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Crop Circles: Secret Finally Revealed!


 They are in fact tractor tyre marks as the farmer sprays his crops. As told to me by this alien. Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  212 Hits

Creating Memorable Characters


Inventing Characters First, we hear characters: Some of my early childhood memories involved piglets, and toes. Remember, ‘This little piggy went to market and this little piggy stayed home? This little piggy had roast beef and this little piggy had none? Finally, this little piggy cried wee, wee, wee all the way home.” Then there were the three pigs who lived in a straw house, that was blown down by the huffing and puffing wolf. I loved that story but can’t remember if they even had names. I always thought it was a Grimm fairy tale, but after searching for the author’s name, there appears to be a dispute. Seems understandable, since it is a story that has survived the oral tradition of the ...
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  372 Hits

I look like wheat. Animals and humans don't eat me. What could I be?


I have been driving past this field every day and scratching my head wondering what crop the unusually tall wheat-like grass could be. Last week the crop was harvested and over the weekend it was baled.Today I grabbed the farmer who informed me that it is more profitable than wheat or corn (which he has abandoned altogether) as it requires no special care or chemical treatments and the price is stable. MISCANTHUS grown for bio fuel. Look it up. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  649 Hits

Broken promises.


On my walk this evening with the hound. According to Blandford Nesting Birds (Windwood Reade & Eric Hosking), these are Hedge Sparrow eggs. The culprit would have been another bird such as a magpie. I have on occasion, at dusk, heard in the woods as magpies would decimate nests. The defending birds would swarm into the tree where the nest was and in unison, would cry as loudly as possible to scare away the magpies, who emboldened by the fear they could hear, would carry on with their dastardly act. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  338 Hits

The sun has arrived.


In the last twenty-four hours nature has taken off at full throttle. The wheat in the field grew two inches overnight and the trees are beginning to come out in leaf at the very top. A pair of mating partridges have turned up at our offices (they scuttled rapidly away as I tried to take their photo). This was the vista as I drove home for lunch today. Now really, is there anything more beautiful than the British countryside? I am very grateful that I live in this paradise. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  286 Hits

Spring at last!


Spare a thought for us Brits who have been wearing Winter coats since October 2017 - that's six months! The stereotype of British weather: rain and soggy temperatures to match - has never been truer. On my walk in the woods over the weekend I did however spy this fledgling bluebell, just barely emerging to initiate the Spring. To say I was wild with excitement as I stood in the rain staring at this symbol of change is an understatement. I feel as I have been lost in a fog for six months desperate for just enough sunlight to warm my bones. Could Spring be here at last! Hoorah!!! Now if it would only stop raining.... Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  317 Hits

30 Tongue in Cheek Phases of Writing a Book


  Phases of Writing a Book Warning: Not every writer goes through all these stages. I’ve survived most of them, but I’m only at number 21. If I don't focus, it's easy to be derailed.  Anyway, if you tend to have martyr tendencies, you can power through this list too! Good luck. Oh, and don’t say I didn’t warn you. I'm in a jolly phase, because I see the light. 1.        Excitement( short-lived) 2.        Research--May result in  pain near frontal lobe 3.        Doubt—Sugar surges--donut cravings. 4.        Extraordinary dog walking. Fetch? Of course. 5.        Anger.Tissues and tears phase 6.        Depression/Overthinking 7.        Burning of sage 8.        Critique group jitters 9.        ...
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  218 Hits

Anagrams of Penniless Hearts


If you like watching Wheel of Fortune or playing Scrabble, I imagine you know all about anagrams and the way one letter, can change the meaning of a word. Anagrams rearrange the same exact letters to come up with a new word or phrase. There’s a fun link for anagrams at: https://wordsmith.org/anagram/def.html When I entered the title of my romantic novel , Penniless Hearts at the above site, the computer shot out over a hundred funny anagrams. Here are a few of the best: 1.        Shapeless intern 2.        Inhales presents 3.        Insanest helpers 4.        Lash serpentines 5.        Elephant's sirens The above phrases seem so alien in a refreshing, almost poetic way. I’d have to say, my f...
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  326 Hits

Count your blessings


Photo copyright SvD. A newborn lamb stares at his mate who froze to death last night. This morning the farmer told me he was lucky to have lost only one. Another lamb had escaped from the field and I helped the farmer catch it. All of this before breakfast. Remember, there is always someone worse off than you. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  379 Hits

Think a bit differently now and then.


Revelation: You don't need a bread tin to make bread. Why not improvise with whatever you've got? This may sound obvious but it only dawned on me when I was watching a documentary about an elderly woman who chooses to live alone as a hermit in the Russian wilderness. I suddenly realised: think. Think outside the box in your head. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  382 Hits

Inspired by Rossetti to Explain Ekphrastic


    A friend and I were discussing ekphrastic poetry the other day, but the word ekphrastic had escaped those file folders in my mind. The more I tried to describe what I meant, the more it sounded like I had no idea and my words kept dragging me farther and farther down a rabbit hole. (I even have two poems from a few years ago that appeared in an ekphrastic anthology  It's called The Way the Light Slants and it could use a few reviews. Take a look.) Honestly, even though it’s a device I use often, the word ekphrastic doesn’t ring a bell from my memories of high school or college English. According to Wikipedia, “In ancient times it referred to a description of anything,” this of course, I ...
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  350 Hits

Beast from the East meets The Therapist


They say dogs are therapists on four legs. Here's my hound enjoying himself in spite of  The Beast from the East. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  402 Hits

What really matters...


