Plotting Shed Charity Gala Night

in aid of

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Sunday 27th November 2016 at 7.15 pm. Doors 6.30 pm.

A gala charity evening of poetry, story, song and more…

to celebrate the works of the 26 local authors of Plotting Shed

Compèred by Heather Ayckbourn and Felix Hodcroft

More info:


THE PLOTTING SHED                                                  COMPILED AND EDITED BY DAVID B. LEWIS

A glass of wine or soft drink included in the ticket price on arrival and the proceeds from the ticket sales will go to Yorkshire Air Ambulance. The format will be cabaret style seating at tables with candles and nibbles and an informal atmosphere. The book will of course be on sale at the special show price on the night. A promotional film launch will take place in the upstairs foyer area before the main event and will run on a loop on a screen during the interval and after the show.

Ticket price: £10 – Under 15 £5



If you can’t make the evening please consider pledging your support on Kickstarter.

You will be helping local writers and helping the world by spreading Creative Writing to the parts most writers never reach.

All you have to do is pledge £10 plus the p and p fee as stated according to where you are in the world and that’s it until 28th November when, if the fundraiser is successful, Plotting Shed will automatically have the money transferred into its account. You will receive your pledge order asap after that. If the fundraiser is not successful nothing else happens.

Small Stones

August is small stones month.

Use your senses to notice things in the world and write down what you find… visit the small stones website for details.

Small stones everywhere;
take the time to stop and stare.
Indulge your senses.

How fortunate that this coincides with the gift of a diary-free month I gave myself in order for me to be selective in my choice of activities. Therefore, during the month’s progression, I will be adding my self-indulgent small stones observations as I drift through the days of August… focussing on my response to each day’s chosen activity.

1st August:

Scarecrows at Muston;
interpretation of art
making people smile.

2nd August:

Ordnance Maps
A handful of maps;
from the middle of nowhere
I seek out old haunts.

3rd August:

Woldsway Lavender
The lavender breeze
sprinkles me with happiness
when it starts to rain.

4th August:

Waves lapping at the shoreline
disguise a downpour;
unpredictable weather.

5th August:

My house-guest has left
but the memory lingers;
my home is silent.

6th August:

Rabbit hopping in a field
makes it through the hedge
to become road kill.
I pray for its soul
that, if there is a heaven,
it finds its way there.

7th August:

Orchestra of leaves;
crochets, quavers, semibreves
dancing through the trees.

8th August:

A writer’s nightmare;
computer crash in progress
destroying all files.

9th August:

Sunshine on the sea
as Acapella voices
echo over waves.

10th August:

Comfortable feet;
shopping at ‘Shuropody’
in Earth Spirit shoes.

11th August:

Ordnance Maps Project

I called in at The Studio and chose Map Number 109 – Manchester © 1974. There was no metro-link, no M60, but when I traced my finger along the map’s red lines, I was transported via the 59 bus route through the bitter-sweet memories of my younger days.

(I think it’s going to be quite traumatic cutting this map into pieces for my art project yet, at the same time, an exciting aide-memoir for my ongoing life writing project)

12th August:

The Great Potato Challenge

It’s not the winning… it’s the elation at weigh-in as you unearth your potatoes and breathe in the community spirit of a home-grown meal.

(at Wandales Housing Scheme)

13th August:

Good mobile signal
but when she doesn’t answer
the black dog comes out…
stuck in the moment
the black dog bites my heart out
as the phone rings on

14th August:

Rustling trees reveal two deer as they spring out to prance around then, noticing me, run back into hiding, never to be seen again.

15th August:

Computer Restore:
New programs are challenging.
I miss Office Suite!

16th August:

Summer in Scarborough;
an explosion of tourists
covet the beaches.

17th August:

Bridlington Harbour bustles with tourists tempted by fish and chips as locals relax with cold glasses of ale and people-watch.

18th August:

The fried egg in the pan splits and separates into a friendly face when two holes appear in the white above the yolk and a slit below spreads in a smile.

19th August:

Refreshing rain;
cleansing my aura,
lightening my load.

