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This Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News
Tags: This Week

This Week – 31st July 2017


How fast this year has gone, it’s only 21 weeks till Christmas appears again. Never mind that though, let’s concern ourselves with this last week and what’s been going on.

The Bragging Stool.  Laura is still on a roll and had another story published in an online journal called Spelk Fiction.

Well done, Laura.

Five of us are in Ad Hoc again, the five being, Sue, Angela, Laura, Chris N and me. Congratulations all and come on team – lets up the quota of Writers Abroad in this weekly competition. Why not give it a go? 150 words and written to a chosen word. Until August 2nd the word is Drag.

The Blog    Alyson has written a very inspiring blog on smells and the various emotions they evoke. She reminds us of how we can use smells to denote a change in the story we are writing. Plenty to think about here.

The Monday Muse.     Laura will be writing this and will no doubt provide us with plenty of interesting topics.

The Formal Meeting of 30/7/17      It was an interesting meeting yesterday & Jill has provided us with some excellent minutes. Those unable to attend will find them perfect for catching up on all the discussion.

August Opportunities & Challenges   Several competitions have been listed by Jill in the minutes of yesterday’s meeting and please, feel free to add if you find another competition somewhere.

That appears to be all but if I have forgotten something please let me know.

In conclusion, I leave you with this lovely quote. Have a great writing week.

Who Knew? Tags: Birmingham Pen Museum


Who Knew?

Imagine if you will, Birmingham in the Industrial Revolution. It was a rapidly expanding city and its population grew from 74,000 to 630,000 in the 19th century.

Not the prettiest of places, smoke billowed from its many factories and in order to accommodate the expanding city, houses were hastily built, often back-to-back and they soon became slums.

Located in the middle of England, one hundred and twenty miles from London, there were few telephones, cars made their appearance at the end of the century and trains were slow. The aeroplane merely a dream. Computers would have been beyond comprehension and a large part of communication was by the written word, the old fashioned way, pen to paper.

Known as ‘The City of a Thousand Trades’ owing to the diversity of goods manufactured there, buttons, cutlery, nails and screws and jewellery to name a few but who knew that 75% of everything written in the world at that time was written with a Birmingham pen?

There were in excess of 100 factories in Birmingham producing steel pens in the nineteenth century. Quills had been the writing tool of choice before this but they took time to prepare and didn’t last. The tips would require attention with a knife to remain pointed, coining the term pen-knife.

Today on the corner of Legge Lane and Frederick Street is the Birmingham Pen Museum. It is housed in what was once Wiley’s Pen Factory and is now dedicated to preserving the memory of this industry.

The Pen Museum exhibits all manner of writing memorabilia. Feather quills, steel pens, typewriters, examples of Braille and much more. They even offer calligraphy lessons.

Fanny Philips, (pictured below) worked for C Brandauer Pen Company for seventy-one years and she is seen sitting at a manual nib-making machine. Nibs and pens had names and one of Brandauer’s slogans or advertisements stated –

They come as a boon and a blessing to men.

The Pickwick, The Owl and the Waverley Pen. 

Whilst Birmingham may not be at the top of your dream destinations, if you do find yourself there, as a writer you  might consider visiting The Pen Museum. It is situated in the well-known Jewellery Quarter, an area with many heritage listed Georgian buildings, trendy shops, quirky bars and restaurants.

To conclude, imagine for a moment life in two hundred  years time. Perhaps by then there will be museums full of laptops, desktops and Ipads.

How will we communicate? Will we still be able to write? We are excellent at punching in text messages on our phones and typing on computers but is it possible we won’t know how to write with a pen or pencil in the year 2216?

For those interested in the history of writing implements

So what do you think is next?

















This Week Monday 1st May
Category: Site News
Tags: Muse Blog. Meetings

This Week – Monday 1st May 2017

This has been a busy week on Writer’s Abroad so I will start with the Bragging Stool which is almost toppling over with achievements.

Alyson was long-listed for this quarter’s Flash 500 competition.

Lesley was long-listed for the To Hull and Back Challenge.

Sue, Angela and Chris were all successful in the Ad Hoc challenge.

Sue had an essay accepted for a book called Where’s Home?’  (For publication in 2018)

Congratulations to you all, ladies!


Member’s Meeting

Hot on the heels of Angela meeting up with Nicola in Spain, Nicola then met with Jo and Chris.

From all accounts these were great times and the three husbands, Rob, Simon and Rod bonded well too. There are some wonderful photos on site – take a look if you haven’t already seen them.

Another meeting is imminent; Jo, Lesley & Vanessa are catching up in Millau soon.

Monday Muse

Angela has given us some wonderful ideas, including writing about something mythical and including the word Bewitched. Additionally but not only, there is a great photo of Warwick Castle which if you haven’t been has a very scary dungeon! Plenty of choice here for a quick Monday Muse which may take you – who knows where!

The Blog is scheduled to be written by Jo but given that she is away, she may have swapped with someone or set it on the automatic timer facility. (The correct name of which escapes me at the time of writing!)

Challenges & Opportunities

Plenty of choice in this forum! Why not head over there now and take a look?


The next Formal meeting is scheduled for Sunday May 21st at 11am CEST with Vanessa in the chair.



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