Stereo Views of the Final Summer Readaround – 25 August 2021

As we enjoyed the last rays of summer, the final Readaround squeezed yet more eclectic creativity from those coming to the screen. Unfortunately, I forgot that I was having to leave as midway through the evening when volunteering for the blog but, as ever, there was someone ready to step into the breech. So, here’s a cliched “game of two halves.”

Marion began by intriguing us as to whose viewpoint we were sharing with an as yet untitled piece of descriptive fiction.

The mystery perspective challenged readers (or listeners in our case) to work out who enjoyed the view of a snow-clad Goat Fell and Ailsa Craig, early morning joggers, gossips and dog-walkers, swans and cygnets and youngsters on the beach. Following couples, kisses and cappuccinos, the viewer became wary about what the night might bring, never mind the consequences of the ice-creams being bought by dad.

I’m not sure how many of us worked out that Marion was revealing a view, and anxieties experienced by a beach-front bench.

Damaris then took us in a poetic direction. In Trailing Nasturtiums she connected us with rich descriptions and metaphor: yards of green ribbon; pennies, pancakes and spinning plates; lily pads floating on air. The imagery and alliteration caught the personality of the plant that some of us could see in our own gardens.

Snowmen of toadlets and flitting damselflies then featured in Summer Marsh. Damaris introduced us to a landscape of breathing meadowsweet, sorrel and thistle that evocatively teased all our senses, before lingering darkly on an ultimate death.

Before the break Jean continued the poetic theme by giving us views of Coll with Island Colours and Paradox. The former, we were told, was written to celebrate the island as part of a local concert, in which she described soft rounded hills, yellow ochres and sombre greys. Moods changed as winds shifted and, amidst white surf, horses formed (or did they foam?) a rhythm in creation.

Paradox drew us into the interconnectedness of nature. We listened to deep thoughts from an eloquent philosopher and learned that the growth of birds foot trefoil by the garden gate is inextricably linked to the presence of the red spotted burnet moth: coming and going, returning and imminently arriving. Neither were mentioned by name but hints prompted us to ask more about the relationship between the two – and allowed us as readers / listeners to understand.

And at that point I seamlessly handover to Kirsty.

Kirsty here, taking over from Nigel. After the break, Carolyn continued the theme of nature with her wonderful poem, Shasta Daisies. She told us how her daisies have moved house with her and that she was inspired to write while sitting out in her garden one day. This poem was appreciated for its beautiful descriptions, such as ‘lemon-drop lozenge flower faces.’

Carolyn’s second poem, with the working title Performance, was an equally emotive piece about going to see live theatre for the first time in over a year. Carolyn created a real sense of anticipation as ‘knots of kith and kin’ waited for the show to begin. It was clear how much Carolyn had missed live theatre, and how glad she for it to be back, even if it took place outside.

I was next, after a slight scramble during the tea break to find something to read out. I went with The Sea, The Song and The Siren, a short story about a mythical siren, who is more interested in a life with a local village girl than in luring sailors to their death. This prompted a discussion about different cultures with similar myths, as well as some lovely feedback.

Last up was Linda Brown with her article Legendary Lewis’s – Glasgow’s Lost Jewel. She read out the beginning at the last Readaround and we were delighted that we got to hear the end of this nostalgic piece. After a brief description of what was on offer at the department store, Linda went on to describe the holiday season. After all, ‘No one did Christmas like “The Poly.”’

Lewis’s eventually closed in 1991, when Debenhams took over. Now that High Street giant is also gone, is the time of the department store coming to a close? It’s not a question we could answer, but we all hope that Linda can find a good home for her brilliant piece.

Before we knew it, all writers had read their pieces and the readarounds came to an end. Thanks to everyone for a wonderful summer full of beautiful prose, enchanting poetry and valuable feedback.  See you in a couple of weeks!

Nigel Ward & Kirsty Hammond

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