Mar 172018

We meet again on Tuesday
Usual place and time
Click the calendar on the right
That’s the end of this rhyme.


NB: if viewed on a phone the calendar might be somewhere else…

We meet again on Tuesday
Usual time and place
If the calendar’s not on the right
It’s in a different space
But once it is located
Just click the relevant date
You’ll find a map to guide you
(And try to not be late!)

Mar 042018

A quieter Read Your Words than some in February, but given the weather etc still a very respectable turnout and a very enjoyable evening. The spoken word was pretty good too! We look forward to the next in April – watch this space for further details.

Our regular meeting on Tuesday will be the usual mix of chat and cross-fertilisation (shush), and there’s also going to be some discussion about the new book “Stories from Anywhere”, which is now fully edited and about to launch.

Usual drill – starts at 8:00 in the regular venue, in the bar initially and then in ‘The Library Room’. If you’re a first-timer give a shout in advance and we’ll keep an eye out for you. Full details on finding the venue are available at the click of a button on the date on the event calendar!

Feb 172018

Mine’s an EXTRA busy one, but from the POV of Tunbridge Wells Writers generally it’s a twofer week, what with our regular meetup on Tuesday and Read Your Words at Javabean on Thursday. Tuesday, following our reading night last meetup (thanks to all who read), is likely to be a quieter affair, but looking forward two days anyone itching to share their writing can bagsie a ten minute (max – no min) slot and go for it! The general rule of thumb is stand-alone pieces (no extracts from longer pieces) and no singing (chiz chiz), but apart from that – heaven knows! – anything goes!

Hope to see you at one or t’other or even both – just click the date(s) on the event calendar for times and locations if you don’t already know.

Jan 242018

The first Read Your Words of 2018 is all set for blast-off  at Javabean Cafe on February 22nd. A fun evening of prose, poetry and whatever else takes your fancy. Only three rules:

  1. No singing (chiz chiz)
  2. Self-contained (so no novel excerpts)
  3. 10 minutes max

Other than that it’s all good, so fill yer boots! This is Debbie’s first go as organiser, so let’s get her off to a cracking start with a full house. SPREAD THE WORD(S)!

HUGE thanks to Carolyn Gray, of course, for all of her years in the hotseat, and here’s hoping the new ventures competing for her time in 2018 prove every bit as rewarding.


UPDATE: Our regular meeting on Tuesday next (6th Feb) will include some reading and feedback… Usual format: three ten-minute reading slots on first-come-first-served basis. With just two days to spare our third reading slot has now been snapped up, so expect to hear from Justin, Sue and Amanda this time round. 

See you on the 22nd 🙂

Jan 202018

Scribble-scribble-scribble, scritch-scritch-scritch…

Ah the joyous sound of quill on parchment – what industrious fellows we are! But stop… Wait… Take an evening off… Tuesday evening, to be precise, Tuesday 23rd. But why? I hear you cry. Why, because it’s Tunbridge Wells Writers’ meetup, you silly!

From 8:00, usual place (St John’s Yard). If writing’s your bag, whatever your genre or form, come join us for lively chat and a libation or two. We’ll be in the bar for a bit and then in the library room. If you can’t spot us just ask the staff and they’ll point you in the right direction. Or drop us a line beforehand and we’ll keep a special eye out for you.

Dec 242017

Something a little different for Christmas Eve – a short monologue for you to listen to while making mince pies or peeling and crossing your sprouts. Words by David Smith, performed by Peppy Scott… 

Don’t do that, Georgina

A reception class in the mid-sixties. Some have observed that the teacher, Miss Eels, bears a remarkable resemblance to the great Joyce Grenfell. To listen, just hit “play”. If you prefer to read, the text can be found HERE.


Dec 232017

A somewhat longer post for our penultimate day, with a twofer offering poetry and prose. A veritable feast, then, from TWW newbies Nigella Sterky and Chris P. Tatas. Verse things first…  

The Paradox of Time

Everything starts somewhere,
‘Though many physicists disagree
But time’s no longer linear
Like it used to be

Those brainy sorts who hypothesise
In the world of quantum physics
Are nowadays inclined to think
It’s more likely to be cyclic!

Those of us who go round and round
Never making progress
Would have said that was quite obvious
And right before their noses!

