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InterAct: Short stories, poems and quizzes

Notes from the Neuro Café on 21st April 2021.


Today we were joined by Emma who is a professional actor from InterAct Stroke Support. InterAct Stroke Support started as InterAct Reading Service in the year 2000 and was the brainchild of theatre director Caroline Smith. Since the pandemic they have gone virtual and are able to offer InterAct at Home. InterAct at Home service is very flexible and can work around you and your preferences. They have a pool of fantastic InerAct actors ready to provide reading session to you or your group.


Emma, like many of our participants, has a diverse back ground. She was originally from Scotland but her parents and grandparents came from Ireland and Italy. She was very impressed by all the different cultures in our group which always make for interesting conversations. Emma also had some close links to Notting Hill, where the LEGS studio is and some of our participants live, as she lived here while at university. She was able to share some of her interesting stories from Notting Hill in that time.

Short story

After introductions, Emma recited a short comical story by Gervaise Phinn called “Poetry Please”. It was about the school days, which was very entertaining and got all the participants thinking about former school days and how their experiences were.

We then heard some anecdotes of school reports of famous/ historical figures including Winston Churchill, Judy Dench, Richard Briers. The remarks on the report cards were surprising to say the least.

Common Phrases

There are many common phrases that we use today in conversation that have been passed down through the generations, but how far back do they really go and how did these sayings come to light? Emma took us through some anecdotes of sayings that we use in everyday speech that have their origins traced back to the 1500s such as:

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. In the past, families used to take turns washing in the big steel bath where they would reuse the water. In those times there was a very different hierarchy to that which we might expect today. This order meant that the babies were washed last in water that was very dirty. Water that was so dirty that they could get lost in, hence the expression.

Some other interesting phrases we discovered the origins of were:

“Chewing the fat”

“Bring home the bacon”

“It’s raining cats and dogs”


Emma then hosted a word finder quiz which brought out everyone’s competitive side. She would read a sentence and we tried to think of the appropriate work which described the sentence. The hint was that the first round answers ended in ‘ING’. This was very enjoyable and got all the participants thinkING.


We ended with a comical poem, “The Alto’s Lament” by an unknown author which was about a choir and gave everybody a good laugh.

We hope to have some more visits from InterAct in the future at the Neuro Café. If people are interested in one-on-one sessions, the charity offers two a week to individuals or groups free of charge.

As usual we finished up with some of our own jokes to see the session to a close, which always bring a smile.

The Neuro Café will continue next week on the 28th of April at the usual time of 10am.

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