Weekly Word – Pellucid

Weekly Word is a weekly post intended to illustrate the meaning and use of a single word. The chosen word will begin with a different letter each week, as Louise (my daughter) and I work our way through the alphabet.

Louise posts on her website:

An Enchanted Place

This week’s word begins with the letter P:

Part of Speech:

Adjective

Meaning: 

1.  Admitting maximum passage of light without diffusion or distortion; reflecting light evenly from all surfaces

2 . Extremely clear in style or meaning; easy to understand

Pronunciation:

pel·lu·cid  (pə-lo͞o′sĭd)  / pə-ˈlü-səd

Audio Link:

PELLUCID

Related Forms:

pellucidity; pellucidness (both nouns)

pellucidly (adverb)

Synonyms:

1. clear  crystal clear  crystalline  transparent  translucent  limpid  see-through  glassy  bright

2.  perspicuous  comprehensible  unambiguous  straightforward  plain  clear  transparent translucent  explicit  simple

Antonyms:

cloudy  opaque  unclear  turbid  obscure  confused ambiguous

Word Origin:

Early 17th century (1610s): from the Latin pellucidus, from perlucere, meaning  ‘shine through’.

As with last week’s word, the Merriam Webster dictionary gives this extra piece of information about the origins of pellucid (including an interesting snippet about the name for the devil):

“Pellucid is formed from Latin per (“through”) plus lucidus—a word meaning “lucid, clear” that ultimately derives from the verb lucēre, meaning “to shine.” Lucēre has many shining relatives in English. Among them are translucent (essentially, “clear enough to allow light to pass through”), elucidate (“to make clear, explain”), lucent (“luminous” or “clear”), and of course lucid itself (which can mean “shining,” “mentally sound,” or “easily understood”). Another related word is Lucifer (a name for the devil that literally means “light-bearer”). Other relatives—such as lackluster (“lacking brightness”) illustrate (originally, “to make bright”), and lustrous (“shining” or “radiant”)—trace from the related Latin verb lustrare (“to brighten”). Clearly, pellucid is just one of a family of brilliant terms.”

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1.  The small island appeared deserted as we dropped anchor, and observing the pellucid waters that lapped its golden shores we could only wonder why. Setting up camp here for a few days to do a spot of hunting and fishing, and filling our hold with the island’s fruitful produce, seemed an excellent idea. The appearance of half a dozen canoes full of painted warriors rounding the island and chanting their war cry put paid to our plans. Even thoughts of swimming in the limpid waters could not prevent us from weighing anchor and putting out to sea, fast.

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

2.  A train passed through the village on its way to the city some ten miles away, the regular clickety-clacking of its wheels on the track momentarily masking the pellucidity of a church bell ringing across the valley.

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

3.  The new science tutor’s lecture on mitosis and meiosis was not delivered as pellucidly as Janie was used to from the recently retired Professor Roberts and she could make neither head nor tail of her notes.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

***

shutterstock_558169333
Image  from Shutterstock

Kenilworth Castle: Part 1

Kenilworth Castle is one of two fabulous castles in Warwickshire we’ve visited several times – the other being Warwick Castle. Although Kenilworth’s fortifications were dismantled (slighted) by parliamentary forces at the end of the Civil War of 1642-49, it is still one of England’s most spectacular castles and is located in the town of Kenilworth in the county of Warwickshire, UK.

The location of Kenilworth Castle within Warwickshire, UK. Base map of Warwickshire from Nilfanion at Wikipedia.

It is thought that a castle has stood at Kenilworth since Saxon times, though the original structure was destroyed during the wars between the Saxon King Edmund and Cnut/Canute, King of the Danes (who ruled England 1018–1035). Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, Kenilworth became the property of the crown and was a royal residence from the 12th to the 17th century.  During that time it was owned by a succession of well-known historical figures. Each of these played a part in increasing the size and changing the shape of the castle as well as improving its defences and value as a residential home. Unfortunately, the Civil War of 1642-49 put an end to further growth – although it was by no means totally abandoned.

