Welcome to Felixstowe Scribblers

Friday, January 28, 2005

The next meeting.
Tuesday 1st February at 7.30pm.

This will be at the Library as usual, next Tuesday 1st February when Chris from Felixstowe TV will be along to outline his ideas for a mini soap. It should be an interesting evening, especially with certain Scribblers reading out parts from Tony's play. Don't forget, Tuesday at 7.30pm.

And the homework theme? "Felixstowe"

Keep Scribbling!

PS Dont forget your Mugs....

Caz on the Rachel Sloane show this afternoon.

Caz is on Rachel Sloane's show on BBC Radio Suffolk today (Friday 28th January) this afternoon to talk about the Grosvenor and the BBC Radio Suffolk 'Salt and Pepper award'. Expect to hear her around 2.20pm.

'Thank you' to everyone who came along to the Social.

'Thank you' to everyone who came along and made it such an enjoyable social event. We will say as much at the meeting next week of course. I have already written a letter of thanks to The Grosvenor, credit where it is due.


For those who went along to the Social at the Grosvenor, what a lovely evening we had - and despite the weather outside I hope everyone arrived home safely afterwards. Thanks to Caz for arranging it.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Tuesday evening at the Grosvenor in Felixstowe.

Not that you need reminding but the Social is on Tuesday evening at the Grosvenor in Felixstowe.

Confirmation that we meet at 7.30 for 8pm.

Hope to see you all there!

See you Tuesday


EDIT - Tue 2320 update - hic!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Criticism Requested 1:

Ken suggested we trial putting up pieces of work on the site to offer a forum for a higher level of feedback. Judy has bravely volunteered to be the first ... Let's see how this goes ...

So here it is ...



Any mention of Thailand usually conjures pictures of Bangkok’s sumptuous temples, mouth-watering street food and risqué Lady-Boys; or maybe white sand beaches, coral reefs and the sparkling green Andaman Sea. Rarely do we consider trekking along mountainous jungle trails while learning that eating Tarantula spiders or scraps of porcupine hair cure kidney and urinary disorders, or that a particular small green fruit cures a cough. I spent three days living with northern Thailand’s remote, semi-nomadic hill tribes. No electricity, sanitation or running water certainly ensured a holiday with a difference.

There are estimated to be over twenty different hill tribes living in northern Thailand, most migrating from Tibet, Laos and southern China via Myanmar over the past two hundred years. Even today, these groups have maintained their distinct languages, patterns of dress and strong sense of ethno-consciousness; their way of life preserved with little change over one thousand years. The Thai government recognizes six major groups of hill tribes, with the six divided into dozens of sub-tribes. The Golden Triangle region was my destination and there I was to encounter two separate tribes - the Karen and the Lisu.

The Karen is Thailand’s largest hill tribe with numerous settlements. Living in the mountainous north as well as the plains, they are peaceful, honest, and hardworking, using sound methods of agriculture. The majority of Karen people live in Myanmar but as many as 28,000 live in Thailand. Their women are superb weavers, using back strap looms. Despite the Lisu tribe originating in Eastern Tibet they became Thailand’s premium opium poppy cultivators and the most culturally modern of all hill tribes, with approximately 21,000 now living in Thailand. These days many have given up growing opium poppies, instead supplementing their income through crafts. They are an outgoing, friendly and economically successful race.

Our hill trek started in the busy northern town of Chiang Mai where it’s easy to feel at home surrounded by the trappings of modern day living. Large hotels, a Hard Rock Café and plentiful internet outlets set you wondering about the probability of there being nearby wilderness. Despite the buzz of Chiang Mai, our adventure began close to a village called Pai after being ignominiously turfed out of a 4x4 clutching water bottles and day packs stuffed with the necessities for a couple of days rough living - toothpaste, tooth brush, insect repellent and a bar of soap. With temperatures in the 90’s, I trudged with my small group along jungle trails; fleeces incongruously tied around our waists after warnings of plummeting night-time temperatures. With sweat coursing down our bodies that seemed hard to believe. A rented sleeping bag bumped against the small of my back and I longed to jettison it, certain that it would be surplus to requirements when I lay down to sleep in the long hut.

Five months after the end of wet season the jungle was tinder dry and fallen leaves made the going slippery; so, on particularly steep gradients, I ‘tobogganed’ down on my bottom. Somboon, our guide, was born and raised among the hill tribe people and he filled our trek with excitement by pointing out medicinal trees, animals and insects along the way. He explained that villagers use all the resources of the forest for medicinal purposes as well as food. Men used to take roosters to the forest in the early morning, tying them to a tree to attract wild chickens which were shot for breakfast. A gentle, softly spoken young man, Somboon has taught himself to speak Thai and English, as well as to play the guitar. Not content with those skills he is now learning Japanese.

Enormous spiders hung suspended from trees in intricate webs, and occasional bird and ape calls rang through the forest canopy until, after a couple of hours walking, we arrived at a Karen village built on a steep hillside beside a shallow, flowing river. After removing my shoes I was directed to a palm thatched long hut constructed of wood and bamboo. It perched on stilts some five or six feet above the ground and, once inside, I stretched out my sleeping bag on the wooden floor and organized my belongings in the hope of locating them in the forthcoming darkness. With no electricity to light the way I would rely on my trusty Maglite and a couple of candles. A small bamboo hut some way off contained a hole in the ground, standpipe, and large water container that provided the sanitary needs for the entire village.

