Friday 23 February 2018

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: February 2018

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 would like to recommend a book by Clare Flynn called The Chalky Sea.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  

It's approximately 344 pages. 

BLURB taken from Amazon site

Two troubled people struggle to find their way in a turbulent world.

In July 1940, Gwen Collingwood drops her husband at the railway station, knowing she may never see him again. Two days later her humdrum world is torn apart when the sleepy English seaside town where she lives is subjected to the first of many heavy bombing attacks.

In Ontario, Canada, Jim Armstrong is debating whether to volunteer. His decision becomes clear when he uncovers the secret his fiancée has been keeping from him. A few weeks later he is on a ship bound for England.

Gwen is forced to confront the truth she has concealed about her past and her own feelings. Jim battles with a bewildering and hostile world far removed from the cosy life of his Canadian farm. War brings horror and loss to each of them – can it also bring change and salvation?


Set in 1940 WWII is now impacting on the seaside town of Eastbourne on the South East coast of England.

In Ontario Canada, Jim decides to volunteer and is shipped to the UK first to a training camp at Aldershot.
Gwen says goodbye to her husband who can’t tell her where he is going or in what capacity.  Gwen’s emotions are always held in tight rein due to her upbringing.  Left on her own in Eastbourne she volunteers.  Tragedy and hardship follow as Eastbourne suffers bombing raids and Gwen’s life is changed as she develops unexpected friendships.

Jim is having a hard time as his unit is just held in abeyance at the training camp in Aldershot.  He also has his emotions challenged in meeting an English girl.

Jim and his colleagues are billeted with Gwen for a time in Eastbourne then they are sent to fight.
This is a well written book, well researched for the time and place, the class divide is challenged by many.  The characters of Gwen and Jim are believable as are all the other characters.

A great read which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

There is also a follow-up book which I've also read and thoroughly enjoyed called Alien Corn. 

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge - Birds

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Birds

This week the topic is 


Your bird photos can be of any type of bird in nature, pet or even those posed birds like statues and carvings. 

The two pictures above were birds of prey displayed at a summer fete.


A pair of black swans at Eastwell Lake

Statues of two herons



Welcome to WEP - Write...Edit...Publish and the first Challenge of 2018 -- IN TOO DEEP.

Here is my entry for the WEP February 2018 challenge



‘Hey, Jenny, we’re all going for a quick one.  Do you want to come?’ Sarah raised her eyebrows as she started packing up her things.

‘No, not tonight.  I’ve got to pick Lilly up from after school club,’ came the disappointed reply.
‘You’re no fun anymore.’  Sarah wagged her finger at Jenny.  ‘All work and no play make you a very dull girl to be around.’

‘The joys of being a working mum.’  Jenny smiled brightly, putting a brave face on her situation.  Little did her colleagues know that she would give anything to have her life back the way it used to be before her daughter came along.  Five years now of hard work for little or no reward.  No, that wasn't true. She adored her daughter.  Not so much her living situation with Harry who was always jealous of Lilly, especially as he wasn’t her biological father.  Waving her hand as her friends disappeared out of the office door, Jenny started putting her desk in order.   The traffic would be awful now, so she’d be late picking Lilly up.  She’d get the cold shoulder and admonishments from the lady at the after school club but what else could she do?

She got in the lift*.  As the doors were closing a hand stopped them as a chap dashed in.  ‘Just made it,’ he said as he smiled at her.  His voice wasn’t deep but it had a lovely tone and quality to it with just a tinge of an accent to it.  Jenny smiled back at him.  His eyes were a lovely shade of brown, not that dark deep brown cow eyes that you couldn’t fathom what was going on, not hazel either but somewhere inbetween.  He stared back at her.

‘Wow, your eyes are spectacular.  I’ve never seen eyes like yours before.’

Jenny laughed as she said, ‘if that’s a pick-up line, you’ll have to do better than that.’

He stuck out his hand, ‘hi, I’m Matt, nice to make your acquaintance.’

Jenny placed her hand in his, he squeezed it gently, caressing her thumb with a light touch.

‘Fancy a drink?’

Having just refused drinks with the girls a few minutes earlier Jenny’s mind was working overtime.  How could she accept his offer? It was only a drink – but – she still had to pick Lilly up from school. 

‘Um, I’m busy right now, places to go, things to do.’  

Why did she say that?  She could feel her face getting hot, please don’t let her blush.

‘OK.’  Matt turned away slowly, relinquishing her hand.

‘Let me make a phone call.’  Jenny got out of the lift* fumbling in her bag for her phone, she hoisted her bag over her shoulder as she walked to a corner of the lobby keeping an eye on Matt as he smiled an enigmatic grin and stood just out of hearing range.

Her mother picked up.  Jenny grovelled, promised to return the favour if mum could, please, pretty please, pick Lilly up from school, feed her and maybe – then her mother surprised her by offering to keep her overnight.

Jenny turned to Matt, ‘where shall we go?’


‘Well what’s got in to you, mate?  You look like the cat who’s got the cream.’ Pete winked at Matt.  ‘Good weekend was it?’

Matt just smiled, he could have come back with a retort but his weekend was something else.  Never in a million years did he think a girl like Jenny would even look at him.  Then she dropped the bombshell, she came as a package, her and a five year old daughter.

