Excitement mounts in Whittlesey as the town’s senior writing group awaits proof copies of their latest outstanding collection of stories and poems.
We can do no better than to show you the back page blurb:
Well, well, well, the Whittlesey Wordsmiths have done it again.
They keep producing such fine work that it would almost be a crime not to publish more. With fabulous poetry and wonderful stories, this latest collection will thrill and surprise, make you gasp and chuckle, sometimes even in the right places, and for the right reasons!
For those readers who have experienced the talent of the group before, you will be delighted to hear the Wordsmiths are back, having added to their number, and for those of you who are new to the collections, you have a real treat in store, and you are very welcome.
You are guaranteed to enjoy it.
“Amazing they are still writing at their age,” Becky, age 12.
“What, again? Really?” Their families.
“You will still keep taking your pills, won’t you?” Their doctors.
Whittlesey Wordsmiths’ new book, “Three Sheets to the Wind” is nearing completion and will be published soon. As a small taster here is a shortened version of one of the stories, if you want to read the full version you will find it in the book. Don’t worry we will let you know when it’s available.
We have revised the front cover see the new version in the picture below.
An unusual job for a woman.
Written by Philip Cumberland
The guided bus was an unlikely getaway vehicle but it had served her well in the past.
“It’s their vanity that makes them vulnerable,” she thought.
She had been glad to get out of her waitresses uniform and into something less conspicuous. What politician full of their own importance could refuse a honorary doctorate from one of the World’s leading universities.
“More wine Mr Ambulant? Yes the glass is a bit dirty I will fetch you a clean one, it was the Chardonnay wasn’t it?”
Fortunately she was in the kitchen when he collapsed, nowhere near him. When they all rushed to see what was happening she was in the ladies, changing into jeans and a tee shirt. Then nipping out through the Masters Garden, a bit naughty really but not as naughty as poisoning someone. Thank goodness for the tourists it was easy to get swallowed up by the crowds. The bus was waiting in its bay when she arrived at Drummer Street. Some of those academics can be a bit handy when a girl is carrying a tray of drinks, the women were the worst, and she wondered if she had been missed yet. The Park and Ride is very useful you can park for free get into the middle of Cambridge then back to pick your car up. The luggage lockers are useful too, the jiffy bag was waiting for her, Sheila; would count it later no doubt the next job was in there too. The policemen standing waiting by her car was a surprise; she noticed them as she closed the locker door, always sensible to park near the bus shelter. Fortunately the bus was still waiting to move on, she climbed back on flashed her day rider ticket at the driver then found a seat next to the emergency exit.
As she left the bus at Huntingdon she thought it was always good to have a plan B. The elderly Renault Clio was inconspicuous and could be left anywhere there wasn’t yellow lines or parking restrictions and not arouse suspicion.
She drove to her cottage in Wistow, it wasn’t her main address but somewhere out of the way when life got complicated. There was a wry smile on her face as she opened the Chardonnay and poured herself a glass, then reached for the Jiffy bag. There was a few hundred in twenties and tens for expenses the lottery ticket was there too, the photograph of her next target was a bit of a surprise. He was nasty and odious enough but well connected. He must have really upset someone Sheila thought, then remembered a story, well a rumour of a story circulating, that would explain it. No matter how big a bully you are there is always someone bigger and nastier.
Right, London on Monday to claim her lottery prize and perhaps a call to Grandmother. The Sunday papers headlined Ambulant’s sudden death, a heart attack was the suspected cause, hopefully the college had secured his endowment before his demise.
Sunday passed quietly and it was the eleven thirty train from Huntingdon that delivered Sheila to Kings Cross. The newsagents was small scruffy and inconspicuous, located in an anonymous side street.
The newsagent, certainly the man behind the counter was elderly bald and stooped, his nicotine stained fingers suggested that a few years ago a cigarette would have been between his lips. He took Sheila’s blank lottery ticket and took it into a back room, returning after a few minutes he inserted it into the lottery machine. The tune from the machine announced it was a winner,
“Congratulations young lady five numbers and the bonus ball, £180,000 and 3p. You will have to contact Camelot, keep your ticket safe.”
Sheila called Camelot’s special number using her mobile phone, identified herself, scanned the QR code and arranged the transfer of the winnings to her bank in Switzerland. She left the newsagents with a copy of the Times and found a call box.
The call was answered on the third ring by an elderly male doddery voice,
“Hello, who is it?”
“Yes,” the voice had changed to something younger, no longer doddery.
“Its Little Red Riding Hood, can I speak to Grandmother please?”
“Grandmother’s familiar voice was calm as usual,”
“Hello my dear, what can I do for you?”
“I am a little concerned about my next job.”
“He has got a history of heart problems, you are an attractive young lady and very clever.”
