I visit London  three, four, sometimes five times a year. Most of my visits include a stay at the same central London hotel. It’s conveniently situated and the breakfasts are good.

Every time I visit I chuckle at the sight of an “old fashioned” telephone, designed to make International Calls. I guess it dates from the 1990s. The telephone is situated in the main reception area but doesn’t work. There’s a “Temporarily Out of Service” sign on it but I’ve never seen it work and I’ve been staying there for three years.

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On arriving at the hotel last month the first thing I did was check to make sure the telephone wasn’t working. Thankfully it was still “Temporarily Out of Service.” Phew! What would I have done if I’d found it working or worse still, removed from the hotel for good?

We humans like things to stay the same but they never do. Life is constantly changing and so it is with Poetry with Friends, the poetry appreciation sessions with a difference I have the pleasure of running with artist Gail Curry on North Tyneside.

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Our last Tuesday evening session on September 22nd was not the same because stalwart member, David wasn’t present. Some of us fretted about his welfare, all of us wondered where he was and if he was okay but the session did not grind to a halt. We accepted the slight change to the evening’s entertainment and got on with exploring the chosen theme: Humour.

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We enjoyed poems by a range of poets including Wendy Cope, Edward Lear, Charles Causley, Mike Harding and another PWF stalwart, Alan. We decided that our next session’s theme on Tuesday 6th October will be Autumn.

Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay Library yesterday was also Slightly Different But Still Okay. Stalwarts Joyce and Geoff were missing but it was great meeting new members. And we had a jolly good topic to get our teeth into: Nature.

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We shared poems by writers including Brian Patten, Robert Frost, John Clare, Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes and a poem by stalwart, Rowland based on his recent trip to Canada. Lucky man. Theme for the next PWF at Whitley Bay is Politics and Religion! Heh heh! See you on Thursday 15th October and let the sparks fly!

Life continues, the seasons change, blackberries are picked and made into crumble, compote and jam. And let’s not forget time heals so with any luck when I see David at The Mission on Tuesday his arm will be heaps better than what it looks like in the photo above. I couldn’t bear to look at it then hence closed eyes!

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