31 Years Service with Adult Learning …

11/11/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘31 Years Service with Adult Learning …’ by Ms Paige Turner
It’s been a wonderful six weeks: we had an attempted break in at our lovely home in Cape Town. When the smashed patio window was replaced a cat took up residence being sealed in for days on end setting off the alarm. The upholstery and carpets had to be cleaned, the razor wire (yes we have it) replaced, the intercom fixed. En route to Cape Town I left my boarding pass with Yves St Laurent (I know them well at Heathrow). I reclaimed it to find one hour before boarding that my pass was for Helsinki … That settled I locked myself in the Ladies and a kind lady told me not to panic.
I did manage to get to Cape Town despite the obstacles and watch the Rugby Final with the natives whilst reading Kate Atkinson’s ‘A God in Ruins’ with a collapsed left ear which seems, with some assistance, to be back on track.
I’ve done 31 Years with Adult Learning and they gave me £300. So that was nice! And I’m still at it …
Coming up: Blogging Your Personal Experiences at Evreham Adult Learning on Saturday 7th December/Day
Speaking with Confidence at Evreham Adult Learning on Saturday 25th April 2020
01296 382403
Creative Ink Workshops – The final Evening Workshop at Amersham with Catherine’s ravishing refreshments is on Wednesday 4th December at 8.00 pm. Two hours with me, hand out sheets, wine and nibbles and ‘The Key to Christmas’ for £18. Email me for further details. You can also arrange your own day or evening workshop with me or my 50 minute one woman readings from my collection ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’.

Friends on Good Writing …

23/10/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Friends on Good Writing…’ by Ms Paige Turner

I’ve been Home Tutoring for the national Writing Magazine for thirteen years. I’ve proof read and given feedback on Scriptwriting, Poetry, Novels, Features and Memoir and made some long distance friends: correspondents whom, as in Helen Hanff’s ’84 Charing Cross Road’, I will probably never meet in person. Writing Magazine is offering a sizeable discount on their monthly periodicals if you quote this code: WM/TUTOR/JANMN

Call – 01778 392482
Visit – https://writ.rs/subs

I don’t get any remuneration for this but I thought it was worth mentioning in the same breath as Friend of Creative Ink for Writers’ Gavin Extence. He is an award winning novelist and Richard and Judy Good Read. His fourth novel ‘The End of Time’ is published by Hodder. The premise is: ‘Two young Syrian brothers flee their homeland in search of a better life in the UK’ and it’s informative, topical, historic, prophetic and gripping. A modern day ‘Grapes of Wrath’. I will always buy and read this young man’s books.

Creative Ink Workshops – The final Evening Workshop at Amersham with Catherine’s ravishing refreshments is on Wednesday 4th December at 8.00 pm. Two hours with me, hand out sheets, wine and nibbles and ‘The Key to Christmas’ for £18. Email me for further details. You can also arrange your own day or evening workshop with me or my 50 minute one woman readings from my collection ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’.

Coming up: Blogging Your Personal Experiences at Evreham Adult Learning on Saturday 7th December/Day
Speaking with Confidence at Evreham Adult Learning on Saturday 25th April 2020
01296 382403

The End of a Lollipop …

09/10/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘The End of a Lollipop …’ by Ms Paige Turner
Or as Edna O’Brien once wrote: ‘We die by degrees but there is one part of us that decidedly knows when it’s all just over.’
I want to thank Catherine Klyhn (I have referred to her here as Ms Evening Workshops) whose organization of Creative Ink Evening Workshops at her home or at Four Seasons’ Café in Amersham for almost seven years has been exemplary. It’s been a great run and great fun: she is the quintessential hostess and administrator but we had both been thinking about moving on to new pastures for a while.
So the final Creative Ink Evening Workshop with Catherine’s ravishing refreshments is on Wednesday 4th December at 8.00 pm and is £18 for the two hour workshop, handouts sheets and wine and nibbles. Please email me for details. It’s ‘The Key to Christmas’.
And as Catherine has said: one door closes and another opens. ((Our theme this year has been ‘Keys’.) Perhaps we should tell this to the estranged cat who decided to live in our South African house for a number of days before being released into the sea air. Yes, one door closes, Cat and for you another one was thankfully opened by our trusty manager. So I’ll be posting details of my day workshops in 2020 in the next blog. And just email me if you would like to organise a Creative Ink day of evening workshop. Always a new lollipop.
Thanks also to Mr Double Cream from Uxbridge, one of my three blog readers who attended the October ‘Keys to the Door’. How I love to have him in the classes and how odd – or is it – that themes precede reality?