He clicked his mouse as he tried to concentrate on work.  His email reminder pinged, meeting at 2.00 p.m.  He’d better make sure his facts were straight on this project.  Shaking his head he concentrated on the task in hand.

At the end of the day he hung around the lobby by the lifts*.   There she was, her raven black hair thrown back as she tossed her head laughing with her girlfriends.  She glanced over, made an excuse to her girlfriends and hung back a bit until they had all left the building. 

Matt approached her.  He couldn't help his face splitting in to a huge grin.  ‘I've been thinking about you all weekend.’

Jenny smiled at him but there was sadness in her eyes.  ‘I'm not sure I'm strong enough to do this.  You know I live with someone, right, I did tell you.’

Matt looked at her, drowning in her vivid blue eyes.  ‘In for a penny, in for a pound,’ he whispered as he cupped the back of her neck and drew her towards him, kissing her.

Jenny’s mobile rang interrupting the moment.  She turned away but not before he saw her eyes fill with tears.  An argument seemed to ensue.  Matt approached her and stroked her back. 

Jenny draw in a deep breath as she turned.  ‘My boyfriend thinks I'm having an affair.’  She shook her head, ‘I am, aren't I?’

‘Break up with him, Jenny.  Come with me.’  Matt drew her into his body.

Jenny was torn, her heart was telling her one thing but her head, her logic was telling her another.

She took a deep breath, ‘YES.’

Should I stay or should I go

Goodness only knows

My path is unknown to me

I wish I could see

What comes next?

So I can take the step

Without any regret

I’ll plod along with hope

And perhaps just enough rope

To save myself from drowning

To ease my face from frowning

Not knowing is the hardest part

The leap of faith to start my heart

To live again free from worry

Not stressed about money

Living from day-to-day

Eking out the monthly pay

He offered her a chance

It had only taken that glance

Not a shadow of a doubt

She couldn't live without

His love, compassion, respect

He had prospects

 A new life beckoned her.

*lift is the UK term for an elevator

Word count: 996

Friday 16 February 2018

Cee's Black and White Challenge

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Chilled

This week the topic is 


Here is my selection: 

Black cherry jelly

My freezer with magnets

This morning’s cold and frosty trip to the supermarket

Keeping cool and chilled in the summer with a ceiling fan

Wednesday 14 February 2018


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. Careful editing will keep your words within the confines of the 200 word limit. The photo doesn’t have to be centre stage, there have been times when I have had to read the story a few times to spot where the prompt is hidden. Please include a mention and / or link to whoever donated the photo.
The challenge makes you look at replacing two words with one, and a little jiggery pokery. A few words over is sometimes necessary when there is no way of shrinking it without losing an integral part of the story. Using a program like Microsoft Word or Open Office have a word counter so you can see how many you have used. A few of the stories have been going way over the limit. Please try to keep the stories within the 200 word limit.
Our photo prompt this week comes from J Hardy Carroll

Photo credit:  J Hardy Carroll


It wasn't every year she was whisked away on a romantic weekend.  In fact she couldn’t remember the last time it happened.  Oh yes, their honeymoon which she’d paid for.  She felt apprehensive because Jim never did anything impulsive or romantic or even nice in all of their married life.  Before they were married he was very attentive, bringing her flowers, chocolates, taking her to the cinema or just suggesting an evening in with a bottle of wine and a DVD.  The DVD was usually of his choice, Sci-Fi or horror were his usual choice.

Ellen was determined to enjoy these few days away.  She purposefully forgot to pack the chargers for their various technology items.  She wasn't even sure the hotel had Wi-Fi. 

She gulped when they entered the cold, brick lined corridor, bare walls and brown wooden doors firmly closed against any intrusion.  A shiver went down her spine, putting her best foot forward she followed Jim, dragging their heavy suitcase behind her.  

He unlocked the door at the end of the corridor, swept in to the room grinning as he proudly presented a banner celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, champagne and a bouquet of red roses.
Word count: 199

Cee's Foto Fun Challenge - Letter Z

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter Z anywhere in the word or people or animals catching some Zzz’s

It is our last week of the Alphabet with a Twist challenge.  

This week the topic is:

Letter Z – Needs to have the letter Z anywhere in the word or people or animals catching some Zzz’s (sleeping or napping).

Here is my selection:

Özgür Turkish Restaurant

Zebra paper 

Zebra crossing

Lizard wood carving

Lizard on a bike in London

Zumba bracelet

Friday 9 February 2018

Cee's Black and White Challenge: Outdoor Patterns

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Patterns

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Cee's Foto Challenge - Letter Y

Challenge: Letter Y –

Needs to start or end with the letter Y or in the caption “Why” needs to be present

Here is my selection:

 Berkeley Square

Fairy candle on birthday cake

Lemon butterfly cakes

U.S. Navy yellow plane

Yellow lines on the road

Yeoman’s Galloping Horses Steam Engine

Yellow roses

Friday 2 February 2018

Cee's Black and White Challenge Outdoor Walks or Roads

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Outdoor – Walks or Roads

This week the topic is Outdoor – Walks or Roads. 

Here is my selection:

 A leafy lane

It's not very often this busy road doesn't see any traffic but on this particular day the road was closed for runners on a 10k race

A path leading to a cottage

A walk by the River Rother