Friday 30 June 2017

Cee's Which Way Photo Challenge

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – June 30, 2017

This Which Way challenge is all about capturing the roads, walks, trails, rails, steps, signs, etc. we move from one place to another on.  You can walk on them, climb them, drive them, ride on them, as long as the specific way is visible.  Any angle of a bridge is acceptable as are any signs.

Here are my pictures for this week: 

Cliftonville, Kent, UK 

A country lane near Ashford, Kent UK

A busy road in Hythe, Kent, UK.

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: June 2017

The Armchair Squid says: 
Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  


This month I re-read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë before a trip to the theatre to see a modern production of Jane Eyre.   

I downloaded the book on to my Kindle, 364 pages, and thank goodness Kindle has a built-in dictionary because I had to look up many words.   

I had read the book at school along with other classic literature when I was studying English Lit and thought I knew and could remember the story but surprise, surprise, although I remembered the gist of the plot the content held surprisingly modern themes for a book written in 1847 by an English woman.

It is a different style of writing to modern day novels.  Rather wordy and very descriptive but that didn’t take away any enjoyment I had reading the book.  I did find I had to concentrate and focus more on the words than I would usually.  In fact reading it in bed before going to sleep wasn't something my mind could take so I’d go back to a more light-hearted read. 

It probably took me around four days to read it which is a long time for me to have a book unfinished. 

I am so glad I read it before I saw the modern production at the theatre. 

Now the actual visit to the theatre was something else.  I must admit I was rather sceptical at seeing a modern version.  We are very lucky in this area that the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury brings large productions from National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic to our neck of the woods.  

Front cover of the programme

The stage setting

The upper auditorium of the Marlowe Theatre

I was engrossed throughout the three hour performance (with a 15 minute interval).  There are no scene changes, the cast is on the stage all the time.  The performance was physically demanding, the musicians who were on stage all the time were brilliant and the soloist added poignancy and pathos to the production that only enhanced the whole experience. 

The actors took several roles each, apart from the two main characters, Jane and Mr Rochester.  Some of the men, fully bearded, portrayed schoolgirls at the boarding school and even the dog, Pilot, which did bring a few laughs and light relief.

The music, the special effects, lighting, stage direction, music, costume changes on set were all absolutely brilliant.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to re-read the book and to enjoy this production of Jane Eyre. 

Cee's Black &White Photo Challenge: Hands, Feet or Paws

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Hands, Feet, or Paws

Tuesday 27 June 2017


Our photo prompt this week is provided by Eric Wicklund.

© Eric Wicklund


The emerald stone sparkled in the black box.  Janine’s hand covered her mouth as she stared at Steve kneeling on the ground before her.  His beseeching look tore her heart.  How could she turn him down?  How could she accept his proposal?

The engagement ring was beautiful.  It reminded her of a leaf poking out of the ground, vibrant green, lush and ready to grow.  Was she, though, ready to grow?  Was she ready to relinquish her single status and become one of a pair?

Steve’s face fell.  His knee was hurting him.  His eyes searched her emerald green ones. 

‘I thought it matched the colour of your eyes.’  There was a catch in his voice.

Janine couldn't speak.  She put her hand in his, going in to his embrace, strong arms enfolded her slim body.   Now, she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with this man. 

She nodded.  She spoke. Quietly she said the words he wanted to hear.  ‘Yes, I will.’

Happy tears flowed from her eyes, the moisture of his matching tears fell on her hair.  Her heart expanded with love, fear and trepidation and joy.  He slipped the ring on her finger.

Word count: 200

Wednesday 21 June 2017



I was standing in my kitchen this morning preparing lunch for myself and my husband, in reverie chopping celery and spring onions to toss in a salad when a song starts playing on the radio. 

Immediately I am transported back to the age of 16 years old. I was standing in my first ‘serious’ boyfriend’s room where he had just put on the gramophone Simon and Garfunkel’s record, A Bridge Over Troubled Water.

