Week 16 and onward we go, with the likelihood of resuming physical meetings still somewhere in the shrouded future. What strange times. But we have already gathered together a body of writing as varied and excellent as in any time in our 25 year history, and no doubt will continue to do so. Which brings me quite neatly to this week’s submissions. Our interpretations of the theme of A Pinch of Salt were typically wide ranging.
I began by reading a brilliant skit on life in Ancient Brittania,as an occupying Tribune describes in a letter to Caesar his reasons for being unable to civilise such a moronic outpost– great stuff! And, staying in the distant past, I then moved on to poem relating the reasons for some of our ‘first of the month’ chants. Who knew that Pinch, punch, first of the month, was all about chucking salt at witches to banish them? I certainly didn’t and was fascinated.
Several of the stories wandered into the dark side, though there was a fun take on a would-be 007, but more seriously another which had a serial wife beater and adulterer caught with some impressively modern technology, and a very creepy one involving a magician and some ants. And I haven’t mentioned the jumble sale murder yet, or the extremely unsettling piece set in a mental hospital featuring a newly qualified psychologist. To say nothing of the copper looking for the grave of his murdered sister.
It wasn’t all blood and thunder, in spite of a duologue that projected a scenario where happiness died with the halcyon days of the 70’s and 80’s (thereby proving some of our writers are very young!). There was a hilarious tragicomedy concerning a conversation between pigs and bacon, and a delightful story of two young pen friends meeting for the first time. Also a sortie back to the Battle of Britain with a thought provoking twist in the tale, and another which gave a nod to the supernatural. And not to forget the salt hunt with multiple animals in the woods – sadly unresolved!
And the poems! Oh, yes, they deserve their own accolade. So many, so uplifting, so beautiful. the haunting mermaid on the beach, the delightful and optimistic reflection ending whatever you reap, you already sowed, and the succinct advice to take life with a pinch of salt and a swig of your favourite alcohol! The words to describe the poetic protest of the reincarnated duck escape me, I’m afraid, but I look forward to hearing our resident performance poet declaiming it at some future date.
There was a charming reminiscence into childhood cooking (and eating!) which conjured us back to a post-war family kitchen. And a clever and funny piece on ACDC – no, not the band, but the Association of Culinary Detectives Convention. You heard it here first!
And, of course, there were others that were continuing pieces. The moose battle introduced a couple of new characters and we are yet to find out if they are what they seem. And the continental adventure continues apace.
We were also treated to a very erudite essay on the work of Richard Williams, the animator, and, in particular, on his film The Thief and the Cobbler. As someone who is fascinated by the growth and influence of cinema on our culture I was really engrossed by this, as I had never made the connection with the old silent movies and so much of animation. I shall definitely be exploring that a lot more.
So, once again, thank you all. It is a privilege to be part of the group. You have decided to continue through July, and next week’s theme is Thanks for the Memory. And so off we go again! Sally