More irresistible stuff

Monday, 28 February 2011

Microfiction Monday 28th Feb

Welcome to another round of Microfiction Monday courtesy of Susan at Stony River. Each week Susan posts a new picture and invites us to write a story in 140 characters or less.

Today's picture:



An eclectic mix this week ....

---oOo---

Tom said he didn't believe in fairies. Next day he hobbled to work and took off his shoes. "Biscuit crumbs?" his boss asked, eyebrow raised.

---oOo---

Pea Blossom was bored of quality control duties. She pressed the reject button just for kicks

---oOo---

"Good boy," Cowslip said, offering him a shoe biscuit. "Time for walkies!" The shoe's eyes were wide with anticipation, the tongue lolling.

---oOo---

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday Reflection

This is what I shared with church this morning



"Don't worry," says Jesus.
You can just imagine the disciples worrying. They’d given up their livelihoods, their security, to follow Jesus. They weren’t lugging suitcases full of spare clothes around with them, they weren’t earning – so how could they survive?
Today, of course, we are not just worrying about food, drink and clothes, but about the rent or the mortgage, the gas and electricity, the telephone, television, insurance, the car, the tax, the MOT, so it goes on. There are few of us, I suspect, that do not worry about the household bills, especially in the current economic climate. But it’s not just financial worries that we carry with us. Our hearts may be burdened by difficult or broken relationships, by our situation at work, or at school, or by bereavement. All of us carry burdens, and are weighed down by our cares.



Jesus says “Do not worry, God knows what you need.” Instead of worrying he says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness.” And God will take care of those things that weigh our hearts. But what does it actually mean? Jesus spoke often about the Kingdom of God: it’s like a pearl of great worth, it’s like a mustard seed that starts small but grows to a great size, it’s like yeast that works through the whole dough, but still, the question remains what is it? It is not a place, or a political system, or a group of people – it is simply wherever God is acknowledged as King.



I’m not sure that is a lot of help either. Simply put, the Kingdom of God is home. Home is where the heart is they say, but it is also where we are loved unconditionally. I know that is not everybody’s experience here on earth, but our Heavenly Father will always welcome us home with open arms, ready to forgive us for the things we have done wrong. So determined is he that nothing should come between us and his love, he sent his son Jesus to us to show us the way home. “I am the way and the truth and the life” says Jesus. “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” Jesus came to reveal the Kingdom of God to us, he came to die on the cross for our sins and to be raised again to eternal life, so that we too can share in that eternal life.



But the Kingdom of God is not just something for the future, Jesus invites us to enter into that Kingdom today. The Kingdom of God is only a prayer away. It’s not a magic Kingdom – there is no wardrobe to pass through, no strange initiation rites; we enter the Kingdom of heaven by opening our hearts to God, and asking his forgiveness. We enter the Kingdom of God when we say to him that we want him to be at the centre of our lives. I tell you, this is something we should do every day; to consciously open our hearts to God and invite him to be centre of our lives

When we place God at the centre of our lives we find a desire to know him better, to serve him – not as hired servants would, but as his children. We have a desire to live by his rules because he has made us his family. Those rules are not onerous – simply to love him and to love one another. It’s a simple concept, and yet we spend our lives trying to learn how. With God at the centre of our lives, we start to think about what we can do for others ahead of what we can do for ourselves. We find an inexplicable peace, a joy that sustains us through dark times, and a compassion for those who are hurting.



One final thing. Jesus also talks about seeking the righteousness of God. The trouble is that the modern understanding of the word has changed from biblical times. Righteousness is seen as meaning sinlessness, saintlike perfection. Righteousness is seen as being up there somewhere on the moral high ground looking down on us lesser mortals. Righteousness is equated with self-righteousness, thinking better of oneself than one ought. That is not what the bible means at all. Righteousness in the bible is that which builds up a relationship. Righteouness is all about relationships. That relationship can be within a community, or it can be our relationship with God.

So Jesus is saying to us, first we must open our hearts to God and seek his forgiveness. We must place God at the centre of our lives and seek to build up our relationship with him and with those around us. If we focus on God and on our neighbours, he will take care of those worries that burden us, he will bring us peace and joy in the dark places, but most of all we will know his love.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Book Blurb Friday and a video of me!

