’s 5 extra days to fill and the great British weather is unpredictable, to say the least. So what to do?

''The National Trust is here to help, with a whole host of ‘weather-proof’ days out for the school holidays. Below are some top destinations, complete with sunny activities (for the optimists) and rainy day activities (for the rest!),'' says Sally Airey.


Continue reading "Weather-Proof Days" »

February 03, 2011

Love Is In The Air

"Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the National Trust has plenty of special events on offer to share with a loved one,'' says Sally Airey. "There are also events the whole family can enjoy, proving Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples!''

Continue reading "Love Is In The Air" »

January 11, 2011

Sick Joke

Derek McQueen wrote this queasy tale as an excercise in using only single syllable words.

Continue reading "Sick Joke" »

January 09, 2011

A People Person

Laura is a people person - helping others to solve their problems on her radio show. But can she solve the problems in her own marriage?

Sharon Boothroyd tells an all-too-believable tale.

Continue reading "A People Person" »

The Secret Life Of The Banyan Tree

...‘The Banyan resembles a large lady with many legs as the tree sends down aerial roots from its branches. Once these aerial roots find earth they seek to establish their own roots while remaining attached to the parent!...

Mary Pilfold-Allan presents a word portrait of a special tree which thrives in a sunny clime - perfect read for a chilly winter's day in northern lands.

To read more of Mary's articles on a wide variety of subjects please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "The Secret Life Of The Banyan Tree" »

January 06, 2011

Fitness Holidays With The National Trust

"Fitness fanatics now have the chance to beat the January blues whilst shedding the Christmas excess by booking a National Trust holiday cottage to make the most of the great ‘outdoor gym,'' says Jane Travis.

Continue reading "Fitness Holidays With The National Trust" »

January 01, 2011

Beat The Bulge With National Trust

"After all the festive indulgence, the National Trust has the perfect solution to beat the bulge in the New Year,'' says Sally Airey.

"Throughout January, as part of our month-long Outdoor Gym Challenge, National Trust places are hosting activities to help the nation shed those extra Christmas pounds in the great outdoors - all that fresh air and beautiful scenery is proven to be better for you than exercise in an indoor gym. From trim trails to military boot camps, we have something to help everyone kick-start their 2011.''

Continue reading "Beat The Bulge With National Trust" »

December 14, 2010

A Bit of ‘Doins’

There's a wonderful warm feeling to the house which is on offer for £700,000. But why is it £100,000 below market value?

Derek McQueen tells another intriguing tale.

To read more of Derek's well-told stories please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Derek+McQueen

Continue reading "A Bit of ‘Doins’" »

December 09, 2010

National Trust Walks

Sally Airey suggests that you jump-start your New Year with a walk through National Trust places to burn off those Christmas calories. There are many frosty landscapes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, waiting to be explored.

Continue reading "National Trust Walks" »

December 04, 2010

National Trust’s Top Winter Gardens

"Blow away the cobwebs and enjoy a refreshing walk in a frosty National Trust garden,'' says Salley Airey.

"From exotic colour to spectacular landscapes that seem to look their best stripped to their bones with a sprinkle of Jack Frost, we’ve tons of great places to explore during the cold winter months.

Here’s our pick of some the best places to enjoy the crisp winter weather.''

Continue reading "National Trust’s Top Winter Gardens" »

November 19, 2010

Enjoy A National Trust Christmas

From Christmas theatre to tree dressing days, Christmas Markets, Santa's grottos and winter walks. There's lots to put you in the festive mood at National Trust properties around the UK, reports Sally Airey.

Continue reading "Enjoy A National Trust Christmas" »

November 17, 2010

A Note To Myself

Ellie Braun-Haley heeds her own advice.

Continue reading "A Note To Myself" »

November 11, 2010

National Trust Santa's Grottos

"With Christmas fast approaching Santa is bound to be getting busy, but he’s promised to make some special stop-offs in his hectic festive schedule and help make family visits to the National Trust extra magical this December,'' says Sally Airey

Continue reading "National Trust Santa's Grottos" »

November 05, 2010

Getting The Better Of The Grey Menace

...There is something altogether wrong about being out-smarted by a furry creature not much larger than a rat, whose only claim to being cute is to stand on its back legs and put its paws together, as if in prayer....

Mary Pilfold-Allan is at war with squirrels - and she is in need of reinforcements, or a secret weapon.

Continue reading "Getting The Better Of The Grey Menace" »

November 01, 2010

Big Men Don't Flutter

...He didn’t yell at all but he did release his grip on the ladder and allow himself to slowly peel off backwards - like a leaf detaching itself from a tree in the autumn winds. But fat men don’t flutter. They plummet and Ted took to plummeting like gravity was a close friend....

John Cooper tells a story with a chuckle in it's tail.

John recently published a book of poems, Unreliable Judgements, some of them series, some rich in his very special brand of humour. The book can be purchased at http://www.poetissimus.com/page8.html

Continue reading "Big Men Don't Flutter" »

October 23, 2010

National Trust Goes Gruesome

Jane Travis says that following the success of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, the latest film to transform historic National Trust places is Burke and Hare – a dark comedy about the true story of 19th century body snatchers starring British actors Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis.

Continue reading "National Trust Goes Gruesome" »

October 20, 2010

VERTICALLY CHALLENGED MARXIST FOILS ATTACKER !

The Daily Spittle's special correspondent Jason Argonus (Jean Cowgill) brings us today's hot exclusive story.

Continue reading "VERTICALLY CHALLENGED MARXIST FOILS ATTACKER !" »

October 16, 2010

Top Ten Spooky Spots This Halloween

Sally Williams tells spine-tingling of ghostly goings-on in National Trust properties around England.

Continue reading "Top Ten Spooky Spots This Halloween" »

October 14, 2010

Pennies, Pennies!

Ellie Braun-Haley finds an antidote to cabin fever.

Continue reading "Pennies, Pennies!" »

October 10, 2010

"The Man And The Island''

...Research is one thing, a book is quite another. What seemed like a good idea after a couple of gin and tonics whilst sitting under a Filao tree in the tropics, a velvet sky dotted with a million stars blanketing us in the balmy euphoria of possibility, is a different matter in the reality of England...

Mary Pilfold-Allan persisted with her plan to write the story of Britain's takeover of Mauritius in 1810, telling of the island's first British Governor, Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar.

Mary's book ''The Man And The Island'' will be launched in Mauritius in early December. It will go on sale in selected bookshops in England early in the new year.


Continue reading ""The Man And The Island''" »

October 06, 2010

From ‘The Last of the Summer Wine’ to ‘The Magic Flute’

Jean Cowgill found Hades and Elysium in Yorkshire's Holme Valley.

Continue reading "From ‘The Last of the Summer Wine’ to ‘The Magic Flute’" »

October 02, 2010

The Scents Of Autumn

Sall Williams issues an invitation to visit National Trust gardens, parks and woodlands which are now alive with the colours and scents of autumn.

"So why not join a colour walk and take in the Technicolor displays?'' Sally asks.

Continue reading "The Scents Of Autumn" »

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Peter Johnson sends us the following tale.

Continue reading "A Penny For Your Thoughts" »

September 30, 2010

Apple Days

Sally Williams invites us to visit the National Trust in October and celebrate the great British apple. "From Slack Ma Girdle, Pig’s Snout to Hoary Morning we’ve hundred of brilliant varieties in our orchards and gardens.''

Continue reading "Apple Days" »

Party Of The First Part

So who was this George Formby who came charging out of the party into the rainy night?

Derek McQueen tells another intriguing tale.

For more of Derek's stories please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Derek+McQueen

Continue reading "Party Of The First Part" »

September 24, 2010

List Maker

"As I sit with my Ovaltine, or sometimes even a gin and tonic, before I go to bed, I like to prepare for the next day,'' says Joyce Worsfold.

Continue reading "List Maker" »

September 19, 2010

Sorry - You've Been Hoaxed

...A website called Weekly World News reported in 2002 that the sun was overheating and would blow up within 6 years, taking the earth and the rest of the solar system with it. They have also reported that scientists plan to blow up the moon, in order to stabilize the earth’s climate...

Wendy Ogbourne tells of some of the hoaxes which speed their way around the world in this electronic age,

Continue reading "Sorry - You've Been Hoaxed" »

September 18, 2010

British Food Fortnight

Sally Williams brings news of how the National Trust is helping to support British Food Fortnight.

Continue reading "British Food Fortnight" »

September 16, 2010

Crumble Rumble

Stephen Field announces the results of the National Trust's crumble rumble competition, along with a most enticing recipe.

Continue reading "Crumble Rumble" »

September 15, 2010

A Swiss Experience

While heading home for England in a coach Ray Harman composed this poem to celebrate his holiday in Switzerland.

Continue reading " A Swiss Experience" »

September 12, 2010

World Habitat Day

Liza Peiffer in forms us that on October 4th Habitat for Humanity will join efforts around the world to mark World Habitat Day - a day the United Nations has set aside to call attention to the dire need for affordable, adequate housing.

Continue reading "World Habitat Day" »

September 03, 2010

Heritage Open Days

Sally Williams informs us that visitors to many National Trust properties on certain dates this month can experience the drama of past times.

Heritage Open Days celebrates England’s architecture and culture by allowing visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Heritage Open Days also includes tours, events and activities that focus on local architecture and culture.

Organised by volunteers - usually property owners or managers - for local people, Heritage Open Days is England’s biggest and most popular voluntary cultural event. Last year the event attracted around 1 million visitors. English Heritage gives central co-ordination and a national voice to the event.

Heritage Open Days provides visitors with a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy these sometimes hidden, often curious and always interesting places in English cities, towns and villages - and completely free of charge.

This year, Heritage Open Days run from 9-12 September. For full details visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk

Continue reading "Heritage Open Days" »

September 02, 2010

Fag End

Some folk simply have to smoke a cig, no matter what the conse;quences.

Derek McQueen tells a deliciously addictive tale.

To read more of Derek's stories please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Derek+McQueen

Continue reading " Fag End" »

August 27, 2010

National Trust Relieves Bank Holiday Getaway Stress

Sally Williams says the National Trust is playing its part in making road journeys less painful this weekend.

Continue reading "National Trust Relieves Bank Holiday Getaway Stress" »

August 26, 2010

Fritz Wunderlich

Peter Wintersgill outlines the short life of tenor Fritz Wunderlich.

Continue reading "Fritz Wunderlich" »

August 19, 2010

The Decision

Dianne Hill brings a profoundly sad account of the last days ofr a family relative.

Continue reading "The Decision" »

Jennifer Vyvyan

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Jennifer Vyvyan who created roles in Benjamin Britten operas.

Continue reading "Jennifer Vyvyan" »

August 18, 2010

If Only Trees Could Talk...

Britain's National Trust is using modern tehnology to bring orchards back to life.

Continue reading "If Only Trees Could Talk..." »

A Choppy Flight

Ellie Braun-Haley tells of trial by chopsticks on a recent flight.

Continue reading "A Choppy Flight" »

August 12, 2010

Frederica Von Stade

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Frederica Von Stade who made her New York Met debut in 1970.

Continue reading "Frederica Von Stade" »

August 05, 2010

Johann Vogl

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of singer Johann Vogl, a friend of Schubert who wrote songs for him to sing.

Continue reading "Johann Vogl" »

July 30, 2010

Pearl Of The Orient

...“Our neighbour’s got a parrot in the kitchen,” I told my husband.

“Don’t be silly. No way. Not in Pearl’s kitchen.”

“Well it looks like a parrot to me. It’s too big for a budgie or a
cockatiel. It must be a small parrot.”...

Barbara Adams tells a tale guaranteed to make you grin.

Continue reading "Pearl Of The Orient" »

July 29, 2010

Just Call Me Noah

Ellie Braun-Haley finds herself in a situation which almost compels the building of an ark.

Continue reading "Just Call Me Noah" »

Heinrich Vogl

Peter Wintersgill presents an outline of the career of outstanding Wagnerian tenor Heinrich Vogl.

Continue reading "Heinrich Vogl" »

July 22, 2010

Moments Of Joy

Ellie Braun-Haley tells of a day which brought both pain and joy.

Continue reading "Moments Of Joy" »

Galina Vishnevskaya

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Russian opera star Galina Vishnevskaya.

Continue reading "Galina Vishnevskaya" »

July 21, 2010

Arthur Mee And Miss Havisham's Table

...In due course, when I'd made it to grammar school, I found that basically education was still a matter of, Learn these chunks of information, Give this sort of answer, Write in this sort of style. But, after a while, it seemed that I was expected to do thinking. Oh dear. I didn't know how to do that.

Some of the other girls could do it. They knew how to study, how to assemble facts, how to ask questions. I didn't wonder how they could do these things. They were just different. They were clever and got right answers and high marks. I got, Explain this! written in my margin or just a straightforward, No! I didn't get the hang of thinking but I learned to get by...

But it’s a fair guess that none of those “conformist’’ girls can now write as entertainingly, as distinctively, as vividly as Jacqueline Finesilver.

For more of Jacqeline's brilliant stories and articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=jacqueline+finesilver

Continue reading "Arthur Mee And Miss Havisham's Table" »

July 15, 2010

Ramon Vinay

Peter Wintersgill brings a brief biography of Ramon Vinay who made his operatic debut in Mexico in 1938.

Continue reading "Ramon Vinay" »

July 11, 2010

David Cunningham's Expenses

A £35,000 overspend on the Mystery Trip to Greece for privileged customers. And now a £95.000 overspend on the San Diego Mystery Trip!

No wonder the company owner is annoyed. And he ain't seen the end of it!

Derek McQueen brings us another deliciously entertaining tale.

Continue reading "David Cunningham's Expenses" »

July 08, 2010

Jon Vickers

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Jon Vickers, a tenor with a ringing tone and fine enunciation.

Continue reading "Jon Vickers" »

July 07, 2010

Starstruck In Sutherland

...It’s sheep farming country with sparse vegetation and low, flinty hills, but Sutherland has a special secret that is only revealed when the sun goes down.,,

Jon Minster tells of one of the coldest places in South Africa.

Continue reading "Starstruck In Sutherland" »

July 01, 2010

Pauline Viadot-Garcia

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Pauline Viadot-Garcia who had an illustrious career as a singer and writer.

Continue reading "Pauline Viadot-Garcia" »

June 24, 2010

Giovanni Velluti

Peter Wintersgill brings brief details of the life of Giovanni Vellutio, the last of the great castrato singers.

Continue reading "Giovanni Velluti" »

June 23, 2010

We Need A Plan

...Kevin put his head on the desk, one arm draped over the dog.

‘We need a plan.’

Sam laughed nervously. ‘Maybe we should invade somewhere. You know, external threat, unite the voters, wave the flag. Wartime leader, that sort of thing.’...

Ian Arkill's tasty tale will leave you half-believing that this really is what goes on in the Prime Minister's offiuce.

This is Ian's first story for Open Writing. We hope to bring you more of his work.

Continue reading "We Need A Plan" »

June 20, 2010

Wedding From Hell

...The groom’s mother, Sylvia Midas, put my sister-in-law to shame. I was embarrassed when the group photographs were being taken. Sylvia was dressed in a shimmering fabric suit, her hat sported a gold feather and her jewellery was to die for. She could never have passed through a shop security without setting off alarms...

Jean Cowgil admits that she “shamelessly purloined ‘’ the idea for this story from Carol Ann Duffy’s collection of poetry “The World’s Wife”.

