The Opposite Sexes Down Under

Take a trip along Lasseter Highway, close to the state line, Northern Territory. There’s orange dirt and orange rocks across a landscape which might just as well be Mars apart from the unrelenting flatness of it; you can literally see for miles; well, just twelve I’m told; unless you believe in a Flat Earth and I’ll tell you, out here, anything’s believable.

A few miles East along the highway you’ll arrive at Curtin Springs, a road house where the beers are reliably cold and the dunny is baking, and by its doors you’ll see illustrated the difference between “Blokes” and “Shielas”: it’s nothing at all!, except the Shielas look in the opposite direction to the Blokes, which is handy to know when using the loo, genderwise.

written for Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #372 – Farce, Negligent, Fear.

What3words location: farce.negligent.fear – near Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Aus.

images via Google maps, Streetview and Google reviews.

Magic Green Circles

Crop rotation took on a new meaning for us as we zeroed in on Magic Valley, Idaho. The green circles from above brought to mind the linoleum floor in a café I once frequented; it’s decor hadn’t been changed since it opened during the Swinging 60s.

I admit the words at first didn’t appear to promise any sort of Earthbound destination, and, for sure, at first sight this does look peculiar. Do the tractors have wheels smaller on one side than the other? Do the crop dusters fly tethered to a central pole; why then are the circles not wider?

Upon the ground, things are no clearer. The landscape reminds me of the scene from North By Northwest just as Cary Grant, dressed as he customarily is, in a business suit and tie, has to leg it through a field of crops, escaping the crop-duster, dusting where there ain’t no crops!

Ruler straight roads and perfectly circular fields; who’d a thought? Even Lemuel Gulliver would have been surprised!

It turns out this is all to do with the means of irrigation. A rotating sprinkler arm determines the centre and radius of the circle; the round sweep which contains and sustains the crop.

What do they do with the spare areas between the square road grids and the circles? Not a lot and it seems either a lack of imagination or a waste. Still, it does look interesting from space.

written for Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #365

What3words location – anniversary.blogging.party – Magic Valley, Idaho, USA

images via screenshots, Google Maps and Streetview.

Into The Sea

“Let’s go and throw all the songs we know into the sea, you and me, all these years and no one heard…”

So hissed Robert Smith’s Lovecats.

It warns you before What3words’ three words pitches you into the sea: just three wavy lines in lieu of a nation’s flag and a named destination. With two-thirds of the surface being sea and ocean this should hardly surprise the wary traveller.

I like to swim around, get my bearings…

Oh, look! The Galapagos Islands… better said in Español, Islas Galápagos. Exotic, more worthwhile.

“Is that where they are?” says Kevin my travelling companion, “I imagined they would be further away from anything else, more in the middle of nowhere.”

En medio de la nada!

“What, like on Mars or Venus?” says Jane, our other travelling companion.

She has a scathing wit, spread liberally with sarcasm.

It seems an untidy scattering of islands, this archipelago. Somehow, I thought them to be better organised. I expect the outlying ones are not inhabited. I expect even the largest one, if inhabited, is deprived of the wonders of our twenty-first century. No band has yet toured the Galapagos Archipelago in a Vee’dub van – an amphibious van, naturally.

They would only sell one tour commemorating T-shirt, made cheaply in a Bangladeshi sweat shop by urchins who have yet to imagine exploring beyond the confines of their home town. On the wall in the factory owner’s office is a calendar showing a photograph of a giant tortoise, but no one but the boss is allowed inside.

written for Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #363

Three things word prompt: Slipper, Torch, Bracket

click on the map for a bigger view of Galapagos Archipelago

(screenshot via What3Words: slipper.torch.bracket)

Fibbing Friday: Dubious Definitions

10 more words from Thoughts and Theories this Friday. Alternative definitions for some common words provided by the moon is rising’s staff lexicographer.

A #fibbingfriday writing prompt.


A device for keeping an eye on the family at dinner from the kitchen.


Really floppy ears on a sad bunny.


How Maud comes into the garden when called.


What mathematics does to the brain.


An ingredient used to make exceedingly rich beer.


A little drink to get you in the mood for a night in the pub.


