These Things Are Sent To Try Us

The writing prompt for our meeting was ‘These Things Are Sent To Try Us’. Here is a selection of pieces from members of the Rugby Cafe Writers.

Photo by Blue Bird on

Love Is Great, Except When It Isn’t by Jim Hicks

Years ago, I was in the south-east and an old college friend kindly agreed to give me a lift to Euston station. When we arrived I asked if she deserved a kiss.  She said, “Yes,” so I kissed her once on the cheek.

Mistake. Big mistake.

The following day I was thinking of her all the time. I think it must be what being in love feels like, but … I’m sure being in love is great when you know that the other person feels the same way about you, but when your own feelings are doing things you would rather they didn’t it’s annoying.  It’s more than annoying.  It’s a feeling of not being in control.

The feelings lasted for three days. I still remember the episode with a shudder.

Some psychologists say that people fall in love because they kiss, not the other way round.  I think they have a point.

These things are sent to try us by Ruth Hughes

I used to do murder mysteries,because I did not drive I was taken all over the country to play characters. This particular weekend it was the Seascape hotel,Torquay.   

Shades of Fawlty Towers, I was playing a Russian medium in the plot the hotel is  haunted.we stop first at a tatty little hotel this where we will sleep, up 3 flights of stairs

 No lifts of course to leave our stuff then onto the Seascape,our boss goes to the reception to talk to the manager where we are shown our rehearsal room it is up 3 fights of stairs and is an ironing cupboard, there are 8 of us actors!I kid you not,then back down to put our characters name on tables. We find we have 49 guests in half the Dining room!  Then back up the stairs to rehearse and get costumed up.  730=into the dining room to find the manager had removed all our names from the tables. And put all of us together on a table outside the kitchen doors, and told us we must eat in shifts, Unbelievable,Our way of working is to go from table to table making sure the guests, know who we are and what is happening Now we get to the bit where I announce I am a  real medium and that I will hold a seance I light. My candle take up my candle and ask. For the lights to switched off and for silence while I contact the spirit.but of course half the room are still being served chatting and waiters walking about. After 3 attempts I give up there is aloud scream and a body falls into the room.Then with our guests we go up to the bar and they try to work out who does what to whom. The our policeman comes and read a report, and one of us is arrested.A prize is won by the best answer.we go up to the cupboard to get changed before walking back to our first hotel to climb the 3flights to go to bed. I do not know why the manager disliked us so much  unless it was  because we made him more work. Needless to say we never went there again.

These things are sent to try us by John Howes

Piles and piles of dirty washing,
Giant trainers in the corridor,
Empty beer bottles, empty cereal packets,
Crumpled towels in the bathroom,
Dumb-bells on the landing,
The whispered telephone conversations,
Scooby-snacks after midnight,
The occasional spiky mood
The dreary football matches on the telly,
The lifts – here, there and everywhere.

These things are sent to try us parents – 
For he is home from university.
These glorious things,
These wonderful things,
This marvellous mess,
This celebration of life bursting forth.

No, it will not last.
But let us wallow in its glorious confusion,
For now.
For now. (2021)

These Thing Are Sent To Try Us by Terri Brown

These things are sent to try us,
And try us they surely do.
Its lots of tiny little things, like stones inside your shoe.
Taken on their own and spread through several years,
they would barely even register, let alone bring us to tears.
But then there are those days – I know you know the ones,
Where all those tiny little things decide to come in tons.
You stub your toe, and burn the toast, and forget to put the bins out,
Your knee is aching, you lost your keys – your sanities in doubt.
Its barely even lunchtime and your blood is on low simmer
And someone is going to get it in the neck before you get to dinner. 
Is it him over there, chewing like a camel? 
Or her on the sofa surfing every channel?
It could be stranger number 1, walking slower than a snail.
“Come ooon, what are you doing? move your legs, let sanity prevail!!!”
It could be stranger number 2, tap tapping against your chair.
Keep it up, I dare you – your feet won’t long be a pair.
Maybe strangers’ number 3 and 4 are blocking up an aisle
Because there’s blatantly nowhere else to chat – just breathe and try to smile
These things are sent to try us,
And try us they surely do.
It’s the universe’s way of telling us,
Stay home, grab a book, and pour a large one…or two!

