Home | U3A Writing

September 20, 2013

TV Reflections

Ralph Thomas reflects on the great strides taken by the communications-entertainment industry.

Continue reading "TV Reflections" »

September 13, 2013

The New Carpet

Monica Duckering's story features an exchange of words that has happened in many a household.

Continue reading "The New Carpet" »

September 06, 2013

View Romance

Merle Parkin tells a choice tale about a fellow with an eye for blonde young ladies.

Continue reading "View Romance" »

August 02, 2013

The New Carpet

Monica Duckering's story will ring a bell with many a married couple.

Continue reading "The New Carpet" »

July 26, 2013

U3A Delight

Monica Duckering delights in U3A activities.

Continue reading "U3A Delight" »

July 19, 2013

The Swaggie

Mick Harkin writes about a gentleman of the road.

Continue reading "The Swaggie" »

July 12, 2013

Hip Hip Hooray For U3A

Ralph Thomas celebrates the U3A.

Continue reading "Hip Hip Hooray For U3A" »

June 28, 2013

A Meaty Problem

Meryl Nickels tells a tasty tale.

Continue reading "A Meaty Problem " »

June 21, 2013

Genie of the Lamp

"Our life’s a continuing story that we take for granted,'' writes Meryl Nickels.

Continue reading "Genie of the Lamp" »

June 14, 2013

A Journey Through Hell

John Leary tells of a nightmare journey.

Continue reading "A Journey Through Hell" »

May 31, 2013

The Arrival

"From my boat on the river I observe their arrival:
two tiny bee-eaters from Kakadu...'' writes John Leary.

Continue reading "The Arrival" »

The Arrival

"From my boat on the river I observe their arrival:
two tiny bee-eaters from Kakadu...'' writes John Leary.

Continue reading "The Arrival" »

May 24, 2013

Winning Isn't Everything - But It Sure Beats The Alternative

...The Major asked Horrie if he would like to bowl, and Horrie (who, you will recall had played a bit at school), agreed. He went back about thirty yards and charged in. The first ball removed a piece of skin about the size of a sixpence from the lobe of Frank’s left ear...

Jim Graham tells of a grudge cricket match.

Continue reading "Winning Isn't Everything - But It Sure Beats The Alternative" »

May 21, 2013

Targeting Tessa

...‘There’s a lady on that table by the door, Reggie, who is completely unaware she is about to become one of the wealthiest women in the country.’...

Patrick Hopton tells a delicious tale of a conniving chap who went searching for money rather than love.

Continue reading "Targeting Tessa" »

Targeting Tessa

...‘There’s a lady on that table by the door, Reggie, who is completely unaware she is about to become one of the wealthiest women in the country.’...

Patrick Hopton tells a delicious tale of a conniving chap who went searching for money rather than love.

Continue reading "Targeting Tessa" »

May 17, 2013

Send Round The Hat

"My life has been enriched by the custom of sending the hat around,'' writes Jim Graham.

Continue reading "Send Round The Hat" »

May 16, 2013

Rain Stopped Play

Patrick Hopton tells a choice tale of love and loss at a cricket match.

Continue reading "Rain Stopped Play" »

April 26, 2013

The Duke Of Essex

...Ma was famous for her rolls and indeed the sign on the verandah roof read “World Famous Bakery; get your hands on Mrs O’Grady’s buns”...

Jim Graham tells an entertainingly unlikely tale.

Continue reading "The Duke Of Essex" »

April 12, 2013

Thoughts About U3A

Monica Duckering tells of her delight at being a member of an Australian branch of the University of the Third Age.

Continue reading "Thoughts About U3A" »

April 05, 2013

Sailing At Cullulluraine

It was not all plain sailing when Monica Duckering took to the water.

Continue reading "Sailing At Cullulluraine" »

March 29, 2013


Elwyn Frankel's haiku says much about our modern age.

Continue reading "Robot" »

March 22, 2013

Pain And Misery

Elwyn Frankel's haiku sums up pain and misery.

Continue reading "Pain And Misery" »

March 15, 2013

The Arrival

From my boat on the river I observe their arrival:
two tiny bee-eaters from Kakadu,
winners of the spring marathon.

John Leary's poem expresses the joy of observing the natural world.

Continue reading "The Arrival" »

March 08, 2013

The Hippo Dancing Inside Me

Elwyn Frankel's nervous anticipation is leading to a merry old dance.

Continue reading "The Hippo Dancing Inside Me" »

March 01, 2013

Australian Haiku

Elwyn Frankel feels the years.

Continue reading "Australian Haiku " »

February 23, 2013

The Hippo Dancing Inside Me

Elwyn Frankel's "hippo'' is all because of nerves.

Continue reading "The Hippo Dancing Inside Me" »

February 15, 2013

Morning Fun

Elwyn Frankel's haiku tells of simple fun.

Continue reading "Morning Fun" »

February 08, 2013


With just twelve words Elwyn Frankel conjures up warmth and brightnerss.

Continue reading "Ablaze" »

February 01, 2013

Glorious Flowers

Elwyn Frankel tells of glorious flowers.

Continue reading "Glorious Flowers" »

January 29, 2013

Doomed Flight

...The terrible crash of flight CZ4812 is the subject of endless conspiracy theories....

Derek McQueen's story tells of the mysterious crash of a new airliner which had been in service for just two months.

Continue reading "Doomed Flight" »

January 27, 2013

Fascinating Facts

David Craven passes on to our readers these fascinating facts.

Continue reading "Fascinating Facts" »

January 12, 2013

New Year's Choice

Ray Harman surveys the classes offered by his local University of the Third Age branch.

Continue reading "New Year's Choice" »

January 06, 2013


Elwyn Frankel presents an Australian haiku.

Continue reading "Murray" »

December 16, 2012


"Dreams and their fulfilment are what make our great big world go around,'' writes Dick Nolan.

Continue reading "Dreams!" »

December 09, 2012

A Difficult Day

Dick Nolan's story concerns a lucky worrier.

Continue reading "A Difficult Day" »

December 02, 2012

Sailing At Cullulluraine

|Monica Duckering's poem recalls pleasure and fear while sailing on a sunny, windy day.

Continue reading "Sailing At Cullulluraine" »

November 25, 2012

Acrostic Writing

Dick Nolan alphabetizes a poem.

Continue reading "Acrostic Writing" »

November 18, 2012


Barrie Mansell writes about a great operatic temptress.

Continue reading "Carmen" »

November 17, 2012

The Devil's Triangle

...By 1800 Liverpool would send more slave ships to sea than any other port in the world carrying more than 300,000 Africans into slavery...

Derek McQueen writes about the vilest trade in human history.

Continue reading "The Devil's Triangle" »

November 11, 2012

A Writer

Dick Nolan writes a fanciful poem about a writer.

Continue reading "A Writer" »

November 04, 2012

My Grandmother’s House

...The tasselled lamp shade hung centrally from the high ceiling, heavy curtains hung at the sides of the front window with lace behind them shielding the room from the world outside...

Barrie Mansell recalls his grandmoher's house.

Continue reading "My Grandmother’s House" »

October 28, 2012

Coming Forth

Barrty Mansell tells a cautionary tale about a car salesman.

Continue reading "Coming Forth" »

October 21, 2012

The Sunflowers

John Leary tells a tale about sunflowers which never flowered.

Continue reading "The Sunflowers" »

October 07, 2012

A Meaty Problem

Suspicions arise when the butcher's wife disappears and meat with a curious texture arrives in the shop.

Meryl Nickels tells a choice tale.

Continue reading "A Meaty Problem" »

September 30, 2012

The Arrival

John Leary's poem hails two tiny migratory birds.

Continue reading "The Arrival" »

September 23, 2012

Bakes Beans On The Nullaboot

Baked beans aren't necessarily the quickest meal to warm up as Ralph Thomas's delicious poem reveals.

Continue reading "Bakes Beans On The Nullaboot" »

September 21, 2012

Rock Solid

Derek McQueen tells of his early days as a draughstman - and of a demonstration which failed to impress.

Continue reading "Rock Solid" »

September 16, 2012

The Swaggie

Mick Harkin's poem recalls life in the Australian bush in the old days.

Continue reading "The Swaggie" »

September 09, 2012

Life Is Full Of Surprises

...She had a monkey bar, a slide and a swing and we played happily until her mother came out to find us both hanging upside down on the bar. Aunt Jenny was certainly no prude but for some reason she said “Susan, you really shouldn’t do that in a skirt, your pants are uncovered”...

Jim Graham tells of the surprise of his life.

Continue reading "Life Is Full Of Surprises" »

September 02, 2012

My God, How Dangerous Is That?

Jim Graham brings golf into the Garden of Eden.

Continue reading "My God, How Dangerous Is That?" »

August 26, 2012

Jackie And Joey

Elwyn Frankel tells a tale for children.

Continue reading "Jackie And Joey" »

August 19, 2012

What The Butler Saw

...A butler’s life can be very demanding and there are some things he should be very careful in discussing, even with Sir and Madam...

Barrie Mansell tells an observant tale.

Continue reading "What The Butler Saw" »

August 18, 2012

The Old Apple Tree

Mike Eastwood tells a tale which begs to be read alound to a young audience.

Continue reading "The Old Apple Tree" »

August 12, 2012

Burnt Village

John Leary's poem tells of great loss, and brings hint of hope.

Continue reading "Burnt Village" »

August 05, 2012

My Bag Of Crackers

...The fire’s just getting going. I’m not too late. Look! There’s a sky rocket in a bottle. Oops! It’s fallen over! Whoosh! It’s off, straight at the crowd, but it didn’t get anybody, because they parted like a hairdo...

Brian Scammel tells a bonfire night tale.l

Continue reading "My Bag Of Crackers" »

August 04, 2012

Hazel's Story

Ken Silvestre tells a heart-warming true story.

Continue reading " Hazel's Story" »

July 29, 2012

Little Red Riding Hood

"This is nothing like the Brothers’ Grimm story of Little Red Riding Hood which I read as a child and later read in turn to my daughter and grand-daughter,'' writes Barry Mansell. . "What is the world coming to?''

Continue reading "Little Red Riding Hood" »

July 28, 2012

Destination Paris

Ray Harman takes us on the holiday bus to Paris.

Continue reading "Destination Paris" »

Toby And The Gnomes

Marie Armstrong tells as delightful children's tale. Here's a story to be read aloud to all receptive ears of the right age.

Continue reading "Toby And The Gnomes" »

July 22, 2012

Adolf Over-the-Road

"When I was nearly fifteen, my grandmother convinced me that the man who lived opposite her in Commercial St Merbein was Adolf Hitler...''

So begins John Leary's tale.

Continue reading "Adolf Over-the-Road" »

July 20, 2012


Gillian Laurence writes of an earlier Royal Jubilee.

Continue reading "Jubilee" »

July 16, 2012

The Old Apple Tree

Mike Eastwood tells a wizard story.

Continue reading "The Old Apple Tree" »

July 15, 2012

It's As Easy As Falling Off A Ladder

Barrie Mansell tells a cautionary true story.

Continue reading "It's As Easy As Falling Off A Ladder" »

July 08, 2012

A Political Fantasy

John Leary describes a scene we'd all like to see.

Continue reading "A Political Fantasy" »

July 01, 2012

My Bag Of Crackers - The Noise And The Dogs

Brian Scammell enters the mind of an 11-year-old boy to tell of an exciting day and a terrible event.

Continue reading "My Bag Of Crackers - The Noise And The Dogs" »

June 24, 2012

Clearing Sale

...Beneath a gnarled old apple tree lay goods that started tears in me...

Merle Parkin discovered a family's happy memories when she attended a clearing sale.

Continue reading "Clearing Sale" »

June 17, 2012

The Swaggie

Mick Harkin presents a memorable poem about a gentleman of the road.

Continue reading "The Swaggie" »

June 10, 2012

The Secret Of My Success

"Among my mates, I have a reputation as a successful angler. No matter where we fish, I usually catch the first fish, the most fish, the best fish. Often I’m the only one to catch my bag limit. In making these statements I am not boasting, I am simply stating facts. If you wish to know the secret, read on ...'' writes John Leary.

Continue reading "The Secret Of My Success" »

June 03, 2012

Pass Round The Hat

"Looking at some of the hats on the street today, I’m not sure if I would like them passed to me. One or two I’ve seen look like they may well be able to get up and walk away on their own without being passed,'' writes Elwyn Frankel.

Continue reading "Pass Round The Hat" »

May 28, 2012

Surfing The Net For A Chat

"Not everyone tells the truth on chat lines. Married men lie about being single and most men and women glamourize their appearance and occupation,'' warns Cynthia Kasmy.

Continue reading "Surfing The Net For A Chat" »

May 27, 2012

Clearing Sale

When Merle Parkin went to a clearance sale she was confronted by an array of a family's happy memories.

Continue reading "Clearing Sale" »

May 20, 2012

A Mantle Of Safety

Jim Graham outlines the foundation of Australia's famous Royal Flying Doctor Service ( RFDS) and his involvment with it which spans 50 years. He met the Very Reverend John Flynn, the founder of the Service.

"Without the RFDS the bush would be a far more dangerous place than it is,'' Jim adds.

Jim wrote this article while a member of a University of the Third Age writing group in Mildura. Further articles, stories and poems by Sunraysia U3A members will be appearing in Open Writing in forthcoming weeks.

Continue reading "A Mantle Of Safety" »

September 02, 2011

Wartime Nursing

...I remember very clearly my first morning on the ward because the night before, there had been a big fire-raid on London. As we entered the ward all the casualties were lying on the floor. One patient had an injury to his eyes...

Marjorie Shirley tells of being a nurse during the war years.

Continue reading "Wartime Nursing" »

March 11, 2011

Sylvie's Secret

...Sylvie tries to forget what she has seen but the shocking event has followed her into her secret place and is invading her peace...

Nancy Toohey tells a disturbing story.

Continue reading "Sylvie's Secret" »

March 04, 2011

Aunt Mae's Garden

Naomi Haddrick tells an intriguing tale of sibling jealousy.

Continue reading "Aunt Mae's Garden" »

February 25, 2011

Jed's Surprise

Josephine Mackecknie tells a tale of unexpected revenge.

Continue reading "Jed's Surprise" »

February 18, 2011

Archibald Ferguson - Deceased

Colleen McMillan tells of a ghostly bequest.

Continue reading "Archibald Ferguson - Deceased" »

February 11, 2011

Ordinary, Or Extraordinary?

...How wonderful life is, Jean thought, as she wrapped the baby in a soft white towel and laid her on the table. I have a good, reliable husband, a comfortable house, even though it isn't ours, and three healthy, adorable children...

Briar Stuart tells of a day which shook the foundations of domestic bliss.

Continue reading "Ordinary, Or Extraordinary?" »

February 04, 2011

'Number 22'

Laurel Davis tells a story which is sad, satisfying and completely believable.

Continue reading "'Number 22'" »

January 28, 2011


Shirley Buckley tells a story of flutes in harmony.

Continue reading "Interlude" »

January 21, 2011

Simple Simon

Jim Murphy tells an absorbing financial tale about a Simon who was nowhere near as simple as he first seemed.

Continue reading "Simple Simon" »

January 14, 2011

Brenda's Story

Robin Hillard tells a choice tale of friction within a family business.

Continue reading "Brenda's Story" »

January 07, 2011

Dreamtime Calling

...Jimmy danced the strut of the old emu and found he was the old emu. He was becoming part of the land and the animals it supported. Feelings and ideas flooded his brain. He hopped and squatted and rolled and jumped to the beat; his being was one with the creatures and people, unlike anything he had ever experienced in the rocking night clubs of the city. So much meaning. So much contact with the land. So much understanding. The white man in him stood back looking on in amazement...

John S. Heussler's story tells how a Deputy Shire Clerk discovered his roots.

Continue reading "Dreamtime Calling" »

December 31, 2010

The Pear Tree

...Startled, Nana stared at her fourteen year old granddaughter. "What did you say, dear?" she asked.

"I said Dad's got the axe in the car," Belinda answered. "He said when he comes back he's going to chop down your old tree today. Said it's an eyesore and needs to come down."...

Ah but there's many a tale can save a threatened tree as Annette de Jong's delicious tale reveals.

Continue reading "The Pear Tree" »

December 17, 2010

Butler's Swamp

...Then we were there! Over the road and running through thick bush sloping down to Butler's Swamp. For a nine year old, back in 1942, it was a glorious freedom which very few kids today can experience. We were free and wild, and with Dad away in the army, we had little discipline, and lots of time to explore, to wander, and to be just kids....

Fred Frank tells a profoundly shocking story.

Continue reading "Butler's Swamp" »

December 10, 2010

Intelligent Redesign

...How convenient it would be if a bloke could tuck his nose behind his ear like a pencil, until his missus had changed the baby's soiled nappy, or put his very ears in his pocket when his teenagers were into Rap, or the neighbours flinging crockery with wild abandon.

Merle Parkin has some suggestions for redesigning the human frame.

Continue reading "Intelligent Redesign" »

December 03, 2010

To A Worm

Monica Duckering’s poem considers the worm from every angle.

Continue reading "To A Worm" »

November 26, 2010

His Hat

D Nolan tells of the man in the hat.

Continue reading "His Hat" »

November 19, 2010


Elwyn Frankel presents four haiku.

Continue reading "Haiku" »

November 12, 2010

Time Was

Monica Duckering's poem reflects upon the span of a life.

Continue reading "Time Was" »

November 05, 2010

Trouble On The River Bank

Elwyn Frankel sees a site to prompt serious thought.

Continue reading "Trouble On The River Bank" »

October 29, 2010

The Missing Billy

Billy the goat is missing. What could possibly have drawn him away from his comfortable home field?

Elwyn Frankel tells a sprightly tale.

Continue reading "The Missing Billy" »

October 22, 2010


Although Jeremy the pageboy looked smart he still had to run hither and thither, as D Nolan's poem reveals.

Continue reading "Pageboy" »

October 15, 2010


Maureen Foreman conjures up the intensity of an Australian drought.

Continue reading "Drought" »

October 01, 2010

Blazing A Trail

Jim Moore tells of an enthusiastic group of bushwalkers.

Continue reading "Blazing A Trail" »

September 24, 2010

Two Medieval Knights

Jim Moore recalls visiting a house replete with family history.

Continue reading "Two Medieval Knights" »

September 17, 2010

The Written Word

Jim Moore says a great deal in few words.

Continue reading "The Written Word" »

September 10, 2010

Hawthorn v Collingwood

Paul Nicolias tells of football rivalry.

Continue reading "Hawthorn v Collingwood" »

September 03, 2010

Coming To Australia

Meryl Nickels reminds her fellow citizens who were born in Australia of the trauma involved in emigrating to another land.

Continue reading "Coming To Australia" »

August 27, 2010

Done To A Turn

Merle Parkin tells of a creaky old dog called Eustace.

Continue reading "Done To A Turn" »

August 20, 2010

The Captain's Son

Shirley Long’s story tells of a cricketing-mad lad.

Continue reading "The Captain's Son" »

August 06, 2010

Never Kick A Dog

Mick Harkin tells of a truckie who got what he deserved.

Continue reading "Never Kick A Dog" »

July 30, 2010


It's hard work being a grandmother, as Monica Duckering reveals.

Continue reading "Grandchildren" »

July 23, 2010

Flight Path

Meryl Nickels’ poem conjures up the magic of flight.

Continue reading "Flight Path" »

July 22, 2010

Charmed Lives

...Ben and Harry Buckley though, could fall head first out of a tree and land on their feet like a cat. They never seemed to sustain a mark on their scrawny carcasses - and even if they had, their mother wouldn't go crook like ours.,,

Merle Parkin tells a tale of childhood innocence and wasted lives.

