By Becky Davies
By Chris Bennett
By Anthony Dyson
By Kaye Clyne
By Katie Barwise
By Mark Willis
By Jay Laverick
Jenny Wren was a kindly bird who was known for thinking often of others, helping many fellow birds whenever they had troubles. Only a few weeks before she had assisted Mr and Mrs Robin to escape an attack from a ferocious Hawk. She had used her wit and speed to distract and lead the bird of prey away whilst the couple gathered up their eggs and found a new safe place to hide.
But know she knew now she was ready to start laying eggs, she had a partner and as is customary he had built a beautiful moss and leaf nest in a mighty oak tree next to the great river. She was happy and content and only had to find a beak full of feathers to complete her home.
With her rich brown plumage and short cocked tail she spent a day a flight, searching the trees and hedges for the discarded plumage of other birds. Tired, hungry and dejected she returned to the mighty oak, having found no feathers, to rest and think out her plan for the next day. Her friend Mr Robin was flying up the river and noticed Jenny sat looking forlorn. He circled and perched next to her, asking how her day had been, immediately she began to sob and told her tale of a wasted day and how she knew she would be laying her eggs soon and likely as not, if she didn’t have better luck tomorrow she would be having her chicks in an incomplete nest.
To the little Wrens surprise Mr Robin paused briefly, gave his apologies and headed off back down the river from where he came, heading for Mr and Mrs Sparrows nest. Feeling a little upset Jenny just managed to snaffle a Daddy Long Legs crawling along the branch, which would do for her supper then headed for bed.
Shortly after sunrise with the Dawn Chorus in full song she headed across the river to hunt the hedgerows she had not covered the day before, after much searching and diving and a close call as she encountered an old Barn Owl in his nest who eyed her hungrily, she once again returned to the home Oak fatigued, hungry and more than a little miserable.
As she felt the pressure from inside her due to the nearness of her eggs to make the next part of their journey, she wondered how she could ever finish her little home. As she looked at her small feet her attention was caught by a great commotion coming from downstream. She looked to see a large bird heading towards their part of the river bank and fearing an attack from a bird of prey, she backed into her nest with just her beak and eyes looking out following the flight of what she could now see was a tremendous creature with a large brown wingspan, heading directly for her Oak tree. Poor little Mrs Wren was terrified as this animal landed on the branch by her nest with its ferocious long sharp claws biting into the wood. To make things worse this monstrous being still had the remnants of its last poor prey sticking from its mouth.
Clearing its beak on the branch of the Oak the bird spoke with a deep and assured voice “Mrs Wren, are you home?” cowering in the furthest point of her nest she meekly called “I am, but please don’t eat me as I am carrying children” at this the large bird boomed with laughter, tipping back his great head and beak. “Little Jenny” he said “I received news that a tiny little wren was in need of feathers for her nest and I have flown from the great forest with these for you”. Slowly emerging and more than a little shocked Jenny saw that his face wasn’t covered with the remnants of dinner but it was in fact a large stack of every kind and colour of feather that she had ever seen.
The great Buzzard smiled kindly and began to tell the tale of how Mr Robin had spoken to Mr Sparrow, who had told the Blackbirds, who had passed on the message to the Finches and so it had proceeded until, carried on the song of what seemed like every bird, he had heard the story of a kind, helpful and selfless Wren who needed a little support herself. “It may be so that birds prey on birds” the great animal said, “but we all live in the same great world and can only exist when each other does”. Please accept these feathers as a gift from all of the birds who live by the river and I hope you have a successful brood. With a wink, he took off and flew back down the river to return to his wood.
By Charlotte Nicol
Once upon a time, in a land far far away deep in the Indian Ocean near the Suda Islands of Indonesia lived a fish called Phoebe. Phoebe was a catfish and had deep grey scales on her slow body and long whiskers that tickled the peach pink coral as she swam along the floor of the ocean.
Phoebe had a lot of friends and played with her shoal of fish all the time, she particularly loved playing with Sami and Lydia, her best fish friends. They were beautiful rainbow fish with bright orange scales, and long pointy noses that hid behind the coral. She loved to play hide and seek with them and although her grey slow body lagged behind them she loved to see them dart between the rocks and the coral.
Phoebe did love her friends but she found it difficult to see them be so colourful when she was so grey and dull. ‘Why am I not like Sami and Lydia mummy’ she cried as her mummy tucked her into her sea bed. ‘Darling you are who you are and you must never wish for anything else’ her mummy said wisely.
One day, whilst playing hide and seek she heard a sound ‘WHOOOOOOSH’ a fishing net came through the water and panic set in the shoal of fish. Phoebe’s uncles and aunties were taken by the net and she managed to escape by hiding under the rocks. Sami and Lydia darted behind the coral. WHOOOOSH came another noise, it was becoming more familiar now and she began getting used to the fishing nets coming down into the ocean every day. ‘Why are the humans ruining our home’ wailed Lydia and Sami. Slowly the ocean became more and more murky and green, the algae that was once eaten by the whole shoal had started to grow and become overgrown.
Slowly, Phoebe set to work on the bottom of her sea bed, doing what she did best. ‘See Phoebe’ said her mum, it’s colourful once again!
By Chris Riley
Tom was a fantastic athlete, he trained every day, he ate properly. You could tell by his physical appearance that he took care of himself, trim, well proportioned. He was a true athlete, trained hard and in fact, had won many marathons with his running club.