This is advance notice of a new meme which starts on Friday 4th March, hosted by Lisa Ricard Claro. BOOK BLURB FRIDAY gives us the chance to let our imaginations run wild and write a book blurb inspired by a book cover photograph. Don't miss it!

-----oO0Oo-----

First Crusader Challenge - If you haven't read my entry yet go HERE

I know I only posted my challenge entry yesterday, but for those of you who have read it, I thought I would let you in on the little fib.

1) Yes, my family do despair of my tendency to spout forth
2) I do love lemon sorbet, anything orange, ginger, syrup sponge .. actually anything edible. I did think about adding in something I don't like as my fib, but I couldn't think of anything!
3) Generosity? I do try!
4) As for doing a bit of contortionism, I have only ever found one other person who could do it, and now I find that Claire Gregory and Jai Joshi can both do it! I promised pictures ... so if you are feeling brave ...

video

5) So that just leaves our dream house. Yes I would love to design it ... but I would rather leave it to the professionals to build it.  We re-roofed, re-wired and plumbed our first house, including installing central heating (including boiler) bathroom, kitchen and utility room. We replaced the rotten floor, built a new sash window for the kitchen and took out a chimney breast. It was a year of incredibly hard work. I have no burning desire to do it again! But we do have a love of the mountains and the sea

Well there you go! Now you know the truth!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

First Crusader Challenge At Last!

The Challenge 

In 300 words or less, tell us: 

· one secret 
· one lie 
· one interesting quirk 
· one annoying habit 
· one of your best character traits, and 
· one of your favourite things in the whole world. 

The post can be in any format, including poetry (for those poets among us), but must include the random words, “bloviate,” “fuliguline,” “rabbit,” and “blade” (tee hee).

Actually the first challenge was to get round to following every single crusader, both on blogs and Twitter (those that tweet anyway), which I have managed to do.

On to the next bit:

I love facts. I love putting facts together and drawing logical conclusions. The trouble is that I tend to bloviate as I announce these deductions as fact. The family have learnt to roll their collective eyes and to say, in terms, "Yes Dad, fount of all knowledge!" Do you think there might be a smidgen of sarcasm there?
My secret ambition is to design and build our dream home, somewhere with either mountain views of heather, bracken, sheep and rabbits or with views across the sea or an estuary where we can watch the fuliguline visitors.
I can touch my right ear with my right hand. Go on try it, but not like that. Go round the back of your head, under your chin and back up to your ear. Can you do it now? (No liability for personal injury can be accepted) Photos can be supplied, but it's not a pretty sight!
I adore lemon sorbet. I love anything orange, or ginger... oh and treacle sponge with custard. Hang on a minute while I have a moment of wistful rapture. *sigh*
If you put a blade against my heart and forced me to admit to any positive character trait, I guess I would have to say generosity - sharing my time, my abilities and whatever good fortune I might have.

There might possibly be a little tiddly lie in there somewhere - any idea where?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Haiku Wednesday Elation

Sensational Haiku Wednesday

Join the fun!
You know ... that Blog?

Today's topic is Elation


Examinations
Nervous anticipation
Congratulations!


Dry mouth and wild heart
All hope balanced on one knee
The answer is yes


Missing in action:
Lover’s soul pierced through by grief
News is premature

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Engineering for Writers

As I am a professional engineer, I thought I would share some knowledge with you in a series of engineering related articles. If I can help to add some authenticity, or at least help you to avoid some of the engineering fallacies that I hear in popular culture, then I will have achieved my aim. How's that for a bit of bloviating?!

The first topic on the agenda is SEWERAGE.

Don't you love it when I talk dirty?

First let's get some terms sorted.

A drain serves a single source, such as a house, or a factory or a highway. A sewer serves more than one property, or source. The network of sewers is called sewerage - not to be confused with sewage which is the smelly stuff that flows in a sewer.

A sewer can either carry just rainwater, in which case it is called a surface water or stormwater sewer or it can carry dirty water in which case it is called a foul or sanitary sewer. Older sewers, particularly those in cities, carry both rainwater and dirty water and are called combined sewers. It is these combined sewers which can be very large - sufficiently large for a person to walk in.