Continue reading "Charmed Lives" »

July 09, 2010

My Favourite Patch Of Earth

Paul Nicolias tells of the delight of walking his own land at day’s end.

Continue reading "My Favourite Patch Of Earth" »

July 02, 2010


Mick Harkin remembers bygone years.

Continue reading "Remember?" »

June 25, 2010

Dad’s War

Meryl Nickel brings a moving reminder of wars which are won, yet lost.

Continue reading "Dad’s War" »

June 18, 2010

The New Carpet

Monica Duckering's story tells of a conflict over a carpet.

Continue reading "The New Carpet" »

June 11, 2010

Mr Brown's Bad Day

Shirley Long tells a tale which reveals that grumpiness sometimes reaps a deserved "reward''.

Continue reading "Mr Brown's Bad Day" »

June 07, 2010


Mick Harkin remembers bygone years.

Continue reading "Remember?" »

June 04, 2010

Rainbow At Morning

Merle Parkin sees a rainbow at “drizzly dawn’’.

Continue reading "Rainbow At Morning" »

May 28, 2010

Dave’s Ashes

The scattering of Dave's ashes was more eventful than planned,as J Leary records.

Continue reading "Dave’s Ashes" »

May 27, 2010

Wartime Memories

...Imagine our surprise when on the first morning Auntie and I were in the town when we saw loads of houses with sandbags piled high in front of their windows as if they were expecting a full-scale invasion any minute...

Philip Hayworth recalls Word War Two days in a quiet corner of England.

Continue reading "Wartime Memories" »

May 21, 2010


Elaine Lawton's evoctive poem recalls all those Saturday nights at the pictures.

Continue reading "Remember?" »

May 14, 2010

The Know-Ail

Paul Nicolias tells of his friend, Mrs Know-All.

Continue reading "The Know-Ail" »

May 07, 2010

Blue Petal

Merle Parkin conveys in words the bluest of blues.

Continue reading "Blue Petal" »

April 30, 2010

Voices In The Dark

Shirley Long tells a tale of two chaps stuck in the “Black Hole of Calcutta’’ in a storm.

Continue reading "Voices In The Dark" »

April 25, 2010

Oberamergau, May 1980

Continuing a centuries-old tradition, the villagers of Oberamergau in Bavaria willl be performing their one-every-decade re-enactment of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.

Jennie Boothroyd recalls her visit to the village thrity years ago.

Continue reading "Oberamergau, May 1980" »

April 23, 2010

Travellers At Terminal Five

Barry Mansell tells of problems at Terminal Five.

Continue reading "Travellers At Terminal Five" »

April 16, 2010


This poem by Meryl Nickels begs for words to rebuild a fractured relationship.

Continue reading "Words" »

April 09, 2010

A Schoolboy's Memoir

J Leary, remembering his school days, tells why he can no longer eat scones, jam and cream for tea.

Continue reading "A Schoolboy's Memoir" »

April 02, 2010

Spaced Out

Word processing provides Monica Duckering with many a puzzle.

Continue reading "Spaced Out" »

March 26, 2010

Silver Wings

Merle Parkin writes of life-saving silver wings.

Continue reading "Silver Wings" »

March 19, 2010

Life At Number Two

These two characters watch the new folk move into Number Two. But who are these observers? Barrie Mansell tells a surprising tale.

Continue reading "Life At Number Two" »

March 12, 2010


Meryl Nickels’ poem emphasises the power of water.

Continue reading "Glacier" »

March 08, 2010

Luncheon Left-overs

...Twitter peck - twitter peck. It got worse. As their appetites were appeased, twitter peck became twitter-twitter peck. Table after table around us had been cleared and tempting looking desserts were being carried past us. The serving staff were hovering, waiting to attend us, and the little birds chirruped on.

Finally a thunderous Heavy Jowls could contain himself no longer. ‘For God sake women will you shut up and eat.’ he exploded. Silently I blessed him for giving words to my own thoughts...

Patrick Hopton tells a lunch-time horror story.

Continue reading "Luncheon Left-overs" »

March 05, 2010


D Nolan tells of the tough life of Ester Preston who is now in her eighties.

Continue reading "Ester" »

February 22, 2010

Where To Now?

Mick Harkin’s poem reflects upon changing times and climes.

Continue reading "Where To Now?" »

February 21, 2010

The Well: 15 Father

“It’s a good feeling when a man takes his grandson in his hands...’’

So begins the poem which brings Paddy Webb’s verse biography of her great-grandfather John Ayling to a satisfying conclusion.

Continue reading "The Well: 15 Father" »

February 19, 2010

Sliced Bread

Merle Parkin tells the tasty tale of a notable vistory for sliced bread.

Continue reading "Sliced Bread" »

February 18, 2010

Joan Sutherland

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Australian opera star Joan Sutherland.

Continue reading "Joan Sutherland" »

February 15, 2010

The Life Of Ma Flanagan

...When we were growing up and would see her going to a house we would run home and tell our mother that there was going to be a new baby at the house where she had gone. We were young then and thought she used to bring a new baby in her black bag...

D Nolan recalls the local midwife, Ma Flanagan.

Continue reading "The Life Of Ma Flanagan" »

February 12, 2010

At Mungo

J Leary wrotes this poem for Jim Bowler, Australian author and geomorphologist

Continue reading "At Mungo" »

February 08, 2010

Dream Run

...Too late! Nothing for it but to continue on. Feeling very apprehensive about negotiating an eighteen foot caravan in such circumstances, I gripped the steering wheel and hoped for the best...

Maureen Freeman is no lover of driving on Freeways.

Continue reading "Dream Run" »

February 07, 2010

The Well – 14 Jack

Paddy Webb, continuing her verse biography of her great-grandfather, tells of the heart-breaking loss of a young daughter.

Continue reading "The Well – 14 Jack" »

February 05, 2010

Quirk Of Nature

Dharini Parameshwaran wonders if the tsunami which devastated her homeland was sent as a punishment

Continue reading "Quirk Of Nature" »

February 01, 2010

Off The Hook

"Grandpa, why do you always fish here? The fish could be biting over there or downstream a bit."

"This is where old Eustace hangs out, and I know I will catch him one day. You have to be patient, Billy if you want to hook the big ones."

And old Eustace is there to teach Billy an important lesson, as this story by Meryl Nickels reveals.

Continue reading "Off The Hook" »

January 31, 2010

The Well: 13 – Father

Even though John Ayling was not allowed in the house when he returned home after an absence of 12 years, his father was proud of him.

Paddy Webb continues the biography in verse of her great-grandfather.

Continue reading "The Well: 13 – Father" »

January 29, 2010

The Eisteddfod

...the biggest and most tiring hurdle was trying to form a classroom of giggling, talking, constantly moving mass of children into a quiet, controlled and co-operative effective choir...

Shirley Long tells of the hard work needed to produce an effective children's speaking choir.

Continue reading "The Eisteddfod" »

January 25, 2010

Not For Posting

Dharini Parameshwaran's story tells of a frustrating encounter, and a letter that was never posted.

Continue reading "Not For Posting" »

January 24, 2010

The Well: 12 Mother

Jack, now a grown up and married, returns home to visit his mother.

Paddy Webb continues her autobiographical poem about her great-great-grandfather who endured great hardships.

To read earlier sections of this poem please visit http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=paddy+webb

Continue reading "The Well: 12 Mother" »

January 22, 2010

Say Goodmorning

Jim Moore's poem celebrates simple delights.

Continue reading "Say Goodmorning" »

January 18, 2010

Are You Somebody?

Merle Parkin recognises kinship when she sees a pair of sad and wistful eyes.

Continue reading "Are You Somebody?" »

January 17, 2010

The Well: 11 Ellen Elizabeth

...Hello Mum, said my Jack.
Her hand went slowly up to her mouth.
It's me, Mum, Jack, he said.
She still said nothing, just stretched out
Her hand, ran her finger down his cheek...

Paddy Webb continues the story in verse of her great-grandfather who an extraordinarily hard life.

Continue reading "The Well: 11 Ellen Elizabeth" »

January 15, 2010

The Time Has Come

From the depths of frustration Maureen Foreman issues a dire warning.

Continue reading "The Time Has Come" »

January 14, 2010

Silver Surfers

Ray Harman reports on a discussion of matters electronic.

Continue reading " Silver Surfers" »

January 11, 2010

From One Home To Another

Shirley Long enjoyed her stay in hospital - and it was there that she met Boris.

Continue reading "From One Home To Another" »

January 10, 2010

The Well: 10 - Landlady

...I know Jack don't work here no more
But I promised long ago he could have
The back room when he got wed
A few pies, a bit of beer
and a good knees up, that's all.
Been like a son to me has Jack...

Paddy Webb continues her account in verse of the hard life of her great grandfather, one of three generations to bear the name John Charles Ayling.

Continue reading "The Well: 10 - Landlady" »

January 08, 2010

Mungo National Park

...You learn to appreciate and enjoy the simple things in life. There's no better sound than life-giving rain on a corrugated-tin roof or the air suddenly filled with a frogs' chorus when for years not a croak has been heard. You watch for an hour as a caterpillar digs a hole, bringing up the sand one grain at a time, or you follow some ants to see where they are taking that huge peanut...

Joan Miles tells of happy days in Mungo National Park.

Continue reading "Mungo National Park" »

January 04, 2010


Barbara Tregonning accepts that Nature can write a better poem than any human.

Continue reading "Affirmation" »

January 03, 2010

The Well: 9 Jack

Jack, now working long hours, notices a girl – and she notices him.

Paddy Webb continues the story- in verse of her greast-grandfather.

Continue reading "The Well: 9 Jack" »

January 01, 2010

A New Beginning

Maureen Foreman’s poem brings the very best advice.

Continue reading "A New Beginning" »

December 29, 2009

The Well: 8 Jack

Jack, trying to make his way in London and desperate for work, has to pay to get a job unloading trucks.

Paddy Webb continues her account in verse of the life of her great grandfather John Charles Ayling, the first of three generations of elder sons of that name.

This story. set between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Centuries, is based on the recollections of Paddy’s grandmother.

Continue reading "The Well: 8 Jack" »

December 28, 2009

Jacky And Joey - The Meteor Chasers

Barrie Mansell tells a Christmas-tide tale.

Continue reading "Jacky And Joey - The Meteor Chasers" »

December 23, 2009

Christmas Past

Ray Harman has a novel suggestion for members of the University of the Third Age who have seen many a dozen Christmases.

Continue reading "Christmas Past" »

December 21, 2009


Monica Duckering relishes the sound of silence.

Continue reading "Silently" »

December 20, 2009

The Well: 7 The Landlady

Paddy Webb continues her account in verse of the life of her great grandfather John Charles Ayling, the first of three generations of elder sons of that name.

This story, set between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Centuries, is based on the recollections of Paddy’s grandmother.

In today’s episode young John, down and out in London, finds a landlady with a heart.

Continue reading "The Well: 7 The Landlady" »

December 18, 2009


Barbara Tregonning’s poem tells of the overcoming of grief.

Continue reading "Transition" »

December 14, 2009

A Short Short Story

Elaine Lawton deplores the nonsensical lack of help for smaller people.

Continue reading "A Short Short Story" »

December 11, 2009


Mick Harkin portrays in words the aftermath of a raging blaze.

Continue reading "Aftermath" »

December 07, 2009

Quirk Of Nature

Dharini Parameshwaran ponders on the reason for a destructive tsunami.

Continue reading "Quirk Of Nature" »

December 06, 2009

The Well: 5 - Jack

So many horses crowding the streets
Men are employed to sweep a path
So ladies may cross free of dirt.
After dark lights in glass balls
Seem to burn air;
There's a full moon's worth of lighted windows...

Jack arrives in London.

Paddy Webb continues the story of her great-grandfather

Continue reading "The Well: 5 - Jack" »

December 04, 2009


A chance encounter leaves Barbara Tregonning wondering whether she should have behaved in a different way.

Continue reading "Encounter" »

November 30, 2009

The Tale Of A Table

Barbara Tregonning tells of the day they brought the table home.

Continue reading "The Tale Of A Table" »

November 29, 2009

The Well: 4 Sarah

Paddy Webb continues her account in verse of the life of her great grandfather John Charles Ayling, the first of three generations of elder sons of that name.

This story, set between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Centuries, is based on the recollections of Paddy’s grandmother.

Continue reading "The Well: 4 Sarah" »

November 27, 2009

Miss Monda

Joan Miles’s limerick reveals why Miss Monda is still single.

Continue reading "Miss Monda" »

November 23, 2009

When The Rains Came

Mick Harkin tells of the disasterous damage caused by a week of heavy rain.

Continue reading "When The Rains Came" »

November 22, 2009

The Well: 3 Father

....If it hadn't been for people dying of cold.
You remember, sixteen weeks it froze
The Thames solid enough for a coach and four.
There was no work to be had with the ground so hard
Nothing to be dug from the garden. We were hungry
Most of the time....

Paddy Webb continues her account in verse of the life of her great grandfather John Charles Ayling, the first of three generations of elder sons of that name.

Today’s episode brings memories of hard work and harsh times.

Continue reading "The Well: 3 Father" »

November 21, 2009

Thoughts Of War

Vera Sanderson wrote this poem during a World War Two bombing raid.

Continue reading "Thoughts Of War" »

November 20, 2009

The Handyman

Maureen Foreman finds an answer to her problems.

Continue reading "The Handyman" »

November 16, 2009


Mick Harkin reflects on the patchwork quilt that is his life.

Continue reading "Thought" »

November 15, 2009

The Well: 2 Mother

Paddy Webb continues her account in verse of the life of her great grandfather John Charles Ayling, the first of three generations of elder sons of that name.

This story, set between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Centuries, is based on the recollections of Paddy’s grandmother.

Today’s episode expresses the anguish of a mother whose son has suddenly left home. Further episodes will appear on forthcoming Sundays.

Continue reading "The Well: 2 Mother" »

November 13, 2009

Jackie And Joey

Elwyn Frankel tells a magical tale about young Jackie and his pet kangaroo Joey.

Continue reading "Jackie And Joey" »

November 09, 2009

Complete Silence

In this poem Elwyn Frankel tells of an ideal start to a day.

Continue reading "Complete Silence" »

November 08, 2009

The Well: 1 Jack

Paddy Webb presents in verse the life of her great grandfather John Charles Ayling, the first of three generations of elder sons of that name.

The story, set around 1890 to 1902, is based on the recollections of Paddy’s grandmother who appears in it as Ellen Elizabeth. It is presented as a set of monologues spoken by different characters.

Further episodes will appear on the next 14 Sundays.

Continue reading "The Well: 1 Jack" »

November 06, 2009

The Cod Caller

Merler Parkin tells a fabulous tale of a girl who could charm fish.

Continue reading "The Cod Caller" »

November 02, 2009

The Enchanted Policeman

Maureen Foreman tells of a very special "policeman''.

Continue reading "The Enchanted Policeman" »

October 30, 2009

Learning To Swim

Joan Miles recalls with embarrassment her attempts to learn to swim.

Continue reading "Learning To Swim" »

October 23, 2009

Terra Cotta Warriors

...I have spoken to Chinese people who have come to this country recently, and none of them have heard of the Terra Cotta warriors. Obviously the publicity is for foreign tourists!...

Jim Moore sees the terra cotta army "recruited'' to protect an Emperor in his afterlife.

Continue reading "Terra Cotta Warriors" »

October 18, 2009

A Man With A Mission

Jennie Boothroyd tells of a marvelous man, Guildford Tompkins, who has helped to brighten the lives of thousands of Africans.

Continue reading "A Man With A Mission" »

October 16, 2009

First Love

Merle Parkin's poem suggests that you never forget your first love.

Continue reading "First Love" »

October 11, 2009

Timewarp. (Chemotherapy)

Dire straights can yield memorable words.

Read Paddy Webb's profoundly moving poem - and marvel!

Continue reading "Timewarp. (Chemotherapy)" »

October 10, 2009

The Curse Of The Purple Stump

Elizabeth Robison recalls red-faced (or should that be purple-faced?) moments.

Continue reading "The Curse Of The Purple Stump" »

October 06, 2009

An Electronic Prayer

Ray Harman presents a prayer for this Internet age.

Continue reading "An Electronic Prayer" »

September 09, 2009

Max The Great Dane

Vera Sanderson mourns the loss of a beloved dog.

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

Continue reading "Max The Great Dane" »

September 02, 2009

A Tourist Nightmare

Some bus rides can take you higher than you would rather go, as Ray Harman's rhyme reveals.

Continue reading "A Tourist Nightmare" »

August 30, 2009

Women's Land Army -1940

...And so began a delightful day up on the Downs, our first job being to bring down a cow and her newly born calf from the meadow on the lower slopes. Then we went further up to where the sheep grazed and had our first lesson in sheep herding. We learned how to move hurdles and spent some time putting cake in the trough as a dietary extra...

Veronica Grainger remembers with affection her wartime Land Army days.

Continue reading "Women's Land Army -1940" »

August 16, 2009

After That She Felt Much Better

Graham Austin's prompt for a short story at a University of the Third Age writing workshop in Muizenberg, Cape Town, was "After that she felt much better."

Continue reading "After That She Felt Much Better" »

August 12, 2009


There's a shock in store for the lady who was the first brain transplant patient, as Graeme Lindridge's tale reveals.

Continue reading "Transplant" »

July 25, 2009

The Spirit Of The Rose

Vera Sanderson wants her spirit to live on in the fragrance of a rose.

Continue reading "The Spirit Of The Rose" »

July 04, 2009

Baby In Waiting

Vera Sanderson’s poem encompasses profound sadness and eternal hope.

Continue reading "Baby In Waiting" »

June 24, 2009

Mobile Phone

Ivy Emmerson tells of a reason to stay alive.

To read more articles, stories and poems by Sunraysia University of the Third Age writers please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=sunraysia+u3a

Continue reading "Mobile Phone" »

June 20, 2009

The Matchless Mate

Vera Sanderson not only married a Yorkshireman - he was also a motorbike man.

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

Continue reading "The Matchless Mate" »

June 17, 2009

Rocket Man

Maureen Foreman tells with delight of a young Rocket Man.

Continue reading "Rocket Man" »

June 16, 2009

Marrying Mr Faichney

...He laughed, and his blue eyes twinkled, 'Oh, Edith,' he said. 'Now who would want to marry an silly old fool like me?'

I was standing, listening. Shaking, I went up to him and said, 'I'll marry you, Mr Faichney.'...

Shirley Henwood recalls her impulsive childhood proposal.

Shirley writes for Bonzer! magazine. Please visit www.bonzer.org.au

Continue reading "Marrying Mr Faichney" »

June 15, 2009

A Foggy Beginning

...How can one describe the fogs of yesteryear, which have now been almost forgotten? The thick yellow cloud moved, parted and moved again; always swirling - becoming lighter then denser - muffling all sounds. Vague figures loomed ahead - to disappear again....

M Hicks tells of a foggy beginning to a working life.

Continue reading "A Foggy Beginning" »

June 13, 2009

The Luck Of The Draw

Vera Sanderson tells the wonderful tale of an encounter that was to change her life.

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

Continue reading "The Luck Of The Draw" »

June 10, 2009

Time Was

Monica Duckering’s poem suggests that the happy child makes for the happy man.

Continue reading "Time Was" »

June 06, 2009

A Prayer

Vera Sanderson voices a simple yet profound prayer.

Continue reading "A Prayer" »

June 03, 2009

A Crater Full Of Grime

Ellie Pemberton, recalling her nursing days, tells of a most unusual patient.

