Purple prose is flowery and ornate language. It sacrifices plot and clarity for indulgent detail. A piece of prose can be entirely purple, or it can have ornate bits sprinkled throughout. We call cases of the latter “purple patches. Purple prose is like showing up in stilettos to go on a hike. The language doesn’t match the occasion or the character. It draws attention to itself. It doesn’t advance the action, clarify the plot, or reveal a character’s intentions or thoughts. It’s fluff — description for description’s sake. Imagine being thirsty and drinking out of a fire hose instead of just getting a glass of water. This is what purple prose does. It drowns the reader.”
Sandy’s prompt for Friendly Friday is all about purple and she included an explanation of purple prose. She also threw out a challenge to finish a sentence using the most purplish prose and also how she would be challenged at Uni to shorten a piece of prose by 50%. I could not resist this kind of writing challenge.
Which of the following versions do you like best? Like the above photo, the first passage is OTT and I warn you it is so purple, it’s blue!
Purple – Complete the sentence: It was a dark and stormy night …
It was a dark and stormy night, of the kind that is punctuated intermittently with angry, tense thunderclaps, and a murky iron blackness that swallowed any chance a moonbeam might stray upon the field of still blossoming, lemon-yellow canola flowers, or the leafy green hedgerow that stoically hugged the rain-soaked asphalt, when a decrepit, rust-ridden jalopy, complete with chrome plating and red vinyl upholstery with loosening stitching, wobbled and slid unceremoniously along the narrow lane; its similarly torpid, disheveled driver with whisky soaked breath blissfully unaware a malevolent evil waited within the protracted, wispy shadows of the grim, concrete-grey mansion positioned atop the hill.
And now for the shortened version:
It was a dark and stormy night, punctuated with thunder and a blackness that blocked any view of the surroundings, when a disheveled whisky-soaked man drove his aging vehicle haphazardly towards the foreboding mansion on the hill, blissfully unaware of the evil that awaited him.
Delft is a Dutch city renowned for its history of painting. So well preserved since the 17th Century, Delft is also famous as the birthplace of the painter, Vermeer, and home to the exquisite ‘Delft Blue’ earthenware.
I took an English speaking tour at the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, the Delftware factory dating back to 1653,considered the Dutch Golden Age.
Not only did I see magnificent Delft Blue antiques, (even in the ladies toilets), but I got to watch the artists at work, painting new earthenware plates and vases. It was interesting to note that prior to painting, the artist traces the designated pattern in carbon, using strategically placed dots, made through holes in the tracing.
The designs are painted in black paint, and the firing process burns off the carbon dots, and changes the black paint to the familiar Delft blue colour.
The official Royal Dutch Delft website has the following visual to explain the process:
The Netherlands’ vast legacy of decoration, both on earthenware and wood is a wonderful inspiration to contemporary artists. If you wish to purchase a hand-painted souvenir, take plenty of money with you, as it is expensive. But it is truly magnificent!
It is useful to delve back in history examining all the various influences that facilitated the development of Dutch folk art. For it is not only the Indian and Oriental world that inspired Dutch painters, but also the Scandinavian world with whom the Dutch were vigorous trading partners.
Germaine Greer is a legend in her own time, a leading feminist in the ‘burn the bra,’ era, yet Germaine has something to say about security.
“Security is when everything is settled, when nothing can happen to you; security is the denial of life.”
– Germaine Greer
If we think about those words, to live life we have to face risks. The trick is to balance that risk with practical common sense and find that happy medium between living and managing risk.
Recently I attended an Adventure Climbing Park. At my age, it is an unusual thing to do and I have not done it before. But it was now or never, I thought. Last Chance station. So I gave it a go.
The task was to climb trees, harnessed in for safety about 20 metres up a tall tree, and walk across progressively more difficult and wobbly bridges and ropes from platform to platform suspended high above the ground, with no exit until the end of the course.
I was keen yet I was terrified. Terrified of falling off the bridge and hanging in my harness mid-air 20 metres up, until some 20 something park attendant could rescue me. How he would rescue me, I did not know and that was even more terrifying! This single thought propelled me onwards when I doubted my ability to continue.
This task that I was so keen to undertake was way out of my usual comfort zone and was designed to test your physical strength and mental resilience. After several reasonably easy initial steps climbing nets that gradually took us higher and higher into the trees, I faced walking across a tightrope – still harnessed in.
