Weekly Word – Kibosh

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 K:



To spoil or destroy an idea or plan; stop from happening or developing (usually used in the phrase, to put the kibosh on); nonsense


kahy-bosh, ki-bosh

Audio Link:


Part of Speech:


Related Forms:

Kibosh (transitive verb)

Kiboshes (3rd person present)

Kiboshed (past tense and past participle)

Kiboshing (present participle/gerund)


veto, halt, interfere with, stop, scotch, inhibit, prohibit, nip in the bud, put a stop to, disrupt, thwart, quash, curb, cancel, check, hamper, hobble, bring to an end


allow, permit, start, impel, give permission, propel

Word Origin:

First recorded in 1830–40; of obscure origin.

The following is from a number of sites including the Merriam Webster Dictionary:

Kibosh has been a part of the English language for almost two centuries, but its origin baffles etymologists. It was common in lower-class London speech and used by Dickens in 1836 in an early sketch. One source states that in early 19th century England,  colloquially, the phrase, to put the kibosh on meant ‘to castigate, overwhelm (a person or political party such as the Whigs, who were failing to outlaw flogging in the military). In this case, the origin of kibosh could have been the alteration or imitation of kurbash – a whip. There are several other possible origins of the word, amongst others one from Yiddish and one from Gaelic, but I won’t go into them all here. There are also a variety of spellings such as kibbosh, kybosh and kyebosk – all of unclear origin.

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1. He put the kibosh on any plans his young daughter had made to attend the party with her new boyfriend.

Image from Shutterstock

2.  The presence of a large crowd was kiboshing the entire police operation.

Image from Shutterstock

3.  The unexpected downpour kiboshed their hopes of spending the afternoon picnicking in the park.

Image by janrye from Pixabay

4.  ‘Write it out again when you’re fully awake,’ Mrs Henderson said after casting a critical eye over Monica’s application for promotion. ‘As it stands this is kibosh and won’t even get you an interview let alone the elevated position you want.’

Image from Pexels


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.

Image  from Shutterstock

The Great Orme Copper Mines

The Bronze Age Copper Mines located in Llandudno on the Great Orme headland are one of Britain’s most important archaeological sites. Excavation began in 1987 and since then over 5 miles of tunnels dated between 1860BC and 600BC have been surveyed. The mine was opened to the public in 1991, enabling visitors to see the great complex of tunnels and old surface workings. We have visited three times now, the last time being in 2017, so I thought it was about time I wrote a post about it.

Great Orme Location Map

The Great Orme headland, or peninsula, is a massive chunk of limestone, rising to 207 metres /679 feet out of the sea. Its name, Great Orme, is of old Scandinavian origin, Ormr meaning serpent and hofuth meaning head. So the headland was called Serpent’s head, and it isn’t hard to see why.

Llandudno_&_Great_Orme anotated
It is possible that the site of the mine was already a special place before anyone realised that the green copper ore could be turned into metal. It is thought that the 5,500-year-old Neolithic/Stone Age burial chamber only 100 metres from the mine was constructed there because the area was a closed, dry valley in which water disappeared down a sink hole.

Entrance to the mines is through Reception with a friendly piece of advice about wearing suitable shoes:

Entrance to the Great Orme Mines

Notice at the entrance to the site

The first part of our visit was around the large area of surface/opencast mining, which was all buried underground until excavations began in 1987.  The first opencast mining started approximately 4,000 years ago in places where the green malachite ore was visible at the surface. The malachite would probably also have been useful to the people for its colour as a pigment, perhaps for paint or eye make-up.

Open Cast Mining 2
Artist’s impression of the opencast workings as they may have appeared

Opencast mining probably continued for around 200 years, during which hundreds of tonnes of ore was extracted. When surface deposits were exhausted miners had no other choice than to follow the tunnels below ground. The little Bronze Age man on some of the photos was our guide through the mine, keeping us updated with interesting snippets of information.

The route through the tunnels for visitors has been carefully excavated since 1990. It reveals openings to previously unknown areas of the mine – many of which are too small to walk through.

Information poster at the entrance to the underground mines

Carbon dating in the Great Cavern in the central section of the mine suggests that it was mined in the middle of the Bronze Age, 3,500 years ago. It would have produced an enormous tonnage of copper metal. It is a huge cavern and so dark that it is illuminated by bright lights further in.

