Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Broken Fortress…

HM15 1281*

PC 963 Kraas turned and walked head-long into the sea breeze.

Her hair flicked in the wind like rampant flames.

“You know, I can’t help feeling we’ve missed a trick with this one.”

“It’s mentioned in the book,” replied Jaw-Dark pensively, “and in any case it’s a pleasant enough spot.” He paused and bent down to look through a large eye-shaped ‘blow-hole’ in the promontory.

“What’s that?” said Kraas.

“Well, that depends…” said Jaw-Dark.

“That depends upon what?”

“…Upon your perspective,” finished Jaw-Dark.

“Nothing is ever straight forward with you is it?”

“The Irish name for this and other similar landscape features is Poll na Seantuinne.”

“Which means?”

“‘Hole of the Old Wave’.”

Just then the sea crashed beneath the promontory and the foaming waves, in the mouth of the sea cavern, a hundred feet below could be clearly seen through the ‘chasm-hole’.

“Seems an apt description,” said Kraas, “if a tad un-nerving.” Her gaze followed the slow drag of the tide and then lifted to the sky where wisps of grey cloud scudded on the wind, “in the beginning,” she said, “everything was chasm and chaos.”

“There is though another interpretation.”

“Which is?”

Poll na Sean Tiene means ‘Hole of the Old Fire’.”

“Okay, I can see where that might fit in with some of their concerns. Especially with all this baleful eye stuff.”

“Personally though I prefer the third alternative…”

“Ever the story teller,” smiled Kraas, “Well, I’m waiting!”

Poll na Seantuine,  is the ‘Hole of the Old Woman.”

Kraas’ smile turned to a grimace, “Well, I wouldn’t go shouting that particular preference from the cliff tops if I were you,” she said through the grimace, and then added more seriously, “so which one is it?”

“Unfortunately for us and also quite possibly for them too, it is more than likely that it is all three of them.”


The ghost of a castle

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Peveril Castle from Cavedale, with Mam Tor, the Shivering Mountain, in the distance. Image: Rob BendallPeveril Castle from Cavedale, with Mam Tor, the Shivering Mountain, in the distance. Image: Rob Bendall

Castleton is a town of old, mellow stone, winding lanes and history. On the edge of the cliff, high above the cavern, stands Peveril Castle. The position, even to the untrained eye, appears to be both impregnable and a blatant statement of dominance.  With the keep perched on the edge of a sheer drop and the castle enclosure occupying a ridge high above the little town of Castleton, the Norman invaders were making it very clear who was now in charge. Little now remains to show just how important this castle was in history.

The castle is guarded by the steep slop of the hill from the town, the great cavern and the cliffs of Cavedale. From a military perspective, it is a fantastic site, giving clear views for miles across the surrounding…

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Bridge #writephoto…


From the light place

To the dark place

A span… of I am.


Of maybe’s and supposes

Littered like the discarded debris

Of an I was

That the Shadow-Net failed to trawl.


And now trail as stepping stones

To provide a tentative toe-hold…


From the dark place

To the light place

Beyond the span

Of I am.



the time is not here yet

dhamma footsteps

1POSTCARD #252: Chiang Mai: 05.00: When I open my eyes in the morning I don’t remember where I am. The great white neon light of the hotel sign across the way fills my room and takes away memory. I’m here so infrequently, there’s only a sense of the last time I came, an unfinished jigsaw puzzle with some pieces left over but no place where they fit. Or a thought appears in the empty mind like a small beautiful fish, and then it’s gone… where’d it go? Taking everything apart to see where that thought went, but can’t find it.

Ah well, pull the pillows together in a cushion and settle on top of that in a folded-leg sit. Aware of the breath, focus on nothing in particular. Early morning kitchen noises across in the hotel, clatter of plates, rolling-around-clunking sound of objects as they collide with their surroundings: bump…

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 … “Oh, that’s good!”

“Even though I don’t have a clue to what you’re referring.”

“Ah, well I expect that particular quotation may have more to do with spring than autumn anyway.”

“Or it may simply have something to do with butterflies,” smiled Don.

“‘Bent-Black’ is a reference to a withered stalk I take it?”

“It’s at least possible.”

“Which became personified through association with a particular day in much the same way that we now talk of Guy Fawkes Night.”

“In a vaguely similar way, perhaps, and that day is?”

“The first day of autumn.”

“Which was always a Sunday?”

“Well, it was always celebrated on a Sunday.”

“So in the current calendar it was always celebrated on the first Sunday of August. But what of the last day of summer?”

“Well, that would be the last Sunday in July, or at least that is the day on which it would be celebrated.”

“And it would be called?”


“Which is?”

“Yet another reference to the baleful red sun that blights and scorches. These dates seem very precise.”

“It’s possible that the weather was a little more stable and predictable back then.”

“That’s hard to credit.”

“There is record of a claim that it always rained the day after the crop had been fetched it.”


“That’s precision engineering.”

“Wouldn’t it make more sense for the last day of summer and the first day of autumn to be the same day?”

“Well, they may be but unless that actually fell on a Sunday you would still have a last and first Sunday…”

“Six years out of seven.”

“Give or take.”

“If I were responsible for organising the celebrations I’d make Bent-Black an Old Woman and Bent-Red an Old Man.”

“And then what?”

“I would marry them off and send them on their way.”

“It’s very difficult not to be entirely  in agreement.”