20th August:

Spreading sunshine with flash mob – singing about a great day.
(at Scarborough Art Gallery for the WEA Art Classes’ Exhibition)

21st August:

I’m still smiling at yesterday’s memory of a guy demonstrating his art by covering himself with clay mixture as he told the story of how God moulded people from clay, making them as empty vessels that he could fill with love. Those of us in the room were invited to go forward and accept a blessing of love by being marked with the clay and drinking refreshing water from a clay pot the guy had made, after which he whispered in our ear: the spirit of love breathes through you.


22nd August:

Bumped into a friend in town and shared a hot chocolate: Rescue Remedy.

23rd August:

Scarborough Writers’ Circle
telling tales of adventure
in worlds of their creation.

24th August:

People-watching on the cobbles of York: shoppers shoving, children crying, buskers hustling, homeless pleading — and an invisible man sees everything from behind his mask.

25th August:

A downpour of rain hits my hot sandalled feet
springing them back to life
stepping up my pace.

26th August:

The summer’s crowds bless the town with raucous love and laughter
as we dance-dodge in the streets to avoid collision crash disaster.

27th August:

Rescue Remedy:
blowing bubbles in the air
(deep breathing technique).

28th August:

First time flyer trying to retain meditative state whilst juggling baggage to comply with conflicting rules and regulations between airline and airport.

29th August:

And it came to pass…
weigh-in for baggage –
hope home scales are accurate.

30th August:

Snakes and ladders, draughts,
ludo, uno, flying hats.
Games afternoon at Wandales.

Board Games Poster

 31st August:

All packed and waiting to go…
notebook and pen ready for the writing journey.
Brno here we come!

I hope you enjoyed reading through my daily offerings of small stones at Spinning Stories from the Secret Self. The month ends on a good note of discovery with one of my poems shortlisted and an article published in the print edition of Writing Magazine (October Issue).

I’ll be back mid-September with an update on my experience as a first time flyer… meanwhile please do check out my personal perspective on ‘seven things you need to know about writing short stories’ at Kate Evans’ Blog: (due to be published on 5th September).

A Clean Sweep

In the dark, dead blackness of the night, the three weird sisters will loom over you – their menacing human forms shift-shaping into familiars until they become the birds caught on the wire. They will hang out your secrets like dirty washing and you will find yourself entwined in the carcasses, pitted black feathers will spit out a stream of accusations at you. Your senses will be tormented and twisted as they are wrapped around the wire in a tight knot. There will be no escape. You will be a lost soul, disintegrating and disregarded – trapped between two worlds. Their world and yours. Without a prayer to soothe the savage beasts. You may dare to ask for hope from the dark, dead blackness of your conscience-cluttered neglect, but there is no silver lining here – there never was. The birds have taken your memories and left them balancing on the wire – tarred with dark feathers from your past – in a reversal of fate, as a final act of atonement.

A Personal Response to Bird on a Wire
current exhibition by mixed media artist Marion Atkinson (Scarborough)

Don’t miss it!

(Title of this Response has been taken from Marion’s Exhibition)

 PS there is a lot of hope portrayed in the exhibition – check out the prayer flags on your way in and out… the three crows with prayers inside their wings. Fabulous!


Waves and Wishes

My thoughts keep me company and comfort me as their sounds echo through the mist. A thick, woollen jumper holds me together as I trudge through the wet sand in fur-lined wellington boots. I’m walking blindfold through fog. I sense the thing I lost long ago calling out to me in the blindness, coming towards me, covered in black shadows. An outstretched hand holds an ancient key, beckoning me. I walk to the water’s edge to meet the stranger, not caring about the potential danger of its secret. The shadows disappear and all that’s left is the vast emptiness that is the sea, calling me to a place that was once my home. But I am deaf to its plea and want to stay here, keeping the secret warm in my memory. So, every night I sit round a blazing fire with my fingerless-gloved hands wrapped around a mug of scalding Yorkshire tea, thinking how quickly I got used to the hard water here. It was too soft where I came from. My skin was so thin then that it hurt when people looked at me. I have new friends now. I can never go back. I’d be an outsider if I turned up uninvited at the place I once called home.

2014-02-25 whitby 9Waves and Wishes Workshop, Scarborough Flare Festival 2014

A Prayer for Deaf Awareness/World Hunger

Deaf awareness week (19-25th May)/ World Hunger Day (28th May)

How then shall I pray Lord?

