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Literary Fund Raiser a Other Blog

Posted on Mon 13th Nov 2017 @ 20:50. Contact: Fred P for more information

Literary Fund Raiser

The Creative Writing Group put together a book of Drabbles (stories of 100 words) and have been selling them to raise money. Thank you to all who supported this great idea- a grand total of £63 has been donated to Blythe House. Well done!

Second Chapel Arts Annual Writing Competition a Other Blog

Posted on Tue 14th Nov 2017 @ 17:02. Contact: Fred P for more information

Second Chapel Arts Annual Writing Competition

Congratulations to Jean Greaves, the winner of the Second Chapel Arts Annual Writing Competition. The theme for our competion was “Rafters” and Jean has kindly given us permission to reproduce her entry here, on our blog. Thank you Jean.

The Rafters.

…it seems like time plays tricks, sometimes running away with me, and then going so slow it almost stops. But it’s not important. I go by the weather, like I did when I were younger and still had the farm. Wake up when light shows through the curtains, and when it begins to get dark, well, I know it’s evening don’t I?

It’s evening now and I should get something to eat but I’m not hungry. ‘Course Kath will have something to say about that. She’s me neighbour you see, drops in on me any old time with a cheery ‘now Bill’ by way of greeting. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a good lass, but sometimes she doesn’t understand but then that’s women for you. Take my Emily. Sometimes she knew me too well and at times we had a few words but we got along. It weren’t right really, expecting her to take to the farming life, she weren’t made for it but she stuck by me. And we had a son, Matthew. I remember him running through the fields when he were little but soon he grew and left.

I know I talk to Emily like she’s in the room with me an’ maybe she is an’ all and I bet she’d laugh and call me a silly old fool. Like that policeman, the one who brought me home ‘cause I’d gone out in me slippers but I’d only forgot to put me shoes on…I likes to go out you see, when it’s dark an’ I can’t see the clocks. Hate ‘em I do, they’re everywhere; on towers, churches and there’s even a big one at the cross roads. All right, so I do wander about a bit, and I know sometimes me thoughts get a bit muddled. They think I’m going a bit senile, like, but I know what I’m doing. I’m looking for her, my Emily, you see.

I weren’t always like I am now, what with me old bones and creaking joints. No, once I was strong, thrived on work I did. Why, I could toss straw bales into the barn all day till it were full to the rafters and not get tired.

Here’s something to think about…

…time’s a strange thing. Sometimes I know what I’m about and then things sort of drift and I’m back on the farm and it doesn’t seem quite right somehow and things aren’t where they should be, and I’m lost.

I’d like a cup of tea but I can’t find the tea caddy and the old range isn’t where it should be. And then Kath says, ‘Here you are Bill’ and she doesn’t act like I’ve gone a bit daft. Not like them others, always poking their noses in. Sometimes, when I sit me self down in front of the little fire I’m back on the farm and it’s quiet, ‘cept the clocks ticking and I’m listening for the sound of Emily’s footsteps and then I remember she’s gone. Then I lost the farm.

And I can’t stand clocks, not since my Emily went and the tall clock on the landing stopped the day they put her in the ground, as if the clock knew and no amount of tinkering could get it going again. Sometimes I wonder what happened to it, and the photographs. I remember ‘em well, the look on Emily’s face, the set of her lips and the way she’s staring out, disapproving, like she weren’t happy, new something I didn’t.

‘Well Bill,’ my neighbour Kath says, ‘glad you’re ready. You look really dapper.’ Of course I’m ready, been ready a long time, waiting. Like I said, she’s a good lass and she got this idea she were taking me out in her car to this new pubs that’s just opened. The Rafters, it’s called.

We’re getting out of the car and I see the building. The shape of it, the windows placed sort of irregular and the great big doorway…and it’s like I’ve come home after I’ve been away.

Let me tell you about… … the dances we used to have after harvest were in and music played and the barn were decorated with bunting up to the rafters and…it’s like I’m a young man again, and Kath’s hurrying behind with a ‘now Bill’, and I’m not listening to her, just the tunes of the fiddles I can hear playing.

There’s thick carpet on the floor, and walls where they didn’t used to be none, and Kath’s sat me at a table and a meals been brought but I can’t eat, can’t sit still. I need to be up, looking, searching. There’s a wide stair well where there should be a ladder and I’m looking at the stairs and before I think about it I’m already climbing those stairs and a voice says, ‘Excuse me mate, you can’t go up there.’ But I do and there’s this bloke behind me and Kath has hold of my arm and her voice sounds anxious and then I see the clock on the landing. The clock that stopped when my Emily passed and it’s going now, and the pendulum is swinging sweet as anything.

‘Come on now, Bill. We can’t have you getting upset. But I’m not upset and my heart might be racing something wicked but I’ve seen the photos, the ones of me and Emily and our lad and the old horse harnessed to the hay wagon.

‘Do you recognise them?’ It’s the man’s voice.

‘Course I do. It’s me family.’

‘We found the photos and the clock at the back of the barn, under a tarpaulin. We thought they looked like they belong here.’

With a trembling finger, I’m reaching out like, and when my fingers touch Emily’s face the skin feels smooth and warm and do you know, she is smiling, like she’s content now…

… seems like time just don’t mean a thing.

Jean receiving her prize from Margaret Holbrook.

