Word of the Week (WOW) – Redolent

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

I’m up to the letter R this week. I started off by just choosing a word at random (perspicacious). Since then, I’ve been working through the alphabet, so I’ll be looking for a good word beginning with next week.

So, here is my WOW for this week:

redolent

 Word: 

Redolent

Pronunciation:

red·o·lent  (rɛdəʊlənt)

Audio link: Click here

Part of Speech:

Adjective

[Noun: red·o·lence, red·o·len·cy.  Adverb: red·o·lent·ly]

 Meaning:

1.Having a pleasant smell; fragrant e.g. a  deep, rich, redolent wine 

399px-Syrah_from_Sicily
Syrah wine from Sicily. Pixabay

2. Odorous or smelling (usually followed by of) e.g. a room, redolent of furniture polish

3. Suggestive; reminiscent (usually followed by of or with) e.g. a portrait redolent of the nineteenth century 

800px-John_Constable_The_Hay_Wain
The Hay Wain by John Constable. 1821. Now in the National Gallery. Public Domain

Synonyms:

1. odorous, aromatic, odoriferous, ambrosial, aromatic, perfumed, fragrant, savoury (savory) scented, sweet, pleasant -smelling

2. (serving to bring to mind): evocative, remindful, reminiscent, resonant

Antonyms:

fetid, foul, malodorous, noisome, putrid, rancid, rank, reek, reeking, skunky, smelly, stenchful, stinking, stinky, strong

Word Origin

C14: from Latin redolens smelling (of), from redolēre to give off an odour, from red- re + olēre to smell

Use in a Sentence:

1. The chapter Margaret was reading was a sad one, redolent of regret and lost causes.

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2. The forest path was redolent with the scent of pine needles.

Pine woods at Holkham Meals Reach. geograh.org.uk Attribution: Zorba the Greek. Wikimedia Commons
Pine woods at Holkham Meals Reach. geograh.org.uk Attribution: Zorba the Greek. Wikimedia Commons

3. (Noun use): The farmhouse kitchen was filled with the redolence of freshly baked bread.

Reconstruction_of_a_farmhouse_kitchen_in_the_Wensleydale_Creamery_Visitor_Centre_-_geograph.org.uk_-_348302 (1)
Farmhouse kitchen at Wensleydale Creamery. geog.org.uk. Attribtion: Ken Walton

If you’d like to see more interesting words, visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Bringing History to Life: The Great Central Railway

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This past week has been half-term (half way through the summer term) in most areas of the U.K. Until 1978, it was known as Whitsuntide, or in short, Whitsun, or even Whit. The Monday following Whit Sunday was always a bank holiday. Today it is called the spring bank holiday and falls on the last Monday in May.

I don’t intend to elaborate on what Whitsun means in the Christian Church, other than to say that this period is also referred to as Pentecost, the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, and is held on the seventh Sunday after Easter.

For many people, in various occupations, Whit Monday is a day off work, and as such, many places of interest are packed. This year I went along with my fifteen-year -old grandson and his mum, my eldest daughter, for a day out to the Great Central Railway at Loughborough. We’re all history lovers in our family, and will take any opportunity to go along to events that really bring the past to life. And, as a heritage railway, the Great Central certainly does that. It is currently Britain’s only double track mainline heritage railway and runs for 8.25 miles in total from the large market town of Loughborough to a new terminus just north of Leicester.

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The great steam engines are a wonderful sight in themselves, but I was also fascinated by the way the railway stations have been rebuilt to look like those of past times. The one at Quorn Station reflects World War 2, whilst Rothley Station illustrates the Edwardian era. Special Gala days are held throughout the year, when either the 1940’s or Edwardian eras are featured. Stations are packed with people in relevant costumes, and they really go to town to make it all so realistic.

It was not a special day last Monday, and the stations were not so packed. My grandson, Kieran, loves history, and is considering becoming a history teacher (as long as he can be a volunteer worker on steam engines in his holidays!). He’s been many time to the GCR and to the North York Moors Railway (NYMR) on Events/Gala days, and laps it all up. A few people even dress up on non-event days, just for the fun of it, as the top photo shows.

Here are a few photos of the engines and carriages:

I have been feeling ‘all trained out’ this week. But it was an enjoyable day riding up and down the line in the old-fashioned carriages, and Kieran managed to get himself enlisted as a volunteer next summer, after he finishes his GCSE’s!

No Creepy Gargoyles- Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Priceless Joy . . .

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For this story, I’ve resurrected a couple of North of England-type characters from a piece I wrote a while ago for Monday’s Finish the Story entitled, Wine and Women. Harry has now happily returned from his little trip in the spacecraft.

So here is this week’s story . . .

Fred stood beside his best mate, squinting up at the new church atop the hill on the edge of town, trying to decide whether he liked it or not.

‘What d’yer make of this new church then, Harry? It’s a bit different, in’it?’

Harry nodded. ‘I s’pose it’s different t’ old one in town centre. But it’s kinda neat and clean-looking.’

‘But it ha’n’t got a steeple… or a tower! Churches are s’posed to have ’em, to reach up t’Heaven or summat. There’s none of them ugly things round the top, either.’

‘Why the heck would you want gargoyles?’

