Posts Tagged ‘DPchallenge’

Daily Post Photo Challenge – Boundaries

October 2, 2015 25 comments

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is all about boundaries – of any description.

The path is clearly marked. Do not cross this boundary! (Godrevy, Cornwall.)



The boundary between Earth and the infinite beyond. (Out the front of my house, Cornwall.)



Safety and… well, falling off a cliff :-(. (St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall.)

St Michael's Mount

A Quick Bite

September 20, 2013 10 comments

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue – Begin a post with a scene that includes dialogue.

“No way, I get first bite!” snapped the blond-haired vampire, his fangs glistening in the glow of the alley’s single working street light. He crossed his arms and glared at his brown-haired accomplice, a girl who looked no older than twenty but in reality had grown up dancing the Charleston.

“Like, OMG, no way! Greedy much?” she replied. Regardless of her upbringing before she had been “turned”, she had become the eternal student . A college campus was an ideal hunting ground and she had an unfortunate tendency to use the vernacular of her class mates.

“Must you talk like that, Charlotte-Ann?” asked the other vampire, resignation in his voice.

“Like yeah, Samson. And it’s Charlie.”

All the while the girl sat huddled against a dumpster. She was in her mid-twenties, had deep red hair from a bottle and was dressed for the clubs. She clutched her purse to her chest and trembled as she watched the pair arguing. Mascara stained her face as the tears fell.

“Charlotte-Ann, Charlie, whatever, I saw her first!”

“Come on Samson! Man, you got first bite last time. OMG, how unfair is this? You totally suck!”

“Yes,” replied Samson, showing his fangs. “Yes I do.”

“Not suck, suck. Like totally. OMG man, like totally.”

“Sometimes,” said Samson, “you make no sense whatsoever. I so preferred you in the sixties.”

Meanwhile back at the dumpster, the girl’s eyes had opened wide as she watched the strange argument. She had no idea what was happening but this strange pair no longer seemed to be paying any attention to her. Slowly, carefully, she began to edge towards the end of the alley where she could see cars passing by.

“Oh yeah, the sixties!” said Charlie, her eyes unfocusing as she cast her mind back. “Sex, drugs, rock and roll, more sex…”

“So easy to get blood in those days. With all the LSD nobody knew what they were seeing,” remembered Samson. “But, back to the issue at hand. It’s my turn to go first.”

“It so isn’t! You so said it would be my turn this time!”

“Fine,” said Samson, sighing. “We’ll go together. Let’s eat!”

They turned to the dumpster.

“Um,” said Charlie, “like, where’d she go?”

“Idiot!” snarled Samson.

“Moron!” snapped Charlie.

Categories: Fiction Tags: ,

Laughter Lost

August 21, 2013 12 comments

Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words (or more or less!) –  write a post based on this image.


Picture courtesy of Michelle Weber

For a while she watches the children playing on the merry-go-round. They laugh as they spin around, over and over, faster and faster. She feels a little pang of fear as every so often one jumps off, but they always land safely. The others laugh as they watch their friend stagger around, dizzy and giggling.

After a while the children leave, heading back to their homes for dinner. Although still a child herself, she doesn’t feel one of them. She no longer joins in their games, no longer laughs with the others. It has been so long since she has laughed.

Read more…

Categories: Fiction Tags:

Please Let Me Go Home

August 6, 2013 16 comments

Weekly Writing ChallengeYour earliest memory. Capture every detail. Document the quality of the memory — is it as sharp as HDTV or hazy and ethereal, enveloped in fog? Write for 10 minutes. Go.

I must have been around four years old. We were living at the first house I ever lived in and we left when I was five so that sounds about right.

Mum left my little brother and I with a good friend of hers to play, as she occasionally did. I’m sure we’d been there before, though everything from so long ago is pretty hazy.

I don’t remember anything about that visit apart from the very end – that is etched into my memory as if carved in stone.