On the subject of size. 1000 houses would produce, on average, a FOUL WATER design flow of 45 litres per sec, and would need a pipe 225mm or 9 inches in diameter. Not something your hero would fit into. On the other hand 1000 houses would produce 1400 l/s in STORMWATER runoff in the sort of storm that you might see once a year. (This depends on where in the world you are - the figure quoted is relevant to the UK). This would need a pipe 900mm or 3 feet in diameter. Large enough to crawl in. However, your hero should beware - it takes 4 minutes for rainwater to work it's way into the sewer, with the flows building to a peak in 10 to 30 minutes depending on the network. I mention all of this just in case your hero should ever get trapped in a sewer during a rainstorm! Sadly the truth is that every year people are drowned in sewers, all too often children who think it is cool to hang out in their "den" which might have been cosy and dry for weeks.



Assuming you haven't zoned out by now here is a MYTH-BUSTER. The idea of a fish being flushed down a toilet finding its way to the sea is, alas, nonsense. (Even for Nemo!). Even if you live in a seaside town where flows can sometimes discharge to the sea, sewage has to pass through a screen with only 6mm gaps (1/4"). That is enough to stop the solids, sanitary towels and piscine escape artists. Inland, the sewers run to Treatment Works, where the sewage is screened, solids are removed in flocculation tanks, sedimentation tanks, and the resulting liquid is sprayed onto gravel filtration beds. Not a good place for a fish.



One last note. The large sewers have only been around since the 19th century. Not strictly accurate to have your medieval protagonist escaping through the sewers. In medieval times, householders disposed of their waste into a cesspool which was emptied daily by the night soil men. (A real lowest of the low job). Other waste ran in open channels in the road.



I hope this article has given you something to think on, and you never know, perhaps one day it might come in handy!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Microfiction Monday 21st Feb

Welcome to another round of Microfiction Monday courtesy of Susan at Stony River. Each week Susan posts a new picture and invites us to write a story in 140 characters or less.

Today's picture:



This week's micros have abandoned the usual humour for an altogether darker take ...

---oOo---

The sanatorium had been abandoned for years. So was the laughter just inside his head?

---oOo---

Last time he walked the hospital corridors the pandemic was still new. His global work complete, Death returned once more, redundant.

---oOo---

The vengeful spirit's malignancy closed it down. Now, vengeance spent, it's empty corridors are a private hell.

---oOo---

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sunday Reflection



God moved Isaiah to declare: Justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no-one, he was appalled that there was no-one to intervene.

What does the word justice mean to you? If you ask the world at large, I suspect the answers you received would revolve around courts and prisons, around judgement and punishment, around the criminal justice system.


But these things are NOT justice. You hear in the media about justice being done when a criminal is given a harsh sentence, and conversely victims’ relatives complaining about a lack of justice when the guilty receive a sentence that is too light in their eyes. This is not the justice of the bible – this is vengeance – this is retribution. So what is justice?

Righteousness and Justice go hand in hand.
An act which fulfils the demands of a relationship, whether with God or with fellow humans, is called righteous.

In other words righteousness builds up our relationship with God and with our neighbour. An act or attitude that tears down or destroys relationships cannot be said to be righteous. A person who is judgemental out of a sense of their own “rightness” destroys relationships and therefore is not righteous.



Abraham had faith and it was credited to him as righteousness, because it was the very foundation of his relationship with God. A life that is an outworking of faith cannot help but be righteous, and faith is what joins Christians together (and indeed those of other faiths).

So ... is the church the embodiment of righteousness as it is meant to be? I look at the church at large and, if I am to believe the newspapers, I see judgement and division, I see intolerance and segregation, I see suspicion and accusation – this is not righteousness.


But then I look again, past the newspaper headlines, past the rhetoric and the posturing, and I see individual acts of forgiveness, moments of grace, of unthinking sacrifice, of unconditional generosity, of love – that is where righteousness shines like the sun and the glory of God is revealed.

Have a wonderful Sunday

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Haiku Wednesday Freestyle

Sensational Haiku Wednesday

Join the fun!
You know ... that Blog?

Today's topic is Freestyle

Freestyle? So does that mean the subject is freestyle, or that we are free to do our own thing?
I guess I get to choose! lol


Liquorice Allsorts
They take all my favourites
and leave the black ones


Dawn frost across fields
Lingers longer in the shade
Negative shadows


Frantic butterfly
Not a fish out of water
Speeding to a crawl

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

So how was it for you?

How was your Valentine's Day?

