Cee’s Black and White Challenge: The Bench on the Green


How many people have sat there, upon the old wood of the bench on the green, watching the slow life of the village pass by? For many years it has provided a place to stop and rest; now it’s old and worn, wearied from its long labour. Moss and lichen mottle the surface like age spots upon an old man’s skin. A broken slat leans in resignation against its former resting place while ivy twines, binding tight. But despite its age and decrepit state, it is not yet done. Its function will be fulfilled for many a day yet to come.

This is my entry into Cee’s Black and White Challenge. This week’s theme is tables, chairs or seating of any kind.


Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons #2 January

This post is for Cardinal Guzman’s monthly blogging event The Changing Seasons. He asks that you post a gallery of between 10 and 20 photos for each month, all taken in an area near to you. Over the course of the year we’ll get to see the  landscape changing. If you would like to know more about the challenge then follow this link.

Here are my pictures. I’d love to know what everyone thinks.

As the idea of the challenge is to see the changes of a specific area over the course of a year, I’ve photographed along the same lanes this month as last, though I didn’t walk quite as far. Unlike many places we’ve not had much snow, only the occasional light sprinkling – mainly rain, rain and more rain, making it hard to get out. I’ve also been suffering from a lingering ear infection that made it rather painful to be in the cold air for too long.

Because of this a lot of the pictures have been taken across the field nearest to my house.

ridge and furrowThis is quite a distinctive field as it has what’s known as ridge and furrow topography. In the photographs this can be seen in the regular lines of shadow that cross it. Ridge and furrow was a method of ploughing used in the medieval period, up to the 17th century, that used a plough that could only turn soil over in one direction. The ploughman worked first down one side of the strip of land and then down the other, causing a ridge of earth to be thrown into the middle. Over the years of repeated ploughing the ridge would have grown progressively bigger. During the Middle Ages each strip would have been managed by a single small family of peasants or serfs.

The evidence of ridge and furrow can only be seen now if no ploughing has taken place in the field since the method was last used. Nowadays such fields have preservation orders on them and can only be used for grazing.

Hopefully next month’s gallery will have pictures from a little further away from my house!



Word of the Week (WOW): Bailiwick


This post is in response to Heena Rathore P.’s Word of the Week (WOW). This weekly meme 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.

Here’s my WOW for this week:



Part of Speech

bail-i-wick (bā′lə-wĭk′)


  1. A person’s specific area of interest, skill or authority
  2. The office or district of a bailiff.


  1. department, discipline, domain, field, field of study, sphere, study, subject, subject area, subject field, territory, turf
  2. area, beat, district, jurisdiction, neighbourhood, province, territory,

Word Origin

Middle English – bailliwik – baillif bailiff + wik town (from Old English wic, from Latin vicus)

Use in a sentence

  1. The professor was in his element, babbling on about things from within his bailiwick that no one else present had any understanding of.
  2. He had been appointed bailiff, making this his bailiwick now – and there was nothing that Richard De Grenville could do about it.

If you want to discover more great words then visit Heena’s page Word Treasure.

Friday Fictioneers: Cursed

This is my second entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s picture prompt was provided by Melanie Greenwood. The challenge is to write a story within 100 words.

I felt a little guilty because my first go at this prompt didn’t really fit the guidelines on Rochelle’s challenge – she states that your story should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Hunted, part 2, feels very much like a middle to me!

Because of that you get a second piece of flash fiction today. I hope you like it.

Copyright – Melanie Greenwood

He was cursed to wander the maze for all eternity, aching feet treading an interminable path. Each corner was turned with the hope of freedom, an end to the hunger and the ceaseless trek. Only disappointment was ever found. Outside the verdant walls sunlight warmed the air but within their depths he was cast in shadow.

‘Oh, quit your whining. It’s been barely half an hour! You can’t expect to finish a maze like this in five minutes. We’re here – at least make an effort to enjoy it.’

And the nagging presence of his wife was forever his only company.