Karen villagers carried on their daily tasks taking little notice of their Western guests; yet acknowledged our smiles with nods and grins of their own. It was a busy village with barefoot children tumbling up and down the tracks, and black pigs and piglets rooting around the barren earth, grunting contentedly to each other. Traditionally, in Karen villages all pigs have a ribbon attached to a rope tied around their middles, the rope is tied to a nearby tree allowing them a large circle to roam in, but no escape. Brown, horned cows wandered the dirt trails feeding on whatever tufts of vegetation might survive; while half bald hens pecked the dust, and huge water buffalo swished their tails to rid themselves of flies. All the animals wandered beneath the dwellings at will and took up residence there as soon as night fell.

A star filled night came early so, after supper and a few songs sung in the darkness accompanied by a borrowed, broken guitar, I turned into my sleeping bag for a restless nights sleep. The evening had been spent wrapped in my fleece for protection against the night chill, so snuggling into my sleeping bag to fantasize about hot water bottles and bed socks was no hardship. They were right, it is cold in the hills at night… and even colder at dawn. By then the village was up and moving; babies cried while breakfast fires struggled into life, but there was no question of waiting for it to warm up as the surrounding cockerel population crowed their determination to get me out of bed. After rudimentary attempts to wash at the standpipe I drank some coffee - hands wrapped around the cup for warmth - and prepared to set off along the trail.

Within an hour my fleece was off again, and by the time we reached a second Karen village sweat ran down my body in rivulets. A gnarled-faced old lady, her head wrapped in a scarf, squatted in the dust to watch us present a piglet to her village. Bought from the previous village, it had been carried contentedly along the trail in an old sack. Once freed, it ran off squealing and grunting to root about in the dust. A young woman painstakingly wove a length of colourful fabric on a hand loom while her tiny daughter sat to one side, quietly watching. Children held out bead bracelets and anklets in the hope of making a sale.

In sweltering temperatures we encountered punishing hills and steep descents. The longest hill was almost more than I could endure, and I began to wonder what I was doing there as my heart pounded and ears sang with the concerted effort. After fording two fast flowing rivers we arrived at an elephant camp where I sank to the ground and gulped water to re-hydrate my body and rest my aching thighs. The guides took it all in their stride - their small frames and muscular bodies accustomed to the punishing terrain. In the river handlers bathed their elephants. Revelling in having their rough hides scrubbed with bristle brooms, the elephants sucked water into their trunks and sprayed it across their leathery backs. The agile handlers rode them back to the river bank and proceeded to strap seats across their backs while the elephants attempted to cover themselves with yet another layer of dust.

After two hours of swaying on an elephant’s back we arrived at a Lisu tribal village where there were only a handful of pigs but far more children, dogs, cats and hens. Excited at our arrival the children were eager to play, and were particularly interested in our digital camera where they could see their own images on the screen. Inside the long hut I was delighted to find a touch of luxury in the shape of mosquito nets and thin mattresses on the floor. There was a dedicated area for showering with a huge water container and shallow bowls to pour water over your body, the residue falling through the bamboo slats onto the sloping ground below. All the water had to be carried from the river far beneath, so, hopefully, most people were frugal with their water consumption.

At dawn a tiny, pregnant ginger cat climbed under the mosquito net and, purring, snuggled against me for warmth. Outside, two black dogs and a pig curled together in the ashes of last night’s fire - even the hens seemed to struggle against the cold. Down at the river guides and villagers hacked at thick lengths of bamboo to construct basic rafts on which we would head down the river which flowed between steeply rising, jungle clad hills. On the down river trip we occasionally passed fishing families living in simple huts on the bank, spreading their nets into the fast flowing water. Huge, colourful butterflies gracefully flapped among the foliage or basked on a leaf in a small patch of sunlight, while colourful birds flitted through the trees as we glided past. The men guiding the rafts skilfully negotiated their way through narrow gaps between rocks and along the rapids that forged their way through the gorge. It made for an exciting two and a half hour journey. Standing ankle deep in water all the way kept me deliciously cool in the midday heat.

At the small enclave of Mai Taeng my hill tribe visit was all but over. A short trek to a dirt road - yes, uphill and in the midday heat again - and I was returned to the rush and noise of Chiang Mai in a modern 4x4. Back at the hotel I washed away three days of sweat and grime under an abundant shower. Yet my memories of the Thai hill tribe people, their animals and ancient way of life can never be erased. Certainly, it was a gruelling experience and not for the unfit or faint hearted, and I certainly would not want to make the trip during the wet season when trails and villages would be treacherously awash. But my brief encounter with hill tribe existence emphasised how simply it is possible to live; uncomplicated by instant communication, travel and consumer purchasing life is brought back to basics, and life’s values take on a different meaning.


So lets get this debate going ... and I guess crucial to this exercise is to say how the piece can be taken to the next level ... good luck everyone...

