Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Cheri Lucas over at the Daily Post says ‘This challenge is about using reflections in the composition of a shot. Reflections are all around us, whether they’re in a window, a puddle, a mirror, or another surface. They can dramatically affect the feeling and mood of a shot by creating a surreal sense of duality.’ Visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/reflections/  to join in. Here is my interpretation. Alder reflection

Photographer included


Thursdays Windows Week# 11

This moving window is a clothes shop in Exeter and I’ve only ever passed it when its closed at night. I expect that they have similar in their other branches so you may have seen the same look before. I don’t know how its done, I think its taken from a webcam but not a live one. On the window it names Huntington beach in California – hard to read with my phone camera shot.  Its one of my favourite shop windows, I love the choppy waves,

I hope you enjoy it too. Join in with Sandra’s Thursday Windows here



100 Word Challenge For Grown Ups Week# 68

Poor Julia has been feeling a bit rough and her prompt this week is very apt. GREY, simply one word. Now what to do with it?

Blue and Grey

I was headless for years, until that Smith cast me a new one. I must say, without a head it was more fun scaring people. What’s a ghost boy to do? They looked at my statue and I would spring forth. A grey version of the Blue Boy, they’d jump out of their skin. That’s when they decided to exorcise me. So we had a spirit party, surrounded them we did, all the dead orphan boys from St John’s. They won’t try that again in a hurry.

Now there are several in the city, handsome, shiny and blue, statues of me.

A little background for you. When I was little I used to see this statue of the Blue Boy in the old Princesshay and always loved it. 

It disappeared for a few years when the shopping centre was rebuilt but now its back in almost the same spot as before.

It’s said that the Blue Boy was created on the site of St John’s Hospital School which dates back to 1633. They weren’t orphans though, it was a school for the privileged. The boys wore a uniform of blue caps and gowns and were nicknamed Blue Boys. The original statue was made of stone and by 1830 it was actually headless! It’s head was replaced and it now resides in Exeter School grounds. Four cast iron Blue boys were made in the 1850’s, the one above and three more are in the Exeter area.

Come and join in at Julia’s place

Miss Christie Revisited

A few months ago I had my 25000th blog hit and I asked the person that ‘hit it’ to write a guest post for me. It was a busy time for her, but she has kept it in her mind and then recently she was inspired by a post here at Lucid gypsy. She is Sharon, or New Pillow Book, and her blog A Number of Things is an eclectic mix of poetry, photography, writing and just good fun. She takes part in several of the challenges and is a regular and supportive visitor. She made me laugh with Pie of Newt and I love her travel themes. She blogs most days, but not in a flashy way, she has a quiet unassuming style but also a strong voice.

When I posted about Agatha Christie’s Home recently, she said  `Dittisham is a perfect name for a village in a Christie mystery! Aside from that, your photos are so lovely. For some reason, I especially like the one of the moored sailboats dotting the river.’ So I challenged her again and she came up with this very clever and thought provoking flash fiction. Enjoy, and she would love to read any comments 🙂

Death in Dittisham

Enid checked to be sure that her stocking seams made a straight dark line up the backs of her legs. She peeked through the curtained doorway. There were only a few customers at the tables in the tearoom. “It’s quiet for now,” Mavis said. “Just as well you’re here, though. We’re expecting two busses of trippers today.”

“Shame they won’t have a chance to talk to Mrs. Mallowan.”

Everyone who worked in Dittisham knew who Mrs. Mallowan was: Agatha Christie, the famous writer. Of course, many of the trippers thought she was “Miss Christie” or, sometimes, “Mrs. Christie”. They all knew that the big house across from Dittisham was hers, though. That was part of the reason they visited, and their visits were what kept the Pink Petunia Tearoom open and kept Enid and Mavis employed.

Not that Dittisham was really the placid English village it seemed at first glance. But wasn’t that how any good Christie story started out, with a world that wasn’t at all what it seemed to be?

“Mrs. Mallowan? Oh, lots of them don’t want to see her,” Mavis said. “A nice chat with old Miss Marple, or a glimpse of that funny Belgian fellow, and they go home happy.”

But just then the first wave of trippers poured into the tearoom. It was hours before Enid and Mavis had another chance to catch their breath. “Regularly run off my feet,” Enid remarked as they leaned against the wall in the back room, tables emptying at last.

“It’s better than Micky D’s.”

“One party asked me where they could stay the night. I recommended Bertram’s Hotel.”

“Oh, get on with you, do.” The two girls wiped down the tables and tidied up before setting off in opposite directions for home. Enid liked walking through this silent Dittisham by herself. It seemed so real. She wondered if she and “Mavis” would convince the characters in a real Christie story. The light was fading, but she knew all the back streets and shortcuts. Sweet-smelling flowers, a friendly cat on its nightly prowl, a huddle of – something – under a bush. She crossed the lane and bent over the crumpled object.

And then she was running, running, all the way to the police station on the green. PC Jackson looked up in surprise as she burst in. “Now then, Enid, what’s all this?”