To read more of Jean stories and articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=jean+cowgill

Continue reading "Wedding From Hell" »

June 17, 2010

Astrid Varnay

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Astrid Varnay who made her operatic debut at the New York Met in 1941.

Continue reading "Astrid Varnay" »

June 13, 2010

Second Day At Sainsbury’s

Will that scamp David Langton be a success at Sainsbury's? Read Derek McQueen's account of what happened on David's second day at work - then judge for yourself.

To read more of Derek's hugely entertaining tales please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Derek+McQueen

Continue reading "Second Day At Sainsbury’s" »

June 10, 2010

Viorica Ursuleac

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Viorica Ursuleac, Richard Strauss's favourite soprano.

Continue reading "Viorica Ursuleac" »

June 03, 2010

Hallelujah In The Back Of My Mind

Adrian Plass is a writer and speaker who has produced over thirty books in the last twenty years. The best known of these is probably The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, a gentle satire on the modern church, which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide. This and other books have travelled to other countries and are translated into a number of foreign languages.

Other books include biography, novels, short stories, a fictionalised account of the author's experiences as a residential child care worker, and collections of poems and sketches.

Adrian has been in demand as a speaker in venues as varied as prisons, schools, churches, festivals, literary dinners and theatrical settings. His work also includes contribution to national and local radio and television. Live presentations combine humour, poetry, and story telling, largely revolving around his own inadequacies and struggles as a Christian and a human being.

Here is a poem read by Adrian and his wife Bridget at recent public performances.

Adrian readily gave permission for the poem to appear in Open Writing.

Continue reading "Hallelujah In The Back Of My Mind" »

Caroline Unger

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Caroline Unger who sang in the first performances of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony.

Continue reading "Caroline Unger" »

May 30, 2010

The Human Spirit

In this inspirational article Ellie Braun-Haley tells how a group of American students learned a great deal about the human spirit during a visit to the slums of a Mexican city.

Continue reading "The Human Spirit" »

May 27, 2010

Eva Turner

Peter Wintersgill outlines the illustrious singing career of Dame Eva Turner.

Continue reading "Eva Turner" »

May 20, 2010

Therese Tietjens

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Therese Tietjens, a singer of power and authority who died all too young.

Continue reading "Therese Tietjens" »

May 13, 2010

Lawrence Tibbett

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Lawrence Tibbett who made is name as an opera singer in Verdi's Falstaff.

Continue reading "Lawrence Tibbett" »

May 06, 2010

Maggie Teyte

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to opera singer Maggie Teyte who was coached by Debussy.

Continue reading "Maggie Teyte" »

May 02, 2010

Dan Leno In Fulham Broadway

...I thought, I knew who I was. Everybody knows who I was – Dan Leno, born in a tenement in St Pancras, who can stand on a stage and keep people amused for twelve or fifteen minutes. Now there's this Dan Leno who has his own carriage and has got a tie-pin from the King. What are people going to make of that?

So I pawned the tie-pin. Well, no, I didn't really. But I made it part of my act for a while – said I show them all the famous tie-pin, then I'd do the business of patting all my pockets, before owning up that I'd had to take it to the pop-shop. That got a laugh. They knew all about that and they knew where I was coming from.

Then, after a bit, I lost that diamond pin. I really did. Dropped it or got drunk and gave it to a barmaid or a tramp. Doesn't matter. It was gone.” He lets out a long breath and eases his collar...

No introductory words can do justice to Jacqueline Finesilver's wonderful story about one of the "greats'' of old-time Music Hall.

Just read it - and enjoy!

Continue reading "Dan Leno In Fulham Broadway" »

April 29, 2010

Milka Ternina

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Milka Ternina, one of the greatest singers of her day.

Continue reading "Milka Ternina" »

April 28, 2010

The Amazing Mrs West

...Of all the people I have met I suppose none of them can compare with a tiny Yorkshire housewife who might easily have been burned as a witch had she been born two hundred years earlier...

Freelance journalist Stan Solomons tells how he almost had a world exclusive story on a possible cure for cancer.

Continue reading "The Amazing Mrs West" »

April 26, 2010

In The Sky, A Beautiful Woman

Ellie Braun-Haley tells an inspirational story.

Continue reading "In The Sky, A Beautiful Woman" »

April 22, 2010

Kiri Te Kanawa

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who sang at the wedding in 1981 of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in St. Pauls Cathedral.

Continue reading "Kiri Te Kanawa" »

April 19, 2010

Are The Cows Lying Down Today?

...Fascinated and at the same time appalled, I watched as we drew nearer and nearer. The lightening was the sort that lights up the entire sky and sends shivers down your spine. Were we really going to head into that?

Almost an hour and a half late we crept into Perth airport to be met by looks of amazement...

Mary Pilfold-Allan flies through one of the worst storms to hit Western Australia in 30 years.

Continue reading "Are The Cows Lying Down Today?" »

April 15, 2010

Robert Tear

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Robert Tear, a man with a voice of great clarity and precision.

Continue reading "Robert Tear" »

April 08, 2010

Special Delivery

...The midwife asked me if I wanted to cut the cord. Although I was not keen to start with, I reasoned it was now or never, so taking my courage in both hands, I severed the link from mother to child and physically and symbolically set Theadora free. Or is she?...

Mary Pinfold-Allan, pondering our present-day situation after the birth of her eleventh grandchild, says we now shackle our lives with Red Tape, Health and Safety issues, rules and regulations and fear from the cradle to the grave.

Continue reading "Special Delivery" »

April 07, 2010

Richard Tauber

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Richard Tauber who made his operatic debut in Mozart's Zauberflote.

Continue reading "Richard Tauber" »

April 04, 2010

Fraxinus Excelsior

...Beech and I like similar terrain but that bossy old thing takes all the best spots. My woodland only reaches parts beech can’t – a bit like lager in television adverts. Truth to tell I prefer isolation: corners of fields, edges of moors...

The ash tree may not be the best-looking kid on the block but it can help you find true love, as Jean Cowgill reveals in this delicious piece of writing.

Continue reading "Fraxinus Excelsior" »

April 01, 2010

Antonio Tamburini

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Antonio Tamburini who made his opera debut in 1818.

Continue reading "Antonio Tamburini" »

March 25, 2010

Francesco Tamagno

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to the singer Francesco Tamagano who made his opera debut in 1873.

Continue reading "Francesco Tamagno" »

March 18, 2010

Eugenia Tadolini

Peter Wintersgill gives brief details on the life of Eugenia Tadolini who appeared in the premieres of two Donizetti operas.

Continue reading "Eugenia Tadolini" »

March 11, 2010

Guiseppe Taddei

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Guiseppe Taddei who made his opera debut in Rome.

Continue reading "Guiseppe Taddei" »

March 04, 2010

Fanny Tacchinardi Persiani

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Fanny Tacchinardi Persiani who created the role of Donizetti' s Lucia di Lammermoor

Continue reading "Fanny Tacchinardi Persiani" »

March 02, 2010

Special Delivery

...The midwife asked me if I wanted to cut the cord. Although I was not keen to start with, I reasoned it was now or never, so taking my courage in both hands, I severed the link from mother to child and physically and symbolically set Theadora free. Or is she?...

Mary Pilfold-Allan thinks we are putting our children and ourselves into modern-day shackles by smothering our lives in fear and dread.

Continue reading "Special Delivery" »

February 27, 2010

Checking Out

...A carton of orange juice, a couple of tiramisu, two slices of gala pie, a beetroot salad, a tube of toothpaste, a Daily Telegraph, a pack of toilet rolls, a bottle of tomato ketchup.

This was his life.

Pathetic...

But if you're lucky you find something far more important than groceries in your local supermarket, as Brian Lockett's deliciously satisfying tale reveals.

Continue reading "Checking Out" »

February 25, 2010

Set Svanholm

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Set Svanholm, regarded in his day as the leading Wagner tenor.

Continue reading "Set Svanholm" »

February 20, 2010

North And South

A holiday in the Lake District and North Yorkshire inspired Eileen Perrin to write poetryl.

Continue reading "North And South" »

February 17, 2010

The Enclosure

...Billy watched enchanted, mesmerized, caught in the magic of the sight before his eyes.. The thought came to him again that she looked like an angel, a wood nymph, a fairy, a ballerina all the beautiful beings in his sisters’ books combined together, unearthly but perfect...

Miriam McAtee tells a mysterious and magical story.

Continue reading "The Enclosure" »

February 11, 2010

Susan Sunderland

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Susan Sunderland, Yorkshire's Queen of Song.

Continue reading "Susan Sunderland" »

February 10, 2010

One Christmas Eve

William James Symons tells a Christmas tale to warm the hearts of readers at any time of year.

Continue reading "One Christmas Eve" »

February 08, 2010

Every One Is A Mother’s Son Or Daughter

...soldiers carried the coffin into church on their shoulders and the family followed in deep grief. He was just nineteen years old. His life had barely begun.
The scene in our village has been repeated in towns and villages throughout the nation. We are not used to it. Since World War II ended there have been other wars but in the last few years the evidence of the latest conflicts has been coming home in body bags. ..

As another British victim of warfare returns home in a coffin, Mary Pilfold-Allan calls on politicians to search their consciences and speak the truth about our reasons for being at war.

Continue reading "Every One Is A Mother’s Son Or Daughter" »

February 06, 2010

Zambia In The Old Days

Margaret Dunn recalls her sudden and dramatic decision in 1967 to leave Edinburgh and live in Zambia.

Continue reading "Zambia In The Old Days" »

People They Laughed At - 11

"Even a zany idea can have the germ of something great,'' says Val Yule, continuing her persuasive demand that thinkers should be encouraged rather than being laughed at.

Continue reading "People They Laughed At - 11" »

February 04, 2010

A Bit Of Colour

...Miss said, Now, first of all, put up your hands, all the girls who do ballet, because I shall choose some of you for a Dance of Spring. Straight away some of the boys made a rude noise but Miss gave them a look. Some of the girls put up their hands and I put up my hand. Susan Jones saw me. Her eyes went like a fish, like the eyes in the whiting that Mum gets for our cat to eat. Susan whispered, You don't do ballet. I said that I did. You don't, you're a liar...

In this brilliant and compellingly readable slice of autobiography Jacqueline Finesilver takes herself back to her childhood and teen years.

Continue reading "A Bit Of Colour" »

Giuseppina Strepponi

Peter Wintersgill outlines the professional life of singer Giuseppina Strepponi who married Verdi.

Continue reading "Giuseppina Strepponi" »

January 28, 2010

Anna Maria Strada Del Po

Peter Wintersgill tells of a singer whom Handel invited to sing in his operas.

Continue reading "Anna Maria Strada Del Po" »

January 27, 2010

Hefted

...Finished ceramics were awaiting delivery to the tourist flesh pot. At least I would be spared that job later in the week. Only a couple of miles but a nightmare journey on our uneven track. I had always been unnerved by this pottery room. I had never liked the atmosphere; my dog refused to venture down this end of the yard. Thankfully I closed the door for the last time.
All was quiet in the yard. No sign of Keri. Since I’d told her about my new job she had been frosty...

Jean Cowgill's atmospheric tale concerns the relationship of two people in charge of a youth hostel in remote Lakeland.

Continue reading "Hefted" »

January 24, 2010

Unto Them That Hath

John Kilburn's story tells of the the ghastliest of all honeymoons.

Continue reading "Unto Them That Hath" »

January 21, 2010

Julius Stockhausen

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to singer Julius Stockhausen who gave the public premiere of Schubert's Die Schone Mullerin in 1856.

Continue reading "Julius Stockhausen" »

January 18, 2010

The Earthquake In Haiti

Yvonne Lumb brings further news of the greatest natural disaster of our times.

Yvonne works for the United Nations in Haiti.

Continue reading "The Earthquake In Haiti" »

January 17, 2010

Literary Shrewsbury

This article by Dmytro Drozdovskyi's article appeared recently in the Ukranian literary journal 'Svesvit'.

Last summer Dmytro stayed for three days in Shropshire with his friend John Waddington-Feather who has contributed many thousands of outstanding words to Open Writing. John has also contributed to 'Svesit'.

Continue reading "Literary Shrewsbury" »

January 15, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Disaster

Yvonne Lumb brings a first-hand account of the Haiti earthquake.

Yvonne works for the United Nations in Haiti.

Continue reading "Haiti Earthquake Disaster" »

January 14, 2010

Eleanor Steber

Peter Wintersgill outlines the musical life of Eleanor Steber who made her New York Met debut 1940 as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier.

Continue reading "Eleanor Steber" »

January 10, 2010

Darren's Day

...When he got home the door was locked. Mum was out. He sat on the back step, his back to the wall and his hands in his pockets. He waited miserably. The porch kept most of the rain off. After ages, his mum came home with Paul. The fire was alight, and she had got some fish fingers. After tea he went down to the shops. He got some chewing gum and some pretend cigarettes. He went over to the field where the kids play football, but there were some big 'uns there and a police car. So he went home after a bit. Uncle Tom was sitting on the settee with mum...

John Kilburn's unforgettable story tells more about the sad, hopeless lives of some British children than a dozen lengthy Governmental reports.

Continue reading "Darren's Day" »

Hosanna, Hosanna

Here is a new hymn written by Shirley Stow.

Continue reading "Hosanna, Hosanna" »

January 07, 2010

Hans Sotin

Peter Wintersgill lists significant dates in the career of Hans Sotin, who has sung in the world's greatest opera houses.

Continue reading "Hans Sotin" »

January 05, 2010

Summer Time, And The Living Isn't Easy

John Brian Leaver recalls a bleak seaside holiday in the hungry wartime years.

Continue reading "Summer Time, And The Living Isn't Easy" »

January 03, 2010

Dangerous Assumptions

...When we went in, the specialist called him Michael. That's always a problem. Of course Michael is his name but he only gets called that when he's in trouble. I agonised for a bit but thought I'd better mention it. The specialist nodded when I explained, but carried on calling him Michael. Mike hung his head...

John Kilburn’s 39-year-old son Mike is a Down’s syndrome man. John is now wondering whether medical specialists are sometimes ascribing symptoms which are indicative of something curable to Down's syndrome.

“Because of my own experience I have begun to be vigilant,’’ he says.

Continue reading "Dangerous Assumptions" »

January 02, 2010

Retirement

...at my retirement party it was affectionately said they would always remember me as the one who would always help a one-legged Afghan over a stile...

Eileen Perrin and her husband Les both retired in the same year, 1986.

Eileen continues her account of her life and times.

Continue reading "Retirement" »

January 01, 2010

Count Me In!

“It’s time everyone was issued with a pair of trainers along with their pension book,’’ urges Mary Pilfold-Allan in this passionately-argued column which emphasises that older citizens should not be air-brushed out of society.

Continue reading "Count Me In!" »

December 31, 2009

Henriette Sontag

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Henriette Sontag who created the title role in Weber's Euryanthe

Continue reading "Henriette Sontag" »

December 30, 2009

Sid with Brush and Bucket – Part Two

...My workroom was at the back of the garage, buses requiring adverts were often parked out at the front. So, I'd often be seen flying along, with flapping lengths of new pasted posters draped across me, getting them from A to B, up and on, before the paste dried out....

Jacqueline Finesilver, relating chapters of her father’s life story, tells of the time Sid was fixing adverts to buses.

