Archives for posts with tag: England


Beach Party
by Clive Collins

I grew up hearing Americans sing about summer: beach parties, girls in tiny two-piece swimsuits and fun in Acapulco. One song I remember was called “It Might As Well Rain Until September.” In the English seaside town where my family spent two weeks every August, it probably did.

Our summer place was Skegness, “Skeggy” to the unfortunates who regularly went there. Each spring in our East Midland’s city the advertising hoardings of the railway stations and bus depots, the travel agencies’ windows, broke out in a rash of posters for holiday destinations all around England’s coastline, a paper paradise of fun, sun, sand and pretty girls, but my father’s meagre wage meant we were for Skeggy. Its advertisements featured “The Jolly Fisherman,”a cartoon fat man in a black sou’wester hat, red scarf, blue jumper and tight white trousers tucked into thigh-high sea boots skipping along the shoreline above a caption that read “Skegness is so bracing.” It was. Bitter winds blowing in from the sea usually are. Looking back, across the years, I cannot recall ever seeing anyone in Skegness who was inappropriately dressed for December.

As a seaside town Skeggy was more town than sea. As a beach resort it was more beach than resort, the sea just some distant rumour. In the 1950s, when my family members were regular visitors there, two ex-army DUKWs were used to carry fare-paying passengers down to the water and back again. We sat glumly at the top end of the sands trying to keep warm. When the time came that my parents could no longer tolerate the resort’s bracing effect, we retreated to a café for hot coffees. My sisters dropped sixpence into the jukebox and danced to warm themselves up: “Here Comes Summer.” I listened to the music and dreamed.

CAPTION: The author and his family bracing themselves on the sands at Skegness, England (August 1958).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Revisiting L.P. Hartley’s “foreign country,”where they do things differently.

Clive Collins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Leicester, England, Clive Collins has spent the greater part of his life working as a teacher in Ireland, Sierra Leone, and Japan. He is the author of two novels, The Foreign Husband (Marion Boyars) and Sachiko’s Wedding (Marion Boyars/Penguin Books). Misunderstandings, a collection of short stories, was joint-winner of the Macmillan Silver PEN Award in 1994. More recently his work has appeared in online journals such as Penny, Cecile’s Writers, and The Story Shack. He was a short-listed finalist in the 2009 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

bilyfury Wondrous Place
by Cath Bore

It is early morning and Liverpool is opening its eyes, ready to wake up, stretch, yawn, and welcome the day.

There’s a tune, a breathy bass riff. A voice, smooth and clear, high but not too much.

I found a place full of charms.

I hear the voice singing, and I know who it is. Billy Fury. I know the song too. Wondrous Place.

I know the singer and I know the song but what I don’t know is where it is coming from at ten to eight on a Tuesday morning in Liverpool city centre. So I follow the song. It takes me to a pub, the old boozer type, doors flung wide open. I near and hear singing, a voice on top of Billy’s. It is thin, slightly shrill, out of tune and time. I peer inside.

The pub’s cleaner in her apron is dancing with her mop, humming. Billy Fury sings to her from the jukebox. She’s seventy-odd with crab-apple skin, turned girlish. She’s smiling, eyes closed, slow dancing. It’s beautiful.

I wanna stay and never go away –

Wondrous place.

She dances with Billy Fury every morning, I think. I hope. Now, I do too.

Cath Bore June 2015
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cath Bore is a writer based in Liverpool, U.K., currently writing a novel and lots of flash fiction. Her website is



AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: Here I am just catching the last of the evening sun reading my copy of The Great Gatsby Anthology with the Humber Bridge behind me. The Humber Bridge, near Kingston Upon Hull, England, is a 2,222-metre single-span suspension bridge that opened to traffic in June 1981. It spans the River Humber, and was the longest of its type in the world when it opened — and is now the seventh longest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lin Whitehouse writes in all genres, and her short plays have been performed in theatres throughout the North East of England. She has had short stories published in The Finger and Whitby Abbey Pure Inspiration — an anthology of stories about Whitby — and her poems have been published in Writing Magazine, Turbulence Poetry Magazine, and last year she won a National Poetry competition organised by Barnardo’s. Her poem “Would you believe me” in The Great Gatsby Anthology speaks of Gatsby’s heartfelt love for Daisy.

