Days 3 and 4 of the Llangollen canal Expedition: countryside; bridges; tunnels #narrowboat #england

Delightful story-telling and imagery. Reblogged from

The Diesel-Electric Elephant Company, England.

The trials and tribulations of Day Two of the expedition having been gibbered out of our systems, the intrepid explorers, Hutson and Hutson, move on. Days Three and Four feature a bit more of the Llangollen canal without the life-or-death situations. Most splendid. The Llangollen canal is hugely rural, and hugely shallow – the Cardinal continued to scrape bottom at numerous points along the way, even though he is within the “you need to be this air-draught/beam/water-draught to ride this canal” specifications.

Days Three and Four were a relentless, grinding enjoyment of narrow bits, blind bends, threading the 57′ needle through the bridge hole, more lift-bridges with eccentric hydraulics and, eventually, the first of the three canal tunnels that we shall meet. In the manner of a restaurant critic (more of that later, too) I’m writing it up as “green, pleasant, with a surprising emphasis on the work-ethic of…

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Travels with Kay and Tom: First Stop

We have alread been traveling for two months, but I have been struggling with how to add my own (husband’s) photographs to my posts. Our son helped me figure it out. So….here’s the first installment.

Our first travel destination after visiting family in Houston, Texas was Palo Duro Canyon near Canyon, Texas. We stayed at Palo Duro Rim Ziplines, which is also an RV park. Great people run it, though since their office burned down, people may not realize at first that there is a campground there. But they have three two zip lines that give a great view of the canyon when the wind doesn’t spin you around. We loved it.

The photo below is me, before losing twenty-five pounds. I wasn’t scared. I was scanning the slopes, trying to find my photographer husband who took the picture. I’d do it again in a flat minute.


Here is a picture of part of the canyon, which also has great hiking trails, a nice gift shop with visual and audio information about the history of the area, and camping areas in the canyon. This picture is smaller so we could email it to family. Unfortunately, you really can’t see the depth of the canyon, but you still get a sense of its majesty and beauty.


This photo was taken from an overlook near the top of the road leading down to the camping areas.


This is a picture of a couple of woodpeckers in one of the tent camping areas that also is a great place for a picnic lunch.


One final tip. There are many experienced hikers and bicyclists who know how much water to take along, but for the novice, here is what the signs tell you at the beginning of each trail: Each person should carry one quart of water per person, per mile. So look at the legends or ask at the visitor center before you begin, to find out how long the trail is that you plan to take. We always packed a sandwich for lunch and a pack of crackers along with the water. Fresh fruit is also a good option. That way, if you get stranded, you won’t become weak from no food.

Happy travels!

The Bondage of the Soul

This is just a short character description of a teenager. Maybe someday I’ll break into writing YA novels. Tell me what you think.


She’s a pretty girl, a slender runner with long brown hair that is wavy when she takes out the braid, straighter and soft around her face when it’s been a few days between braids.

Shyness seems to wrap itself around her, but it isn’t shyness that keeps her at arm’s length; it’s her brooding anger.

She likes to think of herself as different, set apart, a unique individual. Intelligence and artistic ability are her trademarks. Confidence is concealed until she has to prove she is right about something. At the age of sixteen it is not possible that she doesn’t have all of the answers. Yet she doesn’t come across as arrogant.

Her room is her favorite place to be, watching her television, reading a book, or working at some craft. Occasionally she listens to music—the heavy metal kind that reinforces her feelings of anger and resentment. Those feelings she keeps carefully hidden from view. She doesn’t know that it showed up on camera once when she thought no one was looking.

She loves her younger brother and hates her older sister. Her younger brother will do whatever she asks him to, and she doesn’t mind if he gets in trouble. He just shrugs it off and acts like it’s no big deal. He’s cute, adorable and thirteen. Everyone seems to love him. He probably gets by with more stuff than either of his sisters. That’s what makes him a good partner in crime.

Amazing Worldwide Photographs

Here are some interesting photographs, many in silhouette of people from other cultures, going about their daily lives. Reblogged from


Needless to say, at the sight of his photos, that photographer Eduardo Rubio is a compulsive excursionist. Originally from Barcelona in Spain, this explorer, a professional journalist, goes to the four corners of the world to go hunting for clichés

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Update: How to Avoid Plagiarism, 5 Important Tips for A New Writer

This is information every author/writer needs to know. What constitutes plagiarism? Here is how to avoid it. Reblogged from

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Consider this an update to my popular post How to Know if You Have Committed Plagiarism.

Clearly, that 2016 post resonated with readers. Has anything changed in that time?

In the comment section of that post, readers shared horror stories. Some shared the horror of seeing their work reproduced without receiving any sort of credit on other websites.

Others shared nightmarish accounts of being accused of plagiarism and fined after they unintentionally committed plagiarism themselves.

One of the most common questions when it comes to plagiarism as it relates to bloggers concerns images. If you use someone’s image and cite the blog as a source, are you covered?

The answer is “no” since you don’t know where that blogger found the image. How will you find or ever be certain of the original source?

We live in a society where people are inclined to sue. I know bloggers who unwittingly…

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ChapterBuzz Writing Prompt Contest

Here is today’s prompt:

Your main character goes back in time 20 years, and notices one particular thing that makes him or her feel right at home…and not want to return to the future. What is it?

This character is from a trilogy I’ve been working on for about five years.  The main character in the first book is Mac Mackenzie, a native born American son of a Scottish immigrant in the late 1700’s.

I don’t know if I was dreaming, or if I really did go back to Mam’s homeland. I’m in America now, but my brain feels as if it is in a fog. I see mists over the moors and cliffs. Mule drawn carts are plodding down the cobblestone road. The wagon seems to be loaded with baked goods as the aromas are wafting toward me from under the cloths covering whatever is in that wagon.

My stomach is growling and my mouth is watering. I know that smell! Mam used to make mulligan stew when I was a wee lad. 

The cart rolls on by and I’m left standing there. Where am I? I look around me and I think the house behind me is the one Mam grew up in. It is a small gray stone house with a cobblestone walkway. It looks kind of run down, like no one lives there any more, no curtains at the windows, no broom by the door. Not even a place to scrape your boots. But I think Mam described it in the journal she left me. Seems there is no one of her family left. It creates a longing for something I’ve never known. Mam had two sisters that she left behind when she fled to America to have me.

Though it is a comfortable loneliness I feel here, it would be much different if I were to meet my sire, for my sire is also my grandfather. I’d like to kill him for what he did to Mam.



Chapter Six

It had been three days since Jason Gardner had been to the Jackson residence. It was planting and branding season. He had helped his dad get the livestock chores done, and had planted the seedlings of sunflowers around the perimeter of the vegetable garden. His mom had been seeding it the day Fawn had come over. Now he came galloping up to the the Jackson’s place, giving his horse his head, feeling the excitement of spring coursing through his veins. Plus, he wanted to see Fawn. I know she doesn’t belong to you yet, Lord, but I’m trusting You to work in her heart and save her soul. She will never know of my feelings until she realizes how much You love her. He pulled up to the hitching post outside the door.

Fawn was standing at the open door, grinning at him. “Did you give Garth the workout, or did he give one to you?” She laughed.

Jason dismounted easily, dusted his hat on his pants, and walked to the door. “Maybe a little of both,” he said, joining in her laughter.

Fawn opened the door. “There’s a tin cup hanging on the nail by the rain barrel. Help yourself. I pumped in fresh water this morning.” She held the door open, shooing flies as she waited for Jason to fill his cup.

Nana sat on the couch, rubbing her arthritic legs. “Come in and sit a spell,” she said, turning her head to welcome their neighbor.

“How’s yer ma?” Nana asked as they all sat down, Jason between the two ladies.