The following plan of Kenilworth Castle was on an information board near to the Entrance and Ticket Office (above). It shows the castle as it stands today. The key to the numbers is beneath it:

From the ticket office and shop, the castle is approached along the Tiltyard Dam, the long path up to the ruins of Mortimer’s Tower, as shown on the plan above. Once inside the Outer Curtain Wall, to the  right can be seen the former Stables, now the Cafe and Exhibition Centre, an important place for all visitors when in need of a drink and/or a snack, or a lunchtime meal, especially if you intend to stay for the day, as when events are held. It is also a good idea to view the introductory exhibition set up inside before heading off to investigate the various parts of the castle.

Kenilworth is a wonderful castle, constructed from local red sandstone and the result of almost five hundred years of continuous development and expansion. The years following its slighting in 1650 saw some restoration and, unfortunately, also some years of neglect.  The plan below shows the stages of development and growth over those first 500 years:

The first part of the castle to be built is shown in red/pink – the Great Tower or Keep.

Following the Norman Conquest, the Kenilworth Estate became the property of the Crown. In 1129, King Henry I gave it to his  chamberlain, a Norman noble named Geoffrey de Clinton, who was Treasurer and Chief Justice of England at the time. The new Norman castle  was built on a low sandstone hill at the crossroads of two ancient trackways. De Clinton built most of the Great Tower/Keep (shown below) and also founded Kenilworth Priory nearby.

The following illustration shows the extent of the early castle, built around the Norman Great Tower started by de Clinton in the 1120s and finished by Henry II in the 1170s.

Around 1210-15, the castle was significantly enlarged by King John, who inherited it from his father, Henry II. John spent enormous sums of money in transforming it into a powerful fortress with two concentric walls. The outer curtain wall had defensive towers at intervals and at the entrance were two stout towers, together called Mortimer’s Tower (a peachy colour in the plan):

King John also surrounded the castle by huge water defences, created by damming local streams. The economic benefits of the mere/lake came in the ready supplies of fish and waterfowl for the castle kitchens, and it also afforded scenic and recreational benefits. But the resulting level of defence provided by the building works and mere together was exceptional, and sufficient to withstand assault by land and water. This was proven in 1266 during the reign of King John’s son, Henry III:

In 1264, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, led the barons in revolt against Henry III’s tyrannical rule. They seized Kenilworth Castle and laid siege for six months – the longest siege in English medieval history. It ended when disease and famine forced the barons to surrender. It is thought likely that it was de Montfort who had the defensive outwork known as The Brays constructed (far left in the illustration) some time before 1265.

The flat surface of the dam built to hold back the mere is likely to have have been used as a tiltyard – a place where jousting tournaments took place – as far back as the 13th century. Edward I attended such an event in 1279, along with 100 knights and their ladies. In the late 16th century, during Elizabeth I’s reign, the dam at Kenilworth was walled both sides in stone and specifically called a tiltyard. By then, tournaments could be viewed from the Gallery Tower, which stood near to where the ticket office is today. The last jousting tournaments in England were held a year before the death of James I in 1624

The next major changes to Kenilworth came in 1362 when the dukedom of Lancaster passed to John of Gaunt, the fourth son of Edward III. In the 1370s, John of Gaunt began to transform the castle into a magnificent royal palace, building the Great Hall and lavish apartments – as shown in this rather shadowy photo of the reconstruction diagram. It also shows the Collegiate Chapel, a private chapel close to the outer curtain wall, built between 1314-22 during the reign of his grandfather, Edward II, and probably demolished around 1524.

