Our first session this month involved a discussion about when we have experienced novel endeavours, whether on purpose or by necessity.  It was a beautiful, funny and connecting chat and you can listen to some of it here.

Our second meeting, in Chorlton Library this time, was led by a fantastic guest facilitator Steve Beal, who got us trying practical activities designed to boost creative thinking. He used a range of thinking prompts, objects and writing exercises to get us exploring new ways of seeing things. Read on to see the reflections that emerged from the sessions.

Two photos of the small objects Steve brought as prompts for the session.  The first is a selection of items and tiny ornaments: a ship in a bottle with a cork stopper, a painted blue paperweight decorated with a yellow flower, an ebony figure on an elephant, a soapstone couple hugging, a painted Japanese woman with pigtails wearing a red dress, a crystal, a long old key, a brass wild boar, a Venetian style white mask for nose and eyes, a pocket watch, a wooden box decorated with a gold brass tree.  The second is a tiny old wooden casket held open by two hands, containing six small bottles with cork stoppers.

Maxine Gayle

The doll reminded me of purity and innocence 
The mask of mystery 
The chest of potions and chemistry 
The loving couple of togetherness and trust  
Crystal transparent and clear, like an unlocked door or chest

Annette Bennette

Dragon Fly
Flitting by
Shimmering wings
Does not harm or sting
A pleasure to the eye it brings
Blues, pinks
Delicate pretty hues of nature
A brief life it lives
But very busy
It keeps attracting our attention
Till at last, it must fall into sleep
To rise again in our memories
Mind's eye remains.

Jolene Sheehan

Striped sailed tiny boat
In corked bottle, filled with hope
Shows I too can float.

Lindy Newns


Odd the things we keep and what they mean to us.

When my brother died, he had very little. He had a habit of giving things away, and had moved a few times after his mind starting to slip, so what was left was a meagre box of small items: a little blue and white striped wooden lighthouse; a cracked mug with an elephant on it; a skull studded with fake jewels with a moveable jaw; a brooch with a picture of two bathing huts; an enamel poppy on a leather cord – on the back, “Remember our brave boys,” and a ring with a missing stone.

I wonder what those things meant to him? The ring wasn’t one I ever saw him wear, so who gave it to him? Maybe it once belonged to somebody else. Whose finger had it touched and what did they mean to him?

He wasn’t afraid of death, so maybe the skull was a joke. The poppy goes without saying given he was a Royal Marine, but the little lighthouse and the brooch?

We make our own connections and here, see, is a picture of him as a toddler, rompers round his knees, solemnly tottering down the beach towards the sea. That’s what connects the objects to him for me. That little, blonde lad, being watched by two older children, me and my sister, the smell of sun on seaweed, South Stack lighthouse around the headland and there he goes, making for the horizon, his whole life ahead of him and anything possible.

David died on 24th December 2021. He was 59 years old.

Tony Goulding

Trying something new

The sessions this month, both online and in Chorlton library, highlighted important aspects of the barriers which might dissuade a person from trying something new. The new activity may seem too daunting an undertaking or there may be a fear of being judged a failure.

In thinking of the first of these, I was minded of the Chinese proverb “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step”. It is easier to take on something we may think too difficult if we first look at it as a number of smaller tasks. Again, once started it is good to recall the old English proverb, “Rome Was Not Built in a Day”, lest we be discouraged by a perceived lack of progress.

The second session this month had a slightly different format as it was led by a guest presenter, Steve Beal, who conducted a creativity workshop. In his introduction he stressed that creativity should not focus so much on the “End Result” but more on the processes involved. In this way we are able to enjoy “Trying Something New” without the fear of being judged “wrong” or “not good enough”.

A side view of lidded crate made of wooden planks on which is stamped Artisan (in red lettering) CHEESE MAKING KIT (in upper case white lettering) and Makes 30 different cheeses  (in lower case white lettering).

Encouraged by this sentiment I purchased this cheese-making kit, which I had seen earlier. Interestingly, the introduction to the book which accompanies the kit stresses the fact that, although the processes might not always go as planned and the cheese may not be the “Right” one it will still BE a cheese and that in itself will be an accomplishment.

I have not tried this out yet but the “proof of the pudding will be in the eating” hopefully!

4 thoughts on “Trying New Things

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s