Like A Caged Bird

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She wanted to fly

Soar so so high

This beautiful creature

Rare and spirited

But her broken wing

Kept her grounded

She longed to be free

Hated being wounded

Like a bird of prey

She would rise again …

Some day

~~~~~

Prompt: Broken Wing

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Wolf Woman

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He blinked; once then twice in the moonlight

Had he imagined her, she who was his vice?

The grey-green eyes that haunted his very soul

Foolishly he’d surrendered, his heart she stole

As he held her in the shadows and stroked her silvery hair

Like prey, he was trapped in her vixen lair

He noticed then the cunning eyes, sharp teeth, blood red lips

Realised all too late, that he’d met his fate

As she threw back her head and howled at the moon

Wolf woman sprinted but would return soon

French Alps ~ Cuisine (Photography)

The culinary delights of our alpine holiday predominantly featured delicious melted cheeses from the region…

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Fondue with Cepes

Myrtille Crepe

Goats Cheese & Jambon

Local milk used for the cheese

Farm Restaurant in the Mountains

Tartiflette (cheese, ham, onions, potatoes, cream, garlic)

Fondue

Pizza & Tartiflette (with pasta)

Tartiflette

Pasta Tartiflette (ham, cheese, cream)

Moorland Witch

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As the wild wind swept across the moor

White witch halted her steed and slid to the floor

Gazed out to sea with its torrential waves

The roiling water swept into forbidding caves

‘Come back my love’ she whispered on the breeze

As tears hotly formed, she fell to her knees

Grasped the heather, yearned to be free

But knowing the monarch was already seeking

And soon she would be locked in the castle for a beating

Her white magic useless against the angry king

She ran to the cliff edge and hurled herself in

Oxford in 36 Hours

I recently spent a very cultural long weekend in Oxford. The park & ride is excellent if you don’t want to drive into and park in the heart of the city.

HOTEL:

My stay at ‘The Malmaison hotel’ in the Castle Quarter offered a quirky experience as it was once the old Jail. Hotel bedrooms had retained a prison style about them with their arched doors, solid walls, dark decor and narrow windows. Having a top floor room in the ‘House of Correction’ for Women and Children it was the quietest hotel room I have ever slept in. The cellar brasserie restaurant provided delicious French style food and drink with a bar offering decadent cocktails.

MUSEUMS:

The museums in Oxford are wonderful, I was child free on this occasion but my teenager would have found them very interesting. They are all free of charge but each suggest a £5 donation.

Ashmolean: My favourite of the museums with fascinating exhibits and history from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Iraq, India to name a few countries. You need to set aside a good few hours to visit this museum.

Natural History Museum: Having studied Geology for my degree I loved the dinosaur, fossil and gemstone exhibits in particular. The building housing these collections inspired me as much as the artefacts themselves with its ornate glass roof, polished stone pillars and decorative metalwork.

Pitts Rivers: Accessed via the National History museum, this eclectic and dimly lit museum comprises several floors absolutely crammed full of treasures from around the world; shrunken heads, shields, amulets, boats, totems to name a fraction of the collection. Again you can while away a good few hours in this building.

Science Museum: Three floors of collections predominantly connected to astronomy. Pocket sundials, constellation globes, telescopes, ancient science kits and early photography equipment.

MARKETS:

When in Oxford I always make a point of visiting the ‘Covered Market’ with its pretty flower stalls, independent food traders and traditional cafes.

‘Gloucester Green Market’ on a Saturday predominantly comprises of a range of stalls selling world-wide street foods and a few offer outside seating. There are also fruit and veg, bric-a-brac and vinyl traders. On a Thursday the market houses Antique and Vintage stalls.

COLLEGES:

Many of the colleges offer well-priced tickets for you to visit them at various times throughout the year. The architecture and gardens are wonderful.

I visited Trinity College and I delighted in the piano music that accompanied my Chapel visit as I admired the ceiling frescoes and beautiful stained glass.

I also had a pleasant walk through the grounds of Christ Church College, past the honey-coloured college buildings and down to the meadow and river.