Friday, January 21, 2005

Report of Meeting Held 18th January 2005

Apologies for absence were received from Diane who was unable to find a babysitter. Keith is in his teaching mode and Sharon had a Parents Evening. Doreen had a surprise visit from her daughter whilst Christine is suffering after 45 minutes agony in the Dentists chair. Allen was intending to come along with Judy but had an upset stomach whilst Caz was in bed with a very bad head.
In Attendance Scott, Gordon, Les, Dick, Alex, Avril, Ken, Belinda, Morag, Ann, Judy, Tony, Peter, Sue, Richard and Dave
Members and Other News:
Jan is not having the best of luck at present. As you will recall her Father died just before Christmas and now her Mother has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Our thoughts go out to them both.
Don't forget that Debbie and Alex have extended a sincere invitation to anyone from Scribblers who would like to come over for a break or holiday with them in Cavron St Martin, France. They have lots of room in the house and also plenty of room for any campers and caravaners. The Village is pretty and country life is so refreshing. Please contact Dave in the first instance.
Have received a letter from Liliane who will soon be back amongst us. She actually arrives back in England the day before the social and does not feel that she would be able to join in. However she intends to be back for the first meeting in February (1st) so I expect we will have a lovely report about Australia.
Any offers to read and offer feedback on a modern adult type novel or a book of poetry by Dee Rimbaud should go to Dave. These are available in pdf files and would be forwarded in that format.
Similarly, to the Mills and Boon readers amongst the group - there surely must be some! - they are on the lookout for new writers and have sent a comprehensive 22 page set of guide lines. Again anyone interested contact Dave.
Alex has been working hard to get the website up and running. In the next two or three weeks the committee will gather together and ratify a domain name so that the site goes 'live' to the world. There will be a small annual cost but at least we will moving once again into the modern world of technology! If you haven't seen the site then it can be viewed at
Please pass your comments direct to Alex on design, information and suggestions, etc., at
There is till time to book for The New Year Social Evening at the Grosvenor. The date is confirmed as Tuesday 25th January 2005. With a start time of 7.30 for 8pm Please liase with Caz at cazwilkinson@ntlworld.com At the last count there were some 23 Scribblers and guests coming along.
A reminder that a 50 pence fee per meeting operates from now. This entitles everyone to a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit.
Will everyone please bring their own mugs with them for future meetings…
Thanks to Peter for donating a ream of paper to the Scribblers. Every little bit helps!
The Homework Assignment set was for writing on any subject but from the perspective of a police officer. The 1,500 open themed writing proved very interesting with three extremely different stories, each with a discussion for comment afterwards.
Judy started the ball rolling with 'Living the Thai Hill Tribes Way'. It was an epic true encounter in Thailand of a long exhausting trek to find the Thai Hill tribes and experience their simple lifestyles. Superbly written, it was descriptive from the first word. Judy would like feedback on the work and will email it for posting on the website at http://nar8or.blogspot.com
Peter was next up with 'Henry's Surprise', a story set around Henry and the alleged embezzlement of £1.7 million pounds, an arrest, a court case and a not guilty result. Again it was an absorbing story that held interest from the beginning to the end always leaving the listener wondering what the next step would be.
Ken relayed the first part of 'Sid Shovel, Data Division' with poor Sid starting a new job in the Data Division as a computer whizz that he wasn't, who couldn't even remember his password to read the most important email he should have been dealing with. Loaded with regular and gentle wit, this was another enthralling story that was descriptive and imaginative throughout. Part two is awaited with baited breath.
Following the break, the short themed homework got under way with Alex who read out 'What Police Officers Said',
Ann read 'Demonstration' concerning the first experience of facing an ugly demonstration.
Belinda related 'My New Beat' which ended with the policeman in front a wild crowd of women only to discover he was a strippagram…
Dave's tale Spilt Second Decision and All In The Line of Duty was based on a true account of a firearms teams in Bury St Edmunds.
Dick with 'Statement' was another based on real life with an elderly driver overtaking a queue at roadworks with near disastrous results.
Gordon was at in again. 'Three Cheers for Mr Plodd' was an hilarious account of the struggle to bring Noddy to account.
Les read 'A Policeman's Lot is Not' a poem that scanned and rhymed.
Morag 'A Policeman's Lot' and five suspicious characters lined up - for their cod and chips!
Richard read a lifelike 'Report' of a disturbance at a pub and the subsequent arrest.
Scott and 'Accidental Incidents' was the very humorous tale of one of those coppers who help bank raiders, get assaulted helping little old ladies cross the road, and so on….
Sue with 'Dumped' about a WPC with suspicions about a group of children only to find they are caring for some abandoned kittens…
Tony and 'Hot Pursuit PC Sovate' about a car pursuit that ended with him accepting second place…
The next Scribblers meeting will be on February 1st when four volunteers, Les, Dick , Sue and Belinda will read out Tony's play. It is hoped that Felixstowe TV will also attend and put forward their plans for a mini soap series.
The homework theme for that one will simply be 'Felixstowe', chosen by Alex with the next anthology in mind.
Before that there is The New Year Social Evening at the Grosvenor on Tuesday 25th January 2005. at 7.30 for 8pm
Until then,
Keep Scribbling,

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Next Meeting Tuesday 18th Januay 7.30.

