“It’s Time”

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Tower Trumpeter – Prague- image: Padre’s Ramblings

The 2020 Photography Challenge from Maria Antonia includes presenting a photo on the theme of “It’s Time.”  The above photo and its companion below are of the clock tower in the old town of Prague.  The Astronomical Clock is amazing, and if its artistic mechanism isn’t enough to draw attention, each hour a trumpeter sounds the time as well.


Now –
It’s time –
The trump sounds –
The clock strikes nine –
Historic figures –
Their hourly paths enact –
Curious tourists gather –
Upwards they stare and gawk – amazed –
In old Prague town the new day begins
The clock-astronomic, has entertained


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image: Padre’s Rambling

The Big Picture

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Image: Padre’s Ramblings

It is the beginning of a new year, and it hold many opportunities and mysteries.  But it isn’t always easy to gain perspective on events as we are experiencing them.  Despite the year’s name, it is the past which actual offers us that 20/20 perspective.  “The Big Picture,” if you will.   OFMARIAANTONIA‘s photo challenges for this year include one entitled, “Big Picture”  I have attached one such Big Picture from Guernica in the Basque Country in Spain.

This image by Pablo Picasso was his response to the Fascist bombing of the town during the Spanish Civil War.  The original oil painting measures 3.49 meters (11 ft 5 in) in height and 7.76 meters (25 ft 6 in) across.  Though huge, the meaning of the painting is perhaps even bigger.  It was painted to raise money for war relief and to bring the world’s attention to the atrocities being committed in the conflict.

Franco’s Fascist government with the aid of the Nazi Condor Legion attacked the Basque capital on 26 April 1937 during market day thus insuring maximum civilian casualties and instilling psychological terror of Franco’s opponents.  The choice of target was calculated on several levels.  First, the aforementioned psychological impact was evident.  But Guernica also symbolised democracy, as the fiercely independent Basque people had their ancient parliament in the town.

The attached photo is of a tile reproduction of Picasso’s work which has been erected in the town as a reminder of the Guernica’s past, and of the consequences of democracy being eclipsed by dictatorship.  That is truly, a “Big Picture,” to remember.





Simple Instructions

Junction, City, Aerial View, Urban, Road


Kim and Davis were really struggling.  They had taken the Number 3 bus from the airport as the hotel had told them too, and they got off at the eighth stop once they got into the city proper.   It had all seemed so easy.  The email had said they would only need to cross the street, and the hotel would be the tall blue building on the right.  The problem was, there were no blue buildings.

They crossed the street, baggage in tow, and began asking for directions.

“Do you speak English?” they asked a man of about forty, who responded only with a negative shake of the head.

“Do you speak English?” they again asked; this time to a matronly looking woman who was waiting for the Number 4 bus.   “A little, she responded.”

“Great,” Davis said, “Do you no where the New Palace Hotel is?”

“New Palace?  No.  This I do not know?” she responded.

As a thirty-something man in a business suit approached, Kim blurted “New Palace Hotel?”

The man stopped in his tracks and said in clear but accented English, “Okay, go left at the crosswalk, and then stay on that street for 42 blocks, then take a right.”

“Thank you so much,” Davis said, and the two began the journey, counting off each crossroad.  At last they came the the 42nd street and turned dutifully right.  To their dismay, they were welcomed by a sign which read not “New Palace,” but rather “Tourist Information Office.”



Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: 42nd Street




The Roundabout


They were on holiday, and all was as it should be.  They exited the ferry terminal and proceeded into the city.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Edith asked nervously.

“It’s a piece of cake,” Charlie responded, and then began to recite:

“Roundabouts are simple

They help traffic flow,

There are no signs,

For stop and go,

So find your gap

And make your way,

Just take care – in your lane to stay.”

“It’s as easy as that,” Charlie said to Edith, as he confidently entered the traffic circle.  Too bad he forgot they were now in France.

(100 words)


Both the UK and France have roundabouts.  The thing is that traffic in each country flows in opposite direction from that of the other.

Friday Fictioneers


A Bygone Fantasy


Steamer, Paddle Steamer, Boat, Ship, Hamburg, Port


Sleepy days below the bluffs

On the quiet-moving Mississip

Smoke clouds rise in steady puffs

From the Memphis-bound little ship

Her paddled-wheels moving round

But in her hold no cotton – found

It’s tourists now that she does haul

For drinks and a look around

Just a ninety minute trip




Caught in Traffic

Image result for traffic jam


“Caught, obstructed, delayed.”  No it’s not a poem, it is the usual evening journey home along one of the UK’s biggest car parks, the A14 in Cambridgeshire.

If the snarled traffic isn’t bad enough, the Highways Agency in their infinite wisdom, has decided that the way to “fix” the problem is to add some extra lanes, and make a short straightening of the route between Cambridge and Huntingdon.  It will when finished save maybe ten minutes on future journeys.

“When finished.”  That is the operative phrase.  The work has been going on for month and months.  And for the time-being adds anywhere up to forty minutes to the journey.  Okay, if a daily traveller, given a few YEARS of travel after the completion – you will make back the shortfall of your life.  If an occasional traveller – then “why, just why?”

But what is better, is that these “improvements” are going on at the exact same time as “improvements” on the Newmarket and Milton side of Cambridge.  The lucky traveller gets to finish one delay to join the queue for the next.