Early Bronze Age miners would have had a number of tools available to them. Around 3000 stone hammers have been unearthed since 1987. These were made from some of the hardest rocks, like dolorite, diorite and basalt, most lumps of which would have been found washed up on the beach. Battered markings on the hammers give evidence to the fact that the rock being worked was also fairly hard. When it was too hard to be worked with tools, a process called fire-setting was used. A fire was lit against hard areas of rock, causing it to crack. As with the use of animal fat lamps in the tunnels, fire-setting was hazardous as it burnt valuable oxygen.

Later in the period, tools were made of bronze:

Over 35,000 animal bones have been found at the mine, including cows, sheep, pigs, deer, dogs and rodents. Some of them would have been used for food, others by the earlier miners as chisels and scrapers in the mines.

The only Bronze Age smelting site in Britain was on the Great Orme.  As shown in the images below, copper ore was first broken into small fragments with stone hammers  before being fed into the kiln fuelled by charcoal, which burns at a much higher temperature than wood. The ore was changed into metal by heating it at temperatures around 1,100 degrees centigrade – which they wouldn’t have been able to measure, so I imagine they would simply get the furnace as hot as they could. The process is called smelting. Miners soon realised that on its own, copper ore is soft, and that by mixing it with 10% of tin they could produce the harder metal, bronze. The molten metal was poured into moulds and used to create a variety of objects.

As well as tools and weapons of all types, including spears, daggers, swords and shields, bronze could be made into many things, such as cups, cauldrons and the items named in to image below:

The many uses of bronze

This next image shows how broken or damaged metal implements were re-melted and re-cast into new ones:

There is plenty of evidence to show that an extensive trade network was in place during the Bronze Age.  The nearest source of tin needed to make Bronze on the Great Orme was Cornwall, 300 miles away. During the mid Bronze Age (3,500 years ago) a distinctive type of axe was made in North Wales. Hoards of these axes have been found in France and it is believed that the Great Orme copper was the main source of metal used. The metal has also been found in artefacts across Europe, stretching from Brittany to the Baltic.

Bronze Age boats found in Britain  suggest that trade was conducted by sea. The boats were capable of carrying cargoes of up to 2 tonnes and would have been able to cross the English Channel to France or Holland.

Bronze Age Travel
The mines on the Great Orme would have brought wealth and power to those who controlled them and the people of the Great Orme flourished with them.

Copper mines brought wealth and power to those who controlled them

Bronze Age copper mining on the Great Orme finally stopped when they reached the water table, by which time iron was the new material and the demand for copper declined. After a very long lull in interest, during which the mine seems to have been almost forgotten, there was a renewal during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. Water was pumped out and shafts were sunk down to 470 feet (sea level). But eventually, Llandudno became known more as a popular Victorian seaside town than a mining town. The mines were covered over by spoil at the end of the 19th century and once again forgotten.

Although a great deal of excavation has already taken place since 1987, archaeological work will continue on both the surface and underground workings for decades. Tens of thousands of mine waste still cover large areas of the early mine workings and who knows what else will be discovered about this amazing site.

Visitor Centre
The Visitor Centre provides plenty of information about the site, including a short introductory film, a model Bronze Age village, rock and ore specimens area and colourful posters around the walls to explain all about Bronze Age life on the Great Orme and working in the copper mines. The latter were the source of the snippets I’ve used in this post.

This year (2020) the copper mines re-opened on July 25, working to guidelines from the Welsh Government, including social distancing, a one-way system and face masks when viewing underground. Entry fees are £8 for adults, £5 for children and under 5s free. In 2005 the Great Orme mines was awarded the title of ‘The Largest Prehistoric Copper Mines in the World’ by the Guinness World Records Team and I can say that it’s well worth a visit.


The Great Orme Bronze Age Mines Guide Book, purchased at the site

Information boards in the visitor centre and around the site

The Great Orme Copper Mines, Llandudno, Wales – Historic UK

Base map of Conwy, North Wales from Nilfanion at Wikipedia

Aerial photo of Llandudno and the Great Orme from Harvey Milligan at Wikipedia


Weekly Word – Jaunty

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 J



1.  Easy and sprightly in manner or bearing; happy and confident

2.  Smartly trim or stylishly chic in clothing:

3. Archaic: genteel


jawn-tee, jahn-tee

Audio Link:


Part of Speech:


Related Forms:

Jauntier (comparative adjective)

