Want to have a go?

Here are two messages from the book as an example of how we linked, but please be as imaginative as you want to be with your own links. From the 1st November you can add your original 300 word response to the messages we'll post each day. Click on 'comments' and post your response in the box, and remember to add your name and email address so we can contact you. And if you'd just like to add a comment of appreciation to any of the postings then please do that too.


To Achieve Silence in Your Kitchen Cupboards

1. First enter kitchen.
2. From your position at the door, mark your kitchen cupboards like a clock face. Start with the twelve o’clock position. Move to stand in front of the first cupboard.
3. Open door.
4. Remove all potentially noisy items in cupboards. These could include:
* Dish clothes which could be rubbed violently on surfaces.
* Glass items which could be clinked together in exuberant greetings.
* Tins which may be rolled across the floor, causing accidents and consequent cursing, screams, ambulance sirens.
* Any ingredients which are so delicious that when heated and mixed up can only be eaten with loud grunts of appreciation.
* Cleaning fluids with the potential of making anything squeaky clean.
5. Remove dog from pile of discarded items. Move to next cupboard.
6. Repeat No. 4. And then No. 5.
7. Work round kitchen, or clock face, until all cupboards are empty.
8. Follow the sound of Borsetshire accents and despatches from the Ministry of Agriculture.
9. Start to remove radio from kitchen, but then sit on floor and listen to the rest of the Archers. 10. Wonder how Brian always gets away with it.
11. Begin to listen to a medical phone-in on IBS before you realise what you’re doing.
12. Remove radio from kitchen.
13. Paint insides of all your empty cupboards a duck egg blue.
14. Stencil gold stars as tiny as your little fingernail along the edges and corners of each cupboard.
15. Wave bunches of sage leaves around the insides of each cupboard to chase away bad spirits.
Ring bells for similar effect.
16. Go out to a restaurant to eat because you have no food. Try not to wonder why you wanted silent cupboards in the first place.


You’ve no food left. It’s taken months but you’ve eaten your way through every tin, packet and box. You nearly gave up in the third week when the novelty had worn off and you felt desperate for something fresh and leafy, something that hadn’t lived inside metal or plastic or cardboard before you ate it. But you made yourself focus on your goal – to eat everything you’d bought when he was still there.

You could have thrown it all out, but that would have been admitting he was right when he said you were such a martyr, that you did everything for him, never thought about yourself, that he couldn’t bear the pressure of that anymore.

It was quite easy at first – you worked your way through the dried pasta and jars of sauces, cereals with the few pints of milk made up from powder. When it became more difficult you tried to impose some dietary order – tins of salmon and peas, the tin of corned beef topped with Del Monte Sling Peaches in Syrup. After that you didn’t care. This last week you’ve eaten a tin of chestnut puree and 24 Mini Croustades filled with the last of the tomato ketchup, caesar salad dressing and piccalilli. When you woke up this morning you could still taste evaporated milk in your mouth.

Today you have to go to the supermarket and start over again. You feel relieved and frightened. What if he was right? What if you won’t be able to make a single decision about what to buy when you only have yourself to think of. But you have no choice now there’s nothing left in the house. And you have a deep craving for a fresh mango – you can already taste its sweet juice running over your lips.


  1. 127
    I’m starving. Don’t know how long I’ve been stranded in this desert. Not an oasis in sight. I ask a passing camel where I can get food from and he says I wouldn’t do very well because I have no hump. He looks disparagingly at my humpless form. I ask if he would please just start me off and he obligingly picks some dates from the top of a palm tree. I ask if he could find some bananas but he tells me they don’t grow in deserts and mutters under his breath something about ignorant invaders. After the camel has stalked off in a huff I wander on and eventually encounter my first mirage. There are roses and grapes in profusion which does not surprise me but many people less sensitive would find such growth incongruous being in mind the location.

    A helicopter hovers overhead and I wave frantically. The pilot flies lower and waves in a friendly fashion before soaring up and out of sight. I want a cup of tea but there is no café in sight. I conclude that this is a stupid uncaring desert and wonder why camels put up with it. The mirage vanishes.

    I feel something sticky running down my leg and deduce from a piece of purple paper wrapping that I had an old bar of Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate in my pocket which due to the heat has been converted into a hot chocolate drink or could have been had it not wasted itself by running down my leg. I lick the wrapper but it only serves to stimulate disappointment and my appetite. I begin to feel ill with the extreme heat and fearing sunstroke I endeavour to improvise by spreading the sticky chocolate wrapper over my head but it proves inadequate.