My memory tells me that Mum’s friend held a cup of tea – it could have been coffee but I think it was tea – out to each of us. She said “Drink this or you can’t go home.” I was terrified. I wanted to go home to Mum.

I drank the tea. It was foul. I was only a toddler. Toddlers don’t drink tea. Toddlers drink juice or milk (I never drank milk and still don’t – it makes me sick).

We never went back to that house. Not ever.

Cup Of Tea Little Boy?

“Cup of tea, little boy?” by DraliDoodles
It’s a witch’s hat, OK? Shut Up. I don’t do hats.

Is this how it really happened? Probably not. This woman was a kind woman, a friend of the family. More than likely she said “Have some tea to drink before you go home.” I misconstrued.

Only now, as I write this, do I feel terribly guilty for the poor woman. Imagine inadvertently scaring a toddler so much that they refused to see you ever again?

Memories are tricky things. Although I am convinced that “I heard what I heard”, I have been similarly convinced that a film ended this way, or a book ended that way only to watch or read it decades later and discover that my mind has altered the ending. In my mind it ended the way I always wanted it to – now that I’ve rediscovered it I find that the ending is completely different. Disappointingly different.

My mind very probably twisted this innocent encounter into something sinister.

What can we trust if not our own minds?

Stop the clock…
Time to write: 8 minutes.
Proof-reading/editing: 4 minutes.
Draw/scan/format/upload doodle: 5 minutes.
Confession: I didn’t let this sit for a day as per the instructions. I didn’t want to spoil the thoughtless spontaneity.

Yo Dude, Milord

July 17, 2013 10 comments

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the GapEmails – Where do you stand on the grand salutation question?

Dear Sir/Madam. Hey man! Hi Frank!

Which to use and when? A knotty question. In the age of email, does it even matter? This isn’t a letter, after all.

However, emails are used as a faster form of letter. Standard post has been dubbed “snail mail” as it’s slower, but faster delivery should not necessarily mean one may be lax during composition.

Here is my handy guide. I find it’s often easiest to learn by example, so let’s look at some scenarios.

An email of complaint

In this scenario, we have bought defective goods. Maybe we should write a letter, but who has the time? Such an email needs to be fairly formal – “Hi Mr Managing Director” will not do. Take a look at a model example below.

email of complaint

Notice the formal wording and the polite salutation. However, this email contains an error. The sign-off should read “Yours sincerely”, as you have used the recipient’s name! Shocking. This one’s going straight into the digital trash. Be more careful!

An email to a friend

Of course, not all emails need to be quite so formal. You could be composing an invitation to a good friend, inviting them round to your abode for tea and biscuits, or some other healthy pursuit. For example:

email to a friend

As you can see, the content of this email is much less formal than in our previous example. As it is written to a close acquaintance it is still perfectly acceptable, of course!

An email to your boss

Often-times you may find yourself needing to write an email to your boss. Some formality is required here, of course – your career may be at stake. However, the chances are you know your boss quite well, so it need not be as formal as our “complaint” example. It also couldn’t hurt to pay said boss some compliments – maybe it could help win you that promotion!

email to the bossNote that the author is not afraid to blow his own trumpet, and has signed off in such a way as to show all due respect – that promotion is in the bag!


I hope you have seen, through the examples presented here, the different and various ways one may compose one’s email depending on the situation. Please feel free to use any of these examples as a template for your own use.

Happy emailing!

Categories: Just Silly Tags: , ,

The Best Medicine – Never Happy

July 10, 2013 18 comments

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Best Medicine – This week, write about whatever topic you’d like, but go for laughs.

Write about whatever I want? I can do that! No bother. Not a problem.

Wait a sec though – “go for laughs”? Well, there’s the rub. Humour is so subjective, and I’m not the funniest fella at the best of times. Tell you what, I’ll shoot for “mildly witty” and we’ll see where we end up.

The title of this post – “Never Happy” – is perhaps not a promising start. I don’t know about you, but to me that doesn’t scream “side-splittingly riotously hilarious” (try saying that three times fast). It sounds more like I’m going to have a rant, or maybe I’m going to wax lyrical about something that’s really getting me down.

