Hello, from #Lockdown (week 3? is it?)

I would like to look like this

I seem to be quite busy (sorry if you’ve emailed me and I haven’t replied yet. I will!).

Today I’ve played table tennis, walked the dog, had two on-line chats, taken part in a virtual quiz and tonight I’m running the ‘Evesham Festival’ Book Club on Zoom for the first time.


Hopefully it won’t be too chaotic, as we all try to give our opinion of last month’s book (which was a biography of a double-agent from WW2, ‘Agent Zigzag’, in case you’re interested. It was fascinating. I really enjoyed it).

Zoom is great, isn’t it but it would be better if you didn’t have to show your face/hair/state of undress, in my humble opinion. I might have to get my comb out and put on a dash of lipstick before tonight, just so people don’t go running from the room when they catch sight of me.

But fear I look more like this

The shop and cafe in happier times (when we could go out and mingle!!)

On a different note (but still under the category of ‘things I’ve never done before’), we’ve just emailed our first ever ‘click and collect’ order to the village shop. We’re picking it up this evening.

They’re also offering a free delivery service but as we don’t, strictly speaking, need a delivery service (at the moment, touch wood and all that), it doesn’t seem fair to potentially deprive others who do, so we’re sticking to the ‘click and collect’ option.

Every cloud having a silver lining and all that, our village shop, which for a long time was under threat of closure and residents were urged to use it for more than just the paper and a pint of milk, is now essential and much-valued and hopefully, we’ll all continue to use it once we’re Back To Normal.

Results are out for the Writers & Artists Yearbook and the ‘Evesham Festival of Words’ short story competitions and you can read the winning stories – ‘The Fan Club Man’ by Glenda Young and ‘Potted Plants’ by Rachel Bowers– here and here

I always think it’s worth a look at competition winners (especially if you entered that particular competition).

The winnings stories of these competitions have 3 things in common:

1. They’re both written by women
2. They both feature a protagonist on a train
3. And perhaps most interestingly, I think they’re both ‘unusual’ winners. See what you think. To me, they don’t have ‘Prize Winning Story!’ written all over them. That doesn’t mean they’re not excellent stories but they’re quite subtle and layered. They give more on a second or third reading than on the first.

But that’s not a bad thing.

It’s encouraging that all kinds of stories win competitions. You really never know what will float a judge’s boat, so if you’ve got a story that you believe in and you can afford the entry fee (don’t spend you last £5 on a competition and deprive your dog/children/self of dinner!), then it’s always worth having a go.

Right, if you’re in a writing frame of mind (and I know some are and some aren’t…) you might be interested in these competitions and opportunities:

King Lear Prize (so called because apparently, when he was quarantined by the plague, Shakespeare wrote King Lear. No wonder it’s so depressing!).

This is free to enter, some great prizes and they’re looking for musical compositions and art as well as writing BUT it’s only open to over 70-year olds who haven’t been published before.

Evesham Festival of Words has:

1. A Spring Literary Quiz – 20 tantalising questions, it’s free to enter (but you’ve only got until 18th April!) – and you could win a £10 voucher.

2. A ‘Six Word Story’ competition (inspired by Hemingway’s famous ‘For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn’. It’s free to enter, open to anyone over the age of 12 and you’ve got until 17th May to submit your entries (a max of 6 per person).

3. A brand new Poetry Competition (theme: ‘Thinking Outside The Box’), open to anyone over the age of 16. It’s just £5 for up to three entries. All the details are here and the closing date is 12th June 2020.

The latest Spectator competition invites you to write about goats…. (and if you haven’t seen the little darlings prancing around Llandudno, read all about it here)

No. 3146: getting your goat
You are invited to submit a poem about the goats of Llandudno, who recently ran amok through the Welsh seaside town. Please email up to 16 lines to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 22 April.

And finally, don’t forget my little random word competition which closes at midnight on 16th April, so there’s still time to enter. I’ve only had 24 entries so far….!

Good luck if you decide to enter any of these! Let me know how you get on.

This entry was posted in Competitions, Cotswolds, random word competition, Short Stories and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Hello, from #Lockdown (week 3? is it?)

  1. juliathorley says:

    Another interesting missive, thank you. I think one of the joys of entering competitions is that there is often a fighting chance for those of us who don’t write traditional womag-type stories. I shall check out these winners later today. And funnily enough, I’ve just been looking for a cheery photo to illustrate my latest blog post and came across some pics of goats. If that’s not the gods telling me to put pen to paper…

  2. Rosemary Reader and Writer says:

    Helen, I’ve just looked on the Writers and Artists Yearbook site and I can’t find the Short Story Comp winners. Is this the comp you meant? Or am I looking in the wrong place?

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