Waitakere Writerss

This is Waitakere Writers’ homework for the month of May shared during Covid-19 pandemic level 3. Write fifty words including crawl, inflation, reclaim, torch, and a longer piece possibly concerning a heap of ants, or not.


Carrolyn —

John aged 98 years of age, had bought himself a humungeously sized torch, to reclaim as much light as possible, in the event of a power cut. Unfortunately, John had toppled over, losing his balance, having to crawl to the telephone for assistance. His walker tyre in need of inflation


Nicola —

an ancient temple wreathed in ivy

nature seeking to reclaim its throne

a druid approaches, torch in hand

an inflation of the lungs

an incantation uttered thrice

and ivy pries apart the marblework

a space big enough to crawl through

a journey begins

to reclaim the song of the wind

Dick —

“Inflation,  inflation,” cried Mrs Cadwallader. “You blame every bloody thing on inflation.”She eyed the colonel balefully.

“Whenever you speak,” he replied sadly, “ you set a torch to my wick. I would crawl over broken glass to reclaim the sanity I had before you came.”

“Good,” she responded. “Do it.”

Shirley —

I don't fancy your chances at the moment to reclaim your position of top dog unless you crawl and grovel like one,” the economist said to the banker. “Where's the torch? Inflation will be the least of your worries if we don't find a way out of this vault.

Robin —

As I crawl stoically through the current crisis towards that light, shining like a five thousand watt torch at the end of the tunnel, hope eternal builds within me, like the inflation of a party balloon, that I will at last, be able to stand up and reclaim my sanity.

Bob —

Using a water droplet as a magnifying glass, a marooned family of visiting Argentine Ants ignited a tiny pine-sap-fuelled torch that was just hot enough to allow inflation of a small throwaway plastic bag, enabling them to crawl perilously upwards and reclaim a spot on dry land across the river.   

Carl —

With an inflation of confidence, the Narnians prepared to attack. High above, Edmund managed to crawl to the edge of the parapet to give  them the signal. Suddenly, his torch fell with a clatter onto the ledge below. Edmund tried desperately to reclaim it. Without his signal, all was lost.





By Annemarie Endt-Ferwerda


Ouch! What was that burning down my back?

I turned on my torch to see what was in my bed.

Annoyed to be woken up as I had just fallen asleep I found a trail of red stinging fire-ants trailing through the sheets.

After an exciting and traumatic day on one of the islands in the Galapagos group, ‘Bazra’ where we had landed with one of Ecuador’s military planes, we had found a nice place to stay, the place was owned by a couple of Americans. 

The trip had been an appreciative gesture from Carlos Timpe’s father when we shouted his son a trip back to his homeland, Ecuador where we went regularly during our quest to bring back new fruiting plants to grow in New Zealand

Our daughter Monique was studying art at ATI in Auckland where in a lunch break she had noticed the Ecuadorian student seemingly struggling with English which he was learning at the institute and suggested that he might like to meet us as we had been to Ecuador and knew a little Spanish.

As always Dick, my late husband got out the photo albums and as he showed Carlos the images an excited shout came forth, “That’s my Auntie’s place.”

We were just as astonished as he was.

As Carlos suffered from severe home-sickness we decided to take him with us back to Ecuador.

It proved to be a double happy as our Spanish was still very shaky. 

As it happened when we arrived in Tahiti we were told that the Falklands War had broken out and that we needed a visa to get into South America.

We were told that we could go back to New Zealand to get one but Carlos being Ecuadorian could go ahead to Ecuador.

We decided to stay in Tahiti and wait to see what Carlos could come up with.

Carlos went and managed to contact our friend Conzalo in Chile and together they managed to get us into Santiago. 

 It was quite a sight to see warships outside Santiago, Chile, on alert because of the conflict over the Falklands and South Georgia Island, between Britain and Argentina

 While in Chile a quick side trip to watch the palm sugar being harvested.

 We left with Tama airways getting wet from the dysfunctional air-conditioning and arriving at Guayaquil, Ecuador at midnight where our friend Joy was waiting for us, confiding she had stashed cash in the soles of her shoes. She had found a hotel room with a double and single bed. The four of us managed to get a few hours sleep before the crowing roosters told us we needed to get up.

Arriving at the airport next day, we found a flight to Quito and were warmly welcomed by the Timpes.

