victory (?)

This post is a combined response to ‘Day 7: Let social media inspire you’, last Tuesday’s prompt on the WordPress Writing 101 course (which asked us to respond to one from a selection of embedded tweets), and to the Daily Post Weekly photo challenge which this week asked us to share a photo that would make us forget the sad times, ‘this week, it’s all about revelling in a win’.

The prompt ‘Victory’.

I was about to do that.

And then, on Friday 13th things changed.


Shit, as they say, happens.

So, in responding to both prompts, this post goes a little ‘off piste’, as I used one of my own tweets and, decided to reflect on the concept of Victory in the light of recent events and my own experience.

On the morning of 7 July, 2005, I  walked out from the door of my apartment and walked about 200m towards the London Undergound station at Edgware Road. For some reason I had a sudden change of mind, I decided to take the bus. Instead of walking straight on and down into the station to take the tube I normally took, I turned left and jumped aboard a bus. Moments later, well, moments later is now history. My decision to turn left meant I am not (yet) history.



DSC_0015 - Version 2

Both of these photos were taken from the balcony of our apartment in London.

For days afterwards, weeks, months, sleep was impossible, the streets were closed, within a few hundred metres lay St Mary’s Hospital, London and Paddington Green Police Station.

That day in London, the day after all of us who lived and worked in London had celebrated the ‘victory’ of being selected as the hosts of the 2012 Olympic Games, turned into a day from hell. A day in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people and injured 700 more. A few days later, an innocent man was gunned down at an underground station because he was thought to be a terrorist.

Who is the victor here? The suicide bombers, who despite the intense security after 9/11 managed to evade the security put in place by a (once) powerful nation? The people of London (and I was one of them) who the next day defiantly boarded tube trains to show we would not be intimidated? The military personnel who guide drones to kill from the skies?

None of us.

There are no victors in this war.

The world will not be at peace until we find a way to resolve our differences.

WordPress Writing 101 (November 2015): Day 7


space (to write)

“in the space between chaos and shape there was another chance”
― jeanette winterson


This is my contribution to Day 6 of the WordPress Writing 101 course.

You can see all my scribbles for the course by clicking here and if you really have little else to do you can click here to browse my complete contributions to the Writing 101 course that I participated in during April 2015.

space (to write)

I don’t have a specific space in which to write, nor do I have a particular place in which to do so, at least not in a dedicated sense. In fact it could be said that I don’t have space (or indeed) time in my busy life to write, let alone the ring-fenced space, or time, in which to do so.

Nevertheless, I do so.

Or at least I try to do so.

For some months this year the theoretical, literary and practical concepts of space and place featured prominently in my life. But, as some may say, that’s another story, and, should I stray there, I risk digression and well, as I say, that’s another story. Perhaps for another day, another life.

Writing is not just the physical act of putting words on paper or screen, it is the whole process which begins with that glimmer of an idea, the collation of thoughts, the decision to tell the story, and then, at the end, the writing down of the tale.

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories.

My writing now falls into two distinct zones. The work zone, where I write documents for a living. Reports and recommendations are part of the bread and butter of my life as a consultant. That writing needs to be crisp, to the point, making the incomprehensible accessible.

And then, well then, there is the writing I do here, and on belgianstreets and belgradestreets. This is where I have been trying to improve my writing, express myself and have a great deal of fun in doing so.

Most of my writing is done hunched over the screen of either my 11” MacBook Air or my 17” MacBook Pro, the former is tiny and can almost literally go anywhere, the latter has a bigger screen and is much easier to use but heavier so tends to stay at my desk. I have written with the Air in pubs and bars, on planes and trains, on park benches, in airport lounges, and pretty much anywhere else you care to imagine (or perhaps not).

I do have a vice though. In addition to using my Apples, I do love to scribble in those wonderful black Moleskine journals, then I feel like a ‘real’ writer, and I prefer the kind with blank pages as that lends itself to not only scribbling but crazy mind mapping and sketches, all of which helps to make sense of my topic. Or not.

I have tried all manner of writing apps on my macs.

My current favourite, for getting ideas on to the page quickly and with the minimum of fuss is IA Writer, this one is writing stripped back to the core. A great old fashioned typewriter font on a pure white background, no menus, nothing but the words magically appearing in front of me (I wish!). You can almost hear the carriage return zinging on the typewriter 😉

And then, there is Scrivener, from Literature and Latte. This one I love. Scrivener takes a while to learn, although I know some who have taken to it like a duck to water and grasped its every detail with amazing speed. When the time is put in to get to grips with the app it pays back in spades. I am using Scrivener to help me write my serial story dark | side | thursday. I could write and write here about Scrivener, but I will spare you the pain. Just to say that it is wonderful if you want to capture and collate ideas and organise your work in just about any way you want. Try it, and if you do let me know what you think?

Sometimes, when an idea pops up I might even just jot it down on a post it note (which I then lose) or tap it into the notes app on my iPhone for further work.

I’m also a great fan of mind mapping (see above) and as well as scribbling on bits of paper, a whiteboard, or in my Moleskine, I’ve also invested in two apps to help me, Scapple from the makers of Scrivener, and MindNode Pro, both of which help me in organising my thoughts before I write.

My ideal physical space for writing? Well, that’s quite simple, A space in an attic, not only for my writing but for my photography. Somewhere to write, to edit, to keep together all the tools of my craft (and maybe one day, trade), a place of my own, lined with books and prints of my photos.

My own space.

A place to be.


The prompt for Day 6 of Writing 101 then went on to seek feedback from you with suggestions on what you think I should write.

