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 …

Visiting and Scribbling in SA …

22/11/2018 // by Jan Moran Neil

Visiting and Scribbling in SA … by Ms Paige Turner
I’ve been leading on some of the evening workshops at Fish Hoek Scribblers since 2009. This year was Fish Hoek’s Centenary and the Scribblers, founded way back in the 50s when I was toddling, produced a centenary anthology to commemorate the town. Largely under management of Karen and Paul Gray-Kilfoil ‘Southern Write’ was launched at the Fish Hoek Library, Cape Town in October and I gave a tribute to the inimitable Sybil A’Bear who was one of the founder members.
The Scribblers then had me for a Red Christmas and reading of my ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’. Throughout the years this group has assisted me in exploring the South African culture. After all, I’m married to a South African man and like the Cape winds, one has to check daily which way they are blowing and plan accordingly. So it’s an ongoing project. And like my spouse, this group is always a challenge and keep me on my ten toes. Mister Justin Case and I were fortunate enough to spend the last two weeks of our stay with our daughter Miss Trial and our granddaughter Madeleine Lily. The latter insists that she has two toes but ‘two’ is the operative word for her. She is it this coming Sunday.

Three places left on Creative Ink for Writers’ UK evening workshop on Wednesday 5th December at Amersham. 8.00 pm and entitled ‘The Visitor’. £18 to include drinks and nibbles. Wear red if you can and email me. – for anyone who wants to know details about where to get ‘Southern Write’.

Red Lipstick at the St James’s Retirement Home, Cape Town with thanks …

06/11/2018 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Red Lipstick’ at St James’s Retirement Home, Kalk Bay Cape Town with thanks by Ms Paige Turner …
St James’s is like a stationary cruise liner docked in the ever-changing Indian ocean. The elegantly pink dining room is reminiscent of the age old First Class Queens of the Seas. Tea is served in porcelain cups and the ample library is stocked with Dick Francis and novels like ‘Careless in Red’. I tried not to be: I spoke my poems loudly, slowly and clearly as I’m not a lover of microphones.
There must have been at least 1500 years of living in that sunny lounge last week. The youngest was Khululwa Nkatshu. Khuls showed up with her mate Cindy who works on the cash till at Woolworths in Long Beach Mall, Fish Hoek and Khuls was the actress who performed my one woman play ‘A President in Waiting’ at the Masambe, Baxter Theatre two years ago. Thank you for coming to my perf, Khuls and Cindy.
A number of my poems feature those wonderful Xhosa Dlongwana sisters: Maria, Beauty, Patricia, Wendy, Miranda/Busisiwe, Pumeza and Kutala. Pumeza texted me at 6.00 am last Sunday to say their father had died. Pumeza is taking seven children by car to the Eastern Cape this Friday after work to get to her father’s funeral on Saturday and returning home on Sunday to go back to work on Monday. Pumeza, thank you for the Tuesday work you do in our home.
I want to thank Betty Halstead OBE for thanking me after every poem I read. Betty is a 100 years old and told me that I had enriched her life last week. She was awarded an OBE for tribal work in Zimbabwe. When I called for Qs and As she asked me where I would like to end up. I said I thought St James’s was a fine place to be … Thank you, Betty for enriching my life.
Next stop/Fish Hoek Scribblers/Thursday 15th November at 6.00 pm for another perf of ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’.

Small and Trusted

15/10/2018 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Small and Trusted’ by Ms Paige Turner
My ‘Red Lipstick’ audience last Friday at High Wycombe Library almost beat my Guinness Book of Records hit in 1979. That was with my Ruddles Theatre Company (sponsored by the lovely Rutland brewery) performance of Barry Keefe’s ‘Gotcha’ which had an audience in Grantham of two. And they were mates of one of our actors. To be fair I was competing with a Royal Wedding and the 11 Plus results.
But it doesn’t matter to me if I have three or a thousand punters: a perf is a perf. The audience was small and very appreciative and so was I.
Writing Magazine included a tiny book in their last issue of writers’ quotes. Thumbing through I see Rose Tremain has written: listen to the criticisms and preferences of your “trusted first readers”. A further draft of my novel has come back from one of my “trusted first readers” and I’m listening hard. Writing is re-writing …

Blog 200/A Well Good Working Week

06/10/2018 // by Jan Moran Neil

Blog 200 – A Well Good Working Week
When I let go of my regular Creative Ink for Writers’ classes I didn’t expect to be quite so busy with … well … work. Like London buses, editing work comes in showers. I had a downpour this week but rain is in my genes: I come from a long line of umbrella makers, so the pennies from heaven are welcome. And my, is it raining today.
Last Wednesday evening saw the third Creative Ink workshop this year organised by Catherine Klyhn and my topic was ‘The Stranger’: the person or incident which comes from a foreign and unexpected field to change the course of your life or your central character’s life. Next evening workshop is Wednesday 5th December in Amersham and it’s ‘The Visitor’. Email me if interested. Catherine puts on lovely mulled wine and picks. £18.
How great it is to see former Creative Inkers for coffee and cake. When the lovely Galit Gibson suggested this on a Saturday morning, I thought – what a great idea. Especially after an hour on the treadmill watching ‘Coronation Street’ catch up. Galit and I never stopped talking: not surprising if you know either of us.
Don’t be a stranger. Let me know how you and your words are getting along.

I’m at High Wycombe Library next Friday 12th October – 11.00 am until midday reading from my ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’ poetry collection for National Libraries Week.

The Cliveden Experience …

21/09/2018 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘The Cliveden Experience’ by Ms Paige Turner
Since 2000 I’ve been running my regular Creative Ink for Writers’ classes at the Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield. In May, I retired (only) from my regular classes and past and present writers came to a Drinks Potty at the centre. The writers presented me with vouchers for Cliveden and I chose to take Mr Justin Case there for dinner on our 33rd wedding anniversary two weeks ago. I was amused that Fiona Gibb had purchased the vouchers on Harry and Meghan’s wedding day, dodging all sorts of security to do so. Our dinner fell on the evening of the day I would have started back for the Creative Ink academic term so I had mixed emotions, not least feeling like a duchess and that one may have sat on the same loo seat as Jan Moran Neil …
Contact me if you would like to attend an evening workshop in Amersham entitled ‘The Stranger’ at 8.00 pm.
Free entry for a further performance of ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’ at High Wycombe Library, Eden Centre, Friday 12th October 11.00 am until midday for National Libraries Week.