Fragments of perception

The Silent Eye

Fragments of night rise from the road, scattering flecks of dawn on ebony wings. I watch the sun gild a horizon veiled in mist and see the earth blush at its touch. The morning song of birds drowns the sound of the engine as I drive through a green land that is waking to spring. It is only a few weeks since I last drove this road, yet it is a different place… the seasons have turned, the light has advanced… new life springs from old. It is beautiful and I know this road so well that I can give my attention to the land. I am struck, quite forcibly, by the realisation that no-one has ever seen quite what I am seeing…nor will they ever see quite this scene again.

And nor will I. This is the very last time I will see it. For a moment that thought…

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“There is one thing that still troubles me,” said Wen who really seemed to have the ‘Rapunzel’ thing stuck in her craw.

“Yaas,” said Don, in his most irritating drawl.

“Shouldn’t the seasons be sisters?”

“On what grounds?”

“Well, I’m presuming that Mother Nature is an Enchantress precisely because of things like her ability to transform the world through her seasons.”

“This is true, Little Grub,” said Don with the kind of tired air which suggested he would not be around for very much longer, “but the seasons are really contrived in so far as they are useful for sustaining our life through crops. Agriculture is a technology. A very ancient technology but a technology nonetheless. In that sense the seasons are man made.”

“And that’s why we can have the debate over whether or not there are really three or four seasons,” said Wen.

“Or even two. In the four season year there are really only two pivotal points and their inverse or reflection.

Wen considered this idea for a bit and then pressed on with her original line of thought, “so the brothers are really alchemists?”

“The first alchemists, adding their art to nature, I like that, Little Grub, can I go to sleep now?”

“Only if you give me something to ponder while you’re gone.”

“You seem to be doing rather well in your pondering without me.”

“But it’s not the same.”

“Why, oh why, my Little Grub, would the day of the king’s death be now known to us as Bent-Black-Sun-Day?”


A short time later Don re-entered the temple room somewhat bleary-eyed.

“Better?” asked Wen doing a poor job of camouflaging her excitement.

“You have been grubbing,” stated Don by way of an answer.

“The bent twig of darkness grows the petals of the morning and shows to them the birds singing just behind the dawning.”

“Ah, Little Grub, ’tis music to my ears.”


The Devil’s Arse

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo


Queen Victoria may not have been amused by the local name for the cavern, but it seems a perfect description of the place in many ways. The vast cave mouth is the largest of its kind in Britain and is the entrance to a subterranean labyrinth of caves and passageways that snake deep beneath the limestone cliffs.  Local folklore says that the name refers to the flatulent sounds made by water receding through the tunnels cut by the underground streams. Whatever the truth of the matter, the name has been around for a very long time. In 1536, William Camden recorded in his Britannia:

…there is a cave or hole within the ground called, saving your reverence, The Devils Arse, that gapeth with a wide mouth and hath in it many turnings and retyring roomes, wherein, for sooth, Gervase of Tilbury, whether for want of knowing the truth, or…

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Photo prompt round-up – Tryst #writephoto

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

“How nice,” I thought to myself, scheduling the last reblog. “I’ll get to reblog all the prompt entries this week!” That was before I realised I had ‘lost’ a day and that Thursday has already arrived… So, my apologies for it not being Wednesday today.

The photo for this week’s prompt was taken in Cumbria, very early one morning when the soft, pre-dawn light seemed to paint every surface, as if it were seeking to colour the world.

More wonderful entries this week. Thank you to everyone who took part. Please click on the links below to visit all the posts and leave a comment for the author! A new prompt will be published later today and I will reblog as many as I can through the week… but given the volume of entries we are getting now, that will not be all of them. All contributions will be featured…

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Keys to the House of Don III…


‘…Such a situation invites the approach of treating the various versions  as at least theoretically, the garbled remnants of an episodic whole. While such a method can never lead us to the definitive story but merely and at every turn to a series of closely parallel yet different approximations of the definitive story, some approximations will be seen to be better or nearer the definitive story than others… ‘

Crucible of the Sun

… “Well, first off I suppose I’d better decide which of our seasons to drop,” said Wen, looking somewhat bemusedly at the sky, “and after much deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m going to drop winter.”

“Why, oh pray tell us why, Little Grub?”

“Because, psychologically, winter is death and the seasons should be all about life.”

“An admirable piece of deduction!”

“We do have a problem though.”

“We do?”

“We need to know the length of the year?”

“Don’t worry about being too precise just go with a thirteen month year.”


“Because in one of the extant versions of the story the princess had twelve hand-maids, and take the summer as being five months long, because of the king’s five eye patches.”

“Which makes autumn and spring each four months in length.”

“Perfectly balanced, that is, Little Grub, perfectly balanced.”

“And summer is not?”

“No, the fifth month of summer is an imbalance, hence the king’s baleful eye signifying the late summer sun which will blight the crops if they are not gathered in.”

“Does that also work psychologically?”

“How do you mean Little Grub?”

“If the Ego is not transcended, for want of a better term, then the ‘fruits’ of the individual life turn rancid?”

“I think that is true. The Ego turns to Super Ego instead of turning to the Id, takes everything, especially itself, hyper-seriously and cannot tolerate anything without its own image.”

“So why did you go with nine hand maids for the princess?” said Wen.

“They linked with the children ‘lost’ beneath the sea and signified the nine months of gestation.”

“The ‘seals’, the sea being both a watery womb and the subconscious?”

“We’ll make a lunatic of you yet, Little Grub.”

“I’m not sure I want to be a lunatic,” said Wen and then went on, “so I would have a spring smith forging the year, a summer warrior defending the year, and an autumn wizard contemplating the year,” with scant regard for just how mad that made her sound.