Friday, 18 June 2021

CBWC: Pets or stuffed animals


CBWC: Pets or stuffed animals

This week our topic is Pets or stuffed animals. This week you can show off your own pets, other peoples pets and stuffed animals.

Can I have a biscuit please?

My son's dog with his stuffed animal

A pair of knitted Alpacas

Cat in a box

Wednesday, 16 June 2021



It's time for our bi-monthly challenge.  This year all prompts are from the Year of Art.

To read other contributions or contribute yourself please go to:

Here is my story:

What was that smell?  Saffy sniffed quietly, she was in the library after all.  It smelt like a bonfire; smoky ash tickled her nostrils.  She looked around, all the other students seemed oblivious to any smells, let alone a smell of soot. 

A great wave of fear suddenly paralysed her.  She knew what it was.  The alarms started screeching their warnings, others rushed out of the building.  Saffy was rooted to her chair, her feet felt as though they were stuck in cement.  She couldn’t move.  She was paralysed.  Her heart thumped so hard in her chest she thought her ribs were breaking. 


She heard her mum yelling at her.


Tears started streaming down Saffy’s face, this was not how her university days were supposed to be.  A fire.  The building was on fire.  She could hear sirens.  Oh, thank God, somebody was coming to save her.

Wisps of smoke seeped under the doorframe.  The rustle of books as they fell from the shelves and thudded to the ground, igniting into flames, ash particles wafted up into her hair.  She felt hot, so hot, she could feel flames licking at the edge of the desk, they would be picking at her feet next.


She felt her mum push her.  On trembling legs, she managed to stand, fumbling towards the door, she reached for the handle.  Burning her fingers and palms she opened the door, a red glow greeted her as she stepped out in to the hallway, a fog obscured her vision, she started to cough, stumbling towards the stairs or where she thought the stairs were, blinking furiously to clear her sight, there, there in front of her, stairs, she would make it.


Her mum’s voice became more and more urgent as she encouraged Saffy to keep going.  On the first floor landing she collapsed on to the floor.  Hard concrete grazed her knees, the pain bringing her back to her senses.  As she tried to stand, strong hands gripped her, hauling her up and half-carrying her down the rest of the flights of stairs, they broke out in to daylight and fresh air.  Saffy was rushed to a waiting ambulance where the paramedics treated her burns and gave her oxygen for the smoke she had inhaled. 


Two hundred miles away Maggie stood at the kitchen sink, washing the dishes on automatic pilot, staring out of the window she smiled at the antics of her cat who was stalking along the top of the wooden fence.

Suddenly she was engulfed with a great wave of panic.  Something was terribly wrong.  Fear grabbed her, she grabbed a towel and dried her hands.  Standing in the middle of the kitchen she kicked off her shoes, bare toes touched the cold flagstone tiles as she grounded herself.  Maggie wrapped herself in a shower of golden light as she reached out to the ether.


Saffy was in danger. 

Maggie saw her daughter sitting in the library studiously reading and making notes in her large A4 jotter.  She saw the lead in her daughter’s propelling pencil snap and Saffy’s huff of frustration as she clicked a new lead down in to the pencil. 

Where was the danger?  Maggie reached out, travelling through the ether, touching on sights, sounds, smells and there it was. 


She concentrated on Saffy.  Calling out to her, Saffy, move, move my darling, move.

It wasn’t working.  Maggie took a deep breath, inhaling cosmic energy she tried again. This time she knew Saffy felt her.  She called her again and again, urging her to move, one foot in front of the other. 

Move, come on, move. 

She felt the pain in her hands as Saffy opened the door, she felt the pain in her knees when Saffy fell on to her knees.  The granite jolting Saffy back in to awareness.  Maggie saw a fireman at the bottom of the stairwell.  She pushed him, nudged him forward, she felt his heavy boots on each step, she heard him breathing through his apparatus.  His visor was blurry, she saw the scene through a mist.  He was trained to use his senses, through his heavy gloves protecting his hands she guided his fingers to the floor on the landing.  He hauled Saffy up, half carried out down the remaining flights of stairs and out in to the campus grounds.

Maggie collapsed on to the kitchen floor.  Her breathing was ragged as she gulped in fresh, clean air.  Tears streamed down her face, smudging her cheeks with grey ash.  She wiped the fire dust away and looked at her hands, clean as a whistle.  Her head spun with the effort of reaching out, her heart jumped for joy at the safe rescue of her daughter. 

Would Saffy ever realise she helped her?  Would she talk to her about it? 

These questions were for another day.  Now she had to fill her car with petrol and travel a couple of hundred miles to make sure Saffy was safe and didn’t suffer any lasting physical damage.

She left a voice mail message for her husband because, of course, he was in a meeting and unavailable, well that is what he would tell her when he arrived home in a couple of days from his business trip.  Maggie knew better, she could ‘see’ as well as finding the tell-tale clues on his clothes but that is a story for another time.  Her priority now and in the foreseeable future was to get Saffy safely home where she could look after her and keep her safe.