The Lancastrian king, Henry V (reign 1413-22) even built a retreat called the ‘Pleasance in the Marsh’ in celebration of his famous victory at Agincourt. The Pleasance was a luxurious, moated residence at the far north-western side of the lake, hidden from the castle by a spur. As the name Pleasance suggests, the mansion was for pleasure and relaxation. According to a castle surveyor of 1563, ‘kings would  go in a boat out of the castle to banquet there’. Henry VII also visited the castle often with his queen, and in the 149os he had a tennis court built.

But in 1524 Henry VIII ordered the Pleasance and its surrounding structures and gardens to be taken down. Henry VIII not only removed the Pleasance; during the years of his Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-39) the priory built by Geoffrey de Clinton was pulled down. By this time the priory had become a flourishing abbey, and evidently, Henry decided it had to go!

However, Henry VIII loved Kenilworth Castle as a place of leisure and retreat as much as his father had done, being particularly drawn to the fine hunting in the well-stocked park. He spent £460 on building works around the castle – a huge sum of money in those days – notably on a range of timber-framed lodgings for family and guests between the keep and John of Gaunt’s  state apartments. He also had a timber-framed building set up in the outer court, probably using materials from the dismantled Pleasance in the Marsh. It can be seen in the reconstruction illustration below, which shows the extent of the castle by about 1540.

In 1563, Queen Elizabeth granted Kenilworth Castle to Lord Robert Dudley, her favourite. The following year she made him Earl of Leicester and Baron of Denbighshire. For a short time in the early 1550s, Leicester’s father, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland, had held the castle. He made a few new additions, including the building of the impressive Stable, which stands along the outer curtain wall and is used today as a cafe.

A cut away reconstruction showing the possible arrangement of the stables in the 16th century.

The ground floor contained boxes for 30 horses and 20 geldings, while the floor above was a storage place for straw and hay and possibly accommodation for the grooms. Nowadays, only a single storey, the great ceiling can be seen. It was restored in the 1970s.

In the foreground of the stables today are the foundations of the Collegiate Chapel mentioned earlier in connection to John of Gaunt. It was possibly demolished around the same time as the Pleasance and the materials of both used in Henry in VIII’s  new timber-framed building that was later removed by Leicester.

Robert Dudley made many changes/improvements to the castle, including the erection of a brand new building. In Part 2 of this post, I’ll finish off the story of Kenilworth Castle, starting with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester – and how his relationship with Queen Elizabeth will always be linked with this castle. Elizabeth and Dudley are shown below:

***

References:
Guide Book purchased at Kenilworth Castle
Various information boards around the site
English Heritage
Historic UK
Base map for location of Kenilworth Castle from Wikipedia .My own annotations.

Weekly Word – Obfuscate

Weekly Word is a weekly post intended to illustrate the meaning and use of a single word. The chosen word will begin with a different letter each week, as Louise (my daughter) and I work our way through the alphabet.

Louise posts on her website:

An Enchanted Place

This week’s word begins with the letter O:

Part of Speech:

Verb (transitive)

Meaning: 

1.  to obscure, make unclear, or darken

2 . to bewilder confuse or stupefy

(often intentionally in both definitions – other than in natural processes of darkening e.g. nightfall, severe weather conditions)

Pronunciation:

ob·fus·cate

ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt,

Audio Link:

OBFUSCATE

Related Forms:

obfuscation

obfuscatory

obfuscating (present participle)

obfuscates (third person singular present tense)

obfuscated (past tense)

Synonyms:

1.  obscure  bedim  dim  make obscure  dull  blur  muddle  jumble  muddy  cloud  befog muddy the waters  overcast  shadow

2.  bewilder  mystify  confuse  puzzle  perplex  baffle  complicate  confound  bemuse befuddle  nonplus  flummox  rattle

Antonyms:

clarify  elucidate

Word Origin:

Late Middle English (1525-35) from late Latin obfuscat meaning darkened, from the verb obfuscare, based on Latin  ob + fusc(us ) dark 

The Merriam Webster dictionary gives this extra piece of information, which I particularly like:

“The verb shares its ob- root (meaning “over, completely”) with obscure,  another word that can refer to the act of concealing something or making it more difficult to see or understand. The rest of obfuscate comes from Latin fuscus, which means “dark brown” and is distantly related to our word dusk.”