“Oh, Jim!” she panted. “It’s Miss Marple!” He gaped at her. Stupid, I’m being stupid, she thought. He wasn’t PC James Jackson any more than she was Enid Green. He wasn’t a policeman at all. This wasn’t England, and the 1930’s were eighty years gone. This was only a sham Dittisham, ChristieWorld, nothing but a specially built tourist attraction filled with actors working on their English accents. She loved it, and now she had to destroy it.

“Miss Marple?”

“Look, Matt, phone the real cops. It’s Miss Marple. I mean Mrs. Milewski. She’s dead.”

* * *

Jake’s Sunday post: Natural Resources

A difficult one Jake but I hope this works! 

Just as it says, this is 100% wool felted into Dori cord. The wool comes from New Zealand and it is felted in Nepal and dyed using plants like senna, madder and indigo.

Nepali wild Hemp, linen from India and Giant Himalayan nettle cord and thread. All in its natural colour and hand spun in Nepal.

New Zealand wool again, dyed in Nepal with Rhubarb, Pomegranate, Madder, Myrobalan and Indigo.

For more photos of natural resources visit http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sunday-post-natural-resources/



The African Chef, the Next Big Thing!

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Malcolm Riley and his wife Sophie. They are perhaps the most food passionate people I have ever met. Their motto is ‘Inspired by Africa produced locally’ and Malcolm’s company is The African Chef. I was drawn towards their stand by the unusual sight – in Devon at least of a Baobab fruit and then the product labels caught my eye. BAOBAB JAM, of course I just had to taste the sampler, on cheese, the spicy version had all my taste buds zinging. I loitered, with plans to sample as many as I could get away with, all the same one of course – then I would move on to the next variety! Malcolm and Sophie are very friendly and keen to chat about their food. He is Zambian and grew up with a fusion of food because his mum worked at a Chinese restaurant, then had a catering business and a butchers. Apparently she was the best cook in Lusaka and his biggest influence.

I once spent a day in Zambia but ate in the home of an English woman so I was keen to learn about real Zambian food. They only season with salt, relying on the true flavour of the food rather than spice. We compared the traditional ‘Pap’, a maize meal with the West African Fufu that I’ve tried, a staple carbohydrate used as we use rice, pasta or potatoes.

Once Malcolm moved to London and was exposed to the vast array of food available he knew where his future lay. He spent six years working as a produce manager at Planet Organic. This must have been a huge learning curve, but he was hooked and with Sophie, moved to Devon and worked at Riverfood Farm. Here in Devon we produce some of the finest cheeses, wine and organic vegetables you can buy; Malcolm made some great contacts and moved forward.

I was mesmerised by the flavours to test and he asked if I like pepper flavours. Now, I can do without salt but pepperiness – no way. He showed me a jar of condiment made from Scotch Bonnets and I was tempted, but knowing my limitations, I opted instead for the African Gold, a divine mix of red kidney beans, chillies and garlic. I went in for seconds, just a tiny bit on bread and the flavour hit different parts of my mouth with different effects, zingy, hot and rich, it continued with an internal warmth, but not an over the top heat.

Next I tried the Carrot and Ginger Jam, mild and fruity and delicious on cheese. Malcolm had more delights to offer. A lovely little jar of buttery stuff, which he melted in a fondue to become a garlic dip, I tried it with bread and can imagine lots of ways to use it.

Of course I bought the Spicy African Gold and the hotter Scotch Bonnet for a gift, I sent my friend along and she couldn’t resist either. Malcolm gave me a free recipe card to showing how to use the condiment with steak. I said I wouldn’t be trying that as I don’t eat meat. He said that he had been veggie in the past and there was a recipe for tempura nettles, interesting, and I never say never, but because he added that it was good just stirred into potatoes, I’ve just had it with sweet potato mash – try it Malcolm if you haven’t already – it was wonderful. I look forward to trying it with fish, but perhaps not the cat fish or tilapia we talked about, I’m not sure it’s available here yet.

I wish I had tried more; there is a cordial and Baobab powder, which I didn’t even find out about. I’m certain that I’ll be buying more in the future, Malcolm’s products have already won awards. He grows some of his ingredients right here in Devon on his allotment, and he is dedicated to fair trade. As if this isn’t enough, 20 pence from every jar sold is donated to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, supporting anti-poaching and conservation projects in Africa.

When you see ‘The African Chef’ for sale – and you will, give it a try, this is really good food, 100% natural and I give it a huge thumbs up!

Read more at http://www.theafricanchef.com/

Travel Theme: Liquid

Ailsa says it been raining heavily in Seattle, so it sounds much like here in the South West of England where some people are dealing with floods. I’m featuring Ghana this week.

to join in visit http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/11/23/travel-theme-liquid/ and share your liquid pics. Perhaps you can show the world how much rain we have in the UK this week.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

Okay I may not be very popular with these darlings and it’s a first for me to post a photo of them but  it’s because I’m THANKFUL! Thankful that they are mine and they are there for me. Kids, I love you and I’m very proud of you!

What are you thankful for? share it on http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/weekly-photo-challenge-thankful/