‘Fred shrugged. ‘Give me the creeps, they do …but it don’t look like a church without them.’

‘Course it does, yer moron! It’s got a bell, han’t it… and a Cross on top? And arched windows and –’

‘Not stained-glass ones, though.’

Harry sighed and tried one last tactic. ‘I heard the new vicar’s a woman … quite dishy, un’ all!’

Fred’s face lit up. ‘Fancy coming t’ Sunday Service wi’ us next week…?’

Word Count: 175

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If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog:

 

For anyone interested, I’ve put together a short piece about gargoyles and what they actually were, mostly from Wikipedia:

In architecture, a gorgoyle is a carved grotesque (an ugly or comically distorted figure or image) with a spout designed to convey water from the roof away from the sides of the building. A trough is cut into the back of the gargoyle and rainwater exits through the open mouth.  The length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall.

Canaleta (8381247424)
By Juanedc from Zaragoza, España (Canaleta Uploaded by juanedc). Wikimedia Commons
We often think of gargoyles as being medieval, but they have been used throughout history as a means of water diversion when not conveyed in gutters:

First century, Hellenistic gargoyle representing a comical cook slave from Al Khanoum, Afghanistsan. Guimet Museum. Personal photograph 2006. Commons
First century, Hellenistic gargoyle representing a comical cook slave from Al Khanoum, Afghanistsan. Guimet Museum. Personal photograph 2006. Commons

Gargoyles were viewed in two ways by the Church throughout history:

1. To convey the concept of evil – especially useful in sending a stark message to the common people, most of whom were illiterate.

2. They were also said to scare evil spirits away from the church, thus assuring the congregation that evil was kept outside the church walls.

Here are a few more images of gargoyles:

Gargoyle in form of a lion Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux. Author: Vassil. Wikimedia Commons
Gargoyle in form of a lion Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux. Author: Vassil.
Wikimedia Commons
Paisley Abbey Gargoyle. Author: Colin. Wikimedia Commons
Paisley Abbey Gargoyle. Author: Colin. Wikimedia Commons
Gargoyle representing a comical demon at the base of a pinnacle with two smaller gargoyles, Visby, Sweden. Author: Alexandru Baboş  Albabo . Commons
Gargoyle representing a comical demon at the base of a pinnacle with two smaller gargoyles, Visby, Sweden. Author: Alexandru Baboş
Albabo . Commons

Another form of grotesque is the chimera. These were similarly distorted faces and figures to the gargoyles, but without the water spout and used mostly as decoration. Here are a couple from the little village church a hundred yards from my house. They were taken by my daughter, Louise (afairymind) for one of her posts a while ago:

Sleeping chimera. Copyright Louise Bunting
Sleeping chimera.
Copyright Louise Bunting
Awake chimera. Copyright Louise Bunting
Chimera awake. Copyright Louise Bunting

Word of the Week (WOW) – Quagmire

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practise with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

I’m up to the letter Q this week. I started off by just choosing a word at random (perspicacious). Since then, I’ve been working through the alphabet, so I’ll be looking for a good word beginning with  next week.

*Note to exiledprospero, who kindly suggested a good word for me to do when I reached Q:

I was going to do Qixotic this week, Prospero, as you kindly suggested, but I discovered that Heena, who runs this challenge, had beaten me to it.  So, if you’d like to see what Heena has to say about that excellent word, follow the link in her name above.

So, here is my WOW for this week:

quagmireWord: Quagmire

Pronunciation:  [kwag-mahyuh r, kwog-]  (ˈkwæɡˌmaɪə; ˈkwɒɡ-)

Audio link to British and U.S. pronunciation here

Part of Speech:  Noun

Adjective:  Quagmiry (quag·mir·y)

 Meaning:

1. A soft wet area of land that gives way underfoot.

Quagmire: The Snicks near Shouldham, Norfolk, England. geograph.org.uk. Attribution: Keith Evans. Wikimedia Commons,
Quagmire: The Snicks near Shouldham, Norfolk, England. geograph.org.uk. Attribution: Keith Evans. Wikimedia Commons,

2. A difficult  or precarious situation; a predicament.

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3. Anything soft or flabby.

Synonyms:

predicament, difficulty, quandary, pass, dilemma, pinch, plight, muddle, impasse, entanglement, imbroglio. Informal usage: fix, jam, scrape, pickle, rabbit-hole, rattrap. sticky wicket.

Word Origin and History (Dictionary.com)

1570s, “bog, marsh,” from obsolete quaq “bog, marsh” + mire. Early spellings include quamyre (1550s), quabmire (1590s), quadmire (1600). The extended sense of “difficult situation, inescapable bad position” is recorded by 1766, but this seems to have been not in common use in much before the 19th century.

Use in a Sentence:

1. Martin had no problems on his bike ride until he reached the track through the woods where the slush and rain had turned it into a quagmire.

Quagmire_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1425200
Quagmire in Stapleford Woods. Wikimedia Commons. Geograph.org.uk. Attribution: Richard Croft

2. Continuous rain for days on end had turned the former battlefield into a quagmire.

The British Army on the Western Front 1914-18. Muddy tracks through the former battlefield. Commons. Photographer: David McLellan, Second Lieutenant
The British Army on the Western Front 1914-18. Muddy tracks through the former battlefield. Commons. Photographer: David McLellan, Second Lieutenant

3. The dilemma sucked Angela deeper and deeper into a quagmire of indecision.

shutterstock_2156487254. The family was enguilfed in a legal quagmire and was concerned that they may not be able to afford lawyer’s hefty fees.