RIVERS:

The river Thames and Cherwill offer river walks and punting. I strolled along the river bank at Christ Church Meadow.

LIBRARIES:

Bodleian Library including the circular Radcliffe Camera is fascinating. Tours vary in length on different days. Harry Potter was filmed in the 15th century Divinity School and Duke Humphrey’s medieval Library. If you are fascinated by ancient tomes and architecture this building is a must-see.

The nearby modern library was also hosting a Tolkien exhibition during our visit.

FOOD & DRINK:

There are numerous eateries in Oxford ranging from street food stalls and cafes, quaint pubs and bars, chain restaurants to fine dining.

Enjoy your visit.

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Circus

 

 

The Bank Holiday weekend was fun-packed for our family with a teenage sleepover enabling us parents to let our hair down by having a superb Indian meal out in the evening followed by drinks and dancing in the city.

The glorious weather allowed relaxing times spent in the garden quaffing Pimms and lemonade listening to bird song and the tranquil trickle of the water feature. A huge roast gammon, glazed in Victorian chutney, was cooked and carved up on the Bank Holiday Monday for visiting grandparents followed by family board games and a few drinks.

The highlight of our long weekend was our annual visit to Giffords Circus at Fennells Farm in the Cotswolds to watch ‘My Beautiful Circus’. This is a charming, talented troupe that works its way around village greens between May and September, predominantly in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

There is a well-known clown (Tweedy), jugglers, trapeze and high rope acts, balancing acts, dancing, colourful costumes and much humour. The show always features a live band; talented musicians and singers, trained horses, dogs and fowl (dancing chickens and a vocal turkey have been observed to date!)

The atmosphere is wonderful; family orientated with the feel good factor of an old fashioned big top. Nell Gifford, the Circus founder, appears in her shows and during the finale all the children in the audience are encouraged into the ring to dance with the troupe members.

During the interval those with a sweet tooth can buy candy floss and popcorn, there are home made pizzas, pulled pork or sausage brioche buns and divine crispy chips with toppings. Teas, coffees and circus merchandise are available from the smaller tents and painted wagons.

We have been to the show for several years now and always intend to make it a family outing in future years. To date we have been fortunate and spent these afternoons under blue skies in warm sunshine with lovely views of the rolling countryside.

On one occasion I would like to stay on during the evening for ‘Circus Sauce’. This is a three course candlelit meal, served in another tent, where you sit with the Circus family themselves after their final show that day.

So that sums up my week perfectly: Circus.

 

 

 

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Debs Random Writings

The Tree Fairy

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As she folded away her silvery wings
And tucked her legs under a delicate chin
Fairy gazed from the tree top high
Through the branches at an indigo sky
The ethereal moonlight cast its shadows
Starlight twinkled, magicians dabbled
Shooting stars danced through the night
A captivating, enchanting sight
Witches chanted in the glades
Elves were mining in the caves
Tree Fairy settled down for her evening
Whilst foresty magic continued weaving
Through the hollows, caverns and trees
Mystical powers at work, not make believe

The Selkie

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The wooden cabin is silent and empty. It is somebody’s rural escape on the edge of the highland loch. The driveway is flanked by large, dark boulders and the entrance is uninviting to strangers. Higher up by the lodge itself, ferns and overgrown rhododendron plants, heavily laden with vivid purple flowers in spring, have invaded what would have once been the small garden.

Down by the waters’ edge, ancient rocks are strewn amongst the small shrubs and grassy tussocks. The young woman staying in her friends dwelling perches on a rocky outcrop and gazes far out across the water. The mountains tower in the distance; hues of greens, greys and mauves. Snowy peaks at the highest, rockiest points. When she focuses on the shallow water close to her feet, Freya can see the fine gravel and silt of the lake bed; a scuttling crab and the small fish that dart here and there in a flash of glistening scales. The vast stretch of water gleams in the sunlight, the sky is an azure blue dotted with white wisps of cloud.