Continue reading "A Crater Full Of Grime" »

Looking For Orchids

..."Watch where you're putting your feet" is the criteria in the search for the elusive native orchid. When one is found there is a feeling of awe that such a remarkable, delicate flower can be found growing in the hostile environment of the Australian bush...

Maureen Foreman and her family are enthusiastic plant hunters.

Continue reading "Looking For Orchids" »

May 30, 2009

Welcome Baby

Vera Sanderson sends a poetic welcome to a new arrival in the family.

To read more of VBera's poems and prose please click on

Continue reading "Welcome Baby" »

May 27, 2009

Rites of Passage 1939 –1945

...Wherever I went the Luftwafte came too. In Swansea we had raids almost nightly because the steelworks, the dock gates and the refinery were targets. If the refinery was hit, there would be huge columns of black smoke with great bubbles of flame at their centres...

Dilys Birtwistle vividly recalls wartime days.

Continue reading "Rites of Passage 1939 –1945" »

Just Sittin

Mick Harkin sits and broods.

Continue reading "Just Sittin" »

May 24, 2009

Play it again Sam!

Vera Sanderson's poem tells of the price paid by a working mum.

Continue reading "Play it again Sam!" »

May 20, 2009

Silent Keys

Merle Parkin's poem tells of her Gran's much-loved piano.

Continue reading "Silent Keys" »

May 16, 2009

The Luck Of The Draw

Vera Sanderson gives an engaging and memorable account of meeting the love of her life.

Continue reading "The Luck Of The Draw" »

May 13, 2009

I See Dragons

Jim Moore’s poem tells of troubled dreams.

Continue reading "I See Dragons" »

May 06, 2009


...The strange thing was I was the only person to realise there was an elephant in the garden...

With a first sentence like that how can you resist reading Paddy Webb's story?

Continue reading "Esmerelda" »


...To Joan and I, Moray was a haven, a place redolent of love and caring and we were overjoyed to go there at every opportunity...

Shirley Long remembers with great joy visits to the home of her grandmother and great aunts.

Continue reading "Moray" »

May 02, 2009

On Ship And Shore

...Being close to Grimsby there were many fishing boats coming and going in the area. Occasionally we would make a collection of cigarettes around the crew and signal an incoming boat to exchange them for a box of fresh fish. I have never tasted such lovely fresh plaice as we enjoyed on those occasions...

Bob Boyd joins a boat crewed by divers charged with exploring underwater wrecks and clearing dangerous ordnance and mines.

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

Continue reading "On Ship And Shore" »

April 29, 2009

Cat Eulogy

Maureen Foreman presents this eulogy to a beloved cat - an eulogy with a surprise ending.

Continue reading "Cat Eulogy" »

April 22, 2009

Fairy Grandmother

Barrie Mansell recalls the day he saw Peter Pan, Wendy and Tinkerbell on the stage.

Continue reading "Fairy Grandmother" »

April 10, 2009


So do you own your pet cat? Or does your pet cat own you?

Vera Sanderson's poem muses on the most enigmatic of all pets.

Continue reading "Catawauling" »

April 08, 2009

Fun Of The Fair

Maureen Foreman’s poem recalls the childhood joy of going to the fair.

Continue reading "Fun Of The Fair" »

April 01, 2009

Bush Voices

Mick Harkin tells of ghostly goings on in the bush.

Continue reading "Bush Voices" »

March 29, 2009

Love's Young Dream

HE was used to seeing many attractive young ladies but there was just something special about this one which attracted him. However, being there as part of the group providing the music, he didn’t get much chance to chat with her. Nevertheless, week after week SHE turned up and sat in her usual place and they exchanged furtive glances and smiles. The short time in the interval gave them the opportunity to talk and get to know each other better, and eventually a ‘courtship’ ensued.

Shirley Lingwood tells of the meeting and marriage of her parents - and of the house in which she spent her childhood.

Continue reading "Love's Young Dream" »

March 27, 2009

Beauty In The Eye Of The Beholder?

Ray Harman brings a report on a discussion on art by a Maldon University of the Third Age group.

Continue reading "Beauty In The Eye Of The Beholder?" »

March 25, 2009

My Patch

Joan Miles has great hopes for her pooch Patch.

Continue reading "My Patch" »

March 22, 2009

The War Years As Seen By A Seven-Year-Old

...The verger was walking down the aisle and he proceeded to the pulpit, up the half-dozen steps to whisper something in the vicar’s ear. There was a lengthy pause, followed by an announcement from the Reverend Corrin. “It is with regret that I have to tell you that, from 11 0’clock today Great Britain is at war with Germany”...

Shirley Lingwood was a seven-year-old, attending a Sunday morning church service, when she heard of the outbreak of World War Two.

Continue reading "The War Years As Seen By A Seven-Year-Old" »

March 18, 2009

A Brief Encounter

Dharini Parameshwaran tells of a most painful brief encounter.

Continue reading "A Brief Encounter" »

March 11, 2009

First Love

Jim Moore tells a tale of faithfulness.

Continue reading "First Love" »

March 08, 2009

Nuclear Power At Bradwell Once Again

Ray Harman recalls the buoyant days when nuclear power was first supplied to Britains's national grid.

Continue reading "Nuclear Power At Bradwell Once Again" »

March 04, 2009


Barbara Tregonning’s poem tells of the grim aftermath of battle.

Continue reading "Aftermath" »

February 25, 2009

Another Year

Ray Harman's poem sums up a year of Maldon and District University of the Third Age activities.

Continue reading "Another Year" »

After It's Over

Here's some sound financial advice for Christmas, and all the year round, by Mick Harkin.

Continue reading "After It's Over" »

February 22, 2009

High Hopes For The Cape Of Good Hope

Bob Boyd continues the story of his service in the Royal Navy as a telegraphist. 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 "High Hopes For The Cape Of Good Hope" »

February 18, 2009

Mothers' Day

Raeline Noll's poem raises a question: Is childhood inevitably a happy time?

Continue reading "Mothers' Day" »

February 11, 2009

The Swish Of The Broom

A swish of the broom brings order where there was disorder, as Maureen Foreman’s poem reveals.

Continue reading "The Swish Of The Broom" »

February 07, 2009

“The Weekly Review”

...I had spent many nights with my parents and sister in the dark, damp Anderson shelter dug into the ground in our back garden. It was routine to hear bombs fall (we knew by the whistling effect). The tinkling of shrapnel from our anti-aircraft fire was commonplace. We’d emerge bleary-eyed in the morning when the raids ceased, my father to go to work and we children to school...

Dick Dyerson brings this vivid account of his boyhood during the war years.

Continue reading "“The Weekly Review”" »

February 04, 2009

Crossing Over

Bert has a choice. Either to move to a house in the suburbs with Elizabeth or stay with his cows.

Monica Duckering tells an intriguing tale.

Continue reading "Crossing Over" »

January 21, 2009


Zelda Margo sums up life’s gamble in this snipper of a story.

Continue reading "Snippets" »

Wilting In The Sun

You gladly sunbathe when you’re young, but there is a price to pay as Joan Miles’s poem reveals.

Continue reading "Wilting In The Sun" »

January 14, 2009

Dividing And Re-potting A Cymbidium

There’s more than one way of successfully re-potting a cymbidium as Dorothy Robinson reveals.

Continue reading "Dividing And Re-potting A Cymbidium" »

January 07, 2009


Mick Harkin tells of a solitary memorial to days long gone.

Continue reading "Yesterday" »

December 31, 2008

Adolf Over-The-Road

...When I was nearly fifteen, my grandmother convinced me that the man who lived opposite her in Commercial St Merbein was Adolf Hitler...

John Leary tells an extraordinary tale.

Continue reading "Adolf Over-The-Road" »


Betty Kay muses on the nature of happiness.

Continue reading "Happiness" »

How Old Are You?

Zelda Margo’s brief story encompasses the sadness for some people of old age.

Continue reading "How Old Are You?" »

December 27, 2008

Under Cover Of Darkness

Lesley Ward tells of family Christmases

Continue reading "Under Cover Of Darkness" »

December 25, 2008

Echoes Of Christmas

Vera Sanderson remembers the Christmases that used to be.

For more of Vera's poems please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=vera+sanderson

Continue reading "Echoes Of Christmas" »

December 24, 2008

Deja Vu

Lee Cohen tells an "Alice In Wonderland'' tale.

Continue reading "Deja Vu" »

December 17, 2008


Nola Andriske’s poem concerns the greatest of all human gifts.

Continue reading "Donations" »

December 10, 2008

The Red Gum Tree

Mima Fisher tells of the passing of the red gum tree.

Continue reading "The Red Gum Tree" »

December 03, 2008

The Teapots

Elwyn Frankel’s poem tells of a grandma who takes care when she makes tea.

Continue reading "The Teapots" »


Jennie Boothroyd tells of one of her faqvourite people.

Continue reading "Jinny" »

November 26, 2008

Sarah Jane

“Larry, the cook, has his own little house with a fenced off garden and a little bit of grass. He has a big shed at the back where he keeps some chooks and gets a lot of eggs, but he also has lots of gnomes - he calls them his little fairies. They all have different colours, sort of clothes, and they have little tables and small three-legged stools,’’ says Sarah Jane, a curious and engaging eight-year-old.

Dick Nolan, in this brilliant story, conveys life on a homestead station in the Australian outback.

Continue reading "Sarah Jane" »

A Monologue, (and How to Write It)

Alan Davy's rhymes tell of a writing group - and how to write.

Continue reading "A Monologue, (and How to Write It)" »

November 23, 2008

Mind Music

Vera Sanderson’s reeling, romping, rolling song tell of the urge to spin words.

To read more of Vera's poemsplease click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=vera+sanderson

Continue reading "Mind Music" »

November 19, 2008

Time And Tide

Time is flowing too fast, says Maureen Foreman.

Continue reading "Time And Tide" »

November 15, 2008

Where's My Ship?

While his assigned Royal Navy ship sailed from port to port, Bob Boyd found himself chasing her around on land.

Continue reading "Where's My Ship?" »

November 12, 2008

Anzac Biscuits

Meryl Nichols brings a brief history of Anzac Biscuits - then tells how to make them.

Continue reading "Anzac Biscuits" »

November 05, 2008

Australia Bound

...My journey took exactly four weeks from Tilbury, London to Station Pier, Melbourne. A few days after disembarking, I found myself walking along Collins Street. It was a hot day in mid-March with the sun beating down upon the pavements. I looked up at the sky and yes, the sky was a deep blue. I had realised my dream at last!...

Sylvia York tells of emigrating to Australia.

Continue reading "Australia Bound" »

November 01, 2008

Sunday School

...Sunday School Anniversary was the day for a new dress, white ankle socks and black patent ankle strap shoes...

Peggy MacKay recalls Sunday School days.

Continue reading "Sunday School" »

October 29, 2008

Australia Bound

Sylvia York tells of migrating to Australia when she was a teenager.

Continue reading "Australia Bound" »

October 22, 2008

Not for Posting

Frank Garner, unable to fight in the Great War because if a minor disability, receives the most dreaded of all symbols, as Wilma Schmidt reveals.

Continue reading "Not for Posting" »

Just Human

The old and forgetful Goodmans are the recipients of a very good turn in this story by Zelda Margo.

Continue reading "Just Human" »

October 15, 2008

Hold Out Your Hand

...Mr D-- happened to leave the room for a few minutes and a few of us were fooling about, making animal and bird shapes on the screen with our hands. As he came back into the room I was startled and by accident, knocked his cup of coffee all over the table!
Guess what? Out came his pump and my hand didn't half hurt for the rest of that day!...

Hazel Dracup tells of a teacher who believed in physical punishment.

Continue reading "Hold Out Your Hand" »

The Interior Designer

Lee Cohen tells of a person who goes in search of a brand new “me’’.

Continue reading "The Interior Designer" »

Anything to Declare

Joan Miles's poem tells of an occasion when an opened suitcase simply refused to be repacked.

Continue reading "Anything to Declare" »

October 08, 2008

The Raven

Vera Sanderson’s poem pays tribute to a much-maligned bird.

Continue reading "The Raven" »

Into the Light

Merle Parkin's evocative poem tells of a brief but purposeful life.

Continue reading "Into the Light" »

October 01, 2008


The character in Lee Cohen’s poem is well and truly henpecked – and delighted to be so.

Continue reading "Henpecked" »

To Loch Ness And Beyond

Peggy MacKay pays a return visit to the village in the north of Scotland where she once lived.

Continue reading "To Loch Ness And Beyond" »

Second Chance

Wilma Schmidt was delighted to be given a chance to return to nursing, the career which she loved.

Continue reading "Second Chance" »

September 30, 2008


...In this wide earth is there not one who can
By words or force bring to a mad world sanity...

Moira Marchant writes of that most elusive state - peace.

Continue reading "Peace" »

September 24, 2008

To An Autumn Tree

Merle Parkin’s poem heralds cold days, followed by new life.

Continue reading "To An Autumn Tree" »

Four Haiku

Here are four haiku from Joyce Hinchliffe. Quick in the reading, long in the thinking.

Continue reading "Four Haiku" »

September 18, 2008

Wedding Memories

...At the station when my husband asked for a ticket for his wife but could not produce an allowance book, the tough skipper of a patrol boat in the Royal Navy became an embarrassed young bridegroom, very conscious of his new status as a husband...

Peggy MacKay recalls her wedding day.

Continue reading "Wedding Memories" »

September 10, 2008

End Of Term Report

Margaret Parton's school days almost ended with her being expelled.

Continue reading "End Of Term Report" »

There Was A Young Lady From Dyke...

Elwyn Frankel brings some rhyming fun.

Continue reading "There Was A Young Lady From Dyke..." »

September 04, 2008

The Awakening

Vera Sanderson's poem tells of an awakening that no one desires.

Continue reading "The Awakening" »

September 03, 2008


Monica Duckering’s poem concerns the art of writing.

Continue reading "Inspiration" »

August 27, 2008

Nursery Rhyme

John Leary brings a new take on an old rhyme.

Continue reading "Nursery Rhyme" »

The Telephone Rang

Sometimes only one particular word will suffice., Zelda Margo tells a tale of a woman with a sharp tongue.

Continue reading "The Telephone Rang" »

August 23, 2008

Disorderly Conduct

...As long as I draw breath
I'll chatter, natter, shout and scream..

Vera Sanderson's poem is a perfect expression of a determination to live life to the full.

Continue reading "Disorderly Conduct" »

August 20, 2008

Mention My Name

“Just mention my name,’’ said Mabel – but she said it once too often.

Zelda Margo tells a tale concerning brainwashing.

Continue reading "Mention My Name" »

Time To Enjoy

Wilma Schmidt brings a forceful message: go out and sample life head on.

Continue reading "Time To Enjoy" »

August 13, 2008


Monica Duckering's poem celebrates Australia's mighty Murray river.

Continue reading "River" »

August 09, 2008

Weep No More

Ida Smith tells a tale of a funeral which had more than its share of surprise drama.

Continue reading "Weep No More" »

August 07, 2008

A Well-Used Space

...All was well until the girls became teenagers and went out dancing until late, bringing friends home to sleep and not rising early any more. Many a young visitor leapt from slumber, rudely awakened by the organ motor...

Peggy MacKay tells of surprise awakenings – and a happy home.

Continue reading "A Well-Used Space" »

August 06, 2008

Witchety Grubs

Monica Duckering's poem emphasises that some things are just not meant to be eaten.

Continue reading "Witchety Grubs" »

July 31, 2008

Maria Caradori Allan

Peter Wintersgill tells of Maria Caradori Allan, the soprano soloist in the first London performance of Beethoven's Ninth symphony.

Continue reading "Maria Caradori Allan" »

July 30, 2008

Prickly Customer

Cheryl Spry tells of the dramas which unfolded while she was running a corner shop.

Continue reading "Prickly Customer" »

Things Long Gone

...In my day doctors were a last resort in illness. Everyone had their own cures: chests rubbed with camphorated oil, a Vick Vapour Rub, sore throats gargled with red sage and vinegar, a cough soothed with lemon, honey, Ipechuana, and Beecham’s powders or aspirin for easing the symptoms...

Peggy MacKay remembers the days when life seemed less complicated. This article was written at the request of Peggy’s youngest daughter.

Continue reading "Things Long Gone" »

July 26, 2008


Jennie Boothroyd recalls the joys of family life when she was a young girl.

Continue reading "Relations" »

July 23, 2008

A Weeping Eucalypt

Mima Fisher tells of taking her pupils on an outing in the Australian bush.

Continue reading "A Weeping Eucalypt" »

July 19, 2008

A Methodist Childhood

...I went to Sunday school at 10.30 a.m. and from there to the church service, Sunday school in the afternoon and church at 6.00 p.m. Never missed; that was unheard of. I remember changing into my play clothes in between services. When I think now of casual dress everywhere, even in church, I have to smile...

Marjory Kershaw recalls her happy Methodist upbringing.

Continue reading "A Methodist Childhood" »

July 16, 2008

Early British Settlers in South Africa - 4

...The coal stove in the kitchen was part of my childhood where I learnt to spell Johannesburg from the word stamped on the oven door, and many were the loaves of delicious homemade bread, cakes and puddings my mother produced from its small black interior. All the furnishings of that comfortable old kitchen remain as cherished parts of my childhood. The zinc had a chipped stone draining board and a white enamel bowl where the budgie, Pretty Boy, took baths in a lettuce leaf if the tap was left running, but the stone draining board and rigid enamel wash-bowl made short work of crockery if care was not taken...

In this satisfyingly detailed and evocative article Barbara Durlacher recalls her parents, and her childhood days in South Africa.

Continue reading "Early British Settlers in South Africa - 4" »

Grandpa's Chaffbag Chair

Merle Parkin paints a portrait of rural life in one short poem.

Continue reading "Grandpa's Chaffbag Chair" »


Nancie Dyson has some thoughts on punishment – then and now.

Continue reading "Punishment" »

July 09, 2008

An Ominous Phone Call

Peggy MacKay's husband John served in the Royal Navy during the war as the skipper of a patrol ship on mine recovery and anti-submarine detection, based in Scapa Flow.

She was just 21-years-old when she received a call at her family home in Yorkshire saying that John was in hospital in Aberdeen...

Continue reading "An Ominous Phone Call" »

The Birthday Party

...On the big day we trooped off, knees scrubbed, hair slicked down, with instructions to say thank you for everything, only to take one cake at a time, and don't let the bantam go!

We let the bantam go...

Merle Parkin tells the delightful tale of a birthday gift which took wing.

Continue reading "The Birthday Party" »

July 02, 2008

Play it Again, Sam

Vera Sanderson's poem tells of the trials and tribulations of a working mother.

Continue reading "Play it Again, Sam" »


Barbara Tregonning's poem captures the essence of "wild'' Australia.

Continue reading "Billabong" »

June 25, 2008

A Load Of Trouble

Who is this old dame who keeps hooting at the bloke driving a double-decker load of scrub goats?

Merle Parkin tells a tasty Aussie tale.

Continue reading "A Load Of Trouble" »

June 18, 2008

The Feline Soul

Vera Sanderson's poem captures the essence of that most independent of all creatures - the cat.

Continue reading "The Feline Soul" »

Panic And Haste

Anna Golitschenko tells of a day of panic which had a tasty ending.

Continue reading "Panic And Haste" »

June 11, 2008

The Old Path

…I yearned for the simple things in life - getting up at the crack of dawn to pick the fresh blossoms for temple offerings, to feed the needy before partaking of our meal - the little things that could give pleasure to others less fortunate, thereby deriving pleasure yourself..

