Funny Men …

06/04/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Funny Men’ – Blog 213 by Ms Paige Turner …
There’s a theatre about 20 minutes from Africa’s toe, overlooking Kalk Bay which has a restaurant that overlooks an intimate performance space and 72 of the most comfortable audience seats imaginable. It’s a good view whichever way you look during your pre-theatre meal.
The theatre came up twice trumps for us this 25th Swallow Drop to Cape Town. Firstly there was a really good Safari Show for kids and we took our two year old granddaughter Maddie Moo, who, sitting in the front row promptly got up in the middle of the show to handle the stage props. Yep, chip off the old Creative Ink block, if I live long enough I will teach her the importance of props and how not to ever forget them.
Aaron Mcllroy’s one man adult show entitled ‘ADHD and other gifts …’ was unforgettable. For those of you old enough to remember the comedian Bob Newhart, Mcllroy takes a leaf from his style. He swivels into several different characters during an hour and speaks to a host of people clearly visible in his imaginary eye. As an audience member, imagining the responses from this host of motley angels, I near on wet myself. I hadn’t laughed as much since my last dose of Dave Allen. And I didn’t know that Isaac Newton, Billy Jean King and Sir Winston Churchill had Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or as one of Mcllroy’s ‘angels’ says: ‘ABCD’ …
For my three UK Blog readers I guess you won’t be able to catch this show. If you’re reading in SA you might.
In my next life I’d quite like to run this magical theatre.

Two places left on the Creative Ink Evening Workshop ‘Unlocking Your Creative Unconscious’ in Amersham. £18 to include refreshments. Wednesday 1st May.

For UK Mother’s Day

30/03/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘For UK Mother’s Day’ by Ms Paige Turner …

For mothers: Kerry and Lisa …
And the mothers’ mothers …
Elana and Pendisa …
For Cael and Thabisa …
Who saw too few Easters …
May the fragrance of your flowers linger on …

Cael Rawley Bell (From Manchester, UK) 28/7/95 – 24/2/19 – aged 23 years
Thabisa Nkatshu (To Masiphumelele, Cape Town) 3/1/17 – 2/3/19 – aged tiny two.

‘Buffel, the Elephant Seal’

07/03/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Buffel, the Elephant Seal’ by Ms Paige Turner
At the beginning of the year (a tagged) Buffel swept up on Fish Hoek Beach, which is around 20 miles from the Cape of Good Hope. He took up residence to shed his old skin and get a brand new one. Mister Justin Case and I had hoped that he would stay until we got here in February so we could see him snoozing as we walked the mile long beach to Clavelly. But alas, the day we were due to fly from Heathrow it was reported on Facebook that Buffel had ‘disparu’. Hours later, before we swallows took flight, this was reported as ‘fake news’. Buffel had just gone to take a swim in Skellies Pool nearby and was back on our track. Here’s what the Fish Hoek Beach daily chalked report said of him:

‘Advice from Buffel, the Elephant Seal on Chalkboard on the Beach’.

Be thick-skinned.
Spend a month on the beach every year.
Forget the banting diet and try moulting.
Growl if anyone wakes you.
Occasionally have a swim in Skellies Pool.
Enjoy Fish Hoek Beach.
Swim every day. Rest …
Travel to faraway places.

He waited until we arrived and took our first beach walk the next day. Then he was gone: skin moulted and new one rendered him ready to go. It’s kind of what we hope to do when we swallows drop in your valley: moult and re-new. Thanks for waiting for us, Buffel: magnificent creature that you are. And you know what? Bet you don’t spend thousands of rand on Botox and Fillers …

Scribbling Away in SA

23/02/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Scribbling Away in SA’ by Ms Paige Turner
Scrabbling around more like. Since we arrived in Fish Corner (Fish Hoek) our phones haven’t worked, the alarm has gone on the blink, along with the internet. We had no water for 48 hours as the men are laying fibre on the pavements and pickaxing into water pipes whilst we have a leak in our pool. But anyway, we’re privileged to have the latter. And today the sun is shining and all seems well after the mist.
Scribbling with the Fish Hoek scribblers in South Africa I have been starting up with my theme for the year: Keys with ‘Unlocking your Creative Unconscious’ which I am doing on May 1st for the Evening Creative Ink sessions organised by Catherine Klyhn in Amersham UK. (Email me for more details.) And later that month with Wycombe Abbey School for their short story competition.
I meet with the lovely Fish Hoek Scribblers twice a year and kicked off this session with ‘Put Your Life in Six Words’. Everyone did this magnificently but a newcomer beautifully christened as Gideon brought the house down with: Still. Trying. To. Puzzle. It. Out.
Mister Justin Case have been doing that all week …

Bread Pudding Days by Ms Paige Turner

14/02/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

Bread Pudding Days by Jan Moran Neil

On soggy days
when the rain spits
my mother’s house is filled
with the warmth of cinnamon sticks,
rich dried fruit
and softly sifted sugar.
She folds and wraps our words:
- the bargain cost of my orange gloves
- the price we paid for our lost loves
- our woeful tales of wicked hate
- our splendid plans to be great.
All are measured, sieved, considered
for their mixed worth
baked into something sturdy,
crusty, spongy and deeply palatable.
And in that cooking fragrance
- the weight and varied textures
touching half remembered edges -
my mother’s syllables and smiles stretch on:
a balm against the greying bits,
a refuge against the rain which spits.

For Muriel – 10.6.22. – 14.2.01.

Actually she died on a beautiflly sunny Valentine’s Day just like today.