This was a real challenge balancing and stepping carefully and I balked at it, thinking there was no way I could do it, but as there was no way down, I inched across sideways, little by little, hanging on to the harness for grim life, until I made it safely to the other side.
It was designed to be an extravagant reminder of the power and prestige of a Viking chieftain named Jarlabanke Ingefastsson, who owned much of this area, way back in the 11th century.
It is presumed that the purpose of the runes is to catch the eye of passing travellers and impress them. This site must have been especially significant as it was also the place where three Viking families, battled it out for supremacy of the area.
Four remaining Rune stones line the causeway as some were moved to other locations. One Runestone was taken to Greece by voyaging Vikings who worked as mercenaries for the Varangian Guard.
Another stone stands at the threshold of the church and depicts two serpent creatures enclosing a Latin cross. This was considered to be evidence of Chieftain Jarlabanke’s wish to ensure his entry to the afterlife. Perhaps he was undecided about which religion to follow and chose to hedge his bets honouring both Christian and Pagan practices.
Symbols of the old religion and Christianity are often found together on rune stones, evidence of transition in belief systems.
Rich Medieval Ceiling Decorations in Swedish Churches
The Church adjacent to the Runsetone Causeway has a rather plain exterior which belies the treasures hidden inside. Here you see but a glimpse of the richly decorated ceiling.
Older churches in Scandinavia often have frescos, or traditional art, decorating their ceilings. They were painted in the day when many members of the congregation were illiterate and this pictorial representations of bible stories was used as a way to communicate religious teachings.
Norwegian Rosemaling in Churches
At times, Lutheran Priests lamented the striking beauty of the frescoes and decorative art, especially that seend in Norway and known as Rosemaling. Certain priests ordered for the rich decoration to be painted over in plain colours, or whitewashed. This was, presumably, to stop the congregations’ mind wandering over the artful decorations and allowed them to focus instead on the Priest’s words.
The art within Scandinavian Churches gives but a glimpse into the past, a Time Capsule of historic Times.
The ceiling, walls, pews, and altar inside the Church in Lesja, Norway, and the fresco near Trondheim are yet another example of a time capsule.
Student Time Capsules
When my sons started high school, they buried a box of items – a piece of writing, some questions to their future selves, and some small object of significance to them in a box to be opened on their graduation day. Another snippet of the past in the form of a Time capsule.
What would you put in a Time capsule?
Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Theme
The theme for this fortnight’s blogging challenge is
Document what you might put in your own time capsule in words or photographs, share a snippet of your local area’s or chosen point of history, somewhere you visited or something of interest that has been swept up in time.
Remember that this challenge is not restricted to photography. It can be a recipe, story, (fiction or non-fiction), or art.
Instructions for the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge
Write and publish a post inspired by the prompt, tagging your post Friendly Friday.
Include a ping-back* here and also add a comment below, pointing the way to your own blog post.
*NB. You must ping-back to this WordPress post itself, as ping-backs to the home page of a WordPress blog don’t trigger a notification. That is why a comment here is good practixe so that we can find your post.
This challenge runs for two weeks after which Sandy will post a new prompt over at her blog The Sandy Chronicles.
Japan is a very clean country. You won’t see or find litter in the streets. Why?
Several years ago in Japan, a bomb placed in a busy commuter station waste bin exploded and this on top of a 1995 domestic terrorist attack using deadly Sarin Gas also in a garbage bin, led to the removal of most bins, from public spaces, in Japan.
Japanese Garbage Disposal
Since then, the Japanese people have been responsible for the disposal of their own rubbish. Most carry a bag and take their trash home with them when they are out and about. Consequently, you will see nothing but a clean streetscape without litter of any kind. And if you do find a public bin, it will be separated into recyclables and combustible garbage all ready for recycling.
Despite the huge population, you won’t find trash anywhere on the streets of Tokyo or Kyoto.
Not even at Shibuya, the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world.
Nor will you find any rubbish or litter in Arashiyama, Nara or at the steps of Mt Fuji.
Recycling Garbage in Australia
Australians are fairly new to the waste recycling game with only a small portion of the 70 million tonnes of waste we produce, being recycled. The rest ends up as landfill or is shipped to willing countries, usually in the third world in exchange for hard currency! Surprising? It is true and as an Australian, somewhat shameful.
Think New Product, Not Waste
Think resource, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us – until this happens, we simply won’t award recycled goods the true value and repurpose they deserve.
There are many things that might be recycled if we considered them a resource for the development of new products, rather than waste.
Paper, cardboard and plastics can be, and are, upcycled to new products; food and garden waste biodegrades in backyard compost heaps/bins; books are re-used, via book exchanges or free services such as Bookmooch.
It’s estimated about 130,000 tonnes of Australian plastic ends up in waterways and oceans each year through littering. Especially problematic are products like wet wipes are being flushed and plastic flying away from landfill processing. 130,000 tonnes! No wonder the oceans are dying.
Do you know what happens to the waste you dispose of, in your country?
Global Recycling Day is observed around the world on 18th March each year, and thus the theme for the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge is:
Up until Thursday 25th March, the challenge is toshare photographs, a story or a blog post about what recycling means to you, on a circular economy, or what is happening in your local area?
Include a comment below, tag your post Friendly Friday Recycling and pingback myself and Sandy, who will host the next challenge on Friday 26th March.
Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year the ‘Seventh Resource’ (recyclables) saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions and this is projected to increase to 1 billion tons by 2030. There is no doubt recycling is on the front line in the war to save the future of our planet and humanity.
The above quote is taken from Jane’s blog, where you will find photographs that are something special. The natural world is displayed in its incredible beauty by Jane’s skill, as a photographer.
It is a delight to walk in forested or rural areas, in cool, shady glades, in big sky country of cattle grazing lands or scenic vistas away from the inner city. Use arrows to see more images below.
Whilst walking with my own camera and observing the world, I try to channel that atmosphere that Jane creates, in her photography.
“Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
~ Susan Sontag
Friendly Friday Challenge Prompt – Whilst Walking
This week our challenge prompt is to post a photograph you have taken ‘WhilstWalking.’
[N.B. If you are in lockdown, archival photography is quite acceptable].
Walking Photo Challenge Brief:
Photograph what it is that draws your attention.
In urban areas, we can still pay attention as we walk. The colour of vehicles, the signage, the expressions on people’s faces, the rain hitting the pavements and gutters. It is there waiting for our attention and our camera lens.
Join in the Weekly Friendly Friday Challenge
Are you a blogger or photographer interested in joining the photo challenge? This challenge runs until Thursday next week. Link back to this post, leave a comment here and other bloggers will find your Friendly Friday post.
Full Instructions on engaging with the Friendly Friday Blogger community are found here.
Sandy at the blog: TheSandyChronicles will present a new Friendly Friday prompt to you next week.
May I suggest that you follow both our blogs if you want to catch the weekly prompts for Friendly Friday.
A father in his 40’s who surfed here every day. He was rescued, taken ashore but paramedics could not save him. The shark, believed to be a Great White, left its tooth embedded in the bite mark on his surfboard.
On our anniversary visits, I rarely went in for a swim, preferring to walk in the shallows and then past the old Shark Tower monument, which was erected in the 1960s for lifesavers to use as an observation site.
From that point, I would follow the boardwalk through the pandanus trees around the headland.
Even though we have nets to protect swimmers, the killer shark appears to have swum underneath the six-metre nets that line the shore.
The irony of the local name: ‘Snapper Rocks” Hotel and Surf Club, does not escape me.
It is quite ironic that my Friendly Friday Challenge Co-host, Sandy, should give us the prompt, Market this week as I was just looking through my photos of the wonderful Market Hall, in Helsinki, Finland.
Where the Hungarians are spoilt for choice in varieties of Paprika in their markets, Helsinki is spoilt for choice in terms of Salmon.
Me, being Australian, have only really known three varieties of Smoked Salmon – Tasmanian, Norwegian and Danish Smoked Salmon.
My eyes opened as wide as saucers when I saw the contents of the cabinets in the Helsinki Markets, the day I arrived in the Finnish capital.
I remember it is not just ordinary salmon, because the thing that struck me about Finns, was that they had taken Salmon to a whole new level, like as in Heinz 52 different varieties.
Now I love Salmon, so I was pretty happy with this, until I realized how hard it would be be to choose which one to buy! I needed help to choose between Tsar’s salmon, Cold Smoked Salmon, Flamed Salmon, Lemon Salmon and Rose Pepper Salmon, etc. and in the end, feeling rather befuddled, I settled on Cured Salmon with Basilic. With a large helping of Salmon Soup? How could I resist?
You need to know that the people of Helsinki eat a good deal of fish, freshwater fish, that is. Even sometimes three times in a day. So when I think of Helsinki, I think of Salmon, and lots of it.”
WordPress recently told me it was my Blogging Anniversary. Really? What of it?
It has been almost ten years since I first created Something to Ponder About, after trying for a few miserable months with the Blogger platform. I never really got how you connected with other people on that platform, so quickly moved to WordPress, as a penfriend in Norway recommended it.
Purpose of Blogging
I really had to think about whether I should celebrate this Anniversary, or commiserate that I haven’t done better over the years? Some Bloggers have used their blogs as a venue to receive all kinds of free gimmicks, products and even discounts on holidays. What have I been doing?
Contemplating my navel in a semi-public way?
Don’t be misled into thinking I have been writing solidly for ten years. I have taken many a blogging break, here and there, when I have been on extended vacations and for the first three to four years, my frequency of posting was ‘hit and miss.’ That is, it wasn’t really conducive to comment conversations, or consistent readers.
In all honesty, I wasn’t a serious Blogger early on; merely posting interesting information to do with nutrition or D.I.Y. Craft that I might reference later, or using my blog to document my travels to, what I thought, were special parts of the world.
But then, something happened.
I began to connect with people worldwide. I started using my words in a way that was more constructive, ostensibly I wished to share information that might help others. The Blogger community responded with kindness and open arms, enveloping me on a truly wondrous journey that I am happy to say, continues to this day.
Connecting with Other Bloggers
Many of the early Bloggers I connected with have now left the blogging world. A few remain, including Leya, Tina and Cyranny. In the early days, Christian Mihai ‘liked‘ every one of my published posts, but never ever did he post a comment. He is a huge Blogger now.
Strangely, I noticed I have only recently connected with fellow Aussie bloggers, but rather most of my readers were in locations around the world. That may be a comment on where my interest is directed, perhaps? I am not sure.
Ineke, in New Zealand, but from South Africa, has been a blogger friend and reader of mine from the start. She was the first Blogger I chatted with and the first Blogger I met, in person. When we met up in her home town, it was like we were already old friends.
It seemed easier to communicate with her over the blogosphere, as we were in a closer time zone, generally speaking. She was always, always supportive and assisted me in various Blogging challenges and joint projects in the blogging community. I thank her for her friendship and hope we will meet up again someday.
Living as I do in this far-flung corner of the earth, the long delay in sending and receiving comment replies on blog posts does hamper the flow of conversation, at times. Thus, it was highly unlikely that I would sync with Snow, in Finland – yet something clicked between us. After a time, I discovered she had a similar childhood to me, growing up in Australia! We could share memories and she seemed to understand my typically Aussie ways.
Together, Snow and I launched the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge, which I now run with the extremely resourceful Sandy, in Canada. I love the Global connections blogging affords from all corners of the world! It’s truly a multicultural phenomenon.
A pivotal moment in keeping my Blog active was starting the now-defunct ‘Monday Mystery Photo Challenge,’ which ran for close to three years. I had a lot of fun interactions and learnt lots about blogging, in general. Photography was definitely a major way I found and connected with other like-minded folk.
Motivation to Keep Blogging
A key to maintaining my motivation for blogging is to write about things I am passionate about.
If you really are passionate about something, your writing comes alive and your Blog will be interesting for others to read.
I like to use humour or satire in my posts, although I cannot claim to be any good at that. Keeping posts topical to some extent, seems to me, to be a way of starting and maintaining a conversation with readers.
An early criticism I received from another Blogger was that my Blog lacked focus. The comment was that I had, “a lot going on,” at StPA. Back then, travelling was something I posted frequently about, but I also wrote about craft, painting, nutrition, mental health, traditional sayings, quotes and cooking. Given the current global situation for Travel Bloggers, I am very grateful my Blog was diversified in its focus.
So, somewhat embarrassingly, I am still here, ten years later, at Something to Ponder About, prattling away to anyone who will listen. Blogging still provides me with a great deal of satisfaction. As more Bloggers fall away or take an extended break due to Covid or Blogger fatigue, new Bloggers begin their journeys with WordPress, filling that void. That bodes well for WordPress and for Bloggers, in general.