It is such a strong memory, even after all these years. It was the first time I had been alone in a room with a young man without any adults around – his parents were out for the afternoon.

He was a couple of years older than me, he had his own car and was very cool.  His parents converted their basement for him into his own ‘pad.’  There was a sofa, table, chairs, something to make drinks with and he had his OWN record player.

He asked me if I’d heard the record before and I think I’d replied I had heard it on the radio.  He asked me if I had ever listened to the lyrics.  I had never really actually listened to the lyrics of a song before.  I’d always known I’d liked the tune, liked the chorus but had never given it the attention it actually deserved. 

That one question stayed with me throughout my life and since that day I have always made of point of actually listening to the lyrics of a song.   

When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

We listened to that record over and over again in those very happy couple of hours in his basement.

So thank you Peter for that truly amazing gift you gave me.


The diamond ring set sparkled on her hand

She had travelled many miles over sea and land

To celebrate Christmas with her friends and family

Her wedding day four days later, elegant and fancy

She felt a twinge of regret but a deep sigh relieved her

There was a question with an unknown answer

One person was missing and she didn’t know what to do

Should she have made advances, was she wrong not to?

Stupidly, stubbornly she’d burned her bridges several years ago

She had achieved her dream, she was the blushing bride

She walked proudly by her husband’s side.

Five years later she reached out

Offered the olive branch but filled with doubt

She need not have worried so

The answer she’d been waiting for

Came back with love and care

The past is the past, gone, can’t be changed

Replied her dad, let’s not be estranged

Now a planned visit in a few months’ time

As she returns but in the meantime

They write over emails, stay in contact

She’s always loved her dad, that’s a fact

She thought of him every single day

From 12,000 miles away.


Photo credit:  Sally Stackhouse

Pedestrian Bridge over M20 motorway Ashford, Kent, UK on a dark, stormy day in January 2015.  

Photo credit:  Sally Stackhouse
Medieval Bridge at Teston, Maidstone, Kent, UK. Not just one arch but several spanning the River Medway. 

Photo credit:  Sally Stackhouse
The same Medieval Bridge at Teston, Maidstone, Kent, UK showing the beautiful arch.

 Medieval Bridge at Teston, Maidstone, Kent, UK.

Photo credit:  Sally Stackhouse

 Newenden Bridge spanning the River Rother, Kent, UK. 

My grandparents brought up their family of three boys in this village, my father was the eldest child. 

Photo credit:  Sally Stackhouse

Bridge at the River Alde, Suffolk, UK.  We visited here on a holiday a few years ago. 

Photo credit:  Sally Stackhouse

My grandson and his father feeding the ducks standing on a bridge at Eastwell Lake, Ashford, Kent, UK, nearly four years ago now. 

My eldest grandson and my daughter a few years ago on a bridge over the river Thames looking at the London Eye.  These days my grandson is taller than me!


Here is our writing prompt from Debb the Minimalist Wednesday Writing
If you want to join in please go to her blog:

June 15, 2017
Writing Prompt 6/15/17
Hello!  Ready for a picnic — or an outside snack – now that summer is almost here?
This prompt will be a bit unusual, but I know you can handle it!
See the photos below.   I would like us to write a story of any length – long or short! and tell which was the favorite picnic according to a person that was present at both picnics.  Why did they like that picnic the most?  What were the negative things he or she remembers about the best picnic?  (IF you want to take it a step further — what were the positive things about the picnic not chosen to be the best?)
Craft your adjectives to bring us directly into the scene by the strength and beauty of your words.  Help us to “use” all our senses when we read your story.
I wish we could all go on a picnic together!  Wouldn’t THAT be fun?  Well, the best we can do in that regard is to really have fun writing about the picnics…



Sunday afternoon the rain was lashing the window panes, the wind howling outside, eerie sounds moaned through the cracks in the wall.   Jim bent and lit the fire, Geraldine had laid it ready this morning before she put the Sunday roast in the oven.  Now they’d eaten the wonderful meal she’d prepared, he’d finished the dishes and she was making a cuppa while he tended to the fire in the lounge.  Really he should have done it sooner before they settled in for the afternoon but it wouldn't take long for the heat of the heat of the fire to penetrate the room.