Dahrini Parameshwaran realises that the old path is where the heart belongs.

Continue reading "The Old Path" »

Flowers that Bloom in the Spring – Tra La

Janet Richard's poem celibrates the joys of Spring.

Continue reading "Flowers that Bloom in the Spring – Tra La" »

June 04, 2008

The Dance

…The moon rose, full, silver, majestic, dimming the stars with her brilliance. A moon fit for magical happenings…

In poetic prose, Cassandra Bicker tells of the dance to end all dances.

Continue reading "The Dance" »

June 02, 2008

Education Today

A University of the Third Age discussion group recently focused on the state of education in todfay's U.K. Mr Average summarises their thoughts.

Continue reading "Education Today" »

Before Computers

Hazel Dracup recalls working in a motor taxation department when manual work was the norm and computers had not yet arrived on the scene.

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May 28, 2008

And Then?

Lee Cohen’s poem muses on the most important question ever asked.

Continue reading "And Then?" »

Later In Life

"Later in life is a very exciting time for me,'' says positive-thinking Jim Moore.

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May 27, 2008

The Ptomaine Pair

Vera Sanderson, subtitling her poem Something in the Wind – the Tale of a Terrible Gale, tells of a breezy pair of lovers.

Continue reading "The Ptomaine Pair" »

May 25, 2008

No More School, No More Stick

...On weekends we had to wear our school uniforms until 3.45 pm when we were allowed to change into our ‘weekend clothes’ for the rest of the day...

Hazel Dracup tells of the rules and routines of boarding school life some 40 years ago.

To read more articles by Hazel please type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "No More School, No More Stick" »

May 21, 2008

If I Were A Kookaburra

Elwyn Frankel tells of a bird's life.

Continue reading "If I Were A Kookaburra" »

May 14, 2008

The Maiden Flight

A first flight brings warning cries in this evocative article by Sandy Saunders.

Continue reading "The Maiden Flight" »

Is Poetry Pleasure Or Pain?

Elaine Lawton presents a series of short poems.

Continue reading "Is Poetry Pleasure Or Pain?" »

May 13, 2008

The Modern Merlin

Vera Sanderson pays tribute to a marvellous Yorkshireman.

Continue reading "The Modern Merlin" »

May 07, 2008

Twist Of Fate

Esme has a plan for retired life, and it does not include her husband Bill...

Rose Perry tells a tale of a scheming wife.

Continue reading "Twist Of Fate" »

Winter Comes And Goes

Ida Smith's story concerns a mysterious and troubled school teacher.

Continue reading "Winter Comes And Goes" »

April 30, 2008

Curtin Springs Station N.T

In this splendidly detailed article Monica Duckering tells of life on a remote Australian cattle station.

Continue reading "Curtin Springs Station N.T" »

April 29, 2008

Brief Encounter With The Lid Off

Patrick Hopton re-tells the tale of a Brief Encounter. Patrick’s version provides much more fun than the original story, which. so they tell me, ended up on the big screen.

Continue reading "Brief Encounter With The Lid Off" »

April 27, 2008

Thoughts On Happiness

Betty Kay suggests that it is best to just accept happiness when it is there, and to learn to live without it when it is not.

Continue reading "Thoughts On Happiness" »

April 23, 2008

The Chair

A chair can mean a lot to a family, as Rose Perry's story reveals.

Continue reading "The Chair" »

Distress in Blackpool

Francis Barton tells of her distress as a child on an historic day.

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April 16, 2008

The Longest Day

Janet Richards' story highlights the need to care.

Continue reading "The Longest Day" »

More On Banjos

Chris Dean of Vancouver takes issue with Ken Harris of Australia on the origin of banjos.

Continue reading "More On Banjos" »

April 09, 2008


…It was a large camp, which already held well over ten thousand, all women and children, before we arrived to add to the overcrowding. About five houses had had to be emptied to receive us newcomers, and we were met with a measure of resentment by those already there. Soon we were allocated our ration of personal space in the vacated houses. Between eighty and a hundred to each house…

Thea Sloane recalls the dreadful months she spent as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War Two.

Continue reading "Roommates" »


Sandy Saunders tells of a frustrated hound.

Continue reading "Loppylugs" »

April 02, 2008

Brussels In Wartime

...At night you could hear aeroplanes flying towards England and back to Germany. The Germans used to stop the trams and ask for people's identity cards. They were looking for people born in my year and the following year to take to Germany for hard labour. My younger brother was going to be taken away but got a stomach ulcer and did not pass the medical...

Françoise Taylor recalls wartime days.

Continue reading "Brussels In Wartime" »

The Luck Of The Drawer

Rose Perry recalls the drawer in which her grandmother kept “treasures’’.

Continue reading "The Luck Of The Drawer" »

March 29, 2008

Up The Pole

…“My floor next,” Marek said trying to ease the tension. We were too close for comfort as the saying goes. As he said the words, the struggling lift shuddered to a stop. We were two feet short of floor two.’’…

Derek McQueen’s spooky story involves a situation we all dread.

To read more of Derek’s tales please type his name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Up The Pole" »

March 26, 2008

The Golden Age Of Banjos

...How do you tell a good banjo from a bad? Pick it up. Look along the neck. Is it straight? It should be. Next feel the weight. The heavier the better, because that means it has steel reinforcement to stop the pull of the strings bending the neck. If the neck is bent you'll never play chords up the neck...

Ken Harris presents a short history of the banjo.

Continue reading "The Golden Age Of Banjos" »

March 25, 2008

My Life With Horses

...I've had a lifetime with horses and am still enjoying it. I have had several accidents along the way, one very serious one on the road when the horse was hit by a car and was so badly injured it was put down on the spot and I was in hospital with a fractured skull and other injuries. Even this has never deterred me, but I am very wary in traffic.

Please, all you drivers, do take care when you meet horses on the road. Please slow down and give them a wide berth. We need much more off-the-road riding, more bridleways...

Eileen Lester introduces us to her four-legged friends.

Continue reading "My Life With Horses" »

March 22, 2008

Happy Hostelling

Hazel Dracup recalls happy youth hostelling days.

Continue reading "Happy Hostelling" »

March 19, 2008


...According to my very favourite historian, Russell Ward, "Australia suffered from the depression rather earlier and more severely than most countries". Russell says, "For a time nearly 30% of breadwinners were unemployed. Long queues of men would be seen seeking one job and thousands tramped bush roads with a swag and billy."
Mildura in the harvest season, with hundreds of acres of sultanas to be picked, dried and packed, became a Mecca to these people. There were few cars that made the 600 km trip from Melbourne on those rough dusty roads so mostly the journey was made on shanks's pony or by "riding the rattler", which meant jumping into an empty freight carriage and hoping not to be caught by a railway security guard...

Ken Carr tells of hobos - most of them good family men who had become victims of an economic crash.

Continue reading "Hobos" »

The Carnival

Sylvia Wiseman's poem captures the excitement of a carnival.

Continue reading "The Carnival" »

March 18, 2008


Ida Smith tells the story of Hester, the daughter of poor parents, who goes off to work in Johannesburg, only to return with – ahem – a bloated stomach.

Continue reading "Hester" »

March 15, 2008

Boy, Bike And Horse

It was a speed contest between horse and bike following a theft at the garden centre, as Sandy Saunders' sprightly poem reveals.

Continue reading "Boy, Bike And Horse" »

March 12, 2008

The Reaping

…You took my hand, palm uppermost,
And gently brushed it with your lips and tears…

Vera Sanderson’s wonderful poem captures the essence of true love.

Continue reading "The Reaping" »


Thea Sloane recalls the time she spent in a Japanese internment camp during the second world war.

Continue reading "Roommates" »

March 11, 2008

What Language You Want?

There are things you need to know when you go to buy a computer, as E M MacPhail’s story reveals.

Continue reading "What Language You Want?" »

March 10, 2008

The Soldier

John Ricketts is a pallbearer at the funeral of an old soldier who fought in the Boar war.

Continue reading "The Soldier" »

March 08, 2008

My Love For Books And Reading

...During one particular journey home at the end of term, when I was 14, I purchased a paperback from the book kiosk at Kings Cross Station. (It was normal for me to do this in order to relieve the monotony of the three-and-a-half hour journey home). The book was the first in the 'Whiteoak' family stories by Mazo de la Roche - the 'Jalna' series.

I started to read it on the train and finished reading it within a day or two of arriving home. Very interesting I thought - a very good read, then looked to see what the next title in the series was, purchased it on my next trip to town, and had read that before returning to school the following week...

Hazel Dracup recalls how she became an avid reader. To enjoy more of Hazel's articles please type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "My Love For Books And Reading" »

March 05, 2008

The Mystery Girl

..."You know he done her in, and there's no more to be said about it." Mary was adamant, and was not going to be sidetracked. "And, anyway she deserved everything she got."...

But who did murder Jade? Elwyn Frankel's tale takes a surprising turn as the mystery is unravelled.

Continue reading "The Mystery Girl" »


Is Kotie really the sort of friend that a young girl should have?

Ida Smith tells a subtle tale about learning to survive in a hostile world.

Continue reading "Kotie" »

March 04, 2008

Uncle Alf

Nobody ever believed me when I told them that sausages were types of eggs. It was so obvious, why had they all to be so thick. I know very well that sausages were eggs, pork sausages were pig’s eggs and beef sausages were cow’s eggs.

David Craven confirms that young boys do not always know what they think they know.

To read more articles by David please type his name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Uncle Alf" »

March 01, 2008

The Field Day

Ken Higson tells of days when you could have lots of fun for two pence.

Continue reading "The Field Day" »

February 27, 2008

Robson's Choice

…In a daze I picked up and thumbed through a loose bundle. Five hundred used twenty pound notes. A rapid calculation . . . ten grand in this one bundle! And there were hundreds of them!…

Patrick Hopton tells the tasty tale of a man down on his luck, a Mercedes SL and four and a half million quid.

Continue reading "Robson's Choice" »

Brief Conversation

I you live in a certain part of the city it’s good to have a friend called Sheba, as Zelda Margo’s story reveals.

Continue reading "Brief Conversation" »

Darkness At Noon

Prolonged power cuts in Johannesburg prompted Lee Cohen to write this poem.

Continue reading "Darkness At Noon" »

February 26, 2008

Meeting Royalty

Hazel Dracup recalls the day when she handed a jar of lemon curd to Princess Margaret.

Continue reading "Meeting Royalty" »

February 20, 2008

Alec's Cow

...“First of all”, he said, “I’m telling you now that you’re not to mention anything about what I’m going to tell you to anybody outside this house.” Then he added that endearingly Irish and quite contradictory saying, “No matter what you say, say nothing.”...

Alan McConnell tells of mysterious goings-on in rural Ireland.

Alan vividly recreates the delights and mysteries of an idyllic boyhood. Settle down and enjoy a long, luxurious read.

Continue reading "Alec's Cow" »

A Yorkshire Wife’s Wedding or Fifty Thrifty Years

Vera Sanderson, in sprightly rhyme, tells of a Yorkshire couple who are cautious with their brass.

Continue reading "A Yorkshire Wife’s Wedding or Fifty Thrifty Years" »

February 19, 2008

Out Of The Silence

Monica Duckering's poem tells of awakening to new ideas.

Continue reading "Out Of The Silence" »

February 18, 2008

The Prospector

John Ricketts tells of a lonely gold prospector.

Continue reading "The Prospector" »

February 13, 2008

Say Good Morning

Jim Moore's poem tells of a travelling man - and a cup of tea to warm the soul.

Continue reading "Say Good Morning" »

February 12, 2008

Smile Please

Derek McQueen definitely was not smiling when things started to go wrong during his second commission as a wedding photographer.

Continue reading "Smile Please" »

February 10, 2008

The Angel Of Abundance

Janet Richards tells of the day when the Angel of Abundance came to call.

Continue reading "The Angel Of Abundance" »

February 06, 2008

The Conference

Beware who you engage in casual conversation at a conference, particularly so if they are not delegates. Derek McQueen tells a menacing tale.

To read more of Derek's stories please type his name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "The Conference" »

February 05, 2008

Bully Beef

Vera Sanderson mourns the passing of the roast beef of old England.

Continue reading "Bully Beef" »

February 04, 2008

Keyhole Surgery

John Ricketts tells of an early example of keyhole surgery.

Continue reading "Keyhole Surgery" »

February 02, 2008

More Than Words

Kind actions can echo down the years, says Merle Parkin.

Continue reading "More Than Words" »

January 30, 2008

First Flight

Barbara Patterson tells of a lady who conquered her fear of flying.

Continue reading "First Flight" »

January 29, 2008

The Brine Run

...Dad would go in his tanker which was painted in blue with the ICI logo on it. Tanker 148 was my dad’s. He would go to Cheshire in the morning, go into the Huddersfield ICI to empty the load, and then go back again in the afternoon for another load.

Every now and again in the summer holidays I would have the opportunity to go with him on the afternoon run...

Hazel Dracup tells of afternoons out with her Dad.

Continue reading "The Brine Run" »

January 28, 2008

Big Boy And Little Boy

John Ricketts, who was the headmaster of a school in Africa for a number of years, tells of lions in the classroom.

Continue reading "Big Boy And Little Boy" »

January 26, 2008

Memories Of My Father - James Harker

Marjorie Upson paints a word portrait of her father, James Harker, who was taken prisoner during the First World War.

Continue reading "Memories Of My Father - James Harker" »

January 22, 2008


Brenda Hellawell discovers that her accent identifies her as being from a specific town.

Continue reading "Accents" »

January 21, 2008

Trip To The Tate

A nice watercolour of Bakewell Bridge is better than 'owt in yon Tate Modern.

Derek McQueen tells the tale of a Barnsley couple who take the bus to London to see modern art.

Continue reading "Trip To The Tate" »

January 15, 2008

Operation Dragoon - Another Account

Back in November we ran a story by George Brierly who told how he came to be arrested by Americans while taking part in Operation Dragoon during World War Two.

Frank Thomas of Tiverton also took part in that airborne and seaborne assault on Nazi occupied Europe.

Today we are re-running George's story, and also Frank's memories of those epic events.

Continue reading "Operation Dragoon - Another Account" »

Point Lonsdale Snapshot

Barbara Tregonning's atmospheric poem shines a light on an Australian landmark.

Continue reading "Point Lonsdale Snapshot" »

January 14, 2008


John Ricketts recalls his first African game viewing trip.

Continue reading "Game" »

January 09, 2008

Small Daily Miracle

On a grey day, the queue is waiting, waiting… Vera Sanderson tells of a queue one would not wish to join.

Continue reading "Small Daily Miracle" »

January 08, 2008

The Growth Of A Monster

Barbara Patterson tells of those little monsters - sons and grandsons.

Continue reading "The Growth Of A Monster" »

January 06, 2008

The Mona Lisa

Have you ever wondered what she was thinking while her portrait was being painted? Mary Bourne goes inside the head of a very famous lady.

Continue reading "The Mona Lisa" »

January 05, 2008

The Joys Of Hunting

Vera Sanderson expresses her abhorrence of hunting.

Continue reading "The Joys Of Hunting" »

January 02, 2008

Don't Call Me Madam

Zelda Margo tells a sad South African tale.

Continue reading "Don't Call Me Madam" »

January 01, 2008

A Pair Of Boots

...Why did we not intervene? In that quiet, peaceful square where we had been so at ease there was now a feeling of a strange inadequacy, of things not being right with the world. lt was as though a cloud had descended to destroy what had previously seemed a perfect day?...

Betty Kay recalls an astonishing incident witnessed in a beautiful tree-lined square in a Spanish town.

Continue reading "A Pair Of Boots" »

December 31, 2007

Almost A Christmas Baby

…“Oh, hallo , Mr. Ricketts. Good News! A boy born yesterday at a few minutes to twelve. Yes your wife is fine though I’m not pleased with her at all. When I gave her the baby she burst out laughing. When I asked why, she said he was the funniest baby she’d ever seen; that he was all nose.”…

John Ricketts tells of a mad Christmas-time dash along bumpy African roads.

Continue reading "Almost A Christmas Baby" »

The Journey

...Christmas times were always happy times. We didn't have much, but the family get-togethers were magical for me. The local brass band and choir would come round the village to welcome in Christmas, and people would take out cake, mince pies and a warm drink for them. Sometimes when it was snowing it seemed to me like an old fashioned Christmas card with the adults and children in their colourful winter clothing carrying lanterns and singing carols and the snow falling all around them...

Brenda Hayler tells of a two-hour bus journey which carries her back to her early life.

Continue reading "The Journey" »

December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

John Bayley tells as story for December 26 - St Stephen's Day.

Continue reading "Boxing Day" »

December 25, 2007

O Come All Ye Faithful

...Beneath a cloudless star-filled sky several hundred worshippers, each with a lighted taper in one hand and a hymn sheet in the other, faced a candle-lit altar, and moments later to the words of 'O Come all ye Faithful' St. George's Cathedral Choir led in the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem and his retinue.

As the last notes of the first carol died away, the Great Bell of Bethlehem sent its message booming across the world: Jesus Christ is born....

Tom Swallow tells of being in Bethlehem on Christmas Day, 1939.

Continue reading "O Come All Ye Faithful" »

Christmas Dance

Pat Rollnik presents a poem for this special day.

Continue reading "Christmas Dance" »

December 24, 2007

To The Big City

...When we found a compartment it was already occupied by two elderly gentlemen, but once again in those days you never gave it a second thought. As we settled down to speculate about where we were going and what we were going to buy, we became aware that the two men were rehearsing some sort of script. We became curious and listened to them reading.

They realised that they were being watched so explained who they were. We were fascinated. They were Tom Forrest and Ned Larkin from 'The Archers'. Although we were both far too hip then to listen to the program, we had both been brought up on it and knew exactly who the characters were. Although The Archers was normally recorded in Birmingham, Tom and Ned were off to record an episode at the Smithfield Christmas Fat Stock Show...

Wendy Bower tells of meeting two famous radio characters on a shopping trip to London.

Continue reading "To The Big City" »

December 23, 2007

What Is Christmas?

Pat Rollnick sums up this special time in a poem.

Continue reading "What Is Christmas?" »

December 17, 2007

A Soggy Christmas

No eletricity...no dinner...rain coming through the bedroom roof....

John Ricketts tells of a soggy and dismal Christmas Day in Africa.

Continue reading "A Soggy Christmas" »

December 12, 2007


Mima Fisher tells of the war fought by Australian farmers against the common enemy - rabbits.

Continue reading "Rabbits" »

December 11, 2007


Nancie Dyson recalls the stern days of wartime rationing.

Continue reading "Rationing" »

December 06, 2007


...We sang Fill Thou my Life or The King of Love my Shepherd is with There is a Green Hill at Easter and harvest hymns at the appropriate time and of course carols at Christmas.

November 11th was kept every year with 2 minutes silence which seemed like an eternity, and nearly always somebody fainted which added a bit of drama to things...

Peggy MacKay recalls her school days.

Continue reading "School" »

December 04, 2007

A Feast For Christmas

Lonely Jenny finds the hope of happiness in her local supermarket.

Barbara Adams tells a heart-warming Christmas story.

Continue reading "A Feast For Christmas" »

December 03, 2007

Songs My Father Taught Me

John Ricketts' dad was not one to sing him lullabies. Instead he gave voice to classic music hall songs.

Continue reading "Songs My Father Taught Me" »

November 29, 2007

Enriching Lives

...Now I have two young grandchildren. I can look back on my experiences with my grandparents and am able to take the positive things I learnt and pass them onto my grandchildren and hopefully enrich their lives in the same way that mine did for me...