Hi Scribblers,

The next meeting of the Scribblers will be at the Library next Tuesday 18th January at the usual start time of 7.30.

If you recall the homework topic is on any subject you wish except that it should be from a policeman's perspective. That should open up some interesting insights into what we think of, or how the police react in so many different situations. I do hope you can come along.

Omitted from the AGM report was the apology for non-attendance from Ruth. Also another of our on line contacts, Patricia informs me that she too has been published this year with poems "Ancestry" published in 'In This Life' and "Pluck me A Rose" in 'Rhyme and Reason' both by United Press.

Our friend Liliane is coming to the end of her holiday in Australia and we hope that she may just make the meal at our social on January 25th. If not then we hope she will be back with us in February.


Just to finish off I have received an email from the famous old Mills and Boon who are looking for new authors, They say -

Think you have what it takes to write a romance novel?

This is your chance!

The editors are on the lookout for talented

new authors…

See inside for guidelines on each series

or visit our website:

mills and boon website

Did You Know…

· Harlequin Mills & Boon sell 200 million books world-wide each year – more than six books every second.

· Harlequin Mills & Boon Ltd is the first name in romantic fiction, selling 13 million books in the UK alone, which are enjoyed by more than 3.2 million regular British readers.

· Harlequin Mills & Boon books are sold in more than 100 international markets, in more than 26 languages around the world, with over 50 million female readers world-wide each year.

· Over 800 Harlequin Mills & Boon titles hit the stands each month around the world, generated from editorial offices in 16 countries. In total, Harlequin Mills & Boon has shipped more than 4 billion books around the world.

· UK libraries make 25 million loans every year.

· UK Market leader with a 74% share of the paperback romantic fiction market, which in total is worth more than £54M each year

· 1500 authors worldwide; 200 authors living in the UK; 600 new titles per annum; 50 per month.

· If you stacked every book sold in a single day on top of each other, the pile would be 35 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower.

· If you set out to read all the Harlequin Mills & Boon books sold over the past ten years, averaging a little over two hours per book, you would be reading for the next quarter of a million years.

We look forward to hearing from YOU soon

Alternatively I could forward you the attachment they sent with approximately 22 pages of information, fact and guidelines. If you are interested in receiving this information then I will forward the attachment to you when if you contact me here at scribblers@ntlworld.com


I also have two pdf files from Dee Rimbaud containing his books Dropping Ecstasy With the Angels and also Stealing Heaven From The Lips Of God - one is a novel, the other is a collection of poetry. I am not certain that these are the kind of books that everyone would be interested in but the copies are preview copies and I offer to forward them to anyone interested in reading them. Please let me know at scribblers@ntlworld.com


That's it!

Keep Scribbling and hope to see you next Tuesday!


Thursday, January 06, 2005


Felixstowe Library, Tuesday 4th January 2005 Commencing at 7.30 pm.
Apologies were received for absence from Sharon, Keith, Diane, Christine and Jonathan.
2. In Attendance were Scott, Gordon, Alex, Ken, Peter, Les, Dick, Morag, Judy, Tony, Richard, Doreen, Ann, Sue, Caz and myself.
Election of committee
Thanks were passed to the committee and Scribblers members who worked so hard during the last twelve months to make the year such a success. Special thanks were passed to Sue for her help and hospitality and it was with regret that her decision not to stand for re-election was accepted. Thanks to Caz for her devotion to 'duty', to Dick for standing in to help with the anthology and to Alex for covering the notes so admirably in times of need.
With Sue resigning from the committee, Caz, Morag and Dave sought re-election with Dick, nominated by Caz, and Alex, Morag nominated by Morag standing for the vacancy. Once on-line voting got under way Alex gallantly withdrew which meant that Caz, Morag and Dave were duly re-elected and that Dick became the fourth member of the committee.
This was ratified by the AGM.
Alex's withdrawal actually opened up the opportunity for him to be more involved with the website reconstruction and maintenance whilst being offered and accepting the offer to become a fifth member of the committee, a fair reflection on the size of the Scribblers.

This was ratified by the AGM.

A proposal by Dave is that the committee remains intact for as long as its members are willing to serve or circumstances dictate a change, thus abandoning the need for annual elections. In this case then nominations for the vacant position[s] and elections will then be held as necessary.
This was ratified by the AGM.
4. Committee Report on 2004
From the point of view of the Committee, 2004 was an unqualified success. We have seen membership spiral upwards, been involved in the Felixstowe Arts Month with a display at the Library and also for poetry day, produced our first anthology, worked in partnership with both Rachel Sloane in her 50-word challenge and also Jacqui Loose towards her Fine Arts Degree. On top of all this we planned, organised and ran a successful Culturama at the Trinity Church Hall.

We have seen our own Scribblers achieve success in competitions, been published in magazines for the first time and also on the Internet, whilst others have had their work read out on local BBC Radio Suffolk.

