Posted in Six Word Saturday

Celebrating half of Bilbo’s eleventy-one years

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photo: internet

I adore hobbits. I adore their joy for life. For celebrating. For finding positive aspects in even the bleakest situations. I don’t think I will make it to my eleventy-first birthday, but tomorrow I’m exactly halfway!

So in honor of Bilbo, tonight we are celebrating my half-eleventy-first birthday. And at midnight, we’ll toast. To Bilbo!

Cheers.

Posted as part of Six Word Saturday

Posted in Border hopping, Personal

The Mearas are real!

That’s right. And if these legendary wild horses exist, then Middle Earth is real too! You only have to step through the megalithic portal of Saint-Claire and you can see, even touch them. I’m sorry, I have been watching Outlander lately.

After seeing Stonehenge in the UK twice, after walking amidst the menhirs of Brittany, I now longed to see the dolmen of Normandy. We found a detailed map and drove from our holiday address to La Chapelle-Biche, entering the Forêt de Saint-Clair from the north over the D810. We headed down towards Saint-Clair-de-Halouze and parked our car at the edge of the forest.

click on the photos for details

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There was no sign of the dolmen, nor directions, so we just entered the forest over a small path, made by the tracks of a John Deere wood tractor. It became clear that there were no standing stones, but at the end of the path was a meadow. And two beautiful faces watched us from under the trees. Mearas!

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V-man turned around and headed back the way we came –horses are not made of stone after all, and that’s what we were here for, right?– but I grabbed my camera and started shooting, while softly calling to the gentle giants. Soon their curiosity won over their fear, and step by step they came closer. I was enchanted and goose bumps rose on my arms, totally mesmerized as I was by their beauty.

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Though their manes were entangled and the mare had a big scar on her shoulder, their gentleness was amazing. I rubbed their cheeks, freeing them momentarily of the flies, and whispered how beautiful they were. I just couldn’t walk away. And all the while, V-man waited patiently further down the road.

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even now – weeks later – my eyes get blurry when I look at these photos ❤

We continued our path, in search of the megaliths. Well, ‘path’; it was more a faint track through the grass and bushes, over dead pieces of wood and mud. Small lizards, flies and bees were keeping us company.

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After making photos of every larger stone I saw (we had to come home with something after all), finally a wider trail lead us towards the dolmen, the huge boulders. No sign, only the forest and the stones, the sun filtering through the foliage.

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It is still not clear why and how the dolmen were created, but that only adds to the mysticism that is tangible in these places. I wandered around the stones, lay my hands on the cold surface and was quiet.

As icing on the cake, there was a tower behind the huge dolmen construction. It was as if I heard Saruman calling down.

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And around the corner, hidden in the green…

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… a mysterious wide stone with text on it.

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Can you read what this stone says? 

A constant buzzing let us know that somewhere nearby a colony of bees was foraging. A bumblebee even thought my shirt contained real flowers and took a taste with his long tongue – or whatever it was that came from his mouth. Before I could zoom in with my camera, it flew away. And so did we, but in our car. I was tempted to go back to the Mearas, but that would have been too much to ask of V-man’s patience.

Such a lovely way to spend a sun-and-cloudy morning in Normandy. Or was it Middle Earth?

 

Posted in Six word stories

6WSC: Film

My entry in the Six Word Story Challenge: Film

ESCAPE INTO OTHER WORLD. TOTAL RELAXATION.

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6WSC<< If you want to read other six-word stories, or participate in the writing challenge yourself, then hit the button! :)

Posted in Nature, Photo

Pippin’s Mushrooms!

~ click the photos for a larger image ~

A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name “mushroom” is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word “mushroom” is most often applied to those fungi that have a stem, a cap and gills or pores on the underside of the cap.

Today we headed into the forest to search for mushrooms. Not to gather and eat them, but to capture them on film. To our surprise, there were only a few. But I share what I have 😉

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Posted in Humour, Personal, Stories, Writing

You Shall Not Pass!

Once upon a time, in a Queendom far away, there was a maiden with golden hair who led a happy life. Happy, except for one thing: she had no wheels. And how she needed wheels, for she missed her relatives, who lived in a neighboring province. One day she gathered her courage, contacted the Agency Of Magic Traveling and asked them for advice. A day later, an old wizard appeared at her door. He introduced himself as Gandalf and invited her into a device called a horse-mobile. Mobile. Moving. She liked that. A lot. And she loved horses too.