Our Galapagos adventure happened shortly after that. Not only the red fire-ants but also the fascinating leaf-cutter ants, army ants and the cecropia ants, which live in the cecropia tree feeding on the sweet sap and in return would attack any creature that dared to touch the tree.

 Needless to say we survived as I’m here to tell the tale.





By Robin J Nelson


‘Where are we? Are we there yet?’

They were on a giant raft, floating across an even more giant ocean. It was a beautiful raft, with a pointy bit at the front and a sticky-up bit at the back. And it was a golden yellowy ochery colour with hints of orange and the tiniest touch of red.

‘No,’ said the chief ant. ‘We are not there yet. That’s the tenth time you asked. And stop eating the raft.’

‘It’s not really a raft,’ said Lime Chutney.

Strawberry Jam looked up at him. ‘What is it then?’

‘It’s a leaf. Anyone can see it’s a leaf.’

‘The chief said it’s a raft.’

‘Yeah, but he’s getting old.’


‘I heard that. I am not getting old and it is a raft.’

‘If you say so chief.’

The raft drifted on across the giant ocean until with no warning it grounded on a reef. None of the ants had been holding on and all fell over in a great big heap. They were still surrounded by water on all sides.

‘Maybe it’s an underwater mountain, or a volcano,’ someone suggested from underneath the pile. 

‘Don’t be stupid,’ said Lime Chutney. ‘How can it be a volcano? It isn’t smoking.’

The chief ant crawled out and straightened his chief’s cap. ‘Righto lads, we need to find out where we are. Form a pyramid. Strawberry Jam, you can go on top.’

‘Do I have to, Chief?’

‘Yes, you’re the smallest.’

Two big soldier ants stepped to the centre of the raft and gripped arms; and some legs. Other ants crawled up over them, and more climbed over them. Soon, the pyramid was as high as it could be with only the space on the very top left to be filled. Strawberry Jam looked up, and up, and even more up.

‘Come on lad, don’t hang around. Get yourself up there.’

‘But Chief, they’re waving about all over the place. They’ll fall, I just know it.’

But the chief just looked at him, tapping three of his feet. 

And so, with great reluctance, poor little Strawberry Jam began the long climb up the rickety ladder. It was hard. Some ants swore at him when he stood on their faces. One lady ant tried to pinch his bottom. 

‘Who did that, who pinched my bottom?’ He tried to look indignant, but no one owned up.

At last he stood on the top, just as the sun came out from behind the clouds. 

‘What can you see?’ called the chief from somewhere down below.

‘Land,’ he said, wobbling about and trying to keep his balance,

A huge sigh of relief arose from the pyramid.

‘But it’s a long way away.’

The next sigh was one of despair.

‘Chief, I think the sun is drying up the ocean. It’s shrinking. I think we can walk to the shore.’

A cheer came up from the pyramid and suddenly it wasn’t there anymore. They were all piling over the side, leaving poor Strawberry Jam falling through the air to bounce on the raft.

‘Hey, wait for me.’





By Dick Smith


“My God,” roared Dominant, from his place at the head of the table.“Our village is becoming quite stagnant and unpleasant. To work, to work,” he shouted again, “you lazy recalcitrant peasants.”

“Yes Sir, We will,” responded pliant Merchant meekly, “For we do not wish to be made redundant.”

“I’m tired and I wish to rest,” interjected Dormant. He eased himself up gently from his comfortable chair. “This village is redolant (sic) with disinfectant and deodorant. I am a hesitant participant in the aberrant activity you require.” He swung around to face the previous speaker.  “You, Merchant, are an ignorant, errant sycophant.” 

“Enough enough,” roared Dominant. “Your, self absorbant (sic) behaviour, Dormant, fills me with intolerant rage. Your incessant, blatant and defiant somnolence makes me indignant.” 

“Oh dear, Oh dear, cried Elegant,” the radiant bon vivant of the community, “I am a tolerant but reluctant participant in this important but seemingly constant cant. I am little more than an attendant at your court.  A lubricant to your pageant.  Dominant, your over exuberant rant is malignant and accelerant and reminiscant (sic) of a  giant elephant. Dormant your blatant and defiant attitude likens you to a hesitant mendicant. Merchant you are naught but an arrogant  flatulant (sic) superannuitant. Alas I am but a servant ... a debutant to your constant want … a coolant to your distant chant.”

