Beyond the Sphere

Wind howled through the broken window, caused by the branch of the large oak during the great storm.

I was surrounded by an eerie darkness; the only light coming into the room was from the candlelight in the corridor outside the partly open door.

Trying to keep as quiet as I could, I waited. I heard footsteps in the hallway coming closer to the room.

I held my breath.

The door swiftly opened and bright torchlight shone into the room, straight through me. I waited for them to leave again before I rattled my chains.

That always makes them scream!

Originally posted 26th June 2012.

On Saturn
Is a spectacular sight
With light fluffy clouds
And rainbows so bright
The rings that shimmer in colours ne’er before seen
Of blues that are red
And whites that are green
Oceans of gas
With islands of air
Metals are liquid
But no life is there
To see the spectacular
Saturn sunrise
That for most of the day
Fills all of the skies

Another filler post today, I’m afraid to say… originally posted on 25th February 2015.

Nothing escapes
Not even time
Not even water
Not even wine
Surrounded by darkness
Drawn in with the light:
The sock that went missing
In the washer last night

Just where does the washing machine take those garments it takes a fancy to?

Perhaps it spins the items so fast on the spin cycle that the garment’s molecules vibrate out of our existence, and into the washed out land? The innards of a Black Hole? The dark side of the Moon?

All I know is I’m now down another sock. I’ll need to buy some new pairs at this rate!

A digital oil dabbling of light being emitted from a drop of water. Or something like that. I just like playing with colour!

Debbie’s theme for One Word Sunday this week is ‘Three’… two plus one equals three, which is presented here. I’ve always enjoyed maths!

Have a bright Sunday!

The new Block Editor is what I’m referring to.

I suppose once you’ve used it a couple of hundred times, it’s OK. But me, who only uses it to add a featured image it can be somewhat of a nightmare. That said, I now know how to add a featured image so it isn’t all that bad.

I become stuck with the more technical aspects, such as how to remove a block that I added in error? I use what is known as the ‘Classic Block’ which is meant to look and feel like the older and more favoured normal editor, but it doesn’t feel right. And I don’t have the time to waste trying to see how all of the different blocks work. One day perhaps, but not right now.

For my posts I use an external program called Open Live Writer. It’s an updated version (sort of) of the older Windows Live Writer, and it is so easy to use words defy me.

It needs to be downloaded from here (the link will open in a new window). It’s easy to set up once downloaded.

Once downloaded and all of your criteria has been entered to access your blog (or blogs if you have more than one) this is what you see:

The interface is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), which means what you type in is roughly what you see when the post is published. Merely enter a post title (in the field on screen which clearly tells you this!) and then type away in the main body of the screen. There are text formatting options along the top so you can add headers and change colours as you so wish. Need to add a picture? Simply copy and paste one into the screen. It can be resized, positioned and even recoloured how you would prefer it to be.

Tip: I use the fabulous Snipping Tool which comes with Windows 10 to select the part of the image I want to use in my post, it’s so much easier than searching for the image through the library, and a lot quicker too.

Once snipped, the image can just be pasted into the text area of Live Writer. Clicking on the image then will add a new tab across the top to Format the image:

Here, various options are provided to recolour, change the link if you want the image to link to somewhere else or remove the link completely, or add alternative text if you’d like something to pop up over the image when the curser on a computer is hovered over it. There are also options to crop, change the alignment and add watermarks.

Note: Depending on the image, I’ve noticed that when making adjustments sometimes the image shrinks, and the more changes made can squish the image rather considerably. Not all the time, but it’s worth being aware of.

There is also the option to add tables, if you so desire. I’ve used this feature a couple of times, but it can be a little tricky, especially if new cells are needed to be added to the table. Also, depending on the theme being used in WordPress the table doesn’t always appear as planned. Still, it’s another option should you wish to try it. The table and a host of other options are available within the Insert tab at the top of the screen.

The tabs along the top:

File – new post / save post / open recent post plus others

Home – the main word processing page

Insert – the host of other options to add into the post

Blog Account – access blog features and update the theme which can be (pre)viewed in Live Writer

Format – appears when clicking on an image for adjustments

The tabs along the bottom:

Edit – this is the main text entry screen

Preview – this tab gives a quick preview of how the post will look (depending if the theme being used in WordPress has been updated (by using the Blog Account tab at the top)). This isn’t exact, but it’s a good comparison.