Continue reading "Sid with Brush and Bucket – Part Two" »

December 26, 2009

Puns For Educated Minds

Rhonda Hall of Indianapolis, Indiana, sends us a selection of puns.

Continue reading "Puns For Educated Minds" »

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Anne Steward brings a story to match the mood of this special day.

Continue reading "Merry Christmas" »

December 24, 2009

The Gift

John Kilburn’s seasonal story reminds us that the fraught business of buying Christmas gifts started long, long ago.

Continue reading "The Gift" »

December 23, 2009

Sid With Brush And Bucket – Part One

...Anyone who knows about the old trolleybuses will know about the ‘de-wirements’, those times when, at a junction or going over a breaker, one of the trolleybus booms would detach itself from its power cable. Once free it would wave about like Toscanini. There was a certain sharp corner near Hammersmith Broadway which was a kind of miniature Cape Horn. I remember a small furniture store on that corner which used to get its window smashed by the wildly flailing boom of a number 630...

Sid picks up a "guzzler'' and goes into action as a trolleybus cleaner.

Jacqueline Finesilver brings us another wonderfully entertaining episode of her father's life story.

Continue reading "Sid With Brush And Bucket – Part One" »

December 17, 2009

Oda Slobodskaya

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Oda Slobodskaya, one of the leading interpreters of Russian songs of her time.

Continue reading "Oda Slobodskaya" »

December 10, 2009

Leo Slezak

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Leo Slezak who was engaged by Mahler for the Vienna Opera.

Continue reading "Leo Slezak" »

December 06, 2009

Mrs Courtney-Green

....She could well have been a very famous pianist but one act of horrific cruelty by her sister stole her talent away, and, having found the love of her life, he was taken from her after just one year. Disowned by her family and ignored by her former friends she found herself consigned to a life of extreme poverty...

Tim Mcaffrey tells a story which you will never forget.

Continue reading "Mrs Courtney-Green" »

December 03, 2009

Giulietta Simionato

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Giulietta Simionato, winner of the Bel Canto competition in Florence.

Continue reading "Giulietta Simionato" »

November 26, 2009

Margarethe Siems

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Margarethe Siems who made her operatic debut in Prague.

Continue reading "Margarethe Siems" »

November 20, 2009

Have You Been Inconvenienced?

...Unless you are fortunate enough to have the capacity of a camel, the one thing that everyone needs when they are out is a WC, toilet or loo, call it what you will...

Mary Pilfold-Allan raises a subject that is rarely talked about but is a matter requiring prompt legislation.

To read more of Mary's telling articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "Have You Been Inconvenienced?" »

November 19, 2009

Amy Shuard

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Amy Shuard who made her operatic debut in Johannesburg.

Continue reading "Amy Shuard" »

November 12, 2009

Senesino

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Senesino who sang with Handel's company in London in the 1720s.

Continue reading "Senesino" »

November 06, 2009

Confucius He Say…

...“I bet you never get any trouble from them, do you?” he said. “The Chinese revere their teachers, as they do their elders. They see teachers as the font of all knowledge and knowledge is everything.”...

Mary Pilfold-Allan is compelled by a Chinese visitor's profound remark to appreciate the paramount importance of education.

Continue reading "Confucius He Say…" »

November 05, 2009

Picture Them

Joyce Worsfold’s poem focuses on people in dire need – and things WE can do to help them.

Continue reading "Picture Them" »

Renata Scotto

Peter Wintersgill presents an outline of the career of Renata Scoto, who made her opera debut in Milan in 1953.

Continue reading "Renata Scotto" »

November 04, 2009

Sins Of The Fathers

Tim McCaffry tells of cruelty and compassion in an Irish classroom long ago.

Continue reading "Sins Of The Fathers" »

October 29, 2009

Graziella Sciutti

Peter Wintersill presents an outline of the career of opera singer Graziella Sciutti.

Continue reading "Graziella Sciutti" »

October 28, 2009

Great'ma – Part 13

Great’ma, now spending most of her time in bed, derives amusement and pleasure from her storehouse of memories.

Jackie Mallinson continues her novel of family relationships and secrets.

Continue reading "Great'ma – Part 13" »

October 22, 2009

Elizabeth Schumann

Peter Wintersgill outlines the musical career of Elizabeth Schumann, one of the best-loved singers of her day.

Continue reading "Elizabeth Schumann" »

October 16, 2009

The Clock

Owen Clement tells an intriguing tale about an old grandfather clock.

Continue reading "The Clock" »

Golf Near The Nile

Amazing, the thoughts which occurred to those ancient Egyptians, as Ron Pataky’s poem reveals.

Do visit Ron’s fun-filled Web site http://worlds-premiere-ransom-note-factory.us/

Continue reading "Golf Near The Nile" »

October 15, 2009

Elizabeth Schwarzkopf

Peter Wintersgill presents an outline of the career of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, a lyric soprano who made her operatic debut in Berlin.

Continue reading "Elizabeth Schwarzkopf" »

October 08, 2009

Ernestine Schumann Heink

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Austrian born Ernestine Schumann Heink who spent a large part of her career singing in the USA.

Continue reading "Ernestine Schumann Heink" »

October 01, 2009

Robert Radford

Peter Wintersgill outlines the singing career of Robert Radford, a founder member of British National Opera.

Continue reading "Robert Radford" »

September 28, 2009

Her Grandmother's Secret

Monica Howard's tale concerns the secret revealed by the bequest of a painting of the walled garden at Hampton Court Palace.

Continue reading "Her Grandmother's Secret" »

September 27, 2009

Dreams

Marjorie Upson is haunted by peculiar dreams.

Do look for Marjorie's wonderful photographs in the Open Writing Gallery.

Continue reading "Dreams" »

September 24, 2009

Wilhelmine Schroder Devrient

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Wilhelmine Schroder Devrient who made her 0pera debut in Vienna 1821 as Pamima in Die Zauberflote.

Continue reading "Wilhelmine Schroder Devrient" »

September 23, 2009

No Prophet

Owen Clement tells a story of a chance meeting that brought enlightenment.

Continue reading "No Prophet" »

September 22, 2009

The Sinking Of H.M.S Warwick

Ken Holmes was serving as an Ord/Telegraphist on H.M.S.Warwick in 1944. Here he he brings a vivid account of what happened when the Warwick was attacked on Sunday, the 20th of February in that year.

Continue reading "The Sinking Of H.M.S Warwick" »

September 21, 2009

Lonnie and I - Man's Best Friend

William Burkholder brings us a brilliantly funny story about what happened when two young men went to bury old man Pike who had been kept in the well shed for some months because the ground was frozen too hard for a grave to be dug.


Bill's tale will leave you longing for more "Lonnie and I'' stories - and the good news is that he promises there will be more.

Do read Bill's poetry in Open Writing http://www.openwriting.com/archives/north_american_dreaming/

Continue reading "Lonnie and I - Man's Best Friend" »

September 20, 2009

Palais Days

...So enthusiastic was public response to the Hammersmith Palais that soon similar establishments were glowing and vibrating all over the country. The new ballrooms were the places to show off your clothes and your dancing, to listen to feel-good music, perhaps to meet the partner of your dreams...

Jacqueline Finesilver recalls the glamour, pleasure and out-of-the-ordinary experience of Palais de Danse days.

To read more of Jacqueline’s highly-entertaining articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=jacqueline+finesilver

Continue reading "Palais Days" »

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 14

Cyril never expected this to happen when he went in search of a marriage partner.

Brian Lockett brings his 14-part tale to a shocking end.

To read earlier episodes, and other stories by Brian, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Brian+Lockett

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 14" »

September 19, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 13

Muriel discovers that in Cyril's life controlling file the section marked The Future is empty. She decides to make her own plans.

The fourteenth and concluding part of Brian Lockett's story will appear in tomorrow's Open Writing.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 13" »

September 18, 2009

The Black Dog On My Shoulder

...I have been hanging on to a story for more than twenty years, waiting for just the right platform to launch it upon the world. It has been difficult to resist the urge to reveal all, especially when tempted by words like ‘it would make a good film’ but resist I have. Then I discovered close to the deadline that there was an award for the best unpublished biography and I pulled out all the stops. The midnight oil was well and truly burnt...

But Mary Pilfold-Allan was downcast when her biography did not make the shortlist.

However wise words from a former colleague revived her optimism, and she is now tackling the tale she has to tell from a different angle.

To read more of Mary's invariably entertaining words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "The Black Dog On My Shoulder" »

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 12

Muriel and Cyril kiss for the first time - a brief kiss.

Another episode of Brian Lockett's intriguing story will appear in Open Writing tomorrow. To read earlier chapters click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Brian+Lockett

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 12" »

September 17, 2009

A Good Home For Every Human Being

Liza Peiffer wishes all Open Writing readers to be aware that the United Nations has chosen the first Monday in October to be World Habitat Day - a day to stand up and let it be known that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere.

Liza, on behalf of Habitat for Humanity http://www.habitat.org wishes to raise awareness of the desperate world-wide shortage of adequate housing.

"Raising awareness about this global problem is the first step in making sure that everyone everywhere has a safe and decent place to call home.''

Continue reading "A Good Home For Every Human Being" »

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 11

...Mrs Snaps would be a full-time, traditional housewife. She would cook, clean and generally cater for her husband’s needs. In return her husband would provide her with a very generous sum of money every month. She would follow closely the routine worked out over many years and now set out in detail in the folders....

Muriel finds out what life would be like with Cyril.

Brian Lockett's serialised story will continue in Open Writing tomorrow.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 11" »

Friedrich Schorr

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to the Hungarian singer Friedrich Schorr.

Continue reading "Friedrich Schorr" »

September 16, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 10

Muriel hears that she will have her own bedroom.

Brian Lockett continues his tale of an unconventional courtship.

To read earlier episodes click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Brian+Lockett

A further episode will appear in tomorrow's Open Writing.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 10" »

September 15, 2009

De-mining Site In Svay Donkeo

...I am suited up in the dark blue, lead-heavy body armour and a huge helmet with a full visor. It’s hard to breathe and sweat is seriously trickling...

Anne Veronica Steward brings an unforgettable account of mine clearing operations in a Cambodian village.

A picture of Anne wearing the heavy body armour is displayed in the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England.

To read earlier articles about her experiences as a VSO worker in Cambodia please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2009/08/bangkok_and_bey.php
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2009/08/colourful_cambo.php
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2009/08/_up_country_whe_1.php

And here is a powerful poem prompted by that minefield visit

Continue reading "De-mining Site In Svay Donkeo" »

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 9

..."Do you mind if we have some background music?”

With a straight face Muriel said “That would be lovely. What do you usually have on Sundays? Mozart?”

“How perceptive you are, Muriel.” He seemed childishly delighted...

Muriel sees the orderliness in Cyril's home.

Brian Lockett continues his story of an unconventional courtship.

Another episode of the tale will appear in tomorrow's Open Writing.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 9" »

September 14, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 8

...So she had joined Executive Match, which had now thrown up Cyril Snaps. An odd-ball if ever there was one. A kind man, as far as she could judge, who may have left his search for a life partner a little late. Perhaps he spent all his time making money and had suddenly realised that there was (or should be) more to life than that...

Muriel is on her way to see Cyril's house.

Another episode of Brian Lockett's tale will appear in tomorrow's Open Writing.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 8" »

September 13, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 7

Cyril invites Muriel to Sunday lunch.

A further installment of Brian Lockett's story about an unusual courtship will appear tomorrow.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 7" »

September 12, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 6

Cyril Snaps surprises his colleagues with mention of a fiancée.

Brian Lockett's serialised story of an unsual courtship will be continued tomorrow.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 6" »

September 11, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 5

Muriel cannot make up her mind about Cyril Snaps.

The next episode of Brian Lockett's story in installments will appear tomorrow.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 5" »

September 10, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 4

...He looked relieved, she thought, as she took him in. Fifty-something, perhaps even sixty. Dorky glasses which no-one had ever bothered to tell him about, she suspected. A slightly musty smell about him. A ridiculous moustache. Probably not used to or comfortable with women. She had met similar before. The important thing was: why wasn’t he used to women?...

It's not exactly love at first sight when Muriel sees Cyril.

Brian Lockett's story continues tomorrow.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 4" »

Paul Schoffler

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Paul Schoffler who created a number of Twentieth Century operatic roles.

Continue reading "Paul Schoffler" »

September 09, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 3

Cyril, desperate to find a wife, arranges to meet Miss Muriel Embling, a nurse.

Brian Lockett continues his story concerning a man who must marry to further his career.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 3" »

September 08, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 2

The way to the top for Cyril Snaps is barred becuase he is not married. Is he prepared to do something about that?

Brian Lockett continues his intriguing story.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 2" »

September 07, 2009

A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 1

Brian Lockett introduces a most orderly busineesman, Cyril Snaps. But there is one thing holding back Cyril's career advancement.

Brian's well-told tale will appear in daily episodes over the next two weeks. You are in for an entertaining ride, and a stunningly unexpected conclusion.

Continue reading "A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 1" »

September 04, 2009

A Bird In The Hand

...Whilst chickens can never be taught to ‘speak’ on command like a dog or watch motionless from the gatepost for the return of their owner, like a cat, hens do have personality. I refuse to believe they are birdbrain or without feelings. Oust one from a picnic spread or barbecue table and make no mistake, that hen will display a real flash of temper....

Mary Pilfold-Allan points out that keeping chickens is now officially chic.

To read more of Mary’s ever-interesting columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "A Bird In The Hand" »

September 03, 2009

Ludwig Schnorr

Peter Wintersgill tells of the great Wagner singer Ludwig Schnorr, who died at the age of 29.

Continue reading "Ludwig Schnorr" »

August 31, 2009

‘Dan The Man’

Dan the Man sells more than ice cream. Some of his clientele as for special 'pick me ups'. But what will he do when he finds an old mate's wallet?

Jean Cowgill tells a tale from the real world.

Continue reading "‘Dan The Man’" »

August 30, 2009

Up Country: Where French Provincial Meets Buddha.

...The track led us over a real wood slatted suspension bridge that swung high over the swift flowing river as the motorbikes trundled across. The spirit of ‘Indiana Jones’ was with us. I think it was Kay who uttered a little whimper as we realised that we really were going across, but it could have been me...

Anne Veronica Steward continues her vivid and engaging account of working as a VSO volunteer in Cambodia.

To read two earlier articles by Anne about her time in Cambodia please click on

http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2009/08/bangkok_and_bey.php

http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2009/08/colourful_cambo.php


Continue reading " Up Country: Where French Provincial Meets Buddha." »

August 27, 2009

Gone But Not Forgotten...

Paul Smith writes about one of the great mysteries of modern times.

Paul runs a vdery lively Web sitepacked with good reading. Please visit kiwiboomers.com

Continue reading "Gone But Not Forgotten..." »

Tito Schipa

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Tito Schipa, a superb lyrical tenor with impeccable phrasing.

Continue reading "Tito Schipa" »

August 20, 2009

Charles Santly

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Charles Santly who was knighted for his services to music.

Continue reading "Charles Santly" »

August 19, 2009

Colourful Cambodia

... Our ride back to Phnom Penh was another adventure over the cratered roads and through bustling small towns. We saw pigs trussed up in wicker baskets on the backs of motorbikes, pink bottoms getting pinker in the hot sun. Our gentle feelings were soothed when it was explained that they have an idyllic piggy life rooting about and under the stilted houses and in the family lotus pond. On market day, they are given a whopping dose of the local ‘herbal remedy’ so they go out on a ‘high’. It certainly beats factory farming, bottoms up!...