First Chapel Arts Annual Writing Competition a Other Blog

Posted on Tue 14th Nov 2017 @ 17:05. Contact: Fred P for more information

First Chapel Arts Annual Writing Competition

Congratulations to Stephanie Billen, the winner of the First Chapel Arts Annual Writing Competition. The photo shows Stephanie receiving her Winners Certificate from local author, Margaret Holbrook. Stephanie also received gift voucher to spend in Reading Matters Bookshop for her splendid story.

The theme for our first competition was “Black Sheep” and Stephanie has kindly given us permission to reproduce her entry here, on our blog. Thank you Stephanie.

Black Sheep

I’m still trying to make sense of it. The dream. Black sheep forcing the white one through the gap in the fence. Ganging up on it. The white fleece tearing against the barbed wire. A drop of blood. The thing is, this is turning into a recurring nightmare. First time I had it, I thought it was to do with my insomnia. I know it’s stupid but I’ve been doing that counting sheep thing to try and make it better. I didn’t think it was working but I suppose it must have done because I woke up a few hours later, sweating and still thinking about that terrified amber eye. So I stopped counting sheep, but I’ve had the dream twice since then and it’s getting more intense. There are more of them now and that fleece is getting more bloody.

The truth is I’ve been having a tough time recently. Mum tells me unhelpfully that the sixth form was the happiest time of her life. Well it isn’t working out too well for me. All my friends are doing different subjects and the work is horrendous. Looking back on it, GCSEs were easy compared to the work now. Brian Cox has a lot to answer for if you ask me. Who’d have thought physics could be so incomprehensible? And the biology practicals make me sick. I try and hang back while the others stick the knife in.

And because I’m not seeing much of Beth and Jess in class, it feels like they are all having this great social life outside school as well. I catch up with them at lunchtime – if I can find anywhere to sit in our cramped canteen – and it’s all about gigs they’ve been to or trips to Manchester. To be fair, Jess did invite me one time but I couldn’t spare the time. Sounds really lame to say you’ve got too much work to do, but it’s true, and the mocks are next week! We haven’t even covered half of what we should have by now.

Plus they’ve all got boyfriends. How did that happen? And Mum says I should be thinking about uni. I don’t even know if I want to go to university. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t have given up art. No art school would have me now. The point is I’m never going to make my living at art so I guess I did the right thing. That’s what I think rationally but then I find myself sitting in maths really struggling – me, the A* student. I don’t know if I’m just not concentrating but the equations seem to swim in front of my eyes. I’m not getting this topic at all.

Mr Evans took me aside the other day and said he was thinking of setting up an after school maths club to go through some of it but that’s just less time with my friends. More social suicide. So I sort of stalled and hoped it would go away.

Of course I don’t see them anyway. I come home and collapse in front of Friends on TV then I try and get down to a bit of work but I’m kind of brain-dead by then and I can’t concentrate. Then I go to bed and read and read until my eyes feel dry and itchy and then it’s sheep-counting time again.

I had the dream again last night. I was definitely the sheep and I was looking at the others as they came charging up and I was trying to get through, thrashing around, but the wire was digging in and then one of the black sheep had a knife and wanted to dissect my leg or something. It sounds funny but trust me, it really, really wasn’t and I felt so weird and disorientated when I woke up that I almost woke Mum up. It was like one of those really visceral childhood nightmares.

Jess came round last night. I’ve been off school with some kind of bug. I’m all hot and cold at the same time with no energy. Yet all the time I’m thinking about what I’m missing and how I’m going to catch up. Still, it was nice of her to come and we watched Mean Girls and she told me she’d broken up with Jack. I had a dreamless sleep last night which was odd because during the day I’d had all sorts of fitful naps and bursts of dreams – not the sheep though. And this morning I felt a sort of calm. Mum says I’m not so hot now but I still feel wrecked so I lay there listening to Radio 4. This woman started talking about how they want to encourage female engineers – people with maths and physics and an interest in art. Made me think that could be me if I could just get a handle on this stuff.

I’m better now, more or less, and I made it into school. It wasn’t too bad actually. This boy I sit next to in maths lent me his notes and he says he’s definitely going to try the after school club. I might give it a go. It’s only one night a week.

Mum made me have an early night and even gave me a hot milk – haven’t had that since I was about six. And then I was back with the sheep. Not sure that dream will come again though. Something’s changed. So I was the sheep again and I was thrashing around but then I sort of was me and I was looking down at the sheep and I saw that actually there was plenty of room if I just stopped panicking and eased myself through the gap. And over the other side, in the next field, there were black sheep and white sheep like me and they looked OK. No blood. Just a field of sheep doing their thing.

Competition Winner

Art and Photography Show 2017 a Visual Arts and Crafts Blog

Posted on Tue 14th Nov 2017 @ 15:22. Contact: Val Vernon for more information

Art and Photography Show 2017

The 4th Art show held by Chapel Arts was a great success. The work from the community of Chapel-en-le-Frith and the surrounding areas was delightful for its variety and high standard.  For the first time photography was included as well as drawing painting and printmaking. The weekend was packed with visitors who enjoyed looking at the work and visiting the stalls selling home made gifts. A talk given by Joanne Allen who also opened the show was very well attended and many people asked questions about her work. Our thanks go to everyone who helped to make this an exciting event. Many people commented on "the very positive atmosphere" of the show and one person said " this type of thing is just what Chapel needs."  See you all again next year !