Friday 29 December 2017

Cee's Black & White - Water

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Water

This week the topic is Water.  

Any kind of water counts for this week’s theme from steam to stream, rain or sleet and, yes for you northern folks, snow and ice. 

Leeds Castle moat

Leeds Castle moat

Rutland Water

Pond with heron figures

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: 29 December 2017

The last Friday in the month is the time for  Cephalopod Coffeehouse.  

This is 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.  

Hosted by:

The book I am reviewing today has a 4* rating from me. 

371 pages


Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time - abandonment or demolition.

Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater - the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard - little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up - until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. 

Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. 

A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.

One woman, one house, one hundred years.



A powerful read, well written chronicling one women’s long life, over 100 years, although the book doesn’t go into the last 50 odd or so years of her life, otherwise it would be a huge missive.  Evelyn is out of place in her family, a late child, treated poorly by her family, treated as barely a duty, stuck in the depths of Yorkshire in a crumbling mansion.  The house is her home, its secret corridors and outdoor byways her own secret places.  

As adulthood crashes in on her, she finds life in the real world is not easy, she is abused, physically and emotionally.  She finds love with a visiting artist who travels a lot.  World War II breaks out and everything changes.

This is a story of love, lust, tragedy and family, of social stigmas, class divides, loyalty and pulling together in adversity.  The epilogue brings the whole book together.  

It’s never boring, cleverly written, atmospheric and a very enjoyable read if you like a family saga with one main character which I certainly did. 

Thursday 21 December 2017


Here is my story:


It was over.  The war was over.  Daphne glanced down through the grimy window on to the celebrations taking place below.  Dancing in the streets.  Smiles on faces.  You could taste the euphoria.  Daphne realised it wouldn't last.  They thought all their problems would now go away.  She knew differently.  She turned back to her patients, tending to their needs.  These poor soldiers, sailors, airmen their lives would always be different.  They would have to make new lives for themselves, new beginnings, a fresh start but all free to live without oppression.

George tried to take in his surroundings.  What he could see through the slit in the bandages covering most of his face was very limited.  He remembered bits and pieces, the screams, the pain, the agony all around him.  He felt his mind slip away into a dark recess, it was the only way he could cope.  Now it seems he was away from the fighting.  Away from the noise, the smells, the bitterness and grief that wafted through the air and permeated into every pore of his skin.  Now he was warm, not able to move very much, still hungry, still thirsty and still afraid.  

The next thing George knew was the voice of an angel asking him if he would like a cup of tea.  He tried to laugh.  He’d rather have a pint of best bitter, he didn’t care what the time was.  His upbringing and manners took over as he replied in a croaky voice that yes, he would very much like a cup of tea.

Strong, capable arms positioned themselves under his arms, as they lifted him to a seating position in the bed.  A waft of perfume consumed his senses.  His nostrils would remember that smell forever.  It took away the stench of the battlefield, the stink of the latrines, the iron smelling blood that seeped into his clothing. 

Daphne held a spouted cup to George’s mouth as he drew in a mouthful of tea.  His eyes focused on her hands as he managed to drink half the cup of liquid.  It had obviously been stewed over several hours but it was wet and, bliss of bliss, sweet on his taste buds.

Daphne sat by his bedside and introduced herself to him.  ‘I know your name is George,’ she said, smiling at him.  ‘You are probably wondering why you are here.  I'm afraid you suffered severe burns to most of your body but you are recovering very well.  It was touch and go to begin with. You are strong, a fighter and a very brave man, along with all your colleagues here and elsewhere.’

George nodded.  He had many questions but for now just drinking that cup of tea had worn him out.  His eyes started to close against his will, he wanted to keep listening to Daphne.   He could listen to that voice all day long and what he could see of her was lovely if rather blurry.  He wondered if his eyesight had been affected.  He wondered about the rest of his unit. 

Daphne patted his arm as she rose to leave him.  ‘Your commanding officer is coming by tomorrow.  He’ll tell you everything you want to know.  Just rest now and I’ll be along a little later to get you settled.’


Daphne returned to work after a few days leave.  Her heart started thumping as she realised a different man was incumbent in the bed George should be in.   Sister came up to her and went through the notes.  Keeping her expression professional Daphne waited, her shoulders relaxed as Sister’s monotone described George’s move to a convalescent home nearer to his parents.

The London hospital closed its doors six months later and Daphne transferred to the Cottage Hospital in Suffolk.  She had to keep nursing, it was her vocation.  Many people needed her care.  As she nursed her patients she often thought of George.   She didn’t even know where he lived.  There was something about that man that wouldn't leave her.  Many times she tried to shrug off the feeling that she should make an effort to try and find him.  There was little or no hope of her being able to do that.  The War Office wouldn't pass any information to her as she wasn’t a relative. 

A couple of men had asked her out to the pictures or the village dance but she always declined.  It wouldn't be fair on them as she was still holding a candle for George albeit she’d only known him for maybe a week.  That week was all it had taken.  There was no way she could have let him know how she felt, she was his nurse and he was a patient.  It would have been unethical to show even the slightest hint that she had feelings for him.

George walked down the High Street.  He kept his head down with his hat pulled low over his forehead.  It shouldn't matter that his face was scarred, everybody had been so kind to him since he’d been discharged from the hospital and returned to his family home.  Now all he had to do was find a job.  They were scarce but he would take anything in an office.  Physically he couldn't do manual work because of his gammy leg and many other men needed those jobs more than he did.  Financially he was solvent with the inheritance from his grandparents to keep him afloat but he needed a mental stimulus or he would die of boredom. 

