THE FIRST STORY from Story Cubes Challenge – January 7 – 21, 2018

Lily Loves Scotland

The iron key, heavy in her hand, slid easily into the ancient lock. Lily cocked her head heard it unlock, turned the knob and gave the wooden door a gentle push. Nothing happened.  She leaned in and pushed with more authority.  The door gave a loud slow squeal opening into the small stone cottage that used to belong to her Great Aunt Flora.

With her luggage in hand, Lily steps through the threshold into the past and her future.

The last time Lily stood in this sitting room she was six, preparing to return home to Canada after 3 months running wild in South Ayrshire Scotland. It was the year her mother died.  Her father sent her to Straiton to stay with her mothers’ aunt while he finished his work in Egypt before settling into a new position at Brock University as Head of the Archeology Department. When she received word her aunt had died last winter her mind instantly returned to the last kiss and hug they shared, then through all the years in between that day and the day she held the letter in her hand.

Time hadn’t moved forward in the 20 years since she left.  The room was exactly the same, except the fireplace was cold and an electric heater had been installed on the back wall.

It was late, she could re-acquaint herself with the rest of Rose Cottage tomorrow.

Lily woke to a crack of thunder; a flash of lightning and raindrops sliding down the bedroom window.  She would get wet going into the village for groceries.  Until then breakfast would consist of the 1/2 submarine sandwich she put in the fridge last night and the unused teabag she had in her purse.

During the 15-minute drive into Straiton, the rain stopped and the fulgent sun peeked out to brighten the day as she wound past lush pastures, grazing white sheep and rock fences. Rounding a particularly sharp corner she had a spectacular view of a stunning rainbow shining above Monument Hill.  The countryside colours were brilliant.  Her eyes couldn’t take in all of the shades of green in the grasses, trees and shrubs, or how the blues in the sky and sparkling in the river set off the rainbow like a jewelled setting.  What a sight to see on her first outing.

In no time she was in the village scanning for parking.  Lily had her choice of spots on Main street and parked close to both the fresh market and the pharmacy. Everything was within easy walking distance, her shopping wouldn’t take her long, she could begin the job of sorting through Aunt Flora’s things earlier than she thought.

The bell above the door jingled as she walked into the market.  “Good Morning Miss, how may I help you?” asked the smiling clerk as she wiped her hands down the front of her Kelly-green apron and stepped away from the floral arrangements displayed in the front window.

“Hello, thank you, I am just picking up a few things. I may need some help finding some items, I have a list” Lily replied pulling the list out of her purse pocket.

“Here let me see what you need”, the clerk offered as she reached for Lily’s list.  Lily followed the clerk to the back of the store where the clerk moved in behind the meat counter and selected the chicken, pork, ground beef and bacon Lily had listed.  Each item deftly wrapped in butcher paper, tied with twine then handed to Lily who put them in the handbasket she had picked up by the cash register counter.

The clerk, looked down at the list then quickly but briefly glanced up at Lily and said, “You’re not from around here, are you?  “I’m not being nosy, it’s your accent that gives you away”.  She moved up and down the isles efficiently filling the basket with cans, jars, boxes, fresh fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee, bread, juice, butter, oil, garlic, basil, ginger tea and honey.   Lily smiled, “Yes, you are right, I’m not. I’m Lily from Canada, I’m staying at Rose Cottage.”  “Oh, you must be Flora’s niece from Calgary.”  The clerk reached over and took Lily’s hand in hers ” Your Aunt, she spoke very highly of you. I am so sorry for your loss. She was well loved here and is very much missed – God rest her soul.”  “I’m Heather and it is a pleasure to meet you Lily” She smiled again and continued to fill Lily’s shopping list.

As she collected the items and placed them in the basket, she showed each one to Lily who nodded her head in agreement.  Picking up a package of tea Lily commented: “Everything is so different here, even the Tea”.  Heather giggled, “Oh yes, everything is very different here in Scotland, I have a cousin who lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario she says the very same thing about Canada every time she comes to visit my Auntie” Gently taking the package of tea the clerk turns the container over and points to the manufacturer.  “See this one, Wee Tea is grown right here in Scotland, it even won awards in Paris” “Imagine that tea from Scotland winning awards”.   She was so happy and proud of the home-grown tea, Lily grinned “That is so awesome! I’ll try the one you have in your hand.”  Heather’s smile stretched from ear to ear.

Wiping her hands on her apron she moved to the register with the basket “Well, that’s the lot. I’ll ring it up and see what the damage is”.  As she tallies the purchases and puts everything into crisp paper bags Lily wanders over to the front window breathing in the heady scents of the various flowers on display.  With a sense of accomplishment, Heather announces “There it is, a total of 50 pounds 30 pence”.  Lily looking confused turns and walks back over to the counter, Embarrassed, she apologizes “I’m sorry I forgot to convert my Canadian money into Scottish money.  Would you take Canadian cash?”  Reaching under the counter and bringing out the calculator, Heather laughingly responds “Oh yes Lily, I will calculate the conversion and sell the Canadian money to my cousin the next time she visits”.  “That works out to 85 dollars 40 cents Canadian.  Is that OK with you?”  Thank you, Heather, I will have to go into to Dalmellington and convert the rest of my cash – I appreciate you taking my Canadian money” “You are very welcome, it is my pleasure to help you out”.

She moves out from behind the counter hands Lily the two bags, picks up a small wrapped bouquet of jonquils pops it into one of the bags, reaches over and holds the door open for Lily, the bells jingling merrily.  ‘Welcome to Straiton Lily – I do hope to see you again soon”.  “Thank you for all your help this morning Heather, take care, see you soon.” Once outside the market Lily turns right down the sidewalk to the Pharmacy.

With her errands complete and ready to return to the cottage, Lily balancing two large fully stocked grocery bags, the aromatic bouquet of jonquils and a first aid kit inside a small handled shopping bag walks down the sidewalk toward her car.  Twenty steps from her car, she is stopped her in her steps by the sweet scent of cinnamon buns wafting out of the Buck Tea Room.  She can’t resist cinnamon.  It is her favourite sweet spice.  Five minutes later she is on her way back to the cottage with a cinnamon bun in a small bag.

Before she reaches the cottage, Lily pulls off the road at Tairlaw Linn, the Water of Girvan runs through the northwest corner of the Rose Cottage property. She was glad she wore her runners it will make it easier to walk down to the beautiful double waterfall. As she had done dozens of times during her Scottish summer Lily bends over and slides smoothly between the fence rails and follows the animal trail down from the road to the meadow and the stand of alders beside the river.  The air cool and crisp after the rain is full of the scent of wet earth, leaves and thistle. She takes it all in, breathes deeply and listens to the laughter of the water as it tumbles over the edge and splashes into the pool below.

Lily’s Aunt Flora died while Lily was in Thailand teaching meditation.  She didn’t learn of her Aunts death until she returned home and read the letter from her Aunts attorney, two months after Aunt Flora was buried.  Flora had left everything she owned to Lily; a few stocks; a large nest egg; and Rose cottage, including the 12 acres of property it sat on.  This waterfall was on that property. How many afternoons had she spent swimming in its deep pools before returning to the cottage for tea and sweets?

Sitting down on a fallen log Lily carefully pulls out and unwraps the still warm cinnamon bun. The icing generously slathered on the glaze is gooey, the glaze sticky in her fingers and palms. The bun is oh so delicious.  Her mouth waters as she eats leaving her wanting more.  It certainly makes up for the poor leftover sandwich she had earlier.  Savouring the cinnamon and sugar she licks and sucks every morsel from her fingers then knees down to swish her hands clean in the bracing water.  Too bad she couldn’t enjoy a quick dip today.  Something to look forward to when she needed a break to clear her head.   Returning to the car she allows herself to make plans to stop by again, next time with a bathing suit and a full picnic.

Back at Rose Cottage Lily unlocks the bright blue door and gives it a hard push picks up her groceries and once again steps into the home where she will discover the secrets of her past and the truth of her future.

1 – Globe – travel

2 – Scarab – death – funeral rites

3 – Flower – nature

4 – Abacus – ancient calculator

5 – Key – Access – secrets – truth

6 – Building – Cottage – Family

7 – Letter L – Lily – Linn

8 – Lightning Bolt –

9 – Rainbow? Waterfall?, River?  (Wasn’t quite sure what the icon was)


Cheryle – January 2018


The Secret of the Willow – Blogging U – Poetry 201 – Day 1

The secret of the Willow

Weeping willow dips

Bows blow, golden tears hang low

Conceal sweethearts lips

Cheryle Baker

Oct 8, 2015

Day 10 – Blogging U – Photography 101 – Mystery and Light

Day 10 – Blogging U – Photography 101 – Mystery and Light

I know this isn’t quite in focus, but I think it fits the theme.  I hope so anyway.

“People stay
Just a little bit longer
We want to play
Just a little bit longer

Now the promoter don’t mind
And the union don’t mind
If we take a little time
And we leave it all behind, and sing
One more song

Oh, won’t you stay
Just a little bit longer?
Please, please, please
Say you will, say you will”              Stay” is track #7 on the Jackson Browne Album  Running on Empty. It was written by Williams, Jason Aldine/weaver, Justin.

After the crowds have gone

In love and light Cheryle

Blogging U – Writing Poetry 201 – Found Poem, Landscape, Enumeratio


Words and phrases taken from “The Rough Guide to Thailand”  written and researched by Paul Gray and Lucy Ridout

Published by Rough Guides




Land of 100,000 smiles

Resplendent traditions

Modern Opulence


Monarchy of stability

Unifying Theravada Buddhists

Mon, Thai, Hill Peoples

Chinese, Immigrants, Foreigners and travelling Tourists


Well watered world

Biggest falls

City of Mists

Pass of Three Pagodas


Roof of Thailand

Cloud Capped Granite Escarpment

Limestone hills

Temples carved in caves

Reclining, Standing, Sitting Buddha emerald, gold and Jade


Lush rice fields

Patchwork paddies

Rhododendrons, sphagnum moss

Orchids and sugar cane

Beans and tobacco


Folk Dance, Thai boxing

Festivals of Water, Candles, Firework rockets

Snorkel, Raft, Dive and Trek

Thailand under your skin


Cheryle – February 2015

6th Assignment – Blogging 201 – Writing Poetry Ballad – Heroine, Anaphora/Epistrophe

6th Assignment – Blogging 201 – Writing Poetry Ballad – Heroine, Anaphora

Day 6 and I am up to date with my assignments.  Yeah!  I completed my Ballad about a Heroine using the poetic device Anaphora.

This is my imagining of what a young Priestess would say about her Goddess upon ordination.  It is no way historically accurate or even a slice of history.  It is just me and some words.

Ballad – Heroine, Anaphora

-isis-greek-roman-sculpture-vintage-illustration-from-meyers-konversations-stock-vector-sculpture-of 91944878  edited              A Ballad for the Goddess

If I knew then what I know now

I would have

……….Hung my head in supplication

I would have

……….Danced naked in your presence


You have risen me from despair into hope

……….From disrepute into honour


If knew then what I know now

I would have

……….Picked sacred herbs until my fingers bled

I would have

……….Drunk poppy juice until the truth flowed freely


You have replaced my chains of slavery with freedom

……….Shown me the clues to great happiness


If I knew then what I know now

I would have

……….Plaited flowers and worn them in my hair

I would have

……….Sat in silent meditation on your virtues


You taught me the ways of love

……….To see you in the moon and the stars


If I knew then what I know now

I would have

……….Borne the lessons without struggle

I would have

……….Lifted my voice in joyous song


You have given me the strength

……….To face demons dark

……….To stand alone free from fear


If I knew then what I know now

I would have

……….Bowed down to you the day I was born


Cheryle Feb 23, 2015


Image from:    × Stock Vector Illustration:

Sculpture of Isis – greek – roman sculpture / vintage illustration from Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1897

  • Image ID: 91944878                      Copyright: Hein Nouwens

Blogging U 101 – Assignments 16, 17, 18 & 19 Combined

Blogging U 101 – Assignments 16, 17, 18 & 19 Combined

This week I have been a busy girl, I am so far behind in my assignments. On Monday I did my first delivery of bread from Cobbs Bakery to a local charity then enjoyed the first of two days of Lightwalking for the Calgary Operas’ presentation of The Marriage of Figaro.  Did you know they don’t actual sing Figaro, Figaro, Figaro as shown in the Bugs Bunny Cartoons?    Wednesday flew by with household chores, shopping, teaching, and catching up on emails, Twitter, and Facebook.  Thursday was a day of preparation for dinner & the Opera, one of the perks of Lightwalking.  Friday was set aside to complete the final preparations for drum making. The drums were made and hung to dry on Saturday while watching Space Cowboys.

I am combining all the missed assignments into one big post.  I hope it isn’t too huge or boring.

I completed the 16th Assignment “Plug into Social Media” before it was given. During the widget challenge one of the widgets I added to my sidebar was a connection my Twitter feed to WordPress.

The 17th Assignment directed us to add a new page.  I added 2 new pages, one a contact page, not that I am expecting anyone to actually contact me and the second page is a disclaimer page.  I borrowed the idea from Serins at  Wahoo!  I have a 3 page blog.

The assignment I had the most difficulty with was the 18th Assignment – Try another blog event.  The purpose to expand our horizons, increase our opportunities for blogging and interact with another community, thereby gathering more friends or readers.

I looked at all the available options.  The photo challenges, the weekly challenges, the one word challenges, the poetry and the cooking events, none of the offerings resonated with me.  After wandering around the dozens of sites for a couple of day, reading the rules and criteria of each, I finally settled on the PBC.

Photo Blog Challenge  

I chose this challenge because it is a monthly event.   On the first of each month the event theme will be posted to which the participants will post 5 photos on their blog representing their interpretation of the theme.   I expect it won’t put too much pressure on me to produce an event post weekly, so it shouldn’t be overwhelmed.  In addition to encouraging me to take pictures of topics other than the mountain ash tree in my garden, I will enjoy interpreting the theme.  I will see how it progresses and what I create.  Here’s to the Photo Blog Challenge!

19th Assignment – Extend your Brand

Brand!  Wow having a Brand makes me feel like a product.   I guess that is what I am a writing product or a product of writing.  I now have a Blavatar.  It is the same photo that I used for my WordPress profile.  I figure if I am supposed to be consistent across the web I should maintain the profile I began with.  Here is the picture, let me know what you think.

I also created a page called Lightwalkers Blog attached to my regular Facebook page.  I tried to connect the two but haven’t seen any evidence that I completed the task correctly.  I will continue to try, but my mind is shutting down where technical tasks are considered.

20th Assignment – Create a Regular Feature

Before I registered for Blogging U 101, I wrote a post called the Meditation Cushion.  I will use this title as part of a regular feature for posts on thoughts, instruction and comments regarding meditation and how it can improve life and relieve stress.  I hope you will like what I post and try some of the suggestions.

21st Assignment – Last Weekend – Review your posts and Make Contact with your New Event Community.

I have enjoyed learning about blogging and especially enjoyed meeting many other bloggers.  I have even surprised myself with some of my new discoveries about myself.   It isn’t as scary as it appears, it is fun. I will visit my fellow Photo  Bloggers Challenge over the next month.

I recommend Blogging U 101 to anyone who is new to Blogging or who is struggling with or avoiding posting.  I have registered for Blogging U 201 and for the Blogging Writing – 201 Poetry sessions.

See you soon.

In love & light