Kate’s workshop was entitled Quite by Chance, and she asked us to write a piece, fact or fiction, illustrating how a simple unplanned event can change the course of history. That is to say, the history of the world or our own somewhat smaller part in it. As examples she cited the speck in Celia Johnson’s eye in Brief Encounter and Alice falling down the rabbit hole, small things in themselves, huge in their effect on the participants.
The result was a terrific evening full of factual and imagined happenings, though it was sometimes hard to know which was which. We began with a flourish, listening to a story from one of the embroiderers of the Bayeux Tapestry, and passed on to an animal trainer whose expertise was in the field of aardvarks. Those certainly set the bar high for the rest of us. I wish I could repeat all the stories here, the delightful one of the circumstances of landing a first job, the emotional telling of being saved in a car crash by a divine voice calling instructions, and the two soldiers head to head in WW1 who decide to walk away and each let the other live. Heart warming until you learn that one of them was a certain Adolf Hitler.
There was an intriguing, apparently true, tale by a member who has a double living locally which has caused some embarrassment to her. She has been unable to track her doppelganger down but we shall all be on the lookout now. The stories came thick and fast, we really got our creative teeth into this subject. From climbing Ben Nevis to being interviewed by a bishop for a rather unattractive clergy living, to a romantic story centred around a lost organ key, our imaginations and memories were jolted to good effect.
I did love the one about the chap who refused the gift of a drawing from the artist he had just helped with his luggage, only to find out later the chap’s name was a certain P Picasso… We heard a love story concerning the meeting of a couple which has led to a long and successful marriage, followed by a charming one illustrating that you don’t have to be in the first flush of youth to fall in love.
There were more, of course, but I shall finish with Kate’s own story of the disastrous Christmas when her kitchen ceiling fell down. I doubt it seemed funny at the time, but the telling of it was pure slapstick.
Thank you all, especially Kate, for another, very convivial, and typically Shorelink evening – inventive, fun and hugely entertaining.
Reading week at Westfield next Monday, the optional theme Making a grand entrance. See you there. Sally.