April 2018 TCWG short story competition

April’s TWCG short story competition is a free-for-all with the story theme of one’s own choice. My offering involves themes from previous months in the year, having been a bit slow to develop. ’60 minutes’ is a short piece about imminent nuclear destruction. It seemed quite topical when I started it in January this year, just after the false alarm in Hawaii. There is a certain fragility to world peace these days and it still feels as if that worry hasn’t gone away.

A new start

And life goes on! My dear friends in the Telegraph Creative Writing Group have kept the monthly competition very much alive, and after spending some time relocating to a place that I’m already in love with, in rural Ireland, I have unpacked my desk.

The Cyclist is the first story for a long time but also a continuation of Snow and 969 miles from previous years. There’s probably more to come for these characters…



Death of a website



How sad to see the slow decline of myTelegraph. The pages over which I roamed, meeting friends whom I will hold dear for the rest of my life, are crawled over by the bots who sell ‘Drugs Offshore’, ‘WU dumps’, ‘CVV’ and all the other inhuman detritus of the Dark Web.

I hope that rescuing a few survivors from the wreck will form the nucleus of a new group that will go forth into the Universe and populate the world with TCWG Short Stories...DSCF4304

The results are in:Birmingham’s first council election,1838

Notes from 19th Century Birmingham

common seal british library stock

The Birmingham ratepayers elected their first town council on Wednesday, 26th December 1839.  There was a limited electorate because of legislation passed in 1835 which restricted voting to ratepayers of three years standing. Anyone who, for some reason, had not paid their rates during the course of  the previous three years was excluded from taking part in the election. As may be guessed, women were not permitted a vote even if they were long-standing ratepayers.

Shown below are the results of Birmingham’s first council election. The candidates were divided between ‘Radicals’ and ‘Tories’. This might appear odd; when I voted today there was a choice of five candidates from very different political parties. In fact, the choice presented in 1838 as controversial then too. In the run up to the election there were some candidates who were not Tories, but equally did not consider themselves to be Radical. In the…

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