Celebrating the work of two great writers' groups... and introducing a third.

Circle in the Sand


A zure of the sea, squawks of gulls which now flee and dive in salty waters, repeatedly emerge from the surface, each time with the same purpose of seizing some slimy, gasping, floppy fish in their crooked, dusty-yellow beaks; the scattering of intricate shells, pastel shaded stones, rocks and boulders patterned with grain, clear shallow pools, relaxation of boundaries and rules—here, here on Walcott Beach, this is our pétanque terrain. Fresh airy breezes slap our faces as players take their places. The crash of the waves, foaming whiteness at the shore. What shall the result be: Lose, win or draw? Heat of the golden blazing sun; this competition can be won.

We hear the whistle blow, instructing us to go and shake each other’s hand then draw our circles in the sand,

All scenery around us is Earth until a player draws a ring around themselves which indicates they are on Saturn.

Scenery transforms to space —sky, sand and sea merges together to form endless blue-black, intricate shells are shimmering stars, pastel coloured stones are glistening galaxies, gulls’ bodies are shooting stars aiming downwards, their open dusty-yellow beaks are black holes attempting to suck up fish which have transformed into comets. Density of the fresh airy breeze decreases as the power of the waves ceases. Players become astronauts, floating around everywhere.

The cochonnet begins to balloon into a luminous white moon when it is thrown and has grown six to ten metres away from the astronaut on Saturn.

The astronaut on Saturn places one foot in front of the other; his fellow astronaut ensures they support one another as a team and says to follow a moon beam as a guide and that the boule must glide higher through space if the air density is thicker, as it will land in a better place much quicker. A metal boule leaves the hand of the astronaut on Saturn, transforming into a silver spaceship operated by the power of the throw, drifting away from the planet and shifting fast towards the moon’s centre. When it lands, the spaceship and the moon appear closely joined, the opponents need to separate them, or else they won't win a point.

The astronaut steps off Saturn to allow an opposing one to take her turn in attempting to earn points. The opposing astronaut edges further towards the front of Saturn's ring, careful not to knock it, the metal boule leaves her hand, transforming into a rocket operated by the power of the throw, shoots through the air at the speed of light, blasts the spaceship off the moon and out of sight.

They are one for one but damage will be done as an astronaut steps on Saturn and takes aim, intending to add some danger to the game. Their hand turns to alien slime, the metal boule immediately slips out, transforming into a UFO operated by the power of the throw, spins through the air, looms threateningly above the rocket on the moon, crashes on top, pushing the rocket down into a black hole, which sucks it up like a vacuum.

At this stage, no astronaut can attack or defend and must now restart the end.

Around them, space fades and the scenery trades for Earth.

Astronauts sweat under the golden blazing sun in their spacesuits, digging boules out of the sand, giving each other a hand with finding them.

Once all boules are found, an astronaut draws a ring around himself, Saturn is present and the moon is crescent, partly hidden by sand transformed to blue-black space.

Azure sea forms to create Neptune, clear shallow pools form to create Uranus, boulders form to create Jupiter, crystals form to create Mercury, fossils form to create Mars, rocks form to create Venus.

Beware:: landing on Venus means boules will rust even if they have transformed into spaceships or rockets that could burn to particles of dust under the hottest planet’s heat: they can't fly back and retreat.

Entry fees have been paid, five rounds will be played. Every game, each team of two will play someone new.

The winner of the competition will be published in The Guinness Book of World Records for landing on the moon multiple times.


Chloe Urquhart: Poet and Prose Writer

Chloe Urquhart

While still at school Chloe was one of the three founding members of the Minutemen 350 writers' group, and whose infectious enthusiasm lent welcome momentum to an initiative which relied on the dedication of its participants.. Her attitude to her own challenging medical condition has been exemplary. She has stated that she is 'blessed with articulatory dyspraxia' because it allows her to 'see' in metaphor, something which other writers have spoken enviably about. In the end she completed her studies with an MA in Creative Writing. Chloe has published a number of poems and won a Poetry Society award for her interpretation of Charles Causley's 'Timothy Winters',screened at the Sounding Heart event. The link is opposite. Also opposite is one of her earliest poems demonstrating her characteristic style: her metaphorical insight, her merging of prose and poetry and her whimsical and playful tone, inspired by her enthusiasm for and skill at pétanque .

Full Biography

The Lost Art of Persuasion (a speech)


The Creative Writing Project

The Sounding Heart Event (Poetry Society Prize)