Blog 225 – Driving Ms Moran Neil by Ms Paige Turner

04/10/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Blog 225’ – ‘Driving Ms Moran Neil’ by Ms Paige Turner

I had to drive Mr Justin Case’s car to my lovely Quakers’ Poetry meeting this week. My car was being serviced for the first time in four years as I have only driven 7000 miles since 2015. It seems a long drive to me. I don’t do motorways or speeding. I drive gently to poetry meetings.
When we got into Mr Justin Case’s Mazda to collect my smaller Mazda, his engine light came on. ‘What have you been doing to my car,’ Mr Justin Case said, not really asking the question.
‘I only changed the radio station,’ I replied.
If your engine warning light is going to come on, then best to come on when you are on the way to a garage where you are paying a, lot, of, money. When we arrived the jovial garage man said, passing us the bill for a, lot, of, money, ‘Mrs Neil, as usual has been wrecking her car, driving like a mad woman and destroying the undercarriage …’ Ha ha ha and Mister Justin Case joined in with the ha, ha, ha.
I said, ‘You had better be careful. This is anti-feminist and anti-Me Too language. I shall call my solicitor.’
The garage man said, ‘Oh we aren’t racist, or misogynists. We’re diverse. Not exclusive. We include everyone in our rudeness.’
I thought it was funnier that ‘Fleabag’. Especially as Mister Justin Case’s red light was an oxygen blip.

Creative Ink for Writers’ next Evening Workshop is on Wednesday 4ht December at 8.00 pm in Amersham with Catherine’s ravishing refreshments, 2 hour workshop with me and hand out sheets all for £18. Email me for details.

Blessed with Belfast Cousins …

16/09/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Blessed with Belfast Cousins’ by Ms Paige Turner
We landed at the George Best Belfast City airport last week and stayed at the Titanic Hotel. (The latter interestingly enough was the setting place of the Sunday Times Short Story comp this week with Danielle McLaughlin’s ‘A Partial List of the Saved’ bagging her £30,000.) My grandfather, who died seventeen years before I was born was a riveter on the Titanic and I hope it wasn’t his rivet that did it.
We place orange lilies and red roses on six graves at the cemeteries Dundonald and Rose Lawn and it was a joy to see my granddaughter Princess Maddie Moo Moo laying flowers on her great, great, great grandparents’ family grave. That would have been my grandfather’s parents’ grave if you are still with the arithmetic. My cousin Raymond collects us, pulls up beside the graves, opens the boot and gives us a bottle of water, scissors and tissues (for our hands).
After this customary visit, we are free to enjoy some Belfast booze and copious craic where my honorary cousin (I have 22 and Susan is a second cousin) pulled out some old black and white photos and I was able to show Miss Trial, Master Mind and Mister Justin Case who was who and who was buried with whom. Susan truly brought the older generation to the table and asked who was who and I actually felt like the older generation. It’s wonderful to have so many lovely cousins who turn up and talk about my dad as if he was here with a pint and not been gone for forty two years. It makes me feel like I have or had one.
At the end of the weekend we waved ‘goodbye’ to Miss Trial, Master Mind and Princess Maddie Moo Moo at the George Best Belfast City airport when Maddie with her almost three years said, ‘Goodbye. I’m going on my holidays now. I’m going on the plane and I will see you when I get back’.
In fact, Mister Justin Case and I were going off to the Giant’s Causeway for the week. I did notice that beside a big picture of George Best there was a sign saying ‘Multi-Faith Prayer Room’. Yes, I thought, only the Irish could name an airport after an alcoholic and a hotel after a sunken ship. But I do love them.

The next Creative Ink Evening workshop is on Wednesday 2nd October at 8.00pm in Amersham. £18 for a two hour workshop with me, Catherine’s ravishing refreshments and hand out sheets. Theme: Keys to the Door/Opening and Closing. Email me for further details.

Reminded of My Working Tools

04/09/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

Reminded of My Working Tools by Ms Paige Turner
Having visited the British Library’s Exhibition ‘Making Your Mark’ exhibition from Stone Age scratchings to Facebook, I was reminded of my own journey: wax crayons, powder paint, inkwells (yes, inkwells, dear Reader), my first gold-nibbed fountain pen with cartridge, the first of many green fibre felt-tipped pens which have glided across A4 paper for almost fifty years, my first Olivetti typewriter, Amstrad and laptop. What a long sentence that was. How much we have to thank the Phoenicians for. Is that where the word ‘phonetics’ originates from?
I write just as our Parliament may be blotting its copy book.
If you want to put pen (or anything) to paper (or screen) then the next Creative Ink for Writers’ evening workshop is on Wednesday 2nd October at 8.00 pm in Amersham. Theme: ‘Keys to the Door’. Email me if you are interested.

‘A Lady of the Dance ..’

