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  • Chalk The Sun » As Seen on TV: Gordon Ramsay’s Recurring Costa del Sol Nightmare
    chorus as the chef is treated to the inevitable Ramsay roughing up Neil s claim to haut cuisine seems to rest on a dubious CV which his new master had puffed up to Escoffier proportions and a tube of balsamic vinegar which he swirls indiscriminately onto every plate He has sad eyes the charisma of an un caramelised rice pudding and an enormous impossible to perfect menu Predictably the irascible Ramsay comes at Neil with his full armoury of expletives spiky gelled hair and international culinary expertise and tells him to shove his balsamico piping tool where the Andalusian sun don t shine It s like watching a King Cobra toy with a pet white rat Inevitably the telly tables turn and all our sympathy goes to Neil Gordon get chummy and tries to help with the menu the folly of the corner cutting owners with their tasteless plans for baseball caps and burgers is exposed We viewers open another bottle and enjoy watching local multi tasker Jim brother of Chalk tutor Jo almost sever several fingers in the dumb waiter It s great TV Neil and Gordon shake hands the inept entrepreneur owners agree to do better the sun sets over the fabulous Andalusian vistas We open a third bottle and do our post programme analysis freeze framing on villagers we recognise and picking out the neighbours illegal roof terraces Next day Gaucin is hung over and we need to keep our students firmly focussed on their writing rather than which local looked fattest on telly HaIf the village book tables at La Granada Divino to see what vast improvements have been made Inquisitive star struck diners are greeted by a pale morose Neil who says he hasn t watched the programme though judging by his expression he has

    Original URL path: http://chalkthesun.co.uk/?p=2763 (2016-02-15)
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  • Chalk The Sun » Creative Writing and Chicken Dancing: Il Collegio 2014
    laugh with a tale of stolen lemon drops at the sweet factory while new girl Alina Baczynska brought tears to our eyes with a story about her grandmother s experiences in Nazi occupied Poland Dr Mary gave us a useful tip for confidently dealing with high court judges wear a very elegant suit but no knickers Most extraordinary of all however was Jamaican Joan s offer of making our hosts chickens dance As well as writing a poignant account of her childhood in the Blue Mountains Joan spent the week collecting the necessary equipment for choreographing Red Leghorns fine cotton a needle some big green leaves and fresh coconut no easy thing to find in rural Puglia Our excitement mounted the chickens seemed slightly nervous Our final morning at 8 a m was set as the optimum time to let the chickens out of the coop suitably hungry yet rested and ready to rock We all gathered bleary eyed near their roost We wondered if they would do dancehall moves the funky chicken or a more traditional light fantastic Joan the chicken whisperer came with her kit I cannot reveal the method it would spoil the surprise The chickens looked at her turned on their fluffy feathered red legs and started to scratch about among the olive groves ignoring her She even demonstrated to the ungrateful fowls but they just did the avian equivalent of a Latin shrug No pasta Joan blamed lack of sufficient coconut and the gastronomic chauvinism of Italian chickens and we headed for the airport disappointed We are going to try again next year Ardella Jones Look out for Alina Baczynska s short story The Deep End winner of our Italian Retreat annual competition coming soon to www chalkthesun co uk Leave a Reply Name required

    Original URL path: http://chalkthesun.co.uk/?p=2721 (2016-02-15)
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  • Chalk The Sun » Writing Retreats: Hothouse or Chill Out?
    between 22 and 28 centigrade I m sure my creative juices will flow more prolifically in these temperatures but it s not just the heat or the inspirational views and fabulous wine that make creative writing holidays work The sheer luxury of having nothing to do for a week except write or do writing related things is efficacious for both students and tutors Of course there are distractions in the shape of swimming pools tapas bars mountain walks interesting old castles and medieval churches but it s surprising how dedicated writers get away from the demands of bosses kids and D I Y They realise what a rare privilege it is to be surrounded by other people who want to write who share their experience and advice who talk about ideas words books and movies all day and all night In fact every year the lazy self indulgent side of me wars with the dedicated tutor gene as I realise that I am not going to get to sneak off for a boozy paella lunch on the coast with Jo because our students are producing reams of writing new short stories entire chapters whole collections of poetry for us to read and critique It makes me feel proud and spurs me on to write more of my own one cannot play at Miss Jean Brodie with her crème de la crème without extolling Mussolini if you get my metaphor Writing holidays create mental space for the imagination to blossom and time for you to shape those ideas on paper A retreat is definitely a creative hothouse rather than a chill out zone Ardella Jones There are still a few places left for our Spanish courses starting 29th September and 6th October Leave a Reply Name required Email required Website Cancel