After a couple of lessons in the horse-mobile, the wizard thought the maiden was ready to pass the driving test and brought along a very strict Wizard from out of state, the Balroginator. After all, a test needs to be honest and unbiased! The Balroginator threw all kinds of obstacles on her path. The rack suddenly moved backward, heavy fog, fast horses, slow goats. He tested her in every way possible, but she didn’t blink an eye and stayed calm, guiding the horse-mobile with a steady hand. At last she was allowed to Pass. With flying colors. Soon she traveled the land, roaming further and further, until she finally settled down.

Two years went by, and the maiden – no longer a maiden – found herself the mother of a sturdy and handsome son. They had a happy life together, the boy as adventurous as his mother. When he became an adult, he expressed his wish for his own mobile.

Son, are you sure? You are only eighteen years old! Won’t you ride your pony in stead?

But the young man was determined.

No mother, I want a mobile, and not just a mere horse-mobile. Those are too old fashioned. Nay, I need an auto-mobile!

The auto-mobile was the latest invention of the Agency of Magic Traveling. The device, still highly experimental, had been invented by the Balroginator himself. The maiden tried to change her son’s mind, but he wouldn’t budge. At long last, the woman turned to her old friend Gandalf for advice, as she had done in her youth. To her surprise, the Wizard told her not to worry, to let go. That he would love to teach her cub the art of the auto-mobile.

The next day, Gandalf pulled up in the brand new Balrogacar, unique in its kind.

The maiden blinked upon seeing the frightening and alien device. She turned to her son and implored him to change his mind. But he had no eyes for her, nor for their horse. His gaze wandered lovingly over the sharp contours of the auto-mobile. He would master the art of driving this magic car, if it were the last thing he did. Get in, son, Gandalf said, let’s take the Balrogacar for a spin! And so he did.

Meanwhile, the Balroginator had second thoughts about sharing his invention with his Wizard pal Gandalf. During the months it took for the boy to learn how to drive, the Balroginator tried to make him lose his confidence by raising the difficulty level of the driving tests. You shall not pass, he vowed silently, I will be the only one to drive the Balrogacar!

The young man failed the first test. The Balroginator emphasized each little mistake the boy made, belittling his driving skills. But he did not give up. Gandalf patiently made sure his skills got better. Again the young man took the Balroginator’s exam, and again he failed. But he would not give up. Years passed and Gandalf brought along a second Wizard-Instructor, who impersonated as the Balroginator, just so the boy could get used to his threatening presence.

Then the day for the third test came. As he had done to the son’s mother, the Balroginator threw all kinds of obstacles on his path. The chair suddenly moved backward, heavy fog, slippery roads, fast horses, slow goats, road blocks and gorgeous young ladies along the road. He tested him in every way possible, but the young man didn’t blink an eye and stayed calm, guiding the Balrogacar with a steady hand. There was nothing the Balroginator could do, other than to let the youngster finally Pass. With flying colors. Soon he would travel the Queendom, roaming further and further, in his own Balrogacar. Which he first had to obtain of course 😉

Today, my son did what the Balrog could not do. He Passed!! Happy congrats, dear, I’m very proud of you 😀

Posted in Books, Inspiration, Personal, Writing

The Book That Changed My Life

There is really only one answer to the question ‘Name a book that changed your life’:

The Lord Of The Rings by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

Back in 1981 I found three weird looking pockets on a flea market. Nothing special really; the cover art wasn’t exactly thrilling, quite the opposite! Here, take a look at “IN DE BAN VAN DE RING”.

It was my first year at university. I was staying over at my boyfriend’s house because I had an internship in a neighboring village and he lived closer by than I did. Meanwhile I was in the middle of moving to another, better student room.

In that crazy busy week, in between my internship, riding back and forth from one student room to the other, packing and transporting by bike, I took up the first part “De Reisgenoten” (The Fellowship). For eighty pages I wondered what the heck it was all about, used as I was to literature from high school. But after those first pages time slowed and finally stood still.

I read on ’till deep in the night, only to start reading again at first light. This story, so full of imagination and fantasy, so vibrant and alive, adventurous and breathtaking, was unlike anything I had ever seen. I read and read, and when the final page of “The Return Of The King” had been turned, I took a deep breath and finally landed back on earth. This earth, not Middle Earth. I went out and bought The Hobbit. Only to start over again. And it never ever stopped after that. I had found a piece of myself in High Fantasy Land.

Soon I changed to English, because it is my belief that one should read a book in the language it is written in. If possible of course! Translating for example “Silverbeard” to “Zilverbaard”, “Bree” to “De Stee”, it just sounds less real, less exciting. Reading English, at first with two dictionaries at my side, became easier with every book. It prepared me for writing in English, expanding my vocabulary and showing me syntax and grammar.