16/08/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘A Lady of the Dance …’ by Ms Paige Turner
I was honoured to read this tribute to Pat Dancer, Creative Inker, who died at the age of 94 on my birthday Sunday 21st July this year. Her funeral at Holy Trinity, Penn, was attended by over 200 guests finishing with The Last Post in recognition of her service as a WREN during World War 11.
Dear Pat,
I knew you for 31 years. You would introduce me as your ‘writing teacher’ but you taught me more about living a good life and dying a good death than I could ever teach you about how to place words on a page.
When you were 80 you were writing quarterly columns for the glossy magazine ‘Chic Chat’ tackling tricky subjects like Self- Harm, Substance Abuse, Al-Anon and Mary Berry –all under the pseudonym Trisha Dee.
The concept of ‘Rhyme & Reason’ which published local writers’ words in aid of the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home and raised more than £70,000 over 27 years was your idea. You were the first co-editor and secretary and stalwart supporter of the project and of me.
Here’s what writer Heather Smith said about you. ‘Pat was blessed with apple pie good looks and an amazing intellect which popped out via those cornflower blue eyes, just to let you know that apple pie was simply a cover. With Pat at Bletchley Park no wonder the war went in our favour.’ How I wish I had written those words.
The days of your life were hugely purposeful and you made full use of your God-given gifts but I know you were ready to move on. For your friends and family, I will read your poem published in the 20th edition of ‘Rhyme & Reason’ which like everyone here was dear to your heart. So Pat, in your own words …

WHAT TO DO WITH MY DAY

Here hath been dawning another new day,
Think thou wilt send it then useless away?
Here hath been dawning a dark and grey day.
Think thou wilt send it just useless away?

No, I’ll keep myself warm and put candles around,
play some music to make an uplifting sound.
I’ll ring up a friend, make us soup and hot bread.
Or get into a book that I’ve never yet read.

Maybe turn on the TV and watch a good play,
Or look out the knitting I promised one day.
Then when evening is here, I’ll get ready for bed
And rest my old body with peace in my head.

Pat told me she was not frightened of what lay ahead. It would be ‘a very big adventure’.

Kings and Queens and Things …

03/08/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Kings and Queens and Things’ by Ms Paige Turner
It was my good fortune to attend an open air production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Hampshire. My great niece was following in her great aunt’s acting shoes and playing the part of Titania, Queen of the Fairies. Princess Meghan (for that is my great niece’s name) did not disappoint and I took about as much pleasure in thanking her teacher/director for casting her in the part as I did in playing it at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre for the New Shakespeare Company many moons ago. In fact I told the teacher/director this fact and enjoyed the whole thing enormously. I don’t think I have ever seen the mechanicals so funny as watching a host of ten year olds with saucepans on their heads acting out their play. Well done, Princess Meghan for playing the Queen so superbly.
And so to ‘The Lion King’ which my 2 year old granddaughter Princess Maddie went to see last week. Five minutes and two packets of chocolate buttons in, she was heard to say, ‘But where is the princess?’ Yes, where was she indeed?
Writing tip of the month: even if you are writing about Kings and Things, don’t forget the princess …

Dear Michael Collins …

20/07/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Dear Michael Collins …’ by Ms Paige Turner
Dear Michael Collins,
On my fifteenth birthday, Monday 21st July 1969, I got up in the early hours to watch your co-mates (and brothers in a somewhat earthly exile) walk the walk of our moon’s surface. What a lot of work the moon has done for me since.
I understand that you took a photo, on that day, of Earth and all the humans alive, including your co-mates: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and all past and future matter in some form as matter can neither be created or destroyed.
Michael, I was brand newly fifteen years old and either sitting in front of our old Rediffusion TV set at 106, Addiscombe Road or on my way to school in Croydon on top of a 119 bus. Who knows?
What I do know is that, as the only past, present or future living matter not caught on that photo, and a being who circumnavigated the moon on your own without any radio contact, if I was lost and had to find my way home, I would ask you. And Mister Justin Case of course.
And that Matter that cannot be either created or destroyed …
From Janet (nee)Titterington.

Fairy Tales and Orange Lilies …

12/07/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

Fairy Tales and Orange Lilies by Ms Paige Turner
The second of the Creative Ink for Writers’ evening workshops on the theme of ‘Keys’ took place in Amersham on July 3rd. We were looking at fairy tales to unlock the secrets of storytelling structure. Like WHO are we talking about, WHERE are, WHEN is this taking place and WHY NOW? It’s the four Ws. (There’s a bit more to it than that but just come to a workshop and see for yourself.)
So every year, it seems without fail, ONE, TWO OR MORE ORANGE LILIES, appear in our GARDEN on THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THE TWELFTH OF JULY/ORANGEMEN’S DAY and then it or they fade on 15TH JULY OR A DAY OR SO AFTER. What is significant about this NOW? My father was a member of the Orange Order and he died 42 years ago on St Swithin’s Day, July 15th.
I always seem to forget about the orange lilies. Somehow I never look for them but when I came home from our daughter Miss Trial and Master Mind’s house on Saturday there were two. Early. On 6th July. Then I remembered our cousin’s husband Gerry had died and was buried last week in Belfast.
It may seem like a fairy tale, but it gives me comfort. That’s my story for this bi-month.
Next evening workshop is ‘Keys to the Door’ on Wednesday 2nd October at 8.00 pm in Amersham and £18 for workshop, follow up hand out sheets and Catherine’s ravishing refreshments.