Story Starter: Sightseeing In Southampton


Story starter image

Had a smashing time in Southampton this week. Do you know one of those funny, stupid things? I knew that ships like the Queen Mary 2 sail from there, and yet I hadn’t quite connected that with the same Southampton that I was going to until I saw a humongous liner just outside the hotel window! I’d never been so close to one before. Gosh, it was big. Like a multi-storey block. And it left silently during the night. I’d have expected to hear a few farewell toots.

I was there, of course, for the latest workshop. Alison Carter joined me and it was a full-on day with 18 guests, aspiring writers all, though I was pleased to meet Jill Barry for the first time, who is prolific in our pocket novels.

Jill made my day, actually. I stayed there the night before and at breakfast I scanned the room as usual for anyone who looked like they might be there for the workshop. I spotted Jill, without knowing who she was, and wondered.

Then when everyone was arriving for the workshop, in she walked and introduced herself. “Hello,” I said. “I saw you at breakfast”, and she’d seen me, too, and a/hadn’t wanted to intrude while I enjoyed my bacon and eggs (yes, again), and b/ hadn’t been sure it was me because, she said, I looked younger than my photograph. First thing in the morning! What a lovely lady!

Anyway, Sarah Swatridge was there, too, Sarah being a regular writer who works with Alison. I don’t think she’ll mind me saying that she’s been struggling to find success of late, and came to the workshop to brush up her skills. I really hope we’ve helped.

I had a good wander round Southampton on the evening I arrived, and again after the workshop before it was time to head to the airport. It’s a very interesting city, one of contrasts between very old mediaeval buildings in the old part, several modern, and massive, retail parks and indoor malls, and more multi-storey car parks than I’ve ever seen in one place. Plus the port itself, of course….Really interesting.

This pic caught my eye. I like the line Export Grocers. It speaks of the past, and something entrepreneurial and adventurous. So, over to you to see if it does anything for your creative jets.

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.

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