Anne Veronica Steward paints a vivid word picture of life in Cambodia where she served as a voluntary teaching advisor.

Continue reading "Colourful Cambodia" »

August 17, 2009

Read Books Online - And Comment

Valerie Yule hopes the thousands of visitors to Open Writing will read the following books - then tell her what they think of them.

Continue reading "Read Books Online - And Comment" »

August 13, 2009

Giovanni Rubini

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of singer Giovanni Rubini who was a sensational success in Paris.

Continue reading "Giovanni Rubini" »

August 12, 2009

Bangkok And Beyond

Anne Veronica Steward, who served as a voluntary teaching advisor, shares her first vivid impressions of colourfful Cambodia.

Continue reading "Bangkok And Beyond" »

August 09, 2009

Sid's Patch

...The playground was officially opened a few days ago. It has, of course, been unofficially open throughout the entire works project. Every evening, once the workmen had gone, boys scaled the high metal fencing or squirmed under it, or they climbed on top of the equipment store and took a flying leap. Then they larked about. On one occasion they got the cement mixer going and made a play of man-handling each other into its mouth...

The new playground compels Sid to delve back in memory to the 1920s, when he and his mates were enjoying themselves on the Brick Heaps, their self-created play area.

To read more of Jacqueline Finesilver’s wonderful articles about Sid and his memories please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=jacqueline+finesilver

Continue reading "Sid's Patch" »

August 06, 2009

Anthony Rolfe Johnson

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to the singer Anthony Rolfe Johnson.

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August 01, 2009

The Winner

Winning the lottery may not bring the joy you anricipate, as Graeme McLeod's brilliant short story reveals.

Continue reading "The Winner" »

July 30, 2009

His Master’s Voice

Patrick Hopton tells the hilarious tale of an urn bearing ashes that was left behind in the Avalon Hotel.

Continue reading "His Master’s Voice" »

Anastasia Robinson

Peter Wilkinson provides information onopera singer Anastasia Robinson who created several Handel roles in the early Eighteenth Century.

Continue reading "Anastasia Robinson" »

July 27, 2009

A Sparkling "Hello Dolly''

David Marsh presents an enthusiastic review of a performance of “Hello Dolly’’ by the amateur music-making group GLOC Musical Theatre, formerly Greenford Light Opera Company.

David, himself a musician, is a maker of ani8mated cartoons. To see some of the click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/david_marsh_cartoons/

Continue reading "A Sparkling "Hello Dolly''" »

July 24, 2009

This Lady Is Not For Turning – Grey!

...Through salt and pepper, dead mouse and badger’s behind to pewter bordering on galvanised zinc bungalow bath...

Resilient Mary Pilfold-Allan is determined to continue to resist the changes that Nature, and the passing years, wish to make to her hair.

To read more of Mary’s entertaining columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "This Lady Is Not For Turning – Grey!" »

July 23, 2009

Mark Reyzen

Peter Wintersgill provides some details of the life of Russian bass Mark Reyzen.

Continue reading "Mark Reyzen" »

July 22, 2009

It Comes To Those Who Wait

Margie Clough's delicious tale tells of sweet revenge in a retirement home.

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Midnight Flight

Elizabeth Harper tells of an escape attempt which failed.

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July 20, 2009

The Balls Are Back In Town!

An annual charity art ehibition is held in Holmfirth - the small Yorkshire town at the centre of BBC TV's longest running commedy show The Last Of The Summer Wine.

Julz organised a fringe art show The Balls Are Back In Town! The works of 45 artists were exhibited.

The following photos and videos bring the flavour of a very special event,

Continue reading "The Balls Are Back In Town!" »

July 16, 2009

Elizabeth Rethberg

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Elizabeth Rethberg, a singer with a pure style and beautiful tone.

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July 09, 2009

Regina Resnik

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Regina Resnik who made her operatic debut as Lady Macbeth.

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July 08, 2009

Laying The Ghost

Elizabeth Harper tells a brief and memorable ghost story.

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July 02, 2009

Rosa Raisa

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Polish singer Rosa Raisa who made her operatic debut in Verdi's Oberto.

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July 01, 2009

A Husky On Loan

“It cannot be denied that huskies are the Ferraris or supermodels of the dog world and Zac certainly attracts a great deal of attention wherever he goes,’’ says Sandy James, introducing us to a most lovable dog.

Continue reading "A Husky On Loan" »

June 26, 2009

May Balls In June

...In an age when there is a tendency to think new is always better than old and genes are something you wear not inherit, Cambridge continues to maintain an air of respect for knowledge and those who act as reservoirs for it...

Mary Pilfold-Allan says that one of the world’s leading cities of learning has been at the centre of her life for almost four decades.

To read more of Mary’s brilliant columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "May Balls In June" »

June 25, 2009

The Guv’nor And The Merry Widow

In this imaginative and original story/play Jacqueline Finesilver tells what went into the first London production of perhaps the greatest of all operettas, The Merry Widow.

Continue reading "The Guv’nor And The Merry Widow" »

Robert Radford

Peter Wintersgill outlines the singing career of Robert Radford, a founder member of British National Opera.

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June 21, 2009

Bridget

…They were fey these two and inseparable. They were philosophers who studied the red, crackling embers of the burning wood in the fire place, their thoughts taking them away from the small room away into the world beyond. Bridget sat on his knee and listened to the engine room of his heart, his stories of the voyages he had made in the first big war and she would question him until his ears could take no more of her….

Four-and-a-half-year-old Bridgid’s grandfather takes her on a proper voyage on which she will be Queen of the pirates.

But will they see mermaids? And is there a disaster waiting to happen out there on the waves?

Anni Leppin tells a vivid remember-for-ever tale set in Ireland.

Settle down do, and enjoy a long, luxurious read.

Continue reading "Bridget" »

June 20, 2009

It's Me Or The Navy

....As many of the farms were getting cut-off with snow, myself and another telegraphist were taken by helicopter to set up a temporary communications base at Wick, further north. We had walkie-talkies and could communicate with the helicopters that would take supplies to farms. It was an interesting time, but I can remember it being very very cold as we were housed on a small disused airfield where there was very little heating....

Bob Boyd was posted to a Navy Air Station in Scotland.

This is the concluding episode of Bob's account of his service in the Royal Navy. To read earlier episodes please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=bob+boyd

Continue reading "It's Me Or The Navy" »

June 18, 2009

Margaret Price

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Margaret Price who made her operatic debut in Cherubino.

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June 13, 2009

Twilight Time

In this brilliant article Jean Cowgill chooses a time of day as a focus point from which to consider harsh realities in bleak times.

Continue reading "Twilight Time" »

June 11, 2009

Leontyne Price

Peter Wintersgill summarises the life of American singer Leontyne Price.

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June 10, 2009

A Wee Speck Of Time

Ellie Braun-Haley has sound advice for those with elderly relatives who are beginning to lose their faculties.

Continue reading "A Wee Speck Of Time" »

June 04, 2009

Lily Pons

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of French singer Lily Pons, who made her opera debut as Delibes' Lakme.

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June 03, 2009

A Lonely Egg

Miriam McAttee was filled with wonder and sadness when she found a small egg under a tree.

Continue reading "A Lonely Egg" »

May 31, 2009

Tomorrow Is Another Day

...Whoever claims the credit or discredit for our meteorological obsession has vanished into the mists of time. Maybe it was the Romans, trudging up the Great North Road and stopping off to dry out their sandals around the campfire at night...

Put two Britons strangers together, and inevitably the conversation will turn to the weather.

Mary Pilfold-Allan muses in her customary fine style about the Great British Obessession.

To read more of Mary's column please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "Tomorrow Is Another Day" »

May 28, 2009

Elizabeth Jessie Hickman - My Bushranger Grandmother

…Another story is that one of her gang spread the story that someone was poisoning possums in the mountains. This was highly illegal and the police went to investigate. While they were gone from town, Jessie and a few of her gang rode in and stole the cattle from the police holding yard. With such impudent exploits, it is little wonder that the local people of that area gave her the title of 'The Lady Bushranger' and she is still known by that name there today…

Di Moore tells of the turbulent and fascinating life of her bushranger grandmother.

Continue reading "Elizabeth Jessie Hickman - My Bushranger Grandmother" »

Anna Pollak

Peter Wintersgill summarises the life of Manchester-born Anna Pollak, formerly principal mezzo soprano at Sadlers Wells.

Continue reading "Anna Pollak" »

May 26, 2009

Great'ma - Part 12

...The past began to capture her again, taking her back to before Judith and Albert had married.

"Mother and Father so against her; she had seemed to me so strong because of the way she stood up to them. I took hold of her hand and she smiled at me. Mother ordered me from the room.''...

Jackie Wearing's novel concerns a family which harbours secrets. At the centre of the story is Great'ma, and her fund of memories.

To read earlier chapters of Great'ma please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=great%27ma

Continue reading "Great'ma - Part 12" »

May 25, 2009

The Beef Attack

Ellie Braun-Haley tells of the day the hamburger meat fought back.

Continue reading "The Beef Attack" »

May 23, 2009

Spud

Dominic Ryland-Jones introduces us to a new cartoon character, Spud.

We hope to see more of Spud in future editions of Open Writing.

Continue reading "Spud" »

May 22, 2009

Slaughter's Sweeney

...Jenny would tell people that her husband had killed her at regular intervals for thirty years. Playing many roles, ranging from beggar to duchess, she was murdered countless times, always taking a bow afterwards....

Jacqueline Finesilver tells of the Newcastle-born actor Tod Slaughter, famous for his interpretation of the Demon Barber Sweeny Todd - and of his actress wife Jenny Lynn.

To read more of Jacqueline’s words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=jacqueline+finesilver

Continue reading "Slaughter's Sweeney" »

May 21, 2009

Peter Pears

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Peter Pears for whom Benjamin Britten wrote a number of operatic roles.

Continue reading "Peter Pears" »

May 15, 2009

Arabesques in The Hut – Part 2

,,,An Ofsted Inspector, while satisfied with what she saw of David's educational provision, asked the Head why he was in this school? Surely he would be better off in a Special School? The gist of the answer was, 'His mother wants him to be here. He's happy here. We are happy to have him.' In fact, his mother had not found a suitable 'special school' within reach of their home. And she was worried about what would happen when the time came for him to go to secondary school. In the meantime everyone did their best within the limitations.,,,

Jacqueline Finesilver concludes her inspirational account of the education of a very special boy.

To reads the first part of this story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=jacqueline+finesilver

Continue reading "Arabesques in The Hut – Part 2" »

May 14, 2009

Adelina Patti

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Adelina Patti who made her singing debut in New York in 1850 and was recognised as the leading soprano of her day.

Continue reading "Adelina Patti" »

May 08, 2009

Arabesques in The Hut – Part 1

...In The Hut we could play music, dance, spread ourselves around and 'work big'. Dance – there was tap, flamenco, Latin American, Irish... whatever David was currently taken up with. But mainly there was ballet. David was already a classical ballet buff. Not me. Until I met him I didn't care for it. But I just had to buckle down to my homework so that I could partner him in his greatest roles: Romeo, the Prince in Swan Lake, and various other princes, heroes and show-offs. I was happier as the bumbling Ginger Rogers to his Fred Astaire....

Jacqueline Finesilver tells of the education of a very special boy.

This story will be continued next Friday.

Continue reading "Arabesques in The Hut – Part 1" »

May 07, 2009

The Cave At Lascaux

In this story based on an hisorical event, Mary Clemons tells of the discovery of the most famous of all Paleolithic cave paintings.

To read more of Mary's words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+clemons

Continue reading "The Cave At Lascaux" »

Giuditta Pasta

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of singer Giuditta Pasta who created roles of Amina in Bellini's La Somnambula.

Continue reading "Giuditta Pasta" »

May 04, 2009

The Lost Teacake

John Brian Leaver tells of the saga of a missing teacake, a saga that has echoed down the decades of his life.

To read more of Brian's words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=john+brian+leaver

Continue reading "The Lost Teacake" »

May 01, 2009

Sid Among The Boxes

...Rats really liked our warehouse and the warehouse manager had various ways of trying to deal with them. He set traps, some home made from lengths of cardboard spread thickly with glue and baited with cheese. He also encouraged his men and lads to turn bounty-hunters and stalk vermin in their lunch break...

When he was 14 Sid went to work for Derry and Toms’, the big Kensington department store.

To read earlier vivid accounts of Sid’s life by Jacqueline Finesilver please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=jacqueline+finesilver

Continue reading "Sid Among The Boxes" »

April 30, 2009

Nellie Melba

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Nellie Melba, a singer valued for her beautiful tone and perfect technique.

Continue reading "Nellie Melba" »

April 27, 2009

Single-Sex Education – The On-Going Dilema?

...There is no disputing that girls and boys learn in different ways and at different paces. Putting them all together within one environment surely leads to a levelling on all fronts? Can that be right?...

Mary Pilfold-Allan wonders whether we are not dumbing down our childrens’ education by officially insisting that boys and girls should be educated together.

Continue reading "Single-Sex Education – The On-Going Dilema?" »

April 25, 2009

Family Life: Eleven- A Date I Can Never Forget

...George wasn't too well so one Tuesday morning when he had given us both a very restless night I phoned for the doctor to come. About 11:50 am he cleared his throat and said “Oh Lucy”. Then he collapsed. His life was over....

Lucy Oates tells of the day she lost her beloved husband.

To read earlier chapters of Lucy's life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

Continue reading "Family Life: Eleven- A Date I Can Never Forget" »

April 24, 2009

Home Of The First Nation

...Vancouver feels to me like a sister city to San Francisco. Good natured and shining. The sea is a constant, framing gleaming buildings with fingers of land interlinking and interweaving, the light a fusion of blue and silver. But Vancouver has the jagged icing sugared mountains as a backdrop...

Anne Steward is enthralled by Vancouver, one of the world’s most spectacular cities.

Continue reading "Home Of The First Nation" »

April 23, 2009

Richard Mayr

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Richard Mayr who sang at the Vienna Opera for 30 years.

Continue reading "Richard Mayr" »

April 22, 2009

New Baby Blues

...Two nights later the baby woke and needed attention. I sat with him in the dark of the living room nursing him and then burping and rocking him. So exhausted I felt tears burn my eyes, I sat in the middle of my own personal pity party, aching for some kind of help and knowing there was none...

But there was help at hand from a surprise quarter for Ellie Braun-Haley, as she reveals in this heart-warming story.

Continue reading "New Baby Blues" »

Soldiers Who Knew No Mercy

....The next four days across the Baltic Sea in the overcrowded ship were not pleasant. With no hygienic facilities whatsoever and still under almost constant enemy attack from air and submarines, every moment was lived in terror. One night I went on deck to get fresh air when the alarm sounded and I witnessed two ships in our convoy being torpedoed and sunk in the icy waters with all on board, underlining our perilous state more than ever.

Finally we docked in Copenhagen, exhausted, filthy and lice-infested...

After almost five decades Ruth Kriszanowsky returns to Kaliningrad, formerly known as Königsberg, the city from which she fled in terror.

Continue reading "Soldiers Who Knew No Mercy" »

April 20, 2009

The Recital

In this wonderful story Judith Jacks tells of a concert given by the most famous singer of her age, Clara Butt, in aid of the war wounded.