    Original URL path: http://chalkthesun.co.uk/?p=2715 (2016-02-15)
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  • Chalk The Sun » Back to Basics: Pen and Paper
    glare and reflection make it impossible for me to see my screen and write Isn t it time that someone invented a glare free matt laptop screen like the one on Kindles Answers on a postcard please Finally I hit on a pretty obvious solution go back to using pen and paper It does mean I have to transcribe my scrawled notes later or Google my research queries after dark but I am rediscovering the joys of scribbling I quite like being able to see all my re workings I enjoy circling words adding phrases and drawing swooping lines with arrows on the page to re order paragraphs which I would normally cut and paste neatly There is something that feels creative about the process of annotating my text with question marks exclamations and squiggly lines I can imagine literary historians pouring over my handwriting to decipher my true intentions and original thoughts centuries from now Most important of all my tan is deepening and I am actually getting some work done Just pass me the Piz Buin and a large G T Ardella Jones 2 Comments colin bruce August 11 2014 I m glad that it s not just me that finds the Summer sun a real intrusion into the working day of an aspiring author Faffing about in the garden overseas travel and the sweaty heat of the writing room impedes the faculties of concentration and creativity So a guarded welcome to the Bertheran chill of preliminary Autumn As for handwriting I have trouble signing my name let alone scribbling pages of what turns out to be illegible text My calligraphic control has long left the building So Times Roman 12 point is my constant companion throughout my writing sessions We are now on the same page as

    Original URL path: http://chalkthesun.co.uk/?p=2708 (2016-02-15)
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  • Chalk The Sun » Holiday reading dilemmas
    same lush jungle and raging ocean I heard the same melancholy call of the hoo ha birds and the haunting hoots of the Colombo Express on the nearby railway track However as Muslim Buddhist riots broke out an hour down the coast and a curfew was declared the book s account of the ravages of Tamil Singhalese division gave me a depressing sense of déjà vu This little island needs a respite from tragedy and I shallow Western tourist that I am need a break I reached the unhappy ending with something like relief and picked up one of John Burdett s Bangkok thrillers thus retaining the Eastern connection climate and Buddhist culture but adding a healthy dose of escapism in the form of sexy Eurasian detectives bitchy lady boys and monks with mobiles Matching reading matter to destination can have more serious consequences than weltschmerz Think before you take the latest publication by a dissident author to the place of his her exile On arrival in pre Glasnost Moscow back in the 1980s several of our Lambeth Council cultural exchange group were hauled off for questioning and their copies of Solzhenitzyn s One Day in The Life Of Ivan Denisovich duly confiscated I had only imported a Fay Weldon so I could enjoy a few vodkas in the airport bar while my colleagues pondered the possibility of a non fictional Siberian labour camp Two decades later The Hidden Face of Eve by excommunicated Muslim feminist Nawal El Saadawi almost got me hard labour and a niqab in Egypt but fortunately the chain smoking sunglass wearing customs officer was trying to read the subversive text upside down defeated by the Latin alphabet A total contrast between book and travel destination may be safer and provide more distraction I once spent