Jauntiest (superlative adjective)

Jauntily (adverb)

Jauntiness (noun)


In the sense of sprightly:

carefree, high-spirited, devilish, dashing, jocund, perky, animated, jolly, jovial, cocky, sparky, bold, confident, buoyant, playful, impish

In the sense of smart in dress:

Smart, trim, dapper, stylish, spruce, showy, dashing, chic (a jaunty little hat):

Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay


depressing, cheerless, listless, depressed, lackadaisical, cheerless, sedate, lethargic, inactive

unfashionable, unstylish

Word Origin:

C17 (1655-65) earlier jentee or juntee from the French gentil (noble, gentle or genteel)

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1.  Mary lifted young Jack onto her back and followed behind his twin brother, Joe, who scampered along jauntily on their way to the fair.

.. Image by Emmie_Norfolk from Pixabay

2.  As they reached the fair, Joe clapped his hands in excitement as the familiar jaunty music of the merry-go-round filled the afternoon air.

Image by Martin Ludlam from Pixabay

3.  The jauntiness in the steps of the three friends spoke of their enjoyment in each other’s company during their hike across the countryside.

Image from Shutterstock


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.

Image  from Shutterstock

A Visit to Conisbrough Castle

As with many of my recent posts about interesting places we’ve visited, our trip to Conisbrough was last year. It was my second visit to the site, the previous one being in 1969, when the castle wasn’t managed the way it is today. Being a local-born lad, my husband had been many times as a child and teen in the 50s and early 60s, but was happy to go and see what changes had been made now that it was managed by English Heritage.

English Heritage flag atop the keep 3

Conisbrough Castle is located on the north-eastern edge of the town of Conisbrough in South Yorkshire, UK. It is  approximately 6 miles south-west of Doncaster and 7 miles north-east of Rotherham:

Location of Conisbrough Castle in South Yorkshire
Base map of South Yorkshire, UK from Wikipedia. Source: Ordnance Survey OpenData. Author: Nilfanion. Creative Commons

The name Conisbrough comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Cyningesburh, which means ‘the king’s borough’. Although Conisbrough was already an important town before 1066, little is known about the actual site of the castle before that time. In 1066 the ‘Honour’ (or Lordship) of Conisbrough was given to William Warenne, a trusted supporter of William 1 – also known as William the Conqueror.  Warenne acquired land over thirteen counties  and became known as the Earl of Surrey.

Coat of arms of the Warenne Earls of Surrey. Author: Madboy 74  Creative Commons

It was probably Warenne who built the first fortress at Conisbrough, which is thought to have comprised an earthwork enclosure with a wooden palisade along the top, with timber buildings inside. There could also have been an outer bailey. It occupied a strategic position on a large knoll (hill) along a ridge of magnesian limestone.

On the death of the third earl in 1147, having no sons as heirs, the castle passed to his daughter, Isabel de Warenne, William Warenne’s great granddaughter. The stone castle, the ruins of which we see today, was built by her husband, Hamelin Plantagenet, the legitimate half-brother of Henry II.

Aerial view of Conisbrough Castle in 2007 geograh.org.uk  Author :Richard Bird Creative Commons

The stone castle consisted of an outer and inner bailey.

The outer bailey would have protected the inner bailey and contained structures needed for the management of the castle and the supply of those living there. Domestic buildings included quarters for servants, maids and farmworkers, workshops, stables and and other livestock stalls, and storage areas like barns and sheds. The barbican shown on the diagram below (which is from an information board at the site) wasn’t added until the middle of the 13th century:

Bird's eye view of the 15th century castle+

The inner bailey would have contained a number of domestic buildings behind a stone curtain wall. At Conisbrough these included:  A: solar block B: great hall C: kitchens and pantry D: keep and stairs  E: barbican and gatehouse F: chapel – as shown on the diagram below:

The inner bailey at Conisbrough Castle, early 13th century.  Author:User.Hchsc2009. Creative Commons

Today, only the foundations of these buildings can be seen.

The inner bailey with its magnificent great tower/keep is reached by crossing the outer bailey from the visitor centre to what remains of the barbican (a fortified entrance) and gatehouse through the inner curtain wall.

