I am afraid we have a con-artist among us! Well, possibly a would-be con-artist. Let me illustrate. Last night Ro presented us with a photograph of a very old chest, the kind that was known as a ‘Wellington Chest’, with seven drawers. He then told us how he had come across a letter, dated 18th October, 1805,pasted to the bottom of one of the drawers, purporting to be from Thomas Hardy, of ‘Kiss me, Hardy,’ fame. This letter was addressed to ‘My dearest Anne,’ and was a love letter, expressing the hope that if the writer died Anne would eventually find it.
We were given several possible scenarios to write about:
- If the letter was a forgery, who would benefit from this? And what might have happened to the original?
- If the letter was genuine, why was it never discovered before? And, as Thomas Hardy survived Waterloo, why did he not remove it himself?
- Or simply use your imagination – which is, of course, what most of us did.
Although Ro swore that he had indeed recently found this genuine letter, there was considerable cynicism in the group. This was expressed with particular vividness in several pieces which explored various ways of describing excrement.
Others chose a more intellectual approach. We had a most interesting court case, a lovely visual exploration of why Nelsons Column is besieged by pigeons, absconding wives, French marauders, an especially horrific tale involving chastity belts, and, to crown the evening, a ballad which stopped us all in our tracks in admiration that anyone could produce such a delight in 20 minutes.
In spite of the doubts regarding the validity of his claims, the 22 Shorelinkers present agree that it was a cracking workshop. Well done, Ro.
Reading week next week, and we shall be at our Westfield venue. The optional theme is A room of her own – be inspired! See you there. Sally