You Look Like Me Only Older by Mark Hales from Jennie Bailey’s Workshop 1st July 2021




You look like me, only older.


You are me?


That’s surreal




So what happened after 1st of July 2021? Is there anything you would have done differently?


There is? What is that?


You wouldn’t have killed your wife? This is Jenny?


You mean I kill my wife!!!!!!




Because she’s having an affair with Roger.


Roger Williams?


My best friend?


When did that start?


1st of July 2021, they met at the supermarket, in the evening, I was working late, interviewing a client, it just started from there,




In the back of Jenny’s car


I bought her that car last week, plenty of room in the back for kids and shopping, not entertaining her lover.


What time did they meet?


About 7pm?


It’s 6:30pm now, if I leave now I can get to the supermarket and stop it starting.


I can’t do that.


Why not?


I can’t interfere with time? The first rule of time travel, I must leave the world as I found it, there’s no knowing the havoc I will cause by stopping the inevitable.


Amanda? Rogers wife? Why?


We had an affair? We killed him, you mean Roger as well as Jenny? You say they didn’t suffer, much.


Amanda, now there’s a good looking woman, when did the affair start? On 24th of August, Amanda caught Roger and Jenny in an embrace earlier that week and she told me.


Well now you have told me about Amanda, I don’t think I’ll go to the supermarket.


How long does the affair with Amanda last? Two years?


Then we plan to kill, Roger and Jenny and run away together?


What went wrong?


Nothing, you said you would not kill Jenny if you had you time again, I assume you got caught.


No you didn’t get caught. You live with Amanda?


You do but she’s not Jenny, Jenny anticipated everything, Amanda does not.


You mean you killed the thing you love?


Then I am doomed.


© Mark Hales 1st July 2021

Bommy Poems and Prose, Catherine’s Story by Kathleen Proctor

 Catherine’s Story

Honestly, I was so naive! Like as though I’ve been living in a box for most of my life!

Well, admittedly, I hadn’t really ever been out much, this covid stuff has a lot to answer for, but I honestly thought that this specially constructed  flat that I always lived in and which suited me so snugly and fitted me so well, would be my home for ever, that it would be here that I would see out my days, safe, warm, and comfortable.

Oh yes, it had its drawbacks. I’ll admit that. It seemed to be was always quite dark and, if I am absolutely honest, a bit boring, nothing much to see in the surrounding, but lots to hear.

My fellow inhabitants were very vocal, and were now beginning to annoy me.                                                                     Right next to me in our communal home, was a long streak of boastfulness.

“Just you wait and see,” he’d say, “When the time comes, I’ll outshine all of you!                                                   Everyone knows that Golden Rain is the best, the most spectacular and beautiful of us all!”

Well, I had no idea what he was talking about.

Hence the naivity. I should have known better, paid more attention, asked questions, but I didn’t.

“When the time comes!”  What time?  It was all a mystery to me!

So, I just ignored him as fantasist. Big mistake!

I could hear other voices too, equally as loud, boasting that they were the shiniest, the loudest, the most sparkly… all these claims were a closed book to me. I just decided to keep my head down and keep quiet, just ignore them all and they might all go away.

But, this particular day when it all happened, seemed strange from the start.                                                         Everyone was tense somehow, waiting, uneasy, almost expectant, it was as if no one could relax. Anticipation was the name of the game. Something was in the air, strange smells, loud banging and odd whoosing sounds I hadn’t heard before, but as usual, I just buried my head and stayed ignorant.

I was just drifting off to sleep, which was difficult  to do, as it seemed as if the room was moving. I started to feel a bit seasick, as though I was being tossed about in my bed. I had to hold on to the sides so I wouldn’t fall out, but then, I was suddenly very roughly grabbed and prised out  and held in some sort of vice.

No, “Excuse me!”  No warning! No chance even to get dressed or put any make up on.                             I was simply manhandled out of my comfy bed and I was on the move.                                                                                      The, I was brutally jammed up against a hard wet wooden  surface and…. well, I have difficulty finding the  correct words to desribe the horror of the next  few moments.

Suffice it to say, that I was pinioned to a piece of wet wood and then stabbed right through my centre and nailed there! A hammer was used.                                                                                                                             I do not want to say more, for fear of upsetting people, but after that, believe me, there was no possibility of escape.

I tried screaming, pleading, but it was no good. No one cared or heard. My futile pleas only seemed to encourage an strange apparition, wearing a beany hat and wellington boots to come closer, in fact, to peer right up into my face!

He was laughing and carrying fire. I knew what fire was because my mother had always warned me about the consequencies and dangers of fire ,in fact , my own father lost his life in a fire and so  I knew to keep well away from it  and now, here it was,  directly in my face,  up close and personal.

“Go away,” I screamed, “Leave me alone!”                                                                                                                              But the bobble hat didn’t answer and so the fire did its work.

Now I am reeling. It hurts! So much pain, my balance has gone, I feel odd, giddy, and, to my astonishment, I began to revolve, a sensation I have never experienced before and one which I do not like at all, far worse than any seasickness.                                                                                                      So now, I am starting to spin, slowly at first, but then more quickly, in a kind of frenzy.                                                           Faster! Faster! I am on a roller coaster ride with no brakes.

My brain is over loaded. I am spinning completely out of control.

I can’t stop myself. I cannot fight it.  It is exhilerating!

I do not want this to stop.  Then it is over and I am finished.

I have achieved my destiny!

I am complete!