I hope to still be around in another ten years, but who knows? What will WordPress and the world itself, be like then?
Start a Conversation
What about your Blogging journey?
How did you start Blogging?
Have you ever considered giving up, and if not, why did you perservere?
Stabilize your camera as much as possible – (a tripod or solid base helps)
Move the subject, not the camera
Try adding the effect of different backgrounds
Check your depth of field for focusing
I got a bit fancy with the Canva templates, but the close-up, above, of the little mushrooms, were very worthwhile to highlight. So delicate sitting atop their thin stalks, they appeared to defy gravity.
And now for a slideshow of flowers:-
I added a frame around the pumpkin leaves. It may have been edited with Snapseed, but it is from my archives, so I can’t be sure. I do like the way you can see the furry hairs on the pumpkin leaves. Glaucous is the botanic name for hairy leaves, I think.
“Taking pictures is savouring life intensely
every hundredth of a second.”
Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Close Examination Prompt
Now it is your turn to write a Friendly Friday post with the theme, “Close Examination.”
Don’t forget to tag your post and link with a pingback here, so all readers can find your post.
Sandy, will have another great prompt for you next week.
In addition to our regular posts, the Friendly Friday team at TheSandyChronicles and StPA, are featuring Guest Posts from Bloggers who contribute to the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.
Ju-Lyn, a Singaporean blogger, from All Things Bright and Beautiful especially enjoys food and cooking, in addition to making ‘purposeful choices, ‘ and has kindly contributed a guest post to our weekly theme of “Something Different,“ in the form of a post about a Basque Burnt Cheesecake.
Ju-Lyn regularly posts mouth-watering foodie delights, on her blog, and this recipe is no exception.
Did someone say Cheesecake?
I hope you will be tempted to try it, for yourself.
Guest Post by All Things Bright and Beautiful
I love cheesecake, of all sorts: baked/unbaked, cream cheese/ricotta, New York/Japanese. I will scoff each with delight!
It was love at first bite! So enamoured was I that I didn’t realise there was no crust, which I only registered in retrospect. I have never made a cheesecake without a crust before so the idea intrigued me and I begged the recipe off the friend, who gifted me the slice.
It took us a while to get started because our baking shop was out of 500g tubes of cream cheese. After searching for more than a week with no small tubes in sight, I decided to take the plunge and bought a 2kg block. With this quantity, I was free to experiment. The recipe is simple enough, but it makes a tall cake baked in a 6-in circle tin, resulting in a silky gooey centre. Older Daughter wanted to see if dividing the batch into two, (ie. 2 x 6-in tins), would make any difference as she prefers a firmer crumb.
So we did. The verdict is split. Half of us love the taller version, with a slightly squidgy centre. The other half prefer the uniformly firmer texture of the shorter slice. We do all agree that we love the intense, smokey caramelised top of both versions.
· 3 large eggs, room temp (approx 150g of eggs without shell)
· 270g heavy cream/thickened cream
· 20g all-purpose flour
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1 tsp lemon juice
1. Line a 6” circle cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper and trimmed to have an overhanging amount of 1.5″-2″.
2. Preheat oven to 240 degrees C.
3. Cream sugar and cream cheese together until smooth.
4. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.
5. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Beat until just mixed.
6. In a separate bowl, mix flour and heavy cream until smooth.
7. Slowly pour the cream/flour mixture into the cheese mixture until mixed through.
8. Bake for 30-35mins until top is dark amber and almost charred at parts but the middles still has a wobble to them when you give jiggle the pan.
9. Cool in the tin fully on a wire rack at room temperature to allow the cheesecake to set.
10. Remove from the baking tin and enjoy at room temperature.
11. For a less “gooey” center, place into the fridge after cooled to allow it to chill and set.
For the 2-tin version, we lined the tins with only 1 layer of baking paper.
We shortened the bake time by 5 min.
Thank you Ju-Lyn for creating something different for us.
The photos are enough temptation for me to try creating this on my own.
If you would like to feature in one of the Friendly Friday Team’s Guest Posts, please contact Sandy, from (TheSandyChronicles) and Amanda, from (StPA), either by way of comment below or directly via their Blog Contact Pages.
The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge with the theme Something Different, will conclude Friday this week, when Sandy will post a new theme on The Sandy Chronicles.