Stanway in Colchester

Anniversary Competition Winners

The Winners!!
All entries for both the Photographic & Art Competitions were displayed at the event with all visitors being asked to vote for their favourites in each category. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw the voting pots overflowing when voting closed at 3pm. Four members of the Social Sub-Committee found a quiet room away from the hub-bub of the show to count and verify the votes. Prizes for the art and the 3 general photographic categories were shopping vouchers and a U3A badge presented on the day by Chairman Vic Meadows ably assisted by Third Age Trust CEO, Sam Mauger.

8x8 Art Challenge - We received 7 entries for this competition which varied from pen and wash studies to acrylic on canvas and board. The winner was a acrylic on board entitled ‘Midnight’ by Tom Gelston.

Photographic – we received a total 67 entries across all categories. There were some stunning photographs.
Category 1 Countryside & Wildlife Winner David Wrycrafts ‘Four-spotted Chaser’
Category 2 Scenes Around Stanway Winner Linda Vowles ‘Beth Chatto Gardens’
Category 3 U3A Activities Winner Dave Trapmore ‘ Camera Club Bluebell walk Hillhouse Wood’

In addition we asked visitors to vote for the picture they thought was ‘The Best in Show’ irrespective of category – Winner G. Carder with his delightful ‘Giraffe & Antelope Kissing at Colchester Zoo’. His was a digital photo frame and U3A badge.

Short Story & Poetry Competitions

We were exited to receive 12 entries for our Literary Competitions, 5 Short Stories and 7 Poems. We were even more delighted to be able to pass all entries to Jo Coldwell of Red Lion Books in Colchester who very kindly agreed to judge both categories. We were relieved to be able to delegate the task to someone very knowledgeable and independent, not because the reading was onerous, far from it, but because we were able to avoid the long hours of debate and analysis because we would have been hard pressed to pick the winners, the standard was so high!

Jo came along to the Showcase to present the prizes for both categories

The Winners
Poetry: 'The Green Jug' by Valerie Quinlivan, received a book of Poetry courtesy of Jo and the Red Lion Books

Short Story: The Exercise Class by Morna Clements

Jo also wished to make special mention of a work by Alan Kearsley entitled 'Dictation' who received a box of chocs and a U3A badge.

The winning entries can be read here. All entries will be on display at the September meeting.

You will be able to see all the photographic entries at the monthly meeting on 14 September.

The Exercise Class

By Morna Clements

The village hall was full of lycra-clad bodies. In my tracksuit bottoms and baggy t-shirt, and in all my pinky-white plumpness, I felt I fitted in like a tin of spam in an upmarket deli. A woman bounded forward and swished her blonde hair about. If ‘My Little Pony’ had a sleeker, slimmer sister, who ran an upmarket deli, then this was she.

“Ah, you must be the new one,” she said. “I’m Jessica. Welcome to the pulse-pounding-beat-pumping-boundary-testing-world-of-Jazzercise!”

“Boundary testing, what’s that?” I asked with a sinking feeling.

“It means all sorts of things.” She whipped out a tape measure and brandished it at me. “Firstly, let’s measure your vital statistics.”

“Er, no thanks.” I gathered my T-shirt protectively around myself.

“Please yourself.” She frowned at my waistline. “Have you warmed-up yet?”

“But, it’s such lovely weather. I didn’t even bring my cardy.”

“Oh, you need a cardiograph. I wear mine on my wrist.” She shoved a watch-thing in my face.

Best leave it there. I was pretty sure Jessica wasn’t familiar with the homely comforts of a cardigan. She raised her arms then folded herself in half to touch her designer-trainer clad toes. “I can hold this position for a whole minute. Now you try.” Her buttocks faced me menacingly.

“I-I’m not sure …” I edged towards the exit.

“No? We’ll have to change that, won’t we?”

“Will we?”

“Yes,” she said unfolding herself. “I’ll start the music. Now, let’s see what you’re made of.”

A tin of spam flashed itself into my mind.

“We have such a hot playlist.”

“Do you play requests? What about some Miles Davies?” I asked her departing back.

“Oh! What A Feelin!” screamed the loudspeakers in a distinctly un-jazzy way.

Jessica started to swivel about, others joined in, and I had a moment of fellow-feeling with the old hall as it creaked and groaned around us.

“Bop Bada Ba, Bop Bada Ba,” boomed the soundtrack

“Come on,” she said looking at me. “Get your stride on!”

Just then a curly-haired lady with intelligent eyes appeared at the entrance. She nodded to Jessica then closed the door. Jessica tore across the room and wedged the door open again.

“This,” she explained to the lady, “is the pulse-pounding-beat-pumping- boundary-testing-world-of-Jazzercise. We get hot, the door stays open.”

“It’s just our group’s about to start.”

“So …” Jessica folded her arms.

“Well, your music’s rather loud, isn’t it? Perhaps creative writing and jazzercise don’t mix too well.” The lady shrugged. “I suppose we exercise different muscles.”

Jessica huffed and flounced away.

“I’ll close the door, then,” the lady said. I slipped out behind her and peeped at a group of people in the smaller hall. A friendly-looking man with wavy hair said something and they all consulted pieces of paper; one nodded, another shook her head, a few laughed.

Creative writing? Umm…

I took a deep, deciding breath and opened their door.

“Any vacancies?” I asked. “It’s just I think I’ve been in the wrong exercise class.”

The Green Jug

It satisfies my eye, the small green jug

with micro-heated milk for breakfast coffee.

Pale green, cheap – everyday crockery

called by my Irish grandmother ‘delft’ –

though nothing allied to Holland’s blue and white.

But it had the line of beauty,

sat on the painted dresser in our kitchen.

Mother filled its small neck with Saturday violets

bought with sixpence sixty years ago.

I see them spilling purple against

the curve of the eau-de-nil lip.

Years later,

my grandmother dying in a hospice room,

beneath kind sheets.

thirsty and rambling, asked for water;

‘Give me the green jug from the dresser

-a drink from that’,

moving an arm towards where she saw the dresser.

And I saw it too, there in the hospice room,

the green jug small on the shelf;

see it here in my hand as I pour the heated milk.

By Valerie Quinlivan

By Alan Kearsley

"Have you written that one?"

"Yes. It won't go down well, but I'm ready for the next."

"Just one more after this. Listen carefully and don't interrupt this time."

"Got it. It's a bit harsh, I think."

"It's not for you to do the thinking. Now, write down the last one, number ten."

"Done it. That's another they're not going to like. Can I go now?"

"Hold on a minute. I've decided we need a final one. Here it is. Thou shalt not quibble”.

Please note that for all three of the above competitions the judges decision is final in all matters. Judges and Organisers will not enter into any correspondence/discussion with any entrant.