Approaching the barbican through the outer bailey

Built around 1210, the inner curtain wall would have provided effective defence against attackers, especially once the barbican was constructed. The wall would originally have been topped with battlements, from which lookouts and archers ensured that no attackers sneaked up unseen. Five small, solid towers were positioned on the wall’s exterior on the east, south and western sides. To the north the steep drop provided ample defence. The wall itself was not as well built as the keep, consisting of roughly dressed coarse stone with a rubble core.

The outside of the inner bailey wall

These are a few photos of the inner bailey, showing more of the crumbling curtain wall and the remnants of some of the buildings listed above:

The great tower was  built of high-quality, local magnesian limestone and is one of the best examples of an ashar-faced structure in the UK. (Ashar facing means sawed or dressed square stone used in facing masonry walls.) The tower is over 78 feet high with a circular core and flanked by six wedge-shaped buttresses of 90 feet in height that extend beyond the rooftop.

Conisbrough Keep 1
Inside the tower are five levels (the rooftop being the fifth). This rather unclear photo of a diagram at the castle may give some idea of that:

Plan of keep +

The lowest level is the ground floor or basement, with a well used to bring water into the rest of the building. The basement has no windows or doors and is accessed only via a ladder through the hole in its vaulted ceiling. It was probably used for storage.

The entrance to the tower is on the first floor, twenty feet above the court, and was originally reached by an exposed external timber staircase with a timber drawbridge leading into the tower that could be dismantled for defence. Nowadays a concrete staircase has been erected.

Stone steps up th keep entrance
This first floor had no natural light and, like the basement, was probably used for storage. These photos show the well cover and modern safety grid and railing:

A wide, well-lit stone staircase takes us up to the great chamber on the second floor:

Steep stone steps in the keep

The room would have been used by the de Warenne lords when they were staying in Conisbrough. It looks cold and bare today, but it would once have contained a number of fine objects and silverware, painted furniture, beds with feather mattresses with colourful rugs on the floor and tapestries on the walls to keep out the cold. A long trestle would have been used for meals, feasts and banquets and so on.  A wide fireplace, with a joggled lintel and possibly a colourful hood, would have thrown heat into the room. A door leads into a latrine and there is an alcove with a window overlooking the entrance to the tower:

The stairs leading to the third floor are narrower than the lower ones. This floor consists of the bedchamber, where the lord and his family could rest and sleep. It would have been beautifully decorated and have a comfortable bed, cushions, a large basin for washing and a latrine. A window alcove faced towards the town, with stone benches that would have been cushioned so people cut sit and rest or chat. A fireplace provided heat. It was the Lady de Warenne who told us all about this room:

A chapel within one of the buttresses on the east of the tower opened from the bedchamber. The de Warenne family would have attended Mass here in private, and the priest, who would have lived at the castle, would pray for their souls. The chapel’s most noticeable feature was the beautiful vaulted ceiling. The two wash basins (piscinas) are on opposite walls – which is unusual, as in most chapels from the 12th century onward the two were side-by-side.

The rooftop forms the fifth floor. Originally it looked quite different to how it looks today. It is thought that at some time there was a room surrounded by an enclosed wall passage, as part of the wall and a door jamb survive. Of the six buttresses that extended above the battlements as turrets, two of them were solid. The other four seem to have functioned as two water tanks, a bread oven and a dovecote.

Rooftop buttresse 1
Views of the surrounding countryside are excellent from the rooftop, especially as the castle is on hill on an already raised ridge. These are a few of the photos we took:

Conisbrough Castle has had an interesting history over the centuries and had a variety of owners. I won’t go into detail here, but a short word will be useful to bring the castle up to the 21st century.

After the death of the last Earl Warenne in 1347, the castle reverted to the Crown.  Edward III settled the Warenne northern estates on his fourth son, Edmund Langley, who later became the Duke of York. The castle became embroiled in the Wars of the Roses (1455-85) after which it was abandoned and fell into ruin. By 1538 the keep had lost its floors and the gatehouse and part of the curtain wall had collapsed. At the end of the Civil War (1642-51) there was no need for it to be further slighted (cannoned down) by Cromwell – as so many other Royalist-held castles were – since it was already in a ruined and unusable condition.

The castle remained a popular tourist attraction until the early 20th century and in the 1950s its management was taken over by the Ministry of Works, who made a number of major repairs. But by the 1980s visitor facilities were declared unsuitable and in 1984 the castle passed into the care of English Heritage.