PHOTOGRAPH: Poet Suzanne Rawlinson with her copy of The Great Gatsby Anthology at Hammersmith Bridge in London, the borough where she lives. She picked this location as an homage to The Great Gatsby — specifically how Gatsby and Daisy live across the water from each other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Suzanne Rawlinson is a full-time teaching assistant who also enjoys writing part time following the completion of her studies in creative writing. Suzanne writes across a variety of genres in the form of blog posts, scripts, and poetry. Occasionally she writes short stories and would love to extend the poetry into songwriting. Currently Suzanne is working on a script for TV/radio and regularly contributes to her blog — writing about real-life experiences, issues, and musings. In 2013 Suzanne had a poem published in an online magazine. Her poem “The Destruction of Desire” appears in the The Great Gatsby Anthology. Visit her at a range of social media links:, on Twitter, Facebook, or her YouTube channel.

by Mark Redford

on the coach down to Folkestone: the pages of

from a time and world before my day whole cities and
lives lived in shadow and yellow light in recede and smirk

in caption and still in number and date –
later we walked down into town from the campsite

from the streets we stepped into the general store
the smell of tins and packed food rose from the

faded lino floor with lime highlights, the comic rack
revolving: seceding titles, successing numbers,

companies of generation, branches discovered,
a distant family, a close ancestry; now traceable

PHOTOGRAPH: Walking the long way down into Folkestone, the author (with his younger brother) with landscapes coming out of his head in more ways than one (don’t worry, he paid the price later when he had it permed and most of it fell out; — eh?; the 1970s: can’t live with them, and yet they’re still here!).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We didn’t have much money after Dad left so we had a few holidays in a caravan of an aunt in Folkestone; the escape from London to the Kent coast added fresh smells and landscape to a 13-year old possibility but also depthened (sic) what I read at the same time (proving the proverb: the more you travel, the deeper you stay where you are). I still read comics, but I mostly smell them now.

mark redford

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Redford was born in Bethnal Green, London (within the sound of Bow Bells, ‘wish mayksim a troo cocknee’ although he only speaks like that when ‘ease avvin’ a bubble’). He has been teaching for 28 years and was passionate about the cognitive development of learning until he finally realised that nobody ‘got it’.  While he is recovering from that, he has resumed writing and continues teaching with a wan and slightly ironic smile. He has published slightly too (The Blue Hour magazine, The Haiku Quarterley; and is soon to self-publish MLR Poemics Presents #1; Uncannily green Poems) but mostly transmits, in a tiny voice, from some dark cupboard [that’ll have him] in the posts of mlewisredford.wordpress.


PHOTOGRAPH: Poet Amy Schreibman Walter took her copy of The Great Gatsby Anthology to The Wolseley, an Art Deco restaurant on London’s Piccadilly, situated in a building that dates from 1921. When first opened, the Wolseley was a car showroom for the Wolseley Car Company. Beautiful motors graced these black and white marble floors. The space has a grand, opulent feel. The Wolseley is famous for its afternoon tea — what Anglophile Jay Gatsby might have hoped to approximate during his tea with Daisy Buchanan at Nick Carraway‘s place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Schreibman Walter is an American poet living in London. A recent Visiting Writer at The American Academy of Rome, Amy’s poems have appeared in numerous publications on either side of the Atlantic. She is the co-editor of here/there:poetry. Amy has long been interested in the 1920s. Her forthcoming chapbook, Houdini’s Wife and Other Poems (out in 2016), features several persona poems written from the perspective of women in the ’20s. Her poem “They Slipped Briskly into an Intimacy from Which They Never Recovered” is featured in The Great Gatsby Anthology.

by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm

My love affair with Yorkshire,
is strange to the extreme,
the rain comes down in stair rods,
and puddles turn to streams.

Flint faced buildings stand proud,
the natives just the same;
hard with a directness,
reflecting poverty’s pain.

“Aye up love,” and “Ta duck,”
a mantra of the North,
a warmth and loyal passion,
found around the hearth.

Depleted coal face scenery,
ghost towns from the past,
mine the depths of politics,
betrayed by bluest lass.

Coal-dust mottled snowscapes,
contrast the wuthering heights,
bleak outstanding wilderness,
the slag heap moors by night.

