Introduction Foreword Writing Together Coping Within The System Coping On My Own Coping With Teenagers Coping With Relationships Live Performance

Barbara Winstanley

Camp Fire

Fire-red leaves falling to earth
Making a crackling carpet beneath autumn trees,
Bringing memories wafting on the breeze
Of distant days when full of mirth
We cooked sausages in the rain
On a camp fire on Gipsy Hill,
The scent of damp leaves in the air
And wood smoke drifting everywhere.


First Memories

In Granddad’s garden an iron cat stands guard
Just ‘round the corner from the old scrap yard.
Groaning and sighing as the autumn wind blows,
It scares the dickey-birds away from the rows
Of peas in their pods which Granny picks for me
To eat up with Bisto gravy for my tea.

And in Granddad’s garden red hollyhocks bold
Tower over rows of chrysanthemums gold.
Michaelmas daisies, blue and yellow iris,
Marigolds, dahlias, pink gladiolis
All blossom there alongside the rows of veg
And sweet-scented honeysuckle in the hedge.

And down at the end of the garden I spy
The railway line, where puffing Billy snorts by
As I wave to the passengers looking out
Through grimy panes in carriages bound, no doubt,
For Rhyl, Prestatyn, or perhaps Colwyn Bay
Going down to the seaside for a whole day!

And there in the fields beyond a white horse roams
The banks of Dee where the estuary foams.
The horse’s name is Kitty and she grows fat
On crusts from the back of a hand held out flat.
The bread’s all gone now, but Kitty wants some more!
Held high on Granddad’s shoulders, I watch in awe.



‘Attending Maidenbower Day Centre in Crawley over the last 12 years has helped me to cope with having MS and opened other creative avenues to me such as Art.  Writing will always be my first love though! I’ve got poems I wrote when I was 10 or 11...

First Memories was written in October 1998 as a Crawley Writers’ Circle project. My grandfather used to carry me all around Connah’s Quay on his shoulders meeting his friends. I used to spend hours there (in the garden), I suppose I was there keeping out of mischief. Camp Fire was based on an evening camping with a school friend.’