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The Swallows Return: Creative Writing Competition

And who hasn't, at some point in their lives,

wished to walk away,

from all the familiar?

Would you walk

to the meadow,


the sea,

the mountains,

to seek a quiet sanctuary, a new beginning?

Thank you to everyone that entered our creative writing competition. We received over fifty submissions, many by post, even ‘by hand’ through our letter box and others pinged in from across Europe, Canada and Australia. It was a delight to read your words and ‘escape’ with each of you in turn. Christopher and I read them aloud to one another, each one at least twice and then selected a dozen that shone out to forward on to Jackie. It was not an easy task, as each entry was naturally so individual. When we initially planned the competition, we had no idea that not just the UK but practically the entire world was adapting to the restrictions imposed by ‘lockdown’ and the pandemic - everyone was dreaming about where they longed to be or learning to wander within the confines of their home.

We requested submissions by post, encouraging participants to step away from their computers, retreat with pen, paper and paint. Those that were unable to visit their local post office, sent words by e-mail but they were typed with consideration, fonts were experimented with and photographs were attached.

I met Jackie virtually from my sofa at home and her at her studio desk in Pembrokeshire. We were able to share our thoughts, drink tea and select who to send the inked swallow to. You may watch and listen here…

So, two swallows are heading to new homes...

To Fiona Johnson and Michelle Werrett, I hope you enjoy reading their words and the landscape they visualise.

Is it a familiar path?

Where would you choose to walk?


I stare at the frozen earth, stark, depthless, hardened clods, seemingly lifeless


I survey the ground, softened, crumbling and toss the seed, dry tiny pieces of life. They teeter on the particles and then tumble into the abyss. Many tears follow their course and anchor them.


I observe small promises, hints, shoots and slender buds. Tentative hopes emerging, trembling but these to nurture.


I see a riot, a chaos of colour life is skittering around my feet, dancing before my eyes and I plunge right in. It’s good, next year will better.

My meadow, My Restoration.


I would walk where the woods are wild, where the wind in the tops whispers wishes to me. I should not follow the tracks of man but wander where other hearts roam free. I would cross the bank by the badger-worn run, skip over the stream where otters slide, follow the slots of the stag trodden path - the paw-padded, hoof-cut ways; far from the human world, away from work and worry, to the company of trees.

Where primroses light the gloom and birdsong promises of better days to come, echoing canopy holds woodnotes like precious treasure cupped in twiggy hands; a brightening of robin, elegance of blackbird, rapture of warblers and soft soothing pigeon. Finding peace in the sun-lanced green shade where I might linger the afternoon, threading the wildwood ways, to sit on moss cushioned log, lie in crunchy drifts or bounce on a branch in the breeze, here to pluck words from the wordless wild - they might be words like these.

Both winners were rather thrilled when we let them know they had been chosen…

‘Thank you so much, I am so overwhelmed and excited that I danced a jig whilst uttering Cor! Having never entered a writing competition I am really surprised.’

‘Oh, thank you, thank you, so much!!! How truly wonderful! Off for a celebratory walk!’

Thank you to Christopher Jelley for persevering and pushing the boundaries of our tech capabilities! And of course, to Jackie Morris for her time and generosity.


Copyright of the winning submissions remains with the respective author, please do not print or share without prior permission and quote source, Number Seven Dulverton.


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