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1.  Gelda quickened her pace as a thick fog closed in around her, gradually obfuscating the narrow path through the forest, the only route that would take her safely home. If her mother had not obfuscated about the whereabouts of Gelda’s father, they would never have had that awful row and she would not have run off into these woods in the first place.

2.  Jeremy often looked back on his schooldays, recalling how he’d hated most of the teachers. Admittedly he’d been a mischievous lad and learning had never been easy for him – but that didn’t excuse the way they all seemed to deliberately resort to obfuscation when he asked them to explain things he didn’t understand. Yet Jeremy would always remember the kindness of one of his earliest teachers. Mrs Willows’ lessons were never obfuscatory and she was always happy to spend time explaining things to him. If more of his teachers had been like her, perhaps he would have made something of himself in life instead of drifting from one dead-end job to another. Too late to do anything about it now; he was almost forty, after all.… Or was it too late? Perhaps a few classes at night school would get him some useful qualifications. Then, if called for job interviews, the questions he was asked would not obfuscate him as much as they’d done in the past.

3.  Inspector Davis, let me be clear on this. You’re suggesting that all the witnesses have lied throughout police investigations and this trial in order to deliberately obfuscate matters?’

***

If you would like to join us in doing this weekly post, both Louise and I would be happy to see you. You can pick your own word and illustrate its use in any way you choose (even a short story) or use your chosen word to follow a similar pattern to our posts.

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Image  from Shutterstock

Broken – Flash Fiction

I see through your lies, that gilded façade you show to the world. You wish to conceal the emptiness you feel by your cheerful smile and plans for joyful times when your lover returns.

Being the object of pity would be more than you could bear, so you convince yourself of his undying love; that he did not wed the heiress he met in Saint-Tropez.

What will it take to mend your broken heart and shattered dreams? Gaze through the splintered wound and there will be me, waiting here for you to see.

*

I wrote this very short piece  of flash fiction in response to the photo below that my daughter Louise had taken at the meadow she visits and photographs throughout the year. It may seem a strange story from a picture of an old bench, but it was the idea of it being broken/damaged that made me think, and I could see how the idea could well apply to a person – human emotions being what they are.

Featured Image:  Photo by Ismael Sanchez from Pexels

Weekly Word – Nebulous

Weekly Word is a weekly post intended to illustrate the meaning and use of a single word. The chosen word will begin with a different letter each week, as Louise (my daughter) and I work our way through the alphabet.

Louise posts on her website:

An Enchanted Place

This week’s word begins with the letter N:

Part of Speech:

Adjective

Meaning:

1.  Cloudy, misty or hazy e.g. indistinct shapes in the gloom

2.  (Of a concept) lacking definite form or limits; vague; not clearly defined or easy to understand

3.  (As in astronomy) of, relating to, or characteristic of a nebula or nebulae (plural) in deep space; nebular

  • For a good, simple definition of a nebula and nebulae see this one from Nasa.
Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Pronunciation:

neb·u·lous  /  neb-yuh-luhs   (nĕb′yə-ləs)

Audio Link:

NEBULOUS

Related Forms:

nebulously (adverb)

nebulousness (noun)

Synonyms:

Ambiguous  amorphous  indistinct  indefinite  indeterminate  unclear  vague  ill-defined  imprecise hazy  cloudy  murky misty  fuzzy unformed  shadowy  confused  lacking definition  opaque  blurred  blurry  out of focus  foggy  faint  shadowy  dim  obscure  shapeless  formless  nebulose

Antonyms:

clear  well-defined

Word Origin:

As in Sense I: Middle English (1375-1425) from Latin nebulōsus, from nebula, cloud

Sense 2 dates from the 19th century

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1.  Believing himself to be alone in the deserted old farmhouse, the nebulous shape coming towards him in the hall gave Jim the shock of his life. There was nothing for it but to turn tail and run.