Erotica in less than 100 words.


Putting a subtle curve back into a straight cucumber.


A device for seeing fore and aft simultaneously on a submarine.


The id which lies under an inflated ego.

Three Words

It was difficult to know who was more surprised by my appearance: the man or the dog? At least he didn’t bark or growl – the dog, obviously; not the man.

In my head, I practiced the few commands I knew;

seduto!”; “bueno cane.” Not much, I fear; actually, I couldn’t be sure the last one isn’t Spanish. I wondered if the Italian for dog biscuit was “biscotti per cani“, but as I didn’t have any it seemed a pointless waste of mental energy.

I supposed they were from the farmhouse on the corner, my point of entry. Fortunately, there wasn’t anybody at home at the time; out walking the dog. Its compound, through which I had made my escape, had one point of access: a locked gate, high enough to cause difficulty getting over it without looking suspicious had anyone been there to witness it.

Had the man suspected it; a furtive stranger walking away from his house?

“Arrivaderci,” I said, and giving him a wave, left him to wonder about it some more.

written for Pensitivity101‘s Three Word Challenge #299 – “Pony, Almost, From”.

(it was written on the day of the prompt but I failed to post it. I’ve done it now.)

top images: screenshots from Google map’s streetview

left image: satellite view from Google map with corresponding dropped pin.

bottom image: screenshot from What3words: location “pony.almost.from” – Via S. Zeno, nr. Folzano, Lombardy, Italy.

Fibbing Friday: Dubious Definitions

10 real words provided by Thoughts & Theories. 10 alternative definitions provided by The Moon Is Rising’s staff lexicographer.

A #FibbingFriday writing prompt


Renting out a small farm.


Impersonating a 70s cop for deception.


Throwing snake eyes whilst under the influence of alcohol.


Tobogganing desperately away from an avalanche.


Believed to be the first in a long line of ex-wives, but too far back to remember.


A useless gas which won’t inflate a tyre.


What passes for small talk in Aberdeen.


Kitsch belonging to Mr. Helio.


An Ig in abject poverty.


A translator of Glaswegian into English.

It Bothers Me

Bother is a good word. It is the word I will force myself to have habitually at hand in those moments when I want to express how something bothers me when it ought not to. Ought not to because it is trivial, irrelevant and of little consequence to my life.

It bothered me that I had often been struggling to come up with an adequate word to describe the emotional state when things appear wrong but a convincing, lucid argument isn’t forthcoming. Then I heard Richard Feynman say it and it clicked. Things bothered him – honours and awards, in his case – and things bother me too.

It bothers me to see men pedalling bikes with their arches instead of the balls of their feet.

It bothers me to read “noone” when they mean no one.

Noone is Peter Noone, the cherubic faced man who sang with Herman’s Hermits, the 60’s band whose hits included the romantically ebullient, Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good and its heartbreaking inevitability, No Milk Today. You can still hear these on Youtube if you have paracetamol handy.

I saw the noone crime committed today in a national newspaper. The article was celebrating the joy of reading which makes the crime worse than it is normally. Hopefully I will get over it with counselling or some downward-facing dog.

Picture the sweet, little face of Peter Noone opposite, commit it to memory and never ever write his name again when you mean to say “no one”.

Rooted #writephoto

a cut-&-paste piece from the series, “Uncommon Trees” by Thackeray Hornbeam MD.

The deciduous tree, Acer Claustrophobia, does not like confinement in dark places. Its roots are so affected that they do not grow below ground, clinging instead to the very surface for dear life and fearful of stiff breezes. Neither will they thrive in deep forests or woods, preferring isolation or, at the very least, in small copses of no more than five companion trees.

The wood is highly sought after for making picnic tables and other outdoor furniture but is found unsuitable for sideboards, bookcases and beds, and certainly no risk ought to be taken in fashioning internal shelving for airing cupboards etc.: many a householder has been woken by strange night noises soon after employing a novice joiner in commissioning such a cupboard, only to open the door and discover their clean clothes strewn upon the floor.