    Original URL path: http://chalkthesun.co.uk/?p=2663 (2016-02-15)
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  • Chalk The Sun » blog
    guns again Be careful with your hard drive says my student Dr M the forensic psychologist she knows about these things Imagine what the repair shop will think Dr M is quite right My crime thriller has necessitated huge amounts of research on the M16 and its handy single shot or rapid repeat function I Read More So what s writing ever done for you Posted by admin on May 14 2014 in blog No Comments Chalk student Elisa Webb MA shares her tips on writing flash fiction You may write already So you ll need no persuasion from me If you don t if you re reluctant to pick up a biro or see writing as a chore best left at school I ask you to reconsider Writing could change your life I started writing Read More Minor Not in My Book Posted by admin on Apr 21 2014 in blog One Comment I ve been having a great time reading Elizabeth Jane Howard s excellent novels recently and it set me thinking about the so called under acknowledged women writers of the last century Rosamund Lehman Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth Bowen Barbara Pym pictured who achieved modest success after being named most under rated by Phillip Larkin Jean Rhys who when she finally achieved Read More Familiarity Breeds Critical Bias Posted by admin on Apr 7 2014 in blog No Comments I ve just finished reading my mate fellow Old Bristolian Alan Budge s book For God s Sake about his spiritual journey and now I am trying to write a review It ain t easy Not because Bishop Budge s book yeah that s our nickname for him and it alliterates nicely is dull or badly written in fact for an Read More Older entries Newer entries Courses

    Original URL path: http://chalkthesun.co.uk/?cat=12&paged=7 (2016-02-15)
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  • Chalk The Sun » admin
    guns again Be careful with your hard drive says my student Dr M the forensic psychologist she knows about these things Imagine what the repair shop will think Dr M is quite right My crime thriller has necessitated huge amounts of research on the M16 and its handy single shot or rapid repeat function I Read More So what s writing ever done for you Posted on May 14 2014 in blog No Comments Chalk student Elisa Webb MA shares her tips on writing flash fiction You may write already So you ll need no persuasion from me If you don t if you re reluctant to pick up a biro or see writing as a chore best left at school I ask you to reconsider Writing could change your life I started writing Read More Minor Not in My Book Posted on Apr 21 2014 in blog One Comment I ve been having a great time reading Elizabeth Jane Howard s excellent novels recently and it set me thinking about the so called under acknowledged women writers of the last century Rosamund Lehman Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth Bowen Barbara Pym pictured who achieved modest success after being named most under rated by Phillip Larkin Jean Rhys who when she finally achieved Read More Familiarity Breeds Critical Bias Posted on Apr 7 2014 in blog No Comments I ve just finished reading my mate fellow Old Bristolian Alan Budge s book For God s Sake about his spiritual journey and now I am trying to write a review It ain t easy Not because Bishop Budge s book yeah that s our nickname for him and it alliterates nicely is dull or badly written in fact for an Read More Older entries Newer entries Author Info Courses Creative writing weekly courses

    Original URL path: http://chalkthesun.co.uk/?author=1&paged=7 (2016-02-15)
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  • Chalk The Sun » Back to Basics: Pen and Paper
    reflection make it impossible for me to see my screen and write Isn t it time that someone invented a glare free matt laptop screen like the one on Kindles Answers on a postcard please Finally I hit on a pretty obvious solution go back to using pen and paper It does mean I have to transcribe my scrawled notes later or Google my research queries after dark but I am rediscovering the joys of scribbling I quite like being able to see all my re workings I enjoy circling words adding phrases and drawing swooping lines with arrows on the page to re order paragraphs which I would normally cut and paste neatly There is something that feels creative about the process of annotating my text with question marks exclamations and squiggly lines I can imagine literary historians pouring over my handwriting to decipher my true intentions and original thoughts centuries from now Most important of all my tan is deepening and I am actually getting some work done Just pass me the Piz Buin and a large G T Ardella Jones 2 Comments colin bruce August 11 2014 I m glad that it s not just me that finds the Summer sun a real intrusion into the working day of an aspiring author Faffing about in the garden overseas travel and the sweaty heat of the writing room impedes the faculties of concentration and creativity So a guarded welcome to the Bertheran chill of preliminary Autumn As for handwriting I have trouble signing my name let alone scribbling pages of what turns out to be illegible text My calligraphic control has long left the building So Times Roman 12 point is my constant companion throughout my writing sessions We are now on the same page as we continue

    Original URL path: http://chalkthesun.co.uk/?p=2708&replytocom=23900 (2016-02-15)
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