  2. Hi diggles, and thanks so much for posting a response to the sample message. Funny! And 300 words on the nose! Please come back between 1st & 30th November when the project will be active and a new 'message' will be posted every day.
    All good wishes, Lynne & Sarah

  3. What to do?
    To eat or not to eat that is the question.
    (Oooops, should that have had a question mark,?)
    No matter, it is not the end of the world if I eat and it is not the end of The World if I don't eat.
    Wheeeeew. Good.
    Except, it might be the end of The World for me here in Armenia, watched by my family and the woman I love.
    Death by embarrassment.
    Let me explain the problem.
    I am in Yerevan with my family, tourists from Scotland, attending a banquet at the home of a friend.
    A Soviet style bloc of flats with a communal garden where the hosts are barbecuing a lamb.
    Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle we can smell what goodness awaits us.
    We are short on translators and are hopeful that the problem will be solved when we get to the toasts.
    And it does.
    The host does one 'to the people of Scotland'
    My father replies.
    The host's number one son adds his bit.
    I have to add something suitable.
    Lots of other friendly Armenians including one man, Sergei, whose 'foreign' is limited to three phrases 'Guten Morgen', 'Jack London' and 'I love you'.
    We toast them all. Hic.
    Which takes me back to the original question.
    What to do?.
    We are waiting for the food to arrive.
    And waiting.
    And waiting.
    The table is set, fit for a banquet, with lovely baskets of fresh herbs laid next to the place settings.
    Coriander, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary.
    It suddenly strikes me that these are actually starters designed to show the fertility of the Armenian countryside.
    And we have waited all this time.
    I am so apologetic as I grab a handful of Coriander from the nearest basket.
    Stunned silence.

    Ooooops, I just ate the table decoration.

  4. Thanks for this merkin. It seems food's a popular theme - it was for us. One day to go before the project goes live - hope to see you here again.

  5. The Inuit have one hundred words for snow. In another idle moment, she’d once trawled the internet to find them, stumbled instead upon a raft of pseudo-academics refuting the assertion, dismissing it as urban myth. But the list of words was there alright, maybe not a hundred, but many nonetheless. Beautiful words. Like nylaipin for the snows of yesteryear, or dinliltia for the little balls that cling to Husky fur.

    And why should it be surprising? Snow, after all, was their entire world. It formed the roads they walked on, the houses where they lived; it was their source of water, the packaging and cold-store for every food they ate.

    Wiping condensation from the carriage-window of the stationary train, she perused the canopies of oranges and flame, vibrant against the dismal autumn sky. What entity defined her world so totally? Leaves on the line could hardly constitute, despite their stranglehold on the commuter. What type, she mused, might be today’s ‘wrong kind?’ Those ubiquitous dry brown ones, paper thin, that whirlpooled round the park, or banked in rustling piles along the street; the ones she used to kick into the air with knee-socked legs and patent-leather shoes. Brackles she would call them then. Or maybe they were flambers, red Maple, flexing in her childhood palm like burnished tiger’s paws.

    But nothing was pervasive in the way that snow was for the Eskimo. Not leaves, nor rain, nor wind. Not work…or crime… or sport… or television. Money, maybe? Filthy lucre? The lure of bucks and yen. So hard to concentrate in this charged atmosphere, with the impatient sighs and angry clucks of fellow passengers. Of course, she should have thought of it before. Still she’d found her fifty-seventh word for ‘grumble’ by the time they’d scraped the smulchies from the track.


  6. The kitchen, like my best friend, is in process. She has this convoluted system of stacking the dirty crockery in the sink until the dishwasher has been emptied. And that was his job. Nights grumbled and gushed with the drone of it sluicing itself clean. I don’t know how to cook anymore, she says. He took care of that, too. I know that in a drawer is the canvas wrap of Sabbatier knives she invested in years ago, when she could gut a fish in her sleep. She can’t have forgotten.

    We take the dog to the beach. Nineteen years, she says as the dog strains, desperate to be in the sea. But were you happy, I ask? No, she replies, as if I’ve missed the point. She looks out to sea, fighting off the melancholy. The dog tugs, crazy to be chasing the seagulls that bob on the swell of sunset waves. What would happen if we let him off the lead, I ask? Oh, she sighs with the exhaustion of all the things that might. He’ll go charging off. He’ll go straight into the sea, run away. We’ll never get him back. We watch the swallows swarming by the pier. They make elaborate patterns, like metal shavings magnet shifted. Shall we try, she asks eventually?

    Kneeling down, unclipping the lead from his collar, he looks at me a second with doggish incredulity before charging towards the sea, paws scrabbling on pebbles. He checks back; we make encouraging noises. He slips in, tentatively at first, then finding a rhythm in the waves, head up, doggy paddling. Out on shingle, suddenly skinny, he scatters the sea deliciously then tears off, careering through the shallows. We shout his name. He pauses, weighing things up, then turns, pounding back to us, dogsmiling.

  7. CLAIRE = claire.thinking@gmail.com
    (seem to be experiencing a glitch with profile stuff)

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Add Your Own Message Here
If you want to take part - great. All you need to do is add your response to our message here as a comment, but remember it has to be exactly 30 or 300 words, and it needs to be posted before 8am GMT the morning after the original post for each day. Please also remember to add your Name and Email Address to the end of your message, so that we can get in touch if your work is selected.