New Growth – June

Unfortunately we currently have absolutely no internet in the village so I’m afraid I’m going to be absent from my blog for most of this week. I’m only able to post this one by visiting a local restaurant that has free wi-fi. Luckily I’d already prepared a gallery of pictures ready to post! We’ve been told that an engineer should be out by Friday – hopefully they’ll be able to fix it.

These are all shots taken around the garden using the camera on my phone (Samsung Galaxy S4). The flowers are all gloriously in bloom, creating an absolute riot of colour. There are lots of lupins, delphiniums, clematis and irises, plus many others. I’ve not included too many shots of the roses as I shared a gallery full of those only last week, just a few new ones that have now begun flowering.

Our fruit bushes are also all developing nicely. The blackberries are in blossom and the blackcurrants beginning to ripen. The raspberries and redcurrants are all still green but should begin to ripen soon, whilst the apples, pears and damsons are all swelling nicely.

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WOW: Ululate

This post is in response to Heena Rathore P.’s Word of the Week (WOW). This weekly challenge is a great way of improving your vocabulary. If you wish to participate, simply create a post with your word and leave a link in a comment on Heena’s WOW post.

wow (1)

Here’s my WOW for this week:

ululate

Word
Ululate

Pronunciation
ul-u-late /uhl-yuh-leyt

Part of Speech
Noun

Related Forms
Verbs: ululated, ululating
Adjective: ululant
Noun: ululation

Meaning
1. to howl or hoot, as a dog or an owl.
2. to utter shrill, wordless lamentations;wail.

Word Origin
First recorded use 1615-25 – from Latin ululātus past participle of ululār, meaning to howl / shriek – thought to be of imitative origin – connection with ulula, meaning ‘screech owl’.

Synonyms
1) bawl, bay, howl, lament, moan, wail,  yowl

2) cry, keen, lament, shriek, shout

Antonyms
be quiet, whimper

Use in a Sentence
1) Gathered in the darkening woodland, the group ululate in joyous imitation of the wolf.

A group of children and adults at night

Image from Wikimedia – by By Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

2) Those gathered at the graveside expressed their grief in a symphony of mournful ululation.

A group of Greek women lamenting and mourning the dead at a Wellcome V0042323

A group of Greek women lamenting and mourning the dead

FFfAW: Awakening

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt was provided by Sonya from Only 100 Words. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. I hope you like it.

Photo Prompt: © Sonya

Photo Prompt: © Sonya

Awakening

Heavy eyes blinked open, the world swimming into focus as awareness returned. He lay among gravestones, head pillowed on ivy as he leant against weathered stone. Morning dew dampened exposed skin. Spring chill gnawed.

He couldn’t remember…

His gaze caught on the filigree branches arching overhead. Thoughts scattered, dispersing like the sunlight dancing in delicate patterns across leaf litter. Lethargy willed him to resume his slumber, to sink into the earth. It would be so easy to close his eyes.

A woman’s face flashed through his mind and he jolted upright. She was… was… The thought drifted, leaving merely an impulse that drove him upright. He teetered on bare feet, only the support of a tree holding him vertical.

With each step away from the graves his mind cleared. Memories slotted into place. He remembered his life: the violence and heartbreak. He remembered Amara: her touch calming his troubled soul. He remembered his death: sinking into the darkness.

“Come back to me,” she’d whispered, her voice laced with ancient power. He couldn’t refuse her anything.

Word Count: 175


Some of you may know that most of my character’s names are chosen for their meaning. Amara means ‘eternal’ in Greek. I’m thinking she must have some interesting abilities…

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One-Four Challenge: June Week Four

It’s the fourth week of June and so time for the final edit of this month’s image for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge. The picture was taken last year in Hartsholme Country Park in Lincoln, UK.

Week Four Edit

Week Four Edit

For this final edit I wanted to create a dreamy effect.

I began by opening the original image in Photoshop Elements 13 where I cropped it and added a difference clouds filter. I then reduced the contrast, increased the saturation and added a medium spectrum gradient map with 30% opacity. Next I opened it in Picmonkey where I made it glow with an Orton effect and added both frost and dark edges. I tried adding bokeh and radiance but decided against them in the end.

Hopefully it now looks like something seen in a dream…

Because it’s the final week I’m also adding a poll. Please let me know which one you liked best.

Here are all the edits together for comparison:


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Roses

The roses in the garden are now fully in bloom so I thought I’d share a few pictures of them. I adore roses. Their blooming is always a sign that summer has arrived, even if the weather doesn’t necessarily agree.

