The Road to Srimangal

This month I've been thinking about fact and fiction, and especially about the point at which they merge; when something that has happened to you, the writer, is turned - by you or someone else - into a story.  The programme for the first of my Community Education classes has been 'Writing for Life', which has taken us through writing as a hobby to writing as reflection to writing as therapy... and all points in between.  It has created a lot of very personal writing that has had all the greater resonance because of that, and has highlighted a significant difference between writing the story and telling the story.  Maybe it is easier to control the writing, maybe because it is done in isolation, but once in front of an audience, there is an emotional charge that affects both the writer - and the 'hearer' - and it's a challenge for both.  A very powerful experience.This term culminated in...
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Reflections on Bhola

'm bending a self-imposed rule this month and writing more than a couple of paragraphs... stringent self-editing has fallen by the wayside in trying to report everything that happened last month in Bangladesh!We arrived in Bhola early on the morning of the 9th April.  At this stage, it’s a homecoming for me as I’ve been to Bangladesh a dozen times; Simon at 3-and-a half is on his second visit, and for Allan, a fundraiser and supporter, also from Scotland, it was his first time in SE Asia. After the thrill of a ride in our new auto-rickshaw, the children, armed with Bangla flags and bright flowers, were on hand to greet us – a wonderful, warm welcome for all three of us, but clearly Simon was the one they were waiting for… He had a fantastic time playing with the ‘big boys’ and was using sign language in no time; it took...
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Bhola, Bangladesh - April 2014

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then let the pictures speak!The long-awaited trip back to Bangladesh seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye: Dhaka, Bhola, Srimangal... here are just a handful of the very many highlights...Hot off the plane(s) in Dhaka, and Ali secures us our rickshaw chariot Arriving in Bhola by overnight launch ï»¿The new tractor-trailer - carrying 32 of us altogether 38 degrees but work to build the new road goes onShopping...Cooking - but mainline gas has arrived! Picnic breakfast for Bangla New YearAllan leads the exercises...Sunset on BholaAllan took the photos, Simon fitted in as if he'd never been away, and Bhola's children, staff Ali were as fabulous as only they can be.  More about what we did and how the home and school are progressing next time.Thanks to everyone who's supporting us (and anyone who has any exciting fundraising ideas - please let me know!)Anne x 
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Spooks, Secrets and Suspects: A Play

As tutor of this highly talented, committed and hugely fun group, I can safely recommend that anyone in Edinburgh and free for an hour on Thursday will enjoy this.  Of course, the writing is good, but we're famed for our refreshments too... 
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CurryFest at the Saltyard - All Welcome!

If a blog isn't a perfect place for shameless advertising, then where is?There is a wonderful café on Dalry Road, Edinburgh, called The Saltyard.  The rumours might be true about Simon and I spending quite a lot of time there... but I promise you, so would anyone who lives a hop, skip and jump away.  I've certainly been there enough to get talking about Bangladesh and the lovely staff - without coercion, persuasion or hints, honest - suggested Saltyard host a fundraiser for Bhola's Children.Tickets are now available for this excellent evening, and everyone is welcome!  Details follow... It would be lovely to see anyone who is local enough to drop in on Friday evening.AN EVENING IN AID OF BHOLA'S CHILDREN 'A feast of curry for your senses' Saltyard Café158 Dalry Road Friday 7th March18.00-20.30 Curry SupperTable QuizBangla Music & Photographs Tickets £4.50; £1.50 (children); £10.00 (family)The lucky prize winners will receive a copy of A Blonde Bengali...
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