SuperHerftigGeneral from Pixabay
SuperHerftigGeneral from Pixabay

2.  After listening for the best part of an hour to the CEO rambling nebulously about his plans to increase the productivity of the firm, few of the employees were any the wiser.

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

3.  Waking up in a hospital bed following the car accident, Mike’s memory of what happened was decidedly nebulous for several hours.

Image by Akent879 from Pixabay

***

If you would like to join us in doing this weekly post, both Louise and I would be happy to see you. You can pick your own word and illustrate its use in any way you choose (even a short story) or use your chosen word to follow a similar pattern to our posts.

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Image  from Shutterstock

The Desolate Tones of Madame Butterfly

Evaline Rawston flicked on her favourite CD and sank into a comfortable chair, closing her eyes as Madame Butterfly’s soprano soared. Memories of her final performance at the Theatre Royale flooded back: such applauds; such ovation. So many friends with promises of keeping in touch…

Two years had passed since her glorious, thirty-year career had ended. Her throat could have taken no more. Time to cease the hours of rehearsal and gruelling performances, before her voice completely failed. The heyday of her life was over; the fiery sun of summer set. No friends had flocked to her door. Autumn had hurried in fast, and once the mellowing colours had faded, years of cold, wintry loneliness and regret would follow.

For twenty years Geoffrey had wanted Evaline to marry him, but she had always put her career first, imagined he’d wait until she was ready. News of his leaving hit her like a hammer blow; six short months before she’d retired. How she missed his deep, soft voice, his gentle touch.

Beyond the window, October sunlight played on the ambers and golds. She loved this old house with its beautiful garden, drew comfort from its ever-changing moods. But even they could not lessen the loneliness she felt.

‘Miss Rawston, there’s a gentleman at the door. Says you know him.’

‘Really?’ Evaline smiled at her young housekeeper. ‘Then you’d better show him in.’

‘Evaline, my dear, how are you?’ Geoffrey asked as he entered the room.

Evaline gestured to an armchair opposite her own. ‘Much better for seeing you. I’ve thought about you often since we parted, and wondered if we might resume our relationship one day.’

Geoffrey smiled and wandered over to stare out the window. ‘It’s certainly been a long time, my dear, and a lot of water has flowed under my particular bridge since then… as, I imagine it has under yours.’

‘Evaline stared at his straight back, admiring the cut of his dark Gucci suit. ‘Life goes on,’ she replied, ‘though I’d hoped to be happier in my retirement. If truth be told, I’ve never been so lonely.’

Geoffrey returned to take the proffered seat. ‘My dear lady, you have no one to blame for that but yourself. Think of all those years when you pushed everyone away, wanting no one in your life other than your adoring audience.’

‘But you always stood by me, Geoffrey. You, at least, understood–’

‘Or so you chose to believe. I can’t recall you ever asking me how I felt. As the years passed by, I came to realise I meant nothing to you, other than as a pair of listening ears for your ever-mounting complaints and constant worries of failure. Did you ever stop to think that I, too, might need someone to help me through the difficult time when my dear sister died, or when my company teetered on the brink of collapse?’

Geoffrey shook his head. ‘No need to answer that, Evaline, I saw your shallowness years ago. But, as they say, we can’t always choose who we fall in love with and, believe me, I loved you dearly for a very long time. Once I met Bronwyn everything changed. She has loved me and cared for my needs as much as I have for hers these past two years.’

Momentarily choked for words as her tears threatened to flow, Evaline stared out of the window. But the solace she sought in autumn’s warmth was masked by the coldness pervading the room. ‘Then tell me, Geoffrey, why are you here? Was it your intention to witness how low I’ve fallen so you could share with your friends what a sad old woman I’ve become?’