So what, I hear you ask, am I going to complain about? I’ll give you a clue – I’m British.

That’s right! It’s the weather. That’s not what you guessed? Pretend you did! I’ll never know.

I’ve complained about the weather before (British, remember?). It’s too cold. It’s icy. It’s too windy. It won’t stop raining. Here’s a new one for you – it’s too hot!

Never Happy

“Never Happy” by DraliDoodles (TM)

Let’s take a quick Haiku-break.

Hostile sun blazing fire
Melting roads and hearts and minds
Air con broken

Hope you enjoyed it.

As I drove home this evening the thermometer informed me that it was 26 degrees C. I’ve just used the marvel which is Google and it informs me that this equals 78.8 Fahrenheit! I know what some of you are thinking. “That’s not very hot!” Well, it is to me. It appears that “too hot” is as subjective as humour.

My office is eco-friendly. We don’t have that planet-destroying toxic chemical-fuelled air con. Oh no! We have some sort of “comfort cooling” air recycling system. Today it managed to get the temperature to a not-so-comfortable 28 degrees C. Way to go, eco-friendly comfort cooling air con.

I didn’t wear shorts, but I did break out my trousers with the detachable legs. Detachable legs! What’ll they think of next? I was going to post a picture of me wearing the trousers with one leg removed so you could see the flexibility, but I thought that some of you might be reading this while eating dinner. I worried that the sight of my pasty-white leg might cause a case of the “tummy upsets”. So, no picture.

I also looked in my drawers for a light-weight T-shirt. It’s been so long since I’ve needed a light-weight T-shirt that it had mould on it from sitting in the drawer for years.


And to add very serious insult to injury, it was my Red Dwarf T-shirt!

Mouldy T-Shirt

My poor mouldy T-shirt – please be OK!

I do hope the washing machine can work its magic.

It looks like I’m Never Happy.

Very sad.

Facebook – Friend or Foe?

July 2, 2013 30 comments

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap – Facebook – to poke or to puke?

So this Facebook thing – a force for good, or an insidious evil? A social network – some may say the social network – in a world in which the inhabitants are increasingly obsessed with sharing every detail of their lives and of course with revelling in the thrills and mishaps of others.

Let’s break it down.

Responsibility – at the end of the day, what I post is down to me

Make no mistake, whether I intend the whole world to read what I write or it’s only intended for “friends”, what I post on any social network, including Facebook, is my responsibility. No-one else’s.

In the heat of the moment it’s easy to post something I may later regret. I rarely post to Facebook using my phone (which is always nearby) – my big clumsy fingers are not phone-friendly. I often find that by the time I’ve fired up the laptop I’ve gone off the boil. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to post that after all?

How many people have found themselves in trouble for posting something “inappropriate”?

Read more…

Minty Merriwether – Book Imp!

June 12, 2013 7 comments

Weekly Writing Challenge: Clicking Through the Pages – break up longer posts by adding pagination to them – be sure to click on the page numbers at the bottom to read the whole story – there are 3 pages!

“Katherine Mary Williams!”

Katie’s Mum’s voice drifted up the stairs. She didn’t sound happy.

Uh oh, thought Katie. Whenever Mum used her full name, she was in trouble.

“You’ve been at the cheese again! You’ll have nightmares! Go to bed, we’ll talk in the morning.”

“OK, Mum, sorry Mum!” Katie called back, and closed her bedroom door. She loved her cheese. A little telling off tomorrow would be worth it. She climbed into her Hello Kitty pyjamas, tucked herself into bed and fell asleep.

It was the small hours of the morning when there was a popping sound, a cloud of smoke and a flash of light. Standing on the end of the bed was a small creature. He looked around and opened his mouth, as if he were about to speak.

Katie slept on, oblivious.

The little creature looked at her, a perplexed look on his face as her snores filled the room. With a “harrumph” he abruptly disappeared, quite suddenly and without any of the ceremony which had heralded his arrival.

