Ashby Writers


Ashby Writers Club (9th Apr)

Prose fiction 300 words (+/- 5 words): “A flight of fancy.” 

Winner: What? Who? by Paul Haynes, see top three entries below.

Ashby Writers Club 25th June

Verse (up to 40 lines): “Regrets” or “No Regrets”

Two entries by Mike below

Ashby Writers Club 23rd July

Prose fiction: Ambition

Winner Paul Haynes


These are the winning entries to the 'Flight of Fancy' competition.

The winners were placed as follows:

1. What? Who? by Paul Haynes
2. Enemy at Three O'Clock by Alf Gillaspy
3. Flying with Confidence by Steve Bull

The Winning Entry by Paul Haynes

What? Who?

A short story
By Paul Haynes

‘Wha’, who!’ Barney wakes, startled and confused
‘Sorry Barney.’ The young nurse apologises. ‘It’s your parade today, do you remember?’
‘Wha’,who!.’ Barney blinks, as the young nurse tugs open the heavy curtains allowing the November morning light to stream into the bedroom.
Barney looks from the young girl, who is still by the window, to his blazer hanging on the outside of the wardrobe door, his medals glint in the sunlight. Today he will remember.
‘Are you with us?’ asks the nurse.
‘Yes, yes dear,’ says the Barney politely.

Three hours later Barney is being woken for the second time that day.
‘We’re there chief,’ says the Taxi Driver from the front of the cab.
‘Wha’, who,’ says Barney. These days it takes him longer to get his barings.

At eleven minutes past eleven, Barney stands to attention to the haunting sound of the last post. This year Barney is one of only three veterans: the dwindling number never ceases to shock him.
Lost in his memories Barney stands alone after the parade. He stares at the poppy wreaths; his eyes flood as he reads the words ‘Lest we forget’.

‘Is it back to the home? Asks the taxi driver
‘Wha’,who, says Barney. ‘Oh yes, yes please.
For some reason the Taxi driver decides not to go directly back to ‘Chester House’, he drives his fare to the old RAF base at Newton instead. Sunday morning is micro light morning, the taxi driver thinks that Barney will appreciate the little excursion.

Barney stands propped against the boot of the taxi watching the flimsy machines fire up and take off.

‘Does the gentleman fancy a short tandem flight?’ asks a young man with long hair tattoos and an earring. 

‘I don’t think,’ said the taxi driver. Then mouthed the words ‘he is up to it’, behind Barney’s back.

Five minutes later Barney is wrapped in an oversized flying jacket, a leather pilot hat with side flaps frames his wrinkled face; his false teeth rattle and his hearing aid whistles as the microlite bumps along the pitted runway. Suddenly the rattling is gone, the propeller noise increases in pitch and the contraption soars into a clear blue sky.
Whaaaa  Whooo! Barney roars, his brain 22 again.


The Second-Placed Entry By Alf Gillaspy

Enemy at Three O'Clock

George pulled on the joy-stick. The plane climbed through the clouds into bright sunshine above. Suddenly a bandit appeared at three o'clock. George pulled his plane towards the enemy. He squeezed the button on his firing console. Bright flashes of tracer came from the other plane but George kept his aim steady. The enemy aircraft exploded in a huge fireball. He pulled hard on the joystick to swerve round the edge of the explosion.

   For a few moments he was in clear sky then he became aware of several enemy aircraft on his tail. He went into a steep dive. The bandits followed. Streaks of tracer flew past his window. It was now or never. He pulled on the joystick with all his might. He shot up in the air going in a huge loop. Now he was behind them. He'd show them.

     He could hear a voice in his headphones. No time now. A burst of shrapnel caught him in the arm.

     "Give me back my Barbie box." It was the voice of his sister. Suddenly his starboard wing disappeared. He cleverly tilted his plane so as to fly on one wing.

     "Mum, George has bent my Barbie box and he's messing with your case of quilts."

     George wheeled the plane round and started for home.

     "George, what are you doing with that?"

     Now his engine was wrenched away. He was doomed.

     "Now come to the table and eat your dinner."

     George trudged into the mess clutching his arm where the shrapnel had hit him. He opened his mouth to speak.

     "Not a word!" The order was accompanied by a pointing fork. His face fell. They didn't understand.

     A plate of ham, egg and chips was placed before him. George smiled again. Only the bravest pilots were given ham, eggs and chips.


The Third-Placed Entry By Steve Bull

Flying With Confidence

My hands clutched the arm rests as I struggled to catch my breath. Outside, the terminal building slipped past as we headed out to the runway. The ‘Flying With Confidence’ workshop and flight had been a birthday gift from my daughter.

“A flight of fancy”, she had called it. “The stuff that dreams are made of!” Nightmares, more like it!

As someone who suffers panic attacks at the first sight of a plane and feelings of claustrophobia I get when I step inside I still am not sure if her motives were to help me overcome my fears or indeed simply pure sadism.

Vicky had shown me a copy of the Daily Mirror story on the introduction of the Virgin glass bottomed A320 Airbus to their fleet. “Not for the nervous ones like you Dad!” she quipped! Oh, how she had laughed at the April Fool story. Oh, how I hadn’t!

The aircraft thundered down the runway, and then as silence took over I realised we were airborne. With an involuntary glance out of the window I saw houses and streets hundreds of feet below. I tried to apply the breathing exercises and relaxation tips we had learnt on the ground. “We are now cruising at thirty thousand feet.” My heart was pounding! How do planes stay in the air? The plane banked to circle the airport. I could not stop imagining that the engines would fail.

The flight seemed to last an eternity. I watched the seconds tick by on my watch as the allotted hour came and went.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen we are sorry to announce that due to mechanical difficulties we are unable to lower the nose wheel for landing. Hopefully some sharp manoeuvres should free the mechanism. We will keep you up to date with developments.”





If because your life is too dull

You bash in your beloved’s skull

To pass a little time

The police will never take the view

That it’s just something people do

They treat it as a crime.

As to your hammering in her brain -

Instead of trying to explain,

Issue a denial

And raid the piggy bank and try

To get the best brief cash can buy

Well before the trial.

The task of that man is to show

How well you loved that hammer so

With feelings pure and deep

That so enraged the jealous dead

She whacked the hammer with her head

And did it in her sleep.

But though you’ve justice on your side

A perverse jury can decide

You’re guilty – just a tad.

Stand as stoically as you can

Take your punishment like a man

Probation’s not so bad.

If after sentencing you feel

The legal system’s not ideal

The verdict was not fair

Because you paid good cash across -

Take comfort in your sense of loss

Such things are very rare.




If I were you and you were me

Would you then see as I would see

Or would you view things differently?

And then again, I don’t agree

With half the stuff you say to me

And since I know that I am right

How could your black become my white?

Unless I’d think the way you do

Since I’d not be me – I’d be you.

Though if we think the process through

And view it universally

I’m part of you, you’re part of me

There’s you and me and us – all three