Hazel Dracup remembers her grand parents with deep affection

Continue reading "Enriching Lives" »

November 27, 2007

Fishes And Pear Drops

….My teacher was Miss Walker. We wrote on slates with slate pencils, which made squeaky noises when we used them. I remember dried beans for learning how to count, add and subtract.

When leaving school on Fridays Miss Walker rewarded those who had been very good, or had done exceptional work, with boiled sweets (fishes and pear drops). I never qualified in either category. No surprises there!…

Nancie Dyson recalls her primary school days.

Continue reading "Fishes And Pear Drops" »

November 25, 2007

It's The Thought That Counts

Gerald Newman became an astonishingly different person after being struck by a Sheffield tram. But was it a change for the better?

Derek McQueen tells a tale about a man who knew too much.

Continue reading "It's The Thought That Counts" »

November 20, 2007

Home Sweet Home

...Going for walks up Liley Lane and across the various fields with Grandad as he told me stories of the area, including Shuttle Eye Colliery where he had worked for over 50 years. We collected ladybirds and brought them home in matchboxes...

Hazel Dracup tells of her affection for a Yorkshire mining village.

Continue reading "Home Sweet Home" »

November 19, 2007


John Ricketts considers some of the numbers which have ruled his life.

Continue reading "Numbers" »

November 18, 2007

The Fancy Dress Party

There were Cowboys and Knights, Andy Pandy and Looby Loo...

Irene Grundy tells of a fancy dress party.

Continue reading "The Fancy Dress Party" »

November 14, 2007

Operation Dragoon

George Brierly tells how he came to be arrested by Americans while taking part in Operation Dragoon during World War Two.

Continue reading "Operation Dragoon" »

November 13, 2007

From Ash To Ashes

Vera Sanderson presents a cautionary poem. I do hope you are not smoking a cigarette while reading it!

Continue reading "From Ash To Ashes" »

November 05, 2007

African Holiday

…Suddenly, there in the water near where I and two other me were not just one but three crocodiles. Three crocs each fifteen feet long. I can see you have visions of us each wrestling with one of them. Actually there were three crocodiles each fifteen inches long. We each grabbed one and took them ashore and put them into large bowl. After that we were much more careful as little crocs meant that there must be big ones somewhere about. However none was ever found…

John Ricketts recalls an astonishing family holiday on the shores of Lake Nyasa.

Continue reading "African Holiday" »

November 01, 2007

My Forties Challenge

…The Advanced Driving test itself covers a course of approxomately 40 miles and incorporates all the different types of road. It covers town centres, dual and single carriageways, motorways and country lanes. During this time the examiner, besides giving instructions as to where to turn etc, asks questions at random about what signs or road markings one has just passed and it is important to keep your eyes peeled for as many signs as you can. You also have to watch the speedometer regularly as you have to keep within the speed limit wherever you are…

Hazel Dracup tells of facing up to a stern driving challenge.

Continue reading "My Forties Challenge" »

October 31, 2007

The Calamities Of Food Rationing

Best not to have a pet dog about when sweets were rationed, as Marjorie Hicks recalls.

Continue reading "The Calamities Of Food Rationing" »

October 30, 2007

String Of Pearls

Dahrini Parameshwaran tells of a family heirloom - a string of pearls.

Continue reading "String Of Pearls" »

October 29, 2007

Fifty Years On

Barbara Adams tells a delicious tale of progressive attitudes at a 50-year school re-union.

Continue reading "Fifty Years On" »

October 28, 2007

Flights Of Fancy

Virginia Nasmyth's thoughts float far and wide as she considers the meaning of flight.

Continue reading "Flights Of Fancy" »

October 25, 2007

The House

Jim Moore tells of the trials and tribulations of building a new home.

Continue reading "The House" »

October 24, 2007

Different Paths

...There was another surprise in store when I discovered that I could shoot straight and hit the target. The 303 Lee Enfield was the rifle, but my weapon of choice was the LMG, the Bren gun. When a new consignment of weapons arrived at the barracks, Sgt. Bennett, Corporal Mathews, Alan Heppenstall and myself were chosen to take the guns onto the range and zero them in. We were told to take refreshments with us, and my wife had cooked sausage pies. These were absolutely gorgeous and were probably the reason why I was chosen for two similar outings. On both subsequent occasions I was told by Corporal Mathews not to forget the pies...

David Bennett tells of his days in the Army as a National Serviceman.

Continue reading "Different Paths" »

October 23, 2007

Going Abroad

Hazel Dracup tells of her first holiday abroad in a beautiful small town in Southern France.

Continue reading "Going Abroad" »

October 22, 2007


Lesley Baxter tells of an "aunt'' who lived a solitary life in a one-room home in less-affluent times.

Continue reading "Baby" »

Not In The Curriculum

John Ricketts tells of grim situations he had to face as the head of a city primary school.

Continue reading "Not In The Curriculum" »

October 15, 2007

My Arrival

Gerry Collins tells of a once-in-a-lifetime event that we all experience.

Continue reading "My Arrival" »

October 11, 2007

City Of Contrasts

Virginia Nasmyth tells of a day in the life of a city.

Continue reading "City Of Contrasts" »

October 08, 2007

Going Modern

In this computer age John Ricketts is thinking about pen and ink.

Continue reading "Going Modern" »

October 07, 2007

Sticking Together

Derek McQueen "eavesdrops'' when two giants of modern art, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, meet in Paris to discuss the future of cubism.

Continue reading "Sticking Together" »

October 02, 2007

Strange Landscape

Jan Kennedy's story concerns a new outlook on the world.

Continue reading "Strange Landscape" »

October 01, 2007

A Tale Of Two Cities

All is not as it first seems to be in this intriguing tale of different lifestyles by Mary Cryer.

Continue reading "A Tale Of Two Cities" »

September 24, 2007

The Arsonist

…It soon became apparent that we were fighting a loosing battle . Our beating was achieving nothing. Suddenly a wind came up again, and we saw the fire, fifteen foot high, racing towards us. We dropped our beaters and ran. In front of us was the Anglican Church which had been built almost to roof level. Fortunately there was no glass in the windows and we dived in, minus eyebrows, arm hairs and with smouldering scalps and clothing which we managed to beat out…

John Ricketts learns at first-hand the danger of lighting a fire in the African dry season.

Continue reading "The Arsonist" »

September 23, 2007

The Flight

...All these years she had managed to avoid flying anywhere since that one time when all her worst fears had been confirmed. Edgar, her husband, had been the only person who knew about and understood her terror of heights and confined spaces. The very thought of being shut in a plane, or watching a film of people balancing on precarious heights turned her legs to jelly...

Beryl Roper tells an encouraging tale about Anna, and her jelly legs.

Continue reading "The Flight" »

September 12, 2007


Cecily Cross’s poem tells of endurance.

Continue reading "Earthbound" »

September 11, 2007

A Fete Worse Than Death

Patrick Hopton tells a delicious tale concerning the annual village fete at Little Bogbury.

Story telling at its very best….

Continue reading "A Fete Worse Than Death" »

September 10, 2007


Margaret John recalls her wartime days in the Royal Air Force.

Continue reading "Memories" »

Interesting News

When John Ricketts was headmaster of a school in Africa he encouraged children to gain in confidence by standing up before the class to tell the news.

But the news which young Bill eventually brought to the class was more interesting than he realised.

Continue reading "Interesting News" »

September 09, 2007

The Pits

Ken is trapped in a pit, and the water is rising. Will his wife Jeannie save him from drowning?

Derek McQueen tells a dramatic tale.

Continue reading "The Pits" »

September 05, 2007

Small Person, Big Voice

...On one occasion after we had done our piece and were sitting quietly as usual, the compere came up to Auntie to ask if we could do something else. One of the artistes had failed to arrive and a fill-in was needed. As I have said, we were not naturally gifted dancers and our repetoire was limited. Auntie had to reluctantly decline, saying that we had nothing else prepared just at that time as rehearsals for our new routine were only in their early stages.

However, the compere did not give up. "Can they sing?" he asked. We did know a few songs and had sung in the chorus with the others at Auntie's other shows, but never on our own...

Muriel Spencer may have been the smallest girl in her class, but she proved that she had the loudest voice.

Continue reading "Small Person, Big Voice" »

September 02, 2007


Patrick Hopton tells a hot tale concerning incidents on a freezing day.

Continue reading "Tailback" »

August 31, 2007

What Have The Jews Done For Us?

...Judaism teaches that to help others is a privilege and an obligation, a sacred duty embodied in the unique Hebrew word, “Mitzvah”. That duty has been performed down the centuries by countless Jews in their quest for truth, justice, peace and human happiness and their desire to build a better life and to contribute to the well-being of their fellow citizens in whatever countries they have adopted as their home...

Stanley Solomons, with words that come from both the head and the heart, tells of the immense - almost immeasurable - contribution Jews have made to the advancement of civilisation.

Continue reading "What Have The Jews Done For Us?" »

August 30, 2007


Marjory Kershaw’s delightful article proves that the best way to cope with senior moments is to keep hold of one’s sense of humour.

Continue reading "Bonkers" »

August 29, 2007

The Dinner Girl

...When I was ten years old in February 1937, it became my duty to be Dinner Girl for the Smithy Men (my uncles). My mother was the only married member of the family and because I was the eldest grandchild it became my honour to take the job.

I went to Deane Church of England School, three doors from the family home, so, as soon as the twelve noon dinner bell went, I had to grab my clothes and collect the dinners. Aunt Mary had them ready in a basket, a dinner for each of the uncles, placed in individual enamel dishes with saucers on top, (no cling film in those days). There were also smaller dishes for the puddings, plus spoons to eat with and everything covered with a thick cotton terry towel to keep warm...

Myra Higson recalls her early days in Bolton, Lancashire.

Continue reading "The Dinner Girl" »

August 22, 2007


Poor Mark! A young man without a girlfriend. Then he meets the beautiful Maria, an enchanting Italian girl and they arrange a meeting. But there is a clash of dates. City have a vital Cup re-play game. What should football fan Mark do?

Patrick Hopton tells a suspensful tale.

Continue reading "Scoreless" »

August 21, 2007

At The Till

Derek McQueen tells a tale of what could be a lucky meeting at a supermarket check-out.

Continue reading "At The Till" »

August 20, 2007

Spring In December

Albert Hoskins, an 82-year-old resident in Eventide Home, falls for one of his carers, a beautiful young Polish girl…

Master story-teller Patrick Hopton’s tale contains satisfying surprises.

Continue reading "Spring In December" »

Big Cats

John Ricketts, who served as a headmaster in Africa, tells of the day that his dog Samson was confronted by the big cats.

Continue reading "Big Cats" »

August 14, 2007

The Choice

Alan faces a big decision - to leave home, or not to leave home.

Virginia Nasmyth tells a good-humoured tale which will stir many memories.

Continue reading "The Choice" »

August 12, 2007

Mrs Tolly

Derek McQueen tells the moving story of a love which never died.

To read more stories by Derek please type his name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Mrs Tolly" »

August 06, 2007

Election Day

…There was a great deal of warmth amongst the people. It was as if magically they had all decided that for one day in their lives they were all going to live in peace and harmony. And they were succeeding admirably. This day was a momentous day; a day which marked the end of one epoch and the beginning of a new era. This day was symbolic of the golden millennium…

Yusuf Garda recalls a golden day in the history of South Africa.

Continue reading "Election Day" »

August 01, 2007

High On Africa

Jo Earle and Keith Manchester tell of climbing Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro.

Continue reading "High On Africa" »

July 31, 2007

It's All In The Breeding

Read these words by Phyllis Thorby and, assuming you are not already an enthusiasist, you will begin to get some understanding of the thrill of the racing game.

Continue reading "It's All In The Breeding" »

July 30, 2007

The Cheese Chef

Derek McQueen tells of a significant encounter in a Tunisian hotel lift.

To read more of Derek's stories please type his name in the search box on this page. And do visit our Gallery to see some of his pictures.

Continue reading "The Cheese Chef" »


John Ricketts tells of his first glimpse of the “school’’ in an African mining town. John had been appointed the school’s headmaster.

Continue reading "Kansanshi" »

July 29, 2007


Gill Laurence recalls bygone days.

Continue reading "Memories" »

July 04, 2007

Down At The Fish

The regulars at The Fish were disappointed when their "local'' was bought by a TV celebrity look-alike. But was he a look-alike, or could he be...?

Derek McQueen tells a fishy tale.

Continue reading "Down At The Fish" »

July 02, 2007

The Cornish Smugglers

Mike Eastwood tells of a fabulous boyhood adventure while on holiday in Cornwall.

Continue reading "The Cornish Smugglers" »

June 27, 2007

The Eighth Message

In this delicious tale, narrated as a series of recorded phone messages, Patrick Hopton tells of infidelity...and retribution?

Continue reading "The Eighth Message" »

June 25, 2007


Zelda Margo tells of a couple who are together, but apart.

Continue reading "Listening" »

June 20, 2007

The Confessions Of Mrs O'Malley

The recital of Mrs O'Malley's sins bores Father Hennessy as he here's her confessions week by week. Then Mrs O'Malley tells the priest that her brother has died in the United States, and she has been named a benificiary in his will..

Patrick Hopton, a born story-teller, presents a deliciously wicked tale.

Continue reading "The Confessions Of Mrs O'Malley" »

June 19, 2007

Fifty Years In South Wales

Herta Puls is less than enchanted with developments in the Welsh countryside.

Continue reading "Fifty Years In South Wales" »

June 18, 2007

Big Boy And Little Boy

John Ricketts had a surprise visitor at the school in which he was teaching in what was then Northern Rhodesia.

Continue reading "Big Boy And Little Boy" »

June 12, 2007

Memories Of Childhood

...my attention was always drawn to the row of painted cocoa tins on the mantelpiece in which granddad put pennies every week for each of his grandchildren. It was a highlight of the year when at Christmas and again at holiday time the tins were ceremoniously opened and the contents handed over...

Norma Shreeve recalls her childhood days in Stockport.

Continue reading "Memories Of Childhood" »

June 06, 2007

Mention My Name

Zelda Margo’s tale concerns a friend who knew too many people.

Continue reading "Mention My Name" »

June 04, 2007

The Scheming Devils

…I’m an NLA, Grade 1. That’s a Never Loving Angel. The main job of an NLA is to plant wicked thoughts into the minds of Mankind…

Walter Murton tells a choice and highly-imaginative tale..

Continue reading "The Scheming Devils" »

Rhodesian Journey

John Ricketts goes driving in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), on his way to take up a post as the headmaster of a school.

Continue reading "Rhodesian Journey" »

June 02, 2007

Climate Change, SW16

In this environmentally-conscious age who is the greenest of the green. Is it Simon Barlow, or is it his wife Sarah.

Patrick Hopton tells a delicious contemporary tale.

Continue reading "Climate Change, SW16" »

May 30, 2007

Weep No More

…One day at the beginning of winter, standing on the cold blustery veranda, Thomas attempted to say something, but everyone continued talking as though he’d not spoken. He was coughing badly and the pouches under his eyes were more pronounced than ever. The frayed scarf around his neck gave him the appearance of a tortoise as he craned his head this way and that.

“I’ve got my coffin alright.” We stopped talking. “Had my coffin up there in the shack for the past three years.”…

Ida Smith tells an astonishing and unforgettable South African tale.

Continue reading "Weep No More" »

May 28, 2007


Zawa Conradie wrote this piece for her 12-year-old daughter. “She is between being a little girl and a young lady, and I am fortunate in that I have a close and open relationship with her. There is so much to be said, so much to learn, (by us both). So little time.”

Continue reading "Twelve" »

May 21, 2007

Into Africa

John Ricketts tells of a fraught air journey from London to the then Rhodesia in 1957.

Continue reading "Into Africa" »

May 15, 2007

When I Was An Evacuee

At the outbreak of war John Smith was told by his grandma that he was going to stay with his aunt in the country. "I wondered why I had not heard about this "Aunt" before, and was puzzled my Grandmother's reticence on the subject. I did not realise that she did not have a clue, where I was going, but was just carrying out Government instructions for the safety of children.''

Continue reading "When I Was An Evacuee" »

May 14, 2007

The World Ends At Lunchtime

A friend who is a meteorologist phones and tells you that the world is about to end. Armageddon is nigh. So what do you do? How about enjoying a spot of lunch?

Ruth Kriszanowsky tells a tasty tale.

Continue reading "The World Ends At Lunchtime" »

May 09, 2007

The Look

This desirable creature with elegant legs and golden-brown eyes was a desirable catch. Such a pity that she should have become an pbject of fashion.

Zelda Margo’s story has a sting in its tail.

Continue reading "The Look" »

May 08, 2007

My War Years

...It was decided that the office I had previously shared was too big for one little lady and I was moved to a small hut next to the stores. The head store keeper was a big man with the improbable name of Dai Jesus and who not only had a strong Welsh accent but also a cleft palate. Conversation with him was fraught...

Joan Henry recalls her wartime days as a film projectionist.

Continue reading "My War Years" »

May 07, 2007


John Ricketts tells of finding himself accused of violence against a boy while teaching in Rhodesia.

Continue reading "Nightmare" »

May 01, 2007


...The beautiful St Mary's Church, where the pupils of the Church school were marched up to commemorate all the Saint's days. The Church inspector visited the school regularly. The pupils practised the catechism every morning and were word perfect for the auspicious occasion of the scripture exam...

Shirley Sperring recalls her village as it was more than five decades ago.

Continue reading "Caldicot" »

April 29, 2007

Another Birthday

Ray Harman’s poem celebrates the many activities and study groups offered to members of the University of the Third Age. Ray is a member of Malden and District U3A.

Continue reading "Another Birthday" »

April 25, 2007

Wartime Through The Eyes Of A Teenager

…We had to have air raid practice with allocated shelters, and every other week we had to practise wearing our gas masks. As someone who has always suffered from claustrophobia, I kept a finger tucked in my gas mask so that I could breathe…

Nancie Dyson vividly recalls her experiences during World War Two.

Continue reading "Wartime Through The Eyes Of A Teenager" »

April 24, 2007

I Fish

So why does the man fish everyday when he is of working age? Zelda Margo tells of an astonishing encounter.

Continue reading "I Fish" »

April 23, 2007

Being Remembered

Despite our details being stored in computers, John Ricketts doubts that we will be remembered for as long as some Romans.

Continue reading "Being Remembered" »

April 18, 2007

The Necklace

...Some years later his father died, by which time Dom Frano had abandoned every vestige of his Roman Catholic faith and lived like a hermit. Dispensing with formality, he heaved his dead father onto his back with no shroud or cloth to cover his body, and – much to the horror of the villagers – carried him through the village to the local burial ground where he dug a hole and unceremoniously threw his father in, without a word of prayer or a blessing of any kind. He filled up the hole and walked back to his home without speaking to any of the villagers, several of whom had gathered to commiserate....

Marija Reed tells the astonishing story of how she came to own a necklace that allegedly came from the court of Emperor Franz Joseph, ruler of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Continue reading "The Necklace" »

April 11, 2007

It All Goes Past-Yer-Eyes

Vera Sanderson tells an intriguing tale involving the loquacious Lotte, her milkman, and a green and gold foil bottle cap.

Continue reading "It All Goes Past-Yer-Eyes" »

April 10, 2007

Brits In France

The words that Ray Harman learned in a University of the Third Age French group were useful when he visited La Belle France - up to une point.

Continue reading "Brits In France" »


Zelda Margo tells a tale of a husband who does not listen.

Continue reading "Listening" »

April 09, 2007


Smells can bring back memories, both good and bad, as John Ricketts reveals.

