The Track Set

three line tales, week 145: a steam train crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct

photo by Jack Anstey via Unsplash

We really knew Granddad had too much time on his hands,

when he dug up the garden and constructed a valley like water feature;

just for his model trains.





  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post (& check the link shows up under the weekly post).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.

The Porter’s Bag


Abbey Gate, Bury St Edmunds


Brother Dominic had been Porter at the priory for nearly 18 years, now. He was proud (if that wasn’t too much of a sin) of the work he did. He was responsible for the dual role of welcoming pilgrims to the monastery, but also of securing it from the influences of the world.

All that stood between the holy sanctuary within and the sinful chaos without was the rough wooden gate, and himself.

Forty years before, he had entered that same gate himself for the first time. He was only ten then, an average farm lad but with a religious disposition. He was brought here by the village priest after his mother had died, and he was to become a novice. His worn clothes really not much more than rag, but now he would get a warm habit, and regular meals.

And novice he had become, then a full brother of the order. He was keen to help, and kept “the Rule” as well as any. He was rewarded for his efforts when at 32 he was appointed keeper of the gate.

That’s all there was to it, really. He had a cell in the gatehouse, and a small office. Three younger brothers assisted him. Days had become routine, but he liked the regime. Early prayers, breakfast, and mass which were followed by duties at the gate. Then more worship, vespers, and to bed. But within this routine, he had important duties. Dominic as the Porter was keeper of the keys. All of the keys! Every gate, storeroom, and door was in his charge.

A key at a time might be issued out to his subordinates, but the bag on his hip was sacrosanct. Only the Porter could lay hands upon it. Only he knew all which it contained. This was a point of envy (if such is not too much a sin) among his assistants.  They longed to have control of the bag, and to know all of its secrets.

Dominic smiled to himself as he thought of the curiosity of the younger monks about his bag. Still smiling he closed the door of his office and withdrew the flask of wine from the his mysterious bag.


This story was prompted by the challenge on The Secret Keeper’s page to use five prompt words to create a poem or story. This week’s words were:


The Arrow

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Hugh notched the shaft.  William had ordered the archers to shoot above the shield wall.   “What a daft thing to do,” he thought to himself, “It’s not how they told us to do it back in Falaise. But the Duke’s the Duke.”

As the battle raged before him, Hugh’s stomach grumbled. It wasn’t because of fear or anxiousness, but merely because breakfast on the beach that morning seemed so long ago.  It rumbled again as he strained to pull the string taut and waited for the command to “loose.”

When the order came, Hugh let the goose fletched rod fly. It arched upwards over the heads of the Saxons and their wall of shields. As it began its descent, drawn by the irresistible force of gravity, it found Harold’s unexpecting eye; England’s fate changed forever.



Here is a challenge from Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt



The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word.  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.


The Former Student

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Here is my attempt at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s “Double Take” challenge:

At first I didn’t recognise this guest in my home, this tall confident man, accompanied by his lovely fiancee.  How he had grown since he had sat in the back of my class a decade before. Who would have guessed that this tearaway, who would groan at the mere thought of homework, would become a fellow teacher?



The ‘Double Take’ challenge focuses on the use of homophones* to build your writing piece. You have two sets of homophones and you are challenged to use all of them in your response – which can be poetry or prose.

Our homophone sets this week are:

groan – reaction to hearing a pun
grown – has gotten larger


guessed – past tense of guess
guest – a visitor

Distant Dream


photo by Ty Feague via Unsplash

Joyful laughter as children toss stones into a trickling stream. A little wooden dam to provide a haven for the beavers’ den.

Simple beginnings, which mount and grow as land is concealed beneath a fluid wrapper.

Flowing, ebbing, encompassing all: the images that haunt Shem and Ham’s dreams.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page – here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post (& check the link shows up under the weekly post).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.

See original prompt on 3 Line Tales


We Shall Be Waiting


photo by Davide Cantelli via Unsplash

We wait; our time will come.

They have turned their backs to us, faces irresistibly drawn to the flickering screens which dart from site to site, with a similarly ephemeral grasp on “truth” and “the new idea.”

But this too shall not last, it will pass and “grow old;” and when the electronic moment has passed, we shall be waiting to once again share our knowledge and to enlighten souls.


Thank you to Sushmita Gelda for introducing me to this blog


You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page – here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post (& check the link shows up under the weekly post).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.




Remembering Priorities

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First Samuel 2:12 is telling,  “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord.” Eli the man of God was a great leader, a prophet, and man who was marked by his holiness.  Yet, his sons did not follow suit.  Was he too busy for his sons?  Was he as the saying goes “Too heavenly minded to be any earthly good?”  King David, likewise, was “a man after God’s own heart.”  But his sons too were rebellious (Absalom literally so). Was the ministry of kingship at the cost of his family? Did these men of God, see all of their priorities?

We need to reflect on this truth: One’s relationship with God, is not necessarily the same thing as one’s ministry.

I began to write this blog as part of my outreach with God’s word, and sharing with God’s people.  But I recently had an experience in which it became clear that the “priority” of sharing was having a negative effect on my relationship with God, and with my wife.  I was missing out on opportunities for quality time with my wife, and on the enriching of my life, knowledge, and ministry which has always been nurtured and enhanced by her.  I was letting her down. I was in so doing, letting God and myself down.