Together with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and a local charitable trust, the great tower was re-roofed and floored to protect it from the weather and improve public access. A new exhibition centre was built. In 2007, Conisbrough Castle became totally under the management of English Heritage, which does an excellent job in the castle’s upkeep and makes it a wonderful place to visit. Some visitors come with the sole intent of seeing for themselves the place that, in 1819, Sir Walter Scott chose to set parts of his famous novel, ‘Ivanhoe’.



Conisbrough Castle Guide Book (from English Heritage)

Information boards around the site

Various online sites including:

English Heritage

Conibisbrough Castle:A Comprehensive Guide of the Castle


Visit Doncaster

Welcome to Yorkshire Yorkshire.com


The Observatory – Flash Fiction

The newly opened observatory was the pride of their little town. Bookings were full through the rest of the summer and well into 1902, and Patrick desperately wanted to go back for another visit. Last night had been magical. That huge telescope up in the dome allowed them to explore the mysteries of the night sky and Daphne had been delighted by the views of the harvest moon.

‘It was perfectly splendid, darling, thank you for taking me,’ Daphne enthused as they strolled around the garden of her childhood home whilst her mother chatted with the gardener. ‘I only wish I could have left my sour-faced chaperone behind. Miss Murgatroyd never took her eyes off us.’

‘There’s an easy solution to that, you know, sweetheart,’ Patrick told her, unable to hide his smile.

‘Oh, tell me, quickly,’ Daphne implored, bending to sniff one of the fading red roses before perching on a cushioned wrought-iron seat and inviting Patrick to sit beside her. ‘I so dislike the feeling of being spied upon. It’s as though Miss Murgatroyd knows we just want to be on our own.’

‘Well that’s true enough, isn’t it? We do want to be on our own.’ ‘I can’t even peck you on the cheek without her making some ridiculous comment about propriety.’

‘So… what’s this solution you mentioned?’

‘My darling Daphne, we’ve been walking out together for almost a year, and I can say in all honesty that I love you with all my heart and want to spend the rest of my life with you. And I think you feel the same way about me.’

‘You know I do. I couldn’t bear to go on if you weren’t here with me.’

Patrick retrieved a small, red-velvet covered box from his pocket, sinking to his knees as he flicked it open to reveal a magnificent, diamond ring. ‘Will you do me the honour of marrying me, Daphne? We could have a short engagement of six months at the most, after which we’ll marry and visit the observatory as often as we wish without Miss Murgatroyd’s company.

‘Don’t worry,’ he said, smiling at her small frown, ‘your father has given his permission and his blessing. And your dear Mama keeps flashing me little looks, as though urging me to get on with it.’ He laughed. ‘I imagine she’s run out of things to say to the gardener by now.’

‘My love, I thought you’d never ask,’ Daphne gushed as Patrick slipped the sparkling ring on her finger. ‘Let’s go and show Mama.’

Patrick smiled to himself as they headed across the garden. All was going to plan, and once they were married, and had a decent enough time together to make it appear a successful and happy union, the flat roof of the observatory would make a very convenient place from which Daphne would fall to her death.

Yes, Cynthia was good at devising plans. Utterly bored with the role of Miss Murgatroyd and babysitting Lord Barraclough’s spoilt and frivolous daughter, his sister was itching to get her hands on some of the family’s money. Then the two on them would move far away, where they could dupe another unsuspecting family with their talented dramatics.

How else were the offspring of an infamous pair of murderers expected to make a living? Left on their own after their parents had danced the gallows jig, they’d had years of drudgery in that measly workhouse. Still, it had taught them to live on their wits, and playacting had simply been a part of it. And very lucrative it was proving to be.

Image by kalhh from Pixabay


The observatory in this story is at the top of a low, wooded hill in the lovely Hesketh Park in my hometown of Southport on the Lancashire coast. The observatory is still open to the public today but only at certain times and mostly for previously booked visits.


Weekly Word – Innovative

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 I:



A product or idea featuring new, advanced and original methods; a person introducing new creative and original ideas in thinking; introducing innovations


in-uh-vey-tiv   (ɪn əˌveɪ tɪv)

Audio Link:


Part of Speech:


Related Forms:

innovatively (adverb)

innovativeness (noun)


original innovatory (British English) innovational new cutting-edge novel fresh unconventional unorthodox unusual unfamiliar unprecedented avant-garde experimental inventive ingenious advanced modern modernistic ultra-modern state-of-the-art futuristic pioneering groundbreaking trailblazing revolutionary radical


uncreative unimaginative uninventive unoriginal

Word Origin:

Late Middle English (1600-1610) from the Latin innovation, from the verb innovare

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1. Despite being a hot-headed, violent man, often in trouble with the law and implicated in more than one murder, Caravaggio created striking, innovative paintings and pioneered the use of dramatic lighting and the representation of religious figures in modern clothes and attitudes.

