CB&W: The Old Cottage

Old Cottage

think of

the stories that could be

told if the voices of the long gone

could be heard within those aged walls

but their tales have been forgotten

as our own too shall

someday be

This post is for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is buildings.


WPC: Graceful

arches 4

History’s enigmatic weight settles, cloak-like, upon your shoulders as you walk beneath the graceful arches. The weathered stones may be mere remnants of times past, but still they stand, elegant and proud, marking the route along which devout men once walked. As the wind dances around the columns you can almost hear the sound of male voices raised in prayerful song, their worship resonating down through the ages…

arches 2

This post is for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is graceful.

The photo was taken at Fountain’s Abbey – the ruins of a Cistercian monastery near Ripon in North Yorkshire. The entire site, built out of richly golden sandstone, is beautiful to photograph, but I found the arched walkways running alongside the nave particularly graceful and attractive.

Cee’s B&W: Silent Guardian



in resolute metal,

he watches

from the rocky heights,

forever awaiting his call to arms,

a silent guardian


in enigmatic grandeur,

the once and future


of legend and history


This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. This week’s theme is things made by human beings. 

The pictures were taken at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, and are of a statue called Gallos, which is the Cornish word for ‘power’. The statue was inspired by the legends of King Arthur – who, it is said, was conceived at Tintagel – but it can also be seen as a representation of the old kings of Dumnonia, a kingdom of the 5th and 6th centuries that stretched across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. It is thought that this dynasty made Tintagel the site of their summer court.

If you’d like to know more about the statue, there’s an interesting article from The Guardian that you can find here.

CWW: Ancient Paths


Meandering path,

following a

well trodden route.

To whose doorway

do you lead?


This post is for Cee’s Which Way Challenge. This week’s pictures were taken at the Chysauster Ancient Village in Cornwall (England), the remains of an Iron Age settlement thought to have first been occupied nearly 2,000 years ago, during the Roman occupation of Britain. The village contains eight to ten houses, each with an interior courtyard surrounded by a number of rooms built into the walls. Best of all – and why I can use the pictures for this post – you can even see the stone paths leading up to many of the doorways that the ancient inhabitants would have walked upon.


I hope you like them.

Echoes of my Neighbourhood: Welcome to the Greenwood

This post is for Jacqueline’s Echoes of my Neighbourhood. This week I’m sharing pictures from one of my favourite places – the home of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest.

Major Oak

The Major Oak

Growing up in Nottinghamshire, Sherwood was a place we visited regularly, on both school trips and family days out. Tales of Robin Hood were instrumental in developing my love of the medieval period, something that I later studied at university. On this occasion, however, I don’t plan to merely share pictures of the forest (although I do plan to do so at some point). Last weekend was the yearly ‘Sherwood Through the Ages’ event, a gathering of reenactment troops depicting life from various points in the history of the forest. On the day we visited the groups were all from times during the last 1000 years. Their camps were set up all along the Major Oak path.

5 ye olde medieval shoppe

Ye olde medieval shoppe

First were the many medieval groups, all focussing on different centuries. These included King John and his Knights from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a group of the Knights of St John, the Bowden Retinue and also a group from during the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century.

Each reenactor played their part with great energy and enthusiasm, whether they were royalty, knight, peasant or even one of the dreadfully diseased lepers, whose jangling bells informed people of their presence.

Next we encountered Scots from the seventeenth century Jacobite Rebellion and some highwaymen of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, looking for travellers on the Great North Road as it passed through the heart of Sherwood.

At the end of the trail were a final two more recent groups – one from World War One and a second from the Falklands War of the 1980s.

The camps and the characters within them were not the only attractions of the day. During the afternoon, in a clearing by the Major Oak, several groups put on displays. These were quite hard to photograph as the participants were moving around the area so quickly, but I did my best. 🙂 First we watched a duel between two of the Jacobite soldiers – a ‘gentleman’s disagreement’ as it was called.

Next was a tournament hosted by King John. Even one of the lepers joined in, hoping the be granted the healing touch of the monarch.

The tournament was won by a mysterious knight in green – yes, Robin Hood also made an appearance! After the tournament the Jacobites returned to the arena where they battled with their enemies, the Scottish supporters of English rule.

To finish off I thought I’d share one of my favourte shots of the day. Whilst most of the reenactors tried to stay in character (and period) as much as possible, a few anachronisms could be found. I doubt medieval Arabian knights would have eaten ice creams!

49 Ananchronistic Arabian Knights

I hope you all enjoyed the post. If you’d like to know mkre about and its history, check t Millie Thom’s post, here.

Unfortunately I’m unlikely to be back on the blog for a little while as I’m off on holiday tomorrow and we’ve been warned that the internet is unreliable where we’re staying.

I look forward to catching up with everyone when I get back!

Echoes of my Neighbourhood: English Civil War Re-enactment

This post is for Jacqueline’s Echoes of my Neighbourhood, a photography challenge that asks you to share a selection of photographs from around your neighbourhood. This is the first time I’ve joined in with this challenge and I’d originally intended to share pictures from the village. Last Sunday, however, having a rare weekend day free from work, I accompanied my parents into Newark-on-Trent, the nearby town in which we lived for most of my childhood. On this day, to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the Royalist surrender of the town to Parliament on the 8th May 1646, during the English Civil War, the Sealed Knot re-enactment group paraded from the Castle to the Market Place and recreated the events.

Here, in a completely random order, are some of my photos from the day:

If you’d like to know more about the history behind these events my mum, Millie Thom, has written one of her fascinating historical posts about them that you can find here.

I hope you all liked the pictures. I’d love to know if you have a favourite!

SPF: The Weight of History

This story is in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge, hosted by Alistair Forbes, that asks that you write a story / poem of around 200 words using the photo as a guide.

Photo Prompt:

Photo Prompt: © Al Forbes

The Weight of History

Jae reluctantly followed his classmates as they trooped onto the ship. He’d been dreading the field trip for weeks; had begged not to go. Typically, his mum hadn’t listened to a word he said.

“It’ll be educational,” she’d told him. “History’s important to know.”

History was actually the problem but unfortunately he couldn’t tell her that. He knew how she’d act. He’d be talking to the bloody shrinks again before he knew it. Not to mention, rattling like a pill bottle. Jae sighed, focussing on the guide prattling before the group. He’d just have to grit his teeth.

Above deck was bearable. Just. With concentration he could ignore the scents, sounds and sights that drifted across his senses. He dealt with worse echoes of the past every day. As their tour moved onto the gun decks, however, the weight of years pressed closer. Odours of sweat and gunpowder mingled in his nostrils whilst voices chattered, shouted and sang in disordered cacophony. The boom of cannons set his ears ringing and he ducked as deadly splinters flew. Screaming men and flowing blood turned his stomach.

Ignoring his classmates’ jeers, he fled. Sometimes he wondered whether his mother had the right idea.

Word Count: 200

If you want to read other entries or upload you own, click on the little blue frog.



Fountains Abbey

Last Sunday I visited Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire with my parents, a day out to celebrate both my birthday and their 45th wedding anniversary. It’s a wonderful place to visit for several different reasons. The ruins of the Cistercian abbey, destroyed with the dissolution of the monasteries under the orders of King Henry VIII, are fascinating for anyone interested in history, whilst the grounds within which they’re set contain both a medieval deer park and a Georgian water garden. It’s a beautiful place to walk around. There are so many different things to look at that it’s practically impossible to see it all in a single visit.

abbey by skel 3.1
We began our day by walking around the deer park. We saw a few deer, though most were too far away to photograph. Within the area there is also a cottage, a church, an obelisk, a 400 year old sweet chestnut tree and lots of gorgeous views.

As I’m sure you all know by now, I love taking photographs of paths and random countryside scenes – there were lots of these for me to enjoy snapping. I especially loved all the autumnal colours.

The paths led us around to the lake, where we paused for a time at the lakeside tea rooms, and then on to the water gardens.

All around the water gardens are lots of little follies.

We then followed the River Skell away from the ponds of the water garden. Before long the ruins of the abbey could be seen through the trees…

… until finally we reached the abbey itself.

After we’d enjoyed a tasty Sunday dinner in the Abbey restaurant and explored the ruins we walked out past Fountains Hall, where a wedding party was gathered for photographs (which unfortunately meant I couldn’t get a clear shot of the hall). It was nearing time for us to leave by this point so we caught our last few sights before heading back to the car.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed my virtual tour. 🙂 If you’d like to know more about the history of this wonderful place, my mum, Millie Thom, has also written a post, looking at its changing role over the centuries. You can find it here.

Now I need to return to my NaNoWriMo prep – this post took me far longer to put together than I’d intended!

Bye-de-byes. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed

View through gatehouse


What secrets lie
within the
shadowed corners
of history?
With gazes drawn
to the bright
the carefully chosen
points of focus,
we view a
scene shaped by
the victors’ hands,
by those in positions
of prominence
and power.
Seek with
a careful eye
amongst the shadows:
the secrets of the
may someday be

This is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge. To have a look at the other entries go here.

The picture is the view through the gatehouse at Newark Castle that was taken in November during photography 101. I decided against using it back then but I thought it fitted this week’s prompt rather well. If you’d like to see the rest of the pictures taken around the castle, you can see them here and here.


Photography 101 – Weekend 3 – Detail in Architecture

Ageless Splendour

See the beauty
in the detail:
each elegant curve,
each fragile
all remnants of
ages past.

See how the
smallest wonders are
concealed in
nooks and
every recess
holding its secrets.

See how nature
seeks to reclaim:
moss inching over
birds making home
they desire.

See the efforts
of modern society:
eager support
to stay the
decay of years.
But how long can it
be held back?

I’m not quite sure how I found the time, but I decided to take some photos of Newark Castle again for this weekend’s challenge. As per the specifications on photo 101, there are establishing shots but I’ve also focussed in on the detail. There are so many pictures I could share with you, but I thought I’d limit it to eleven. I’d intended to limit it to ten (a nice round number), but each of these insisted on being included – especially once the poem had been written!

The challenge was also to try out a different form of gallery – well, I tried out all the different ones but then decided I didn’t particularly like them. As you can see, I ended up back with my familiar layout, tiled mosaic.

I hope you all like it.