Now Christmas is a paradox
It happens every year
The date is fixed, it never moves
The scheduling’s quite clear

I always think I’ve loads of time
When it kicks off in September
So why do days grow shorter
Once we hit December?

A week to go, I’ve cards to write
And I haven’t got a turkey
There are gifts to buy, I’m getting stressed
And I think I’ve caught the lurgy!

My throat is sore, I’m feeling grim
I need medicinal brandy
I know it’s meant for Uncle Jim
Nah! Socks are always handy!

Next year I will get to grips
With the vagaries of time
The way it just moves faster
The more you are behind!

I’ll sort the cards and presents
Early in September
Then take some time to enjoy
The festivities of December!



And so to prose…

The Red Button

Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree. Charles Law is a physicist, but not a disagreeable one; he believes that everything has a beginning, including the universe. Charles believes that the universe – the multiverse – is an infinite loop, but also believes that infinite loops have to start somewhere, which sounds oxymoronic to many, but not to Charles. It was the idea of the infinite loop that first attracted Charles to physics (well, that and his natural talent in higher maths – always plural, in Charles’ mental dictionary, despite anything the Americans might have to say on the matter) as a career; a choice that the rest of his family found baffling. Charles is the first in his family to show any aptitude for maths, or, indeed, for any other field of study, and it is a running joke, given the family surname, that Charles is “the first law of physics”. Charles loves that joke, though the rest of his family grew tired of it very quickly. But I digress…

Charles Law believes that even circles (or infinite loops) have beginnings, and he has made it his life’s quest to find the one that underpins everything. His theory imagines a blank canvas, or sheet of paper, on which a circle is drawn. When complete, the circle is unbroken, with no beginning or end, but Charles’ obsession is with the point of contact that starts it all, the initial fraction of a fraction of a second when pencil-tip makes contact with paper for the very first time. That is that catalyst that starts it all, that is the beginning of everything that comes after. But what is the spark that sparks that catalystic event? And who, or what, is holding or directing the pencil?

Charles has a theory, and after years of research and speculation and further research and speculation he has developed a machine to test that theory that makes the Large Hadron Collider look like a child’s toy. It’s a very small machine, about half the size of a common house brick, but the implications of its workings are immeasurable. It is painted white, and has a small, red, mushroom-shaped button at its centre. Charles calls it his LITE box, for it is the physical manifestation of his life’s work: Law’s Infinite Timeline Extrapolation.

Now, standing over his machine, Charles is finally ready to hit the red button. It is Christmas Eve, and this is Charles’ present to himself. He has spent several months checking and rechecking every step and symbol in the formula of his equation, and he is supremely confident of its accuracy. Which is just as well, because the implications should it be wrong are… well, let’s not dwell on that.

It is only now, with his finger poised over the button, that the irony of the acronym he has chosen for his theory occurs to him. He smiles, delighted, and as his finger makes contact with the red button beneath it he verbalises his delight with four small words: Let there be LITE… …


Dec 222017

What could be more Christmassy than a Christmas tree? Here’s a story from Sue Marlow…  

The Christmas Tree

Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree, and when it came to decorating the Christmas tree Mother had always started at the bottom and Father at the top.

In the early years of marriage they had met half way, wrapped in tinsel, good humour and an expectation that their love would last forever. However forty years later compromise was no longer an option. Love had disintegrated into disappointment, resentment and a stubborn determination to win at all costs. The family tradition of decorating the tree on Christmas Eve had, to the dismay of their son and daughter, become the focal point of their year of discord.

When Helen and Mark each arrived with their young families their feuding parents took a short cease-fire to welcome them. However by the time the three grand-children, George, Alice and Millie were nestled all snug in their beds, the battle of the tree was raging again. Father had piled the presents in front of the hearth to avoid trampling and offers of assistance from their son, daughter and partners were declined. To escape the increasing seasonal bad will they soon followed their children to bed.

Untraditionally the children didn’t wake until six o’clock on Christmas morning but were immediately fully alert and eager to see what Father Christmas had left under the tree. Their parents all needed coffee before reaching the same degree of wakefulness that their children had achieved instantaneously so they all crept quietly downstairs to the kitchen. As the coffee brewed the three children were given permission to take a peek in the sitting room.

‘Goodness they are quiet!’ said Helen and went to investigate.