Judith brilliantly evokes time, place and setting. Here's a story you wont't forget.

Continue reading "The Recital" »

April 18, 2009

Family Life: Ten - Fog

Lucy Oates marries and then raises a family.

To read earlier episodes of Lucy's engaging life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

Continue reading "Family Life: Ten - Fog" »

April 16, 2009

Buyer Beware

Marsh Kaminsky presents a primer on life insurance for women.

To read more of Marsh's well-informed words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=marsh+kaminsky

Continue reading "Buyer Beware" »

Victor Maurel

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Victor Maurel, the author of four books on singing.

Continue reading "Victor Maurel" »

April 15, 2009

Day Of Reckoning

Author and motivational speaker Ellie Braun-Haley tells of the day she risked arousing the scorn and hostility of her school friends.

Continue reading "Day Of Reckoning" »

Life Boys Are Living In

Tresor Kabeya brings us a slice of South African life.

Continue reading "Life Boys Are Living In" »

April 11, 2009

Family Life: Nine – As Plain As a Pint Pot Handle

Lucy Oates tells of a family tragedy.

To read earlier episodes of Lucy's life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

Continue reading "Family Life: Nine – As Plain As a Pint Pot Handle" »

April 09, 2009

Maria Malibran

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Maria Malibran who made her Paris opera debut 1828 in Rossini's Semiramide.

Continue reading "Maria Malibran" »

April 08, 2009

Sid Of The River

...My friends and I were a bunch of amphibians; we liked to be in, on or along the river whenever possible....

In this marvelously evocative article Jacqueline Finesilver tells how Sid and seven other river lads hired a boat to compete in the Thames Head of the River race.

Continue reading "Sid Of The River" »

The Door Slammed Shut

Tresor Kabeya brings us a story from South Africa about a wicked which is determined to have a chicken dinner.

Continue reading "The Door Slammed Shut" »

The Next Journey

Mary Clemons tells of a turning point in life.

Continue reading "The Next Journey" »

April 04, 2009

Sid's Swimming Pool

...When we’d finished the painting, the owner took us for a stroll down his large garden and pointed out where he thought of having a swimming pool. Then George put on quite a performance. He paced out the area, narrowed his eyes, surveyed the lie of the land, puffed on his skinny roll-up and nodded sagely, just as if he knew what he was about...

Are George and Sid about to get involved in something beyond their competence?

Jacqueline Fines recounts another true tale.

Continue reading "Sid's Swimming Pool" »

Family Life - Eight – My Other Mother

Women were called up to work in factories, as Lucy Oaters reveals as she continues her life story.

To read earlier chapter's of Lucy's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

Continue reading "Family Life - Eight – My Other Mother" »

April 03, 2009

Distressed Damsel

…He watched a raptor circling high overhead. After hovering the bird swooped in pursuit of prey. Rob took out his binoculars but failed to discover the site of carnage. In a desultory manner he continued a sweep of the upper part of the river. A snatch of colour on a ledge half way up the higher waterfall caught his eye. His skin crawled. With trembling hands he refocused and trained the binoculars on an area where the uniform lichen gave way to a tangerine coloured ‘T’ shirt. ..

Rob is out walking on the Isle of Arran when he spots a damsel in distress.

Jean Cowgill tells a story with a surprise in its tail.

Continue reading "Distressed Damsel" »

April 02, 2009

A Time Revisited

A book of short stories reminds John Brian Leaver of a calm crossing of the Irish Sea.

Continue reading " A Time Revisited" »

Benjamin Luxon

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of singer Benjamin Luxon, who created the role of Britten's Owen Wingrave.

Continue reading "Benjamin Luxon" »

April 01, 2009

I Write

...I found the writing gave me peace and the intellectual activity of trying to refine my work kept me wanting to do more....

Anne Steward's words will encourage others to write.

Continue reading "I Write" »

March 28, 2009

Family Life: Seven – A Grunting Pig

Lucy Oates recalls a time of gas masks and ration books.

To read earlier episodes of Lucy's story please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

Continue reading "Family Life: Seven – A Grunting Pig" »

March 27, 2009

The Cure For Insomnia Is A Cough

...It is exceptional quiet where we live. Our house is opposite a small wood that engulfs an area of former clunch workings. Well away from the main road through the village, any noise after dark echoes in an eerie way, hence the first time I heard the inhuman ‘cough’ it was unnerving. Night after night the same ‘coughing’ broke the stillness and eventually I sought wise counsel of the village elders. My enquiry was an experience I do not wish to repeat. They enjoyed the opportunity of baiting a townie...

Ah, but who or what was doing the coughing? Mary Pilfold-Allan brings us another intriguing and entertaining column.

To read more of Mary’s words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "The Cure For Insomnia Is A Cough" »

March 26, 2009

Robert Lloyd

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of singer Robert Lloyd who made his Covent Garden debut in 1972.

Continue reading "Robert Lloyd" »

March 21, 2009

Family Life: Six - Family Ills

Lucy Oates, continuing her life story, recalls family ills at the outset of World War Two.

To read earlier episodes of her story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

Continue reading "Family Life: Six - Family Ills" »

March 19, 2009

Edward Lloyd

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Edward Lloyd who was the first to sing the leading roles in two of Elgar's greatest works.

Continue reading "Edward Lloyd" »

March 15, 2009

Salmon Poaching And Cattle Markets - Part Three

...For those uninitiated in the ways of Irish livestock fairs in the fifties and early sixties I should explain that with so many people in town for the monthly fair there was one moneymaking enterprise in which some of the villagers indulged. This was the setting up of what became known as “eating-houses.” Simply put it meant that anyone with a reasonably sized front room could enter into the restaurant business for the day and serve meals to all and sundry...

Alan McConnell wonderfully reawakens memories of life in rural Ireland half a century ago.

This is the third and concluding part of a series. To read the first two parts, and other articles by Alan, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=alan+mcconnell

Continue reading "Salmon Poaching And Cattle Markets - Part Three" »

March 14, 2009

Sid's Good Eats

...I was just about old enough to run errands and had been sent by my mother to fetch a pennyworth of pickles for my father's tea. On my way back from the shop, eyes glued to the saucer, nose twitching at the sharp smell, full of anticipation of being offered a little taste for myself, I fell down a hole...

Jacqueline Fines serves up a tasty plateful of gustatory memories.

Continue reading "Sid's Good Eats" »

Family Life: Five - Green Tomato Chutney

Lucy Oates recalls her father's gardening achievments.

To read earlier chapters of her life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

Continue reading "Family Life: Five - Green Tomato Chutney" »

March 13, 2009

The Cape Of Good Hope

Bob Boyd continues his account of his Royal Navy service. To read earlier episodes of his story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=bob+boyd

Continue reading "The Cape Of Good Hope" »

March 12, 2009

Jenny Lind

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Jenny Lind, known as the Swedish nightingale.

Continue reading "Jenny Lind" »

March 10, 2009

Gone To The Dogs

Stanley Solomons brings this chuckle-filled account of how his long career in journalism went to the dogs from day one.

To read more of Stan's articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=stanley+solomons

Continue reading "Gone To The Dogs" »

March 08, 2009

Salmon Poaching And Cattle Markets – Part Two

...While my father was a devotee of the buttermilk I made it my business to steer clear of that particular beverage. It is very definitely an acquired taste. The only time I willingly came in close proximity to the brew was on an occasion when my Great Aunt Mary told me that it was just the thing for removing freckles...

Alan McConnell’s words conjure up life in rural Ireland in a quieter age. Watch out for the concluding part of Salmon Poachers And Cattle Markets next Sunday.

Continue reading "Salmon Poaching And Cattle Markets – Part Two" »

March 07, 2009

Family Life: Four - A United Sing

Lucy Oates tells of a time when Whit Monday was the highlight of the year.

Continue reading "Family Life: Four - A United Sing" »

March 06, 2009

Mud Bath

...The next incident, perhaps I should call it disaster, was the state of the ground. Snow and rain had reduced a normally green and pleasant land to quagmire. I watched my charges slip and slid (with glee) through ankle deep mud. By the time we arrived at the duck pond I would seriously have liked to have dunked them in and wash them down....

Mary Pilfold-Allan records her mud-spattered day as an unwilling conscript in the roll of child-minder.

Continue reading "Mud Bath" »

March 05, 2009

Richard Lewis

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Manchester-born Richard Lewis, who sang in the first performances of major Twentieth Century musical works.

Continue reading "Richard Lewis" »

March 04, 2009

The Angels

…‘They’ll not get you, son. I’ll take your life and then my own before their wicked boots come through that door.’..

Judith Jacks bases her dramatic story on the shelling of a North Eastern town by German battleships at the start of World War One.

Continue reading "The Angels" »

March 01, 2009

Universal Knowledge

An abundance of knowledge between hard covers is not necessarily a good thing, as reading enthusiast Brian Lockett reveals.

Continue reading "Universal Knowledge" »

Salmon Poaching And Cattle Markets - Part 1

...Artie, now settled in my father’s chair over by the fire said, “Troth and didn’t I hear that the two river watchers got into a right handlin’ last night over by the mouth of the river.”

I pricked up my ears upon hearing this and paused by the pantry door to hear more. I knew that there was a deal of salmon poaching going on and that Ben Byrne and Rob Diver were watching the river at night on behalf of the owners of the fishing rights. Their official title was that of Water Bailiffs but around our part of the country they were known as “river watchers.”...

Artie the postman brings news when he calls at the farm to deliver a letter.

Alan McConnell brings another slice of life in the rural Ireland of yesteryear. Watch out for more from Alan next weeks.

To read more of his richly evocative articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=alan+mcconnell

Continue reading "Salmon Poaching And Cattle Markets - Part 1" »

"There's Less In This Than Meets The Eye''

Wendy Ogbourne voices an impassioned (tongue-in-cheek?) plea for the return of the golden days when the pen truly was mightier than the sword.

Continue reading ""There's Less In This Than Meets The Eye''" »

February 28, 2009

The House

The old man has left his house to his granddaughter – a bequest that comes as a shocking surprise to his daughter. But has granded left an even bigger surprise?

Judith Jacks tells a splendidly atmospheric tale.

Continue reading "The House" »

Family Life -Three - Whispering

...I had a very bad cold then which turned into laryngitis and for three month's I could only whisper, and looking back, the funny thing was, every one whispered back to me...

Lucy Oates, who grew up in the small Yorkshire town of Holmfirth, continues her life story.

Continue reading "Family Life -Three - Whispering" »

February 26, 2009

Lotte Lehmann

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Lotte Lehmann, one of the leading sopranos of her time.

Continue reading "Lotte Lehmann" »

February 25, 2009

Thoughts From Abroad

A writer's mind is never at rest, even in the bustling cheeseburger environs of Luton Airport. But should this writer really have been devoting his time to Flaubert's Parrot?

Brian Lockett presents a delicious travel log.

Continue reading "Thoughts From Abroad" »

Our Lily

Judith Jacks tells of a young lady called Lily who liked hats.

Do keep a lookout for more of Judith’s engaging words in future editions of Open Writing.

Continue reading "Our Lily" »

February 24, 2009

Orlando

Judith Wallis tells the most satisfying story of Orlando, a teenager going to the bad, who is saved by blond curls, a dimpled smile and an unexpected offer.

Continue reading "Orlando" »

February 21, 2009

Family Life - Two – Scarlet Fever

...Like Alice, I had Scarlet Fever when I was eight and spent six weeks in the Isolation Hospital at Meltham. Visitors were allowed on Saturday afternoons, but they could only speak to us through the windows, and any sweets or toys had to be left at the office for us and we got the sweets two at a time after lunch...

Lucy Oates, who grew up in the Yorkshire township of Homfirth, a place made famous in the BBC's longest-running comedy TV programme The Last Of The Summer Wine, records her early life in fascinating detail.

Continue reading "Family Life - Two – Scarlet Fever" »

February 19, 2009

Magda Laszlo

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Magda Laszlo who created the role of Cressida in Walton’s Troilus and Cressida.

Continue reading "Magda Laszlo" »

February 15, 2009

What About Gigha?

Linda McLean tells of a wonderful New Year’s Eve and Day experienced on a quiet Scottish isle.

Continue reading "What About Gigha?" »

February 14, 2009

My Two-Year-Old Got Hooked On Phonics

Marsh Kaminsky brings a hugely inspirational account of how he taught his young son to read and spell.

Imagine a world in which every parent followed Marsh's lead!

Continue reading "My Two-Year-Old Got Hooked On Phonics" »

Times Past

Few people owned cars in the 1930s. Now the street is bumper to bumper with parked cars. Are their owners any better off than the folk who struggled to survive seventy and more years ago? John Brian Leaver thinks not.

Continue reading "Times Past" »

Family Life - One

Lucy Oates was born and raised in Holmfirth, the tiny Yorkshire mill town made famous world-wide as the setting of BBC Television's longest-running comedy programme Last Of The Summer Wine.

Here Mrs Oates tells what life was like when she was a girl. This is the first of twelve articles telling her story. Further episodes will follow on succeeding Saturdays.

Continue reading "Family Life - One" »

February 12, 2009

Lilli Lehmann

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Lilli Lehmann who sang at the first Bayreuth festival in 1876.

Continue reading "Lilli Lehmann" »

February 07, 2009

Hugs For A Stranger

A hug can save a life, as Ellie Braun-Haley reveals.

Continue reading "Hugs For A Stranger" »

February 06, 2009

Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing

...Little boys have a teapot and little girls have a teacup” was her way of getting out of giving me a lesson in anatomy and the birds and the bees before I had hit my fourth birthday...

Mary Pilfold-Allan muses upon that magical ingredient which makes the world go round – love.

For more of Mary’s varied and always entertaining columns please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing" »

February 05, 2009

Luigi Lablache

Peter Wintersgill summarises the life of singer Luigi Lablache, who made his debut in Milan in 1817 as Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

Continue reading "Luigi Lablache" »

February 01, 2009

Salvage Money?

...One day I got the chance to take a trip in one of our own submarines. Most carried two Telegraphists. If one was off sick or on leave a volunteer was requested from the surface ships. I had to sign a notice saying I was volunteering at my own risk, This was because I had not taken the deep sea underwater escape test all submariners had to go through...

Bob Boyd continues his story of serving as a Royal Navy telegraphist on HMS Woodbridge Haven.

To read the earlier articles in this series please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=bob+boyd

Continue reading "Salvage Money?" »

January 31, 2009

Education Begins In The Womb

"This essay is about what it takes to create the most highly intelligent and capable children....''

Marsh Kaminsky is eager to launch an educational experiment that would revolutionise the world by hugely increasing the nunber of people of high intelligence.

Continue reading "Education Begins In The Womb" »

Victory Won

David Hammond recalls the day of days - a time of special celebration.

Continue reading "Victory Won" »

January 29, 2009

Otakar Kraus

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of singer Otakar5 Kraus who created the role of Tarquinius in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia.

Continue reading "Otakar Kraus" »

January 22, 2009

Maria Jeritza

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Maria Jeritza. the Bohemian-born opera singer.

Continue reading "Maria Jeritza" »

January 21, 2009

A Conversation With Harold Bloom

William Ruleman, whose excellent poems appear regularly in Open Writing, had a telephone conversation with Harold Bloom, the American author, intellectual and renowned literary critic. Here is a record of what was said.