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If you’d like to see more interesting words, visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

The Summerhouse – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Dawn M. Miller :

wpid-photo-20150519080132329. . . and this is my story:

‘Marry me, Jen…’ Mark grinned at his fiancée puzzled face as they hurried into the old summerhouse out of the cold, November rain. ‘Let’s get married now instead of waiting until spring.’

Jenny waited for the Spitfires to pass over before speaking. Life was so different since war had been declared two months ago. ‘But what will people think …? Don’t answer that, I already know.’

Mark pulled her close and rested his face against her auburn curls. ‘They’ll understand when they know…’

‘When they know what?’

‘I’ve had my call-up papers, love.’

*

Ninety-five-year old Jenny roused from her daydream as her daughter halted her wheelchair beside the gazebo. The old summerhouse had long since gone, yet another casualty of wartime bombs, unlike her memories…

Three short years after that day in 1939, Mark had been killed in action, leaving her alone and pregnant. They’d had so little time together.

Still, Susan had been a wonderful daughter, and she’d be with Mark again soon enough. And this time it would be forever.

Word Count: 175

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If you’d like to view other entries, click here.

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A little bit of info

Whilst I was writing this piece, I started wondering about the differences between a gazebo, a summerhouse, and a pavilion, and whether the names could be used interchangeably. I know this may sound like mere trivia, but I delight in trivialities. So this is what I found, from various sources:

A gazebo is a timber structure with a roof that gives shelter and shade. It is not a completely enclosed building. Many gazebos have no side panels at all, whilst others are half-panelled or completely panelled in parts. Some gazebos have trellis panelling so that plants can be trained to grow up and around the structure. Unlike a summerhouse, a gazebo has no door or fitted windows and is often hexagonal in shape.

Gazebo in Sam Houston Park, Houston, Texas, USA. Author: i_am_jim.  Creative Commons
Gazebo in Sam Houston Park, Houston, Texas, USA. Author: i_am_jim. Creative Commons

Modern summerhouses are generally wooden buildings that have a complete roof, sides and an entrance door. Most have windows to allow plenty of light into the building. So, the main difference between a gazebo and a summerhouse seems to be that once inside a summerhouse it will feel as though you are indoors, whereas you will always feel as though you are outdoors in a gazebo. In the past many ornamental summerhouses were stone. Some old, stone summerhouses still stand today, as the image above shows. I found thisGothic styled one while looking for one to put on my post:

Ilford Manor Summerhouse, UK. Author: Neosnaps. originally uploaded on Flckr.  Wikimedia Commons
Ilford Manor Summerhouse, UK. Author: Neosnaps. originally uploaded on Flckr. Wikimedia Commons

This is one person’s view I found of the differences between a gazebo and summerhouse:

As far as I can tell there isn’t a great deal of difference between summerhouse and a gazebo except perhaps the shape. Most gazebos do tend to be hexagonal in shape. To me, summerhouses seem to be like glorified sheds with windows, whereas gazebos seem to be more attractive in shape and design.” (Source: Successful Garden design)

So what is a pavilion?

A pavilion may be a small outbuilding, similar to a summerhouse. Pavilions were particularly popular in the 18th century and often resembled small classical temples and follies. A pool house by a swimming pool, for example, may have enough character and charm to be called a pavilion. But a free-standing pavilion can also be a far larger building such as the Royal Pavilion at Brighton (UK), which is a large oriental style palace.

A sports pavilion is usually a building next to a sports ground used as a changing room and a place providing refreshments. Often there will be a veranda. We have a (wooden) cricket pavilion in the next village to us. The term pavilion is also used for stadiums/stadia such as baseball parks. Of course, most modern pavilions are built of wood.

It seems to me that the main differences stem from the uses of these buildings. The gazebo is the odd one out because it is generally open to the elements.  Summerhouses and pavilions are closer in design because they are enclosed.

Still confused? Me too – mostly because there are many of these structures that don’t fit neatly into these descriptions For example, here are two structures described as summerhouses I found on Wikimedia Commons – both with open sides!:

800px-Třemošná,_summerhouse
Tremosna Summerhouse, Czech Republic. Author: Wikipedia User
800px-Tring_park_summerhouse
Tring Park Summerhouse, Hertfordshire England. Author: D Royal

 

Refs to information:  Jack’s Garden Store, Successful Garden Design and Wikipedia.

Word of the Week (WOW) – Popinjay

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practice with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by not necessary, but it’s up to you.

I’m up to the letter P this week. I started off by just choosing a word at random (perspicacious). Since then, I’ve been working through the alphabet, so I’ll be looking for a good word beginning with next week

So, here is my WOW for this week:

popinjay

Word: Popinjay

Pronunciation:   Pop·in·jay  [pop-in-jey]  (popinˌdzei)

Audio Link: popinjay

Part of Speech:  Noun

Adjective: Popinjay (when used to describe colours, e.g. popinjay blue; popinjay green).