Word Count: 100

Click the little blue frog to see other entries.

Friday Fictioneers: Hunted Part 2

This is my entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s picture prompt was provided by Melanie Greenwood. The challenge is to write a story within 100 words.

A few weeks ago I posted a little fantasy story called Hunted that screamed at me to be continued. Today’s flash fic is that continuation.

Copyright – Melanie Greenwood

Hunted – Part 2

His mind wandered, thoughts diverging as if in a maze.

A maze…

Running between manicured hedges in the palace gardens. Lost. Scared. His cousin’s voice behind, taunting. I’ll get you, Runt!

Mikael’s eyes flashed open. Breathing hard, pain flaring. He struggled to recall – a boat. He remembered… knives flashing in the candlelight.

His cousin had ordered him killed.


‘I want the scheming runt dead!’

‘He was stabbed, Sire – by Joren.’

The king’s expression shifted from scowl to thoughtful frown. ‘Joren? Hmm. Is he still experimenting with that drug?’

‘He is, Sire. By now Mikael will be out of his mind.’

Word Count: 100

Click the little blue frog to see other entries.

As this story doesn’t technically fit the challenge rules (the story should have a beginning, middle and end, and this is very much a middle to my mind), I have again written a second one for this prompt. It will be up in a short time – I have a little more editing to do yet.

Cee’s Which Way Challenge 2015: Week #5 – Steam Train

train on ribblehead
Steam Engine on Ribblehead Viaduct, North Yorkshire, UK

It powers over the viaduct, a metallic monster with fire in its belly, breathing steam and smoke into the air in pungent billows; a marvel of Victorian engineering. Its passage is accompanied by the roaring clatter of metal against metal. Behind the engine trail carriages, filled with passengers enjoying a touch of old-fashioned luxury as they journey towards their destinations. Within the space of bare minutes the train has vanished from sight, a distant whistle and the drifting hints of smoke the only remnants of its presence.

This is my entry into this week’s Cee’s Which Way Challenge. The picture was taken last summer at the Ribblehead Viaduct in North Yorkshire, a Grade 2 listed structure that was built between 1870-74. The engine pictured is the 48151, with The Waverley tour, on the Settle and Carlisle Railway. I’m not actually a particular fan of trains myself, though you’d never guess it from the number of pictures of them I have in my archives and the number of random facts I know about different engines! My nephew, however, has been obsessed with them since he was a toddler. He’s now 15. Any holiday we go on always includes at least one day of steam train watching.


One-Four Challenge: February Week One

It’s a new month and so time for a new picture for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge.

Horses edit 1 .2

For this first edit I used Photoshop Elements. I began by cropping it a little off the bottom and sides. I then selected the smudge stick filter, which I set to a relatively low stroke length, highlight area and intensity. I didn’t want to distort the picture too much, just give it a slightly ‘painted’ look. Next I very slightly increased the brightness and contrast, just to make things pop a little more, and decreased the overall saturation to dull down the greens. Then I selected all of the yellow dandelions and increased their saturation, the ones in the foreground more than those further back . To finish off I decided that the bright area of background in the top left corner was a little too distracting to the eye, so I selected and darkened it to create a more even toned band across the whole of the top.

Here’s the original image:


This was taken last spring. There’s a farm on the edge of the village that has lots of white and brown ponies, regularly including foals. I love taking photos of them – though it’s rare in this particular field that I actually get a clear shot as there are only one or two breaks in the hedge. Luckily on this day these three were lying straight ahead of the gate. I would have liked to move a step or two to my left to line them up a little better (I would have liked the central pony’s head more to the right) but unfortunately there was a hedge in my way!

If anyone has any suggestions of edits they’d like to see, feel free to let me know. Last month I had several ideas from the start. This time I don’t.

Connecting Beyond

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Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Colette O'Neill... Environmentalist, Author, Publisher, Photographer. Creator of Goddess Permaculture.

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