The Director of the running club asked to speak to Tom, he was intrigued. The director wanted Tom to coach the club’s A team for a local half marathon that was coming up. Tom was elated, he was so happy to be asked, and obviously he would do it, he was so positive he smiled from ear to ear as he shook hands with the director, what an honour to be bestowed upon him.
Over the coming weeks, Tom arranged for the members of the team to meet regularly at the local athletics club so that he could walk them through their paces, he arranged diet plans for them all, he even gave them individual training plans.
As it got closer to the race, the club director came to watch the training session, Tom was nervous and wanted to make a good impression. As the team went through their paces, he pushed them harder and longer and longer, until they were too exhausted to do any more. But they were getting there, Tom thought to himself.
Finally, Tom came off the training ground and spoke to the director, “How do you think that went?” asked the director, with a note of question in his voice, Tom hesitated and then said, “I think they are getting there, I am sure they will be ok!” The director laughed and in a humorous voice, said, “Well don’t expect them to be as good as you, but as you say they are trying!”
As the race day approached Tom could not think of anything other than the words of the director. Had he not done enough? What would the club think of him? What would the club think of the other runners if they don’t perform?
It was Saturday, race day. The sun was out, it was 7am and the warm sun was reflecting off the bright yellow club outfits of Tom and the six members of his team, all with running numbers on their chests and looking like they were ready for action.
Tom thought it would be best to give them a pep talk before the race, so he huddled them together, “I just want you all to enjoy the race, no matter how well you do, at least you have tried your best”. They all gave a big high five and walked off to the start line. As they walked through the hundreds of people all waiting to start the race, Tom heard one of his team shout to him “see you at the finish”. That’s nice Tom thought as he was a lot quicker than the rest of his team.
Bang! The starting gun sounded and they were all off. Tom was soon away from his team, despite all the jostling, noise and sweat, he was off like a bullet from his own gun. He soon realised he was far in front of his team, and his clear mind started to race as fast as him. What if they are struggling? I need to help them, I cannot let them down… Question after question, they kept coming.
He reached a water station and stopped, not normal for Tom. He could feel something in his stomach, not food he had a healthy breakfast, his heart was pounding, he was not out of breath, I know he said to himself, I will wait for the team, they need me.
Ten minutes later the team came round the corner all together, but only five of them. As the team drank at the water station Tom asked them where Jane was, he was concerned for her. The team replied we thought that she was with you. She has been practicing for months to keep up with you and beat your times. “Really” said Tom, “I had no idea”
The five runners and Tom left the water station and stayed together as they made their way through marker after marker along the roads as they got closer to the finish line. Tom was feeling good that he had the team around him, that he was able to help them all, but what about Jane; Was she ok?
As they joined hands together to cross the finish line, they could hear the crowd cheering, but also a really loud voice shouting to them “come on team”, Tom looked over to the left and could see Jane standing on the winner’s podium, her arm around the club director, with a gold medal around her neck, and a smile from ear to ear.
By Lisa Ayling
There was once a boat. The boat was unique, crafted from aged wood grown in a beautiful forest. The grains of the wood running like fingerprints throughout were a quiet reminder that this boat, even though similar in appearance to some, was like no other: it was truly unique.
The boat was independent, over the years it had charted its way through many waters, exploring the changing, undulating landscapes and taking in the views along the way. All the time learning the craft of moving elegantly through the water. The boat had many passengers on its journey, some whom stayed a while, others who conversed fleetingly from the banks. The boat was proud, it used its sails and rudder to work with the ebb and flow of the water and the changing breeze, gliding seemingly effortlessly at pace towards the horizon.
One day the wind had dropped (this had happened before) and the boat almost came to a stop, but as the conditions around it changed it found more time to take in the views that had gone unnoticed along the way.
Whilst sitting, almost still, on the smooth glasslike water, the boat was joined by a majestic eagle who swooped effortlessly down and perched on the edge of the boat. The eagle asked the boat if it could rest a while, it explained that the still conditions were making it more challenging for it to travel large distances and see everything from above, so it would wait for conditions to change before continuing its long, majestic journey.
The boat asked whether the Eagle always needed to travel so high above the landscape? “Why, of course” it responded, “how else can I progress if I can’t see great distances from above and see what lies ahead on the distant horizon?” The boat pondered this statement, and after passing the time of day a little longer bid farewell to the Eagle as it continued on its’ journey.
The boat was enjoying the delicate view as it gently bobbed along a new stretch of the river. Coming close to the banks it could see new flora emerging from
its winter sleep: a whole new landscape. Peering out between two emerging buds a mouse moved nimbly along. The boat greeted the mouse and welcomed it aboard so that it could rest a while.
The mouse thanked the boat and commented on how quickly they seemed to be gliding along the banks “but we are barely moving” smiled the boat. The mouse gazed on in wonder, observing the banks as they passed from the boat. After a while it thanked the boat “you have taken me further in this short time than I could have traveled in the whole day!” and it nimbly returned to the banks, renewed and rested.
The breeze picked up a little and the little boat’s sail once again embraced the warm air. As the boat resumed its journey it glanced up at the expansive sky, and considered the path of the majestic eagle, then at the banks bursting with life and thought of the nimble mouse, then looked ahead and set its course. This time the boat noticed how smooth the water felt, how warm the breeze was and how much more could be seen on its own horizon.
Since starting my business in 2002 with 13 years training and development experience within commercially driven environments, I have been developing a strong track record of helping others to achieve and grow.
Florence Madden BSSc. Assoc CIPD ANLP
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