Workshop, 24th July 2018

Well, dear reader, the infamous Ealing Heatwave of 2018 (I’ve heard it’s hot in Uxbridge as well) has finally broken me.  Unable to find solace by bowling down the Hanger Lane in the two-seater without my waistcoat on, I have instead decided to take a short break in cooler climes.  Actually, it was my uncle Archie Muldoon (Sir Archie to his friends) who owns a fleet of fishery vessels in the North Atlantic who was the instrument of my exile.  Archie pointed out that Reykjavik was practically the only city on Earth where there is any rain currently, and offered to drop my Man and myself off within a short dinghy ride of the harbour wall.  I write this sitting outside one of the characterful mackerel bars, with my Man doing the sterling work of keeping the rain off the keyboard with his Royal Navy-issue brolly while fending us off from the amorous advances of trawler men and women.  I’ll let you know when I’ve had enough, but right now the mild cold and the mackerel bites are serving me pretty well.

With the cool dampness and smell of fish pervading my corporeal self to the very quick, I am able to turn my mind back to last week’s Workshop.  Pat Francis raised anchor with the second part of her exciting poem based around the Battle of Brentford, a major Civil War skirmish.  Peter Francis sought to set a course based on the troubles in Northern Ireland, with reference to a military punishment.  John Hurley freely admits to enjoying the odd trip in the Tube, even in this heat, and sees life reflected in the journey.  Owen Gallagher cast his nets with a revision of a recollection of tea with his mother, after a hard evenings work.  Alan Chambers kept a look out for storm clouds on the horizon with his powerful piece.  Martin Choules kept one ear to the Shipping Forecast while bemoaning the wholesale slaughter of bracken.  Anne Furneaux kept us on course with a hardworking recollection of a hardworking woman.  New member Niall Cassidy joined the group with a memorable poem on love, or was that the world?  Michael Harris looked to the horizon with two short, linked poems on the personalities of his mother and a surrender.  Doig Simmonds drew us ashore with a story of an absent love.  Finally, Nick Barth tied us up with a wild tale of a road trip to Berlin.

Iceland and the insatiable curiosity of you, my loyal reader are very much in the forefront of my mind, so I dropped an email to Parsonage, my Data Scientist with a request for any link the Pitshanger Poets may have had with that volcanic rock.  He almost drew a blank but after some rigorous query-writing he was able to unearth a few interesting snippets.  For example, in the 1970’s we received a notification that due to the increasing hostilities between Iceland and the UK over some cod, the Reykjavik Poetry Society would be ceasing relations with the Pitshanger Poets forthwith.  This was a surprise as, as far as we were aware, there was never a relationship between our workshop and the RPS.  Parsonage told me that since then it appeared that the RPS had not made any effort to resume relations with the PP, so it is safe to assume that a state of war continues to exist between our two poetry groups. In the 1980’s however, we were sent a small volume of illustrated poetry by one Bjork Guðmundsdóttir.  The PP judged her work to be ‘quirky, clattery and charming, on an eclectic range of subjects, plus we like the drawings’.  Parsonage tells me that the Ferranti Pegasus has been unable to ascertain what became to Ms Guðmundsdóttir; we obviously wish her well in her poetry career.

If you have been, thank you for reading.

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