Continue reading "Smells" »

April 06, 2007

The Indian - A Matchless Beauty

…It was a fatal attraction from the very first moment that he caught sight of her. She was learning against the wall, the spring sunlight illuminating her sinuous lines and dark, matchless, exotic beauty….

Vera Sanderson tells of a torrid love affair.

Continue reading "The Indian - A Matchless Beauty" »

March 31, 2007

The Missing Ingedient

Ida Smith tells a South African story of hopes unrealised.

Continue reading "The Missing Ingedient" »

March 30, 2007

At Home In Birkenhead

…There was an alleyway access to the back yard, which we called 'the entry' but others called 'the jigger'. My mum decreed that this word was 'common'! I remember once having some (forbidden) chewing gum and hiding it on the window-sill of another house in the entry. I had to reach above my head but to my mother it was clearly visible from her back kitchen window. Sometimes we were given the embarrassing (to us) job of counting how many sacks the coalman had emptied into the coal-place next to the outside loo. The last job on wash day was to use the last of the water to swill the yard and scrub it with a stiff brush….

Elizabeth Robison recalls her childhood home in Birkenhead. For more of Liz’s entertaining words please click on A Potter’s Moll in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "At Home In Birkenhead" »

March 28, 2007


...The snow continued day after miserable day. Each time it fell, the last layer was frozen solid ready for the next batch. I don’t remember how long it took to fall, but one of our friends, Albert, who was in the army had come on leave from Egypt just as the first flakes fell. He spent his three months leave in England, returning to Egypt without seeing a blade of grass...

Marjorie Upson recalls the year when Britain was snowed in for months.

Continue reading "Snowbound" »

March 26, 2007

First Flight

…“Oh you can sit on your kit bags,” was the reply. “It will be better than sitting on the cold metal. You can dangle your legs over the edge there.”

As our eyes got used to the dim light we realised that we were sitting with our legs dangling into the bomb bays of the Liberator…

John Ricketts’s first flight was a long way from being comfortable.

Continue reading "First Flight" »

March 20, 2007

Precious Memories

...My dearest playmate, friend and companion was our sheep dog Chum. We had to walk across two fields to get to the house or down a long muddy lane - wellington boots were essential equipment! We kept one milking cow named Judy and made our own butter in a long wooden churn. The skimmed milk left was used to rear one or two calves who were suckled by hand...

Joyce Nicholas tells of delightful days in the heart of rural Wales.

Continue reading "Precious Memories" »

March 14, 2007

The Wolf In The Forest

Norman Hodghton re-tells a very famous childrens' tale - this time from the wolf's point of view.

Continue reading "The Wolf In The Forest" »

March 12, 2007

Swearing - A Time And A Place For Everything

John Ricketts recalls the day when he finally made the quietly-spoken sergeant armourer use bad language.

Continue reading "Swearing - A Time And A Place For Everything" »

March 10, 2007

Mother's Words

Peggy MacKay recalls some of her mother’s favourite sayings.

Continue reading "Mother's Words" »

March 06, 2007

Full Circle

Ivy Hollingworth writes of a dreaded disease, pulmonary tuberculosis.

Continue reading "Full Circle" »

March 04, 2007

A 1930s School Day

...Meanwhile mother is up, making porridge, packing our lunch and seeing that two bricks are in the oven warming, to be put in the pony's bag of chaff, to act as a foot warmer for us as we drive the five and a half miles to high school at Lilydale...

Mima Fisher remembers with delight what a school day was like in the 1930s.

Continue reading "A 1930s School Day" »

February 27, 2007

A Winter's Tale

Mike Eastwood looks back longingly at the snowy winters of his boyhood.

Continue reading "A Winter's Tale" »

A Thirsty Story

Was it red wine that resulted in a North African victory? Norman Pringle tells a wartime tale.

Continue reading "A Thirsty Story" »

February 26, 2007


John Ricketts recalls the day he turned down a job in the film industry.

Continue reading "Decisions" »

February 18, 2007

A Boy Called Bill

...They gazed in awe at this large house, bigger than they ever seen in their lives. The car pulled up at the front entrance. As they alighted, the front door of the house opened, and three excited children came running out to meet them, followed by a lady...

Rose Perry tells of a family who led fulfilled lives after moving to Adelaide.

Continue reading "A Boy Called Bill" »

February 16, 2007

The Striped Blazer

Derek McQueen tells a tale of a retired music hall entertainer – a real charmer in his striped blazer, even if he had a voice to challenge the stoutest eardrum.

For more if Derek’s stories please type his name in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "The Striped Blazer" »

February 13, 2007

The New Millennium

Cecilia Evans writes a poem about the new millennium, when computer problems were predicted to result in all manner of disasters.

Continue reading "The New Millennium" »

February 12, 2007

The Ten-Bob Bike

John Rickets goes for a disastrous ride on a ten-bob bike.

Continue reading "The Ten-Bob Bike" »

February 11, 2007

Tilting At Windmills

Meryl’s Nickels's 14-word poem is long enough to delight every writer.

Continue reading "Tilting At Windmills" »

February 06, 2007

Happy Days

...I can always remember a wireless in our house - all be it operated by batteries. A large dry battery and a wet accumulator which had to be charged on a regular basis. They were very selective when it was switched on to conserve the batteries. News and weather bulletins were always listened to and I can well remember getting up in the early hours of the morning to listen to the commentary of the Tommy Farr and Joe Louis fight, a crackling and fading transmission from America...

Bill Davies recalls an idyllic Welsh childhood.

Continue reading "Happy Days" »

February 04, 2007

Murray Musings

Elaline Lawton’s poetic musings flow as smoothly as the great Murray river.

Continue reading "Murray Musings" »

February 02, 2007


…The ceremony was a lovely blur. My main memory is of standing next to Jim and thinking that he seemed much taller than I remembered. On looking down, I discovered that he was wearing some ginger-coloured bell-bottoms with suede platform soled shoes with quite high Cuban heels. This was topped with a maroon belted suede jacket and later, as we drove away, a deer-stalker hat…

Liz Robison recalls her wedding day. Do watch out for Liz’s regular column in Open Writing, A Potter’s Moll.

Continue reading "Weddings" »

January 30, 2007


Kay Burgess pays a tribute in rhyme to the village where she lives.

Continue reading "Caldicot" »

January 29, 2007

Learning About Locusts

John Ricketts, who was the head of a school in Africa, learned something about locusts.

Continue reading "Learning About Locusts" »

January 26, 2007

That Day At Lockhart Gorge

Jill Moore tells of high drama at Lockhart Gorge, a rocky gully on the south coast of Victoria, Australia.

Continue reading "That Day At Lockhart Gorge" »

January 23, 2007

To A Lady Of Courage

After reading Guy Roberts's poem we sympathise with the lady of courage even though we do not know her name.

Continue reading "To A Lady Of Courage" »

January 19, 2007

Art Deco Rendezvous

All it took to ruin a perfect day in London – and much more besides – was one quick phone call, as Derek McQueen’s story reveals.

Derek, whose tale involves an art exhibition at the Royal Academy, is an artist. Please do visit his Web site http://www.derekmcqueen.com/

Continue reading "Art Deco Rendezvous" »

January 16, 2007

Telling Tales

...Our house received three of the bombs but, as my grandfather refused to use the Anderson shelter, preferring to die in his own bed, he was on site and able to put the fires out...

Sheila Dennis tells some family tales.

Continue reading "Telling Tales" »

January 15, 2007


John Ricketts tells another tale of his time as a headmaster in Africa.

Continue reading "Robert" »

January 14, 2007

The Dunny Man

...The dunny man came regularly once each week, hail, rain or shine, in a motor truck loaded with dunny cans each about 2 ft high (high being the operative word), and 1ft 6 inches wide. There must have been something like forty cans on each load, because us kids jokingly referred to the dunny truck as being the most powerful vehicle in the world, "It has forty cylinders and flies", we would always say...

Ken Carr recalls the characters who, long years ago, were essential in ensuring a sweet life in small Australian towns.

Continue reading "The Dunny Man" »

January 10, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Moira Marchant recalls harsh winters on the island of Newfoundland.

Continue reading "Winter Wonderland" »

January 09, 2007

A Hectic Fortnight In June

Rodney Imrie recalls a thrilling and right-royal fortnight in June, 1953, when he was serving in the Royal Navy.

Continue reading "A Hectic Fortnight In June" »

The Match

A football match convinces Janet Richards of how good life can be.

Continue reading "The Match" »

January 07, 2007

The Zoo

Cassandra Bicker’s splendid poem is a rebellion in rhyme against life behind bars.

Continue reading "The Zoo" »

January 05, 2007

Toys Wich Didn't Beep

…Certainly nothing I ever played with as a child ever needed batteries, except one very prized torch…

Elizabeth Robison remembers days when children’s toys were powered with imagination, rather than electricity.

Continue reading "Toys Wich Didn't Beep" »

January 04, 2007

The Epitaph

Michael might have been a bit of a rogue - but did he deserve his end? Sandy Saunders tells a tale filled with the best kind of Irish blarney.

Continue reading "The Epitaph" »

January 02, 2007

Dew, It Was Hard

...I was now fifteen years of age and finally got my wish to work underground at the pit. I was to work with Ivor Davies (also known as Dollgano) - apparently he was called this after a famous card player. Doll was mad on cards, I think he was the best I've ever seen. I will never forget that first morning shift. I had to pick up my lamp from the lamp house, they were the old type and weighed over twelve pounds. Then, with my water can (jack) containing two pints of water and my food box, I started the one mile walk to the coal face with the colliers. My cap was too big, it was lucky I had ears! I tried to hang the lamp on my belt like the other men but it kept hitting and bruising the inside of legs. I was already getting tired and thirsty, my arms were aching and I started to drink my water. The lads told me to stop drinking, 'When your water is gone there will be no more. There are no taps underground, water is gold'....

In this vivid and unforgettable slice of autobiography Viv Saunders tells of hard times in a Welsh mining village.

Continue reading "Dew, It Was Hard" »

January 01, 2007

The House In Brewery Street

…At then end of the court were several privies. I can see now the square of newspaper hanging from a string which was on a nail. Again, I don’t think that they had any water supply. A hole was cut into the wooden seat which had been bleached by repeated scrubbings…

John Ricketts describes a working-class home in Birmingham in the 1930s.

Continue reading "The House In Brewery Street" »

December 30, 2006

An Unwelcome Experience

2006 brought a most unwelcome experience for Peggy MacKay.

Continue reading "An Unwelcome Experience" »

December 29, 2006

Letters For Hester

...But, some months later, on a day that I can still clearly remember, something awful happened at school. Meneer, the principal, had just finished reading the prayer, when Siena began to weep loudly. She was sitting at her desk at the back of the classroom, shaking uncontrollably, her head in her arms. Meneer, a big, stern-faced man, still holding the Bible, walked briskly over to her...

Siena has heard the news that the husband of her sister Hester has been killed in an accident. But did Hester really have a husband? Ida Smith tells a deeply intriguing South African story.

Continue reading "Letters For Hester" »

December 28, 2006

Pool Of Memories

Barbara Patterson tells of the creation of a famous painting.

Continue reading "Pool Of Memories" »

December 27, 2006

Taxi Talk

So what’s the subject of the conversation when taxi drivers are shooting the breeze? Len Bourne reveals all.

Continue reading "Taxi Talk" »

December 26, 2006

Sheep's Broth

Doreen Bryant recalls a bleak Christmas during the depression years - with sheep's broth for dinner.

Continue reading "Sheep's Broth" »

December 23, 2006

Happy Christmases

Jennie Boothroyd recalls Christmases of yesteryear.

Continue reading "Happy Christmases" »

December 22, 2006

The Police Are Onto Me

Lee Cohen tells of the day that an author received an unexpected visit from a Story Policeman.

Continue reading "The Police Are Onto Me" »

December 18, 2006


Snow brought exciting, enchanting times to the boys at a boarding school, as John Ricketts reveals.

Continue reading "Snow" »

December 10, 2006

The Christmas Surprise

The fruit cake fan has a Christmas surprise for his wife, as Elwyn Frankel’s story reveals.

Continue reading "The Christmas Surprise" »

December 06, 2006

The Health Club

While Arthur and Jim are at the health club they take it in turn to confess their problems. Jim, having trouble with his investments, has lost £20,000. However, something is waiting when he arrives home to convince him that money isn’t everything. Derek McQueen tells a lusty tale.

Continue reading "The Health Club" »

December 04, 2006

Wearing A Uniform

John Ricketts says that he has worn uniforms all his life. The only time he could escape formal dress was while gardening in his allotment.

Continue reading "Wearing A Uniform" »

November 29, 2006

Turning The Clocks Back

"The radio played a big part in our lives and both my brothers and I had crystal sets, (home-made of course). Dad was a radio buff and made our radios and also built the cabinets to put them into. Uncle Mac on Children's hour, Dick Barton Special Agent, Radio Luxemburg and The Ovaltinies, Happy Girls and Boys and George Formby singing “Keep Fit, Chew Phenamint”, another version of Andrews Liver Salts if I remember correctly. But don't quote me it was a long time ago...''

Nancie Dyson treasures memories of long winter evenings when she was young.

Continue reading "Turning The Clocks Back" »

November 26, 2006

A Phone Is Not A Bone

In Monica Duckering’s poem Mackie the dog has to learn a simple lesson. A phone is not a bone.

Continue reading "A Phone Is Not A Bone" »

November 25, 2006

Favourite Place

Peggy MacKay writes about her beloved Colne Valley in Yorkshire.

Continue reading "Favourite Place" »

November 20, 2006

First Days At A New School

…I was dressed in my new uniform of sports coat, short grey trousers, white shirt and a school tie. That was the weekday uniform. On Sundays and high days it consisted of black jacket, striped trousers, Eton collar and black tie…

John Ricketts goes off to a boarding school for the sons of Catholic gentlemen.

Continue reading "First Days At A New School" »

November 19, 2006

A Slice Of Army Life

Jack Isaacs recalls the day when a curse saved his life.

Continue reading "A Slice Of Army Life" »

November 17, 2006

School Report

….Elizabeth has worked well but this result is a little disappointing. Impetuosity which results in carelessness is the main drawback…

Elizabeth Robison recalls one of the most dreaded of all documents, the school report.

To read more of Elizabeth's delicious words please write her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "School Report" »

November 14, 2006

Keeping In Touch By Telephone

...How sad it is then when the final click is heard
We remember the multitude of things we'd meant to say...

Guy Roberts tells of the joy, and the frustrations, of keeping in touch by phone.

Continue reading "Keeping In Touch By Telephone" »

November 08, 2006

I Remember...

"Antiene was a lonely place for a child but I soon learnt to become my own best friend and created many interesting things to do. Dad put up an old railway tent for a cubby house and I played here on my own for many hours each day, dressing up and creating scrapbooks...''

With a vivid eye for detail. Pat McLaren-Smith recalls her lonely childhood and her school days.

Continue reading "I Remember..." »

November 07, 2006

The Orient Express

...At about 5.30 the Chef de Cuisine came to ask whether we wanted first or second sitting for dinner - we opted for first. We unpacked and dressed for dinner which was an evening dress affair. The dining car was truly Victorian luxury, panelled in olive green picked out with gold with the lights, table lamps and other fittings in brass....

Frank Straw recalls a journey in the lap of luxury aboard the Orient Express.

Continue reading "The Orient Express" »

November 06, 2006

Birthday Memories

John Ricketts recalls his first love.

Continue reading "Birthday Memories" »

November 01, 2006

Playing Out

Irene Grundy recalls the joys of playing out when she was a girl.

Continue reading "Playing Out" »

Life In Ultima

Jack Mott recalls life in Ultima, Victoria, during the war years.

Continue reading "Life In Ultima" »

October 31, 2006

Colonial Service

"When we arrived we did have a bungalow peeping out of the tall elephant grass surrounding it, but no water or electricity. For several months I was the only European woman there, and my two year old daughter the only European child. We were certainly pioneers, but grew to love the country...''

Kathleen Wakeham recalls days in Nigeria in the 1950s.

Continue reading "Colonial Service" »

October 27, 2006

My Mother's War

...My mother's war ended when my brother came home on his demob leave and said he wished to become engaged to a Dutch girl. He hadn't much money and nice rings were scarce, so mother took the engagement ring off her finger and said, "Give her this!"...

Jean Thornley, writing with great good humour, remembers war-time days.

Continue reading "My Mother's War" »

October 25, 2006

Time To Remember

...Remember when the baker gave you a ride to the corner on the back of his horse-drawn cart and the smell of fresh baked bread drifted up your nose?...

Frances Stoneham travels down Memory Lane.

For more memories please visit www.u3answ.org.au/ Click on Remember When.

Continue reading "Time To Remember" »

October 24, 2006

Childhood Memories

Thelma Weston writes of flutterbys and paterkillers.

Continue reading "Childhood Memories" »

October 23, 2006

Earliest Memories

…I am lying in bed in a darkened room, our front parlour as it happens my mother has her arms around me, cradling me. The light from the crack in the curtains illuminates her face and she is crying with tears running down her cheeks…

John Ricketts’s earliest memories are of unhappy days.

Continue reading "Earliest Memories" »

October 22, 2006


Time is the enemy of the busy woman, as Joan Semmler’s poem reveals.

Continue reading "Busy" »

October 20, 2006

Hen Keeping

…One day we had a terrible storm with gale force winds. The hens, which were allowed to roam freely in our fenced-off back garden, had retreated from the storm into the shed which was their home. But the wind blew the shed over, allowing the terrified hens to escape. In their terror most of them flew over the fencing and scattered all over the avenue…

Jean Flinders had to learn how to keep hens during the austere food-rationing days of World War Two.

Continue reading "Hen Keeping" »

October 19, 2006


Pauline Sampson tells of an army officer who, after a scandal involving the commanding officer's daughter, had to resign his commission.

But Steven, with his boring tales, was to become a hero in civilian life.

Continue reading "Steven" »

October 18, 2006

The Way Things Were

Shirley Curtis, Diana Elford and Carol Short, members of Macarthur (Camden) U3A writers' group, Australia, recall bygone days.

Continue reading "The Way Things Were" »

October 17, 2006

A Bridge Over Untroubled Waters

Sheila Ford recalls the day when she was among the first to walk across the new Severn bridge.

Continue reading "A Bridge Over Untroubled Waters" »

October 12, 2006


…I have hardly ever seen a photo of Taid without his pipe. He smoked Ogden’s St Bruno flake, and I remember the smell in our house on a Sunday lunchtime as he cut open his Welsh newspaper with his penknife – a mixture of tobacco, newsprint, mint sauce and roasting lamb…

Elizabeth Robison presents a glowing word portrait of her Welsh grandfather – her taid – the most unforgettable character that she has met.

To read more of Elizabeth’s entertaining articles type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Taid" »

October 11, 2006

A Letter Home

Melody Sharpe presents a letter written by her great-uncle Arthur Fisher to his mother Mary Ann Porch back in England. It tells of a trip from Brisbane to Tenterfield with his older brother George in 1863. Arthur's spelling and grammar have been retained in this abridged version of the 3,000-word original.

For more memories please visit www.u3answ.org.au/ Click on Remember When.

Continue reading "A Letter Home" »

October 10, 2006

Memories Of Crumlin

...My fondest memory was of the summer time, when the men living around, would dam up the stream and we had our own lake to swim in... Margaret Crowther recalls distant days.