I’d just like to apologise to anyone whose blog I haven’t managed to visit recently or whose comment I haven’t responded too. The internet connection in the village at the moment is abysmal – it takes forever just to get a post up. I nearly gave up on uploading the pictures for today’s gallery several times! Needless to say, my time online is very limited, though I am trying to get around to everyone. Hopefully things will get better soon…

WOW: Tempestuous

This post is in response to Heena Rathore P.’s Word of the Week (WOW). This weekly challenge is a great way of improving your vocabulary. If you wish to participate, simply create a post with your word and leave a link in a comment on Heena’s WOW post.

wow

Here’s my WOW for this week:

tempestuous

Word
tempestuous

Pronunciation
tempestuous

Part of Speech
Adjective

Related Forms
Adverb: tempestuously
Noun: tempestuousness

Meaning
1. of or relating to a tempest
2. violent or stormy emotions or actions

Word Origin
First recorded use 1500-10 (Middle English), from Late Latin tempestuōsus

Synonyms
1. boisterous, blustery, furious, gusty, inclement, raging, squally, stormy, turbulent, wild, windy

2. boisterous, emotional, excited, feverish, flaming, heated, hysterical, impassioned, intense, passionate, stormy, turbulent, uncontrolled, violent, wild

Antonyms
calm, peaceful, quiet, serene, tranquil, undisturbed, unruffled

Use in a Sentence
1. The tempestuous seas raged against the lighthouse, angry waves crashing against unyielding walls.

Trwyn Du lighthouse in stormy seas ^2 - geograph.org.uk - 952614

Trwyn Du lighthouse in stormy seas – Image from Wikimedia, contributed by Steve F

2. Their relationship had always been tempestuous, characterised by frequent fights and passionate reconciliations.

Young Couple in Relationship Conflict

Image from Wikimedia – contributed by epSos.de

FFfAW: Waystation

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. I’ve ignored the rather modern looking telegraph wires in the picture and have written another other-world fantasy story this week – though one without any magic, so I suppose you could say it was historical if you preferred. I hope you like it.

Photo Prompt: © Priceless Joy

Photo Prompt: © Priceless Joy

Waystation
Genre: Fantasy

The bastards had killed his horse.

Clutching his cloak around his shoulders, Rynel muttered a litany of curses as he stumbled along the path. The unseasonable chill as the sun set was the final misery of a wretched day. He cursed the riding boots rubbing his feet raw, the map-makers who’d ambitiously named the dirt-track he followed a road and, most of all, the bastards who’d killed his horse. The hastily bandaged injury to his side had also reopened, seeping blood and flaring in pain with every step. He was lucky to have escaped the rebels’ ambush with his life.

Unfortunately he was now stranded miles from his destination, carrying an urgent message the king’s enemies would happily kill to prevent him delivering. And he was without a horse.

He just prayed the map’s naming of a waystation in the next town was more accurate than its naming of the road – only waystations stabled horses for royal messengers.

In the heart of rebel territory, he also prayed the place was still loyal to the king.

Word Count: 175


There may well be a continuation to this story at some point. This is only the first part of the idea I had – I couldn’t fit the whole thing into the word limit! Unfortunately finding the time to write it might be a little tricky but I’ll do my best….

As a little apology for being so late posting this I thought I’d also share a pencil sketch I drew last year when writing and illustrating my Littlest Unicorn stories.  I’d never really drawn horses before (and I’ve only ever been riding twice) so I spent quite some time making sure I had their form correct.

horse2

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One-Four Challenge: June Week Three

Here’s the third June edit for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge. The picture was taken last year in Hartsholme Country Park in Lincoln, UK.

Boathouse and bridge week 3 dusk2

Week three edit

For this week’s edit I decided to give it the appearance of dusk. I’m not sure exactly what I did to reach this final stage – I added and removed so many layers I’m afraid I lost track. There were quite a few gradient maps and photo filters of various levels of opacity that I used to build up the effect I wanted, some with layer masks to restrict the filter to a certain area. I also deepened the shadows using the levels adjust while also reducing the brightness of the bridge.

Generally I’d say that this picture is a bit too dark for my personal taste (I really want to brighten it up) but it gives the image a slightly ominous edge that reflects exactly how I feel about places like this at night. I won’t walk there alone after dusk. The shadows are growing ever larger and who knows who or what might be hiding there. I’m a bit of a nervous type! If anyone’s interested, I wrote a poem about this a little while ago.

Here’s the original image and two previous edits for comparison:

Original Image

Original Image

Week One Edit

Week One Edit

Week two edit

Week two edit

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MftS: Whispers

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics. This week’s opening line was provided by Eric Wickland of Momusnews.

2015-06-15-bw-beacham

Whispers

At first, it looked like an ordinary marble, but it was far from it.

Unfortunately, Allie didn’t realise that until much too late.

But then, it was always too late. She was captivated from the second she saw it glinting in the dirt. No awareness of its danger could have stopped her slipping it into her pocket.

That night the voices began to whisper. They were quiet at first, masquerading as stray wisps of thought but steadily they grew louder, wearing at her mind until their malicious opinions drowned her own.

Her life shattered into fragments, stained with blood and fear.

It wasn’t until three days later, as Allie numbly emptied her pockets onto the custody sergeant’s desk, that she made the connection. The marble glinted unnaturally, light shifting into leering faces. The voices were finally silenced as she was led away to the cells.

She tried to warn them.

No one would listen to the ravings of a madwoman who’d murdered her family.

Word Count: 150

mondays-finish-the-story

To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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