Word count: 960


CFFC: Nature Animals

This week’s CFFC topic is Nature Animals Any animals found in nature such as birds, squirrels, deer, fox, bear, mouse, moose, etc.

Squirrel on my garden fence

Found a frog on my kitchen floor

Pair of black swans at Eastwell Lake

Grandson holding a frog at his house

Friday, 11 June 2021

CBWC: Faces in things


CBWC: Faces in things

This week our topic is Faces in things. Any type of face in this challenge, anything that someone drew, trees with faces, art, murals, cars with faces, flowers, animals or people faces.

Here are my choices for this week:

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

CFFC: Green Foliage


CFFC: Green Foliage

This week’s CFFC topic is Green Foliage:  Shrubs, trees, leaves, plants, vines, berries, etc.

Here is my selection for this week:

Tuesday, 8 June 2021


This week our prompt consisted of eight random words:

Please use all eight words in your story. No photo to write your words around.

1.     present

2.     sodium

3.     elegant

4.     am

5.     level

6.     size

7.     shorts

8.     sea

Here is my story:


Standing on the banks of the *River Am, her small thatched cottage was just the right size for Marianne in her retirement.  It comprised two large bedrooms and she was determined not to let the spare bedroom become the junk room as in all her previous houses.  It was to be the guest bedroom with lovely pictures of the sea, decorated in elegant blues and teal colours.  The duvet cover had matching pillow slips and the sanded pine floorboards were enhanced with perfectly co-ordinated rugs.  A large windowsill held a vase that she filled with fresh flowers from the small cottage garden.

A phone call from her daughter brought good news.  She wanted to come and visit with her new husband.  It was only six months ago they had married, a small affair due to Covid restrictions but now they were allowed to visit and stay over, Kathryn and Joe were coming for a week’s visit in the summer.  Even if the English weather didn’t quite hold up to its promise of a ‘flaming June,’ Marianne was sure they would find enough delights to enjoy along the country lanes and riverside pubs.

She couldn’t wait, counting down the days on the calendar, the weeks flew by and finally the day came.  Kathryn had kept her informed by text of the progress of their journey.  Marianne couldn’t help being a worrier especially as the motorways were notorious for delays due to road works, accidents or breakdowns and they had a couple of hundred of miles to travel before they reached her.  She’d spent all week preparing food, freezing cakes and biscuits, knowing Kathryn and Joe were so busy with their full-time jobs the they didn’t have much time to bake or cook anything more than an evening meal. 

Looking out of the window was a pointless exercise as the trees were in full foliage, the hedgerows overgrown, so Marianne opened the leaded glass window and leaned out to listen for the sound of a car engine.  There it was, the gentle whirr and hum told her that the time fast approached.  Marianne flew out of the front door, arms outstretched as Kathryn got out of the passenger side. 

They hugged as if they would never let go – it had been so long without this level of comfort and affection, Marianne felt the tears brimming.

‘Oh mum, don’t cry.’

‘They are my happy tears, darling.  This is the best present ever!’

Marianne separated and clapped her hands as she turned her attention to Joe. 

‘Come here, son-in-law,’ she ordered Joe. 

A shorter hug ensued as she felt a bit strange hugging a male person especially one who was wearing a T-shirt, shorts and sandals. 

‘I’m so looking forward to spending time with you and getting to know you better.’  Joe winked at Marianne and smiled at Kathryn. 

Oh yes, thought Marianne, this one is a keeper.  He is so good for my daughter.  It’s about time she found a good man.  She’ll be very happy in this marriage; Marianne could feel it in her bones.

Ushering her guests inside, she whipped the tea towel off the plate of lemon drizzle (her daughter’s favourite cake) and started to pour tea out.  Eating and talking, laughing and catching up the afternoon soon drifted away.  The sun started to set as they sat outside sipping cold drinks catching the last rays of sunshine and watching the twilight descend. 

As they prepared for the night, Joe disappeared to have a shower, Kathryn took her mum’s hand. 

‘Tell me the truth, mum.  What was the result of your last blood test?’

‘They’re fine, dear, absolutely fine,’ came the reply.  My sodium was normal, so was my potassium and cholesterol.  Blood pressure was also perfect.  So, there’s nothing to worry about.  It’s all behind me now and as long as I continue to eat healthily and stay as active as I can, I’ve got a few more years in me yet.’  Marianne lightened the mood with a small tinkle of laughter.

Joe re-entered the room, freshly shaved, hair slightly damp, he looked at Kathryn with a question in his eyes.

She nodded.  ‘Mum, we have news.  We want to move nearer to you.  Joe can work anywhere there is broadband and I have transferrable skills.  We’ve sold our house and can start looking straight away.’

More happy tears, the joy Marianne felt made this the best day of her life.