My soul belongs in Yorkshire,
with Brontë, Hughes, and Moore,
this northern heart keeps beating,
‘til death doeth close the door.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I grew up in and around coal mining communities. My Grandfather, uncle, and cousins worked as miners. I saw the devastation caused in the 1980s when the coal mines were systematically closed down one by one. This left the once-thriving communities to waste away into ghost towns of poverty. As a child I had a fascination of the coal-dust mottled snow. Within hours of pristine white snow settling, it was soon speckled with soot and coal dust, as it melted it soon became a grey slurry of slush. The dominating slag heaps were an imposing sight on the skyline and became a rare elegant beauty when covered in snow.

IMAGE: “Frozen Canal” (Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK) by Darren Galpin. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Carr-Malcolm was born and raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. She now lives in Yorkshire, and works as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter within the Yorkshire region. Alex has been featured in five collaborative anthologies by Dagda Publishing where part of the proceeds are donated to worthy charities. Her first anthology Tipping Sheep (the right way) was released in 2013. Currently, Alex is working on her second anthology to be released later this year. Her poems can be found on her blog

by Julie Rose Clark

I couldn’t say
I love the moors
nor could I say
I moved here for them –
when you could with ease,
all of you.
I could say
I love the canyons
even though I have never been;
the red rock
of memories,
the stories,
the paths they contain –
yes I could say
I love them.

I couldn’t say
I love the teasels,
the wire grass,
the sheep bones,
nor could I
say I walk here through choice
it’s simply
where I find myself;
here among the wonky walls,
the half stiles,
the rake roads,
the black-faced running sheep,
the bent gates,
the rocky straight,
the treeless horizon.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem makes me think of the wind high on the tops of the moors which I have lived around now for about 12 years. It makes me think of the many days I have spent walking these moorland paths whatever the weather and the sights I have seen. The moors give me poetry if nothing else.

PHOTOGRAPHY: “The Moors” (West Yorkshire, United Kingdom) by Steve Watson. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Rose Clark has self-published one volume of poetry, has been published in various magazines and anthologies, and has won a couple of competitions. She has read her words out loud at open mic events and has participated in several exhibitions. Her website can be found at

stirling street rainbow
Rain Charm for Stirling Street
by Gaia Holmes

Oh, the itch and nag of it —
this rainless month
when sapless slugs
fruit our yards like prunes
and the lawns
in the salubrious parts of town
are brown whispers.

Even inside
red roses yellow
and spill their petals
before they’ve had time to bloom.
Hard green mangoes
rot before they’ve ripened
and in the fridge
milk thickens and clots
in the necks of bottles,
the cheese gets louder and louder
until it roars.

And lately, we have had
restless nights too hot to touch,
deserts between us in our beds,
Sirocco winds blistering our dreams,
our waking bodies
black with fruit flies.

All you sun-junkies,
you lovers of deck chairs
and Ambre Solaire, forgive me.
I am taking action.
I am standing behind the kitchen door
wobbling a crosshatch saw
to make the sound of thunder.
I am cooking lightning
in the microwave.
I am pouring rice on to a saucer
to make the sound of rain.
I am summoning a storm.

Previously published in Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love all kinds of weather, especially sunshine but also rain. I live on Stirling Street and when the sun shines on Stirling Street its residents get bolshy & tetchy. Arguments start. People get angry about parking spaces and traffic cones start appearing on the kerbs. Cats wail all night and it seems that a good dose of rain balms the tension. I love the sound of it on the skylight window in my attic. It makes me feel safe and creative. I love the smell of it, the petrichor, the world after rain—wet grass and tarmac, the scent of shimmer.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Stirling Street Rainbow” (Halifax, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom) by Gaia Holmes.


 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gaia Holmes lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK. She is a freelance writer and creative writing tutor who works with schools, libraries, and other community groups throughout the West Yorkshire region. She runs “Igniting The Spark,” a weekly writing workshop at Dean Clough, Halifax. In her spare time, Gaia is a DJ for Phoenix FM, Calderdale’s community radio station. She plays accordion with the band Crow Hill Stompers. She has had two full length poetry collections published by Comma Press: Dr James Graham’s Celestial Bed (2006) and Lifting The Piano With One Hand (2013). Gaia is currently writing about sink holes, working on her third collection, and dabbling in fiction.

“The castle grounds were gleaming in the sunlight as though freshly painted; the cloudless sky smiled at itself in the smoothly sparkling lake, the satin-green lawns rippled occasionally in a gentle breeze: June had arrived.” J.K. ROWLING, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

PHOTO: “Scotney Castle Landscape Gardents, Kent, UK” by ukgardenphotos, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED