Young Creators!

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It’s been a wonderfully inspiring morning! Whilst preparing breakfasts, packed lunch, loading the washing machine I had the joy and honour of listening to the winning entries of this year’s BBC 500 Words short-story writing competition for children. The finale of the contest, which saw over a staggering 135,000 entries, was held at Hampton Court Palace and the Honorary judge was Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.

Wow!

The ability and inventiveness of the children in their stories is astonishing. Their creativity, lyricism and themes were both heart-warming and funny. The Gold Winners in the 5-9 age category and the 10-13 age category were both stories I’d read from the short-list; both enthralling, very different but brilliantly written stories. These youngsters have so much to teach us all.  Below is the winning entry for the 10 – 13 age group. Enjoy.

Dancing on the Streets by Sadhbh Inman

Tai ya tai hi

 

Tai ya tai hi…

On a noisy, dusty road, a child’s bare brown feet are hardly noticed as she weaves in and out of the traffic, dodging cattle and halting at taxis. She presses her nose against the windows of vehicles carrying crowds of tourists. “Tissues ma’am, tissues sir, only ten rupees for a box”. Sita is small for a seven year old, but then seven year olds from the slums in Ahmedabad are often smaller than other children.

Tai ya tai hi

Tai ya tai hi…

The Bharata Natyam rhythm encourages her to dance, from car to lorry, lorry to rickshaw. On Sita’s tiny face a smile begins to form. She is so engrossed in the rhythm that she never misses a beat. A lady in a rickshaw spots her quick-footed movements and starts rummaging through her purse to find twenty rupees, “ten rupees for the tissues and ten for your dancing”.

Tai ya tai hi

Tai ya tai hi…

Sita is delighted about receiving that much money, and dances off to the tailor’s to get her Bharata Natyam dress made and her dream fulfilled. The tailor’s fingers work quickly with the silky, emerald fabric. The gleaming needle punctures the soft cotton cloth, creating neat rows of stitches. Sita watches as the dress is completed. Sita takes the dress, her eyes wide with excitement, her mouth open in anticipation. “That’s one hundred rupees child” the tailor says kindly. Sita carefully unfolds the notes she has been saving for over a year and with a hopeful sigh, hands them over.

“I’ll have that!” a voice booms. Sita stands, her back to the stranger. She strongly smells rum. “Oh! It can’t be” she murmurs. A dark shadow and fiery breath indicate his presence…”Uncle!” His eyes narrow menacingly, sending a shiver down Sita’s spine. “I’ll have that!” he booms again. Uncle takes the money off Sita. He turns around and slams the door behind him.

Sita knows it will be the end of her happiness. It feels like a part of her body is gone, fatally gone forever. Sita also knows that she should have given the money to Uncle, but it didn’t seem fair that he sent her to get money, to make him a rich man.

Tai ya tai hi

Tai ya tai hi…

On a noisy, dusty road, a child’s bare brown feet are hardly noticed as she weaves in and out of the traffic, dodging cattle and halting at taxis.

“Tissues ma’am, tissues sir …only ten rupees for a box”.

The 500 Words short-story writing competition for children contest started eight years ago and was originally created by Chris Evans, a Radio 2 presenter, and supported by the BBC, as well as this year by Oxford University Press and a multitude of volunteer readers. It is a competition that fosters not only the love of reading, but as evident here, the absolute joy of imagination and writing! To listen and read to all or some of the top 50 entries in both categories click here.

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OUR PATHS

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Our lives are a series of journeys – traversing various paths along the way, some straight and clearly signposted, others winding, confusing. We stumble over obstacles, the cracks in life. What matters is we move forward – time is never still, nor is life. 

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We might not be sure what is at the end of a certain road…but that is no reason not to explore, examine in detail. Take a risk, walk on. 

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Be aware how those oft travelled roads change form with the seasons. For a day or two a busy car-laden highway becomes a mystical wintry snow grotto where only the odd car passes. 

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The norm is never just that…a new angle, emotion is required to see the road in a new light…to see the view ahead in a manner transformed. 

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That doesn’t mean we should charge through life obliviously – take time to notice, be aware of the surroundings. They will raise a smile, ignite creative thoughts, inspire stories, poems, art. 

Along the way we stop for nourishment, sharing a meal with friends and family.

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Here we not only satiate our physical hunger but that of the soul as well; the location often setting the ambience and mood for the occasion. 

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Birds and their flight of freedom never fail to grab our imagination; their elegant effortless glide into the skies, their expanisve wings stretched to the full.

How often don’t we dream of just that – stretching out, soaring away. But then again, perhaps we already do – every moment of our lives…unconscious of the mystical flight of living. 

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Finally, I would like to wish each and everyone of you a wonderful celebration on New Year’s Eve and may 2018 be a peaceful year filled with joy and creativity.

As I’m hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner party, I’ve been busy preparing a menu which I would like to share with you. 

New Year's Eve Menu 2017