‘From Planet Janet …’

12/01/2020 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘From Planet Janet…’ by Ms Paige Turner
I was going to write this short blog before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s (or are they still?) announcement last week that they were ‘stepping back’ from Royal Duties.
This must be in part because the duchess (is she still?) believes that one should ‘thrive and not have to just survive’ as she mentioned in the Tom Bradbury documentary interview last October.
What planet is the Duchess of Sussex on? The majority of people in this world learn to survive. I did. And when we can thrive comes in moments if we are fortunate. The Duchess of Sussex is very fortunate to hold this belief. She is rich and famous. And I am not racist.
Let me know if you want to come to the Creative Ink Evening Workshop on Thursday 19th March – 8.00 pm until 10.00 pm. £20 for the session, Suzie’s stunning snacks and hand out sheets. ‘The Birth of an Idea’. Beaconsfield.

Happy Writing …2020

29/12/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Happy New Decade …’ by Ms Paige Turner
At this time of year, there are no better words than the ones our three year old granddaughter was heard to say on Christmas morning, midway opening a tumultuous pile of presents, ‘I need to go and lie down …’
If you feel this way, then go ahead and Happy Writing and Other Things for 2020.

Happy Boris Christmas, then …

17/12/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

Happy Boris Christmas, then … by Ms Paige Turner
Just wanting to thank Catherine and her ravishing refreshments for the last of the Creative Ink evening workshops in Amersham. That litless road at night was getting too much for me. And I thank Catherine for hosting these workshops for the last seven years. I think Catherine counted 25!
And good news for 2020. There are plans afoot for a Beaconsfield Creative Ink evening workshop in the spring so watch this space and mail shots.
I must mention the poet Chris Johnson who has been coming to me for one to one consultations for years. A widely published poet in prestigious poetry publications, he has a poem coming up in the highly regarded Acumen in January. What a way to start the New Year.
It remains for me to wish you a Happy Boris Christmas – as I expect he is.

‘The Significance of the Original …’

28/11/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘The Significance of The Original …’ by Ms Paige Turner
Here follows an excerpt from my Slice of Memoir Story ‘The Great and the Good’ which I wrote in 1997 and was published in my collection ‘Serving Bluebird Pie’.
‘The day after my father’s mother died, I took the train up to Victoria with him. He was heading for the sleeper to Stranraer and for her Belfast funeral. He silently took a secret from his coat pocket. He smoothed his thumb over the creased faces on a faded brown and cream photograph, as if in a caress. It was a photograph of his father and himself, aged about nine. I was nineteen. I had never seen a photograph of my grandfather or my own father as a child.
“Do you still remember him?” I asked naively. I was then the same age that he had been when he lost his father.
“He is as clear and close to me as my mother is now,” he replied. Then back into the cupboard of his pocket the smoothed out photo went. He looked out of the train window and stared up at the sky.’
That one inch by one inch sepia photo was about fifty years old at the time in 1975 and it was the only photo my father possessed of his father. After my father himself died some eighteen months later, I found the tiny photo in a red cardboard Old Spice box and when I published my collection it was reproduced hundreds of times. I also had it enlarged and on display in two frames.
But recently I discovered the original in my photo album torn, defaced and according to Greg at GS Photos in Gerrards Cross, beyond repair. I told Greg that I blame myself for the loss of this much loved and now 95 year old snippet of a photo: carelessness. Greg, an Orange Free State South African (these natives are close to my heart) told me not to think about it. He might be able to work with the enlarged photo so that will last. His comforting words: ‘these things happen’. And so they do.
But the original has gone and alas, like some things in life, cannot be repaired even though I have tried to piece it together and make some overall sense of the picture. I shall place the pieces in my father’s Old Spice box, where I should have kept it all along and I will wrap it in a copy of this blog. In this World of Digital and Photo Plenty, maybe The Original has lost its place. Or at the least, can be edited and distorted. Maybe princes think that … or maybe they don’t.
Coming up: Blogging Your Personal Experiences at Evreham Adult Learning on Saturday 7th December/Day Workshop
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’.

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.