These Things Are Sent To Try Us by Madalyn Morgan

There are many things sent to try us, especially in lockdown, but the thing sent to try me the most is the ring pull!

     Rusty, they cut your finger and leave you wondering if your finger will turn septic or worse.  You break your nails lifting the ring from the top of the tin to pull it. It snaps off as you begin to pull it, or, as one did the other night, snap off when my tin of beans was only a quarter open. I tried using a regular tin opener, but the lid was bent, the wheel on the tin opener was unable to get a grip on the distorted lid, so it kept going round and round without making an impression. The opening was too narrow to get a spoon in, so I ended up hooking the baked beans out with a wide-bladed knife.

     During the sunny spell we had before Easter, I fancied a cool drink of lemonade. I took a can from the fridge, pulled on the ring pull, and the top of the can flew off spraying lemonade everywhere.  After cleaning up the kitchen – and a sticky me – I poured myself a glass of wine. There are no ring pulls on a bottle of McGuigan.

     My worst experience with a dodgy ring-pull was last night. I decided to have a jacket potato with tuna and sweetcorn.  The ring pull on the sweetcorn didn’t quite remove the lid. Draining the water off I lost half the sweetcorn down the sink because the lid was bent and the sweetcorn escaped from the sides. The ring-pull on the tuna stuck halfway, so I gave it a good tug and the lid flew off, covering my face and hair with fish and sunflower oil.  

     In the end, I made a cheese sandwich. No ring pulls on a cheese sandwich.

These things are sent to try us by Fran Neatherway

The courtroom was panelled in dark wood, lit by hundreds of candles in chandeliers, in wall sconces, in candelabra on the lawyers’ desks and the judge’s bench. There were no windows. The jurors had to make do with rushlights. They flinched away from the heat and the flames, sweat pouring down their faces. None of them wanted to be there, but they had no choice. And no choice in the verdict.

Guards surrounded the prisoners, who were weighed down with chains and iron shackles.  Their leader stared arrogantly at the judge, splendid in his wig and crimson robes.

“How do you plead?” the clerk asked. The men stayed mute.

The judge stood and led the lawyers, crow-like in their black gowns, and the jurors from the courtroom to the arena where the people of the town waited in silence. The guards followed with the prisoners.   

The instruments of justice had been prepared: the cauldron of boiling water suspended over a blazing fire, the path of red-hot ploughshares, the iron bar plunged into a brazier. The masked inquisitor waited patiently, arms folded, ready to perform his appointed tasks. 

“You stand accused of high treason against the lawful king of this land,” the judge said. He dropped a gold ring into the steaming cauldron. “If you can take this ring or walk this path or carry the iron bar for three paces, without injury to your body, your innocence is proved. If not, then you stand condemned. Let the trial begin.”  

The leader of the rebels stepped forward. He turned to his men and said, “We have protected the weak and the poor against the powers of tyranny.” He pointed at the cauldron, the red-hot path and the red-hot iron bar. “These things are sent to try us, but we shall prevail.” 

Just Go by E.E.Blythe

Oh go.  Please go.
I love you, but there’s a limit !
I want a bit of Me time  (Is that selfish ?)
I need a bit of peace.

Oh go.  Please go.
Don’t take a breath, and start again.
My ears are switching off  (My brain already has)
I need a bit of quiet.

Oh go.  Please go.
There’s such a thing as too much.
We reached that a while back  (I feel trapped)
I need to be alone.

Oh go.  Please go.
But please come back soon.

(Why did I just say that?)


I Am Actually Here, Y’Know by E.E.Blythe

The phone rings again
and I know who it will be
I’m an almost housebound audience
a listening ear, you see

I cannot stop the torrent
of excited verbosity
It doesn’t matter anyway
he doesn’t want to hear me

So I listen, without a word
say Mmm and Aah occasionally
And close my ears as best I can
while he talks on incessantly

And when the need to tell it all
has finally ceased to be
He says goodbye, and that is that
and blessed silence falls on me


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