Online Shorelink Week 31

Oh, my goodness – I have some explaining to do before beginning today’s blog. As you may remember I took a break last week, and before I do anything else, I must thank you all again for the wonderful and encouraging messages (and the beautiful azalea) you sent me. To know that Shorelink is so important to so many people meant a huge amount to both Ro and I.

Putting on my efficient hat, I made sure that the themes for this week were sent out last weekend, and they were all the titles of Dickens short stories:  Hunted Down, The Lamplighter, The Queer Chair (couldn’t resist that one) and One Thousand and One  Humbugs. All was going well and the stories were arriving in my inbox when– OH NO!

Our router packed up. No Wifi. The rest, to misquote poor Hamlet, was silence. Somewhat panicky silence, to be honest. How to let everyone know that we were incommunicado? The promise by our provider that our new router might arrive the next day rang hollowly in our ears. Quite rightly, as there is certainly no sign of it yet.

So we rang our trusty treasurer, Stephen, who emailed round the group, asking you all to carry on sending your pieces. And at this point I must confess I do not know if I have all your contributions, but during a (very) brief resumption of connectivity I managed to download everything I could find, and I hope you will forgive me if, among the 150 emails piled in my inbox, I have overlooked yours.

Now, where to start with this week’s pieces? Well, as there was a strong leaning toward fantasy, and with Christmas on the horizon, a charming pastiche on Scrooge (rechristened Scrounge) and two benveloent mice should have put us in a good mood.   Another on the theme of 1001 Humbugs had hardy school children hoovering up sticky sweets from the school playground. I wondered, with some sympathy, if this was a reaction to the regime of extreme cleanliness that is currently in place? Oh, for some good old fashioned sticky kids! There was certainly much mud (of the more malodorous kind) in Quercus Enigma, and a nice twist in the tail. And, come to think of it, the brief history of a Victorian lamplighter featured mudlarks. It was also a feature of the ironical and funny poem on climate change, but happily not enough to distract us from its deeper meaning.

We read more of the beautiful and gripping story of the stag at bay, cornered by his larger rival, and a human adventure story of a hunter hunted. We also observed Doreen’s somewhat drastic conversion to veganism and from the same writer we witnessed Corrine’s plans to create bedlam in a dystopian world. However, in another tale, Vota’s answer to Miriam’s prayer seems to be having an unexpected downside – we await with interest

There was a tear jerking (in a happy way!) ending to Dickin’s medal winner Faith the cat’s story, and also a charming poem about the Brassey Hall in Hastings, both historically and locally relevant. There was a fun story concerning the antiques dealer who comes across The Queer Chair, and a clever but depressing poem by a writer convinced that our relief at the impending vaccine is misplaced; it is actually intended to cull us all. All other thoughts aside, I would greatly doubt whether this government had the ability, never mind the intent, to manage anything so difficult.

Once again, thank you all. I have no idea if I will be able to post this today or whether our WiFi will disappear as mysteriously as it re-appeared. But we shall be restored soon, either way. I asked our international member, Jeanne, to post the theme for next week, Don’t try this at home, as we Zoomed together last night (no, not from our house, from a friend whose WiFi was behaving!). So, thank you, especially to Jeanne, and to you all for your submissions. Please keep them coming.

I will post this as soon as I am able, and will be in touch again regularly soon.   Sally

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