“Windswept and interesting” – Restructure Oct 22

This month’s Restructure
This month’s piece is from Billy Connolly’s autobiography:
“Windswept and Interesting”
Published by Two Roads (2021)

We will be taking 3 excerpts about his colourful childhood and rewriting them.
Enjoy! Please comment and join in 🙂

In the "Restructure" exercise, we rewrite text using similar vocabulary and phrases (synonyms) to keep very close to the original meaning. In this regard, it is different to the "Enrich your writing" exercise.

The text comes from real-world examples in books, articles, websites etc.

This exercise teaches you how to express the same or similar things in different ways - just like native speakers can. We also look at how the tone changes slightly with similar words.


"I was walking in the park and saw a dog chasing a bird."

This could also be expressed as:
"I was strolling in the park when I saw a dog racing after a bird."

Also, notice how the tone changes slightly: 'strolling' feels more care-free and like they were taking their time; 'racing' gives a sense of speed.

You can submit your work to the comments sections in the lesson and at the end. The teacher chooses certain pieces to correct, re-write or make comments. Students can too.

Over the coming days and weeks, the teacher will post a variety of corrected examples of student work, along with some extra comments. These examples will be posted at the end of the main lesson.

"Windswept and Interesting" by Billy Connolly

 Created using images from:  Pixabay.com - RonPorter.

Excerpts taken from "Windswept and Interesting" Published by Two Roads (2021); an autobiography by Billy Connolly

Excerpt 1
I was born in a flat in a tenement building at 65 Dover Street in Anderston, near the centre of Glasgow. Tenement blocks were all over the city then; they had become the most popular kind of housing since the nineteenth century. They were solid sandstone apartment buildings with four storeys and a staircase in the middle. They had a narrow close – entrance hall – leading to a small back courtyard where people did their washing. Some Glasgow tenements were considered posh, but in my street they were overcrowded and deteriorating to the point of becoming slums.

Excerpt 2
Dover Street was noisy. Coalmen would rumble past with their horses and carts, while rag and bone men would get your attention with military bugle calls: 'doo di doo, doo di doo diddly umpum…’ Chimney sweeps wheeled their hand-barrows inside the close and yelled 'sweeeeeeeep' so it echoed upstairs. Children would play football on the street, using a lamp post as the goalpost. Upstairs, women would sit on the windowsill or hang out of the windows, chatting to each other or shouting at children in the street: ‘What’ve I told you about throwing stones ...?'

Excerpt 3
Drunks would stumble into our back courtyard and give impromptu singing concerts. If these had merit, residents would throw down pennies. But if the singer was giving everyone a headache someone would first heat the pennies over the stove using a pair of pliers. ‘There ya go, ya winey bastard!!! Take yer wailing elsewhere…!!!’ ‘Ach Oucha OUCHHH!!!’
Each excerpt will be dealt with in a separate 'topic' - you can do your own rewrite there.
You will find three examples from the teacher for each one.
"Open for business! We are 'live'..."

 Created using images from:  Pexels.com - ColiN00B.

At the moment, this lesson is 'live'. It is open for students to post work, comments and corrections.
In the coming days and weeks, the teacher will add corrections and suggestions based on a variety of student work taken from the comments sections.
(On each 'topic' page, click on "Work so far..." for corrected examples and suggestions, and see the comment sections at the bottom for all student additions.)

In due time, the lesson will be "closed" and no more comments will be possible.

So please contribute and keep coming back to see updates!

Now, let's get rewriting!
(Click on a topic below to rewrite an excerpt.)

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