Nov 272016

betty booBlimey – the years just whizz by, don’t they?

It might seem a little bit early to be talking about the end of the year, but with fortnightly meetups we’re almost there: just one regular meet and one Christmas do to go. So that’s Tuesday 29th for the former (next week if you hadn’t worked it out yet!) and the 13th December for the latter.

If you want to come to the do then Tuesday’s your last chance to get your deposit (five English squids) to Peppy Scott. You’ll also want to get your food choices made and noted, and, if submitting, your question for our Literary Quiz after dinner entertainment. More details on all of that HERE.

Do aside, Tuesday is a reading week, so if you have something you would like feedback on then shout quickly for one of the three reading slots. Instant feedback on the night, of course, but if you would like something a little more considered then give a shout via Facebook and share in advance.

New members always warmly welcome – just rock up on the night or give us a heads up using the comment box below and we’ll keep an eye out for you.



Oh: If Slam Poetry is your thang then don’t forget WORD UP on December 7th with Jess Mookherjee on the bill and Peppy Scott in the slam final. Just a fiver on the door and two quid back if you get up and slam for your supper. 


Nov 182016

… Push pineapple shake a tree…

Yes, it’s that time again and the TWW annual Christmas bash is only a few short sleeps away. If you’re planning on joining us you’ll find all the info you need listed on the event calendar on the right, and if that’s too complicated for you you can just click HERE . Deposits, food orders and quiz questions ASAP please, all to Peppy Scott.

Thang yew.

Nov 112016

… and witches.

Well, that’s another Fright Night done and dusted, and what a corker it was! An embarrassment of riches, both in terms of the spooky literary gems offered up by our many readers and the abso-bloody-lutely delicious Mort Cake with which Katrina Ray did us proud AGAIN. Thank you all who contributed readings, pumpkins and cakekins and to those (living, dead and hovering somewhere in-between) who graced us with their presence. For those who couldn’t make it DESPAIR NOT! – an e-book of the stories and poems read will be made available in the fullness of time. Don’t hold your collective breath, though, as the plan is to launch it as an appetiser for next year’s event.

frightnight-fadeWe had hoped to present a slideshow of pictures from the evening but sadly the Truprint™ envelope seems to have got lost in the post. I know, I know, we should have stuck with the tried-and-trusted Boots counter service rather than putting our faith in this new-fangled postal processing malarky, but times are hard and the 99p saving and free film offer was too hard to resist. Still, you learn by your mistakes, and if the pics do finally show up (“someday my prints will come”) we’ll add ’em in later. Meanwhile, here’s a pic of one of us (no names, no pack drill) looking rather the worse for wear after last year’s event. For those who haven’t done so yet a simple click on the pic will whizz you over to the Tunbridge Wells Writers’ Smashwords page where you can download last year’s stories (Fright Night II) as well as our other e-books for the absolutely rock-bottom price of Sweet Fanny Adams! Are we MAD? No, just nice. Well, mostly nice. Well, harmless. Well, mostly harmless. Anyhoo…

We will be meeting again this week at the usual time and place (St John’s Yard, 8:00pm) and would love you to join us if the fancy takes you. No readings this week, just lots of social and a catch up on things like our Christmas DO (please bring an extra fiver for the deposit if you plan on attending; only a couple of meets before the meal itself on the 13th and we need to confirm booking numbers etc) and current projects.

In other news, there’s a “Slam Final” Word Up at the Forum on December 7th where TWWs old and new will be struttin’ and spittin’ their stuff. Two places left for the final slam so still time to be part of it, but a good evening out if you would rather just applaud and throw money.*


* Rotten fruit will be confiscated on entry.

Sep 302016

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Well I never! Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? It seems but a moment since I was posting about the last Tunbridge Wells Writers meetup and here we are on the cusp of yet another! For those unfamiliar with Tunbridge Wells Writers – where we are, what we do etc – here’s a link to our ABOUT US page, which answers some of those questions and gives an outline of the kind of thing you might expect to find on the menu at a typical meetup. For those already in the know, here’s a bulleted list of October 4th’s agenda:

  • fright-night-2-smallFRIGHT NIGHT 4: Only a couple of meetups now until our annual Halloween bash. If you’re planning on reading (1000-1500 words as a rough rule of thumb) please advise Katrina Ray, giving a brief outline of the horror / supernatural elements in your story. She’ll put your name in the hat for a reading slot, and organise things to ensure we don’t get too much of a theme overlap in the reading order. To put you in the mood and perhaps provide some inspiration, we’ve just launched the Fright Night II e-book on Smashwords, available as a totally FREE (are we mad) download by clicking on the cover image on the right.
  • While writing something for Fright Night, don’t forget to set some time aside to pen a piece for READ YOUR WORDS, which is coming up on Wednesday 19th. As well as offering an open mic to all comers, Read Your Words is a great ice-breaker and networking opportunity and one hell of a fun night out. Free entry and entertainment, a well stocked bar, and very reasonably priced food – what more could one ask for?
  • With the stories for our SHORT STORY PROJECT now pretty-much harvested it’s time to start looking forward to our next group projects. One of these, BREAKING THE RULES, has already been outlined and we’re now open for submissions. In addition, we’ll need to start thinking about Christmas, both in terms of our online collaboration and the annual “do”.

So, all in all it’s going to be quite a busy one, but there will also be plenty of time for networking and chat. A non-reading night this time round, as it was generally agreed a few meetups ago that one reading night a month seemed to offer the best of both worlds. See you on Tuesday!