And I’m always open for suggestions and corrections, so please do not hesitate if you see me writing something incorrect repeatedly. Thank you!

After “The Lord Of The Rings” many other fantasy books followed. “Wizard’s First Rule” and the rest of The Sword Of Truth series by Terry Goodkind is a close second. His creation Gratch the short-tailed gar has stolen my heart. Three quarters of my huge bookcase is filled with fantasy.

And when my back gave up on me, fantasy offered me an escape window into another world where the loss of an active life and sports was less painful. Far worse was done by Sauron than my hernia could ever do. I started writing at a fantasy forum, called The One Ring, where I found new friends, both online and face-to-face in Holland. Which also lead me to gaming. Which lead to even more international friends.

But most of all, John Tolkien with “The Lord Of The Rings” freed my imagination and fantasy. Daring me to explore new horizons, steering my whole life into a new direction. I owe him my books, my friends, my writing, my blogging. In a way, I owe him a big part of my life. And he will always have my everlasting gratitude and respect for that.

~Mar

Posted in Books, Movies, Music

Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took – Through Shadow

A hint of a feeling, a touch of the dark. It is just a word, a thought, yet very stark.

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for me is woven throughout my favorite book(s) of all times The Lord of the Rings.

The shadow of Sauron, stretching his evil tendrils all over Middle Earth.

The feared Balrog of Morgoth, wreathed in shadow and flame.

Artwork: LOTR

The dark and shadowed paths of the Mines of Moria.

Artwork: Wiki

But my thoughts linger on Pippin’s song, sang by Billy Boyd.

Home is behind, the world ahead… And there are many paths to tread. Through shadow, to the edge of night, until the stars are all alight… Mist and shadow, cloud and shade, all shall fade… all… shall… fade…

A captivating melody, indelible images, a sad light voice.

What is the story behind this Peregrin ‘Pippin’ fool-of-a-Took, this Billy Boyd.

Billy Boyd
Date of Birth: 28 August 1968, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Birth Name: William Boyd
Nickname: Bill
Height: 5′ 6½” (1.69 m)

Mini Biography

Billy Boyd is born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1968. This talented young boy, inspired by Star Wars to try acting, got his first taste of it in his school’s production of Oliver Twist when he was 10. Boyd’s parents were extremely supportive, driving over two hours to get him to the performances, but sadly they passed away when he was 12. He was thereafter raised by his grandmother.

He realized that he enjoyed acting very much and told his school counselor that was what he wanted to be, but the counselor discouraged this choice and told him to “keep it secret”.

When he was 17 he left school and went to work in a book-binding workshop. He worked there 4 years as an apprentice and 2 years as a workman. Ironically, during the years he worked at the book-binders, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was printed and bound there, many copies bound by his hands. After the 6 years as a book-binder, he was thoroughly sick of it.

Billy planned on going to America for a year, but before he went he called the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and asked about applying for when he got back. But it so happened that they still had space for this year and they asked him if he wanted to apply and he did.

He’s a talented singer; a strong tenor / light baritone voice, F# to A above middle C over 2 octaves. He also plays the guitar, the bass, and the drums.

He was at the drama school in a 3-year course for his bachelor of arts degree, meanwhile studying everything from Shakespeare to puppet-making. During this time Billy had a few small roles in TV series such as “Down Amongst The Boys” and “Taggart”. After graduating he performed in many plays like ‘The Slab Boys’, ‘The Diary of Adrian Mole’ etc. at The St. Andrews theatre which were his first paying roles.

He then received a call from his agent about the Lord of the Rings movies and if he would like to audition for them. He went along not expecting much, but within a few months Peter Jackson came out to Scotland to meet him and to audition him personally. While rehearsing for a show he received a call from his agent who said that the part of Pippin had been offered to him – if he wanted it. The rest is history.

“I realised that it was just about Pippin and some other people!” After reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ for the first time.

On being asked if he could relate to his character, Pippin: “Strangely enough, the first time I tried to read the book I was on holiday in Florida. I dropped it in the pool my first day there. If that’s not a Pippin thing to do, I don’t know what is.”

Hobbits are a lot like Scots. It’s all about nature and enjoying their land, which is a very Scottish thing.

I think I have a gift… but I haven’t really opened that gift yet and given it to myself.

Source Mini Biography: IMDb

This Fool of a Took isn’t such a fool after all! He came through shadow into the light.

What is your association with shadow?