Saturday, November 08, 2008

Scrapbook Saturday 8/11: The Boy Wonder

Don't forget to hop on over to and check out all the other great entries for this weeks Scrapbook Saturday and add yourself to the blogroll.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wordless Wednesday 5/11: Guy Fawkes Night

Play Wordless Wednesday

Click image to enlarge
Find out why we celebrate Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night HERE

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Song of Silence: A Short Story by Me

This is my first attempt at writing fiction. I hope you enjoy it.

Madrigal Verizon stepped out on to the balcony overlooking the town square. Her long golden hair glinted in the evening sun and as she stood enjoying the last rays before sunset she was only too aware of the interest she was attracting in the square below. She was feeling very pleased with herself as she had just received a phone call from her editor to confirm they had agreed to publish her series of articles.

She had been working on these for quite some time, investigating the rumours of a hidden network of paid assassins within the government, and it was satisfying that at last her work would be recognised.

Suddenly the peace of the evening stillness was broken by the whine of a bullet as it whizzed within inches of her head. For a second she was frozen to the spot, before the realisation that someone was shooting at her dawned. She dropped to the floor and started crawling back into the room she had just vacated. Another bullet whizzed by, hitting an expensive vase. "Damn" she muttered under her breath "I paid a lot of money for that!" and it had taken her a long time to track down such an exquisite example of the glassmakers art. But now was not the time to worry about such matters!

Suddenly, just as another bullet smashed into the wall within inches of her head, the door of the apartment flew open and a stranger stood framed within it. She could only see his silhouette as the light from the hallway behind him streamed into the dark room.

"Stay down!", he commanded in a deep voice "and try and crawl towards me as quickly as possible. Keep your head down!". Stunned by the suddenness of events and terrified by the danger she found herself in, Madrigal did as she was told.

It took her another few seconds to reach the door and as she did so the man leant down and grabbed her hand, pulling her upright in one swift, easy movement. As he did so she became aware of his height and strength and two laughing blue eyes looking down at her.

"My name is Alex Rafferty" he told her, "and I'm here to save your life!".

Bundling her out through the door into the hall, he slammed the door behind him and, still holding her hand, pulled her unceremoniously towards the lift.

“Hold on a minute” Madrigal exclaimed “I can’t go with you, I don’t know who you are! You could be in league with whoever is trying to kill me!”

“I just told you who I am and why I’m here!” Alex replied, “just get in the lift”

As he said it, the lift doors opened and he shoved her through. By this time Madrigal was shaking with a mixture of fear and indignation.

“Where are we going?” she asked

“To a safe place” Alex replied “you may not have realised it, but you are in grave danger. You have been asking too many questions and certain people have been getting very nervous”.

In the bright light of the lift Madrigal took a closer look at this strange man who had burst so abruptly into her life, and who now seemed to be offering her the protection she very obviously was in need of.

He was dressed in what was obviously a very expensive suit and tie, his jet black hair immaculately groomed, but with just a touch of grey at the temples, lending him an air of gravitas. She found it difficult to pin an age on him.

He saw that she was taking him in and smiled, "Don't worry, we have been keeping an eye on you for some time now. We were just waiting for something to kick off to give us a reason to move in on these people."

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"There is a safe house not far from here, we will tuck you away safely there for a while", he replied. Suddenly the enormity of what had happened hit her, she felt her legs starting to shake and would have fallen if he had not sensed her distress and put his arm around her. "I'm sorry" she found herself apologising.

" Don't worry" he reassured her,"we will soon be down and I will take you to the safe house. But we had better go out the back way, just to be on the safe side." He had still not released her and she could feel his warm body against her. Somehow she found it very reassuring.

The lift stopped and they got out. There was no one in the lobby, but still Alex ushered her towards a service door at the rear. "Don't worry, everyone will be far too busy to notice us" he said as they walked quickly through the large kitchen. They went through another door and suddenly Madrigal found herself in a dark alley at the back of the hotel

As they stepped out into the darkness and the door closed behind them Alex turned to her and bent down as if to kiss her. She felt her body respond and she stretched up towards him.