Dec 252015

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Well I never! There we were thinking all the unwrapping had been done and somebody sneaked another gift under the tree at the last minute! We all know Christmas is a time for giving, but sometimes we overlook one Very Important Person who is equally deserving. Don’t forget yourself this year…


timerIt’s Christmas time again. It’s funny, but as one gets older it comes round more often. Or is it just that it seems to?

Christmas is associated with the giving of physical gifts, one to another, and the giving of time spent with another, which is often more important for others who are in more difficult circumstances. After all, presents can be bought with money, but time cannot be bought as we are allocated only so much by our humanity, and, when it has been spent, one cannot go to the bank of God and borrow more. Continue reading »

Dec 242015

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Well, Christmas Eve – but the last Tunbridge Wells Writers present for this year…


The street is silent, the early darkness and biting cold keeping people inside their homes. The shower of snowflakes falling from the sky is too light to lay; the flakes melt on impact with the ground. The grey paving slabs of the footpath and black asphalt road surface glisten with reflected light from the yellow street lamps. If the gritters aren’t out tonight the roads will be treacherous by morning.

kiplingA white van turns into the street, its headlights illuminating posters in the windows of the corner shop. Quality Street are five quid a tub for this week only, and Mr Kipling’s deep-filled mince pies are only ninety-nine pee for a pack of six. There are wines on special offer too, and there’s a lottery draw this weekend guaranteed to make four lucky winners millionaires.

The van passes the corner shop and pulls over to the kerb outside of number eighty-six. The driver sits for a moment watching the snow dancing in his headlights. He smiles, his lips, red from the cold, almost concealed behind his curly white moustache and beard. He turns off the headlights and cuts the engine then opens the door and steps out onto the road. Continue reading »

Dec 232015

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It’s Political Correctness gone mad. (Oooh no it isn’t, it’s Health & Safety!)


The email arrived on the 23rd December at half past four in the afternoon and read “With reference to your forthcoming event we do not appear to have received a Risk Assessment. A warranted inspector from the Health and Safety Executive will be visiting your place of work on 24th December at 8.30am…”

As the recipient continued to read he noted with a sigh the phrases “ensuring your compliance” and “enforcing authority”.

The following morning Mr Pugh, the inspector, arrived at exactly 8.30am. The need for precision in his work was intrinsic to his effectiveness and it was also manifest in his appearance. Although not expensive his suit was carefully pressed, his shirt very stiff and his tie perfectly tied. His shoes were so polished that they reflected the underside of his face. Unfortunately this was not a flattering angle. His features were tiny and above his lip was a very neat moustache; an attempt perhaps to denote manliness on an otherwise bald and unconvincing facade.

He was offered a chair and a cup of coffee both of which he accepted as an entitlement. Mr Pugh placed his files and paperwork in a neatly stacked pile on the table and reached into his breast pocket for a pen, which he held poised in readiness. ‘May I see your previous assessments and certificates please?’

He grimaced when presented with an ancient, battered box file, curled and frayed in the corners and empty but for a single recent invoice for hay. He was informed that there were no previous assessments.

‘Oh dear, that will not do will it?’ he said. Continue reading »

Dec 222015

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Two smaller “Tree Presents” today. The best gifts come in small packages, they say…


Things you really wanted and got,
They are in the top slot.

mediocrity buttonThings you didn’t know
You wanted at all;
But are just what you want,
Come second, a close call.
(Slaves mug.)

Some presents are just
Mediocre. Continue reading »

Dec 212015

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Polar bears yesterday, pink bears today…


If my first Christmas present hadn’t lasted very long, I wouldn’t remember it.  But Big Ted lived with me and my family for many, many years, and was loved by us all.  He was bought for me some months before I was even born, apparently, by my mum’s dad:  Grandpa Emery was so proud to be about to become a grandfather.

teddy and girlWhy I called it “he”, I couldn’t tell you.  Big Ted is pink, with white bits.  When he was given to me I must have been rather less than half his size.

The name suited him, certainly.  We made various attempts to come up with something better over the years, my siblings and I, but Big Ted was the only name that stuck. Continue reading »

Dec 202015

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Penguin Poetry (- not a division of Penguin Books…)


Not many penguins are poets.

What?! I hear you say to yourself. This story is crazy. How could penguins write poetry? They don’t even have fingers, let alone opposable thumbs. And they just make a strange series of whoops and wails, growls and guffaws.

Well, this story is set long ago, when the world was different. And in any case, penguin poetry is an oral tradition, not a written tradition, in a language as unintelligible to you and me as the poetry of Goethe in its original German might be to a Trobriand Islander, or the Mahabharata in Sanskrit could sound to a Mexican.

auntarcticmicrophoneIn fact, long ago, there were lots of penguin poets. They spent many hours in the winter-long darkness of the South Pole competing with each other, as poets do today, to narrate the longest, fastest, most inspiring pieces of epic poetry and attract the largest audiences. These were mostly odes of great bravery performed by legendary penguin warrior-prophets, who would lead their followers into successful battles against their great enemy, the polar bears. The audiences would roar their approval.

Unfortunately, like many tales of legendary warrior prophets, they weren’t based on reality. Polar bears, which are much bigger and stronger than even Emperors, also lived in those days in Antarctica, on a diet mainly composed of penguins. In the darkest days of winter, when it was overcast and too black for the polar bears to hunt by sight, they would listen for the then familiar sounds of penguin poetry performances, knowing that if they followed their ears there would be a gathering of lovely juicy penguins. Continue reading »

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