Jenny’s workshop was straightforward, although, as you will see, through no fault of hers, the meeting was somewhat chaotic. But, to begin at the beginning, as Dylan Thomas so memorably put it, Jenny had noticed how often that doyen of detective fiction Agatha Christie used nursery rhymes, not only as her titles, but to inform the structure of her novels. Jenny presented us with a series of first lines from our childhood poetry and asked us to see where they led us.
And predictably, they led to some rather unpredictable places! An early one started with the Crooked House, a hideaway for a gang of crooks and continued down this hilarious and delightfully perverse path. Another, more conventionally, reminded those of us of a certain age of the joys of the 50’s toy shop, evoking nostalgia for a (possibly) more simple age. There was a gloriously cynical skit on the twelve days of Christmas, and then a local radio announcer updating us on the crime wave perpetuated by Wee Willie Winkie.
An amazing amount of the stories involved crime and murder, what a bloodthirsty lot we Shorelinkers are! We had a couple of true stories, one from a member who, when living in Los Angeles chose to reside next door to Forest Lawns as he liked quiet neighbours (get it?) and a fascinating one about a childhood holiday in Yugoslavia to meet some distant family. This involved a disturbingly graphic account of wolves on the loose and the slaying of one especially fierce one.
We were just finishing our pieces when an alarm went off somewhere. As we are situated close to the car park, we assumed it was a car alarm and continued placidly with our meeting. When it persisted we finally realised that the whole building was in shutdown, and no-one had remembered we were there! Fortunately, the alarm was a hoax, but the event was immediately clocked by the staff and we discussed with them how to prevent it happening again. But, as someone remarked, you lot certainly don’t panic, do you?!
Just to prove the point, one of our members then fell in the car park, and had to be hauled to his feet. A phone call this morning has reassured us that he is fine, but all in all, it was an evening to remember, even if we would rather not. Thank you, Jenny, for your workshop, which was excellent although I am afraid it got rather overshadowed by events.
Reading week next week, at Tesco, optional theme, does this village have a swingers group? See you there – and here’s hoping for a less fraught evening! Sally