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15 February 2022

Posted by Tabby Hayward


11 attending

Happy Valentine's Day! This week, we kicked off by looking at some famous paintings depicting love and romance (see below) but the young writers were challenged to write the untold story behind the painting - was the woman at the cafe really in love with this man, or thinking about what she was going to have for dinner? What is the guy playing the lute really thinking, while the lovers embrace beside him? What about the little dog?

Here are some of the brilliant and hilarious pieces inspired by these pictures:

From Zoe:

I am so annoyed with my father; he has made me marry this
annoying silly man that is so boring. I cannot even believe I have sat here for
a whole Half an hour! 😲 All he does was recite
these cheesy love poems all about how much he loves me. I absolutely hate this.


From Gene:

the guy playing the guitar’s song-       
oo oo mum par, oo oo mum par,
we start with these people snogging it
is disgusting,
it is
sinister it is bad it is revolting.
One smells badly the other quite ugly,
Only interested in each other because of their money.
Who picks clothes coloured
brown and yellow,  
Judging by masters look I should stop
harshing your mellow. 
oo mum pup, mum pup oo yellow, oo oo mum pup mu pup ew ugh!!!!!!!

From Aurora:

I supposed they thought their moonlit dance secret, a fact
kept only in their love-sodden eyes and the avaricious lute of a travelling
minstrel, paid well for his silence. Paid so well, tell truth, that he would
not be the one to betray their trust, but instead his loyal mastiff who had a
penchant for loud yowls that would pierce the night sky, yet unshrouded with
clouds. It so happened that I was on my way to a neighbouring town from my own
not far back down the road that I heard the creature’s song and, thinking it
perhaps in injury, hurriedly altered my course to one which cut through the
dense brush of the forest towards the howling dog. Indeed, so thick was the
underbrush that my eyes, the tools used to falsify deceivers, could barely make
out the scene from a mere few feet away. I almost went urgently crashing through
the bushes, and I would have done so if it were not for the piercing high trill
of the musician’s string that alerted me to more than just a beast’s presence,
and what a bout of explaining that would have entailed! Imagine that scenario:
some ragged wanderer, with little more than the clothes draped around their
neck and the rusted blade at their hip, stumbles upon a covert waltz that the
perpetrators wish to be kept secret from all else, which I know they must – the
tune was familiar to me, for it was composed by a friend of mine in Canterbury
under the title ‘Serenade for the Mistress’, the lyrics to which the minstrel
was thankfully omitting (for they contained rather steamy details about my
friend’s affair) likely for the sake of remaining alive, much less paid. Too
many bards think more about coin, these days, than morals, thus was a sad case
I saw in his subversive mockery of the dancing couple.

Next, we looked at the Carol Ann Duffy poem Valentine, in which the speaker gives their loved one the unexpected valentine's gift of - an onion! After talking about why this might be/what the onion represents, the group set to work writing their own stories about unexpected valentine's gifts (and why they might actually be more realistic/relevant than teddy bears and love hearts!) and what the other character's reaction might be...

Zoe's story is also available in emoji (translation below!)







“What is this?” I asked, picking up the object in confusion.
“It is your Valentine’s gift” he said.
“Yesss…” he says slowly stepping back.
“WHY??????” I question.
“It was the only thing left in Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys…”
“I Still Don’t Get It!!!!!!!!!” I scream. Quickly I run away
and then one final time I turn around and launch the Potato Dumpling at his
face. It hits him and with a smile on my face I turn and walk towards the

 Safir's shows some interesting insights into the character's internal monologue, which contrasts hilariously with what she actually says out loud!

"Oh my god! what did you get me?"
"Can't tell!"
( In her mind ) "Please be money, Please be money, Please be
"Ok so why don't you open it!"
A shining golden ring shimmered through the living room
"O!M!G! thank you! Do you still have the receipt? Oooh
yes I'll take it, just in case."
(In her mind) "How am I going to sell this without him
"Do you like it!"
"It is amazing!"
She stood still until she got it. A PLAN! She would get a
wooden ring and then paint it gold! No one would notice. Well until that day
came where it did.
BANG, he threw a roast beef piece at her face. Bye bye

From Gene:

True story based on an event with my friend- 
Here is a tissue, a tissue so grand
This tissue is the best in the
If this gift is not enough fear not for plan B,
As love is so special and
that we are meant to be,
Inside that tissue you will find this second gift,
saliva to grow your own me and that is just it.
And a third gift, a card
addressing that we are forever cus that is a fact,
And because you don’t
appreciate it that well I think I will take that back,
Now although we were
never together I am afraid this isn’t going to work,
 I am sorry but you are
unappreciative so happy valentines day jerk!