The children were standing just inside the sitting room door, motionless. The tree lights were twinkling in circles around the tree up to the mid-way point where upon they diverted towards the floor and trailed along Mother’s horizontal body, ending their journey in a number of tight coils around her neck. The alternating effects and colours of the lights illuminated her strangulated expression in a very unbecoming fashion.

Father lay on his back on top of the pile of presents by the hearth. There was a look of triumph on his face and his hand clutched the star which had been destined for the top of the tree. The step ladder was at an unnerving angle resting against the curtains and Father’s thinning hair exposed a large clump of dried blood on the side of his head.

The two young families remained in the kitchen while the police and ambulance crew inspected the carnage around the Christmas tree. The senior police officer apologetically interrupted their disbelief. He looked exhausted and in need of cheer but his eyes showed genuine compassion. ‘I’m so sorry I have to ask you questions at this difficult time but can you tell me who discovered the  b… er… lady and gentleman?’

George stepped forward. ‘It was me,’ he said with great solemnity, ‘and I know who did it!’ Tiny gasps flitted around the kitchen. ‘There is only one person who could have got into a locked house on Christmas Eve,’ George announced triumphantly. ‘It must have been Father Christmas!’

Alice let out a tiny cry of horror and her bottom lip quivered as she began to sob, ‘Father Christmas killed Nana and Grandpa?’

The police officer did not reveal the slightest hint of a smile but his weary eyes struggled to conceal his amusement.

He knelt down in front of Alice. ‘There is no way it could have been Father Christmas,’ he said, ‘because I know for certain that he was hundreds of miles away delivering presents to my own grandchildren who are about the same age as you. It’s what we call a watertight alibi!’

Alice’s sobs began to slow as she clung tightly around her father’s neck and with a sound of relief she spluttered, ‘they did argue lots and lots…. but they were good sometimes!’

The officer turned to George. ‘That was a very clever piece of deduction though.’ he said. ‘When you grow up you would make a fine detective.’ And George grew upward by two inches, there and then.

A young policeman tapped on the kitchen door. ‘Forensics are here, Sir’

‘I think we should have breakfast,’ said Helen and began rummaging in the cupboards even though no-one had any inclination to eat.

After a while the senior police officer asked Helen and Mark to step into the hall. ‘It seems a fairly straightforward case,’ he said. ‘Your father appears to have strangled your mother and then fallen from the step ladder, hitting his head on the mantel piece as he fell, in what proved to be a fatal blow. Had he not hit his head the pile of presents on which he landed would have certainly cushioned his fall and prevented serious injury. I’m afraid though that most of the presents were smashed by the impact or have been splattered with blood. I think it best not to allow the children near them.  It would probably be advisable to leave the house once we have removed the bodies. Do you have somewhere else you can go? Would you like me to arrange for someone to get in touch with you… to offer counselling for this very traumatic incident?’

The event had undoubtedly put a bit of a damper on Christmas morning but later the families agreed that at least their parents had died doing what they loved best!

‘What shall we do?’ asked Helen.  ‘I’m so worried about the children. This shouldn’t be their memory of Christmas!’ She thought for a moment and then the panic began to rise. ‘And what about when George goes back to school and Mrs Pratchett asks them to stand up in front of the class and tell the other children about their Christmas?’ Everyone envisaged the scenario and shuddered.

‘Didn’t Mother have some hidden savings?’ Mark asked, ‘so that she could have the holiday of a lifetime once Father… well, you know.’

Helen nodded.

‘Any idea where she kept them?’

By that evening the two families were at the airport bound for a Christmas holiday they had never expected. And when George stood in front of the class to tell them all about his Christmas he recounted the families’ amazing trip to Disneyland, Florida adding that it was an extra special present from Nana and Grandpa!


Dec 212017

A twofer today with a brace of poems from Peppy Scott…  


Everything starts somewhere
although many physicists disagree
(although physicists disagree
about many things, so
what do they actually know?)

Twisted strings in theorists’ threads
perform contortions in the head,
concepts of infinities too much to conceive
without the faith to believe
in virgin birth



Everything starts somewhere,
though many physicists disagree,
so why rely on physicists to see
the first signs of disrepair –

wear and tear to the fabric,
revealed to the eye that gleans
the moving messages, and what it means
to mourn the loss of magic.

When did this start to set in
and that which was right go wrong?
The list would be too long –
and where on earth would I begin?


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