 Meaning:

1.  A conceited, vain,  foppish, or excessively talkative person.

shutterstock_217997104

2.  British Dialect. a woodpecker, especially the green woodpecker.

Green Woodpecker. Wikimedia Commons. Source: geograph.org.uk. Author: Christine Matthews.
Green Woodpecker. Wikimedia Commons. Source: geograph.org.uk.
Author: Christine Matthews.

3.  An archaic word for parrot.

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4. Archaic: the figure of a parrot usually fixed on a pole and used as a target in archery and gun shooting.

Tir_à_l'arc_au_papegai
Two men shooting a popinjay (papegai). Public Domain. Anonymous.

Here is a good summary of the word’s meaning that I found at Dictionary Definition: Vocabulary.com

A popinjay is a person who is both talkative and cocky, who struts around chattering like a parrot. Fittingly, it’s also an old-fashioned word meaning parrot, and the name of a sport also known as pole archery, in which players shoot at wooden bird shapes with either rifles or crossbows. The origin of popinjay is unknown, but one guess is that its roots are imitative, meant to sound like the cry of a bird.

Synonyms:

fop, swell, buck, peacock, dandy, jackanapes, coxcomb, egoist, egotist, beau, blade, clothes-horse, dude, macaroni, Beau Brummel, blabbermouth, chatterbox.

Word Origin:

1275-1325; Middle English papejay, popingay, papinjai < Middle French papegai, papingay parrot < Spanish papagayo < Arabic babaghā

Use in a Sentence:

1.  The party host was a strutting, supercilious dandy; a real popinjay.

2. Maria sighed when she realised that her blind date was another Beau Brummel, who cared too much about his own appearance to appreciate the efforts she had made with hers.

Beau_Brummel_Gillette_ad
Beau Brummel Gillette Advert. Wikimedia Commons

3. The men congregated around the pole, some taking aim at the wooden popinjay fixed securely to the top.

Jeu du papegay. Anonymous. Public Domain
Jeu du papegay. Anonymous. Public Domain

4. (Adjective use). Carol’s new dress was a bright, popinjay blue.

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4.  Her constant bragging gave her the air of being an irritating popinjay

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If you’d like to see more interesting words, visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Liebster Award X 2

liebsteraward

I am delighted and honoured to have been nominated for this award by two different people. Strictly speaking, I’ve been nominated for two different versions of the award, so I’ll proudly display both badges on my page. My two lovely nominators are – in the order that I received them – Suganiya Rassiah at her blog, Infinite Passion (above badge) and Yinglan at A Simple Life (badge shown lower down the page). I want to say a huge thank you to both of them for thinking of me and urge you to take a look at their blogs, if you don’t already do so.

I’ve had Suganiya’s nomination for a good few weeks now, but it’s been on hold until I got back from Andalucia. Yinglan’s arrived last week, while I was still in Spain, so I think it’s time to do something about both of them.

First, here are the rules:

Other than for the fourth one, the rules are the same for both of the awards.  The questions are different, however, so I’ll take one set of questions at a time.

shutterstock_1180812761. Thank the person/people who nominated you by providing a link to their blog in your Liebster Award post. (Done)

2. Give 11 random facts about yourself.

3. Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.

4.  (a) Nominate 11 other blogs that have 200 followers or less (Suganiya’s Award – black badge, above).

(b) Nominate 5-11 other bloggers (Yinglan’s – blue badge below).

5. Ask your nominees 11 questions of your own.

Now that’s done, here are eleven random facts about myself:

shutterstock_1783224441I have very fine, flyaway hair. When I was younger I kept it long so I could just tie it back or put it into bunches or pigtails. I’d look a right idiot with bunches or pigtails now, so it just hangs and gets on my nerves. These two photos of me with bunches were taken when I was a first-time mum.  They’re so old and cracked they’re a bit of a disaster.

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2. I may have said this before, but I’m a techno-nerd. In other words, any technological apparatus or appliance has lost me before I even touch it. And when I do touch it, it invariably breaks.

3. I live in a tiny village where the Internet connection drives me to distraction. I’ve had to abandon so many posts, or comments – and even emails – for a while because the connection has been lost just before I hit the send button!

4. I hate the wind. I like a nice gentle breeze on a summer’s day, but a strong wind in either summer or winter is a definite no-no. Probably all to do with my flyaway hair.

5. If it were possible, I’d relocate to the Lake District – which I’ve adored since I was a child. Not that I want to wander off looking for daffodils – Wordsworth’s already done that bit. I just love the mountains and lakes.

DSCF0575
View from Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Keswick, in the Lake District.

Now we live on the edge of Lincolnshire, which – with the exception of couple of areas – is very flat. Very pretty… but still flat.

6. I adore ice cream – although I’m not a lover of fancy flavours. I just like a nice, rich vanilla or even what we call Cornish ice cream in the UK, which is very rich and creamy. I’ll eat ice cream any way, but I prefer it in a cone/cornet when I’m walking around. Occasionally I’ll be tempted by a chocolate flake or strawberry sauce.

7. When I write – seriously, I mean – I have to be in a room on my own and in silence, give or take a few of the noisy birds we have around here. I don’t even like music playing, no matter how quiet it is.