‘No, my dear, I could never do that, if only because of how much you once meant to me. I’ve merely come to bid you goodbye and wish you well. Bronwyn and I have been married for the past three months and next week we fly out to start a new life in Australia. We don’t intend to return, but we take many fond memories with us.’

Geoffrey took Evaline’s hand. ‘So, it’s farewell, my dear. Do try to get out and socialise a little, perhaps meet some new friends. It’s the only way I survived when you rejected my proposal for the dozenth time. “There are plenty more fish in the sea”, a close friend told me, and I’m thankful to have netted the very best of them.’

Too emotional to speak, Evaline watched the housekeeper escorting Geoffrey to the door. She switched on her favourite CD and sank into her comfortable chair, her tears flowing freely as she listened to the desolate tones of Madame Butterfly.

Weekly Word – Maunder

Weekly Word is a weekly post intended to illustrate the meaning and use of a single word. The chosen word will begin with a different letter of the alphabet each week, as Louise (my daughter) and I work our way through the alphabet.

Louise posts on her website:

An Enchanted Place

This week’s word begins with the letter M:

Part of Speech:

Verb (intransitive)

Meaning:

1.  Talk in a rambling, indistinct, incoherent or disconnected manner

2.  Move or act in a dreamy or idle manner; wander slowly and aimlessly

3. Grumble (chiefly British  to express dissatisfaction, pain, or resentment usually tiresomely)

Pronunciation:

Morn-der   (UK)

maun·der  (US)

Audio Link:

MAUNDER

Related Forms:

Maunders verb (plural) and 3rd person partciple

Maundering (adj)

Maundered (past participle)

Maundering (adj)

Maunderingly

Maunderer (n)

Synonyms:

ramble  prattle  prate  blather  blether  blither  drivel  rattle  chatter  jabber  gabble  babble slabber  gab  yak  yabber  yatter  rabbit  witter  waffle  natter  chunter  twaddle clack

Antonyms: 

crow  delight

Word Origin:

17th century (1622) in the meaning defined at  Sense 1, perhaps from the obsolete maunder, meaning to beg – from the Latin mendīcāre.

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1. Miss Stevens carried the requested files into the office, as usual maundering about her aching back.

2. If this  man continued to maunder on for much longer, Charlie would have no other option than to tell him to his face that he bored the socks off people.

3.  Jane maundered across country fields for most of the day, trying to clear her mind of the humdrum that had become her everyday life.

***

If you would like to join us in doing this weekly post, both Louise and I would be happy to see you. You can pick your own word and illustrate its use in any way you choose (even a short story) or use your chosen word to follow a similar pattern to our posts.

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Image  from Shutterstock

A Couple of Lovely Victorian Parks

Southport in Merseyside is an Irish Sea coastal resort about twenty miles north of the city and port of Liverpool. It’s the town in which I was born and where I lived until I was twenty-one when I moved away to take up my first teaching post near Doncaster.

Location of Southport in Merseyside

The town grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century, soon becoming popular as a seaside resort known for its extensive coastal dunes and invigorating sea air. I intend to do a full post about Southport soon but, for now, I just want to focus on two lovely, Victorian parks in the town that draw many visitors every year, namely Hesketh Park and Botanic Gardens.

Locations of Hesketh Park and Botanic Gardens in SouthportHesketh Park is located at the northern end of Lord Street, Southport’s most famous street, and just a mile away from the town centre. It was created in 1868 by Edward Kemp on land donated by the Reverend Charles Hesketh of Meols Hall, which I’ll be talking about in my post on Southport in general.

These are some photos of features inside some of the entrances to the park.

This is of a photo of a fountain at the south entrance to the park. It was taken in early November 2019.