Here are just some of the achievements:-

Morag was ‘long-listed’ in the top twenty from some 17,000 entries for the BBC End of Story competition. She was also invited onto BBC Radio Suffolk at the Suffolk Show to discuss her book Green Wellies & Wax Jackets that Rachel Sloane had read. This book and Hides A Dark Soul are available on-line at littlelemur.

Our on line friend Jan also had a book for sale on the same site. It is Sins of the Zodiac The Once Orange Badge Poetry have also selected her poem 'Breakdown' for publication in issue 5 of The Once Orange Badge Poetry Supplement in May 2005. She is also published on other Internet sites.

Geraldine, another on-line member was one of the winners in the National Novel Writing month when she wrote a 50,000 word novel in November despite having a full time job!

Doreen, whose 'Tamarisk' was published in the August edition of Suffolk and Norfolk Life also completed and published her latest historical book, "Under One Umbrella."

Les has now been published in the Age Concern Newsletter.

Scott started off the year being published in his trade magazine for the first time and has now had short stories published in BEST magazine.

Wessex Cancer Trust and also Macmillan plan to publish Caz's ‘Charity Begins at Home or Does It?' She is also becoming a regular on BBC Radio Suffolk with three of her football poems broadcast on Radio Suffolk including "Come on England",

Dick's "Epitaph to a D-Day Veteran" has been accepted at the Imperial War Museum and also formed part of a Wartime display at Woodbridge Library recently.

Dick and Sue have been published in the same poetry anthology, IN THIS LIFE, by United Press.

Sue, was short-listed in a competition organised by the Academy of Children's Writers and received a heartening critique. She has also been accepted on the Pan MacMillan and Oxford University Press lists of contributors. Additionally she was a worthy winner of the BBC Radio Suffolk's Make Me Laugh with Gordon sharing runners-up spot.

Ruth picked up a cheque for third place in the St Ashby Writers Group Competition after finding details displayed at a Scribblers meeting.

I have regularly featured in the Libraries and Heritage in-house Magazine Chapter & Verse and, for my sins, am guest editor of this winters publication as I was last year. I was also a joint winner of the Felixstowe Library Short Story competition!

We must not forget the never-ending on-line BBC Radio Suffolk short story. Twelve chapters written (including Jeffrey Archer's opener) have featured both Morag and Diane three times each, Jan twice and myself once. There is now an advert on their website asking for the final paragraph.

Of course the list of published writers would not be complete without mentioning that Allen, Ann, Caz, Christine, Diane, Dick, Doreen, Gordon, Jack, Jan, Judy, Keith, Les, Liliane, Margareta, Morag, Peter, Richard, Ruth, Scott, Sharon, Sue and myself were all included in the Felixstowe Scribblers Anthology 2004.

Altogether 2004 was not only the most successful we have had, but also the busiest one on record.


Membership has spiralled with average attendances hovering around seventeen per meeting despite a number of absentees. Most of our new membership during the year has simply come from word of mouth although, in the latter stages, our group attracted attention from events in the Library and also at Trinity Hall. Twelve months ago there was a concern that the group would become too large and attract more members than we could sufficiently cope with. Perhaps, if everyone attended the same meeting, then seating accommodation and readings would pose a problem and mean a slight readjustment to our structure.

We have regular input from on-line members Margareta and Jan whilst others, such as Geraldine also keep in touch.

On the down side, we had to report the tragic loss of Nobby Clarke in a fatal accident on the A14 adding to the sadness of the last two years when Doreen lost her husband, Edward his wife, and our friend Martin died so young.

Our previous secretary Marilyn Lamond has returned from Spain and is now living in Birmingham. Debbie and her partner Alex have flown the nest are now happily domiciled in France.


Felixstowe Arts Month
Included a display of work at the Library, a children's and an adult area together with attendance by many Scribblers. A positive move that allowed our display to be retained on view for the remainder of the week.

A Special Evening with Rachel Sloane
A very well attended evening when Rachel set everyone present a challenge to come up with 50 words on a favourite place. Written and recorded that same evening, all the work was broadcast by BBC Radio Suffolk later the same week.

Poetry day
Again at the Library with several poems being submitted for display on the Library's boards.

Felixstowe Scribblers 2004 Anthology
Our first work of this kind. Replacing the newsletter it was a mammoth task organising, obtaining material, editing the work and proof reading before eventual publication. The invaluable help of Sue's husband Peter in the project, co-opting Dick to the editorial panel made it a worthwhile project. Costs were covered remarkably quickly. In hindsight the anthology would have been better titled as 2005

An unrivalled success.
Officially opened by our friend Rachel Sloane from BBC Radio Suffolk the event was hosted by our own MC Mr Les Smith
Participating groups with the Scribblers were:-
Felixstowe Art Group;
Suffolk Poetry Society;
Felixstowe China Painting Group;
Landguard Fort Trust;
Felixstowe Volunteer Coastal Patrol Rescue Service;
Felixstowe Family History Society;
Felixstowe Museum and History Society;
Writing submitted from pupils of local schools;
Eric Vanlint signing his book in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief.
Felixstowe TV
Photographic display by the Suffolk Record Office
Display of work by Felixstowe Scribblers
The Rushmere Players who performed in the small hall along
Mid Life Crisis
Not forgetting those who helped in the Refreshment bar.

