Trophy Night: the best of the best – 27 April 2022

Trophy Night – The Best of the Best
    What a talented lot we are! AWC members gathered to hear some of the trophy-winning entries for club competitions for the 2021/2022 season. The contributors did not disappoint.
    Carolyn O’Hara’s published article,  Hot Off the Press 18th Century Style was the first piece. It featured an extract, dated 1705, from The Edinburgh Courrant, one of the earliest newspapers. Carolyn’s article pointed out some features still relevant today, from strife in Europe to potholes in the road. Other issues are totally beyond our experience – the impropriety of bathing machines sited too close to those of young ladies (I understand gentlemen of the period were in the habit of bathing naked – shock, horror!)
    Bob Crane’s book review of Richard Osman’s, Thursday Murder Club was read, for Bob, by Fiona McFadzean. The review centred on the four main characters – residents of a retirement home who enjoy solving murder cases. As Bob comments, the book ‘serves up a large portion of red herrings’ and contains ‘flawless dialogue.’
    Damaris West’s evocative poem, Cockleshell described a single cockleshell, separated from its other half, just as we may be, by death. ‘indentured in life – separated by death.
    Kirsty Hammond’s general short story, The George Addison was a masterpiece of misdirection. A rather brusque, young woman on board ‘The George Addison,’ turns out to be the said George’s reluctant fiancée, saved from marriage by his heroic death. However, she has found it hard to avoid unwanted celebrity by association. However, the surprise comes when we discover that the ‘ship’ turns out to be a spaceship on its way to a colony on Mars, named after George, where she hopes to live in anonymity with her new lover. Nice twist Kirsty!
    Matt Richardson gave us a very moving piece, concerning the care of his desperately sick, newborn son. His heartfelt praise of the surgeons, nurses and other essential workers, who worked so hard and compassionately to save his little boy, is contrasted with his anger at the underfunding and poor organisation of the NHS at a high level.
    Nigel Ward’s Novel Competition winner, Will Power, concerns an estranged brother and sister at their father’s funeral. Nigel invoked an atmosphere of tension between family members. The synopsis explained that the apparent unfair division of the father’s assets, helped to bring the siblings together, showing that he knew them better than they knew themselves. An intriguing beginning Nigel. Now you just have to write the rest of it!
    Kirsty was up again with her children’s story, The Passing of the Seasons in which she personified the seasons as kings and queens. The story shows that the cold and seemingly cruel Queen of Winter, is just as necessary and bountiful as the other, lusher seasons.
    Nigel’s second appearance was for the Scottish Article competition, in which he investigated the death, in 1918, of a family member. Nigel began by charting the article’s chequered history. It gained a third place as a novice, but was rubbished at SAW. However, he took notice of helpful advice, including that of Sergio Burns, who emphasised the value of visiting locations where events took place. Regimental diaries and a chance, internet link to the diary of a member of the same regiment, provided vital material, from which Nigel has created an interesting and informative article.
    We ended with two dribbles (as you do). Jeanette’s Flash Ficition gave us ‘Freebies’ about a lady who ‘collected,’ for decorative purposes, those little, red pencils you find in Argos. How many do you have to take before it’s considered theft?
    Matt’s Drabble noted that success in a job well done isn’t always measured in plaudits and celebrations. A kindly touch in care for the sick or dying means far more to those involved.
    Many thanks to all this evening’s contributors and we’ll see you at the Awards Dinner.
Maggie Bolton

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