My writing to date, here at least, comprises the following:

  • a weekly poem for Poetry 101 Rehab;
  • a weekly chapter for my serial story dark | side | thursday, and
  • depending on my mood, inclination and time, I often choose a quote to accompany my photographs and then write a short piece inspired by my images.

I would love to receive your feedback, please feel free to use the polling form below and also drop me a line through my comments page.

WordPress Writing 101 (November 2015): Day 6



prose is architecture and the baroque age is over
― ernest hemingway


our lives are often too ornate?

keepsakes, that are intended to remind us.

of what?

of things, we once did, felt, saw, wanted?

what is a ‘keepsake’?

for whose sake?

what matters is what lies within.

and, often, those ‘keepsakes’ are just, well just



(and, for WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Ornate)

(and, of course, for Lucile’s Photo 101 Rehab)

*shot with nikon d700 and nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens at ISO6400, f/1.4, 1/125s, minimal edits in lightroom cc and lit by the glowing embers of a real log fire*

WordPress Writing 101 (November 2015): Day 5


“all the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust” 
― j.m. barrie


A story in a single image

She shivered.

The cold, hard seat making her uncomfortable, her left leg numb, sensation in her toes gone.

Only two days ago, he’d been with her, they’d had coffee together, buttered toast and marmalade.

He’d left to catch the bus. He wanted his newspaper, needed his daily packet of cancer sticks.

Then, later. the doorbell had rung.

The woman at the door, and the man, in uniform.

Sympathetic smiles.

It had been quick, they said. He hadn’t felt anything, they said.

And now, she sat alone.

They had been here together, they had stood, knelt and sat together. They had believed.

And now, now she didn’t.

(submitted to Lucile’s Photo 101 Rehab)

*four images were provided with today’s prompt, I elected to choose a similar one of own, shot with nikon d700 and 16-35mm f/4 lens and originally featured on my blog, belgianstreets*

WordPress Writing 101 (November 2015): Day 4


Es muss auch Spiel und Unschuld sein und Blütenüberfluss sonst wär’ die Welt uns viel zu klein
und Leben kein Genuss.”

– Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte


All around and on the ground
Blooms strive to live
Underground, over ground
Nature lives as she gives
Desperation grounded, death confounded
Abundance, living, giving
Never failing to,

(submitted to Lucile’s Photo 101 Rehab)

*shot with nikon d700 and 50mm f/1.4 lens at  ISO200 and 1/200s , f/7.1 and  edited in lightroom cc , all things survive and grow even in the most unforgiving of places*

WordPress Writing 101 (November 2015): Day 3

the list

‘I tended to worry when there was nothing to worry about. And when there was something to worry about, i got drunk.’
― Charles Bukowski, Pulp


His throat burned, bile rising, tension building, heart racing.

And the dogs howled, snarled.

His feet pounded, blisters rising, legs screaming, ready to quit.

Terror building inside him.

The steps rose ahead of him, his legs ready to fold, his lungs ready to burst. He ran hard up the steps, twisting, turning. The snarling hounds fast behind him.

He reached the top.

Stumbled into the bus shelter. Collapsed on to the bare metal bench. Pulled his coat tight around him. Reached into his pocket.

It was still there.

The list.

Crumpled, tattered, torn.

The list that could save him. He knew it could. It must. It held the answer. The only answer.

He had read it a hundred times. It was all there, every detail. Each step he needed to take to be free.

He began to read, the first line, the first item on the list.

Hot fetid breath filled his nostrils, he felt the fangs slice into his face. The black eyes of the hound.

The last thing, he ever saw.


WordPress Writing 101 (November 2015): Day 2

poetry 101 rehab: father

Do you miss the Writing 201 Poetry course by the Daily Post? If so, then join this blogging challenge and let the poetry flow!


How does it work?

Feel free to answer the prompt, twist it or ignore it; write a poem of your own or share a poem by another author. Write about your inspiration, your creative process or other poetry related thoughts, but this is in no way obligatory. Nothing is obligatory in this challenge. The idea is to get together, talk poetry and have fun!

How can you take part?

Anyone can take part, anytime you want. Publish your poetry post and add a link to it by clicking on the Poetry 101 Rehab badge below or share your link in a comment. Use the tag Poetry 101 Rehab, so we can find each other in the Reader.


I will act as your host, and I’ll be here for you to reply to your comments, read your poetry, like and comment. While this post is the starting point for the challenge, do visit fellow poets in the link-up and chat to them on their blogs!

This week’s prompt is FATHER.




  did you die


  so soon




  we really talked




  did you die


  so soon


  before we really knew


  each other


  now i am



but, what

  about my (own)





My starter for ten, entitled FATHER was inspired by my decision to take part once more in the WordPress Writing 101 course which I previously took back in April of this year.  Today’s prompt from Cheri is to explain why I write.  I may be bending the rules a little by combining the first prompt for the course with the Poetry 101 Rehab but there is a link.  I write for many reasons.  I write because, well because I enjoy doing so, I write to express myself, I write to put things down on paper (or at least on screen) that are best out of my head, writing about difficult things can be cathartic.  I write because I love to communicate, and I want to write better and communicate better.

And I write because I can. I think.

What will your take on the keyword FATHER be? Blog about it in a poetry post and share your link in the comments section of this post and by clicking on the Poetry 101 Badge above.

(image shot with nikon d700 and nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens at ISO6400, 1/30s and f/1.4 in available light, edited in lightroom cc and analog efex pro and submitted to Lucile’s photo 101 rehab, let the writing commence…)

WordPress Writing 101 (November 2015): Day 1