Saturday 28 October 2017

Cee's Black and White - Bricks or Stones

This week the topic is 

Bricks or Stones

Here is my entry:

Stone House

Stone House full view

A mill stone set in to a brick wall

Stones at a garden centre

Stone path

Friday 27 October 2017

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: October 2017

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: October 2017

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.

After a rather average couple of months in the reading sphere I was lucky enough to be able to read this book as an Advanced Readers Copy.  I am delighted to say it is the best book I've read this year, ten months in.  In my view it worth more than 5*.



J.A. McLachlan 

Here is the blurb on the book:

Would you pay someone to bear your sorrow? 
During the middle ages, a peasant's superstition held that a mother mourning the death of her child could "sell her sorrow" by selling a nail from her child's coffin to a travelling peddler. 

Lady Celeste is overwhelmed with grief when her infant son dies. Desperate to find relief, she escapes the convent where her husband has sent her to recover and begs a passing peddler to buy her sorrow. Jean, the cynical peddler she meets, is nobody’s fool; he does not believe in superstitions and insists Celeste include the valuable ruby ring on her finger along with the nail in return for his coin. Jean and Celeste both find themselves changed greatly by their transaction, but all their attempts to reverse the effects of their fateful choice fail.

When Celeste learns that without her wedding ring her husband may set her aside, she determines to retrieve it—without reclaiming her sorrow. But how will she find the peddler and convince him to give up the precious ruby ring?

If you like realistic medieval fiction with evocative prose, compelling characters and a unique story, you’ll love this incredible, introspective journey into the south of France in the 12th Century. Buy The Sorrow Stone and begin your journey today. 

Now here is my 5* review:

WOW!  This is the best book I've read this year.  Superbly written.

Set in South of France during 12 Century it is the story of Lady Celeste and a peddler called Jean.  The book gripped me from the beginning to the end. 

Fantastic writing.

I’m almost stuck for words – good, superb, brilliant and many more adjectives in the same vein, to try and do this book justice.

The story encompasses the time brilliantly, from barbaric acts to acts of kindness, from superstition to religion to heretics, the poor and the rich.  It evokes everyday living from the smells and sounds of the straw on the floor to the dangers of travelling the road alone.  How grief can consume somebody’s mind, how superstitions can play havoc with the mind. 

If you like historical fiction set in medieval times then this is a book you will enjoy reading.

I was gripped by the story, by the writing, by the emotions evoked by this book.  

I do hope there are more books to come by this author.  

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Cee's Foto Fun Letter J

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 
Letter J 
Needs to contain the Letter J 
and be at least 6 letters long

This week is Letter J  

Needs to contain the Letter J and be at least 6 letters long 

(juggler, jackpot, bluejay, enjoying, subject, pyjamas).

Here is my entry:

Majestic Wine Warehouse

Pyjama set for my grandson 

Delivery lorry 

Jayden bear

Friday 20 October 2017

CEE'S Black and White: In The Distance

This week the topic is In the Distance

Here are my pictures in the distance:

Town in the distance on a misty day

Boats at anchor

Seaside houses

Road leading over a medieval bridge

Party in the distance

You can just see the pylons in the distance

Village nestled in the valley

Wednesday 18 October 2017




Dark Places


Graham and Laura waved them off, calling out, take care, drive safely.  Tanya nodded, giving them a wry smile and said, of course she’d drive safely.

Tanya hated driving home late at night in the dark. Her boyfriend persuaded her it was her turn to drive so she drank lemonade and water.  It was a 40 minute drive back to their place and the weather was closing in.  The clouds scudded across the bright moon, darkening the night, the wind picked up as she turned the key in the ignition.

The small, low-slung sports car started up with its unique rumble. She felt the throb of the engine through her feet resting lightly on the pedals, up through her bottom sitting on the hard bucket seat, supposedly the best seating for this type of sports car, not for her bony bum though.  The vibration travelled up her body, down her arms reaching her fingertips gripping the steering wheel tightly. She tried to relax as she let go of the clutch and slowly drove out their friends’ driveway.

Within minutes her boyfriend, Ben, was asleep, snoring his head off.  A few beers did that to him. She wasn’t a very confident driver, add in darkness, a storm, thunder and lightning and she was a nervous wreck.  Shaking her head Tanya steeled herself for the drive home.  He must trust her driving ability to fall asleep like that.

No, it was an alcoholic stupor he was in.

She jumped out of her seat as a clap of thunder reverberated through the car.  Her heart was beating nineteen to the dozen, her grip on the steering wheel tightened, her knuckles white with the effort of controlling the car. 

Relax, relax, relax.  There’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s just a storm. 