What are the chances of walking into a wheat field, feeling like hell because you've spent the past week lying in bed wracked with fever and never felt so despairing, that you'd spot a heart-shaped stone poking out of the frozen earth? Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  393 Hits

Ahoy!


This sheep greets me every morning, or rather, she races off in that skittish, Benny Hill way as she sees the hound approaching, out of breath, careering towards her on rheumatic, geriatric legs. I love the black patch surrounding the ewe's eye. This is a ewe by the way, that means she's a girl. Rams have broad faces which resemble satyrs.  A ram's face is quite literally one of the most captivating and spellbinding images- it evokes mythology and mysticism in its sheer beauty. A ram's life is especially envious because he must shag the ewes to produce lambs. Whereas the ewes will eventually be sold for mutton, as long as the rams can keep getting a leg over, they stay out of the abattoir. A...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  422 Hits

Questions for Cathy #18: Unconditional Love–Or Is It?


Valentine’s Day brings chubbity cupids slinging arrows; velvety, red roses; life’s boxed chocolates, and a love-centric theme that will be just about everywhere. Love is a beautiful thing. It should be celebrated. (Side bar: days leading up to and the day after Valentine’s Day, are also some of the busiest for infidelity. Read through my other V-day blog posts for more on this.) Along with love comes the term “unconditional.” This has been a staple when referencing romantic relationships. We tend to believe it without reserve or question: Love your mate unconditionally. Yet, with more relationships and growth I experience, I question this phrase. In theory it’s a lovely sentiment; in applica...
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  456 Hits

Great Wall Of DACA


I don’t think we realize how many walls we have built in the 21st Century. Walls in schools against morality and patriotism. Walls in congress between parties. Walls in hearts against committing to real needs. Walls of diversity. Walls of opportunity. Walls to history. Walls to common sense. Walls to tradition. You can make your own lists. We are more separated than ever in history. And the world is not less evil. Social networks have provided freedoms and walls to free thought. Opinions rule. Sensitivities rule. All a threat to greater truths and needs. America has always been known for her heart and her ability to use it. America cannot spread herself so thin that she cannot help anyone. E...
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  462 Hits

All Men Are Mortal


News of Neil Diamond retiring from music due to ill health, the death of one of my heroes, Paul Bocuse and also that of Jazz legend, Hugh Masekela, this morning, make for sad reading and the realisation that life is short. All three of these men have one thing in common- they made their mark by living a life less than ordinary and they will be remembered for generations to come. Not everyone will become rich and famous but we do need to have the courage to follow our own path and define ourselves in a harsh and demanding world. Each of us has some sort of destiny and we must have the courage to find it and create our own language. Great sculptors like Henry Moore and painters such as Picasso...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  446 Hits

Dreamers

Dreamers
Re-Posted From SealsForChrist.com Every night we close our eyes on a hopefully soft pillow and under sheets and covers and polartec. Polartec is great. I call it DreamFleece. Soon good and bad dreams fill our being with hope or despair. It is a virtual reality we have known since our day one. We always like dreaming about good places where we would like to be. Warmth and sun and freedom. Yet, so much of the world does not offer that, only fear and visions of hunger and pain. It is not fair. I wouldn’t want to be a dreamer in the rubble of Syria or the spiritual vacuum of North Korea. Hell is everywhere and can be everywhere if we allow it. In our beautiful United States of America, we bicker...
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  429 Hits

A Place To Think


This room is where I do all my thinking, parked up on an old rattan sofa. The feathers are from Percy, the peacock, that everyone wanted to shoot because they found his crowing early in the morning, quite annoying. Percy was given a reprieve at the last minute, the complaint was mysteriously withdrawn, who knows, perhaps a horse's head in a bed was involved. We'll never know. Percy moulted in October last year and one of his avid supporters, Sue, who just happens to be a hunt saboteur but more on that later, gathered up some feathers for me. I think of Percy every day - may he live a long and happy life. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  445 Hits

Someone to watch over me


I see this tree which is in a farmer's field near my home every day. There are hundreds of sheep on the farm and had this tree not been protected by the metal fence it would have been munched to the ground long ago. As I walked past the field this morning, the fog was thick, the air damp and the sun, as usual, was nowhere to be seen. The tree shielded behind its metal fence fascinated me. What happens if there is no one to watch over us. No one who takes any interest in whether we manage to survive life with our sanity intact? I get a lot of junk mail and recently a message pinged into my Inbox about homelessness. The stark image of a young child forced to sleep on the streets in this suppos...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  395 Hits