Then he heard it.  Then he smelt it.  He knew that voice of an angel.  He knew that perfume.  He looked around and there she was.  His angel, helping an old lady cross the road.  He wanted to call out.  He whispered her name, Daphne.

Daphne heard a whisper on the wind.  She turned her head as she reached the pavement.  It was George.  She smiled at him as her heart sang out in joy. 

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Cee's Foto Fun Challenge - Letter R

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: R – Needs to start with the letter R and have at least six letters

This week is Letter R – Needs to start with the letter R and have at least six letters (rabbit, racing, radios, relics, rivets, rotten, railroad, rhododendron, radish). 

£5 Remembrance coin


Pink Rabbit

Recycling bins

Raspberry Cheesecake

Friday 15 December 2017

Friday Fictioneers - Blind Date

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. 

Joining in with Friday Fictioneers, our photo prompt this week is supplied by Sandra Crook.


Anthony looked at his watch again, another minute had passed.  How long should he wait under the lamp before he could safely say that he’d been stood up?  He wished he hadn’t accepted the dare from his mates in the pub last night.  They’d obviously set him up for a fall.  He wouldn’t put it past them to be hiding somewhere with their phones ready to take his picture to send just to embarrass him.


Anthony whirled round.  A vision of gorgeousness stood behind him, blushing furiously he extended his hand and leaned in to kiss her rosy cheek.

Word count:  100

Cee's Black and White

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Abandoned or Alone

This week the topic is Abandoned or Alone. 

A lost baby seagull

Looking for his mum in the shop window!

Abandoned ruins

Lonely village hall and stage

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge - Letter Q

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter Q – Simply needs to have the letter Q

This week is 
Letter Q – Simply needs to have the letter Q  (queen, quiet, squeeze, squish). 

Here is my entry for this week:

Quill House

Orford Quay

Home-made quiches

Monday 11 December 2017

Sunday Photo Fiction

Each week a photo is used, donated by one of the participants of Sunday Photo Fiction, and the idea is to write a story with the photo as a prompt in 200 words or less

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Eric Wiklund


She promised to follow him to the ends of the earth.  A new adventure he said.  A new life he said.  New friends, new opportunities he said.  She believed him.  She believed in him.  The night of the wedding she wondered.  Shrugged her shoulders, things would get better.  The next night, she gritted her teeth and the next and the next.  When they arrived at their new home she could hardly walk.  She stood as tall as she could, her pride would not let her hurt show.  She smiled at the house that was theirs.  Not quite what she expected from his description.  Not what she’d hoped for.  The people stood at their doors, sullen and suspicious.  His arrogance was showing.  He was the lord of the manor and the peasants knew it.  Behind closed doors the nightly rituals continued, the pain and torture that he told her was love was relentless.

Hope came in the garden, peace descended upon her soul, a fluttering began in the pit of her tummy.  She knew then that she would endure. She had to for the sake of the new life stirring inside her.  She would find a way, escape was her hope.

Word count 200

Friday 8 December 2017

Friday Fictioneers

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 PROMPT © Dale Rogerson
Please be respectful of your readers and keep your story to 100 words or less. 


It was so cold she swore there were icicles on the end of her nose, she thought she looked like the bare tree adorned with sparkling dagger like icicles.

Alyson was tempted to look at her watch again, it was only a few moments ago that she had exposed her wrists to the biting cold.  Patience.   It was one of the disadvantages of always being early. 
She heard the squeak of the door then he appeared, muffled up against the cold, a quick hug and a kiss on her frozen nose before they hastened to their secret place. 

FFfAW Challenge

FFfAW Challenge-Week of December 5, 2017

144th Challenge
Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Week of 12-05 through 12-11-2017

This week's photo prompt is provided by Enisa. 
Thank you Enisa!


So many noises, so many images. Round eyed and startled, her fur bristled, her whiskers twitched, her ears were pricked trying to sort out the sounds. 

Daphne knew the move was right for them.  It was the only way forward.  Her redundancy pay out gave them a cushion for a little while.  She’d get through Christmas on her own, with the help of Kitty Kat.  She had picked her up a few days ago and then her world collapsed all around her.  No boyfriend, no job, no home but hey-ho it was almost Christmas, a miracle could happen. 

Who was she kidding?  No, the further she travelled the better, far away from the sneaks and self-satisfied smug work colleagues who thought they were mightier than her just because they kept their jobs. 

Good riddance too to the ex-love of her life who had said, ‘that’s life.’ 

Goodbye to you and hello new life, new opportunities and maybe, just maybe a new love in her life. 

She’d look Tony up when she got to the village.

Word count: 175

Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
1. A prompt photo will be provided each Monday pm to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.
2. Linking for this challenge begins on Monday pm and runs to the following Monday pm.
3. Please credit photo to photographer.
4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try and stay within this limit.
5. Please indicate the number of words in your story at the end of your story. (It doesn't count into the amount of words).
6. This is a flash fiction challenge (stories in 100-175 words or less) and each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, no serial (continuation) stories. They become too complicated for our readers.
7. Add your story to the InLinkz Link-up (Blue Froggy button). Please let me know if you need link-up instructions.
8. Please keep stories below R rating.
9. Please respect the diversity of our readers and writers in regard to race, religion, and life style choice when writing your stories.
10. Remember, half the fun is reading and commenting on each other's stories.

Cee's Black and White Photo

This week the topic is

Houses: big, small, lighthouses, birdhouse, firehouse, toys etc.  

Here is my entry for this week:

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter P

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter P – Needs to have at least 5 letters and start with P

This week is Letter P – Needs to have at least 5 letters and start with P.   
Here is my entry:

 Paddington Bear

Perfume Factory

Pippa's Tea Rooms

Peggotty’s Tea Shoppe