Out here in the wilderness she can forget her recent troubles; the financial difficulties resulting from the unexpected redundancy, the miscarriage, the constant arguments at home, the blame culture, the day to day family dramas. Here in the remote solitude she will concentrate her mind on what really matters; mentally and emotionally sorting herself out. To be strong once more for the others by healing herself. To overcome the anxiety and feelings of utter worthlessness that are spiralling her into a pit of despair.

After several moments of quiet contemplation, Freya gasps involuntarily as something catches her eye and she bends closer to the surface of the water. There is a faint ripple and she knows she hasn’t imagined it, there is a face staring back at her from the shimmering liquid. A pearl white face framed by long, chesnut brown hair. There is a flicker of a smile on the pale lips and a form of acknowledgement in the sea-green eyes. Then a glimpse of what looks like flecked brown seal skin highlighted by the intense rays of the sun that penetrate through the water.

Pushing back a stray lock of hair that has worked its way loose from its makeshift pony tail, the woman feels a strong desire to lower herself fully clothed into the icy cold water. She has no doubt that the creature is beckoning her, willing her to join her in the shallows. Tempting her into deeper, sea green waters. For a moment some inexplicable force is encouraging her to wade in. It becomes so strong that she is dangerously close to succumbing and striding in up to her waist, then her shoulders. To let the chilly water pull her in and envelop her body, until she is fully submerged amongst the reeds. Forgetting her troubles, a weight lifted from her tortured being.

An eagle cries in the desolate landscape and Freya jolts back to reality. She is cold and feeling fatigued and confused. Now there is neither a human or a creature present before her; just the clear water and the silty loch bed itself. She blinks and momentarily rubs her eyes, has it all been merely a vision or a trick or the light? Perhaps, just perhaps, she muses to herself the ‘Selkies’ of Scottish and Irish folklore really do exist. And, quite possibly, that these mythological creatures have the power to infiltrate the human mind.

THE END.

A selkie is a seal-like creature in the water who changes into a human form upon land after shedding its skin. Originating from Scottish, Irish and Icelandic folklore.

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Storm in a Teacup

 

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Rain Shower on the Window:

She sighs and lifts her slim ring finger
To trace the water droplets as they linger
Slowly each one trickles down the glass
She knows her wedding band is a farce

Each crystal drop represents a tear
But she mustn’t cry or show her fear
Their arguments rage thick and fast
She muses the marriage won’t really last

A clap of thunder and a lightning strike
Her aching heart and emotions of dislike
Then a ray of sun breaks through the rain
And the warming light alleviates her pain

She feels his arms wrap around her waist
The words flowing fast in their haste
To seek forgiveness and apologise
A storm in a teacup he does surmise

Fromage

Have you ever tried a raclette dish?

Having eaten them on French Holidays in mountainous regions (the Jura, Alps etc) during my teenage years, I have recently reminisced and purchased my very own raclette maker as a middle aged parent.

So what actually is raclette you might ask? Well traditionally it is a meal of melted Swiss cheese eaten with boiled potatoes, charcuterie, mini pickles and such like. It is a Swiss dish with a variation as a French dish. It is different to fondue as it is not served in a sharing pot with long handled 2 pronged forks, does not include alcohol (white wine, Kirsch) and is not as viscous.

The cooking apparatus seems to vary abroad; I’ve had huge slabs of half round cheeses hanging above the heated section and I’ve used machines comprising of shovels (handled trays) in which you cook the cheese. I’m pretty sure there have been open flames in some examples… but that might just be embarrassing memories of my parents over-cooking the cheese in a French restaurant!

At the weekend we tried out our new machine from Vonshef. The small version has eight shovels underneath, a marble cooking stone and a griddle section above. It is substantial for a family of 3 or 4. You place it in the centre of the dining table and set the electric dial to the temperature you require.

RECIPE:

  • Thinly sliced steak strips (seared in the frying pan first)
  • Sliced chicken strips (I sprinkled paprika on these and seared them in the pan)
  • Red pepper slices