The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio, 1608. Current location: St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valetta, Malta. Public Domain

2. Miss Reynolds stood before the class of sixteen-year-olds, her steely gaze reminding them she did not tolerate inattention. ‘Now,’ she started, adjusting her dark-rimmed spectacles, ‘last lesson we watched a short film about the many ways in which plastic pollution is affecting our oceans. So today you will work in groups to create a convincing presentation on how any one of those problems could be dealt with and, where possible, offer alternative materials that could be used in the place of those causing the problems. Credit will be given for innovative ideas and on how innovatively you present them.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

3 The new company in town was known not only for its excellent working conditions and pension schemes for employees, but for the many opportunities for promotion it offered to those who showed innovativeness and flair.

Image by Gerd Altmann 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 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.

Image  from Shutterstock

The Canal Pond and Emperor Fountain at Chatsworth

The Canal Pond is set in the South Lawn at Chatsworth and was dug in 1702-3. It is set a few inches higher than the lawn, creating the illusion that the house rises out of the water when viewed from the far end of the canal.

Image by Johnnie Shannon from Pixabay

There had been a fountain at the north end of the canal since the pond was completed. Originally named the Great Fountain, it is flanked by two reclining river gods, created by the sculptor Nadauld. The gods can just be seen in this photo, one of them behind a lady photographing the dog structure:

Canal pond showing 2 gods and dog structure

When it became known that Tsar Nicholas 1, Emperor of Russia, would visit Chatsworth in 1844, the Great Fountain was replaced by the Emperor Fountain. Commissioned by the 6th Duke and created by Joseph Paxton, it was so named as a welcoming gesture to the tsar. Unfortunately, Tsar Nicholas never did make that visit but the fountain kept the name anyway.

Tsar Nicholas of Russia
Portrait of Emperor Nicholas 1 by Franz Kruger (1797-1857). Housed in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Creative Commons/Public Domain

Although the original Great Fountain had been the highest in the country, the new Emperor Fountain exceeded its reach and is on record as having reached 90 metres/295 feet. It was powered by the pressure of water dropping 297 feet through a 16 inch cast-iron pipe. It was the tallest gravity-fed fountain in the world for 160 years.

To provide enough water to power the new fountain an 8-acre lake, aptly named Emperor Lake, was dug up in the surrounding moorland of the Peak District. (This was in addition to the three existing lakes already providing the immense volumes of water needed by the house and its surrounding grounds.) Emperor Lake was finished in only six months in 1844.

The following painting, which I used in my earlier post on Chatsworth House, gives some idea of the height of the land behind the house and grounds:

A late 18th century oil painting by William Marlow. It emphasises the romantic aspects of Chatsworth’s setting on the edge of the Peak District. Public Domain

If you look closely at the hillside, you will spot a small building. That is the hunting lodge, situated in Stand Wood on the edge of the hills and moors of the Peak District. Emperor Lake can be seen from the lodge, should visitors choose to wander up there.

A two and a half mile channel was dug across moorland to gather rain that fell on the high ground. As mentioned above, the fountain was powered by the pressure of water dropping 297 feet through a 16 inch cast-iron pipe. In places, trenches up to almost 15 feet deep were cut through the rock to maintain the gradient.

In 2014 two new nozzles were made for the fountain. One is the same diameter as the original nozzle and the other is a little narrower, the aim being to create a column of water similar to the one that Paxton achieved. With the new narrower nozzle and a new debris grid in Emperor Lake, which supplies the water, the fountain can still reach 62 metres/200 feet on a still day.

Although this may not be the most attractive fountain in the world, the height it reached so long ago and the story about Tsar Nicholas, certainly make it interesting.


This is the second part of a post I wrote a few weeks ago about Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. The first part was already rather long, so I thought I’d leave this short piece for another time.

A final note: Writing this has set off a discussion in our house about the spelling of tsar. I’ve always spelled it this way, but my husband argued that if should be czar. Well, after looking it up it seems there are three spellings of the word: tsar, tzar and czar. So it seems to be a case of ‘take your pick’!

