Up In The Sky

Flying Machine

Renaissance Flying Machine Duxford Museum – copyright Padre’s Ramblings

Maria’s Antonia’s #2020picoftheweek challenge includes a prompt for “up in the sky.”  This photo taken at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford gets visitors to look up as they enter.  It’s fitting for the theme to have something unusual “up in the sky.”

It’s not a bird.  It’s not a plane. 

Nor Superman, or anything plain

It’s wood and canvas

And some Italian wild thought

Leonardo’s futuristic vision

But it came to naught






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Maria Antonia’s 2019 Photography Challenge included a prompt for a photo which captures the idea of “historical.”   Britain is not short of  “historic” images, but among my photo archives I found this photo I took back in 1987.   The statue captures more than a historical moment, but stands for an entire era of this island’s history:  The Roman Occupation.  Not only did the Latins come here, but in so doing they changed the course of our culture and language forever.

Why have you come here, Oh mighty Caesar of Rome?

Was not the whole Mediterranean enough to call your home? 

But came you did indeed, our shores your sandals tread

Bringing roads straight, and cities large – as you your culture spread

Great villas, safe ports, and mosaics fine  – you brought onto this land –

But in the grand scheme of things  – you were but a trickle of hourglass sand

Oh great Caesar – your legacies great they me be,

But in the end – nonetheless your returned across the sea






Ildris and Hannon continued northwards.  Their orders were simple: cross the Great Nord River and then follow its feeder tributaries north seeking any sign of the Griffin Legion.  The Scout-Rangers knew this would be an arduous journey, and perhaps even a fool’s errand, but the orders had come from the king himself.  Seventy scouts travelling in pairs were sent north and fan out to follow all possible passages north.  Surely the Griffins could be contacted in this way.

The previous spring the Legion had set out on a grand expedition to stamp out the Nuar Raiders once hand for all.   Four thousand men commanded by General Neston had left the capital to the cheers of adoring crowds.  Everyone expected the raiders to be vanquished before the end of summer.   Why shouldn’t they?  Neston had never been defeated in battle, and the Nuar were no more than disorganised bands of barbarians.

A messenger had arrived in late May to announce that the Griffins had encountered a coalition of twenty bands, numbering nearly three thousand warriors.  The battle had been swift and decisive.  Within three hours the discipline and superior arms of the Legion had left over two thousand barbarians dead or dying.  Neston’s losses were fewer than two hundred.  The general pushed onwards in pursuit of the remnants of the coalition.

The last that was heard of the Legion was in mid-June, however.  A rider had arrived in the capital with reports for the king.  These indicated that the Griffins had crossed the Nufow River about a week after the battle with the coalition. This news was greeted cautiously as the Nufow was the furthest north that anyone from the kingdom had ever ventured.  It was so far north, in fact, that  it was flippantly referred to as the “No Flow,” by school boys seeing it on their maps at school.

Now Ildris and Hannon were following a frozen stream that had merged with the Nufow from the north.  The crossing of the watercourse proved easier than expected as it proved to be frozen for at least six months of the year.  Their crossing had been three days earlier, and the surrounding country was cold and bleak.

As the frozen creek they were following made an eastward turning, they were greeted with a poignant scene of devastation.  The surrounding flats were strewn with the shattered equipment, armour, and remains of the once noble Griffins.  At the centre of the grizzly scene were thirty posts on which the heads of the Legion’s officers had been impaled.  The head on the central post was encased in the horse plumed helmet of Neston.

The two scouts had found irrefutable proof of the Legion’s fate.  They respectfully removed the general’s helmet and buried the thirty officers’ heads.  Then with the helmet secured in oilcloth they began their melancholy journey southwards.




FOWC with Fandango — Irrefutable

Thursday photo prompt: Frozen #writephoto

Your Daily Word Prompt – Poignant – August 29, 2019

When Monsters We Seek

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Loch Ness Visitor Centre 1987

I have snorkeled along reefs of the Pacific –

I have swam in the cold waters – Atlantic –

While some views there where beautiful – dramatic –

Never did a true monster I see.


Reefs teamed with life in bright blues, reds, and coral –

With the fact that they were fabulous, I cannot quarrel –

But even the sharks, which were frightening to see –

Really as monsters – they failed to be.


Underwater is a world of surprises –

But one truth that I finally arrived with –

When it comes to the risks to the ocean –

The threatening monsters are we.



I am a lover of the sea, and while I am by no means a “tree huger,” I do lament our impact on the sea.  We damage reefs, over fish, and create “islands” of plastic.  While we have moved past Melville’s world of whaling, we have found new ways to exploit the worlds waters.   It was this in mind that I approached Maria Antonia’s prompt.


OFMARIAANTONIA photo challenge:  Under Water



Three in One

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Rushton Lodge

Three in One

Sir Thomas Tresham used the Rule of Thirds,

Speaking volumes in symbols  – not just words,

His faith was illegal, but he made his stand,

And saluted the Trinity on his land.


H2O the formula’s the same,

As gas, liquid, solid – still water it remains,

It doesn’t matter whether aqua,  ice, or steam,

Water’s still water, if you know what I mean.


So too our Creator follows a Rule of Thirds,

That He does – is not at all absurd,

As Father – He created, as Son- He did save,

And as Spirit – He guides us from cradle to grave.


So when next that picture  – you do snap,

Be sure that perspective – in threes you map,

In your balance of segments – all will see,

That you follow the example of great company.




Please see my post on Rushton Lodge

Prompt – OFMARIAANTONIA  :Rule of Thirds