It gives the entire concept of “caught in traffic” a feeling of understatement.  It is not caught, but “imprisoned.”


Tale Weaver – #247 – Caught – 31st October

Sorry, unfortunately not fiction this time.  Reality sometimes becomes more unbelievable than fiction.



A Culinary “Pub Crawl”

It’s Travel Tuesday, and while I considered posting this for a Foodie Friday, it applies to both equally well.  The Market Town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk (England) has a redeveloped cattle market and this in turn links in with the main shopping precincts.  There are a cluster of eateries on Auction Street, and their are several more across Parkway.   This led me to come up with a frivolous but fun exercise of a “food crawl.”

My journey began with a starter/appetizer at the Japanese themed Wagamama.  It is typical of the chain in its seating setup with bench type seating, but a few table and chair seatings along the windows.   The service was attentive, and the order was prepared quickly. I had the vegetable tempura which was lightly battered, and had a great balance of types of veg – sweet potato, broccoli, and red bell pepper.  So far a good start on my food journey.

Mains came from the Portuguese/Peri Peri themed Nando’s.   The ordering system is of the pay at the till, and they will deliver to the table type.  Fountain drinks are self-service.  There were several good vegetarian options, and on this occasion I opted for a medium spiced “Beanie” burger with a side of garlic bread and peri peri chips. The veggie paddy was well made, and prepared, and the sides were tasty. There was also a good assortment of sauces to add to the burger.  The server was polite, and helpful, and the decoration was minimalist, though Latin music in the background gave it some atmosphere.  Toilets are up stairs so that should be taken into consideration if you have limited mobility.  The food was good, however and it was time for dessert.

The “afters” came from Carluccio’s Italian eatery.  This is a great restaurant with a lot to offer. There are breakfast menus, and a large selection of Italian dishes, but I  there for the “pud.”   I had tiramisu and a scoop of cherry ice cream.  The ice cream is above average, which was disappointing from an “Italian.”  But the tiramisu was really outstanding. It is made more traditionally with “lady fingers” rather than soggy cake. It was creamy, and not overly sweet, as some store-bought tiramisus are. It was a great finisher after a spicy burger from Nando’s.  A note to those with disability.  Carluccio’s has a clearly marked disabled access toilet on the ground floor, and it is right next door to Nando’s

Then it was coffee time.  This was from Costa Coffee. The shop is huge as compared to many Costa outlets, and it is well laid out and clean as well. The quality of the drink was good and had the smooth Costa blend that I prefer over harsher coffees. It was unfortunately very busy there, so was some wait for it to be prepared. Since the shop is large, there was ample seating both in and outside, and I was able in the end to just sit and sip my drink, and reflect on my culinary journey.

Overall, it may have been slightly more expensive than eating in a single venue.  It did however allow me to stretch my legs, and to have each course settle before moving on.  If Peri Peri is not your thing, there is a Byron Burger outlet making “real burgers” directly opposite Nando’s.  In the end, it was a fun time.


The Rock


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The Rock of Gibraltar –

Its lonely vigil keeps

Beneath its gaze the waters

Of the Mediterranean

Two continents divide


Majestic focus – like that of an altar

Untroubled by the the apes’ leaps

Nor the passing-by of ships and yachters

Nor the music of Saint Michael- subterranean –

The mountain takes all these in stride


These image of its white sides do not alter –

Whether at noon or when Gibraltar sleeps

The birth and growth of sons and daughters

Or with the visits of those alien-

The Rock remains – unchanged by wind and tide


The Tuesday Writing Prompt from Go Dog Go Cafe is to produce a piece of poetry or prose that includes the phrase “beneath the waters.”  While not strictly used in its submerged sense, I still have drawn upon the words to reflect on the famous “Rock of Gibraltar,”  which I saw on one of the most memorable holidays with my wife.  It also gives me an opportunity to make a “Travel Tuesday” posting.







Immigration checks, closed borders, bio-metric proofs of identity, and any number of other ways that could be conceived of to slow the process of transport: ordinary people with no political agendas beyond having a vacation or arriving in time to attend Aunt Mildred’s funeral were “trapped” in the arrivals hall.  The newest list of “suspect” individuals and groups had been issued.

Yes, the courts had ruled that the previous lists and restrictions had been an infringement of the law, but with a disproportionate number of civil servants knocking out such politically motivated “us and them” documents, the judges just couldn’t keep up.

For tired, grumpy passengers, however, all it meant was more queues, and midnight, the witching hour, becoming just one more “bitching hour” as they tried to keep irritated children calm, and resisted venting their fury to their neighbours with ugly words.



Sunday Photo Fiction – Oct 6 2019

FOWC with Fandango — Court

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: The Witching Hour

Sunday Writing Prompt “Ugly Words”

The Resort

Image by Bikurgurl

It was late evening and the end of an idyllic day.  The food at the resort was amazing, and the excursion to the sea caves had been made even more magical by the arrival of a pod of dolphins as the holiday makers lunched on the catamaran.

Later that evening the resort put on a cultural showcase.  Dancers, musicians, and traditional storytellers enthralled the guests with their talents.  Now with late evening drinks completed, and tomorrow being a “stay in” day at the resort, the tour group from Hamburg readied their tri-colour towels to mark their places for the morn.


My apologies for stooping to a stereotype, but it seemed a fun take on the prompt – at least from a British perspective.


100 Word Wednesday: Week 140