8. I love travelling, both abroad and in the British Isles. I still have a list of countries I’d like to visit, for different reasons, as well as British sites I still haven’t seen. Finding the time (and money) is a different matter, though.

9. Early mornings are my favourite time. It’s the time I like to get out and walk. Then – apart from the usual housework and necessary cooking -I have the rest of the day to do my own things. I can’t do late nights nowadays. By 10pm I usually head off to bed to read.

10. This was me (the one on the left) when I was three, with my aunt (who was only six years older than me) and my little sister. I always hated these picture because they made me look like a little pudding. The second photo, of just me, is also very stained now. My tendency to overweight has long gone through year of jogging, going to gyms and swimming. Now I have dodgy knees due to all the jogging and people keep telling me I need to put weight on! Mum, Joan and Linda 172 11. I’m struggling to find random facts now … Ah, I know: By the time I was twenty I was beginning to believe I was destined to marry a farmer. I had had three ‘steady’ boyfriends who all, for some unknown reason, were farmers. The first two lasted for simply a matter of a few months but the last one was for three years. Most people assumed we would marry when I finished my teacher training. But things just fizzled out when I moved across to Yorkshire to start my first teaching job. I still wonder what attracted farmers to me, or me to farmers. Perhaps I just liked that rugged, outdoors look they have. Haha. 😀  None of the three knew each other and I met each in completely different circumstances. shutterstock_78397096 Now I think I’m totally factless… 

Here are the two sets of questions for me to answer: shutterstock_148655024 FIRST, SUGANIYA’S QUESTIONS: 

1. What era do you think you’re best suited to?

Although I write historical fiction and have a passion for the past, I’ve always been happy living in the present era. I was born just after the war, so I’m part of the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation who were teenagers during the 1960s with all the changes that came with it. I have very happy memories of my 1950s childhood and can’t help comparing it to childhood during the present times. I appreciate all the ‘mod cons’ we have now that make life so much easier and more comfortable, not to mention the medical advances that have been made. I rarely wish I’d been born at a later date. The future holds so much uncertainty.  

2. What kind of person do you wish you were? Describe please! For a start I’d like to be a lot taller! I’m a grand 5 foot 2 inches, and the shortest person in my family. My mother was six inches taller than me, although my father was an inch shorter than her. He looked even shorter because of the bad limp he had after being badly wounded in the war. But Dad’s side of the family were all ‘shrimps’ like me, especially the women. As for the type of person I’d like to be … Probably someone more assertive. I’m very easy going and have a ‘live and let live’ attitude to others. There’s no point in letting other people get you down as far as I’m concerned. We’re all different, and that’s that.

3, Why did you start a blog?  I started blogging simply because people assured me it was something that all writers should do. But I’ve found far more to WordPress than a site on which to promote my books. In fact, I do very few posts about my books. In all honesty, I hate some of the blogs of writers, whose every post has ‘Buy my Book’ thrust at the readers and nothing else. I can’t bring myself to do that. I enjoy blogging and participating in the flash fiction challenges because they’re fun. I also like to put my travel post and those about British customs and traditions. My blog is called, ‘Bringing History to Life’, which is what I like to do.

4. Describe your dream man/woman 😉 Ah now, that is an interesting question – although I’m probably far too ancient to be answering it! As far as looks are concerned, I’ve no preference for either fair or dark, or particular eye colour. But, between you and me, I’m rather fond of Chris Hemsworth as he is in the ‘Thor’ movie. 😀 Now, I know I’m biased here, and vikings are are must for me – but he is a god, after all …(I couldn’t find a free image of him as Thor, but I’m sure you all know what he looks like with long hair and carrying his big hammer.) I like long hair! I suppose I’ve been influenced by two hippie-style daughters!

5. Have you ever written a story/book (doesn’t have to be completed) and if so what’s its name? This is an easy one to answer! I have written the first two books of my ‘Sons of Kings’ trilogy – ‘Shadow of the Raven’ and ‘Pit of Vipers. I’m writing the third at present, but the only idea for a title at present is along the lines of ‘Dragon of Wessex’ – after the Wessex flag. (This is because it is in Book 3 that Alfred’s dreams of keeping the Danes out of Wessex are fulfilled … mostly!)

6. Do you remember the first book you read, if so what’s the name? Some of the first books I read (unassisted) were the ‘Secret Seven’ and then the ‘Famous Five’ books by Enyd Blyton when I was about six or seven. I read quite a few of them, so I don’t remember which I read first. Before those, of course, I had to learn to read at school. We had some set reading books about a farmer called Old Lob. So I suppose, they were the first books I actually read – under the gentle guidance of the very patient infant teachers (plus Mum at home). The first ‘classic’ I read was ‘Jane Eyre’ when I was about eleven. I loved that story.

7. Why do you read, or rather do you read? I can’t imagine life without reading. I’ve read all my life, to what extent dependent upon circumstances at the time. I now read for two different reasons. I read non-fiction when doing research for my writing, and fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. I find reading a great stress reliever. I can delve into someone else’s story and forget about everything I’ve got to do for a while. Any form of reading is also very educational. shutterstock_197038109 8. What relaxes you? Walking, swimming, reading, knitting and baking. I’m not one for a great deal of TV watching. I like the odd programme, like ‘The Musketeers’ – which I now have to wait almost another year for, but I can happily miss most stuff. Knitting I’ve simply abandoned while I’m writing this trilogy, but I know I’ll come back to it eventually. I’ve made dozens of jumpers and cardigans in my time and find knitting relaxing. Baking nowadays tends to be when we have all the family coming round to eat it.