Like Botanic, Hesketh has many Victorian features and landscape designs. The central feature of both parks is a lake, around which all of the other attractions are situated. Both parks have undergone alterations and refurbishments in relatively recent years  to restore the splendour of the original Victorian work. Amongst other things, Hesketh boasts an observatory, a small cafe, a play area for kiddies, crazy golf, a small waterfall, a floral clock and a Victorian gate house at two of the four entrances, both lived in by park keepers. There are nature trails, exercise machines in some of the little niches and a large conservatory, once full of exotic plants. In 2007 the plants were removed and the building was restored on the same site. The beautiful lake has a small island in its centre for wild birds that breed in the park.

The following are photos taken in Hesketh Park on a few of our visits at different times of year. First are a few from a visit in August 2015:

These are some photos taken in Hesketh in November 2019. I always loved this park in autumn.

Botanic Gardens is in Churchtown, once a delightfully pretty village in its own right, which is now a suburb of Southport. Botanic is situated on the opposite side of Bankfield Lane to Meols Hall and its estate, the main entrance to which is shown in this photo:

Botanic was founded in 1874 by a group of working men known as the Southport and Churchtown Botanic Gardens Company, who acquired the land from the Reverend Charles Hesketh at Meols Hall – the same person who had donated land for the creation of Hesketh Park a few years earlier. As at Hesketh, the lake is the central feature. It was formed from a stream called the Otter Pool that flowed through it from Meols Hall. The lake is now known as the Serpentine and is crossed by two ornamental cast-iron bridges. At the south end of the lake was a boathouse and when I was a child we could hire little boats and row ourselves around the winding lake.

There are a number of attractions just inside the main entrance gates to greet visitors on arrival, including a former museum and cafe. These three photos  are from February 2o17:

Unfortunately, the museum (central photo above) closed in 2011, and I believe some of its exhibits are now in the Atkinson Art Gallery and  Museum on Lord Street in Southport, including this fabulous dugout canoe, dating from AD535. It was found in a field near Crossens (just north of Churchtown) in 1899, close to what once was the northern shore  of Martin Mere (‘mere’ being the name for a lake). I remember seeing this canoe many times on my visits to Botanic  in earlier years.

Dugout canoe dated AD535. Author: Small town hero: Public Domain

I also recall rooms full of stuffed animals and birds which, as a child, I hated. I still hate the idea of taxidermy, though I suppose it takes some skill, and it was extremely popular in Victorian times. Like the canoe and other local exhibits, the taxidermy section is now housed in the Atkinson Museum.

On the opposite side of the entrance to the museum and cafe is the aviary, which always delights the children. There are various bird species including peacocks (not averse to fanning their tails to impress appreciative audiences) parrots and budgerigars, to name but a few. There are also a couple of ‘runs’ with rabbits and guinea pigs. We’ve taken lots of photos of these in the past but, unfortunately, right now I’m at a loss to find them! Duh…

These are a few of the photos taken in  August 2015 and 2016. We visited in the rain in 2016. The different floral displays of each year are also evident:

Other attractions of Botanic include a bowling green, mini-golf, a children’s playground and brass bands in the summer.  A fernery houses a unique collection of ferns from around the world and is all that remains on a former huge glass conservatory that was built in Victorian times and eventually demolished in the 1930s and 40s. This is a photo of it from Wikipedia, which shows two Edwardian ladies in front of it.

Southport Botanic Glasshouse, taken during the 1920s. Author unknown. Public Domain.

It stood where some of the flower beds are today, with the front entrance facing the museum. In the  photo below, the fernery is at the back of the flower bed:


To finish with, these are a few  photos taken in Botanic in February 2017. There are no bright flower beds at this time of year and there are fewer people about, but it’s still a very pleasant place to walk, especially when the first hints of spring are evident.

Weekly Word – Lugubrious

Weekly Word is a weekly post intended to illustrate the meaning and use of a single word. The chosen word will begin with a different letter of the alphabet each week, as Louise (my daughter) and I work our way through the alphabet.