Source – this is the tab that holds the HTML code, should you feel the need to edit the post this way. You never know, you may feel like a challenge! I don’t tend to bother!

Once I’m happy with my post, I select the categories and tags just above the main text area. Once set up, the categories appear in a drop down list and can be selected simply by ticking a box. The tags need to be typed in, but the first character will list any others already entered with that character, so it becomes easier over time to use the same tags. New ones can simply be entered as you are going along.

Clicking the Publish button, top left in the Home tab, will publish the post immediately to your blog unless you would like to schedule the post, which can be done by selecting the date and time from the option top right, just next to the tags field. Once this has been selected, clicking Publish will send the post to your blog where it will be scheduled to be posted at your selected time.

And that’s it! I find it easy to use, and the post can be written without even going to the blog or even the internet itself… although obviously, internet access is needed to post the thing!

Note: I’ve noticed if I centrally align an image (or text) sometimes, not all the time, the code which says the text or image needs to be centralised appears on the published post, rather than the text or image being centralised. It can be a bit of a bother, but to fix it, just go into the Editor in WordPress to edit the post – usually this fixes the issue without making a change… although on occasions the image needs to be set to be centralised in the WordPress editor by clicking on the image and then the align option – the command doesn’t always pull through.

Little issues aside, for a free system it works very well. It’s easier to use than the new Block Editor, although as I’ve just mentioned there are times when the Block Editor is still needed. Another time is to add the Featured Image… which is how I know how to add a featured image through the Block Editor which I began this post with.

Maybe using the Block Editor often makes it easier to understand, and there might be some good features to use that aren’t in Live Writer… but there’s nothing stopping the post being written first in Live Writer and then tweaked in the Block Editor afterwards, simply by editing the post once published. It’s all down to personal choice.

I prefer saving time writing my posts this way… although sometimes, depending on the post, not all that much time is actually saved!

Believe it or not, this post has been written for Six Word Saturday. Sometimes it’s good to take a quick liberty! (There’s a wordcount option top right in Live Writer which tells me I’ve gone slightly over six words with this post!) It’s a good job only the title needs to be six words, don’t you think?

First post back after a short break… tomorrow it’s One Word Sunday!

Thomasina, my Inner Woman, wanted her portrait painting the other day, so I had no choice but to oblige. In honour of Thomasina, my Inner Woman, being the kind of classic person everyone aspires to be like, the classics were the only place to go.

Everyone has heard of the Mona Lisa, the enigmatic and charming painting created centuries ago by Leonardo da Caprio, yes? Well, I present my version of that very painting, the Mona Thomasina.

Just like the original, she’s sat on a wooden chair on a bridge or terrace overlooking a jagged mountainous terrain, and you can’t tell if she’s smiling or not. With Thomasina, nobody ever can tell if she’s smiling or not, so she is the perfect model for this reconstruction.

Unlike the original, the chair is completely different, and Thomasina just wouldn’t get into the correct pose for love nor money. Mona Lisa’s clothes were far too old-fashioned and motheaten for a modern classic, so Thomasina argued, and she decided on this get up instead. And the mountains in the background are in a different place completely.

But still the resemblance is there, particularly if one squints, and tries to look through the painting as though one is trying to decipher a magic eye picture  just after they first came out in 1991; only with this thing it looks slightly better when blurred.

And before anyone writes in and complains, of course I know that it wasn’t Leonardo da Caprio who painted the Mona Lisa. It was Vinci. Vinci da Caprio. I do knows me art y’know. Mostly.

(Originally posted on 5th May 2019 both here on Beyond the Sphere and over on Splodge and Splatter)

I need one sentence to describe myself.

One sentence that describes everything I have done well, and everything I will do well. Everything I didn’t do well, and everything I won’t do well in the future. Every dream I have had, everything I have created, everything I have learned. Every memory I have. Every experience I have gone through. Every day I have lived. Every cloud I have witnessed a silver lining in. Every miracle I have been aware of. Every magical moment I have been involved with. Every place I have visited, and every place I have yet to go to. Every tear I’ve shed through laughter and sadness, every emotion I have felt. Every smile. Every pain. Every haircut! Everyone I have loved. Every book I have read. Every piece of music I have listened to. Every painting I have admired. Every essence of my reality. Every atom of my existence. Every vibration of my being.