Half an hour later, tea consumed husband and wife sat back and relaxed.  Geraldine had removed several photo albums out of the bookcase and together they opened the pages reminiscing about the photos and the people, friends and loved ones that were memorialised amongst those pages.

The album with a summery cover was the next one to peruse.  Jim opened it and the first photo brought back many memories of several years ago.  Geraldine started to relate her thoughts about that time they all went on a picnic. 

The red gingham tablecloth covered one of the put-up tables, a patterned cloth covered the other one.  Now were they just setting up or packing up, neither of them could actually remember.  What they did remember wasn't necessarily the food but the company they were with.

Jim remembered the smells of the grass, the aroma of the green leaves on the sapling trees in the background and the sunlight filtering through the branches.

Geraldine remembered their friends laughing, chatting and joking together.  That time was perfect.  It was an ideal setting, the weather was perfect (unlike today).  It was probably one the best days out they had had out for a long time. 

Gazing in to the fire, watching the flames, Geraldine and Jim thought back to that particular summer’s afternoon.   They did remember the food was good, nothing special, a few sandwiches, a pork pie, a salad, some fruit for dessert and a few Thermos flasks, one with tea and one with lemonade to keep cool. 

‘Ah yes, those were the days,’ said Jim, ‘but what about the bees and wasps?’

Geraldine laughed, ‘yes, and the ants.  Oh my goodness, those pesky ants.’

They both laughed as they remembered the good and the bad.  Eating outside wasn't always idyllic.
They turned several pages in the photo album, remembering events and people and places.  The last page contained another photograph of a picnic. 

‘Now this picnic was entirely different,’ said Geraldine.

‘Ah yes, I remember,’ replied Jim.

An open-air concert held at Leeds Castle in Kent with the Philharmonic Orchestra playing live, with the 1812 overture as a finale and real cannon fire.

‘Well that cannon fire went right through me.  I thought my chest was going to explode when that went off.’  Geraldine laughed, Jim patted her hand, ‘you always were such a wimp, my dear.’  He winked at his lovely wife.

‘It was a lovely summer’s evening, packed with people but that didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the music.’

‘No, nor the glasses of Rosé wine, chased down with a few fresh strawberries.’

‘I wish we were young enough to do that sort of thing again,’ sighed Geraldine.

Jim laughed, ‘yes, but if we got down on the rug we’d never get up again.’

Geraldine continued, ‘then we trekked back to the car park, luckily the bags were much lighter.  The queues to get out of the car park were horrendous.’

‘We decided to stay and wait until it had died down.  We ate the last of the sandwiches and had a swig of cold tea to wash it down.’

‘Oh, the smell of the petrol fumes as the cars idled in front of us waiting to get out of the car park. That wasn't very nice.  How long did we wait?’  Geraldine couldn't remember.

Jim thought they’d sat there for a good hour or more before he even attempted to switch on their engine.  They listened to late night radio under a starlit sky and eventually made it home in the early hours of the morning. 

Word count: 700

Saturday 17 June 2017


Posted on June 14, 2017 by rogershipp


WEEK #25


The library in the big house was an unknown quantity.  There were rumours in the village that it was stacked from floor to ceiling with books and papers.  Hetty had never read a book in her life.  She wasn't lucky enough to go to school.  Her mother kept popping out babies and Hetty, being the eldest, was a surrogate mother to all the children while her mother struggled through yet another pregnancy.  Her father worked at the big house.  He told her that it was another world.  Another life that wasn't for the likes of her.  All she could hope for was to enter into service when she was 12. 