“Elegant, I am cognisant of your radiant but rampant chemoattractant antiperspirant,” raged the giant Dominant. “I also recognise your jubilant and almost clairvoyant  persona. However your aberrant, adulterant and almost retardant behaviour makes you an intellectually mutant consultant. I reject your contribution as that of a malignant participant.”

“And now,” cried Dominant, living up to his name, “to work you hesitant ignorant peasants or my boot will become a protuberant stimulant.”





By Shirley Hawkes


There was a quiver, a slight tremor, a faint murmur in the distance. The ants stopped their headlong rush of busy-ness. A few leaves were shaken from the trees. The earth was moving.

With one mind, the ants turned and hurried back the way they had come. The well-trodden tracks shook and buckled. They would have to hurry to reach the safety of their tunnels and hope their home did not become an enormous catacomb.

The murmur was louder now. It increased to a thunderous rumble, interspersed with the screams of baboons and warning roars from a nearby pride of lions. They, too, started to retreat to a place that afforded some protection from the noise that was drawing closer to them. There was little they could do about the shivering earth beneath their feet though – it continued to tremble and throb as herds of wildebeest and zebra, normally grazing placidly together, frantically galloped past.

Something had frightened the elephants. Normally when they put one of their massive feet to the ground, the minuscule shock was felt and accepted by all, but now they ran in panic, each one feeding off the tension of the other, trampling everything in their path and creating massive movement through the earth's surface.

Their flight covered many miles. They could not maintain that manic momentum and, mostly from exhaustion, they slowed to a lumbering walk, still very watchful and alert to any further perceived danger. The shaking subsided.

The ants returned to the surface, the baboons continued to chatter among themselves, and the lions stretched and yawned and went back to the difficult job of sleeping in the afternoon sun.





By Robert Alan Moore


Using a water droplet as a magnifying glass, a marooned family of visiting Argentine Ants ignited a tiny pine-sap-fuelled torch that was just hot enough to allow inflation of a small throwaway plastic bag, enabling them to crawl perilously upwards and reclaim a spot on dry land across the river.   

Not to be outdone by the Argentinians, and never slow on the uptake, a gang of indigenous Crypt Ants, who happened to have  a ready supply of methane gas, were able to inflate a large, and now hard to find, ‘disposable’ yellow pak n save shopping bag that lifted several-hundred of them at once across  a huge area, and brought them down unhurt in a new place — having kept well away from the pine-sap torch of course.

The sudden deluge had forced them to take such desperate measures.

Vast armies of ants had thrived through the great drought, having a high old time as they swarmed along the cracks in the lawns and through the gaps under the footpaths, while  fence posts wobbled and foundations of homes loosened, causing doors to push back and jam the opposite direction from the rainy season. 

Interestingly people have devoted a lot of time and effort into thinking about ants. We have tried to figure out how many there are in the world and how much they all weigh compared to us. The estimators say there are at ten-thousand trillion ants, which is a tricky number to get your head around. To make it harder, keep in mind that the whole list (of ...illions) goes million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, and decillion. Far out, eh.

In any case people inevitably make comparisons. Ants behave a lot like people. They are highly social, live in very large groups, good farmers, predatory, they make war on other groups of ants. Taking it up a level, ideas-wise, and just a bit further out, nowadays, we have perfectly credible, honourable, educated  scientists seeing the possibility of intelligent life scattered throughout our galaxy and the vast clusters of galaxies beyond ours. We can’t help wondering what comparisons they might be making, what interest they have. Could it be comparable perhaps to our interest in the quadrillions of ants who are virtually unaware of a few billions of us. Perhaps they who might be out there, are only vaguely aware, leaving the less-than-brilliant everyday peasants such as us alone.




And a poem with no name by Annemarie

The place I want to be in this world

Where oh where would I like to be

In a house or in a tree

Where oh where would I like to be.

Having been to many places

Seeing also many faces

Asking the question once again,

Where oh where would I like to be.

Yes it was a trauma shifting

From my old home overseas.

But this new place I now live in

Is ideal for me you see.

I have all my things around me

Family and friends I love to see

It matters not where I am really

All one needs is a kitchen and a bed.

I am snug as a bug as you’ve read.

—Annemare Endt-Ferwerda 30-01-2020



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