From Neelesh:

''What this?'' she asked me joyfully.'' It's your valentines
gift.'' I replied.'' Aw, thanks for the gift Johnny.'' Moony replied. She
opened the box and  looked horribly
shocked. I don't think she knew that I knew that she knew that I knew. You can
probably work out what I am saying. '' What's this half-eaten donut for?''
Moony asked angrily. ''Um I have no idea how a donut got there instead of a
ring!'' I raged. Well, what can I say. The whole valentines day was a disaster
and I don't think she will ever forgive me but I still didn't figure out how a
donut got there. A mystery unsolved

And see if you can guess the classic story which inspired Liberty's beautiful poetic piece:
It is Valentine’s Day and I gift you an apple. My love, here
is an apple. I plucked it from the gnarly tree, whose trunk grows charred and
twisted. I picked it from between the leaves that hang like weak, shrivelled
cocoons. It shone out like a beacon – a symmetrical, round beacon the colour of
a wine stain, of a mistake. I listened to the serpent; I heard each turn of its
tongue. Its spiteful whispers cut through the peace and dampened the air with
something heavy, something unnatural. Yet my love for you, pure and
all-encompassing, swallowed its malice and swept it from my mind. And now I
give you this apple. Sitting weighty in my open palm, as if a future on
judgment scales.

Charlotte's classic characters made a welcome return this week!

Edwards and Osbourne were sitting at their desks. Luckily the supplies had come and they now had a tone of paper. Also Edwards mug was only being held together by tape now and Edwards wasn’t about to break it again! Osbourne looked up to Edwards desk. 

A present had been sitting on it since they arrived this morning. Edwards had been too busy to open it. Well that’s what he said anyway. Osbourne was very interested in what was inside. 

“Edwards for the love of all things in this world, will you please open that.” Osbourne said pointing at the present.

Edwards gave an ice cold stare to Osbourne but then turned to the gift. He sighed and finally opened it. As per usual he ripped the paper to shreds! He then paused when it was open.

“What’s the matter? It’s like you’ve seen a ghost!” Osbourne chuckled.

Edwards moved the paper away and showed Osbourne the gift.

“What do you make of that?” Edwards asked.

Osbourne opened his mouth to say something but didn’t say anything. In his hand was a matchbox. He rattled it and it made a noise. There was something inside at least. 

“Maybe someone’s playing a joke on you.”

“On Valentine’s day?!” Edwards continued to question it.

“True.” Osbourne carefully slid the matchbox open.

“Are you mad?! You don’t know what’s inside!” Edwards moaned.

Osbourne didn’t listen however. Inside was a rose petal. A singular rose petal. 

“Have you sent a rose to anyone recently?” Osbourne asked, trying to work out why a rose petal would be in a matchbox in the first place.

“A rose petal?!” Edwards excitedly grabbed the matchbox and it’s contents.

“Do you know who it’s from?” 

“Yes and I know exactly what to send back.” Edwards began to write a note and got something from his draw.

“Has someone brought you a rose and decided just to send the petals one by one?” 

“No, it's for my book. You know, the one I'm making is about flowers.”

“I thought you were joking!”

Edwards shook his head and replaced the petal and another petal into the matchbox. He then placed it in front of Osbourne.


“Can you give it to Erin for me?” 

“Why me?!”

“I can’t send it. Everyone will know about us then.”

Osbourne scoffed but he could see how much this meant to his friend. He got up, straightened his tie and walked out of the office, clutching the matchbox. 

And Aurora's wonderful world-building gives a very original take on the brief!
The Briton village was all but a few hours away now, or so I had been told by a kind traveller wandering in the opposite direction. They had adorned me with a garland made of daisies, a crown fit for the commonfolk such as myself, and reminded me that the day was holy to Saint Valentine. I was aware, as the nights grew slowly shorter and the days slightly longer, that his day was upcoming and traditionally celebrated in these parts of the land, however the many mists that curl through the grassy hillocks often make time-telling and date-tracking a chore, in extreme cases impossible. One slow step after another, as my legs allow me to in the worn under root, I keep up my hike to the village. It has no name to speak of, their neighbours simply calling it a town of relative prosperity and collectors of luxurious honey, a product by which it is evident they make their fame. Should my memory serve correct, to which it most often does despite bouts of sudden and brief periods of lunacy, the bees are sacred to Valentine’s day and are tended as part of his reverence. Such are the servants of God, gentle and wont only to His worship: their kindness is to be commended and something, I hope, I can take back home with me. I crest the last hill after a few more hours of laborious travel, and finally sight the hamlet in the valley below. A steep dirt path bends down to it, hugging the steep edge I find myself on the precipice of, and trailing gently into one of the few gates beset in the picket fences. I had been approached by two more travellers on my way here, one who simply raised a hand in passing and nothing more was said between us strangers, whereas the other stopped me a while (and I must admit I was grateful for it, for my legs ached) to talk. She asked my destination and I told truthfully, for I have been treated well by fellow wanderers in the past, to which she insisted a vial of thick honey on me for learning I was bound for the village. Her home village, as I soon found out, where she was coming from to spread the gift of Saint Valentine on the day of his generous sacrifice. She alluded to his other domains of protection, too, such as those infested by the Devil’s bursts of anger, and yet suspiciously avoided his theme of marriage, by which he is best known for outside of his holy areas. Though I was loathe to question her knowledge about a patron saint so readily known in these lands, I did in a spurt of confidence ask of this topic, to which she blushed deeply. My own cheeks filled with colour at this, and what I suspect was not wholly embarrassment on both our parts passed silently as we hurriedly made farewells. I will, however, spend some more time in the village – it looks kindly from my vantage – and, though I assure myself that there is no reason elsewise that I would stay for longer than only a day’s cycle in their hospitality, I find my third eye unable to remove that traveller’s face from vision, particularly the flushed red of her warm smile. Love comes not so in my intentions, it seems, but more in my instincts. 


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