© Kathleen Proctor November 2020


Bommy Poems and Prose, Bonfire Night, November 5th 2020, Bonfire Night Memories by Val J. Chapman

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Val sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray



Bonfire Night Memories


The excitement of the 5th November approaching surrounded us, at our young age, along with the anticipation of being allowed to go to buy fireworks at the local shop (they all sold them in those days).

For weeks now the bonfires would have been growing and growing in height and size, until they were tall enough to throw a Guy Fawkes on the top. He would also have been getting fatter and fatter over the last weeks of October, his old clothes being stuffed with hay or straw, and always with an old hat on his head. And prior to being thrown on the bonfire, kids would have been dragging him through the streets in a wheelbarrow shouting ‘Penny for the Guy!’ for a bit of pocket money.

Mum would make treacle toffee and Parkin which would be shared with our neighbours at the communal bonfire.

Dressed in warm, waterproof clothes, with wellies or substantial shoes, we’d take our torches and walk down to the already lighted bonfire on the corner where everyone from the surrounding streets would congregate. There was an atmosphere of smoky excitement, of lights and warmth and community spirit.

We all had sparklers and would wave them around to create writing against the dark skies.

All the young boys seemed to love the bangers best though, and the noisy Rip Raps which I hated; they scared me when they leapt along the ground in different directions, as if they were chasing me.

But the best was the baked potatoes which were cooked at the base of the bonfire in the hottest of the glowing embers. They burnt your hands when you held them, even through the knitted gloves that we wore.

But what remains sharpest in my memory is the smell of the gunpowder from the fireworks and the haze of the smoke which often hung around for days afterwards in the misty November skies.

© Val J. Chapman  5th November 2020

Bommy Poems and Prose, November 5th 2020, Bonfire Night by Maureen Harrison

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Maureen sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray



For weeks before the 5th November, which is Bonfire Night, gangs of us kids would scour the hills and dales for firewood.  This consisted of old trees, bushes, planks – in fact anything that would burn.   Our house had a cellar as did some of the other houses so we used to persuade mum to let us keep our stash down there.   Method in our madness as other rival gangs were on the lookout to raid our stock of wood.   We were lucky as dad’s cousin Rose was the caretaker of our local church which doubled as school during the week.   She used to let us keep our wood which was too big to go down our cellar in the church boiler room.


We used to make a guy – an effigy of Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament hundreds of years ago.   We made ours out of paper stuffed with straw.  He (it was always a “he”) was dressed in some old clothes and he proudly wore an old hat.


My brother and I used to dress our cousin in old clothes, cram him into a pushchair and parade him around as well as the gang’s guy until mum rescued him.


The mums made all sorts of goodies – potato pie, parkin, black peas, baked potatoes and anything else which they fancied but the favourite was always treacle toffee.   In fact I still make treacle toffee and black peas on Bonfire Night but I buy the parkin after my daughter broke one of her teeth on some  I once made.


Come the day – kids and dads, though usually my dad and his brother – set about building the bonfire with us kids dragging wood from all our hiding places.  We still had to keep watch though over the wood as gangs of kids would still try to steal our wood, as we would try to steal theirs.


Fireworks such as jumping jacks, catherine wheels, chinese crackers, roman candles, rockets, sparklers and bangers were set aside from the bonfire.   Dads usually set off these with mums supervising the tots who were allowed to hold sparklers.


Later on food would be dished up.  Potatoes were put directly into the fire to bake.  They emerged from the flames by way of poking them with sticks.   Black as charcoal on the outside and raw in the middle but we valiantly ate them until the proper food arrived.


Later on cousin Rose would open up the school and pews would be brought out and placed at a safe distance from the dying fire.   Mums and dads would sit on them usually with a drink and us kids ran wild round the common.


Bedtime came at last.   We stank to high heaven of wood smoke and were filthy.


The last job for my mum, which was an embarrassment to me and my brother, was to dowse the fire with buckets of water to make sure it was out!!!!!


© Maureen Harrison    TCWG    5/11/20

Bommy Poems and Prose, November 5th 2020, The Morning After the Night Before by Ray Stearn

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Chairman Ray

The Morning After the Night Before


We had to get up early the next morning, which wasn’t easy as we weren’t used to late nights as the night before had been. It was always worth the effort.

The night before had been bonfire night and now we were up early to go hunting. Hunting, not for rabbits, foxes, or deer, no, we were hunting for rockets. What was the fascination? I can list a few things that these spent rockets had but why was there such a common frenzy to collect them?

The spent rockets had a certain smell, that of gunpowder, and that was a powerful attraction to a child. The rocket was invariably damp as every November 5th of childhood seemed to be damp. There was an air of mystery about the rocket, it had been far up into space, in the dark, far beyond imagination and had then returned to earth again. And there was a certain currency about a spent rocket, like today’s Top Trumps, the bigger the rocket the more it must have cost, the further it must have flown, the louder it must have banged because all rockets exploded in our childhood and exploded noisily with a myriad rainbow of colours, or even just silver sparks if a cheap rocket. I swear that one year a rocket in our neighbourhood spewed out a parachute which descended slowly in a hailstorm of slowly changing colours and crackles. We heard the next day that a boy from the next street was rumoured to have found that parachute to add to his collection of space debris.

But does any of that explain the fascination? Even today I still get a little thrill if I find a spent rocket, damp, and face down in the gutter though these days I don’t pick it up and take it home. Perhaps I should get out more? I’ll certainly be out tomorrow, out early at that – it’s November 6th time to look for rockets!


© Ray Stearn 6th November 2020