Seconds later there was another, much louder popping sound, even more smoke and a significantly brighter flash of light and the creature returned. Katie shot bolt upright in bed, eyes wide.

Pages: 1 2 3

The Final Challenge

June 5, 2013 10 comments

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words – tell us a story based on this photo.

Daily Post Chefs

Photo courtesy of Michelle Weber, used by permission of The Daily Post (see above link)

Jacques glared at Gianni across the work table. Gianni glared back. Two chefs at the top of their game, their culinary prowess was matched only by the hatred they harboured for each other. A healthy rivalry twenty years ago, it had grown to a loathing famous in culinary circles – no mean feat in a world in which rivalry was second nature.

Today their feud – and “feud” was not too strong a word to describe the feelings between these two – would, in some measure, be settled. Each was cooking his signature dessert. The other would eat it. Neither was foolish enough to believe that his nemesis would admit that the other’s dish was superior, but that was not required. The lesser chef (and each was convinced it would be the other) would know, deep down, that he was beaten.

This would be their final challenge. Their last battlefield.

Jacques worked quickly, his nimble fingers expertly preparing the ingredients. A man in his late fifties, he hailed from a small town to the south of Paris (nobody knew quite where, exactly – Jacques felt a little mystery added to his charm). Married once, he now lived alone in a luxury apartment off the Champs Elysées. His wife could never contend with his first love – cooking – and had left him seven years ago, taking their children with her. It had been two weeks before Jacques had even noticed. He had no idea where they had gone, nor did he care.

Gianni, a man of indeterminate age from southern Italy, had never entered into any relationship lasting longer than a night. He needed to let off steam occasionally but he never let any woman distract him from his chosen profession. He scorned Jacques for his one attempt at a normal life – he knew better than to allow foolish ideas of “love” and “family” to get in the way of his cooking.

Leaving his dessert for a moment, Gianni grabbed a carrot and held it aloft, a knife clenched in his other hand, looking at Jacques with bushy eyebrows raised. Jacques rose to the challenge and fetched a second carrot, and at a silent signal both began to chop in earnest. Faster and faster they worked, their knives a blur until both carrots lay in pieces upon the work table. They had played this game before – a dead heat as always. They returned to their desserts with a snarl.

At last both were ready. They stood back, each eyeing the other’s masterpiece. As Gianni admired his dessert, a nagging fear overtook him until he felt his body grow suddenly cold. Sugar. He hadn’t added the sugar! Twenty years of rivalry had culminated in this moment, and in his anger he had spoiled his dessert. This had never happened before! Why today?

He knew he could never win now. He began to tremble – he would be a laughing stock. His whole life a waste! He felt a red mist descend, the same red mist he had first experienced that day, so long ago, when he had beaten his little brother half to death for breaking his toy.

Beyond reason, he grabbed the wickedly sharp chef’s knife from the counter and lunged forward, plunging it into Jacques’ chest. Jacques grunted and looked down in surprise as a red stain blossomed across his immaculate white jacket. He slumped to the floor, a disbelieving look on his face.

Gianni laughed. He had won. At last, he had won! As Jacques lay gasping on the tiled floor, blood pooling beneath him, Gianni picked up Jacques’ dessert and began to take huge mouthfuls. It was good! Maybe the knife had been a surer way to win. As he ate, he heard a horrible gurgling sound. Jacques was laughing, blood-flecked spittle foaming around his mouth.

“What the hell is so funny?” demanded Gianni, wiping a sudden sheen of sweat from his brow. His heart had begun to thump against his chest, beating alarmingly quickly, making him feel quite dizzy. Something was very wrong.

“I really wouldn’t,” croaked Jacques, his vision beginning to darken, “have eaten that dessert, if I were you.”

Categories: Fiction Tags: , ,

Out of Time

May 8, 2013 6 comments

Weekly Writing Challenge: Through the Door – The door to your house/flat/apartment/abode has come unstuck in time. The next time you walk through it, you find yourself in the same place, but a different time entirely. Where are you, and what happens next?