  • Chesnut mushrooms sliced
  • Chorizo pieces
  • Gouda
  • Emmental
  • Roasted new potatoes oven cooked in olive oil & sprinkled with rosemary (and/or garlic cloves)

It is a lovely meal to share with family and friends; a slightly different way to entertain. Perfect during snowy or dull, cold winter evenings. Children enjoy the ‘cooking at the table’ aspect and having the choice as to ‘what’ they dish up onto their plates. The fun task of scraping delicious melted cheese onto potatoes and meats from the mini shovels.

I’ve been to the deli this afternoon and we will be eating raclette again over the weekend.

Bon Appetit!

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#WoTW

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Candle

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During the snowy period I found myself reading about the Danish way of ‘Hygge’ – warming fires or candles, cosy blankets, hot chocolate, fresh flowers, baked treats, long lingering meals with family and friends, board games, books, laughter and contentment. Hygge is a feeling, a way of getting through the winter months in Scandinavia.

Since then I’ve been practicing the art myself. Scented candles are lit most nights, the family reads under cosy blankets, we always eat together 6 or 7 nights of the week anyway, we love hot chocolate and games. Flowers and light fill the hearth.

So whilst looking at my living room full of candles one evening, I wrote an acrostic poem:

Candle flames

Aglow they flicker

Nostalgic memories

Deep and mesmerising

Light dances

Enchanted evenings

 

#AcrosticPoem   #WoTW

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Winter’s Poem

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The snowflakes dance
Then snowstorms flurry
Icicles form like magic wands
Ice crystals glint, freeze on ponds
See Natures raw beauty
White, pure, translucent
Frozen water, snow capped peaks
A reminder to us mere mortals
Of powerful Mother Earth forces
The freezing wind, her icy chill

 

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The Cabin in the Snow

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The young woman surveyed her surroundings with a grimace; the snow was gently lining the forest floor. Mossy rocks and lichen encrusted branches protruded through the soft icy blanket that was forming. It was cold, bitterly cold in the darkening woods and Amber was aware that within the hour nightfall would engulf her.

She rubbed her frozen hands and hoisted the large rucksack from a tree stump onto her back. Pulling the colourful bobble hat tighter onto her head she felt far from cheerful. It was desolate here, no humans or animals in sight, no birdsong. Just the crunch of her footsteps on the icy path that wound its way through the tall firs.

Keep walking she willed herself. The cabin is in the clearing by the lake as the woods give way to the rugged mountains Greg had told her. It will be warm and dry, give you the space and isolation that you are seeking.

A twig snapped behind her, Amber spun around but she couldn’t make anything out in the gloom. A deer she mused or a fox perhaps. She stared at the shapes emerging from the snow and shivered. Jeez it was eerie here in the fading light, the smell of damp wood filled her nostrils. She felt spooked by the noise and forced herself to walk faster. Her heartbeat was thudding loudly, her breath ragged as she increased her pace on the winding path. The mountains must be close she thought, the route was definitely steeper and rockier now, the trees were thinning out.

The shrill cry of an owl nearly made Amber jump out of her skin, she heard its feathered flight as it glided somewhere above her in the woodland canopy. She thrust her hand  into her padded jacket and drew out her mobile phone. Damn no signal, well what did she expect? The tears that pricked her eyes were hot and salty, I must not cry she thought angrily. This was my choice to come here to escape my demons. Only the forest seemed to have its own spectres to contend with.

Then as she rounded a bend, the sight couldn’t have been more welcoming yet menacing at the same moment. An oval lake lay before her, it’s silver water appeared mirror-like in the emerging moonlight. A log cabin hunkered under a rocky outcrop as the firs petered out. Chopped wood spilled out of one side of the outhouse, an axe leant against the wall.

Amber bit her lip, she gazed in concern as a whisper of grey smoke lazily curled from the metal chimney. She inhaled the smell of sweet pine logs in the air. Heard the loud whistling coming from the cabin door. Her body shivered involuntarily; no one was supposed to be here.

The End.

#prose4T

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