*The River Am is a fictional river borrowed from a radio series broadcast in the UK called ‘The Archers.’

Word count: 795

Friday, 4 June 2021



CBWC: Seating

This week our topic is Seating.

My choice of seating this week:

Toilet seat

Coffee shop seating arranged for social distancing

Antique doll and chair at Bateman's House

Steam train carriage seating

Balcony seats

Wednesday, 2 June 2021



This week’s CFFC topic is Flowers. Your photos can be of a garden view of flowers to a single flower, bouquets, trees or brush in bloom, fake flowers. It’s all about those flowers this week.

This is my selection for this week:

Pretty white flower at Doddington Gardens

Blue geraniums

Flowers in wall pot

Hanging flower basket at Walpole Hotel

Tuesday, 1 June 2021


 This week Debb Stanton has given us three photos and and four words to weave into our stories.  

· hear


· prejudice


· creed


· risk

This is my story: 


The joy on Bertie and Frankie’s faces as they bounded up to me was just priceless.  We could learn a lot from these two dogs about the simple pleasures in life, enjoying each moment and loving more, hating less.  If only the rest of the world would keep to that creed it would certainly be a more pleasant place to live in. 

Aunt Betty brought up the rear, her Burberry raincoat had seen better days, as had her wellington boots, her sturdy walking stick (not to help her walk, you understand, only to help access rocky places).  She couldn’t risk taking a tumble, there would be nobody to look after her precious dogs, let alone organise all the charity events she was involved in. 

Marcie looked at her aunt with wonder, in her eighties and still living life to the full.  They wandered back to her cottage, through the slightly overgrown path leading to the back door, where wellies and coats and boots were exchanged for household slippers.  The dogs’ bowls were replenished with water and the sound of contented animals lapping the liquid as though their lives depended on it was such a comforting  sound to Marcie, especially after the trauma she’d been through.

Her aunt was her soul mate, a sounding board, somebody who always gave good advice and never, ever gave up on living life to the full.  Betty had had her fair share of ups and downs, lots of prejudice came her way when she and her husband moved to the small country village.  Incomers they were called but Marcie and Imran smiled all through it and eventually won every single villager over with their giving natures and pleasant outlook on life. 

Imran suffered a fatal heart attack and that’s when Betty realised how much they had immersed themselves into village life.  She’d never had so many visitors or calls on her old-fashioned, rotary, green Bakelite telephone.  

Ensconced at the well-worn but scrubbed clean kitchen table the two ladies settled down with a pot of tea between them and home-made shortbread biscuits.  The Aga was throwing out heat, the smell of drying clothes hanging on the lines above heated range.

The two dogs came and settled down on their beds in front of the Aga, soaking up the heat, panting slightly, tongues lolling out of the sides of their mouths.  An idyllic picture of domestic bliss. 

Marcie knew this was the dream but she also realised dreams like this took a lot of hard work.  As aunt and niece sipped tea and crunched on the biscuits Aunt Betty started to reminisce.  Marcie loved to hear her stories, they always had a kick in the tail, a moral to tell, always relevant to what was going on in Marcie’s life at the present time.


The weekend visit went by far too quickly, Marcie wanted to hear more stories and just wished that Aunt Betty’s common sense could be commuted to the decisions, bad or otherwise, that she tended to make in her own personal circumstances.

Marcie beeped her horn and waved, watching Aunt Betty waving back at her from her rear-view mirror, two hours before she arrived in her dingy little flat in a busy, fairly large town.  She must change things in her life, work being one of them.  Coming back refreshed and recharged, decisions made in the comfort of Aunt Betty’s home, were not going to be quite as easy to implement as they seemed to be when discussing them over tea and biscuits.

Her last day at work came and all Marcie felt was huge relief, working her final months’ notice was hard, much harder than she thought it would be.   Handing over her current work load, teaching her replacement the ropes, then holding back the tears but knowing that she would find joy in her next adventure.   She’d kept quiet about her plans despite being hassled and harassed every day as to what she was doing next.  Wouldn’t they be surprised if they had learnt her secret passion.  They would someday. 

Someday they would say, ‘I knew Marcie when she worked in my office.’

For now, her dream was coming true – cruise ship here she came.  Entertaining the passengers, smiling throughout the day, singing her heart out, who knew what the next few years had in store for her.  Every time the ship docked, she would hightail it to Aunt Betty’s, regale her with her own stories, and then return to her nightly cabaret spot. 

A star is born.


Word count 778



Saturday, 29 May 2021


CBWC: Five

This week our topic is Five. Five items of the same thing or different things, or the number 5.

Here is my selection for this week:

Five hole stocks

5 stars silver anklet
Five fingernails

Door number

Five geese

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Place to walk or hike


CBWC: Places to walk or hike

Climb over the stile to the path alongside the field

Take a walk on the Southwold Pier

A lovely walk - make sure your dog is on a lead

Wye Downs, Kent

Walking alongside the River Rother