Continue reading "Memories Of Crumlin" »

October 09, 2006

Flea Ting Memories

…In the slump years of the early Thirties it was still not uncommon for a man to pop his overcoat or best suit which he would not be needing on a Monday and redeem it on Saturday after he had been paid…

John Ricketts recalls Mr Machin the pawnbroker.

Continue reading "Flea Ting Memories" »

October 08, 2006

Fred And Bella Try Farming

Fred and Bella have a romantic view of farming and decide to give it a try, as Jean Marr reveals. But then “We were awakened in the dead of night by a horrendous noise in the henhouse. Our dog did not seem too keen to investigate, so we thought best wait until daylight….’’

Continue reading "Fred And Bella Try Farming" »

October 07, 2006

Memories Of Sunbeams

Muriel Spencer recalls innocent childhood days when a beam of sunlight was reason for an excited shout of delight.

Continue reading "Memories Of Sunbeams" »

October 06, 2006


George Brierley’s poem was written on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples while he was convalescing in Mussolini’s weekend house after being wounded a few weeks before the war in Europe ended.

Continue reading "Ischia" »

October 05, 2006

Portrait Of Dolly

Beryl Roper tells of a retired teacher, who, on he eve of her 80th birthday, is guarding a very special secret.

Continue reading "Portrait Of Dolly" »

October 04, 2006


Win Grant recalls impoverished times - days when happiness ruled.

Continue reading "Retrospectively" »

Home Is Where You Find It

John Plater recalls his arrival in Australia as a £10 immigrant.

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/ Click on Remember When.

Continue reading "Home Is Where You Find It" »

October 03, 2006

Land Army Girl

...Another winter job was loading muck (or manure if we are being polite!) then carting it by horse and cart to the fields, a lovely warm job on a freezing cold day....

May Cropley recalls her time in the Women's Land Army during World War Two.

Continue reading "Land Army Girl" »

October 01, 2006

Early Australian History

When Warren G York moved as a teenager to live in a Sydney suburb he found himself rubbing shoulders with Australian history.

Continue reading "Early Australian History" »

September 30, 2006

Wish You Was Here

Peggy MacKay tells us of some of her favourite places – and of a time for tears.

Continue reading "Wish You Was Here" »

September 29, 2006

David Craven's Recipe Book

David Craven's mother kept a flour-and-butter stained, hand-written book which contained all her favourite cooking and baking recipes.

This little book prompted David, who is a member of a University of the Third Age writing and reminiscing class in Huddersfield, to invite other folk to contribute "old time'' recipes. He gathered these into a book - and here it is.



Continue reading "David Craven's Recipe Book" »

September 28, 2006

When Saturday Comes

Rachel Grundy remembers the Saturdays of her childhood.

Continue reading "When Saturday Comes" »

September 27, 2006


…Billy loved my grandma who had a very large bun on top of her head; she would fly down and settle in it like a nest…

Sybil Downs tells us of an adventurous female budgerigar.

Continue reading "Billy" »

First Love

Allan Thompson fell hopelessly in love with a blue-eyed blonde when he was five years old.

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/ Click on Remember When.

Continue reading "First Love" »

September 26, 2006


…Human nature needs to express itself. Freedom of spirit equals a peaceful mind and repression of any kind, even when it is meant for a person’s good, equals an uneasy spirit…

Mary Basham, in reflective mood, tells a tale of China to illustrate a basic human need.

To read more of Mary’s thoughtful articles type her name in the search box on this page.

Continue reading "Freewheeling" »


Guy Roberts says a tearful goodbye to an old friend.

Continue reading "Sam" »

September 25, 2006

Baseball In Africa

…In the months of preparation it was found that though we could borrow some wooden stands it was doubtful if there would be anything like enough for the numbers expected to attend. It was therefore decided to build a stand behind the diamond. One of the farmer members allowed a brick-maker from his farm to find a suitable ant-hill from which the bricks could be made….

John Ricketts recalls the day when an American baseball team played a game in Africa.

Continue reading "Baseball In Africa" »

Band Of Hope

...He brought along to the meetings a magic lantern, which was an early form of projector using glass slides. We were shown pictures depicting stories of children neglected by parents who had succumbed to the demon drink. I believe that at some meetings a glass of whisky or alcohol was set alight to demonstrate how our bodies could be burned, though I never witnessed this personally....

Joan Sutcliffe recalls the temperance organisation, the Band of Hope.

Continue reading "Band Of Hope" »

September 24, 2006

A Handful Of Clay

A handful of clay can say a lot about human potential, as Dharini Parameshwaran reveals in this story.

Continue reading "A Handful Of Clay" »

September 22, 2006

Colne Valley Splendour

…Its people are as solid and steadfast as the hills with a warmth and sense of humour unequalled anywhere in the land. It is a splendid valley….

Peggy MacKay writes of her beloved Colne Valley in Yorkshire.

Continue reading "Colne Valley Splendour" »

September 21, 2006

Off My Trolly

...Anyway, it’s a gall bladder thing - a doddle, so they tell me; one can live perfectly happily without a gall bladder. Well if that’s the case just answer me this – why then did the Good Lord waste his time in providing me with one in the first place?...

Patrick Hopton takes us into the dreamy world of anaesthesia.

Continue reading "Off My Trolly" »

September 20, 2006

Our Shanty

'''Sometimes a stray sheep would come back in our boat because it couldn’t find its way home...

Jack Mott tells of making-do in hard times.

Continue reading "Our Shanty" »

September 19, 2006

Village Shopping

...If my mother could manage it she would give me a penny to spend here. and what a rare treat it was! I always bought a pennyworth of Monkey nuts wrapped in a screw of newspaper, quite the best value in the shop, I thought, although one could buy an orange or a banana for the same price....

Doreen Bryant remembers village shopping expiditions of almost 75 years ago.

Continue reading "Village Shopping" »

First Job

…This jolly little man finished my interview as follows: “There is something I ought to tell you, and I’m not sure how you will take it.”

I thought that this must be something important, and his face was very serious. I stood there while he said, “Sylvia, do you know that there is no such person as Father Christmas?”

I can’t remember what I thought, but I do remember him bursting out laughing and me going bright red….

Sylvia Abele recalls being interviewed for her first job.

Continue reading "First Job" »

September 17, 2006

The Beaver Hat

Barbara Tregonning tells a heart-warming tale of a girl who had to endure the giggles and gossip of heartless, snobbish schoolgirls.

Continue reading "The Beaver Hat" »

September 14, 2006

The Look

So where do you think this gorgeous young creature with elegant legs, beautiful colouring and golden-brown eyes ended up? Zelda Margo tells a highly moral tale.

Continue reading "The Look" »

September 13, 2006

Love At The Last

…Puzzled, she came to him. Placing a hand at either side of her face, he drew it towards his. ‘In olden times they called this a kiss,’ he explained. ‘It’s what lovers used to do together.’…

In this vivid sci-fi tale Patrick Hopton tells of an explosive love-making farewell in a future time.

Continue reading "Love At The Last" »

A Chance Encounter

Ida Smith tells of an encounter in a supermarket cafe which reveals a sad tale of unfulfilled love.

Continue reading "A Chance Encounter" »

September 12, 2006

VE Day

Kay Burgess recalls the day the war with Germany ended.

Continue reading "VE Day" »

September 11, 2006

Better And Worse

John Ricketts considers improvements in modern life, and things that were better way back then.

Continue reading "Better And Worse" »

September 10, 2006

My Generation

...I value my memories. In my thoughts I see my father playing the piano, and my mother singing. I would watch the ceiling in case it collapsed with the vibration of her beautiful strong voice...

Rose Perry looks back on the times she has lived through, and the values of the generation into which she was born.

Continue reading "My Generation" »

September 07, 2006

Reflections On A Summer Day

Radmila Dancer was deeply moved by a painting which she saw in a quiet Norfolk church on a summer's day.

Continue reading "Reflections On A Summer Day" »

September 06, 2006

Grandma And Granda

Sisters Sylvia Abele and Irene Grundy recall with great affection and warm humour their father's parents.

Continue reading "Grandma And Granda" »

The Swinging Sixties

Ruth Werner recalls the Swinging Sixties - and how she lost her fear of naked bodies while a trainee nurse.

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/ Click on Remember When.

Continue reading "The Swinging Sixties" »

September 05, 2006

Tales Of The South Atlantic

Lynette Wood remembers the delights of life aboard the passenger ships which plied between Britain and South America.

Continue reading "Tales Of The South Atlantic" »

September 04, 2006

The Big School

There was a very good reason why David Bennett should be pleased to be moving on from primary school to grammar school. Her name was Eileen...

Continue reading "The Big School" »

September 02, 2006

Buffalo, Bureaucracy and Beauty

Peggy MacKay flies off to Orlando, Florida – there to have her nail scissors confiscated.

Continue reading "Buffalo, Bureaucracy and Beauty" »

September 01, 2006

Learning To Swim In Aqua Sulis

Joan Murton recalls school-days swimming lessons in the Roman baths at Aqua Sulis – which was the Roman name for the city of Bath.

Continue reading "Learning To Swim In Aqua Sulis" »

August 31, 2006

The Strange Affair At The Riverside

…It must have been approximately eleven-forty five when we heard a loud crash in one of the back bedrooms. Karen went to investigate. A few minutes later she was marched into the room by a masked gunman and thrown to the floor while another intruder held a gun against her head. The third accomplice stood in the doorway holding a large pistol. All three wore ski masks and dark clothing….

Cynthia Kasmy tells an astonishing and dramatic story.

Continue reading "The Strange Affair At The Riverside" »

August 30, 2006

Coolgardie Safe

Jam tins filled with water kept the ants away...

Beryl Sampson recalls the Coolgardie safe, an early device used for keeping food cool in hot weather.

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/
Click on Remember When.

Continue reading "Coolgardie Safe" »

August 29, 2006

A Bleeding Dog

Douglas Smithson tells of a small incident involving a dog which occurred while he was teaching at an approved school for boys.

Continue reading "A Bleeding Dog" »

August 28, 2006


John Ricketts recalls adverts from his boyhood – and the day he met a "monk''.

Continue reading "Adverts" »

A Visit From The General

Douglas Smithson recalls the day General Bernard Montgomery came to inspect the troops.

Continue reading "A Visit From The General" »

August 27, 2006

Just Desserts

Claire gets her just desserts by locking herself out of her house in this story by Joan Semmler.

Continue reading "Just Desserts" »

August 26, 2006

Brassed Off

…This was a lady who scrimped and saved to feed and clothe her children. In the summer she stopped her clock to save the works. In daylight she looked across at the factory clock. Wool from old jerseys was unravelled and re-used.

She could not afford to waste anything. I’m sure she would have been mortified by the mountains of waste in today’s society. She was accustomed to make do and mend, a phrase which is now long past its sell-by date…

Gillian Tovey does not feel at home in this spend-spend-spend credit-card age.

Continue reading "Brassed Off" »

August 23, 2006

Village Life

Edith Pleasance recalls her childhood in a Devon village where all was not sweetness and light.

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/ Click on Remember When

Continue reading "Village Life" »

August 22, 2006

Thank Goodness For Washing Machines!

Jean Imrie and her brother hated Mondays - washing day.

Continue reading "Thank Goodness For Washing Machines!" »

August 20, 2006

The Great Potato Marketing Drive

Sarah Johnson finds it hard to share her husband's excitement about potatoes in this tale by Mike Smark.

Continue reading "The Great Potato Marketing Drive" »

August 18, 2006


"At school, her nickname was Higsy, but at home my father always referred to her as ‘Hilarious Davies’ because of the number of times I would come home with yet another tale which began: ‘You’ll never guess what Hilary did today…''

Elizabeth Robison writes a sparkling tribute to a school friend who was a joy to know.

Continue reading "Higsy" »

August 17, 2006

Post Cards From Space

...There was a time
I was your universe,
The steady centre of your life...

So says Norman Hodghton's poem. But now there are only post cards...

Continue reading "Post Cards From Space" »

August 16, 2006

Off To Australia

...That evening at dinner the Captain addressed us. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “we are on our way. but what lies ahead I have no way of knowing. Ships have been sunk around us, and we have been very lucky to have remained unscathed. Due to the delay, we have missed our convoy and we are on our own, so I must urge you to carry your life belts everywhere you go, and I mean everywhere, as if we should be attacked you wouldn’t have time to go and get them. And that’s an order!”...

Irene Bulloch tells of embarking on a wartime voyage to Australia.

For lots more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au Click on Remember When.

Continue reading "Off To Australia" »

August 15, 2006

A Man's Ode To His Car

Does a man own his car, or does the car own the man? Guy Roberts's poem brings a witty answer to that question.

Continue reading "A Man's Ode To His Car" »

August 14, 2006

I Hate Cats

"When I visit a house with cats they always come up to me and jump on me, eager to make me feel uncomfortable….''

As John Ricketts reveals in this article he has good reason to hate cats.

Continue reading "I Hate Cats" »

August 13, 2006

The Golden Road To Samarkand

Jim Moore travels the Silk Route to Samarkand.

Continue reading "The Golden Road To Samarkand" »

August 12, 2006

What's Good About Getting Old?

In this sprightly youthful poem Irene Grundy declares:

"I’m content as a senior citizen.
I don’t want to be sixteen again!''

Continue reading "What's Good About Getting Old?" »

August 11, 2006

Grandmother's Guest Book

When Ilse Erber discovered her grandmother's guest book memories both happy and sad were reawakened.

Continue reading "Grandmother's Guest Book" »

August 10, 2006

Jeremiah, The Googly-Eyed Lion

Betty Shorting tells a delightful children's story about a lion who glared.

Continue reading "Jeremiah, The Googly-Eyed Lion" »

August 09, 2006

Mee Sing

Astra Warren tells of a young Chinese girl's dream to go to the big city - a story based on an experience during a trip to China.

Continue reading "Mee Sing" »

Past Times

Joyce King present four fragments of times past recalled by members of Werribee U3A’s Writing With Words group.

For more memories visit http://www.u3answ.org.au/ Click on Remember When on this site.

Continue reading "Past Times" »

August 08, 2006


M W Henson recalls the immense joy of returning to one's own home.

Continue reading "Homecomings" »

A Ghost Of A Chance

Lucy Manders sees a familiar figure, hears his voice… But this can't be. Reuben is dead….

Ida Smith tells a spooky tale.

Continue reading "A Ghost Of A Chance" »

August 06, 2006

My Friend Frank

Wilma Schmidt's moving tribute to an old man named Frank will make you feel a lot happier today.

Continue reading "My Friend Frank" »

August 05, 2006

Le Radiateur

Derek McQueen tells a watery tale about the bathroom radiator which features in paintings by the great artist Pierre Bonard.

Derek, who is an artist and photographer, has a number of engaging stories in Open Writing. Type his name in the search box on this page. See also some of his photographs in the Open Writing gallery. To visit the gallery click on any picture.

Continue reading "Le Radiateur" »

August 02, 2006


..."Hullo, girls, waiting for the next ferry to Commodore Heights? It's a long wait isn't it? But if you like you can come with us and well have you there in ten minutes."...

Ilse Erber tells the story of an offer which was declined.

Continue reading "Innocence" »

The Shoe Mender

...Winter or summer, Mr Ledger's shirt-sleeves were rolled to just above the elbow. His sinewy, hairless arms and hands moved with lightning speed from mouth to last, then back again...

Ruth L Ross recalls Mr Ledger the shoe-mender.

Continue reading "The Shoe Mender" »

August 01, 2006

Fate, Or The Hand Of God?

Jeanne Lacey recalls the day the bomb dropped.

Continue reading "Fate, Or The Hand Of God?" »

July 31, 2006

Flying To Africa

…The tram which we caught from the hotel had a heavily armed soldier at each end. We went to buy stamps at the post office and we had to walk between sandbag emplacements with armed police who were examining everyone who went in…

John Ricketts tells of flying from Machester to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) in 1953 – a journey which contained enough excitement to last most folk a lifetime.

Continue reading "Flying To Africa" »

July 30, 2006

Hump In The Bag

…Every bush mother's worst nightmare is to have a snake between her and her child. Now her child was stirring, and might at any instant slide off the bed onto the reptile in the bag….

Merle Parkin tells a story with a chuckle and a cluck in its tail.

Continue reading "Hump In The Bag" »

July 28, 2006

The Luddites

...Today, a person is called a Luddite if he is viewed as a hindrance to progress. It is used as an epithet. However, its meaning has changed over the years. When it was first coined it was not a defamatory word. In fact, those to whom it was applied were convinced of their righteousness, because they were fighting the most important battle that men can ever fight. They were fighting for survival...

Walter Murton’s takes a cool look at an important event in Britain’s industrial history, and its effect down the decades.

Continue reading "The Luddites" »

July 26, 2006

A Chance Encounter - Jumping The Rattler

Ellen Weston tells this wonderful Aussie tale about the times when the Swaggies came a-calling at her isolated Queensland home.

Continue reading "A Chance Encounter - Jumping The Rattler" »

July 25, 2006

Heil Hitler

Frank Straw is still astounded after all these years by the greeting "Heil Hitler''.

Continue reading "Heil Hitler" »

July 24, 2006


"So take up your pen,'' says Kay Savage. "See what you can achieve when you harness its power.''

Continue reading "Pencraft" »

July 23, 2006


Joan Semmler reveals that after the brandy had been drunk the question was repeated.

Continue reading "Alf" »

July 21, 2006

Bad News

Jane Leitch’s brief and poignant sketch encompasses the pain of losing old and dear friends to sudden and unexpected illnesses.

Continue reading "Bad News" »

July 20, 2006

A Tale Of Two Settees

...if age hadn’t weakened the adhesive powers of the only roll of Sellotape found in her home, and if rain hadn’t stopped play in the Fourth Test Match, then Sid’s life would doubtless have jogged on in its humdrum daily pattern. But happen these circumstances did, and the consequent changes they wrought in his life were cataclysmic...

Patrick Hopton tells a tale which will make you chortle.

Continue reading "A Tale Of Two Settees" »


David Bennett casts an affectionate eye on Monty, the last in a long line of pampered cats.

Continue reading "Monty" »

July 19, 2006

1963 Tourist

...Old gum trees loomed ghostly around and above us, illuminated in the high beam of the car. Each tree was different, some gnarled with branches incredibly twisted, some straight and majestic, some barks white and smooth, some brown and fissured, some peeling off in great strips. All so beautiful in their own way, just like people, I thought..

Gerda McIntosh recalls the excitement and delight of her first family holiday in Australia.

For further entertaining memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "1963 Tourist" »

July 18, 2006

The Day The King Died

Lynette Wood recalls her life as a teacher in the days when a school had to share one radio.

Continue reading "The Day The King Died" »

July 17, 2006

The Trader

…The counters in the store consisted of planks laid across whisky boxes. Some of them were covered in blankets but many were just the bare boards. Among the things that I bought at Sloman’s were a rifle and a shotgun, a white dinner jacket, working shirts and shorts, cutlery, cooking pots (he stocked some missionary-size ones…

John Ricketts recalls a store keeper he met while teaching in Africa.

Continue reading "The Trader" »

Royal Marine

Richard Nolan writes of the last journey of a Royal Marine.

Continue reading "Royal Marine" »

July 16, 2006


When you start to recall the decisions you have had to take on reaching life’s crossroads you suddenly find that you are launching yourself into autobiography, as Joy Shapter reveals.

Continue reading "Crossroads" »

July 14, 2006

A Certain Song

Elizabeth Robison delights in the anthem of the land of her fathers.

Continue reading "A Certain Song" »

July 12, 2006

Good Manners

..."Shut up, and don't change the subject. Girls aren't as strong as boys, you're supposed to protect them, not bash them, do you understand?" And she shook me until I rattled...

