Just Who Was Saint Valentine?

This is the second post I wrote last year that I’ve decided to reblog recently. After all, information about St. Valentine hasn’t changed since then. Perhaps next year, I’ll find a different angle to talk about. 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤

Millie Thom

 471px-St-valentine-baptizing-st-lucilla-jacopo-bassanoValentine was a Roman priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius the Second in the third century AD. He is sometimes known as Claudius the Cruel – and is not the Emperor Claudius who was responsible for ordering the building of Hadrian’s Wall across the North of England in AD 122-130.

The story tells us that Claudius believed that married men did not make good soldiers. They worried too much about leaving wives and families behind if they were killed to be truly effective in battle. So Claudius issued an edict, prohibiting the marriage, or engagement, of young people.

Now, Roman society at this time was very permissive, and polygamy was popular. Yet some of the people were still attracted to the Christian faith. Unfortunately for them, since the Christian Church taught that marriage was sacred between one man and one woman, this posed a problem. It was obvious…

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A Hundred Year Wait – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

This is the prompt, kindly provided by Ady . . .

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. . . and this is my story:

A Hundred Year Wait

Light-headed and disoriented, Albert drifted through the park he’d once known so well, struggling to understand why he was here at all. The colourful bench confused him further, posturing shamelessly where the old one had once reigned. He’d sat here so often with his pretty young wife . . .

‘Don’t go!’ Mary begged, grasping his hand. ‘We’ll run away… go to Scotland. They’d never find us there!’  But they would have done, and he’d have been shot at dawn . . .

The shrill whistle pierced Alfred to the core. He clasped his bayoneted rifle, scrambling ‘over the top’ of the trench’s parapet into No Man’s Land below. Enemy shells exploded; a volley of machine gun fire rang out: men fell to the quagmire’s embrace.

Albert sank into the comforting mud, knowing he’d never see Mary again. The Somme Offensive had claimed him: July 1st, 1916 . . .

A shadowy shape materialised on the bench. ‘Sit with me,’ Mary urged, beckoning. ‘I’ve waited a hundred years to see you, my love. I knew you’d return today.’

*

Word Count: 175

If you’d like to read other entries, or add a story yourself, click on the little blue frog:

Note about WW1:

July 28th, 2016 marks one hundred and two years since the start of the war that was once dubbed ‘the war to end all wars’. Unfortunately, too may wars since then has long since proven that to be false. In Britain, the war was originally known as ‘The Great War’, but is now variously called  ‘The First World War’ or simply ‘World War One’ (or WW1).

War started in 1914, and word soon spread that it would ‘all be over by Christmas’. Such optimism was soon found to be erroneous: it lasted four long years.

The Battle of the Somme – also known as the Somme Offensive  was fought by British and French troups against the German Empire on either side of the River Somme, in France. It lasted from July 1st – November 18th, 1916, and was one of the longest battles of the First World War. More that a million men were wounded or killed. It has become known as one of the ‘bloodiest battles in human history’. On the first day alone, (July1st) 58, 786 British, 49,859 French and 103,000 German soldiers died.

There are too many aspests of trench warfare for me to talk about here – and this is not a post to explain why trenches were dug and used as they were.  Anyone interested can easily look this up for themselves. All I can say is that I agree with Wikipedia’s estimation of it:

Trench warfare is associated with mass slaughter in appalling conditions‘.

No Man’s Land was the name given to the land between the trenches of the opposing forces. It soon became a desolate area: all trees and other vegetation were destroyed by the  constant bombardment:

A French trench in NE France. Author: Bain News service. Public Domain.
A French trench in NE France. Author: Bain News service. Public Domain.

The shell fire of both sides left the area riddled with craters which, after periods of heavy rain, became filled with water. The land came to resemble a quagmire – a stretch of thick, muddy land that resembled a bog:

Stretcher bearers at the Battle of Passchendale. August 1917. Author: John Warwick Brooke. Public Domain.
Stretcher bearers at the Battle of Passchendale. August 1917. Author: John Warwick Brooke. Public Domain.

Three Quotes Challenge – Day 3

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Once again, I am happy to have been nominated for the Three Quotes Challenge, this time by Inese, whose blog, Inese MJ Photography is excellent. Inese is a wonderful photographer over in County Tipperary in Ireland, and her posts are always really interesting and inspirational. Most are about places and events in Ireland, but others are from places further afield. I recommend you all to check out Inese’s blog. Thank you so much for the nomination, Inese!

Tse are the rules for this challenge:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post one fresh quotation on three consecutive days.
  3. On each of the three days, nominate three folk who have not yet taken part to continue the challenge.

As with many challenges, the rules can be bent a little, if need be, to fit in with people’s blogging schedules. Inese, who nominated me, posted all three quotes in one go. I’ve seen other people posting them over three weeks rather than three days. It’s really down to whatever suits you.