I trudged on leaden feet up to the door to my flat. Helluva day. Hell of a day. I fumbled the key into the lock, turned it and opened the door. I was looking forward to relaxing on the sofa.

Falling into the dark as the air was pulled explosively from my lungs was not on the evening’s to-do list.

It happened so suddenly I didn’t have time to feel fear. I just sat there for a moment, not breathing, and just as fear finally made an appearance something hard shot out of the dark, grabbed my arm and pulled me sideways. Just as blackness overtook me I heard a swishing sound and bright light flooded in.

Aaargh! Who’s pounding on my head? I cautiously opened my eyes. Staring down at me were two people. No, two trees – am I in a forest? No, two tree people. Holy smokes! Tree people! I blinked and looked again. Still tree people. Skin rough like bark, a dark cherry red. Kind of pretty, actually. Wide staring eyes and, oh boy, what a lot of teeth. Teeth, big, sharp teeth, teeth like razors, teeth made for ripping, tearing…

“Strewth, mate, are you OK?” asked the taller of the two. “What’re you doing in the hold? There’s no air in there, mate!”

A tree with an Australian accent! I had met a red tree with an Australian accent! My life was now complete. I closed my eyes again and waited for the Reaper.

“I think he’s passed out again, mate,” said the other.

Hmm, strange dream. I opened my eyes and took another look. They were still there.

“Um, where am I?” I asked, rather hesitantly. “This isn’t my flat.”

“You, mate, are on our ship. Our interplanetary transport.”

“What? Why is there a spaceship where my flat should be?”

“There’s a spaceship where your planet should be, mate,” the shorter one said.

I was feeling a little out of my depth at this point.

“So,” I said, thinking it best to humour them, “what happened to my planet?”

“Gone,” said the taller tree-person-thing. “Someone thought it a good idea to harness the boundless energy of the Earth’s core. As soon as they broke through, the immense pressure caused a fountain of magma to shoot out of the crust. A bit like a rocket engine. Propelled your planet into the sun.”

“BANG!” added the shorter one helpfully, miming a huge explosion with his gnarled red hands.

“You’ve fallen though an inter-temporal spacial flux. You’ve shot two thousand years into your future! You’re in the same place, geographically speaking, or cosmologically speaking if you prefer, but no longer in the same time!” concluded the taller one. He sounded entirely too happy about the whole situation.

“OK,” I said. “let’s see if I’ve got this right. I’m lost in the future, on a space ship run by talking trees, my home is long destroyed and I’ll never see it again?” This was so surreal it was beginning to sound a bit funny. I feared I was going into shock.

“You’re not lost in the future, you’re lost in the present.” explained the taller one patiently.

“OK, my future, Mr Pedantic!” I yelled, my voice starting to sound a little shrill.

“And we can get you home!” he finished triumphantly.



“Then let’s do it!” I exclaimed. “If nothing else, I need to get back and warn everyone about the impending doom!”

“Sorry mate, you won’t remember any of this,” said the shorter one. He sounded a little sad.

“Oh, I think I will.”

“This is your future, mate,” he explained. “You can’t remember something that won’t, um, will not yet, um be about to happen in the future, um.”

I stared at him. “Whatever. Just get me home.”

“Nothing simpler. Stand there. Good. Ready?”

The shorter one gave me the thumbs up and flashed me a grin, which I’m sure was supposed to be reassuring and probably would have been if it hadn’t been accompanied by more teeth than anyone should be allowed to possess.

The taller tree pressed some buttons. There was a clunk, a flash of light, a feeling of disorientation and…

…I fumbled my key in the lock, trudged into my flat and collapsed on the couch, switching on the TV as I did so. Great. The news. Some scientists reckon they can solve all the world’s problems by tapping the energy of the Earth’s core. Sounds kind of dangerous.

Still, I guess they know what they’re doing.

Categories: Fiction Tags: