Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge – Day 4 – Ruthin Castle

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‘Look, there’s a peacock.’

‘Oh, like a statue of one?’ My Australian husband frowns, shading his brow as he looks at the bird perched on the high stone arch.

‘No, a real one,’ I say, as the bird moves, hopping down and letting out one of those plaintive cries they make.

‘What?!’

Then ensues a small chase, me with the pushchair, him with the camera as he follows the peacock along the ruined walls, surprised by the penchant of the British to keep such birds in the grounds of their stately homes.

It’s a magical day, one of three we spend at Ruthin Castle in North Wales as part of a family celebration for our much loved grandmother, taking her back to the land of her birth for her 80th birthday. There is a dinner, formal attire and I receive a compliment from a stranger on a staircase, reminding me of who I am and who I can be. During and after dinner we are entertained by a harpist and a welsh male voice choir, harmonies blending to bring tears to our eyes. My daughter sings along in her highchair, banging chubby hands on the frame as the music swells around her, the newest link in a long chain of family all brought together in the same room.

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The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

Five Photos Five Stories Challenge – Day 2 – Sorrento Car Ferry

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This photo was taken where I used to live, on one of the curving arms of land that form Port Phillip Bay, way down south at the bottom of Australia. If you look at a map of Port Phillip Bay, you’ll see the narrow entrance – in the old days, mariners referred to navigating the treacherous reefs there as ‘threading the needle’, and even now channel markers are required for the large container ships that brave the bay, heading for the great ports of nearby Melbourne.

It was a hot day and a group of us had decided to take our kids to the beach en masse to let them run around, enjoying the salt air and fresh waves and fun. I was taking photos of the children playing, then snapped this one of the car ferry that runs every hour between Sorrento on the east side to Queenscliffe on the west. From Sorrento, Queenscliffe seems so close you can see individual buildings, yet it takes several hours in the car to get there if you decide to drive around the bay. The ferry only takes about forty minutes and, if you’re lucky, you’ll see dolphins dancing in the foaming wake, small grey barrel shaped escorts recently found to be their own distinct species. The high promontory to the right is Arthur’s Seat, named for the original in Edinburgh and boasting spectacular views of the bay and along to Melbourne. Heading up the Seat leads you into a land of gum trees and wineries, kangaroos in the fields and small cottages tucked away, a world apart from the blue sea and sandy beaches below.

I lived on the Mornington Peninsula for seven years. It was a wonderful place to bring up a child, among the beaches and gum-tree lined hills. When my daughter was very small, I would take her with me to the grocery store and, when I’d get her out of the car, she would tug on my hand, trying to pull me to the beach she knew was across the road. But we always got the groceries first, storing them in cool bags and boxes before I’d take her to the beach, sitting on a blanket while she toddled and splashed in the gentle bay waters, looking for shells and stones.

Now I have this image as a photo canvas, a bright reminder of my time living by the bay.

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I’ve been nominated by Ali Isaac to take part in the Five Photos Five Stories Challenge – I haven’t chosen a nominee as yet 🙂

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!