I communicated with someone today who is deaf. I saw the hearing aid so I knew I had to shout – as if my shouting would make him hear me, understand me, somehow.

I moved my lips in such a way that he could lip read my loud words to help him hear me, understand me, somehow.

I exaggerated my hand gestures to sign my words to him – with what little knowledge I have of that (and who knows if he could speak that language too anyway?) – to help him hear me, understand me, somehow.

How will I ever know if he did hear me, understand me? We did not engage in a conversation of two equal halves. When we parted he simply smiled. I smiled too – hoping I had made a connection and that he had heard me, understood me, somehow.

I tried Lord. I really did.

Maybe he was smiling at the foolishness I’d displayed as a hearing person in flapping my hands and mouthing my words at the top of my voice… to no avail… as if I could make him hear me, understand me, somehow. My smile had to be worth something to him though, didn’t it?

And hunger? I’ve known hunger Lord – for an hour… maybe two, for a day… maybe two – but not much longer than that – with my belly rumbling greedily for food as I recover from an illness – or other short-lived fasting period. Sometimes, I even waste food – too picky – eyes bigger than belly with too much on plate to finish my ungrateful meal. I do not know real hunger, like those who have no choice but to suffer starvation – with bellies swollen through lack of food, malnutrition – those who have no means of their own to obtain food enough to survive – let alone waste.

So, tell me Lord… how then shall I pray for you to show me how to act instead, to help them Lord, as they hungrily wait, and I thank you…for my daily bread?

How then shall I pray Lord?

 Julie Fairweather 19.5.2014

Scarborough Flare

I’ve created a FB page to invite you to take time out to be inspired to use your senses and discover morsels of joy where you didn’t expect to by simply being in the moment… and writing about it at

This is in the run up to the Scarborough Flare Literature Festival’s

Postcard Challenge

on Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th April 2014

in the foyer at Vernon Road Library, Scarborough

see FB page as above / EVENTS on this website

Taken by surprise…

Sometimes, when I’m deep in thought and you speak to me sharp-tongued, I become trapped inside a memory because your lips have pierced an emotion from my past. Then, when the mood slips back into the present moment, I can fall apart so easily.

This morning, for instance, we were walking along the beach, trailing through the debris that the tide had left behind, when I came across a red carnation that had embedded itself within a rock. The sight of it made me hunger for the time when our love was new, and I wondered how long it would take me to stop counting the cost of that love.

As I was gazing at the flower, pondering this, you snapped at me to ‘get a move on’, your hurried tone lashing at my face.

Even now, the sting of it is with me still.

            red seaweed (2)an emotional truth wrapped in fiction

Big Issue

Some personal thoughts on forgiveness…

 It’s the toughest thing for humans to put into practice.

What if a person had only asked God for forgiveness at the point of their death?  Do you think they will be repenting of their sins after death, one by one, as the feathers are plucked out of their tar?

And what if God asked us – right here, right now – to count up all the feathers in our own tar?  Do you think it would take us an eternity?

 Chosen by Christ               

When You said that you chose me, I knew that it was true.  For only You could have met me here – in this place.  This place where You look upon me and see me as I am, warts and all.  Yet still You write my name in the palm of Your hand, still You choose me.

And You smile at me in this place, here and now, where I am so overwhelmed by Your mercy that all I can do is kneel before Your throne of grace, until my face touches the ground.

I pray and I wait in the sacred silence of Your unconditional embrace, that invites me to remain in Your love.  I know that when it is time You will prepare the way for me.  The way You planned for me before I was born.

(adapted from a published prayer by JMF 2012)

God, who shows you his kindness and who has called you through Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as you suffer for a little while (1 Peter 5 v 10.)   

(© 1995 God’s Word to the Nations)

 And finally…

Imagine God holding a set of scales.  One side is full of unconditional love and the other, unconditional forgiveness.  Both weigh the same and are balanced as separate things.  Bringing them together as a whole is what God means about forgiveness.  It is not just used as a measure for His forgiveness and unconditional love for us; it is also about us forgiving others, others forgiving us and us forgiving ourselves too.


It’s the toughest thing for humans to put into practice.

All text © Julie M. Fairweather 2012 – unless otherwise stated