9. Something you regret. My main regret is in not starting writing my books earlier in my life. But six children and teaching left no time until I’d actually retired. Now, I’m beginning to feel I really have left it too late.

10. Something that you don’t regret. Marrying and having six children. I’d probably do the same, given my time over again (although I’d probably have people screaming at me nowadays to think about the population explosion!)

11. What is the imaginary pet you always wanted to have? Don’t like pets, well try them 🙂 We’ve had just about every ‘normal’ type of pet imaginable when my children were young, including various types of rodents, and tanks and ponds full of various kinds of fish, including some huge koi carp that the local herons seemed to find tasty until we netted the pond. We also had a catfish that we soon realised was eating all his playmates. The only reptiles we’ve ever had are tortoises. I drew the line at snakes because I really don’t like them! Ugh … As for imaginary pets … When I was a child I’d have liked a flying horse, like Pegasus, or perhaps a unicorn. I also loved all those dogs and horses that always came to their child-friend’s aid when they were in danger. Like Lassie, Or Champion the Wonder Horse.

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Now for Yinglan’s Nomination

6e913-liebster-award1 AND HERE ARE YINGLAN’S QUESTIONS:

1. What made you start blogging?  (Same answer as Q.1 above)

2. What have you learned through blogging? I have learned that blogging takes a lot of time. It’s also a lot of fun meeting so many people around their world and many posts are very educational as well as interesting. Some have opened my eyes to things I had never considered before.

3. If you could go anywhere, where would you go? I’m happy actually living in the UK. Even if we move away from Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire, nowhere in this country is that far away from where most of our family live. Britain is very small compared to other countries. For holidays, I think our next ‘long haul’ will either be New Zealand or Canada, although I’ve taken a fancy to Russia recently, too – and Argentina! Flying across to mainland Europe is a quick holiday for us, and we generally go down to Malta every September because we have a timeshare there. I’d like to do some ‘city breaks’ though …perhaps Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin.

4. If you could be anything (occupation-wise), what would you be? I’ve already finished my career as a teacher – which I loved – and now I’m concentrating on my writing. If I hadn’t gone into teaching, I would have veered towards midwifery. I’ve always been a ‘baby person’. I fancied being some kind of air hostess when I was 14  because I wanted to see the world. I soon learned that in those days (1960s) they wanted tall, leggy women for that … which I certainly wasn’t!

5. One word you like people to use to describe you. Creative, I think. I love to write,  but only the feedback from others can say whether I manage to be creative or not.

6. One word you would not like people to use to describe you. Insensitive. I hate insensitive people, so if anyone called me that, I’d have a lot of self-assessment to do.

7. What are some sounds you dislike? Loud ones – particularly high-pitched screeches. ( I won’t elaborate on my dislike of some women singers’ high pitched caterwauling here!) I hate noise, whether it’s machinery, music or lots of people talking and laughing loudly. I really do like peace and quiet. Of course, I don’t get it when the tribe descend on us, especially at Christmas and times like that shutterstock_153779333 8. Who do you look up to? So many people throughout history, both men and women, have achieved greatness in their lives, and I’ve no desire to prioritise right now. Thinking about most of these is a humbling experience. Closer to home, I have to admire the way my husband has coped with his life in the twenty-six years since the car accident that almost killed him. Though not his fault in the slightest and he did receive compensation, he had to retire from teaching. Now, although he jokes about being ‘Metal Mickey’ (we have great fun at airports) he copes really well and, other than the limp due to a displaced pelvis, he keeps as active as possible – though sometimes not without his regular, prescribed pain killers.

9. If time freezes for 24 hours, what would you do? I’m not sure what could be done if time were frozen. Presumably I wouldn’t be frozen in time as well (?) in which case I’d probably write … and read. I could manage that for 24 hours, but any longer and I think I’d just go crazy. 😦

10. Are you motivated by hope or fear? Hope – for what I have still to do and can achieve. I don’t see fear as something to motivate anyone. Rather, it would surely hold them back? My own hopes and ambitions for my writing, and seeing as much of the world as possible, drive me forward – as well as  my hopes to see my children and grandchildren thrive in their future lives.

11. What/who is your inspiration? I’ll gear this question to my inspiration to write, I think, because I’ve been inspired by many people for different things. So, great writers … Dorothy Dunnett inspired me to write historical fiction many years ago. But her writing style is so complex, I always felt I could never match her standard. Still, it didn’t put me off wanting to write. I’ve enjoyed books by so many authors. I love Wilbur Smith’s ‘River God’, Mary Stewart’s ‘Crystal Cave’ and Bernard Cornwell’s series about Arthur. And far too many more to list here.

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Which brings me to my questions for my nominees:

shutterstock_1412641331.What are the main types of posts you write and what type of blogs do you enjoy reading yourself?

2.Do you have a particular time of day when you do your blogging and how often do you generally aim to post?

3. Have you a particular genre you like to read or watch on TV/movies, and are there any genres that you would avoid at all costs?

