Doorway Writing Group February 2017

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Categories: Chippenham, Homelessness, Mental Health, Poetry

Writing Group February 2017

We had another great writing group session this time.

This month’s crossword worked well:

  • guests on all tables contributed by answering clues;
  • R and friend were still, in fact, beavering away to complete it as I bid my reluctant farewell;
  • it generated some interesting discussions on the writing table: Had anyone ever seen a corncrake? What was DH Lawrence’s second name (or even his first name, come to that)?

We spoke about reading and in particular about the challenges of reading long novels such as Dickens’ Dombey and Son and Tolstoy’s War and Peace: long-term challenges indeed! We discussed the fascinating characters we meet: in literature and in real life. Well, I can certainly say I’ve met some totally fascinating and wonderful people during my – as yet fairly short – time at Doorway.

We experimented with writing in different colours to emphasise different moods. The original of J’s poem (see below) was written in green to bring out the spring theme.

Now to our written contributions for this month – i.e. what you’ve really been waiting for: a short, evocative poem by J and the long-awaited continuation of his short story (part one appeared in the December 2016 blog).

A poem by J

A Higher View

Grey drizzly morning,

Rooftop sparrows toss the moss,

Spring bug harvesting.

Minnie’s Christmas Outing (a Short Story by J – part 2)

Nailsworth was  a small town about the midpoint of our  journey. We arrived at an old around midnight. Water was rushing  along the old mill-race. The fog had turned to frost and the stars shone Bright in the clear sky , the leaves and grass mantled with ice crystals.

Amongst the leaves and debris of a sunken threshold before one of the out-buildings we sheltered to wait for daybreak but my limbs started cramping and we  were forced to continue

walking, tramping along the disused Railway track  towards Nailsworth We climbed the pitch out of town back on the road to Chippenham.

Winding on and on, a fox barked between the stark silhouettes of the supplicating trees, the brackish stagnant Water in the ditches reflected the darkness of the night and only the hoot of an owl broke the

Four miles from Malmesbury  Signs of daylight arrived unnoticed, we had just passed the sign announcing ‘welcome To Wiltshire ‘ I slumped by the side of the road craving the oblivion of sleep.

I crawled or rolled  somehow under a thorn bush and lay there unconscious, senseless until the aroma of coffee jolted my senses awake. The face of a stranger emerged before me. I was sitting in a furniture restorators workshop in Malmesbury while the owner began telling me how while driving back from a late delivery he noticed a little terrier wearing a tartan waistcoat by the side of the road. Stopping he opened the passenger door Minnie loved going for rides and hopped in. Crossing to the driver’s seat he noticed a pair of boot protruding from a nearby bush and he hauled me into the van. What a situation. Had it not have been for a Samaritan travelling a deserted stretch of road, a late Christmas present and a little terrier sitting attentively, waiting…

We were driving back to ‘Pooh Corner’, the field with my caravan, the smell of chickens and Ruby the cob her winter coat skewed half on half off as usual. Wandering around in a dream-like state until a letter landed in the post-box from the Gloucester Police station… My wallet containing a sum of money was handed in would I please collect it! This was a promising start to the new year. Motivated, I made casual visits to local schools and got a part-time cleaning job for many years. My housing situation improved also when I started going to doorway I was frogmarched to the council reception desk and catapulted to the top of the waiting list, well 2nd place actually within weeks I had a place to live and  Minnie had well-deserved comfort and passed away asleep in her basket a few years later. I like to be reminded  of that time in my life after all who knows what is just around the corner and who our friends really are. Thanks to all the staff and volunteers at doorway and guests hope everybody has an enjoyable and rewarding 2017!

Best Wishes


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