“Just fine, ma’am. Ma is working in the garden, making sure no weeds are sprouting up. We’ve had so little rain she filled a pitcher from the pump and started watering the seedlings just a trickle at a time.” His eyes twinkled with merriment. “I bet we’ll get some rain now.”

Fawn sat quietly for a few moments, letting the other two banter. Should she ask Jason to sit with Nana so she could look for work? Should she ask if Nana could stay with the Gardners if she did find work? Nana would definitely be resistant to that idea. She shivered involuntarily.

“Are ya cold, Fawn?” Nana asked.

“No, ma’am. I was just thinking.”

Jason was about to take a drink of water from his cup. He set it down and looked directly at Fawn. There was trouble in her hazel eyes. Today they were an olive green color with gold flecks around the edges. The tint of her freckles had deepened. “Fawn, what’s wrong?”

She told him about the break-in, the devastation. “I sold the wagon as you suggested and Senator Browning came and collected his rent. Jason, I have to have a job if we’re going to keep paying our bills, but I can’t leave Nana alone here after what. . .”

“Now you just wait a sugargum minute!” Nana interrupted. “I know what ye’re thinkin’ and ya kin jist fergit it. I ain’t goin’ nowhere. This is my home as long as we keep payin’ and I ain’t leavin’ it.”

“Mrs. Jackson,” Jason began. “You won’t have to leave here. We have two hired hands that live in our small bunkhouse. . .”

“No. I don’t need a babysitter. I kin shoot.” She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the kitchen.

“Nana, you were hurt when our house got broke into. Someone came in here and did a lot of damage. You didn’t see the mess they made of the upstairs rooms.”

Tears formed in Nana’s eyes. Fawn hadn’t told her what had happened to those rooms but she had a pretty good idea. She knew how people felt about Native Americans. She could imagine what had been done to the blankets, pottery, and anything else Shawnee that may have been upstairs. The tears ran down her weathered cheeks. Although she herself was not Shawnee, her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter were. But she did not want to leave and she did not want strangers in her house babysitting her. What was she to do?

Fawn broke into Nana’s thoughts. She reached across Jason’s lap to grasp Nana’s hand. “I know you love this place, that it is your home. It’s my home too. It’s all I have ever known. But you are more important to me than this house or this land. Nana, I have to work or we will lose it anyway.”

Nana’s breast rose and fell with each deep sigh. Her shoulders hunched forward. Defeat etched itself into the creases that were smile lines only moments ago on her sixty-seven-year-old face. She nodded once, rose from the couch, placed a crutch under each arm and moseyed to her room.

Fawn lowered her voice and looked at Jason. “I need to find out who caused those hornets to swarm, driving Arctic Sun and the wagon into the creek. I need to know who ransacked this house and why. Jason, where do I start?”

“I’ve got some ideas. There have been some other strange things going on in this holler too. I’ll do some digging. Meanwhile, keep that shotgun handy, even when you’re going to the barn or the garden. Wherever you go, take a rifle or shotgun with you. Nana needs to keep one handy too. Maybe she can prop herself against the window or door if she needs to shoot someone.”

The finishing school had taught Fawn that a lady never reaches for a gentleman’s hand; she should always wait for him to start the gesture. She almost forgot. She started to move her hand forward, then caught herself and quickly tucked it back to her side. Instead, she lowered her head just a bit and looked up at him. “Thank you, Jason. I truly do not know what we would do without you and your family. Nana and I are grateful for your friendship.”

Jason twirled his hat in his hands. “We’ve been friends too long for thanks to be necessary, Fawn. We’re all neighbors looking out for each other. Somebody had to have noticed something. I’m going digging. Be back tomorrow.”

It seemed to be a week for visitors. Angel Browning came by the following afternoon. In typical Angel fashion, she galloped nearly all the way to the door before she jerked her horse to a halt and dismounted as if a pack of coyotes was after her. Fawn was already opening the door for her friend.