4. What would be your ideal holiday destination? (e.g. are you a sunshine-and-beach kind of person or a sightseer, a sports-driven holiday-seeker, or what?)

5. What is your biggest goal in life at the moment?

6. What is your favourite type of music? Do you have any favourite performer(s)?

7. Do you have a favourite musical instrument and do you play anything yourself?

8. To what extent are you influenced by fashion in your choice of clothes?

9. Describe your ideal meal/venue for a meal on a special occasion or night out.

10. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

11. Now the biggie: What do you think of ‘Game of Thrones’ (book or TV series)? This seems to be a popular discussion point at the moment!

Finally, these are my nominees. I’ll do them in two groups. 

These are the people I nominate for the first award shown (the black and pink one):

luckyjc007 at Reflections on Life’s Journey

* Sonya at Only 100 Words

HumaAq

OldenGray

 SerenaArtiste

Jessica (skyllarae) at Eat Me

* Shivangi

 lifehomeandaway

For Yinglan’s Award (blue/grey one)

* Norma at Emovere

AlexF 

Bekki Hill at The Creativity Cauldron

tastyniblets

Jack R. Cotner

The Snow Melts Somewhere

The Village Pond – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, provided by Priceless Joy:

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. . . and this is my story:

As a girl I would dance at the edge of the pond, laughing at the ducks waddling along the grassy bank and sliding into the water. When I was grown and wed, I would scrub Tom’s tunics in that water till my hands were almost raw.

Tom worked hard on our farm and I contented myself with my chores. I tended my herbs and earned a little coin selling cures for ailments -chamomile to erase weariness and feverfew for headaches and fever…

But I couldn’t save Tom from the plague.

I kept the farm going after he’d passed, and continued to sell my herbs. And the company of my cats kept me from being lonely.

Then, in 1646, the Puritans came with their henchman.

The villagers jeered … called me ‘witch’… as my tortured body was dragged to the ducking stool. Three times I survived the ducking, but my fate was already sealed. I can never forget the pain of the flames …

I come here sometimes to watch the ducks waddling along the banks.

Word Count: 175

If you’d like to view other entries, click here.

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For anyone interested, here is a little piece I’ve put together (from various sources) by way of explanation about witchcraft and the use of the ducking stool.

Cucking_stool

The main period of witch-hunts in Europe and North America was between 1450 and 1750, the last recorded execution of people convicted as witches being in the 18th century.

For many years, magic had been part of everyday life, and was only considered wrong if it worked effectively – but for the wrong reasons. Witches were often called on to help church ministers with illnesses, or to help deliver a baby. If anything went wrong, people would question whether the witch had made a pact with the devil. Witches were handled cruelly, often being subjected to awful tortures in order to exact a confession and the names of others involved in their craft. Thumb screws and leg irons were common – the great pain of which usually resulted in confession.

In 1645-6, a short period of ‘witch fever’ gripped England. Renowned witch finder, Matthew Hopkins, had 68 people from Bury St. Edmunds and 19 people from Chelmsford put to death in a single day. His main tool to discover witches was a ‘needle’, used to poke/prod a wart, mole or insect bite to see if the woman felt any pain. If she did not, she was a witch. It is believed that the needle was a 3 inch spike that retracted into a spring-loaded handle so that the witch felt nothing!

The most likely women to be targeted as witches were widows, who managed to keep a household going alone. No woman was believed to be that strong – unless she had help from the devil. Those who offered/sold cures for illnesses and those who kept cats also came under suspicion. A cat (typically a black one) was said to be the witch’s ‘familiar’ or ‘familiar spirit’ – a supernatural being that helped and supported her evil work.

The ducking stool had long been a common punishment to inflict upon women, though some men were also subjected to it (e.g. dishonest tradesmen). It was generally used on prostitutes, scolds (women who nagged their husbands, or gossiped too much) and women accused of witchcraft. If the ‘witch’ survived the ducking, she was said to have been saved by the devil, so she was executed anyway – either hung or burnt at the stake.

The ducking stool tended to be replaced simply by the ‘swimming test’ in many places. The woman was tossed into the water with her thumbs tied to opposite toes. If she floated she was a witch, therefore executed. If she sank and drowned she was innocent! Either way, she couldn’t win.

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Ducking Stool. Wikimedia Commons

Word of the Week (WOW) – Obeisance

wow

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practise with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

I’m up to the letter O this week. I started off by just choosing a word at random (perspicacious). Since then, I’ve been working through the alphabet, so I’ll be looking for a word beginning with the letter next week.

So, here is my WOW for this week:

obeisance

Word: Obeisance

Pronunciation:  o·bei·sance [oh-bey-suh ns] [ə(ʊ)ˈbeɪs(ə)ns]

Audio:  Obeisance

Part of Speech:  Noun

Plural noun: obeisances

Adjective: obeisant

Adverb: obeisantly

 Meaning:

1.  a movement of the body expressing deep respect or deferential courtesy, as before a superior; a bow, curtsy, or other similar gesture.