“There were two policemen waiting by my car at St Ives after Mr Ambulant died.”
“You should have a list of your next targets engagements in your pack; you need to be very careful about how you manage things.”
“I am a little concerned about how quickly the police were onto my car.”
“The payment for the next job will be a lot higher; a million from the Euro-millions draw there is less interest in those winners.”
“Who else knows about me and the next target?”
“Just Mr Woolf, the Woodcutter and myself.”
“What about the Witch?”
“Okay then, I will do it but won’t notify you first, once I have done the job I will phone you.”
“That’s absolutely fine my dear, we know you well enough by now.”
If you’re after something different from the ‘run of the mill’ crime thriller , this is the book for you. Set around Cambridge and the Fens, we are introduced to D.C.I. Cyril Lane, affectionately known as Arnold, a likable quirky character , who surprised me nearing the end by showing a lovely sensitive side. A mixture of science, history and time travel, an interesting and entertaining read. I do hope this isn’t the last we hear of Arnold, this is crying out for a sequel.
If you live in Whittlesey this book is available at Parker’s Newsagents.
I would like to pay tribute to Edward Storey, a fellow Whittlesey resident and writer. I am sure many of our followers will be familiar with his books which brought recognition to our Fenland area, capturing the very essence of our history and culture.
I first contacted Edward over ten years ago when I started to write my own autobiography and continued to correspond regularly with him until this September when his health was beginning to fail. During those years he gave me so much support and guidance, encouraging me to develop and expand my writing. This gave me the confidence to set up the Whittlesey U3A Creative Writing Group which has evolved into the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. Last month we published our first book and I had signed and wrapped a copy for Edward before I heard news of his death.
I would like to express gratitude for his inspiration; to Edward, A Fenland legend, who made our dreams a possibility and then a reality.
This is a link to Edward Storey’s Biography on Wikipedia
Our book Where the Wild Winds Blow is in the garage having its final bit of tweaking. It is jacked up off the ground. Cathy and Wendy are wandering about underneath, attractively attired in nice white overalls with lead lights in their hands. Cathy pokes out rogue commas and semicolons with a very large screwdriver. Whilst Wendy has a big spanner in her hand tightening up any loose phrases or sentences dangling underneath. Very soon we will have the sleek new cover fitted and be ready for the off.
Stephen Oliver is making progress with his novel and anthologies, Stuart Roberts with his next book. Cathy Cade, Val Chapman and Val Fish have contributed to the 81 word challenge, I suspect other members have too but don’t know yet. Going on past form Val Fish has probably got entries in the limerick competition.
The Whittlesey Word Forge is ringing with the sound of writing being hammered into shape.
Following a very successful meeting of our writing group on Thursday, and an informative talk by one of our published authors, Stuart Roberts. We have been able to settle on a title for our book and look at options for a cover design.
The title, chosen by taking a vote on ideas put forward by members, will be ‘Where the Wild Winds Blow’, reflecting the open and often unpredictable area of Fen where we live.
The picture on the front cover will show the autumn scene at Lattersey Nature Reserve.
In 2017 the U3A hosted a one day writing course in Ramsey. Alison Bruce a talented Cambridge based crime fiction author ran the course.
I enjoyed the day immensely and was disappointed that I was unable to attend a recent talk by Alison at Whittlesey Library, hopefully I will have better luck next time.
Whilst at Ramsey I bought a copy of Alison’s first novel Cambridge Blue. As with so much in life it often takes me a while to do something, reading Cambridge Blue was a case in point, I should have read it sooner.
The story set in and around Cambridge, is gripping and convoluted crime fiction with a satisfactory conclusion, it is for me flawless. Cambridge, parts of it certainly, are more familiar to me than many places, so I was able to relate to the locations described so well in the book. Cambridge Blue introduces a young detective Gary Goodhew, tackling his first murder case. He is a likable hero who we will no doubt get to know even better in future novels. The characters are believable, well observed and well drawn.
I have bought the second in the series, Siren so am certainly game for more from this talented author.
The walkway at Lattersey Nature reserve the beauty of this scene constantly changes with the seasons
Whittlesey Wordsmiths are fortunate to have within their ranks, two published authors, winners of fiction writing prizes, a very able editor/ proof-reader and a talented biographer.
Set up under the Whittlesey U3A umbrella this local group meets monthly at the Scaldgate Centre in Whittlesey. Meetings are held every first Thursday of the month from 11am, anyone is able to attend a free taster session but will need to join the U3A to become a member of the group, the fee is £3 per meeting to cover venue costs.
At recent meetings we have been fortunate to have had presentations by two local authors on the intricacies of publishing a book, both in print and online. The talks were informal, informative and very instructive. Thank you Stephen Oliver and Stuart Roberts. Like many commonplace objects…