Were you pampered, or were you doing the pampering? Did you switch off and wish it would all go away and that people would stop going on about it?

I just thought I'd share my Valentine's Day efforts with you. I decided my Valentines Day gift would be to cook a meal for my wife.

Starters was Sophisticated Salmon Ceviche



Did it look like the photo? No. Did it look like layers of squidge in the bottom of the glass? Yes.
But, the leeks were melt in the mouth and the combination of smoked salmon, leek and orange juice vinaigrette was very tasty.

verdict **** (Sure I'm biased :D)

Main course was Beef Stroganoff


Did my Stroganoff look like the fabulous picture on the left courtesy of Jamie Oliver? No. Did it look like the extremely suspect pile on the right? If only it had looked that appetizing!

Big mistake - I had three different recipes and I blended the "best" bits from them. In hindsight - why would anyone do that? One recipe suggested using hot paprika for a "subtle heat". That sounded good. I put in half the amount suggested to be safe and it still made the eyes water! I also put some Worcestershire sauce in it, but I think it would have been better without it. On the plus side, it certainly wasn't bland!

verdict ** (I'm not making it onto masterchef any time soon)

Dessert was home made lemon mousse.



Courtesy of Sophie Dahl and the BBC

2 people recommended it, but they were obviously haute cuisine trained. My efforts? A wonderfully sharp lemon syrup on the bottom with a rich creamy topping suffused through with jelly-like lemony blobs. *sigh* (Yes we still ate them, and yes they tasted awesome once you got past the weird texture!)

verdict * (Anytime Ms Dahl wants to pop round and show me how it should be done, she will be very welcome!)

Disaster? No, actually it was perfect. As we laughed over the lumpy mousse, I realized that despite trying really hard, and being really fancy, I could not manage anything as good as my wife cooks. In the end, for a Valentine's Day gift, perhaps that's what really mattered.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Just Kiss Already Blogfest

If you are looking for today's Microfiction Monday it's HERE

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY everyone!

To celebrate I am entering the Just Kiss Already Blogfest



Back in January I shared a moment when Mikel and Krissa so nearly kissed. (If you want to know more - read it here). Well many adventures befell them before they were finally re-united at a mother of all magical showdowns with the great evil. We join them in the moments after the evil is banished ....



The great cavern was plunged into utter darkness as the impossible light faded to nothing. Mikel lay gasping; pain wracked his abused body, blood oozed from dozens of cuts and abrasions. A grinding agony in his leg warned him against trying to move. Had anyone survived the conflagration? He thought of his companions, those who had stuck with him to the bitter end, who had given their all. Were they all dead?
     “Krissa!” he cried out into the darkness, his heart wrenched with pain deeper than any wound that lacerated his body. He had crossed the world to find her, had faced down a Great Spirit in all his wrath for her; there was nothing he would not have endured for her and he could not bear to lose her now. His breath came in great tearing sobs. “Oh, Krissa.”
     “You were right about one thing,” a soft voice murmured next to him.
     “Krissa!” he exclaimed and tried to sit up, but the excruciating pain forced him to lie still. He felt her cool hand on his face, her thumb stroke the wetness on his cheek, her finger tips brush his lips.
     “You have been a fool, worse than a fool, and I love you,” she whispered, her breath hot upon his cheek.
     Then her soft lips were on his own, and all his longing, his desire, his need welled up from the depths of his soul into the ecstasy of the moment. Everything else was forgotten in that instant when the universe pivoted about the yearning love that fed the passion of their kiss.
  

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Microfiction Monday 14 February

Welcome to another round of Microfiction Monday courtesy of Susan at Stony River. Each week Susan posts a new picture and invites us to write a story in 140 characters or less.

Today's picture:



Three young men up to no good ....

---oOo---

"Hold on - is that lipstick on your shirt?" Dammit, Think quickly. "Of course dearest. I put it there, over my heart, to remind me of you."

---oOo---

Samuel was lost in thought. What had he forgotten? He'd packed the picnic. He'd brought the drink. What was it? Oh, of course! His fiance!

---oOo---

"Mr Quincy says I have well rounded characters." said Fanny.
"Yes, they're very impressive," said William, dreamily.


---oOo---

Friday, 11 February 2011

Lisa in the buff!

All eyes on Lisa Ricard Claro at Writing in the Buff!