There was an enormous amount of organisation and work before the day, and sincere thanks must go to everyone who contributed to make the event such a success. Thanks for the donations of cooking and food for sale on the day. Normally there would be no special mentions, but the amount of day to day effort that Caz put in through letters, phone calls, advertising, and collecting the 'table rental fees' and a multitude of other tasks deserves special recognition.

We received excellent support from Radio Suffolk, the Evening Star, the Felixstowe freebies and the Ipswich Advertiser too. Then there was the tremendous help and support from Felixstowe TV who filmed the event. There were mentions on various websites whilst posters and handouts were readily available in an array of retail outlets and libraries in Felixstowe and Ipswich too.

It all led to a healthy profit on the day. Well done everybody.

Working in collaboration with Jacqui Loose.
The request for collaboration by Jacqui Loose towards her Fine Art Degree was another challenge the Scribblers met. Asked to help with work on the very topical Coastal Erosion, every submitted piece of writing was used and highlighted with her own paintings on home-made Himalayan paper. The resultant work really was excellent and the Felixstowe Scribblers were proud to have been part of the work which was displayed at the Library for approximately two weeks. Jacqui has sincerely thanked us for our efforts - if I am brutally truthful I think she was overwhelmed with all our help. I am certain that she will be successful obtaining her degree.

Social Events

For those who can recall the January weather last year, our Social at the Victoria Arms was lucky to go ahead. It did but only after Caz and I spent Monday phoning around to ensure that everyone knew the situation over cancellation and the meals. It was another success after all the scares about the weather with some who called off eventually arriving to order their meals on the night. It was especially nice to see Margareta again who flew in from Austria on the Monday and flew out again on the Wednesday, whilst our lovely friends Debbie and Alex made their last appearance before emigrating to France. Also attending were Richard, Mike and his wife Christine, Scott and his better half, Amy, Margareta's good friend Allen, Caz and our youngest member Jack. Sue and Peter, Christine, Dick and myself. Whilst poor Rob met us prior to the meal but had to return home again suffering from flu.

Following Culturama, Belinda & Geoff threw open their doors for a "Scribblers in Slippers or Socks Pre Christmas Party" on Sunday. Of course 'Bigfoot' Gordon won the special prize for footwear, but it was a lovely get-together even if, later in the day, the peace surrounding Otley was shattered by the raucous laughter from Skeeter House! Thankyou Belinda and Geoff for your wonderful hospitality.

The final meeting at the library in 2004 ended as a nice warm social evening with Christmas very much in our minds.


This year we opened a bank account for the first time and Caz reported our current financial situation.

We are currently in the black with £133.04. We are awaiting payment for one of the advertisements in the anthology from Magpie Books of £30. Anthologies are currently placed with bookshops and these are still to be paid for.

Despite this the anthology, which could be a sell-out, had produced a profit at the time of the AGM of £75 with the publication costs having been met within the first week.

Likewise Culturama produced a £95 profit.

Although in business terms the amounts will appear insignificant, the fact is that, except the tea and coffee fund twelve months ago, we had nothing to cover the many day to day expenses. We are on a firmer footing now and have the opportunity to move forward.

Ann questioned what the outgoings were and in general they were the cost of paper, printing, stamps, various posters etc for displays and the laminating involved. The annual turnover also included things like plastic cups, tea, coffee, milk, biscuits, together with the hire of Trinity Hall, and publication costs for the anthology.

Apart from the general expenditure, the object of fund raising was working toward building a private library of publications in the 'How to….' Series, etc to help with our specific writing needs, the longer term possibility of introducing a guest speaker when usually there would be a fee and travelling expenses involved, the purchase of equipment such as a mini-disc recorder and or display boards.

Alex proposed a 50pence per meeting fee/donation to attend meetings or an annual fee of £10. At present membership levels this should raise approximately £200 a year minimum. Ann stated that Scribblers was the only place where there were no fees at all. Agreement was reached that a 50pence fee be levied at meetings and this would include tea or coffee and a biscuit. These charges will commence at the next meeting which is on January 18th.

Peter suggested and Judy seconded the proposal that from time to time everyone could help in with providing tea bags or coffee, or a ream of paper to help subsidise things and this was agreed on a purely voluntary basis.

Phone calls and administrative costs should be met by club funds rather than being absorbed by the committee members.

All points were agreed.

Here ends the committee report for 2004

5. Social events in 2005

The New Year Social Evening (Our meal!)
This year the social has moved to a new more central venue in Felixstowe but still with good food. This will be at the Grosvenor - on Tuesday 25th January 2005. Everyone welcome, spouses, partners, and lovers…. 'Bookings' and further details - including the menu - can be obtained from Caz at

It is essential that your food orders be placed with Caz in advance to allow the Grosvenor time to prepare.

6. Structure of meetings

The present structure of meetings was discussed and minuted at the last AGM. Is there a need to alter or fine-tune the structure at all?

We have a well-defined policy for our meeting format.


Three 1500 word readings and critiques.