To read William's poems please click on www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=william+ruleman

Continue reading "A Conversation With Harold Bloom" »

January 17, 2009

Great Days With The Boys’ Brigade

David Hammond tells of a chap who was not amused when he saw his trousers fluttering atop the flag pole at a Boys’ Brigade camp.

Continue reading "Great Days With The Boys’ Brigade" »

January 16, 2009

Never Rile A Redhead

...I have walked across Westminster Bridge at least a hundred times and she never fails to take my breath away. I have seen her glow with dark majesty in the sunshine and found her an inspiration when it’s raining and the world seems a dreary place. But she is at her most impressive when a November fog engulfs her or Old Father Thames gives off a soft summer mist at the start of a warm day...

To find out the identity of this redheaded lady you really must read this inspirational column by Mary Pilfold-Allan.

Continue reading "Never Rile A Redhead" »

January 15, 2009

Joan Hammond

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of New Zealand singer Joan Hammond.

Continue reading "Joan Hammond" »

January 10, 2009

Lakeland Lure

David Hammond enjoys the ascent of Great Gable.

Continue reading "Lakeland Lure" »

January 09, 2009

HMS Woodbridge Haven

Bob Boyd contindues his account of his service in the Royal Navy. To read the opening chapter of his story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=bob+boyd

Continue reading "HMS Woodbridge Haven" »

January 08, 2009

Supermen And Six-Guns

Frank Healy remembers the magical fun of cinema=going during his boyhood days.

To read more articles by Frank please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=frank+healy

Continue reading "Supermen And Six-Guns" »

Gaetano Guadagni

Peter Wintersgill sketches the career of Gaetano Guadagni, an 18th Century Italian singer.

Continue reading "Gaetano Guadagni" »

January 07, 2009

A Present For Mary

All young Mary wanted for her birthday was a new name.

Brian Lockett tells a story with a happy chuckle in its tail.

Continue reading "A Present For Mary" »

January 03, 2009

The Bloody Battle Of Bullecourt

Journalist David Hammond recalls a World War one battle in which many young men from the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield lost their lives.

Continue reading "The Bloody Battle Of Bullecourt" »

December 27, 2008

Portrait Of A Prince

David Hammond tells of an artist who was invited to paint a portrait of Prince Charles.

Continue reading "Portrait Of A Prince" »

Letting Go

Ellie Braun-Haley tells of the healing powers of forgiveness.

Continue reading "Letting Go" »

December 24, 2008

The Salvos At Christmas

John Powell finds that volunteering to be a Christmas Day helper can be a heart-warming experience.

Continue reading "The Salvos At Christmas" »

December 20, 2008

Christmas Alone

Ellie Braun-Haley has some sound advice for those who may be feeling lonely this Christmas.

Continue reading "Christmas Alone" »

December 18, 2008

Beniamino Gigli

Peter Wintersgill presents the career details of Beniamino Gigli, one of the greatest singers of all time.

Continue reading "Beniamino Gigli" »

December 17, 2008

The Porcelain Bowls

A writer with the pen name Pitter-Patter tells of two highly significant porcelain, then charts the course of recent human history.

Continue reading "The Porcelain Bowls" »

December 13, 2008

Get Over There – And At The Double

Journalist David Hammond recalls in rich detail his National Service days in the Royal Air Force.

Continue reading "Get Over There – And At The Double" »

Our Grandmothers Helped Us

Ellie Braun-Haley tells of help from beyond the grave.

Continue reading "Our Grandmothers Helped Us" »

December 12, 2008

The "Perks''

...There is a funny sort of reasoning among the young that if it comes pre-packed and jointed so that they cannot recognise it as an animal, then its OK to eat it. Likewise, even vegetarians may avoid meat like the plague but still take to wearing leather shoes or a suede jacket.

I was brought up with a very different philosophy altogether. If you eat it, that’s fine. If you waste it, then it’s not. Consequently, my children grew up to eat almost anything put before them and it is only in later years that ‘fads’ set in...

Mary Pilfold Allan, who savoured the delights of growing up in rural surroundings, introduces us to tasty treats such as Perkers and rabbit brawn.

To read more of Mary's engaging words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "The "Perks''" »

December 11, 2008

Mary Garden

Peter Wintersgill tells of singer Mary Garden who created the role of Debussy’s Melisande.

Continue reading "Mary Garden" »

December 10, 2008

The Queen And I

So what did Stanley Porter say to delight Her Majesty?

Brian Lockett tells the best tale of the year.

Continue reading "The Queen And I" »

December 06, 2008

Trams

David Hammond recalls the days when trams trundled along the streets of a Yorkshire industrial town.

Continue reading "Trams" »

December 05, 2008

An Unwelcomed Musical Medley

Frank Healy recalls how he flooded a big department store with a bedlam of musical sounds.

Continue reading "An Unwelcomed Musical Medley" »

December 04, 2008

Manuel Del Populo

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Manuel Del Populo who founded a singing school to establish Italian Opera in New York.

Continue reading "Manuel Del Populo" »

November 27, 2008

Marya Freund

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Marya Freund, one of the first to sing 12-note works.

Continue reading "Marya Freund" »

November 22, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Frank Healy reflects on hair styles down the centuries.

Continue reading "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" »

November 20, 2008

Olive Fremstad

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Olive Fremstad, a singer who specialised in Wagnerian roles.

Continue reading "Olive Fremstad" »

November 19, 2008

The Lottery

...“Special delivery,” repeated Mohammed to his son. “They do that to make sure it arrives safely. It could be an armed guard, you know, security boxes, code names, all that sort of thing. It must be very valuable indeed.”...

Mohammed, a trader living in a Persian village, has won the lottery. Will the prize change his life?

Brian Lockett presents a modern fable.

To read more of Brian's first-class stories please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Brian+Lockett

Continue reading "The Lottery" »

November 18, 2008

The Best Laid Plans . . .

John Brian Leaver tells a deliciously disturbing tale of boyhood enterprise.

Continue reading "The Best Laid Plans . . ." »

November 16, 2008

Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste And Touch

Mary Pilfold-Allan has particular reasons to value the five senses, especially the gift of being able to hear.

Continue reading "Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste And Touch" »

November 15, 2008

The Yorkshire Range

Frank Healy recalls the days when the centrepiece of many a Yorkshire home was the kitchen range.

Continue reading "The Yorkshire Range" »

November 13, 2008

Kirsten Flagstad

Peter Wintersgill brings a pen-portrait of the Norwegian singer Kirsten Flagstad, a famed soprano soloist in Wagner operas.

Continue reading "Kirsten Flagstad" »

November 11, 2008

Make Your Own Rug

Frank Healy recalls the days of oilcloth, linoleum and rag rugs.

Continue reading "Make Your Own Rug" »

November 06, 2008

Grrrraaawoooww!

...Wanting fame leads me on nicely to the cult of the celebrity. I don't know whether to be amused or amazed by this (perhaps a bit of both, with disgust somewhere in the mix). Take one gobby little no-nothing, stick her on the telly, et voila! The latest sensation. No looks, no talent and only half a wit – but hey! She's famous!

Cult-of-celebrity magazines foster this strange desire. (I sometimes flick through them when at the doctor's.) Hello, OK and the rest. Full of stick insects with topknots, falling off their designer shoes as they lurch, three-quarters-cut, out of some nightclub or other. Very odd. I could think of some more suitable names for these daft publications – NitWit, Dingbat Monthly, Greed!...

The wonderful Jill Grant takes a horrified look at the Philistine horrors of modern-day Britain. Read this splendid column and be informed of life’s true values.

Do visit Jill's Web site www.grantidge.com

Continue reading "Grrrraaawoooww!" »

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau who has a repertory of over 1000 songs.

Continue reading "Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau" »

October 30, 2008

Kathleen Ferrier

Peter Wintersgill tells of the famous opera star Kathleen Ferrier, who began her working life as a switchboard operator.

Continue reading "Kathleen Ferrier" »

October 28, 2008

A Tribute To Joyce Hinchliffe

A message from Peter Hinchliffe, Open Writing Editor.

My wife, Joyce Hinchliffe, died suddenly last week at the age of 68.

Joyce worked alongside me, helping to put out Open Writing every day.

She attended her weekly Spanish class in the Yorkshire town nearest our home, At lunchtime she walked back to her car in a multi-storey car park with Sheila, an 84-year-old friend. She was happily chattering away.

When they were in the car she asked Sheila if she had fastened her seat belt. She then started the engine. Half-turning, she said “Sheila I feel...’’

She collapsed, dying in the instant of a massive brain haemorrhage.

Today Joyce, who was born and raised in Texas, is being buried in a small churchyard in the Yorkshire hill village where we live.

Joyce was a loyal Christian. She tried every day to help others.

Part of my therapy in coping with an almost unbearable loss will be to try to ensure that Open Writing continues.

The following is an unsolicited article by that thoughtful and compassionate columnist John Merchant, who writes regularly from the USA.

Continue reading "A Tribute To Joyce Hinchliffe" »

October 25, 2008

A 5 Shilling Bet That Helped To Win The War

Journalist and art critic David Hammond tells of the birth of one of the Twentieth Century’s most famous songs.

Continue reading "A 5 Shilling Bet That Helped To Win The War" »

October 23, 2008

Geraldine Farrar

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to the singer Geraldine Farrar who appeared in many films.

Continue reading "Geraldine Farrar" »

October 22, 2008

Don’t Tell The Boys

Joseph Meakin tells of his convoluted sex education.

Continue reading "Don’t Tell The Boys" »

October 19, 2008

A Celebration

A service was being held today in the parish church of the Shropshire village of Annscroft to celebrate the ministry of John Waddington-Feather.

John is a regular contributor to Open Writing web magazine. We are serialising his trilogy of novels, Illingworth House, concerning the complicated lives of a Yorkshire mill-owning dynasty. There is also a weekly short story or article by John appearing under the title Feather’s Miscellany.

We hope that John has a very happy and memorable day.

Here is the sermon he delivered at the celebratory service.

Continue reading "A Celebration" »

October 18, 2008

Taxi To Oshabeni

Violet Wagner was born in South Africa in 1944, and started her working life as a teacher there. In 1970 she moved to the United Kingdom and has lived there since in various parts of England. Currently she lives in Essex.

Her last job was a chief executive post in a National Health Service organisation. It was the culmination of a career which spanned 19 job changes. In preparation for retirement she trained as a genealogist, with additional courses in oral history and history methods.

Since 2004 she has spent up to six months a year in South Africa, researching and spending time with her brothers and sisters who live there.

"Getting back into life in South Africa has been a roller coaster experience fueling many stories,'' says Violet.

And here is one of them.

Continue reading "Taxi To Oshabeni" »

Airborne

Ellie Braun-Haley could never have guessed where she would end up when she started down that Canadian ski slope.

Continue reading "Airborne" »

October 17, 2008

A Tale Of The Unexpected

...The afternoon was wonderfully autumnal, with a mild southerly wind chasing the first fall of leaves around my feet. Despite the financial gloom in The City, just a mile or so down the road, the world felt calm and full of endless possibilities....

Mary Pilfold-Allan goes hiking through history in the great city of London.

Continue reading "A Tale Of The Unexpected" »

October 16, 2008

An Ancient Order

Carmen Fitzgerald describes the ceremony which admitted a young man to the ancient order of Melchisidech.

Continue reading "An Ancient Order" »

Carlo Farinelli

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Carlo Farinelli who sang at the royal court in Madrid in the eighteenth century.

Continue reading "Carlo Farinelli" »

October 11, 2008

How An Over 50s Writers’ Group Became A Publisher

Steph Spiers brings inspirational news for all writers, everywhere. If you want to get into print, or see your words on the Net, JOIN A WRITING GROUP!

Continue reading "How An Over 50s Writers’ Group Became A Publisher" »

October 09, 2008

Never Eat At A Place Called Mom’s

...Five orders of tripe, she reads as she leafs through the pages, followed by rhubarb and apple custard...

What is happening in Ruby’s gourmet restaurant?

Carmel Fitzgerald tells a tasty tale.

Continue reading "Never Eat At A Place Called Mom’s" »

Geraint Evans

Peter Wintersgill details the life of opera singer Geraint Evans, the son of a Welsh coalminer.

Continue reading "Geraint Evans" »

October 04, 2008

Coatbridge’s Daughter - Eight

A visit to a ruined mansion in Scotland fills Linda McLean with sad thoughts of decline and decay.

To read other articles by Linda please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=linda+mclean

Continue reading "Coatbridge’s Daughter - Eight" »

October 03, 2008

Dynastic Dilema

When a family Christening sends Mary Pilfold-Allan back to the exploration of her family tree she finds herself in the age of the first Tudor monarch.

Continue reading "Dynastic Dilema" »

October 02, 2008

Canada Creek

...Once the crew were on board, usually two pair of oars and a skipper on the tiller, the orders would be given; "cast off bow and stern", "fend off bow", "backwater starboard" then "give way together". At first it would be anything but "together" as the bow oar would clash with the stroke oar and "crabs" would be caught when, with an enthusiastic pull on the oar the water would be missed completely, the hapless oarsman ending up on his back on the bilge boards...

Glyn Lloyd Evans recalls happy days in the Sea Scouts.

Continue reading "Canada Creek" »

Willi Domgraf

Peter Wintersgill provides an outline of Willi Domgraf, at one time the principal baritone at Berlin State Opera.

Continue reading "Willi Domgraf" »

September 27, 2008

My War - The Conclusion

…When the war started, I was a wide-eyed, wondering child. By the time it ended I was a teenager, altered by the experiences of living in fear, and of “getting by” without the toys, books, clothes, vacations and the other treats of the childhood I might have had. My adult life has been characterized by those experiences, mostly for the good…

John Merchant concludes his account of his wartime experiences.

To read the first four parts of this absorbing series please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=john+merchant

Continue reading "My War - The Conclusion" »

What To Do When You Are Bored – Part 4

Linda McLean concludes her four-part account of going on holiday in France with two friends in wheelchairs, a holiday fraught with unexpected problems.

To read the first three sections of this account please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=linda+mclean

Continue reading "What To Do When You Are Bored – Part 4" »

September 25, 2008

Mattiwilda Dobbs

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Mattiwilda Dobbs, the first black singer to appear at La Scala, Milan.

Continue reading "Mattiwilda Dobbs" »

September 20, 2008

My War - Part IV

…It was the likes of Bernard Miles, and other radio comedians such as Gillie Potter, with his weekly monologue, “The News From Hogsnorton, Spoken in English”; Rob Wilton, with his opening line, “The day war broke out, my Missus said to me ‘What are you going to do about it?’; and Tommy Handley with his fast talking weekly radio show, that brightened our lives in the darkest of times. I was such a Tommy Handley fan that I would sneak out of bed to sit on the stairs, even on freezing nights, to listen to his broadcasts. The very satire of their performances made the serious reality of the war seem ridiculous…

John Merchant recalls radio comedians who helped to boost British morale during World War Two.

This is the fourth in a series of five articles.

Continue reading "My War - Part IV" »

What To Do When You Are Bored – Part 3

Linda McLean and two friends are heading for the ferry terminal after a holiday in France when they are forced to an unwelcomed halt.

To read earlier chapters of Linda’s story, along with more of her articles, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=linda+mclean

Continue reading "What To Do When You Are Bored – Part 3" »

September 18, 2008

Emmy Destinn

Peter Wintsersgill summarises the life of Czech singer Emmy Destinn.