Yeah, just a storm at nearly midnight on Halloween.  Up ahead she could see red brake lights, thank goodness there was another car on the road.  It was so eerie when she couldn't see anyone else about.  She pressed down on the accelerator, keeping an eye on the speedometer as the needle climbed steadily up.  The engine began to whine, she eased off the pedal, checked the gear stick, yep, she was in the right gear.  She looked at the road and couldn't see anything in front of her as the rain pelted down. The windscreen wipers were going at full blast, barely clearing a space for her to peer out of. 

Relax, Tanya, it’s just a storm.

She could have sworn it was her father’s voice in her mind.  That film they’d watched at their friends’ house was playing on her mind.  ‘An American Werewolf in London.’   Not a lot of plot but she was jumping all over the place at the scary bits as Graham and Ben laughed at her reactions.  Laura didn’t seem to mind the film, so Tanya went with it.

Approaching the crossroads she struggled to remember which turn to take, left or right.  She shook Ben’s leg and shook him again.  ‘Which way, Ben?’  No response.  She screamed as she shook him again.  ‘Which way?’  Tears threatened to fall from her eyes as he slowly came to.  He took in their surroundings, pointed left before he slumped and started snoring again.  She would not forget this night in a hurry.

Oh, thank goodness, a main road at last with some street lighting.  Just as Tanya relaxed a bit, bright lightning lit up the sky in front of her.  Blinding her with its intensity it forked across the road showing up the shadows in the hedgerow, she could have sworn there were figures there waiting to jump out at the car and claw their way through the soft top vinyl covering.

Relax duck, relax and concentrate on your driving.

There was her dad’s voice again.  Oh, she wished he was here.  He wouldn't have fallen asleep as a passenger.  It was so rude of her boyfriend.  Maybe Ben wouldn't last much longer.  It depends on how he treated her after this.

Now the storm moved to the side and followed her.  It shadowed the car.  It kept parallel to their route.  She could see it in her peripheral vision.  She looked to her left, past the snoring profile of the man sitting beside her, the thunder bellowed its power at her, mocking her for looking at it.  The forked lightning struck the hillside, lighting up the fields below, an eerie white light suffused her vision.  She tried to control the car as her trembling limbs juddered on the accelerator.  Her hands tensed on the wheel.  They tyres seemed to lose their grip on the road, she steered round a blind bend, just missing a lamp post on the side of the road.  The pavement reared up to meet them, she bumped over the kerb and managed to manoeuvre the car back on to the roadway. 

That was a close call.  The car stopped.  She had to get going again. The lashing rain took that moment to lessen to a drizzle and then petered out completely.  Tanya looked in the rear view mirror, it was pitch black behind her, the street lights had gone out.  She looked ahead as she slowly edged forward again. The moonlight lit up the road, the clouds had gone, the lunar glow shone clearly on the road ahead which was dry as a bone, as though the storm hadn't reached this part of the route.

Well done, darling, well done.

She parked outside their house, breathing sighs of relief.  Ben woke up, stumbled out of the car barely waiting for her to lock the vehicle and open the door with her key.  He stumbled to the sofa and instantly started snoring again.

She couldn't believe what had just happened.  OK so it was Halloween.  Did that really make such a difference?  One thing she knew, she would never drive home late at night during a storm on 31st October ever again. 

Word count: 1000
17 October 2017

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge Letter I or eye

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter I – Needs to start with the letter I 

This week is Letter I – Needs to start with the letter I.

All you need this week is a topic that starts with the letter I.  Or for those who have a hard time with the letter I, you may also use a photo of an eye, since the letter and word sound alike.

Here is my entry:

Indian restaurant

Street name

Iron Age Round House replica

Islands In The Stream theatre concert 

My Aunty IVY married Ted in 1937

Grandson’s eyes

Friday 13 October 2017

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Indoor Walkways, Hallways, Elevators

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Indoor Walkways, Hallways, Elevators

This week the topic is 

Indoor Walkways, Hallways, Elevators, etc


Hotel corridor

Corridor - steam train

Hotel hallway

Old fashioned gated lift

Thursday 5 October 2017

Cee's Black and White Challenge - Anything Farm Related

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: All Things Farm Related

Cee says:

This week the topic is All Things Farm Related.  

Farms can lead to many things in my mind and I sure you all have a view of what a farm is.  You can have something as simple as a pitch fork, so the view of an entire farm whether it be filled with animals or plants.  Let’s see how creative you can get with this topic.

                                          Here Is My Contribution To This Week’s Challenge


Fields and farmhouse/farm buildings in the distance

Farm entrance and barn

Tractor working the field

Pub sign – Jolly Farmer

CEE's Fun Foto - Letter G

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter G – Needs to have the letter G (log, goggle, geometry, lodge)