Lisa is having a 100 follower give away and there is a $20 amazon voucher up for grabs! But that isn't why you should scoot along to Lisa's blog, nor is the second prize copy of Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft", nor even the third prize of a journal by Peter Pauper Press.




NO! the real prize is finding a great blog to follow and meeting a really lovely, lively, loyal lady!

So off you go to follow her, and be sure to leave a comment to say that I sent you!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Dear Author ...

Elena over at You're Write. Except when you're Rong

has a fun "fill in the form rejection letter" post.

Here is mine filled in blanks in red, of course!):

Dear Author,

I am writing in response to your message in a bottle. While I'm pleased that there a tiny dribble of scotch left in the bottom, I really don't think a one word story has the necessary marketing potential or that "help" is very original.

This is a subjective business, you know, and it's really important to be subjective. Perhaps "Help me"?

While this may seem like a huge favor - teaching you how to write and doubling your word count, please remember I'll get half the royalties after commission.

Oh, and please make sure there's more scotch left in the bottle next time. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Agent.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Haiku Wednesday 9 Feb

Sensational Haiku Wednesday

Join the fun!
You know ... that Blog?

Today's topic is Habits



Journeying through life
Travelling familiar ways
Paths warn smooth by love


Religious vestment
Indistinguishably brown
Anonymity


Urge beyond reason
sense overwhelmed by desire
Always just one more

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The King's Speech Triumphs

OK it may not be the Oscars (yet) but The King's Speech wins the Dominic de Mattos award for Best Actor hands down. The Dom is a coveted award, much sought after in the entertainment industry, in case you were wondering.



The story is about one man's struggle against a debilitating stammer; a handicap in any walk of life but a nightmare if you are a prince. This film is based on the true experiences of Albert, Duke of York, who became King George VI, as he is thrust to prominence following his brother's abdication. I found the direction moving, the script engaging and the acting superb. As I might have already mentioned, Colin Firth, as the Duke of York, excelled in his portrayal of a man tortured by self doubt and fear of failure, firmly suppressed beneath his public face of duty.
Helena Bonham Carter perfectly captured the Duchess of York's character (The Duchess of York, of course, became the nations beloved Queen Mother, known for being prim and proper, and yet with a heart of gold). If this film does not win at least three Oscars, then I will declare the world a justice free zone!

Monday, 7 February 2011

No Fear Congratulations



First and foremost - thank you to everyone who contributed a tale of bravery to the blogfest, everyone who toured the entries enjoying such a wonderful variety and everyone who voted for their favourite finalist.

Voting showed that we had two clear favourites:

"Memories" by L'Aussie

and

"Sometimes there's no Victor" (excerpt) by Roland Yeoman

... and the winner is ...



L'Aussie!!


So a big congratulations to L'Aussie who wins $30

Be sure to visit L'Aussie and give her a follow :D

Microfiction Monday 7 February

Welcome to another round of Microfiction Monday courtesy of Susan at Stony River. Each week Susan posts a new picture and invites us to write a story in 140 characters or less.

Today's picture:



Just remember that the old ones are the best!

---oOo---

Two thirty? Time to see the dentisty.

---oOo---

"Mummy, what are those numbers?"
"They're hours, dear."
"Oh! When do we get them back?"

---oOo---

The clockmaker was commissioned to produce a highly ornate clock, but he couldn't face it!

---oOo---

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Top 3 Sci-Fi Movie quotes.

My selection focuses on Sci-Fi, mainly because I'm a wuss and don't watch horror films!

Thanks to Ellie at for hosting this fun blogfest.

On with the show!


1) Serenity (Effectively series two of the TV series Firefly)


Mal: "Ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. Know what the first rule of flying is? Well I s'pose you do, since you already know what I'm 'bout to say."

River: "I do. But I like to hear you say it."

Mal: "Love. Can know all the math in the 'verse but take a boat in the air that you don't love? She'll shake you off just as sure as a turn in the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughtta fall down...tell you she's hurtin' 'fore she keens...makes her a home."


2. Doctor Who - the one and only!


"He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night, and the storm at the heart of the sun... He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and he can see the turn of the universe... And he’s wonderful." - Tim Latimer in Family of Blood

3) Star Wars


“You can’t win, Darth. Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Obi wan Kenobi

I am pushed for time today, so three is all I can manage for now. I will try to add more another time.