Continue reading "Emmy Destinn" »

September 17, 2008

Strangers On A Train

So who were those Brits the American tourists met on the train? And who were those Americans?

Brian Lockett tells an intriguing tale.

To read more of Brian's stories please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Brian+Lockett

Continue reading "Strangers On A Train" »

Lady On A Bicycle

Barbara Tregonning's poem suggest Women's Lib was launched by a lady on a bike.

Continue reading "Lady On A Bicycle" »

September 13, 2008

My War - Part III

…My prize find was a bazooka with its anti-tank missile in place. Much to my chagrin, the conductor wouldn’t let me on the bus with it, and it was too far to walk home…

The war years provided boys with exciting opportunities for new games, as John Merchant reveals.

This is the third in a series of five articles presenting John’s vivid memories of growing up in wartime.

Continue reading "My War - Part III" »

What to do When You Are Bored – Part 2

Linda McLean continues her inspiring account of going on a camping holiday in France with two friends in wheelchairs.

To read more of Linda’s words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=linda+mclean

Continue reading "What to do When You Are Bored – Part 2" »

September 11, 2008

The Card School

...The table being cleared of the card playing accessories was soon laid and in no time at all a little mountain of Margaret Mary’s treacle scones, generously slathered with butter and complemented by a similar stack of plain scones hiding beneath an overlay of both butter and jam, began to disappear accompanied by appreciative remarks directed to their hostess...

Ah but you’ll wish your were right there with the boyos, eating a treacle scone, joining in the craic, as you read Alan McConnell’s tale.

To read more of Alan’s amiable words from rural Ireland please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Alan+McConnell

Continue reading "The Card School" »

Jean De Reske

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Jean De Reske, one of the greatest operatic tenors.

Continue reading "Jean De Reske" »

September 07, 2008

Second Chance

“When my son moved into his own cottage 24 years ago, he told me it was supposed to be haunted,’’ says Marjorie Upson, “I was attending a U3A writing class at the time and thought I would write a story about the supposed haunting. Using some tenuous links to my own family here it is.’’

To read more articles by Marjorie please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=marjorie+upson

And do take a look at her excellent pictures in our Open Writing Gallery.

Continue reading "Second Chance" »

I Saved A Life Last Night

Sonia Noble tells of a monumental effort to save one small feathered life.

Continue reading "I Saved A Life Last Night" »

September 06, 2008

My War - Part II

…We lived about eight miles from the center, but the blaze created by incendiary bombs was clearly visible from our bedroom windows. My grandfather looked out over the burning city and immediately collapsed with a heart attack. All public transportation was destroyed or disrupted, so the following day my father attempted to walk to his office at the gas company. When he returned that night he collapsed, his hunched body wracked by sobs. The sights he had seen that day led to him having a nervous breakdown…

In the second of his five-part series recounting his wartime experiences John Merchant tells how German bombing raids devastated the city of Sheffield.

Continue reading "My War - Part II" »

What To Do When You Are Bored – Part 1

Linda McLean begins an account of a holiday in the Dordogne with two companions in wheelchairs.

Continue reading "What To Do When You Are Bored – Part 1" »

September 04, 2008

Alfred Deller

Peter Wintersgill introduces counter tenor Alfred Deller, founder of the Stour Music Festival.

Continue reading "Alfred Deller" »

September 03, 2008

Calling Cousins

Brian Lockett's delicious tale proves that being alone can be fun - if you have a telephone.

To read more of Brian's words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Brian+Lockett

Continue reading "Calling Cousins" »

August 31, 2008

Smith And Mugabe – Two Of A Kind

While abhorring the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe, Stan Solomons points out that Zimbabwe was run as a virtual dictatorship when whites were in charge.

Continue reading "Smith And Mugabe – Two Of A Kind" »

August 30, 2008

My War - Part One

…Early in the war, the air raid sirens that warned of approaching enemy aircraft seemed to wail almost every night, but more often than not they were false alarms. Either the raiders were heading for some other target, or the alert was simply a mistake. Real or not, we still had to get out of bed and wait under the table until the “All Clear” siren had sounded. But on nights when Sheffield was the target, the experience turned into a scary adventure for us kids, but a terrifying experience for the adults…

John Merchant was six years old when World War II began. Those years of austerity, excitement and terror were to have a major influence on the rest of his life.

This is the first of a five-part series presenting John’s vivid memories of that time. Watch out for his second article next Saturday.

Continue reading "My War - Part One" »

August 28, 2008

Joan Cross

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Joan Cross, principal soprano at Sadlers Wells for 15 years.

Continue reading "Joan Cross" »

August 27, 2008

Flowers For Dad

An elderly man's musings on life and death are dramatically interrupted in Brian Lockett's short story.

To read more of Brian's stories and articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=Brian+Lockett

Continue reading "Flowers For Dad" »

August 25, 2008

Nancy, France - Part 4

Despite trials and tribulations in Paris, Linda McLean and Shand return to their home in Scotland with a real sense of having achieved something special.

Continue reading "Nancy, France - Part 4" »

August 23, 2008

Noises Off

The unwrapping of sweets, whispered conversations, the slurping of drinks, the checking of text messages and the occasional ring of a mobile phone...

Mary Pilfold-Allan is disturbed by the noises off that have become part of theatre- and opera-going.

To read more of Mary's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=mary+pilfold-allan

Continue reading "Noises Off" »

August 21, 2008

The Audacity To Learn

...I was the one feeling a bit handicapped. I approached a colleague at the college where I was teaching and suggested I sign up for classes to learn more about disabilities.

His response was both revealing and surprising "No, I wouldn't do that if I were you!” He said, "If you come to my classes I am going to tell you all the things these individuals can not do. But if you go forward and attempt to teach them what you know, in your own area of expertise, with an expectation for them to do it, many of them will succeed. "...

The inspirational Ellie Braun-Haley tells of teaching dance to people with developmental disabilities.

Continue reading "The Audacity To Learn" »

Susannah Cibber

Peter Wintersgill summarises the life of Susannah Cibber who sang in the first performance of Handel's Messiah.

Continue reading "Susannah Cibber" »

August 18, 2008

Nancy, France - Part Three

Linda McLean and Shand enjoy a holiday in France, but all too soon it’s time for the journey home...

This story will be concluded next Monday.

Continue reading "Nancy, France - Part Three" »

August 16, 2008

The Dog Days Of August

...Labradors can be such blatant hussies when it comes to the mating game....

In this gloriously funny column Mary Pilfold-Allan tells of the frustrated desires of certain four-legged females.

Continue reading "The Dog Days Of August" »

August 14, 2008

Braving The Fall

Ellie Braun-Haley tells of a Niagra Falls sing-song.

Continue reading "Braving The Fall" »

Fyodor Chaliapin

Peter Wintersgill presents a biographical sketch of Fyodor Chaliapin, regarded as the greatest singing actor of his day.

Continue reading "Fyodor Chaliapin" »

August 11, 2008

Great'ma - Part 11

...Great'ma just laughed... “Are you ready for some rather difficult news? Well difficult for me to tell you."...

Jackie Wearing continues her intriguing tale concerning a family with secrets. At the centre of the story is an old, frail lady in a wheelchair - Great'ma.

To read earlier chapters of this intriguing novel please type the author’s name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Great'ma - Part 11" »

Nancy, France - Part 2

Linda McLean and Shand find their holiday journey to France is not easy.

Look out for the continuation of this story in next Monday’s Open Writing.

Continue reading "Nancy, France - Part 2" »

August 09, 2008

Sherillanne - The Conclusion

Sherillanne, though believed by her friend to be dead,emerged from her hiding place to tell how she had been systematically stealing from her partner Skip’s drug trafficking proceeds. Skip has been sent to jail for drug offences.

Sherillanne seeks refuge in Mexico, there to open and run a successful bar.

Eight years pass by. Then she hears that Skip is free, and looking for her…

John Merchant brings his three-part tale to an unexpected conclusion.

(If you are coming to this story for the first time, you should first read the earlier episodes.
Part One
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2008/07/sherillanne_1.php
Part Two
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2008/08/sherillanne_the_1.php)

Continue reading "Sherillanne - The Conclusion" »

Golf Course Invaders

Ellie Braun-Haley tells of being forced to start stripping off by surprise attackers.

Continue reading "Golf Course Invaders" »

August 08, 2008

The Olympics - A Report From Our Man At The Games

Open Writing will bring you reports from the Beijing Olympics, which get under way within the hour.

Journalist Tony Bugby is in the Chinese capital, there to report on the world's greatest sporting feast.

Tony is covering his fifth Olympics. "I still find the Olympics as spell-binding as I did in 1992 when making my debut in Barcelona.''

Here is his first report from Beijing.

Continue reading "The Olympics - A Report From Our Man At The Games" »

August 07, 2008

Enrico Caruso

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of one of the greatest singers of all time, Enrico Caruso.

Continue reading "Enrico Caruso" »

August 04, 2008

Nancy, France - Part One

Linda McLean and Shand set off for a holiday in France - electric wheelchair, battery charger and all.

Linda begins a a three-part account of a very special holiday.

Continue reading "Nancy, France - Part One" »

August 02, 2008

Rowan's Story - Erb's Palsy

...If you are a mother dealing with BPI, take heart. As Rowan has become more independent, my worries and false guilt have lessened to some degree. I must accept that I cannot be in control of every movement she makes, and I cannot use every playtime as a way to sneak in therapy exercises. I have to let her be a normal kid in spite of her injury and hope that other children will accept her as she is....

In this deeply moving and hugely encouraging article Julie Blaine Morris tells of the progress of her daughter Rowan, born with nerve damage - Erb's palsy.

Continue reading "Rowan's Story - Erb's Palsy" »

Sherillanne - The Sequel

In the previous episode of John Merchant’s story http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2008/07/sherillanne_1.php Sherillanne had disappeared under sinister circumstances after giving her friend Trisha a sealed letter to be handed to the police in the event of her death. Skip Bowman, the man Sherillanne had been living with was seen driving away from his empty apartment, alone.

Continue reading "Sherillanne - The Sequel" »

July 31, 2008

Georgina’s Journey

Jean Cowgill’s story tells of an unwelcomed journey.

For more of Jean's stories please click on:

http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2008/02/ats_and_a_sinki_1.php
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2007/08/the_watford_gap_1.php

JJJJean’s tales please click on

Continue reading "Georgina’s Journey" »

July 27, 2008

Handel's Water Music

Marjorie Upson recalls the day the drummer came to stay.

Continue reading "Handel's Water Music" »

July 24, 2008

Maria Callas

Peter Wintersgill summarises the life of Maria Callas, La Divina, the singer who changed the face of post-war opera

Continue reading "Maria Callas" »

July 17, 2008

Clara Butt

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to the singer Clara Butt who spent most of her career on the concert platform.

Continue reading "Clara Butt" »

July 14, 2008

The Cost of Dying

Linda McLean tells of a man in dire circumstances who still had many a laugh in him.

Continue reading "The Cost of Dying" »

July 12, 2008

Sherillanne

…The bar where she worked was mainly patronized by crews from the lobster and clam boats, and sport fishermen who were well practiced in the art of luring their prey. Sooner or later one of them would wear her down like they played the fish; giving her scope then reeling her in, until she succumbed, ready to believe that this time it was “true love.”…

Will Sherillanne ever find the right guy?

John Merchant tells a real-life tale.

Continue reading "Sherillanne" »

The Firebrand

Linda McLean tells of a remarkable and unforgettable woman minister whose faith inspired a congregation and helped the needy.

Continue reading "The Firebrand" »

A Dog With A Problem

You don't need lots of words to tell a good tale, as Melissik proves admirably with this story from South Africa.

Continue reading "A Dog With A Problem" »

July 11, 2008

Second Helping Of Lord Wooton's Pie Anyone?

...The Spanish still do what we once did so well in this country, cook from the heart and soul. They use what comes from around them, wasting nothing; everything has a value, if only to make stock...

Following the news that the average British household throws out £420 worth of perfectly good food every year, Mary Pilfold-Allan recommends that we should make the most of home-grown food.

Continue reading "Second Helping Of Lord Wooton's Pie Anyone?" »

July 10, 2008

Marie Brema

Peter Wintersgill brings details of Marie Brema, an opera star who mainly sang Wagner roles.

Continue reading "Marie Brema" »

July 03, 2008

The Proposition - 7

Linda McLean concludes her account of a trip made by a group of Scottish people to Assisi in Italy, there to perform a canticle written by their parish priest.

To read earlier episodes of Linda’s excellent account of the journey please type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "The Proposition - 7" »

Inge Borkh

Peter Wintersgill introduces the singer Inge Borkh, renowned for her dramatic Strauss roles.

Continue reading "Inge Borkh" »

June 28, 2008

The Proposition - 6

Ninety Scottish folk are in Assisi there to perform a canticle written by their parish priest.

And Linda McLean, who made the arrangements for their journey to Italy, finds herself worried to distraction.

To read earlier episodes of Linda’s account of the musical adventure please type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "The Proposition - 6" »

June 26, 2008

An Outing with Great Aunt Mary - 6 – Teatime Conversation

...Shortly after this we drew back from the table and the women folk fell to clearing up. While they were engaged in this worthy task, my grandfather addressed me, “Well, caddie, it’s milking time. We’ll have a wee dander as far as the back meadow and bring Daisy in. The exercise will help to sack down some of that grub you’ve been putting away.” So saying, he lifted the scoured milking pail from its resting place beneath the little back table and we set forth...

Alan McConnell continues his engaging account of what life was like in rural Ireland decades ago.

Continue reading "An Outing with Great Aunt Mary - 6 – Teatime Conversation" »

Hildegard Behrens

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Hildegard Behrens, who studied law before becoming a professional singer.

Continue reading "Hildegard Behrens" »

June 23, 2008

Can’t Get No Satisfaction!

...With optimism running high in my blood I made a momentous decision a few months back and took the matrimonial plunge again on 11 June. With six grown-up children and more than a dozen grandchildren between us, my future husband and I wondered what the reaction would be when we announced our intentions. On a scale of one to ten I would say about seven and a half for enthusiasm. Shock factor among the offspring, much higher. I suspect one or two would have liked to have uttered the words ‘aren’t you getting on a bit for that?”...

But Mary Pilfold-Allan (formerly Basham) had difficulty in finding a suitable outfit for the big day.

She invites Open Writing readers who may have experienced similar problems to share their experiences.

Continue reading "Can’t Get No Satisfaction!" »

The Key

Linda McLean tells of the fraught day when a teenager lost his way after being given the key to “freedom’’.

Continue reading "The Key" »

June 19, 2008

An Outing with Great Aunt Mary - 5 – The Two-eyed Steak

....Of more interest to me was the plump apple pie sitting in the middle of the table, flanked by two bread plates, one holding my grandmother’s home baked plain soda and the other current soda, my favourite.
Those bread plates still live in my memory today. They had a fretwork pattern around the edges and seem to have gone quite out of fashion nowadays....

Alan McConnell continues his delightful account of life in rural Ireland in bygone days, introducing us to a taste sensation – the two-eyed steak.

Continue reading "An Outing with Great Aunt Mary - 5 – The Two-eyed Steak" »

Josephine Barstow

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Josephine Barstow, whose operatic appearances ranged from Mozart to works by Tippett.

Continue reading "Josephine Barstow" »

June 16, 2008

Thank Heaven For Press Officers

Critics of British newspapers say that journalists are now merely churnalists - processors of "news" delivered to them by press officers. But Claire emphasises that press officers can supply information which is for the greater good.