This is my third and last quote, and one that I found amusing, especially when directed at myself. It’s funny how many quotes there are around on the theme of ageing – or perhaps it’s just that I particularly notice them nowadays. As for creaking, crunchy joints . . . I just pretend I’m deaf.

shutterstock Crunchy Bones

Here are my three nominees for today:

  1. Susan at Susan’s Personal Blog
  2. Lynne at Lynne’s Recipe Trails
  3. Amanda at Something to Ponder About

What Is Pancake Day All About?

I wrote this post exactly one year ago – and yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s Pancake Day again here in the U.K. So I decided to reblog this post and put the third quote of the challenge I’m doing on hold for a day.

Millie Thom

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This evening I cooked enough pancakes to sink a battleship. Everyone in our family loves the things, and we had several of our offspring round to join us (and save themselves the hassle of making and cooking them!) Naturally, being just ‘Mum’, I’ve got hours of spare time to cater for everyone! I wish!

Well, now I’ve just decided to write about where and when this tradition of stuffing ourselves stupid with pancakes started. So here’s the gist of it:

Shrove Tuesday – or Pancake Day – is exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday. It is called a moveable feast because it’s determined by the cycles of the moon. The date can be anywhere between February 3rd and March 9th and falls immediately before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

The word ‘shrove’ is derived from the English word, shrive – which means gaining absolution (forgiveness) for…

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Three Quotes Challenge – Day 2

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I am happy to have been nominated again for this challenge, this time by Inese, whose blog, Inese MJ Photography is excellent. Inese is a wonderful photographer over in County Tipperary in Ireland, and her posts are always really interesting and inspirational. Most are about places and events in Ireland, but others are from places further afield. I recommend you all to check out Inese’s blog. Thank you so much for the nomination, Inese!

Here are the rules for this challenge:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post one fresh quotation on three consecutive days.
  3. On each of the three days, nominate three folk who have not yet taken part to continue the challenge.

As with many challenges, the rules can be bent a little, if need be, to fit in with people’s blogging schedules. Inese, who nominated me, posted all three quotes in one go. I’ve also seen people posting them over three weeks rather than three days. It’s really down to whatever suits you.

This time I’ve picked quotes with no common theme other than the fact that they’re all amusing.  My second quote will probably appeal more to older people – including me! All I can say about it is that I’m trying to believe it’s true. Age creeps up on us all, but as they say, you’re as young as you feel – and I still feel 30. Of course, feeling it and looking it are two different things, but I won’t go into that one. Not to mention that all six of my children are over 30 anyway.

Enough of that, here’s the quote . . .

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. . .  and I categorically refuse to be a cheese.

Here are my next three nominees:

  1. Hninn at Hnin adventures
  2. Frances at Loving Leisure Time
  3. Maria at Doodles and Scribbles

Three Quotes Challenge – Day 1

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I am happy to have been nominated again for this challenge, this time by Inese, whose blog, Inese MJ Photography is excellent. Inese is a wonderful photographer over in County Tipperary in Ireland, and her posts are always really interesting and inspirational. Most are about places and events in Ireland, but others are from places further afield. I recommend you all to check out Inese’s blog. Thank you so much for the nomination, Inese!

These are the rules for this challenge:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post one fresh quotation on three consecutive days.
  3. On each of the three days, nominate three folk who have not yet taken part to continue the challenge.

As with many challenges, the rules can be bent a little, if need be, to fit in with people’s blogging schedules. Inese, who nominated me, posted all three quotes in one go. I’ve seen other people posting them over three weeks rather than three days. It’s really down to whatever suits you.

This time I’ve picked quotes with no common theme other than the fact that they’re all amusing.  This first one is by one of the greats in comic fantasy – so who am I disagree with his logic?

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Here are my first three nominees:

  1. Smiling Notes
  2. Aletta at nowathome
  3. Parul at Gharkepakwan

Another Harebrained Scheme – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

It’s a while since I was on my blog, let alone participate in a flash fiction challenge, but  I thought I’d  have a rest from my own writing today.

This is the prompt, kindly provided by Priceless Joy. Image courtesy of Pixabay . . .

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. . . and this is my story:

Another Harebrained Scheme

‘Just what do you intend to do with this old thing?’

Bert’s head surfaced from beneath the bonnet of the old pickup and he turned indignant eyes on his wife. After forty years he’d hoped she’d understand his love of old cars.

‘Well,’ he said, wiping oily hands on a piece of rag, ‘you know Ted’s old barn along Rookery Lane?’ Connie nodded. ‘I bought it with the money I made from selling our old tractor. Ted wasn’t asking much . . . been thinking of pulling it down anyway. And Jim down in Aldford let me have the pickup cheap.’

Connie gestured to the many farm buildings. ‘Haven’t we got enough barns here?’

‘Aye, reckon we have. But this one’s right close to town, where folks’ll have no bother finding it.’

‘What folks?’

‘Folks who like museums, love. I’m opening a museum for old automobiles.’

Connie rolled her eyes. ‘Another of your harebrained schemes! Who’s going to pay for more exhibits?’

Bert shrugged. ‘I’ll let you know when I’ve had another think.’

*

Word Count: 175

If you’d like to read other entries, or add a story yourself, click on the little blue frog: