I like writing, even when not at work. I joined a writing course after moving down to Plymouth, thanks to my colleague William Telford. It was led by a wonderful, funny and earthy teacher called Roy York. Roy was a sprightly, "senior citizen" with a good line in rude one-liners, a love of film noir and a vast knowledge of literature, writers, the art of writing and comedy.
Roy encouraged my writing like no-one else since I was a schoolboy and lusted after Mrs Smith, my English teacher, for whom I would would write lavish stories in the vain hope that one day she'd see me as a kindred soul, dump Mr Smith and be my Mrs Robinson.
She didn't, but it never stopped me trying.
Roy would encourage amatuer writers like me, but also he'd amuse and entertain us with his own big book of funny anecdotes and observations during the classes we took out at Millfields. If I wrote something a bit too saucy or gritty for the older members of the group, he was as supportive as if I'd written something mature and worthy. I rarely did write anything mature and worthy. Well, what d'you expect? But we both like an element of filth and an element of gritty violence.
Sadly, Roy passed away recently after fighting a variety of illnesses that Fate likes to put in our way. His death leaves a very big hole in a lot of Plymouth writers' lives.
Here's something I wrote for one of our evening classes, to highlight the kind of meetings I've attended as a reporter, but also to give a big nod to the likes of the I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue radio programmes and the Carry On film series. We read all our stories/poems/haikus out loud, so when you get a laugh from your classmates, it's joy to the ears. But getting a grin from Roy... that was always gold. Bless you Roy.
July Committee Meeting of the Innuendo and Double Entendre Association (Little Nobbing branch)
1) Apologies for Absence:
Vice Chairman Humphrey de-la Fleur offered his apologies. He said he wasn’t feeling himself tonight but hoped to be coming out later this evening before his wife got home.
2) Declarations of Interest
Committee Secretary Sasha Boomdiere revealed she had an ongoing interest in the Little Nobbing Rovers football team, the Little Nobbing Cricket Team and the First Nobbing Scout Troop.
Social Secretary David Gimlet asked the committee to note he regularly wrote for the town’s weekly paper for a small sum.
Ms Boomdiere said she had often cast her eye over Mr Gimlet’s column and congratulated him on its length and content, adding it always brought a smile to her face.
3) Minutes of last meeting:
Branch secretary Gerta String read the minutes of the previous meeting which were agreed by the committee. She said she hoped this meeting will not go on for as long as the last meeting as she often found her fingers became quite stiff after taking down everyone’s particulars.
4) Treasurer’s Report:
Eileen Felt said there was very little cash left in the kitty as of last month after members had been regularly whipping it out.
She hoped members would remember to make substantial deposits into her safe-box in the coming weeks. Eileen said either a cheque or postal order would be preferable and members could give her one at the end of any meeting.
Eileen said she had sought out a financial advisor who had made a couple of suggestions about where she could get a lot of interest.
Eileen also wanted to reassure all members that she had a firm grip on the finances and had bent over backwards to ensure her kitty was easily available at all times.
5) Social Secretary’s Report:
David Gimlet was pleased to note the association had enjoyed a few busy nights on the social diary of late with a host of organised events.
He said what with the bad weather he had worked up quite a sweat on many a filthy night, trying to come up with activities for members to get stuck into.
One such was a evening of golf. All members got a chance to play a round, and we were given tips on how to improve our swinging from a pro who been entered in the Open. One of our number apparently had a birdie on the 18th hole and celebrated by throwing their balls into a nearby bush.
Some of the more alcoholic evenings at our local – the Duck and Swallow – have resulted in a few members finding it hard to remain erect by the end of the night. One of our lady members was said to have had more than one Bishop’s Finger inside her, leading to her being in a rather excitable state come last orders.
David said he also appreciated the help from the Chairman’s wife, Sarah Loins, on the stalls for the summer fayre. He said she was invaluable with the extra-large snakes and ladders board she had created, with David later learning that Mrs Loins had been working on the game for quite some time.
6) Chairman’s Report:
Our chairman, Roger Loins, remarked on the impressive number our association had grown to in recent years. He was particularly pleased the Little Nobbing branch was now larger than our sister branch at the neighbouring village of Nibbling-under-Lyme.
He wish to offer commiserations to the outgoing chairman of the Nibbling-under-Lyme who was retiring early due to advancement in years and ill-health, adding he hoped there was no hard feelings. Former chairman Hamish McTaggart said he had harboured no hard feelings for a while now.
There was also a hope the two branches could meet up for a forthcoming social event at nearby farmland he had inherited from his good friend, the widow Macintosh, who sadly passed away last month. He said she had always promised him she would leave him with a couple of acres and, as usual, she didn’t disappoint.
Chairman Loins queried his failed attempts in recent weeks to contact our Treasurer regarding deposits and withdrawals. It appears he had little joy in asking the receptionist at her workplace when was the best time to get Eileen Felt.
7) Any Other Business:
Church warden Bernard Hind has asked the committee if it could vacate the church hall early next month as he needed to prepare the flags and insignia he bought for the next Scout and Guide parade. It appears he will be asking Brown Owl and Akela to spend most of the evening helping him polish his regalia.
Chairman Loins also urged members to be cautious when advertising their membership of the association to the local press, noting how one gentleman at a branch in Scunthorpe had been hung out to dry by the tabloids.