Louise posts on her website:

An Enchanted Place

This week’s word begins with the letter L:

lugubrius

Part of Speech:

Adjective

Meaning:

Looking or sounding sad and dismal, especially in an affected or exaggerated manner

Pronunciation:

loo-goo-bree-uhs    ((lʊˈɡuːbrɪəs)

Audio Link:

LUGUBRIOUS

Related Forms:

lugubriously (adverb)

lugubriousness and lugubriosity (nouns)

Synonyms:

sad  melancholy  morose  gloomy  dismal  pensive  doleful  mournful  dreary  serious  woeful  woebegone  sorrowful  depressing  unhappy  downhearted  glum  forlorn  crestfallen  downcast  funereal  brokenhearted  blue disconsolate  sombre  subdued  despondent

Antonyms: 

cheerful  joyful  bright  friendly cordial  cheery comforting cheering  festive  sunshiny

Word Origin:

Late 16th – early 17th century (1585 – 1605) from the Latin lugubris meaning mournful (from the Latin verb lugere: to mourn) + English ous

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1. Ten-year-old Michael suddenly charged through the back door. ‘Mum, what’s the matter with Charlie? He looks really sad and miserable. Is he ill?’

‘No he isn’t – and don’t let that lugubrious face he pulls fool you. He’s just feeling sorry for himself because I caught him eating the cat’s food and chased him out. And he can jolly well stay there until I decide to forgive him.’

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Image by Christine Klassen from Pixabay

2. I’d waited for what seems like hours at a bus stop when a whole convoy of buses with the same destination arrived with lugubrious slowness.

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Image by manfred Kindlinger from Pixabay

3. The lugubriousness of the view that hit us as we rounded a bend caused a wave of sadness to wash over me. Could this neglected, derelict old  building really be the same pretty house of my childhood… a house that had once been filled with laughter and love?

‘Don’t worry, sweetheart,’ my husband said, smiling at me. ‘The house might look woefully lugubrious now, but the workmen I’ve hired will have it looking bright and cheerful before we know it, even on the gloomiest of days.’

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Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

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If you would like to join us in doing this weekly post, both Louise and I would be happy to see you. You can pick of your own word and illustrate its use in any way you choose(even a short story) or use your chosen word to follow a similar pattern to our posts.

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Image  from Shutterstock

On the Outside Looking In

Daryn stared at his reflection in the puddle, not for the first time wondering why he never seemed to fit in. He looked quite ordinary in the puddle and couldn’t understand why he felt this way. At school he was, somehow, different to the other kids, and spent much of his time on his own. At home all he wanted to do was sit in his room and write stories about heroes who saved people from evil giants, witches, or rampaging beasts.

In all of his stories, people worked together, a social response to attacks on their homes. Daryn was the outsider who rode in to dispose of the threat. But he never actually became one of those people, always staying on the outside, looking in.

‘You’ll feel different as you get older,’ Daryn’s Dad said, without taking his eyes from the newspaper he was reading.

‘That’s right,’ Mum added. ‘In the next few years the shyness will go away and you’ll make plenty of friends.’

Daryn often wondered how getting older would make any difference. He knew he wasn’t just shy, he simply felt uncomfortable being around people. Intended words formed readily in his head, but seemed to dissolve into nothing before they reached his mouth.

The puddle was changing, oily colours spreading across its surface, and with it, Daryn’s thoughts cleared. He saw himself as an adult, looking suave and confident in his expensive dark suit. The odd thing was, he was surrounded by people, all waiting for him to sign the books they held in their hands. On closer inspection he could see the author’s name on the covers: Daryn Tomlinson…

‘That’s me!’ he gasped, ‘I’m an author, a successful one, too.’

As an author, Daryn would soon be back at his desk, writing his next best-seller, away from the people he could not relate to. Being on the outside looking in suited him down to the ground.

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Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Featured Image by Thorsten Frenzel from Pixabay