Refreshments and chat

The 250+ word readings from everyone who has work to read out, including, when there is sufficient time, homework submitted by those unable to attend.

Advertisements for other events should be made through the chair under any other business except when prior agreement has been reached before the meeting.

Our group is now so large that our priorities must remain with our writers to be able to share prose and poetry in the limited time available.

Les is concerned that the critique/feedback/criticism is 'too nice' and, along with Ann felt that it should be more positive, more helpful and more honest. They felt that they had a lot to learn from other writers but couldn't when responses were not constructive.

A long discussion followed including points that to give hard hitting comment may result in losing a member, our group is diverse and not everyone will appreciate or understand some the work. Hobby writers may lose interest completely. Ours is a friendly group and is built on harmony. Dave re-iterated that last year it was suggested that anyone seeking feedback should ask for it prior to reading out their work, also that it is easier to be able to read and then comment on the work. The suggestion was that a copy of the work be handed to those people willing to provide such feedback. Dave offered to do this either via email or with a hard copy. Any comments would then be fed back personally to the writer either before or after the meeting, at coffee break or by email. For long pieces of work (1,500 words) then 5 minutes discussion time should be allotted at the end of each reading for feedback and comment.

Two ideas that emerged were for one meeting Tony will present his 30-minute play that may need the help of three other 'readers' in our group. [It is possible that he may have the help of actors to read the parts out. If not then scripts will be supplied to the chosen few to familiarise themselves with the play and it will be presented on Tuesday 1st February 1,500 word open work.

Another idea is to set an occasional writing theme from time to time to be completed at the meetings [but without prior notice] - in a similar vein to Rachel Sloane's 50 word challenge.

Ann suggested that instead of a word set as homework, it would be good for our creativity to write in a chosen genre.

All ideas were accepted

7. Into the Future: Planning for the next 12 months.

The time is right to decide on the plans for Felixstowe Scribblers during the next twelve months. Some of the items that we should discuss and make a decision on are:-

Do we organise another Culturama event bearing in mind how much effort went into making it a success? Do we build on 2004 or just leave it as a one off event?
The agreement was that should be bi-annual, possibly reviewed later this year prior to planning. Ken suggested that future events such as Culturama should have an events committee formed to help organisation and easing pressure off main committee members. More liaison needed with schools Ann suggests at least one year in advance. Dick asked if any feedback from other groups. Only one complaint over advertising from one group. All others appeared to enjoy the event and indicated their willingness to participate in future.

Should there be another Felixstowe Arts Month, shall we participate in the same way as 2004 or go in a slightly different direction?
No communication yet from Kevin Gosling at SCDC but if there is another one and, subject to the situation with the Library modernisation programme we should provide a similar event to last years. Quite cheap to put on and display boards from Record Office free of charge. There may be some new boards available next time.

Should we arrange display boards to go out into libraries - Ipswich and Woodbridge areas for example? And should we produce work to have ready to be displayed at short notice?
Les and Ann both asked the question why we need to display in such places. Too much exposure may mean the group grows too big and become unmanageable. It is a possibility that at some stage in the future the popularity of the group declines so we should stay in the public eye. It shows the kind of work we are capable of and would be more a showpiece than an advertisement. Dave suggested that we have work prepared in advance for opportunities that arose and these can be laminated at work. Les suggested short pieces up to one A4 size be supplied from each weekly meeting. Font size would need to be larger than usual and word count no more than enough to fill one side.

Shall we make a better effort this year with poetry day and - space at the library permitting - provide our own display boards?
Once again work should be prepared in advance - the latest by the start of September prior to the October event.

Felixstowe TV have approached us with regard to writing a mini - soap series which would then be acted by a local am-dram group and filmed and 'broadcast' on Felixstowe TV? If so, an invitation to attend one of our meetings will be sent out to Felixstowe TV and an am-dram group.
'Pierenders' was mentioned. Soap series needing cliff-hangers at end of each 5-minute script. Scribblers enthusiastic and Tony believes the Rushmere Players would also be pleased to be involved. This would be for entertainment only and no fees would be involved. It is suggested that we invite Felixstowe TV and Rushmere Players along to one of our meetings to go over the plan.

Shall we look at the possibility of producing a new anthology this year, or revert to a limited edition newsletter once more? A proposal from Alex - If another anthology is produced for 2005, could it be themed on Felixstowe/Suffolk, Ann agreeing with this idea. One of the long pieces of homework each meeting could be steered towards providing material for inclusion. This would give the anthology a local flavour being written by local authors and make it more saleable. Additionally local press and radio would be more likely to promote it and also we could ask Jacqui Loose to help with a cover or cover design or illustrations. There could be an excerpt from her collaboration work. There was no decision made on the question of Felixstowe/Suffolk only or if other open pieces of work be included. Material can be gathered during the coming months and once there is enough work to fill an anthology we would then go to print. A target date must be set at committee level.

A suggestion was made that Scribblers ran their own writing competition (short stories and poetry) during 2005. To do this we would need a guaranteed prize for 1st second and third and a panel of judges. Is this something we could organise?
After discussion this idea was declined due to administration, prizes, judges and the fact that there are so many competitions already available all over the country,

An interesting feature for the New Year could be a fresh Writeathon available to all members including those on line. This was suggested at the last AGM but did not materialise.
This is a no cost feature that will be good for morale - the last Writeathon was extremely good fun - Minimum/maximum word count to be agreed. Takes little time. All members including on line members and those without computers would be included. Names drawn out of a hat? General agreement but Committee to decide when to start.

A tongue in cheek suggestion that we produce a calendar was laughed out!
Perhaps people would pay for us not to produce one!

Writing for Children suggested by Alex.
Experiences in the past have failed to bring in enough children to these events. It is difficult to market and really is dominated by the weather outside, whether there are other events on - football for example? Generally the Library arranges events in the most popular school holiday periods. This proposal declined.
8. The effects of the Library modernisation

You will be aware of the modernisation programme for the Library premises that will start in April and be ongoing for twelve months. During this time meetings are expected to continue normally and with minimal disruption to our organisation. If we need to, shall we make contingency plans during this period of work to use another venue?
An offer of regular free accommodation for meetings was made by the Felixstowe Leisure Centre to use their Centre Bar, with the proviso that we use their bar for refreshments during meetings.
This may be an alternative venue should a date or dates be unavailable during modernisation at the Library. Dave to check. Other alternative accommodation but chargeable would be the OAP Drop in Centre as another possibility.
9. The Website

Thanks firstly go to Les and Margareta for offering to take on the website and later to Alex to try and get our website up and running. Alex is now preparing a site and has this on line at the present address for your perusal, http://nar8or.blogspot.com/. Felixstowe Scribblers Website.
Please note this is still in the planning stage but that any comments should be addressed to Alex or to myself at scribblers@ntlworld.com as soon as possible. He has already put a lot of effort into this and has provided a rough estimate for a domain name and leasing / hosting service that is affordable and would give us exactly the kind of service we are looking for. All members would have their own small area for profiles etc.

Alex asked that this should be further discussed at committee level.

All agreed and seemed impressed with his laptop demonstration pages.

10. New Posters for Libraries

It has been noted that the information on some posters at libraries and other displaying areas is now out of date and that original posters supplied two years ago have now badly faded in the sunlight. A new poster, perhaps incorporating a new logo (in the design of the Culturama one) is urgently needed. Dave to produce a draft for a poster.

Proposal from Alex that finalised posters are distributed more widely than just the libraries, and we should aim for as many community information points as are appropriate - and Alex is prepared to help do this. Aim should be to update annually and therefore keep the posters looking fresh. Possibility of laminating a number of them.

11.Press Releases

Is there a need for a regular press release, perhaps based on the report of meetings and including details of forthcoming events? If so is there a willing Committee Member/Scribbler to undertake this task? Dick is prepared to work on and supply information on a quarterly basis to the Town Crier as the Scribblers are one of the only groups that do not feature. A member of Scribblers would need to print off reports and get them to Dick for his perusal.

12. Any Other Business

Sue mentioned the Essex Book Festival in March this year especially in relation to a talk and discussion at the Cramphorn Theatre Chelmsford on 20 March from 3-5pm. Tickets in advance £7.50 With novelist Sarah Harrison, Hodder & Stoughton editor Sara Kinsella & agent Sara Menguc together with Essex Literature Officer Malcolm Burgess. Anyone interested in going along to this one with Sue?

Proposals for more socials were made and this year it may be possible to run a summer meal or another social event/outing. Perhaps a social committee should created.

Maybe the possibility of going on from a meeting to a designated pub for an after meeting drink. As above, perhaps a social committee should created.


Thanks were passed to the Scribblers for their attendance and input at this Annual General Meeting.

The meeting was closed with the homework being set for the next gathering on Tuesday 18th January at 7.30 pm. The homework is to write 250+ words on any subject at all but from the perspective of a police officer. The 1,500 pieces will be by Peter, Judy and Ken.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Thanks to all for attending the AGM......

A cracking turnout....sorry the meeting ran on so long but much good stuff was said. Im sure a more complete and serious post will appear later when Dave has had a chance to finish off the minutes....but in the meantime....

....Don't forget your Mugs for next time!

Oh and EDIT much rethinking of the colour going on Dave concerned that Black a little inappropriate as many can read so well.....Enjoy the tempoary purple

Minutes Silence for the Tsunami Victims...

We held a well observed minutes silence for all the poor people affected by the Tsunami

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Just a quick email about the AGM and the election of the Committee for 2005.

Happy New Year everybody!

Alex has decided to withdraw from the election so this means that Caz, Morag and myself along with Dick who is ratified as Sue's replacement will form the new committee.

All is not lost though, for Alex will play a keen role with the reconstruction and care of the website and will also become part of our committee, extending the overall number to 5 which is a fair reflection on membership numbers.

Don't forget the AGM is on Tuesday 4th January at the Library so please come along if you can. The meeting will help shape the Scribblers future and discuss plans for the coming year.

Keep Scribbling!


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Well here it is - the first post

Welcome to the Felixstowe Scribblers weblog.......

Felixstowe Scribblers Weblog Feed