Weekly Word – Hubris

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 H:



Excessive pride or foolish amount of self-confidence in one’s own abilities; a way of talking or behaving that is too proud and offends people.


hyoo-bris (hoo-bris)

Audio Link:


Part of Speech:



Arrogance, conceit, conceitedness, haughtiness, pride, nerve, vanity, self-importance, self-conceit, ostentation, pomposity, insolence, superciliousness, hauteur, big-headedness, boastfulness, pretension, pretentiousness, audacity, chuzpah, disdain.


Modesty, unselfishness, bashfulness, shyness, humility, self doubt, self loathing, altruism

Related Forms:

Hubristic (adjective)

Word Origin:

First recorded in 1880–85, HUBRIS is from the Greek word hýbris, meaning insolence.

(In Greek tragedy HUBRIS means excessive pride towards, or in defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis/punishment.)

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1. From his seat in the clouds, Apollo focused on the young Trojan prince as he drew back his bow. Not renowned for his archery skills, Paris would not feel confident of his arrow finding its mark. But Apollo would ensure that the arrow flew straight to Achilles’ heel – the only vulnerable spot on the seemingly invincible Greek’s body. Achilles had greatly angered the gods with his pride and defiance and would pay dearly for his hubris.

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

2. The conductor put down his baton and nodded approvingly at the end of the orchestra’s rehearsal. The new violinist was not only extremely talented, she lacked the hubristic behaviour common to many musicians he’d employed in the past.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

3. After putting up with her friend’s haughty and conceited ways since their schooldays, Erin suddenly flipped. ‘I’ve had it with you, Gloria. I’m sick of defending your pomposity to everyone. And believe me, once I stop lying through my teeth and telling them all how nice you are beneath that arrogant veneer, you won’t have a friend left in this town.’ She stood to leave. ‘And you know what…? From now on, you won’t even have me. Find another stooge to put up with your ridiculous hubris.’



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.

Image  from Shutterstock

A Seaside Snack – Flash Fiction

‘Can I have some of yer chips?’

Sam glanced up from his meal and glowered at his scrawny brother. ‘Push off, yer scrounging moron.’

‘Yer knows I’ve bust me arm… Mam says yer’ve to look after me while I’m poorly.’

‘So? I had to find me own food when I broke me leg.’

‘Just one chip…?’

‘No! Mam’s just stuffed half a fish down yer throat. I didn’t get any, did I?’

‘Cos yer were eating chips, and –’

Sam gave Sid’s good wing a sharp peck, causing him to screech. ‘Now yer’ve got two poorly arms. P’raps Mam’ll feed you a whole fish next time.



I starting writing this short piece a few weeks ago, intending to finish it in time to post to Friday Fictioneers. I didn’t finish it and it’s languished in my drafts until today when I decided to find my own, similar, photo prompt and get it posted.

Weekly Word – Gobbledegook

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 G:




The two spellings seem to be used in both the UK and the US, but the most used spelling seems to be the second one (whereas I have always used the first).


1.  Complicated or technical language that is difficult to understand, especially when used in official documents or instruction manuals.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

2.  Although Meaning (1) above still remains in use, gobbledegook is sometimes used to mean simply nonsensical or silly (i.e. not necessarily jargon or pretentious wording):

Parents watched as the children played their party games, their happy chatter sounding like gobbledegook to adult ears.




Audio Link:


Part of Speech:

Noun (Informal)


nonsense, babble, balderdash, boloney, drivel, poppycock, mumbo jumbo, twaddle, gibberish, claptrap


fact, frankness, honesty, openness, sense, truth, truthfulness

Related Forms:


Word Origin:

1940s (originally US): probably imitating a turkey’s gobble.

Texas Congressman Maury Maverick coined the word in 1944 to describe the frustrating jargon used by policymakers in Washington. It reminded him of the sound of turkeys gobbling.


Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1. ‘Okay, I’ve heard enough,’ Greg said none too politely, cutting through the salesman’s jargon. ‘Forget the rest of the gobbledegook and just tell me how much the car costs.’


2. After listening to the closing speeches at the end of the trial, Monica’s head was spinning. Sifting the truth from the deluge of what sounded like gobbledegook spouted by witnesses and judges alike would not be an easy matter. shutterstock_1513707167


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.

Image  from Shutterstock