Tapping the trunk produces a sweet syrup. It only requires the slightest tap to flow freely. Further tapping is completely unnecessary; the tree doesn’t need to be asked twice. The danger is getting it to stop coming out once it’s been invited. Also, it is a devil’s job to get the syrup into a screw top jar. It is best not to tap it at all. Just buy your syrup from the supermarket.

Similarly, the fruits are abundant. Perfectly spherical in form, they drop and roll great distances from the tree, roots permitting. Some have been DNA tested and found to be from parent trees in a neighbouring county. Some are still believed to be rolling. One such fruit has been rolling since around 1064 and is recorded diligently upon the Bayeux Tapestry, almost being trodden on by the King’s horse.

(279 words)

written for Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo #writephoto prompt – “Rooted”.

The Bleeding Edge

a flash-fiction piece

Around the conference hall, 500 people sat taking in the identical image on each of 500 tablets: a circular red button upon a plain white field.

“This, ladies and gentlemen,” said the white coated speaker from the stage, “is the Bleeding Edge! It is so out there that no one, not even the developers, know what will happen when anyone hits that button!”

Pausing for effect, he allowed the audience’s murmur to build and subside before continuing in softer tones,

“It may be something good, or something… not so good.”

There followed a haunting silence as they considered the meaning, then a figure from about the middle, and slightly to the right, stood up brandishing their tablet and stabbed dramatically at the red button with an outstretched digit. There was a gasp! But then nothing seemed to happen.

“Ha!” exclaimed the individual and, throwing down the tablet, added, “Bleeding waste of time and money.”

At that precise quantum moment, the star of a distant solar system exploded, casting its planets far and wide, and setting one of its smaller satellites on a direct trajectory for Earth. It would take 3,000 millennia to reach its tragic destination, though by then, no one will remember the event in the hall, much less the name of the one responsible for pressing the button.

Even so, questions will be asked.

written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #86 – “Bleeding Edge”.

The term, The Bleeding Edge, is a new one to me. It means the very forefront of technological development, even ahead of the “cutting edge”. It is thought to be so far ahead that its consequences are uncertain.

The image above is for illustration purposes only. Please, on no account press it.

Is Life Ever Long Enough To Peel A Beetroot?

When I was in regular work, I was in the habit of packing a small container with a handful of assorted nuts and dried fruits. This would be my mid-day meal along with a banana and a muesli bar. I say “mid-day meal” but it was easily convenient to pop open the container at any time of the day and graze, though the banana and bar I always kept for lunchtime.

As soon as I stopped work, I hit the bread. It’s one of my foodie weaknesses, especially as it comes in so many tasty varieties. As does my other food weakness – cheese – so I lazily hit the cheese roll/cheese sandwich habit.

Sorry to be crass but the trouble with habitual bread eating is it bungs up the old system and I find few things spoil my day more than a sluggish constitution. In an effort to regain my previous health, I substituted bread for a mixed veggie bake down. This comprises half a butternut squash, two or three bell peppers, three banana shallots and whatever else I find or fancy. Often there’s half a fennel bulb going or maybe some spare root vegetables.

Once baked, I peel the skins off the shallots and peppers, but not the squash – it doesn’t need it – cut it all into bite-sized pieces, mix in a little dressing, and pop it into a container for the fridge. That’s my lunches for every other day of the week, alternating with the nuts and fruit as I did before.

Yesterday, I fancied some baked beetroot and put four in the oven as well. They bake a treat and their flavour is sweeter and more intense, but this means ending up with beetroot juice stained fingertips which no amount of scrubbing seems to remove.

It looks as if I’ve been out and multiple-voted in an Afghanistan general election!

My wife says I should have left the skins on but I think the burnt skins can taste a little too gritty. Now I’m wondering if she isn’t right.

And here’s one I pre-prepared earlier.

Would you say what I’ve done is “pre-prepared” my lunches? I’ve seen this term used before and recently in a Food, Health and Wellbeing article advising against so-called “ready meals”, or as they called them “pre-prepared meals”. For me, the term not only looks tautological but it doesn’t roll cleverly off the old tongue either.

What do you reckon? According to the OED, the pre- in prepared stands for before or beforehand, so pre-pre- logically stands for before before. Isn’t that just one too many befores in the process? What do I know, English is crazy.