Don Shaw recalls the day when he was taught how boys and men should treat the opposite sex.

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "Good Manners" »


Oh the joy of going to the movies in an afternoon – until the conversation starts up. Cynthia Kasmy tells a story laced with frustration.

Continue reading "Matinée" »

July 11, 2006

Memories Of An Undy Urchin

...Services were non existent, the nearest mains water supply was a tap at the bottom of the hill. One of my jobs was to hang two buckets from a yoke across my shoulders, walk down to the tap and plod back up under the weight of five gallons of water...

Phil Wood remembers the village life of seventy years ago.

Continue reading "Memories Of An Undy Urchin" »

July 09, 2006

Mother's Labourer

Joan Semmler remembers the hard work involved in helping her mother to cook.

Continue reading "Mother's Labourer" »

July 06, 2006

Picking Winkles With My Da

Raymond Philliskirk tells of the happy days when he went down to the beach with his father to gather whillicks.

Continue reading "Picking Winkles With My Da" »

July 05, 2006

A Very Low Tide

Beachcombing is a marvellous way of life – particularly when you find a treasure chest.

Mark Scudamore tells a satisfyingly salty tale.

Continue reading "A Very Low Tide" »

A Broken Arm

...each day my elder brother Gordon and I rode our pony bare-back to school. School was a mud-built farmhouse down a dusty, winding country road about two miles away. I doubled on our old, half-blind pony with just a bridle and my brother's waist to hang on to...

Doug MacLaren-Smith recalls the day he fell off the pony.

For more memories visit u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "A Broken Arm" »

July 04, 2006

Decades Of A Nobody

...One of the funniest incidents that I recall was being in Windsor booking office when a little lad, resplendent in Eton collar, tie and suit, rapped on the window and arrogantly demanded "A half first class ticket to Newbury my man". Not at all nonplussed the booking clerk said "Get to the back of the queue". "But there is no queue" said the lad. To which the clerk replied, "Then wait until a queue forms sonny". I thought the confrontation was extremely amusing...

In this long and luscious read Bill Chamberlain tells something of his life - including his 47 years as a railway man.

Continue reading "Decades Of A Nobody" »

July 03, 2006

Dr Von Zeissi

…the Gestapo were waiting in the street outside his house to arrest him. They were afraid to arrest him at the University because of his popularity and thought that it would be easier to surround him in the street and whisk him away…

John Rickets tells of the hardships of one of his teachers, a man who had to flee from Austria in the 1930s.

Continue reading "Dr Von Zeissi" »

The Canvasser

Dorothy Grist, writes an evocative description of a fruitless crusade to try to make conditions better in an area where every effort seems hopeless.

Continue reading "The Canvasser" »

July 02, 2006

An Addict's Dilema

Anne’s house is inundated with gardening books and magazines. Her ironing is piling up. The cobwebs and dust are gathering. Sometimes there is no meal ready when her husband comes home..

Rose Perry writes about an horticultural addiction.

Continue reading "An Addict's Dilema" »

June 30, 2006

A Very Important Day

Elizabeth Robinson recalls her exciting and traumatic first day as an exchange teacher at Huron High School, Michigan, USA. Elizabeth had been teaching at Heckmondwike Grammar School in Yorkshire.

Continue reading "A Very Important Day" »

June 29, 2006


The word “lift’’ prompts Jane Leitch to think of the word “face’’, and a series of thoughts involving plastic surgery follow on.

Continue reading "Lift" »

June 28, 2006

The Saviour

...She sighed to herself. It was no joke being a saviour at 12 years old, and having to solve the problems of the universe.

“Dear frogs and little green friends I will give some thought to your tribulations and try to find a solution, then I will contact you”...

Stella Leonard tells an engaging tale about Sarah Jane, the young saviour of the frogs.

Continue reading "The Saviour" »

Black And Red In Parkville

...The next day we unpacked our two cases and our electrical appliances, and by showing our marriage certificate, we obtained a permit to buy a jug, toaster and iron. Sitting on the table they were a symbol of marriage and war years. We were poor in possessions but rich in love and hope...

Connie Kennedy recalls austere wartime days.

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "Black And Red In Parkville" »

June 27, 2006

The Song Of The Nightingale

...Walking home along the lane in the soft, silvery glow was a joy...

Doreen Bryant remembers the simple pleasures of childhood.

Continue reading "The Song Of The Nightingale" »

June 25, 2006

Chocolate Drop Gran

Dharini Parameshwaran tells the heart-warming story of the chocolate drop gran.

Continue reading "Chocolate Drop Gran" »

June 23, 2006

The Gentle Touch

Young Terrance falls into the “dam’’, but his luck is in because a “giant’’ is on hand to rescue him. Stella Leonard tells a cheering tale.

Continue reading "The Gentle Touch" »

Special Treats

…I am sat on the Victoria Monument with my father and a policeman bending over me. In the heat and excitement I had fainted. The policeman disappeared, to return with a glass of water bearing the Royal Coat of Arms – the nearest I have ever come to royalty… Jean Kirby recalls memorable childhood outings.

Continue reading "Special Treats" »

June 22, 2006

Or Will You Just Politely Say Goodnight?

Can a sundial help to mend a broken marriage? Norman Hodghton tells a tale of tangled love.

Continue reading "Or Will You Just Politely Say Goodnight?" »

June 21, 2006


…As the flames slowly died away and night fell, a solitary porcupine wandered up to the stoep, looking enquiringly for morsels… Stella Leonard tells of a family gathering in the African bush.

Continue reading "Mabula" »

Where It Happened

When Fay White was a little girl she was frightened of long-drop toilets. Old people were horrified at the suggestion of toilets inside the house. Her mother-in-law said “They will be so unhygienic!” When toilets were installed in bathrooms her mother was appalled that towels would hang in the same room.

Years later, Fay's memories prompted her to write this poem.

Continue reading "Where It Happened" »

June 20, 2006

Caldicot School

...Break was a rough and tumble in the playground and there was a very strict calendar observed for the playing of games. I can't remember in which order but once a year we played, amongst others, whip and top, hoops, skipping, hop-scotch and marbles...

Doreen Bryant recalls her days at a village school in the 1930s.

Continue reading "Caldicot School" »

June 19, 2006

A Lion Hunt

John Ricketts, who was at one time the headmaster of a school in Africa, recalls the day he went on a lion hunt.

Continue reading "A Lion Hunt" »

June 18, 2006

Crock Of Gold

…eventually Granny chastised us for being bold and then she quietly told us that the pot was so old, that she believed it might belong to a Leprechaun, and it could be his crock of gold…

And Granny was not too far from the mark, as Dick Nolan’s wonderful story reveals.

Continue reading "Crock Of Gold" »

June 16, 2006


Joan Murton tells of the loos she has loved.

Continue reading "Loos" »

Frustration, Anger And Joy

Jane Leitch tries a little self-help to sort out a telephone problem.

Continue reading "Frustration, Anger And Joy" »

June 15, 2006

The Boys

…She found that the students’ interests lay in the history of the Russian Revolution, not in maths or English.

She was with her class on the night of June 15th with no inkling of the planned march to protest against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction…

Zelda Margo recalls the incident of 30 years ago which marked the beginning of South Africa’s democratic revolution.

Continue reading "The Boys" »

Radio Fun

Pauline Sampson remembers Larry the Lamb, Paul Temple, Tonny Handley, the Goons - and other radio stars.

Continue reading "Radio Fun" »

June 14, 2006

Bring Back The Delivery Man

Bring back the delivery man, says Fay White, longing for former days.

For more memories in verse and prose visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "Bring Back The Delivery Man" »

June 13, 2006

Battle - And The Battle Of Britain

"We were told that if the siren went before we left for school we were to stay at home until 'all clear' and it is awful to think that we quite looked forward to the siren going!''

Daphne Bashford recalls her war-time schooldays.

Continue reading "Battle - And The Battle Of Britain" »

June 11, 2006

Hospital Night

Shirley Long writes of the restless boredom of being in a hospital bed.

Continue reading "Hospital Night" »

June 09, 2006


“I adored the dances – Valeta, military two-step, St. Bernard’s Waltz…’’ Brenda Hellawell recalls her dancing days.

Continue reading "Dancing" »

June 08, 2006

The Gift Of Tidiness

Untidy Julian meets Miranda and decides she's the girl he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But there is a problem. Miranda is so...untidy. Mary Cryer tells a neat tale.

Continue reading "The Gift Of Tidiness" »

First Time

Aristocracy came knocking at Jennie’s colonic irrigation practice door… Zelda Margo tells a sparkling conversational tale.

Continue reading "First Time" »

June 07, 2006

Mudgee Railway Station

Jennifer Kelly remembers her days as a railway kid. For another selection of fscinating memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "Mudgee Railway Station" »

June 06, 2006

Hide And Seek

Mo Baker remembers the days of Hide and Seek, and best clothes on Sundays.

Continue reading "Hide And Seek" »

June 05, 2006

The Yellow Wood Tree

The yellow wood tree became a symbol of home, peace and the future for Robert when he was serving in the army in World War Two. But Robert is in his seventies, and the tree has become a different kind of symbol. as Joan Murton reveals in this comforting story.

Continue reading "The Yellow Wood Tree" »

Much Worse Than Flu

“Soon I was chained to the bed by both arms which were attached to machines and drips…’’

When John Ricketts went to a clinic while on holiday in Spain, thinking he had flu, he was told more than he wished to hear.

Continue reading "Much Worse Than Flu" »

June 04, 2006

The Years Of The Green Pudding

“It all began when Mum got seized with the desire to go All Irish…’’

In this tasty article Shirley Long describes how her Mum, having “discovered’’ an Irish grandfather, decided that even food had to be green. (Come to think of it, perhaps tasty is not the right word in these circumstances).

Continue reading "The Years Of The Green Pudding" »

June 02, 2006


Derek McQueen tells of the day when fat Colin got stuck in the air raid shelter, a tale that is oleaginous and hilarious in equal measure

Continue reading "Dripping" »

June 01, 2006

Dragon Lore

“Uncle, do you know about dragons?” he asked, to change the subject.

“Almost everything, mi’ boy. Why, I am regarded as an expert in dragons.”

Robin Harward tells a warm-hearted tale about a young boy, a dragon and a wise, understanding uncle.

Continue reading "Dragon Lore" »

May 31, 2006

Does Everyone Want To Become A Glider Pilot?

Douglas Smithson arrives at a depot on Salisbury Plain in 1943 to train to become a glider pilot.

Continue reading "Does Everyone Want To Become A Glider Pilot?" »

Life In Bondi Before TV

..."Saturday arvo at the pictures" was almost a ritual for children... Peggy Kelsall remembers pre-TV days in Bondi, New South Wales, when a trip to the local movie theatre was the main entertainment.

For more memories of bygone days visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "Life In Bondi Before TV" »

May 30, 2006

An Eventful First Voyage

"We left the Bay of Naples and passed close to the Isle of Capri. It was 3 pm and teatime. I was sitting in the Second Engineers cabin playing a game of draughts with him when there was a loud explosion the ship lurched violently and the draught board and our cups flew into the air and onto the deck. At the same time the ship started to vibrate strongly and below us we could hear that the seventy five rpm steam engine seemed to be rotating like a racing car engine. The force of the explosion in number four hold had broken the eighteen inch diameter propeller shaft in two...''

Phil Wood tells the dramatic story of his first war-time voyage as a merchant seaman.

Continue reading "An Eventful First Voyage" »

May 29, 2006

A Mobile's Tinny Tune

A mobile phone’s tinny tune can seriously affect one’s concentration when buying a new skirt, as Joan Murton discovers. But a mobile phone can be a blessing.

Continue reading "A Mobile's Tinny Tune" »

May 28, 2006

Jack Of All Trades

“Am I on the way to becoming a Jack of All Trades?’’ asks Jean Marr. “Or should that be Jill?’’

Continue reading "Jack Of All Trades" »

May 26, 2006

At The Salon

“Ah, just wait, you will like this, I create a new you. You will look so young.” He continues with his shears. I see a hideous sight emerging – a bird’s nest on the top of my head…

Joan Murton, with a secret smile, confesses that her hairdresser terrifies her.

Continue reading "At The Salon" »

May 25, 2006

And All That

Zelda Margo tells a captivating story about the making of a writer.

Continue reading "And All That" »


Daphne's whole life revolved around her husband, Paul. Then Paul was no more... Edwina Duff tells of a new-born woman.

Continue reading "Fire" »

May 24, 2006

Be It Ever So Humble

"What anticipation, when turning the key in your own front door, after a long journey, and the feeling of relief to step inside once more.'' Shirley Lingwood wholeheartedly agrees with the sentiments of the well-known song - there's no place like home.

Continue reading "Be It Ever So Humble" »

Surviving The Great Depression

...Father turned his hand to making and fixing almost anything. He made me a wooden doll’s cradle which I cherished for years. He sanded down and restored cupboards and other furniture which had been purchased second-hand. Raised on a farm, as well as having seen service in the Light Horse Brigade during World War 1, he was a crack shot with a rifle. We dined often on roast and stewed rabbit or hare and kangaroo tail soup. He collected the skins of foxes, rabbits and kangaroos, which he sold to augment our income. His ointments and liniments were popular with friends and acquaintances. Using his iron boot last he repaired our shoes with rubber soles and put steel tips on heels and toes. Until our shoes wore out we clicked along the concrete verandahs and wooden floors of the sandstone school...

Betty Hocking writes brilliantly of the harsh days of the Great Depression.

For many more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "Surviving The Great Depression" »

May 23, 2006

That Treasure Called Denny

"On a Spring day when the weather was forecast fair we set sail in the Curlew from St. Pierre Pill to land on Denny Island so the kids could see the seagulls nesting and maybe some seagull chicks.'' Eric Taylor goes sailing in the Severn estuary.

Continue reading "That Treasure Called Denny" »

May 22, 2006

The Workhouse

John Ricketts recalls the horrors of the workhouse.

Continue reading "The Workhouse" »

May 18, 2006


... Sarah was just about to sit up when she noticed a particular cloud moving very quickly from right to left. It had the head and forelegs of a horse quite clearly, and something was forming on its back - a figure, surely, with hair streaming out behind...

Mary Cryer tells a sad atmospheric tale.

Continue reading "Clouds" »

May 17, 2006


Zelda Margo’s acute social observation and economical style once again presents a telling vignette of life in modern day South Africa.

Continue reading "Conversation" »

How Our Grandparents Coped

Mrs J Hewitt, of U3A Shoalhaven Third Age Learning, Australia, writes that a group meets regularly to discuss how their grandparents coped with life. Here are just a few of their reminiscences.

Continue reading "How Our Grandparents Coped" »

May 16, 2006

Kentish Maid

...After leaving school at sixteen I joined the WVS (Women's Voluntary Service), carrying out switchboard duties for the Civil Defence in one of the dungeons below the castle, sounding the siren when enemy aircraft were approaching. Many a time we watched the 'planes "dog -fighting", parachutes descending or 'planes coming down...

June Brown shares some of her wartime memories.

Continue reading "Kentish Maid" »

May 15, 2006

A Day Out

Playing hide-and-seek, picking and eating bilberries, paddling in ponds, catching sticklebacks – John Ricketts tells of a glorious day out with three friends when they were all nine-year-olds.

Continue reading "A Day Out" »

May 14, 2006

Great Aunt Florrie

“Our great Aunt Florrie was mad, we knew it without a doubt. It was just that we couldn't get any of the grownups in the family to agree with us.’’

But Aunt Florrie is hiding a sad, sad secret, as Elwyn Frankel reveals.

Continue reading "Great Aunt Florrie" »

May 11, 2006

The Gift

“Does your marriage lack romance? Are you still the woman that he married?” On the eve of her 59th birthday Madge muses about her life in this story by Beryl Roper.

Continue reading "The Gift" »

May 10, 2006

The Anderson Shelter

Sarah Harris recalls helping her father to build a wartime air raid shelter.

For many more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "The Anderson Shelter" »

May 09, 2006

Blackbeetle Alley

"Yes, my earliest memories were of black beetles, ants, flying ants, silver fish and spiders in the loo at the bottom of the garden,'' says Sheila Ford.

Continue reading "Blackbeetle Alley" »

May 07, 2006

A Good Try

“What if I had a heart attack,’ pilot Bill asks his wife. ‘How would you handle the situation?’ Her answer, in this story by Leila Straub, will make you chuckle.

Continue reading "A Good Try" »

May 04, 2006

Only A Door

There's a lot more to buying a door than you might think, as Barbara Patterson reveals.

Continue reading "Only A Door" »

May 03, 2006


Betty Hocking writes in stirring verses of her childhood home:
"Where the desert windstorms raged
In clouds of red blew for hundreds of miles.
We ate it and swept it for days.''

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "Roots" »

May 02, 2006

A Straggler's Ode

W H (Bill) Davies enjoys being in a U3A hiking group which rambles through the beautiful countryside of Gwent.

Continue reading "A Straggler's Ode" »

May 01, 2006


“To my shame I was taken on September 1st to a railway station in the centre of Birmingham with a label round my neck, my gas mask in its cardboard box and a bag full of sandwiches, sweets, fruit and books. A tearful mother waved me away.’’

John Ricketts became an evacuee at the start of World War Two.

Continue reading "1939-1945" »

April 30, 2006

Last Request

Oh dear, Rose Perry. There you go again, dozing in the Creative Writing class.

Continue reading "Last Request" »

April 28, 2006

Horse Sense

Astra Warren tells a splendid tale about the day she matched her wits with the Wild One, a rebellious horse with a mind of its own.

Continue reading "Horse Sense" »


Ellen tells a brief, haunting story.

Continue reading "Bandsmen" »

April 27, 2006

Mrs Dyson's Diary

In nostalgic mood, Nancie Dyson recalls childhood games from a fitter age.

Continue reading "Mrs Dyson's Diary" »

April 26, 2006

Gas Masks At School

...The gas drills were the worst, because the masks were made of black rubber, with a face piece of clear plastic, and an enormous filter over your mouth. We all looked like horrible pigs! The smell of the rubber was over powering. I used to cheat, and put my finger in the side to let in some fresh air, I wondered later how long I would have survived a gas attack... Mavis Arnold remembers going to shool during World War Two.

For more memories visit www.u3answ.org.au/remember/remember.html

Continue reading "Gas Masks At School" »

April 25, 2006

Baking Day

Ruth Beever recalls the joy of baking days, “the warm, rich aroma of bread fresh from the oven mixed with savoury and sweet things that exuded from the windows as you went indoors; then to open the kitchen door and be enveloped in it - warm and safe with good things to come.’’

Continue reading "Baking Day" »

April 24, 2006

When I Was Young

Audrey Simmons revels in the joys of owning a bike.

Continue reading "When I Was Young" »

April 23, 2006

Conversation With An Angel

…Well, how did you start off in the angel business?… Shirley Long has fun imagining a conversation with an angel.

Continue reading "Conversation With An Angel" »

April 21, 2006


The tranpslant was a success, but.... Read Graeme's five-paragraph story. which contains a sting in its final words.

Continue reading "Transplant" »

April 19, 2006

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting...

Trish Colton's poem will win a sympathetic nod from every person in Britain who has to travel by bus.

Continue reading "Waiting, Waiting, Waiting..." »

Sybil Downs

…She sat on a chair in the corner knitting woollen patches. You never ripped your clothes, or Grandma would use these to patch them. The blankets on the beds looked like patchwork quilts, they had been repaired so often. One day we actually found her patching a patch that was wearing thin!… Sybil Downs recalls her grandmother.

Continue reading "Sybil Downs" »