Home > News > COTS Writing Competition Winners


Thank you to all who have entered the COTS writing competition, below are the winning entries.


by Frances George

There’s snakes climbing the wall and spiders in my glass. And a demon is nearby, if I move he’ll kick my ass. I try closing my eyes and pray for reality. It doesn’t work, I’m going berserk, I’ve lost my sanity

Voices storm my ears, one says that  it’s a crime. That I should live above a grid, I’m pure and utter slime. I can’t step through the door cause if I do I’ll die. So I get my bat, the window I whack and yell to a passer by

My God, I’m on a ward, or is it a house of correction? Four cut throats hold my legs and arms and give me an injection. I’m feeling bad, my head is numb, I’m dribbling like a tot. Everyone’s weird, there’s a lady who’s sheared and a man who’s just forgot.

It’s decided I’m psychotic and so for protection and for other peoples too, they’ve put me on a section. I can’t go out, I’m locked inside, the windows are all wired. Oh I wish that I could think clearly, I’m bloody tired.

Injections and pills that don’t give thrills, messing with my brain. And here I’m sitting patiently waiting for the trolley again. “It’s not your turn”, says a nurse who’s stern, “wait until they’re shared”

I scream and shout, wanna lashed out, I’m anxious and I’m scared. Time lingers on and I’m settling in with the inmates on ward Seven. But for a lack of stuff and a bit of puff I’d truly be in heaven.

Now it won’t be long, I’m coming on in leaps and bounds they say. But the sad truth is I’m frightened that my friends outside will sway “You can go on weekend leave” says the shrink one Monday morn.

And when I stepped inside my flat, I sat there all forlorn. My future is not bright and I’ll be misunderstood. A lunatic that functions, with medication in my blood.

Now I’m given freedom and someone’s taking me on a visit to Fernandes that’s been booked especially I’m introduced to staff and they’re filling me in on what they’ve got to offer and when I begin.


 by Martin Newall

Whilst I apologise for the drawings I hope they will give a guide as to the mode of transport involved in those somewhat far off days, to the modern generation (viz 1949).

Transport in those days meant mostly surface travel for long distances, whereas today air travel seems paramount, indeed virtually overwhelmingly necessary. The journey initially meant a propeller driven aircraft to Amsterdam and train travel to Rotterdam (the biggest harbour in Europe I am led to believe). 

The Dutch, British and to some degree, the French still had colonies (settlements) which needed trade etc, despite the 1939/45 war which had seriously affected them. There was food rationing in Britain and my parents decided to emigrate where conditions appear to offer better prospects. 

My parents, brother and I all boarded a cargo vessel (6 private cabins for limited passengers of the Dutch company Rotterdamshe Lloyd for a 3 week voyage to Capetown, South Africa, from thence a three day train journey (steam engine i.e. coal powered). The ship was headed for Java (now Indonesia). 

There were many incidents of note, crossing the line (equator), tons of goods not allowed in South Africa (viz butter) which was thrown into the sea, and the derailing of the coal tender in the bush (i.e. that portion of South Africa with little or no facilities) and the consequent appearance of the bushmen of small stature, whose children went around begging sweets and adults selling carved animals from whatever wood was available, i.e. lions, elephants, snakes etc. They were very good. Table mountain in Capetown too was worth remembering. The termites were interesting. Since I am advised only to provide a small discourse I will terminate, hopefully creating some interest.

P.S. We stayed a year and returned to Britain via the Union Castle Line to Southampton.