The Soul's Retreat

Archive for October, 2017

The Player

by on Oct.28, 2017, under The Player

I used to be a member of a group of authors in Lancashire, who organise an annual competition on behalf of Hayward’s Heath Movie Makers.  The challenge is to write a story suitable to be made into a short film.  There must be no exotic locations, and the film must be no more than six minutes long. A different theme is set each year.

Two years ago, I entered the contest, with a story called ‘The Player’, and was lucky enough to win; the prize being to have my story screened.  How exciting!

I had a whole year to wait, to see the finished product, but David Fenn, the organiser of the contest, kept me up to date by email, of every stage of production.  He informed me that for my story, they were going to try animation for the very first time!

The year passed, and the time came around for the presentation day, but sadly, David Fenn couldn’t make it up to Lytham, in Lancashire, as arranged. Determined that I should enjoy my special day, Olive Riley (the group’s Competitions Secretary) got in touch with Southport Movie Makers to ask if they could step in to show the film.  They did, along with one or two from their own archives, and we all had a really enjoyable afternoon.

The awards day was held at the Lytham Assembly Hall, and was attended by the Lord Mayor. I was presented with a big bouquet of flowers, and it was quite a grand affair.

I am a great believer that everything happens for a reason, and the events leading up to that day, with Haywards Heath club not being able to attend, and the local film club stepping in, ended up playing a big part in my writing taking a new turn, as in September of that year, I joined Southport Movie Makers.

I now write screenplays, have directed two amateur (short) films, been in the production team for other films, and have even recently acted in one  – which was great fun, but not something I ever expected to do, haha!  Life can be such fun if you just go with the flow, and enjoy all the new things that come your way.

As for ‘The Player’.  Haywards Heath did really well with it, especially considering it was their very first attempt at animation.  There are things we all have a chuckle about, such as the weightlifting and levitation scenes (watch the film, you won’t miss them) which were not portrayed quite that way in the original story, but had to be done that way on film, because of limitations with new software, and unfamiliarity with it. The film is actually quite surreal and accidentally quirky.  The whole process has been a great learning curve for all of us!

So, it’s all good!  Although I was a little taken aback the first time I saw it, I’m really pleased with it, and it has opened so many new doors for me, including doing public talks about it, being asked to write an article for the Chorley Guardian, even showing it at an open mic night at a pub!  I have made so many new friends because of it; it will always hold a special place in my heart.

A big thank you to Olive Riley, for making sure I had my  special day, and also to David Fenn at Haywards Heath Movie Makers, for keeping me in the loop throughout the whole process.  Not forgetting of course, the guys from Southport Movie Makers for stepping in at the last minute.



To visit Southport Movie Makers, click here

To visit Haywards Heath Movie Makers, click here

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L.A.A. Song

by on Oct.27, 2017, under Film and Music, LAA Song

L.A.A. Song

I used to be a member of a Lancashire writing group, and until recently, was assistant competitions secretary (I had to step down due to family commitments).

A couple of years ago, the group found itself without a treasurer and a secretary, and for a short time, other members of the committee had to temporarily stand in, until people came forward to fill these positions.  A letter was sent out to all members, stating the urgency of the situation, and asking for people to help by applying for the positions if they were willing and able to do so.

The letter went on to say that it would be a terrible shame to lose the group after it being in existence for over a hundred years, purely for lack of members being able to come forward to help with organisation.

The call for help was eventually answered by two members, and things quickly returned to normality.  The issue, thankfully, was resolved!

The letter however, sent shockwaves throughout the membership.  “No writing group?” ” What do you mean, it could fold?  This can not be allowed to happen!  What on earth is going on?”

I have to admit that my own reaction was one of shock!  So much so, that within an hour or two of receiving that letter, I wrote a song about it, intending to play it at the very next meeting, as a tongue in cheek call to arms, to stir up the membership, and hopefully help in the recruitment process in a light-hearted way.

I contacted a talented friend of ours, Craig Madox, and asked if he would either sing it for me live, or make a recording that could be used.  He went the extra mile for me, and tweaked  and improved the melody too.  I think he did a fantastic job!

Thanks Craig – you are a star!

Here it is:  (Press the play button)



It was near on dinnertime, when the postman, all sublime,

dropped the great big bombshell through my door.

As I opened up the post, I don’t know who yelped the most,

Me or the dog, who was lay there on the floor.


The letter set a task as the baleful question asked

Who will don the cape and the blue tights?

Come on, who’s good with money, or taking notes, hey it’s not funny,

this bit of Lanky’s turning out it’s lights!


Because your LAA is folding, there’s no-one to do the jobs,

no treasurer, and no secretary.

If no-one now steps forward quick to join our superheroes,

a hundred years of writing will be history!


So a gathering has been called, all the members are being hauled

to a meeting of the type extraordinary,

where the question will be asked, come on, who’s up for this task?

Who will take a bite of the cherry?


The committee work so hard, being the LAA’s home guard,

and have kept us all afloat throughout the years.

They’ve been through thick and thin, to fail now would be a sin,

They need our help, before it ends in tears.


Will there be another verse, or much, much worse,

will no- one step up to save the day?

Please don’t let it end here, because that’s our biggest fear,

A world without our precious LAA!

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Vegan Cupcakes

by on Oct.26, 2017, under Vegan Delights (Recipes)




Dry Ingredients

1 and 1/4 Cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for chocolate cakes, OR same

amount of dessicated coconut for any other flavours.

1 slightly rounded teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of salt


Wet ingredients

1 cup of water

1 teaspoon essence (your choice)

1/3. Cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vinegar.

Preheat oven to 350 f / 180 c/ gas mark 4

Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix well.

Put all the wet ingredients into a jug, mix well.

Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and mix well with a spatula.

Divide into 12 cupcake cases placed in a bun-tin (sometimes makes 1 or 2 more), or an 8 inch square cake tin.

Place into oven for 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Take out of cake tins and place onto a cooling rack straight away.

Allow the cakes completely cool.


For toppings:

Put icing sugar (powdered sugar) Into a bowl, and add water, half a teaspoonful at a time, and just a few drops of essence, (or fresh fruit juice instead of water) mixing until it becomes a firm but spreadable paste. (Takes very little water).

Spread onto cakes and decorate however you wish.

Alternatively, spread melted chocolate onto them and leave to cool.

While making these you are only to think of good things ?

It all looks a lot written down, but honestly, these are the easiest cakes I have ever made! I have never had a bad batch yet, and the sponge is really good!

Happy Baking! ?

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