Where had it gone wrong? Concern over getting things written to a time scale.  Spending more and more time (beyond my traditional study time) reading and seeking “new ideas.” Writing was becoming an end in itself, not an enjoyable wind down activity, or sharing of the thoughts that naturally flowed from my normal study or reflections.  It was (and is) clear that back to the basics is needed.

The basics flow from the two great commandments.  One – love God, spend time in prayer, spend time in study (but not for the sake of writing, but) for the sake of relationship with Him. Spend time with my loving wife.  Share my life with her, and become enriched by what she offers me in inspiration and example.

So what way forward? Back to basics – this blog needs to be for its original purpose.  I need to limit my “computer time.”  We educators moan about the amount of time students spend in front of screens.  I need to not be hypocritical, an hour of screen time is enough.  I can check my mail, write by blog, and more in that time.  I need not check everything under the sun just because it catches my eye, or crosses my mind.  Priorities and perspective are essential.

I will still post, and I will still do my best to make what I write worth reading, but I must seek first the relationships, which I was blessed with.


Chocolatey Reflections

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Old Chocolate House

I, like many people, am a fan of chocolate.  I have as a kid visited Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, and been overwhelmed by the smell of chocolate everywhere in the air.  As an adult, I visited Cadbury World near Birmingham and while still enjoying the chocolate factory tour, I found it less of Willy Wonka experience (either because of my age, or just that it lacked the same level of fragrance).  I have visited chocolate shops in Bruge, and have sampled many “economy” brand chocolate creations, and some mid-range favourites as well.

Recently my fellow blogger, Valerie at Santé Bon Viveur has been running a series of really informative articles and posts of craft hand-made chocolates.  These have given a great insight into the entire “bean to bar” process, and has really informed me in what to look for in quality chocolate. (Thank you Valerie).

She also hosted a competition as part of her series in which some samples of Mayhawk Chocolates were on offer.  I was lucky enough to win one of these prizes (thank you again Valerie, and Mayhawk). I received two bars one with vanilla and barley, and other with orange oil.  Both were creamy, wonderfully flavourful and definitely a head above commercial retail bars. They were even nicer than some of the “named bean and origin” confections that I had sampled in Belgium.  I have to admit that, this indulgence has me a bit hooked and I may never look at a Creme Egg again.

Recently, in one of my farm shop foodie journeys, I found some Diana’s Chocolates of  Hornsey craft – made bars.  These are made in her home, and the dairy-free sea salt and caramel bar I purchased had a really smooth chocolate flavour which was really accented by the bite of the salt. This was plastic rather than foil wrapped, but did allow the texture and colour of the product to be seen before purchase (unlike foil wrapped bars).

My chocolate explorations will continue, but I would encourage anyone interested in fine foodie confection to try these “bean to bar” hand-made treats, and most definitely check out Valerie’s excellent food blog.


Liking Being Liked


If we are honest, we all like to be appreciated.  I am no different, I really like the warm feeling that encouragement, and praise brings.  So with that in mind, thank you to all of you who have supported, read, and liked my blogging efforts.

Today I received a notification from WordPress that my blog has received 1337 likes.  Again thank you.  I did find it a rather arbitrary point for recognition, however.  One thousand (yes), 1500 (okay), but why 1337?  Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled that so many have liked my stuff.

My first thought was this an encouragement to keep going?  But I usually publish daily, and there has been no break since my last posts. Is it set to tally on a certain date? The 5th of the month seems a odd place to do that.  Is it linked to the age of my blog?  Again, it doesn’t fall on any easily discernible anniversary.

So if anyone knows the significance of 1337 in the World of WordPress, please let me know.

I hope you all have a great day, and that you keep writing and sharing.  This is a wonderful community, and I am thankful for it, and each of you.


February Reflections

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We are entering into February, the shortest month of the year.  It is still winter, though in the UK the snowdrops and crocus flowers are starting to make their appearance.  At this time last year my blog was only a few months old, and was still exclusively theology and scripture based.  I had yet to come to understand the need for tags, and I used pictures sparingly.

Well short month, irregular posting times, and inexperience paid off.  Well it paid off if that means it was the lowest readership of any month since I began posting (with a grand total of ONE view).

So what have I learned?

First, to see life as more than one dimensional. Don’t get me wrong here, focusing on a single theme in a blog is great. More importantly, writing on spiritual themes is a true reflection of my values, it is the centre of my life.  But, there is more to me than my faith, so I have shared more of my experiences over time and shown more of myself to those of you who read me.

Secondly, writing while it can be a great release of the self, is for others to enjoy.  I have learned to think, not just “what’s important to me,” but what might others find interesting.  Hopefully, I have had something to offer you.

Third, the blogosphere is a community. I have begun to read more and follow more.  I have made “friends” and feel a loyalty and compassion for those with whom I interact with both as a writer and a reader.  Irish, Gertie, Steven, and others (all too many of you to list – but you are valued) are near and dear to my heart. I actually miss you guys when you don’t post.

Fourth, I have learned the practical stuff such as using tags, and photos.  These do promote themselves.  So easy, so straight forward.

Finally, be thankful.  Yes to God, ALWAYS! But also to those of you who use your precious time to visit me.  I hope I always acknowledge your comments with at least a “like.”  But please be assured each of you, even casual visitors are really appreciated.

As a final thought, if any of you might be interested in what I was posting a year ago, please do visit.  There is some good stuff there (even if I say so myself).