Alan’s Workshop

Alan suggested we write about our journey through life as coloured and influenced by the places we have lived in and the people we have lived with. It was an inspirational idea. I really loved this workshop  It caught the imagination immediately and  a variety of  fantastic work was created, some fact, some fiction, and in all honesty, a lot of the time I had no idea which was which, but I was riveted by them all.

We began with a snapshot of Alan’s own childhood in a London full of bomb sites and houses destroyed by blast but with furniture still in place although whole walls had disappeared. His young eyes loved this playground and he was initially devastated to be moved with his family to a leafy suburb, but he soon learnt there was adventure to be found there as well. He conjured a vivid picture of those post war years.

The stories that followed took us to many places. Another set in fifties Britain reminded us hilariously of the petrol shortages, while yet another illustrated a boy’s shock that the countryside was not as full of horses as he had imagined before moving there, but instead of tractors – and in particular, the iconic Ferguson. Which he learnt to appreciate, perhaps even more retrospectively..

Then there was a charming piece conjuring up an almost idyllic time in a caravan while Dad built the family house and the thrill of the first visit to the completed homestead. I admit I did decide the piece about the aardvarks living in Bexhill might not be fact – but who knows what goes on in Bexhill?! Which brings me to a poignant piece concerning a daughter clearing her mother’s house which was her own childhood home. Not surprisingly many memories were invoked, both in her and us. I was vividly reminded of my own mother lamenting the disappearance of Izal loo rolls. And if you don’t know why that is funny, trust me, you are lucky!

Another one of us clocked up 29 moves before settling in the period cottage built by smugglers, which she loves, and several more have had nomadic lives taking in continental adventures or even, in one case, a temporary home at the foot of the Himalayas. There were a lot more, of course. Ro narrowly escaped renting the apartment where the La Bianca murders, by the Manson family took place in Los Angeles in 1969, which was somewhat chilling.

Another described with gory details his life as a vagrant. Which he swore was true. Right. Like the one about the Cannabis selling granny, I suppose. As you can tell, this was a typical and totally delightful Shorelink evening. Thank you, Alan, it was a great workshop.

Tesco again next week, a reading week, and the optional theme is: My autobiography and how I’ve suffered.  Good luck with that. See you there. Sally xxxx



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