Time and space ripple
as they wind their endless way,
Time and space ripple
as they wind their endless way,
what it would
take to make her smile
because every time she tried to show humour
her eyes would soften but her lips would curl up into a grimace.
“There it is,” the high-pitched cry pierced the gloom. As one, we looked across the dark, calm waters of the loch. Where once had been foreboding darkness we watched as the beam of a lantern appeared, illuminating one of the openings high in the castle wall. It was a wonder that no-one else could have seen it but it was our agreed signal. We trotted down to the shingle bank and positioned ourselves on either side of the little wooden boat resting just above the seaweed strewn tideline. Taking up positions either side we pushed the boat into the water stern first. Then all four of us, standing knee deep in our breeches in the cold water, clambered aboard. We took up the oars and carefully fed them through the muffled rowlocks. Each one wrapped in strips of cloth to cover the sound of the creaking oars.
“Easy lads,” the coxswain breathed, “we don’t want any splashing to be heard or the game will be up.” We strained at the oars and the dinghy slid silently across the waters with barely a ripple. It was only a short pull but we realised the current was against us and though the evening was cold I could feel the sweat forming under my tunic and salty streams running down my brow. We finally got to the shore below the castle wall and shipping the oars ran the little craft up the sand. We three oarsmen leapt over the gunwale and leaving the coxswain seated in the stern, we started to drag the boat out of the water.
The lantern still shone from the walls but the beach seemed ominously quiet. It was supposed to be a secret mission. Our purpose was to take the sole prisoner held in the castle back to the mainland where a troop of horsemen were waiting to accompany her carriage on the route to Edinburgh.
From high on the wall we suddenly heard a shout and more lights started to appear. When the first discharge was heard we realised the plan had failed. We scrambled back into the boat and started to pull for our lives. Musket balls were raining down and forming fountains all around the boat but luckily none of us were hit.We finally arrived at the far side and found it deserted. It appeared everyone had run away when the first shots were heard. We thought it best to do the same ready to plan our next attempt at rescue.
picture “uphill path” from Crispina Kemp
Sally lived at the top of the hill,
when she walked into town the boys got a thrill,
by design or just by chance
she often forgot her underpants,
every day the menfolk hoped for a breeze
when she went to pick up the groceries,
her mother said Sally this will have to stop
but her dad said she should also forget her top
why say that to her said his despairing wife
because I won’t have a bill for the rest of my life.
The unbroken pact
is a true test of friendship,
death cannot erase
It was a long walk but it was worth it. I had followed the old drover’s road from the beach at Porlock Weir. In times past the only way that the necessities of life could be carried to the outlying small settlements on the moor was either by pack-horse or pulled on sledges, called truckles. Their way had for centuries been blocked by a fast-flowing stream which had it’s birth on the high moor till it finally plunged into the sea at Becky falls. A total length of over forty miles as the crow flies but much further with all the twists and turns as it followed the contours of the land. This old bridge was the only crossing point. Still standing after probably hundreds of years but virtually disused; having outlasted it’s reason for being, now only serving as a mystery to any hiker who happened to come upon it in their travels.
Surrounded by dappled sunlight, I decided to rest, breathe in the cool air and enjoy the idyllic scene. I stretched out, my back propped against my rucksack on the large granite rock which formed a firm foundation for the little archway, like the roof support of some parish church nave. The only sound was of the rushing stream, each ripple and wavelet jostling it’s neighbour in the race to pass through the narrow channel. In my drowsy state I imagined I heard the sound of whinnying, snorting and shouting. The use of the whip being unnecessary as the proud little Exmoor ponies would have known the direction they were heading and the path they needed to take. Back up to their homeland to discharge the sand for the farmers to mix in with with their cloying, damp, peaty soil from which to try and wrest a few reluctant crops.
The names of those who built this stout bridge are long forgotten but the moss-lined, grass-topped, faced stones remain as testimony to their skill as they helped others to carve a life from the inhospitable region they were proud to call their home.
gardens, both medicinal
and quite appealing
some though find, regular lines
can prove an unsightly bore.
Just a Zen moment,
in the chaos of the day,
It is hard to find the words to describe the allure of the Goddess known as Marilyn Monroe. With the power to enthral all class of men from pauper to President, this woman, both a film and recording star, who today would probably be described as oversized, still features in the dreams of many.
“Take the gun.” the second’s voice barked. With trembling hands I grasped the grip and slid the pistol from the velvet and silk case. My opponent, the Right Honourable Sir James Leeson Esquire and I turned and then stood back to back, he with a condescending smile, myself a frown, not of determination but resignation at this farce. We walked fifteen paces, counted out by my friend Tom Skeene and turned to face each other. My pistol held out at arm’s length straight in front of me pointing at James Leeson’s chest. Two shots sounded. I felt no pain, he had missed. I looked at his astonished expression. His arm dropped to his side, I saw the red stain spreading over the upper arm of his frilled, white blouson. It was done, honour was settled, without the senseless waste of life that usually accompanied such events. There was no elation, only intense relief. We both returned our weapons to the seconds and while the doctor attended to Sir James I slowly walked away.