Princely Sums and Brexit

29/01/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Princely Sums and Brexit’ by Ms Paige Turner
A couple of weeks ago Miss Trial took me to Buckingham Palace for my Christmas present. I adore the Georgian period for its architecture, theatre (all that fun Restoration which gave birth to Farce), costume and wigs which persist into our court rooms today.
Buckingham House was built for the Duke of Buckingham and then bought by George 111. His son George 1V, responsible for the Royal Pavilion, also known as Prinny’s Folly in Brighton, largely turned the house into a palace. His only surviving child and daughter Princess Charlotte died in childbirth at the age of 29, motivating the then Prince of Wales’s (George 1V) brothers to scurry around and marry European princesses to carry on the royal line. George 1V died without further issue, as they say and despite his brother William 1V having had 10 children with his mistress (an actress of course) he also died without further legitimate issue. Apparently William paid off his mistress Mrs Jordan and then left her to die in poverty in Paris as she renaged on their contract and returned to perform on the stage.
George and William’s younger brother the Duke of Kent had a baby daughter: Victoria and on her Uncle William 1V’s death, she Took Throne (as her dad had died of pneumonia) and the Rest is History.
Here is the nub of this bi-monthly blog. A direct descendant of William 1V’s illegitimate issue and Mrs Jordan (the Anglo-Irish actress – and what may I ask is wrong with being either Anglo-Irish or an actress?) is … David Cameron. Which brings me to Right Royal Pickles and Princely Sums.

My novel ‘Shakespeare’s Clock’ had lift off into Agent/Publishing Space last Thursday. God bless her and all the work I put into her.

Creative Ink Evening Workshops

11/01/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

Creative Ink for Writers with Jan Moran Neil and hosted by Catherine Klyhn in Amersham
8.00 pm – 10.00 pm – £18
Theme – Keys

Wednesday 1st May – Unlocking Your Creative Unconscious
Wednesday 3rd July – Keys to the Kingdom/Use of Fairy Tales
Wednesday 2nd October – Keys to the Door
Wednesday 4th December – The Key to Christmas (Wear Red)

Email me.

My short story: ‘Miranda and her Madam’ one of 32 finalists in the African Book Club comp is available on Amazon – collection of short stories entitled ‘The Wrong Patient’.

Surgery and The Wrong Patient

03/01/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Surgery and Wrong Patients’ by Ms Paige Turner
My laptop has been undergoing major surgery this Christmas and New Year season. It’s been awful. I’ve managed with Mister Justin Case’s laptop and my phone but it’s just not the same. I’ve been a pain of a patient. We’ve also had that hacking cough and Miss Maddie the granddaughter got a well-timed bout of chicken pox when both parents were off work. We are still walking and breathing. And this is what I wanted to post for the New Year by 13th century poet Rumi.

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi
And to say – can you believe – on Sunday 11th November – 100 years to the day that the First World War came to an end – the Fish Hoek, Cape Town low tide (best for walking) was at 11 minutes past 11? Honest.
My short story: ‘Miranda and her Madam’ one of 32 finalists in the African Book Club comp is available on Amazon – collection of short stories entitled ‘The Wrong Patient’.

Visitors bearing Gifts …

13/12/2018 // by Jan Moran Neil

Visitors bearing Gifts by Ms Paige Turner
The final Creative Ink evening workshop of the year (organised by Catherine Klyhn) was entitled ‘The Visitor’ and the theme for Quaker Poets was Gifts. So here’s a poem which marries both themes.

Abou Ben Adhem
By Leigh Hunt
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

This is the poem I wish had been read at my mother’s funeral almost seventeen years ago. She loved it as she loved her fellow men and women. Have a warm Christmas.

‘Frankie and Di’

03/12/2018 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Frankie and Di’ by Ms Paige Turner
I saw two people this past week who brightened up my mid-winter days no end. The first was Frankie Valli last night at the O2 stadium. Actually, I had seen Frankie twice before. The story goes like this. Mister Justin Case, Miss Trial and Master Mind and I are all Four Seasons’ aficionados, having seen ‘The Jersey Boys’ about 13 times. When Mister Justin Case and I were transversing the USA in those trains which have beds three quarters your length even if you are short like Mister Justin Case and me, we were stopping in Denver for the day. ‘Lo and behold,’ Mister Justin Case said. ‘Frankie Valli is appearing. Shall we go?’ So we did. After climbing lots of Colorado mountains.
We then saw Frankie at the Royal Albert Hall the following year and I was able to run down to the stage like those irritating people and I shook hands with him. I mouthed the words, ‘I saw you in Denver last year’. But Mister Justin Case said that his ear phones and 8000 people would have prevented him hearing this. I think he’s chocolate: Frankie that is.
I also saw Di. After 53 years. We went to primary school together and she always came top of the class. Di kept me on my toes. I never beat her but she was such a gentle winner. You couldn’t help but not mind the fact that she was always came first. She had lost her soft Scottish ten year old brogue but not her gentleness. I met Di with my lovely chum Pat who was in the same primary class. It was over our John Lewis salad that Di confessed that once she had come 13th. This memory slipped to the front of my mind as she said this. However, I couldn’t gain any satisfaction from this default. Educationists in the sixties used to think you had to be pulled down a peg or two. Walking with her on Oxford Street Underground to the tune of ‘While Shepherds Watched’ took me back to all those lovely primary nativities when I was always, indeed, a shepherd. Like singing with Frankie Valli I was walking on Cloud 9. That was chocolate too.
Still a couple of places on the Creative Ink Evening Workshop entitled ‘The Visitor’ this Wednesday 5th December at 8.00 pm in Amersham. £18. Email me. Catherine supplies copious chocolate …