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2. deference, homage or respect for someone or something

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A devotee at Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, Punjab, india. Athor: Koshy Koshy, from New Delhi, Indi Wikimedia Commons

Synonyms:

homage, respect, tribute, loyalty, devotion, fidelity, reverence, deference, faithfulness, fealty,  allegiance, bow, salaam, salutation, kowtow, genuflection, bob, bending of the knee, curtsy or curtsey, veneration, submission

Antonyms: 

censure, condemnation, disdain, scorn, dishonour, disloyalty, disregard, disrespect, treachery, bad manners, disobedience

Word Origin

1325-75; Middle English obeisaunce < Middle French obeissance, derivative of Old French obeissant, present participle of obeir to obey.

Use in a Sentence:

1. Sir Walter Raleigh displayed obeisance to Queen Elizabeth I by throwing his cloak over a puddle along her route.

736px-Sir_Walter_Raleigh_jetant_son_manteau_sous_les_pieds_de_la_reine_Elizabeth
Raleigh and his Cloak cartoon by Thackery,1848 for the first edition of ‘The Book of Snobs’. Public Domain

2.  Obeisance was not one of the rude secretary’s personal qualities.

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3. (Adverb use) The serving girl bowed her head obeisantly as she proffered the wine goblet to the king.

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4. (Plural use) The noblemen filed into the large hall to make their obeisances to the new king.

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If you’d like to see more interesting words, visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Gracious Granada

004 The final city of our visit to Andalucía was to the city of Granada, situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains approximately one hour by car from the Mediterranean coast. The River Darrow flows through the centre of the city. Granada is named after the Spanish name for pomegranate – granada! The pomegranate symbol can be seen wherever you go in the city – on street signs, manhole covers and fire hydrants, ceramic tiles, shop signs and wall plaques. It is also the heraldic device/symbol of the city:

The Granada Coat of Arms. Wikimedia Commons: Erlenmeyer
The Granada Coat of Arms. Wikimedia Commons: Erlenmeyer

The city has much to offer tourists. Undoubtedly, the main attraction of the city is the Alhambra – a grand, Moorish citadel and palace, which most of this post will ultimately be about, but there are lots of other things to see and do in the city iteslf, if time allows. There are many shopping areas, from the ‘modern’ high street variety to the typical Spanish-style shops in the winding streets, offering Spanish leather, lace, olive oil products, wines and a variety of novelty items. Many spacious plazas host umpteen cafes, restaurants and tapas bars, all offering refreshments. We had lunch in one such plaza – probably the most popular and aptly aptly named Bib Rambla – with a statue entitled, ‘Fountain of the Giants’ in the middle of it. 082 In the centre of the city, close to Bib Rambla Plaza, is the superb Cathedral of Granada, built over the Great Mosque in the early 16th century following the conquest of Granada by the Catholic monarchs. It is contemporary with the Christian palace of the Alhambra, built by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. As usual, it was impossible to get far enough back to get a more meaningful view of it, but here are a couple of different views: 081 079

On the hill facing the Alhambra is the old, Moorish ‘casbah’ or medina, a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets and whitewashed houses. It is called the Albaicin/Albayzin (the latter is the English name) and was where the Moors had their palace before Alhambra was built. It is from the Albaicin that the best views of the Alhambra can be had but, as we didn’t manage to get there on this occasion, here’s one from Wikimedia Commons, entiltled, ‘Panoramic View of Alhambra from Abayzin‘. Author: Mihael Grmeh.  Panoramic View of Alhambra from the Albayzin. Author: Mihael GrmehUnless viewed from an aerial photo, it’s difficult to see the boat-shape of the fortress -long and narrow but widening in the middle. We spent an entire morning in the Alhambra, and probably could have spent longer in order to see everything properly. As it was, we were shown some pretty impressive features in the wonderful gardens, the palace and the other buildings.

The height of the ‘Red Hill’ was one of the reasons for the initial siting the Royal Palace. It is far cooler at Alhambra, and that coolness is emphasised still further all over the grounds and inside the buildings by the ingenious use of water. There is no shortage of water at Alhambra. Despite its height, there are hills still higher not far away, and water is easily obtained simply by gravity. Wherever we walked were pools of various shapes and sizes, and the tinkling, cooling sounds of water followed us round. In winter, indoor fountains were simply converted into roaring braziers. Here are some photos of the gardens: 030 017

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Pomeganate Flower
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The many hedges are myrtle, unlike the usual box.

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015 050051 The Courtyard of the Lions. Water springs from the mouths of twelve marble lions who bear a twelve-sided bowl. The pillars are thought to be a forest of gilded trees. The emir would have walked with eminent guests here. At other times it would have been used by the women of his harem. 057My header image is one of the views we took of Granada from Alhambra. Here are a couple of others. I particularly like the one showing the snow-capped Sierra Nevada. 014 033

Inside the Palace the beautiful arches and mosaics are still evident. In most places the wonderful colours have long since gone, but there are occasional glimpses of how amazing they might have looked.

055 067 041One building we saw was a definte cube-shape from the outside, but on the inside was a circular patio. It was one of the later strucures, started by Charles V in 1527 who wanted a permanent palace in the Alhambra. Unfortunately, the building was never completed and remained without a roof until the twentieth century. 037036 I have so many more photos of Alhambra as well as from all the sites we visited on this awesome trip to Andalucía. I already feel that this post is far too long, so it’s time to come to an end.