“Angel, what a great surprise to see you.” Fawn stretched both arms forward to clasp Angel’s hands in greeting. “Come in.”

Angel dashed strands of loose hair from her face. “You didn’t think I would stay away did you? I just thought you and Nana needed some time to adjust to life without your mom. May I have a drink of water?”

“Certainly. The tin cup is hanging on that nail by the rain barrel. Help yourself and come in. Nana is sitting in her room with her memories of Dad, Mother, and Gray. She may not come out today.”

“I’m sorry you two have to go through this. It’s part of the reason why I came.” She took a long drink from the cup. “I have a friend who knows some people in Pipestem. It seems the holler is in need of a teacher.”

Furrows etched themselves across Fawn’s forehead. “I’ve never been around any children except for Melanie and Lily Beth Gardner. I wouldn’t know how to teach.”

“Don’t be a ninny,” Angel quickly checked her tone of exasperation. “You know how to read and write. You can do basic arithmetic. How hard can it be?”

Fawn looked down at her trembling hands. She could be confident at home where she knew what to do and how to do it. Meeting strangers would put her in an uncomfortable position. “I can’t leave Nana,” she mumbled. “Someone has to be with her while I’m gone.”

Angel waved her hand in dismissal. “Nonsense. I heard about the break-in. I would be only too happy to sit with Nana. I can make tea and cook.”

Fawn looked at her friend. There was a look in Angel’s eye that she couldn’t quite fathom. “Thank you for your kind offer, but if I do get the position, who will stay with Nana while I’m gone? You know I would have to stay in Pipestem and take turns staying with various families in order to get to know the children.”

“Leave that to me. I have connections.”


As promised, Jason arrived later that afternoon bearing two loaves of homemade bread, a container of freshly churned butter, and a jar of apple blossom honey.

Fawn was in the garden behind the house so Nana hobbled to the door and opened it. “Jason, what a pleasant surprise. Come in and set yer bundles in the kitchen, then get yerself a cup of water.”

“Yes, ma’am. It’s such a pretty day today. Would you like to sit on the porch for a spell?”

“That would be nice.”

Jason did as he had been asked, then held the door for Nana to step outside onto the porch. There were four hand-made rocking chairs facing west. There were just enough white fluffy clouds to provide what would be a spectacular sunset later. He would be home by then.

“What brings you over today?” Nana asked.

“Bringing gifts from Mother’s kitchen.” His gray eyes twinkled as he spoke.

Nana rocked in her chair. Peace settled on her face as she watched the sky and enjoyed companionable silence for a few moments. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your many blessings, for kind neighbors, for health, and for what family I have left. Thank You, too, for this lovely weather. Amen.

Jason watched Nana’s expression. If only Fawn would ask Jesus to be her Savior, they could marry and he would be able to take care of her and her grandmother.

The back door slammed shut and the two people on the front porch jumped. “That you?” Nana called through the open front door.

“Yes, Nana. The door handle got away from me. I was just pulling weeds in the garden.”

“Come on out here,” Nana called. “We got comp’ny.”

Fawn noticed the bread,butter, and honey on the table and knew who had brought them. She quickly tucked loose strands of hair back into their coil and briskly went to the front porch. She chose a rocker to Jason’s left. Nana sat across from them.

Jason cleared his throat. “I told you I was going to do some snooping to try to find out what’s been going on in this holler.” He took a sip of water and drummed his thumb against the tin cup.

“I don’t have any proof of who is behind any of this. What I do know is that more than one person is involved. It seems that there has been a lot of fracking going on to determine if there is any natural gas in the area. That may or may not have anything to do with homes being vandalized.”

Nana banged the tip of her crutch on the porch. “That don’t give nobody the right to start attackin’ folks in their own homes.” She stomped the crutch again.

“We have to find out if all of this is related, Nana,” Fawn said.

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