Continue reading "Thank Heaven For Press Officers" »

June 14, 2008

The Proposition - 5

Linda McLean continues her story of the trials and tribulations she faced when organising the visit of a Scottish choir of adults and children to Italy to perform a canticle written by their parish priest.

To read earlier episodes of Linda's account please type her name in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "The Proposition - 5" »

June 12, 2008

An Outing With Great Aunt Mary - 4. Time In Our Grandparents’ House

…It was in this barn that I found a small brass telescope, the origins of which I never discovered. In my youthful day I derived much pleasure from its use and I must have been the only boy in the area with such an instrument. I still have it in my possession. It was my delight to stand at my grandparents’ door and focus on the clock in the church tower situated on a hill about three quarters of a mile away…

Alan McConnell recalls with delight visits to the home of his grandparents.

Continue reading "An Outing With Great Aunt Mary - 4. Time In Our Grandparents’ House" »

John Braham

Peter Wintersgill tells of John Braham, a singer admired by George IV.

Continue reading "John Braham" »

June 11, 2008

Where Eagles Fly

...Three eagles glide overhead daily and we observe one another with fascination...

Ellie Braun-Haley relishes life in a quiet valley in southern Mexico.

Continue reading "Where Eagles Fly" »

June 09, 2008

Who's On First

Julie Drew, on her first day as a visiting professor in the English Department at a Beijing University, anticipates and relishes the comedy of conversation.

Continue reading "Who's On First" »

Bullying - From Small Acorns Large Oak Trees Grow

...Picking up a newspaper or listening to the local news these days seems to consist of a catalogue of crime: murder, rape, knifings, beatings, muggings and sheer antisocial behaviour. The ages of those carrying out the crimes gets lower by the day. Successive governments have attempted to curb the rising number of incidents involving young people, to find a solution to juvenile crime and to force parents to control their children. So far a lot of money has been thrown at the problem with little or no effect....

Mary Basham suggests that good behaviour begins in the home.

To read more of Mary's columns please type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Bullying - From Small Acorns Large Oak Trees Grow" »

The Proposition – 4

At last the Scottish party who are to perform a canticle written by their local priest reach their destination – Assisi, Italy.

But organiser Linda McLean’s problems are far from over.

Continue reading "The Proposition – 4" »

Going Home – Part 2

...Kit stood up, walked over and gently held her hands. "Janey Grant, you're not going anywhere just yet. I feel as if I've known you all my life. We grew up together. It isn't only the house that brought me back; you were part of my dream too. You can't walk out of my life again, I won't let you."...

Betty McKay brings the story which she began last week to a most satisfying conclusion.

Continue reading "Going Home – Part 2" »

June 05, 2008

An Outing with Great Aunt Mary Part 3 - Something Never Seen Before

…We found the café deserted, and Aunt Mary ushered us to a table and left us there in suspense while she approached Miss Warke who had emerged from an inner room upon our entry.

Having given her order Mary returned to the table and said, “There’ll be some ice cream and something else you’ve never seen before.”…

What was the great surprise? All is revealed in the third episode of Alan McConnell’s account of life in rural Ireland in bygone days.

Continue reading "An Outing with Great Aunt Mary Part 3 - Something Never Seen Before" »

Lucrezia Bori

Peter Wintersgill tells of the Valencia-born singer Lucrezia Bori.

Continue reading "Lucrezia Bori" »

June 04, 2008

A Tribute To Our Parents

The maiden name of Mollie Mercer's mother was Browning.

Every year the Browning family held a reunion in Twin Lakes, Georgia. Mollie wrote this moving tribute to the "early'' Browning for the 40th of these re-unions.

To read more of Mollie's words please type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "A Tribute To Our Parents" »

June 02, 2008

Moves

...There is no room in his universe to doubt that he will, indeed, triumph. He is a roaring siren, a marching band, a banquet of obscene indulgence, a bloody boxer with gloved hands raised...

In this marvelous piece of writing Julie Drew gets inside the head of a 13-year-old boy - and of the mother who walks the fine line between being protective and allowing freedom.

Watch out next Monday for another fine article by Julie.

Continue reading "Moves" »

Going Home - Part 1

Jane Cranham returns to Little Blessant where her father was once vicar, the village where she grew up. And there she meets...

To find out who you will have to wait until next Monday to read the second part of Betty McKay's engaging story.

Continue reading "Going Home - Part 1" »

The Proposition – 3

A party of musicians, singers and dancers set out from Scotland, bound for Assisi in Italy, there to perform a canticle written by Father Francis. But frustrations galore lie in wait.

Linda McLean’s patience, language skills and organising ability are tested to the limit.

The fourth part of this story will appear in next Monday’s Open Writing.

Continue reading "The Proposition – 3" »

Failed Dreams Are A Positive Thing

Failure can be good, says Claire. Embrace it.

Continue reading "Failed Dreams Are A Positive Thing" »

May 31, 2008

Great'ma - Part 10

..."Everything that happens is a reminder of some past experience," she thought. "Now where is everyone?"...

Great'ma sits in the garden, unaware of passing time, lost in musings upon past times and her family.

To read earlier chapters of Jackie Wearing's novel please type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Great'ma - Part 10" »

May 29, 2008

An Outing With Great Aunt Mary - 2 – What Surprise?

…Upon her arrival Aunt Mary fell to and helped with the egg cleaning. As each egg was cleaned it was placed in a wooden egg crate. This crate was collected by Jimmy who left another in its place to be collected the following Saturday. In those days the eggs formed a significant addition to the farm income. The humble hen more than paid for her keep in those days.

In our house, and I presume in many others, the egg money was my mother’s and was used to help meet our weekly grocery bill. My mother had a well-deserved reputation for thrift and in some weeks managed to squirrel away a few shillings from this money, and thus she was able to delve into the accumulated sum to procure little presents for us children and our father at birthdays or other special occasions…

In telling of the visit of a great aunt who lived in the United States Alan McConnell paints a wonderful picture of a "lost’’ time in rural Ireland.

Watch out for further episodes in this vivid sequence.

Continue reading "An Outing With Great Aunt Mary - 2 – What Surprise?" »

Elizabeth Billington

Peter Wintersgill gives details of the life of Elizabeth Billington who made her opera debut as Polly in the Beggar's Opera in Dublin in 1783

Continue reading "Elizabeth Billington" »

May 28, 2008

Gathering Up

...Visitors were always a special treat to us. When we saw somebody headed up that old dusty dirt road, toward our house, we knew they had to be coming to see us. No one else lived for more than a mile or more in either direction...

In this wonderfully evocative article Mollie Mercer tells of friendlier times.

Continue reading "Gathering Up" »

May 26, 2008

The Saddest Looking Church

...I often visit churches because they are such an important part of Britain's architectural heritage but I rarely donate money to renovation funds. This is despite the fact that I'm well aware that such old buildings cost thousands of dollars to run.

Seeing poor little St. Clement's gave me a bit of a shock, so I will be putting my hand in my pocket more often in future...

Claire is moved to thoughts of charity by a run-down church in the university city of Cambridge.

Continue reading "The Saddest Looking Church" »

Reading Turgenev

Betty McKay tells a tale based on a novella by William Trevor.

Continue reading "Reading Turgenev" »

May 24, 2008

Trajectory

...The girls hunt in the yard, where Kate and Lindsey know every bush, every blade of grass, every kind of skink and chameleon, and it is here, under a flowering yellow hibiscus, that they find the tiny eggs. And suddenly lizards are both more and less than they were: babies. Kate scoops up the eggs in their dirt with a spoon and lays them down with care in a potted fern on the front porch...

But lizards can have a deeper, lurking significance, as Julie Drew suggests in this wonderful multi-layered story.

Continue reading "Trajectory" »

May 22, 2008

An Outing With Great Aunt Mary - 1 – A Strange Expression

…Mary had arrived the previous week. For the first time she had crossed the Atlantic by air flying into Shannon, which was then in those early post war years commencing its role as a major transatlantic destination. She justified the additional expense of the flight when compared with sea travel by the fact that she would have ten additional days in Ireland.

Her journey from Shannon had been by way of Francie Meehan’s ramshackle taxi. Now when I think back to those days, I consider that what with the state of both the roads and Francie’s vehicle the journey must have seemed quite as long as that over the Atlantic and considerably less comfortable…

In telling of the visit of Great Aunt Mary Alan McConnell vividly evokes the rural Ireland of his boyhood.

Further episodes of this story will appear over the next six weeks.

Continue reading "An Outing With Great Aunt Mary - 1 – A Strange Expression" »

John Beard

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to John Beard, a singer who helped to establish the importance of the tenor voice.

Continue reading "John Beard" »

May 21, 2008

Aroma Therapy

Mollie Mercer tells of old-time natural aroma therapy and a way of life that could cure todays's modern ills.

Continue reading "Aroma Therapy" »

May 19, 2008

James McNeil - His Story - part 2

...So I emptied out my pocket onto the table. Contents of said pocket were:

1 tennis ball
12 pieces of string
7 elastic bands
2 pieces of shrapnel (given me by a solder from Dunkirk)
4 small keys (that I found and don’t know what they’ll open)
Half a stick of Edinburgh Rock (raspberry flavour, which I gave to Helen and she threw on the fire)
1 threepenny bit (the remains of my pocket money)...

Betty McKay concludes her story in diary form concerning a 12-year-old boy.

Continue reading "James McNeil - His Story - part 2" »

May 15, 2008

Driven To Drink

...You'd think in this age of electronic wizardry that renewing a driving license wouldn't be a headache. Alas, migraine has struck with a vengeance. For I'm the holder of a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) license with the word "Malawi" prominently displayed...

Mike Wood enters a bureaucratic nightmare.

Mike is the author of 'Warm Heart' - a novel about corruption, aid and treachery in a Southern African country. Copies can be ordered from the publisher at http://www.justdone.co.za/index.php

Continue reading "Driven To Drink" »

Janet Baker

Peter Wintersgill tells of Britain#s beloved opera star, Yorkshire-born Dame Janet Baker.

Continue reading "Janet Baker" »

May 14, 2008

Who Is That Old Lady?

...A very weird thing has happened and I feel compelled to tell you about it. A strange old lady has moved into my house...

Mollie Mercer is puzzled and tormented by the actions of an "intruder''.

Continue reading "Who Is That Old Lady?" »

May 12, 2008

James McNeil, aged 12 – His Story - Part 1

In this story Betty McKay gets inside the head of a 12-year-old diarist.

Continue reading "James McNeil, aged 12 – His Story - Part 1" »

The Girl Who Hissed Like A Cat

...I thought the worshippers would be like the enthusiastic Christian teenagers I met at university. They were nice enough but I didn’t appreciate their insensitivity towards non-believers. There was one girl who hissed like a cat whenever anyone said a rude word. It was great fun winding her up...

Lucy Nom de Plume tells of attending an Ascension Day service.

Continue reading "The Girl Who Hissed Like A Cat" »

May 08, 2008

Isobel Bailie

Peter Wintersgill presents a brief portrait of the noted oratorio and lieder singer Isobel Baillie.

Continue reading "Isobel Bailie" »

May 06, 2008

The Baker's Dozen

Ken Patterson tells a tale of a chance meeting in the Olde Worlde cafe, which is followed by a great surprise.

Continue reading "The Baker's Dozen" »

May 05, 2008

The Proposition - Part 2

Father Francis has written a Canticle which he wishes to have performed at the Edinburgh Festival.

With some reluctance Linda McLean agrees to raise funds to help him achieve his goal.

But now Father Francis comes knocking on the door with a further request for help. The organisers of a World Wildlife Fund want the Canticle to be performed at a festival they are organising in the Italian town of Assisi...

For the first part of this narrative please type Linda's name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "The Proposition - Part 2" »

The Square

Betty McKay tells of the village atmosphere in the Square - and of a very important midnight announcement.

Continue reading "The Square" »

May 01, 2008

Desiree Artot

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Desiree Artot who made her Paris debut in Meyerbeer's Le Prophete.

Continue reading "Desiree Artot" »

April 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

...I can be drenched in warm sunshine and surrounded by sub-tropical flora and fauna, enjoying the best that luxury holidays have to offer, when, hey presto, into my head will pop the vision of rolling green fields under a vast East Anglian sky....

Readers will identify with Mary Basham's conclusion that the sense of belonging is as much a part of us as our own genes.

To read more of Mary's engaging columns please type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Home Sweet Home" »

How To Be Happy Though Wrinkly

Margaret Clough offers the very best advice on how to be happy in old age.

Continue reading "How To Be Happy Though Wrinkly" »

April 29, 2008

Growing Old

Ken Patterson's tale offers the soundest of sound advice of a happy and fear-free life.

Continue reading "Growing Old" »

April 28, 2008

Two For The Road - Part 2

Betty McKay concludes the theatrical tale which she began last week.

Continue reading "Two For The Road - Part 2" »

April 27, 2008

Ms. Hattie

Mollie Mercer tells of the day of Ms. Hattie's funeral - a day when she felt shame and hate, and understood the meaning of real love.

Continue reading "Ms. Hattie" »

April 24, 2008

Marian Anderson

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Marian Anderson, who sang at the inauguration of President Kennedy.

Continue reading "Marian Anderson" »

April 22, 2008

The Old Place

The writing group got much more than they bargained for when they visited the old house in search of inspiration, as Ken Patterson's tale reveals.

Continue reading "The Old Place" »

April 21, 2008

Two For The Road - Part 1

...Unpacking, Fran said, "You know, I feel I've seen him somewhere before."

"Yes, I thought so too. I've a feeling that his double had a stateside accent, not an English one." She yawned, "I'll take a shower; it will make me sleep better."

Five minutes later, Fran popped her head round the shower curtain, saying, "Bates Motel! That young man's a dead ringer for the guy that played Norman Bates in 'Psycho.' Same lean and hungry look."

Alice laughed and switched the shower off. "Yes. A much younger Anthony Perkins, but he's got the same reticent look. What a laugh. Wait until we tell Bob."...

And if that doesn't persuade you to read Betty McKay's tale, nothing will.

The second and final part of this story will appear in Open Writing next Monday. Can you manage to wait until then to find out what happens?

Continue reading "Two For The Road - Part 1" »

April 20, 2008

Cyberspace Dating Could Kill You

Mollie Mercer's story brings the warning that searching for true love on the net could put your life in danger.

Continue reading "Cyberspace Dating Could Kill You" »

April 19, 2008

Chewing The Carpet

It pays to have a sense of humour when fits occur, as Linda McLean reveals.

Continue reading "Chewing The Carpet" »

April 17, 2008

Sir Thomas Allen

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of the famous opera singer Sir Thomas Allen.

Continue reading "Sir Thomas Allen" »

April 15, 2008

My Finest Hour

In Ken Patterson's musical tale a formidable teacher is backed up by a feathered adjudicator.

Continue reading "My Finest Hour" »

April 12, 2008

The Hired Man

Can you tell a good honest man just by looking at him?

Mollie Mercer Hewett tells a fine South Georgia tale.

This is Mollie's first contribution to Open Writing. We hope to bring you more of her well-crafted stories.

Continue reading "The Hired Man" »

The Proposition

Absent-minded Father Francis comes knocking on the door with a canticle and a request.

Linda McLean tells of a fascinating Edinburgh Festival challenge.

Continue reading "The Proposition" »

April 10, 2008

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