As their lips met a shot rang out and then a large red stain spread across her back as she slid slowly down to the floor, a surprised expression on her face.

Alex bent over her, pocketing the gun he had used. He briefly checked her pulse, and when he found no response he walked quickly away towards the long black limousine which had pulled into view at the end of the alley.

"Like shooting ducks on a pond" he said, chuckling quietly under his breath. As he got in to the waiting limo a shadowy figure asked "I take it everything went according to plan?" " Oh yes," Alex replied "it always does. My goons are already picking up the body!"

Copyright belongs to Charmaine Troup - (All rights reserved)

Ruby Tuesday 4/11: Red Boxes

A row of red telephone boxes in London's Covent Garden area.

Why not join in and post a Ruby Tuesday picture yourself, the rules are simple. Just post a picture with red in it, but it must be one of your own and it can be of anything you like. For more details hop over to The Teach at Work of the Poet and check out the blogroll.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My World 3: Kings Norton, England

Play That's My World Tuesday

I live in a medieval village called Kings Norton just south of Birmingham, Englands second city. On the ancient Green stands one of the oldest grammar schools in the Midlands, a 12th-century church and a large 15th-century timber-framed house. The Old Grammar School and the medieval house, known as the Saracen's Head, are buildings of considerable historical and architectural importance and were the winners of BBC Restoration 2004.

The Old Grammar School is a wonderful-looking, timber-framed structure. Tree analysis of its huge timbers have revealed a construction date of between 1434 and 1460.

The nearby Saracen's Head was quite possibly the largest house of the royal manor during the 15th century, home of a wealthy and successful wool merchant, later becoming an Inn. The house boasts highly decorative medieval workmanship. It was here that the wife of Charles I, Queen Henrietta Maria, stayed on her way back from Yorkshire where she had gathered troops for the English Civil War. The devoutly Catholic Queen arrived at King's Norton in July 1643 with around 5,500 men and spent the night in what is known as the Queen's Room, while her troops slept on land behind the church.

Every year there is a 'Mop Fair' held on the village Green where in ancient times the hiring of agricultural workers and domestic servants happened, and the origin of the name is said to be that house- maids who attended the fair in the hope of being hired carried mops and pails. The hiring took place in conjunction with a country fair at which the roasting of an ox was a great feature. Although the hiring has stopped we still have an ox roast and country fair, and entertainers such as Morris Men & Clog Dancers and fun fair and every month a Farmers Market on the Green.

A barge on the canal in Kings Norton/

The church and ancient Saracens Head on the village green

The 15th Century Saracens Head

The Old Grammar School, built around 1450

The Bullshead Pub on the Green

The Village Green


An Ambleside stream in the English Lake District

Monochrome Monday is hosted by Aileni, and more Monochrome Maniacs can be found on the dedicated Linky page.

My Diet Monday: Week 5 - 268lbs

It's now 5 weeks since I began my diet and I have lost another 2lbs this week, making a total of 12lbs lost altogether. I had hoped to have lost the first stone by this point, but I am happy with the 12, as it is 2lbs closer to my immediate goal of losing 2 stone by the end of the year. So only another 16 to go!

There is not a lot to say about the diet itself, as it consists of drinking a bottle of Slimfast milkshake for breakfast, and another for lunch and then having a proper evening meal. I avoid snacks in between all together, although you are allowed these. I just prefer not to bother, I think I have this subconcious fear that if I start snacking, even if it is allowed, I will start to slip off the straight and narrow.

This week I really need to concentrate on the exercise side of things as I have been very bad about doing any for quite a while. So that will be my goal for this week, to do at least 15 minutes of exercise every evening. I'll let you all know how I get on next week.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Top EC Droppers for October