Lake House: A Cousins Tale


The party joined the Farmington South Road about twenty miles south of the market town.  Turning south towards the border they could see the foothills before them, and the mountains rising beyond.  It was only mid-day and there was no reason, even with the slow-moving wagon, that they would not reach Laketon before dusk.


It was about five when they came across the road marker saying Laketon was only two miles ahead.  The landscape had become hilly, and large lakes could be seen the low-lying spaces between the rises.


They soon came to a wide side road which bore an emblem of a wheat sheath enclosed by a marquise’s crown.  It also bore the clear inscription “Lake House.”


Gwen was driving the wagon, and Andrea sat at her side.  Luke meanwhile was riding alongside of Uran on Gwen’s grey mare.   Andrea looked down at the small map her father had given her, and   after a moment’s hesitation, she said, “Here’s where we turn off,” pointing to the sign.


Gwen then turned down the road indicated, and others followed.


A large lake came into view, and on its shore was the foreboding edifice of a fortified manor-house.


“Are you sure this is the right place, Andi?” Gwen asked.


“I think so,” Andrea replied.  “It’s the right place on the map.”


The huge structure with its bleak walls and commanding location looked nothing like one would expect to be the home of an invalided Watchman.


The party hesitantly made their way to a porter’s gate which was adorned with the same wheat sheath crest.  The party halted and Andrea climbed down and approached the porter’s chamber.


“I, um – I am looking for Toby Barn’s house,” she said nervously.


“You have founded it,” the old retainer said.  “Are you Mistress Binman?”


“I am – Andrea Binman,” Andi replied uncertainly.


“His Lordship has been expecting you,” the servant said, and giving a nod towards an unseen colleague, the gates to the manor began to swing open.


The Fifth Marquise of Farmington, Toby Barns had been born the son of a mere farm laboured.  Years before he had travelled to the capitol to prove himself worthy of the hand of the Farmington mayor’s niece, Breeze Fairweather.   Her uncle and guardian, Horace Foddervendor, was a rich seed merchant, and powerful regional politician.  When the third marquise had died without an heir, Foddervendor had been elevated to the role.


Now some fifteen years later, the former Roseman having won the hand of the now Lady Breeze, had inherited the title.


The party were lead into the manor house by a footman, while servants tended to their wagon and mounts.  They stood in an entry hall, which was richly panelled, and staircases rose on either side of the reception area lined with portraits and suits of armour.


Soon a man of about forty-five came down the right hand stairway.  He was wearing green satin suit, richly embroidered in silver thread.  His empty left sleeve was pinned across his chest, and he wore the Silver Rose Medal of valour as a medallion around his neck.


“Andrea,” he said walking straight for Andi.  “It is so good to meet you,” he said leaning to give her a kiss on the cheek.


Andrea gave a nervous curtsy, and the expression on her face betrayed her confusion.


“Don’t be so alarmed,” Toby said, “It was easy to pick you out. You look just like your mother.”


Thanks loads, she thought, but then considering that her mother was considered quite a beauty when she was younger, she smiled and said “Thank you.”


An attractive woman dressed in a similar satin material, had come down the other stairway, and now stood beside her husband.


Andrea gave her a curtsy, as the attractive Lady Breeze asked, “And, who are your companions?”


Introductions were made and Lady Breeze pointed to the left hand stairway.  “Welcome to our home.  Please come in.”




Castle #writephoto


The New Lord


It wasn’t much of a fortification, an old motte and bailey which had seen more than a little wear. But Leon was now its lord, it having been passed to him with the death of his uncle, Sir Ratimir. The keep was rather squat, and the skirting walls had a distinct touch of woodworm.

He gazed at his new domain, and wondered if he could live up to the responsibility intrusted to him. After all he had only seen seventeen summers. Putting his self-doubt aside, he summoned his Steward and the Woodward and ordered that the rotting timbers be replaced.



“Castle” in 100 words

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.








Visiting Dover’s White Cliffs

White Cliffs 5

White Cliffs

It is ironic that one of this “Green and Pleasant Land’s” most iconic symbols are the “White Cliffs” of its Southeast corner.  The White Cliffs of Dover stand as an emblem of the defiance of “fortress Britain” against the potential invasions of both Napoleon and Hitler, and they have been beacons of safety to returning air crews and mariners alike.

Today, the cliffs are one of the great landmarks of this island nation.  Much of this area of coast is maintained by the National Trust, and the trust provides a very good visitors’ centre for those taking in the natural and national wonder.

White Cliffs Tea Room 1

Tea Room

We  started our visit by stopping at the National Trust’s White Cliffs Centre for a look around and a hot drink. The Cafe overlooks the Port of Dover, and it was nice to sit in the cafe and watch the ferries coming in and out of the harbour. The service was attentive, and the coffee and tea good. The fruit scone, was a little dry, but not bad, and the clotted cream and blackcurrant jam more than made up for it. The Trust shop has the usual souvenirs, and the Centre provides a good base for walks along the cliffs and to just watch the sea.

Dover Cliffs

The National Trust provides miles of footpaths and trails to view the scenery, wildlife, and historical sites within the White Cliffs area.  On clear days the French coast is visible, and the various vantage points allow the cliffs themselves to be taken in.  There is also a wheelchair friendly short path which leads to a viewing point as well.

Watching Ferries Go By

Watch Ferries from Clifftop

The iconic cliffs are well worth seeing. Whether from sea (on ferry or boat tour), or from land looking from Dover or the National Trust site, these spectacular chalk cliffs are a must see. The National Trust cafe is a good starting point for these views.  As I have noted, there a loads of trails, and a convenient walk runs from right above the Dover Port to the Lighthouse near the cafe. The Dover Castle is also nearby, and history and nature are all there to take in.

Positioned above the port, stands Dover Castle.  The fortress, from its Medieval heart to the World War Two tunnels complex, is a sign of England’s defiance of invasion. It, unlike the surrounding cliffs, is maintained and administered by English Heritage. Whether the Great Tower, the WW2 tunnels, or the Operation Dynamo exhibit, the castle has much to offer a visitor.  There are also several cafes and eateries within the complex.

The Port of Dover sits below the cliffs, and boat tours and day excursions to the Continent (via the ferries) are available for those wanting to go further afield.

Dover’s White Cliffs and attractions provide a full and rich experience whether for a day, or even a longer stay.



English Heritage Link

National Trust link