Three years from now and Hetty would be out of this hovel.  Out of washing nappies, wiping runny noses.  She would be able to see all these books, maybe she would be allowed to touch them while she dusted them.  Maybe she could learn to read, somehow, someday she would read.  That was her dream.  A dream that she didn’t dare voice.  A dream she would never share with anyone.   A dream that kept her going.  A dream to see her through the drudgery of her days. 

Word count: 197

Friday 16 June 2017


I'm joining in with Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn't be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit.

Photo credit: Dale Rogerson 


Just one more drink.  He smiled at me, a leering grin that turned my stomach. I was with him now.  I’d said the words yesterday at the Registry Office, pledged myself to him.  Now we were on honeymoon.  Now I regretted my decision.  He was already showing his true nature.  My phone had gone missing.  I was never alone.  He waited outside the bathroom door.  He waited until I was asleep before he did what he needed to do.   The man at the table opposite kept looking at us.  Any minute now his temper would rise.  Any minute now. 

Wednesday 14 June 2017


Debbie hosts Wednesday Writings where she provides us with photo prompts, random words and a word count.  This week we have three photos and six random words.

June 8, 2017
Writing Prompt 6/8/17
Use the three photos here and incorporate these words into your 600 word story:

mouse   stage   screw   lap   map   uniform

The memory hit her hard. Lilian swallowed back the tears.  She would not start crying again.  Sitting on the bench she surveyed her surroundings. The stage was set for a beautiful day.  A border of flowers grew behind her, uniform in colour, the bright yellow cheering up her mood.  The birds were singing, the summer breeze light and soft whispering around her face and cheeks.  Did she imagine it or did she feel the gentle touch of Dan’s fingers caressing her face.  Well of course she imagined it.  It wasn’t possible or was it? She rested her hands in her lap as she thought back to a week ago.

Mystic Meg at the summer fair in the local village had given her a reading.  Lilian was so sceptical when she emerged from the tent.  Her friend, Daphne, looked at her raising an eyebrow.  Laughing Lilian told her what Mystic Meg had said, utter scorn and disbelief in her voice. 

‘Dan is always by your side.  He said he loves you and will show you in many ways that he is still with you.’

Linking arms the two friends laughed as they made their way to the ice-cream van to enjoy a delightful cornet.

Back to the present Lilian smiled as a family of four went past her seat.  The children were bickering in the way brothers and sisters always did with chastisements from their parents.  Dad carried a picnic basket, checking the map on his smartphone, Lilian heard the Sat Nav giving them directions.  Mum carried a hold-all with all sorts of pieces contained therein.  Lilian could see a Frisbee poking out of the top.

Enough of this. Lilian got up and continued her walk.  She left the park and continued down a country lane, only known to the locals for which she was grateful.  Glancing at her watch she affirmed there was time to continue her ramble before she met her friends.

Lilian stopped at the edge of the copse, taking the opportunity to unscrew the top of her bottle of mineral water and take a drink.  The water had stayed cool and was so refreshing she felt revitalised.  A movement caught her eye.  Something scurried away in the undergrowth.  She wished she knew a bit more about wildlife in the country.  She thought it was a shrew or maybe a harvest mouse but she’d have to look it up when she got a signal on her phone.    

Lilian relied on her memory.  She was almost certain there was a path through the small woodland to the next village.  Checking the time once again she realised there was only half an hour before she was meeting her friends at the Jolly Farmer pub.

Traipsing through the woods, the smells were delightful, that green hint of bark, the slight damp smell of rotting leaves underfoot and the dappling of the sunlight through the branches of the trees all contributed to lifting her mood.  Once again she thought of Dan, she imagined she felt his hand in hers as he helped her over a fallen log.  She shook her head admonishing herself again.

There was the pub, with Anita and Rex, Shirley and Mary just arriving in their cars.  A pleasant hour was spent dining and chatting.  They really couldn't resist the delicious desserts that were on offer and Lilian indulged in a rather creamy affair drizzled with a strawberry sauce. 

All in all a rather wonderful way to spend a Sunday.  She must be grateful and she would.  In her mind’s eye she saw Dan nod his head in agreement.

Word count: 600