One sentence that will include every minute and trivial piece of information that is unique to me. One sentence that keeps me separate from everyone else on the planet, yet also keeps me connected. One sentence that succinctly sums me up.

I’ve got that sentence now…

I am me.

That’s me in a nutshell!

(Originally posted 24th November 2010)

Not that I’d know or anything.

Everything is perfectly normal.

Putting two completely different shoes on in the morning happens to everyone from time to time. Noticing that they are two left shoes as you are about to leave the house must have been experienced by thousands of people around the world.

Spraying shaving gel under one’s arms, thinking it is deodorant, has been mentioned in classic novels, it’s that widespread an experience.

Trying to open the car door with the house key is so regular an occurrence it is hardly worth mentioning. As is trying to use the security pass card, that lets you into work, to open the boot. And using the house key to get into work, well, that old chestnut has been around since the invention of work.

Writing the wrong name on a form where your name should be; we’ve all done that. Nothing unusual there.

Forgetting completely and totally a work colleague (name, face, personality) who you have sat next to for five or so years… easily done.

Going into one room to urgently do something, but as soon as you are in the room the question ‘what have I come in here for?’ springs to mind. Very common an experience, perfectly normal.

Trying to answer the remote control when the phone rings, or turn over the TV channel with a glasses case, or even pressing a spy hole on a door to ring the doorbell – everyday things. Nothing to write home about.

No. None of the above, if you experience them, indicate you are losing the plot.

Moving the computer mouse and wondering why the curser is moving down the screen when it should be moving up, and suddenly realising that you are watching an artificial WordPress snowflake head towards the bottom of the screen is the key. Wondering why that particular artificial snowflake, rather than the twenty or so others, caught your attention so vividly that you blanked out the curser on the screen completely is another indicator. And writing a blog post about said artificial snowflake all add up to the fact that your plot is very lost indeed.

Or you are.

But you wouldn’t know, as everything is perfectly normal.

(Originally posted 18th December 2012)

Into the depths of the lake I looked
and saw the fishes swimming
And ducks were paddling, and quacking by,
with faces that were grinning
The heron stood staring forth with beady eyes focussed
on something distant
A lone terrapin basked upon a rock, not moving for an instant
A long blue dragonfly hovered close
then zipped away up high
My attention, though, was then quickly grabbed by
a passing butterfly
On the bank a playful kitten bounced along for a little wander
As the trees on the bank swayed from side to side as the wind
was getting stronger
A dove perched gently upon a branch
before taking to the skies
And I was brought back to the water with the gentlest of cries
For swimming in amongst the lilies
was a little water hen
And into the depths of the lake I looked
and saw the fish again…

(Originally posted 24th February 2015)

I need to catch my breath!

I have absolutely no idea where today has gone. Equally, I have no idea where yesterday went. Nor do I have an idea where the recent January days disappeared to. Come to think of it, 2010 passed by in such a whiz it didn’t feel like a year at all. Having said that, it only seems like a couple of weeks since we were celebrating the Millennium – that was eleven years ago. And the seventies, well, they were last month according to the way I am thinking at present.

Blimey. Decades have passed by all within the blink of an eye.

The odd thing is, is that at the time, time doesn’t seem to be moving. Moving it is, but at it’s own special rate, not the rate at which I would like it to go.

I was counting down the seconds on the microwave earlier, and found myself ahead of time. I am sure that the seconds on the microwave are longer than the normal seconds in the rest of time, but if not, I was definitely beating the clock. When I realised I was ahead, I had to stop my own clock, and wait for the microwave to catch up. And those few seconds – I was more than one second ahead – seemed like an eternity.

So, that causes me to ask the question… if decades have just passed in the blink of an eye, how come time stood still between those microwave seconds?

Another thought has struck me.

I am not using time to the best of my advantage. If it is running away with me, as the previous decades have done, I haven’t really used all of those seconds where time stood still for the best of my experience. I should use them for my creative pursuits. New ideas, things to do, places to go, people who I would like to meet, and what I should, could and need to do to meet them. It only takes a split second – not even a full second – for a flash of inspiration to spark and hit home.

Waiting for the microwave gave me more time. How many people say they could do with more time? I say it over and over again, when in reality, I have all the time in my world. The microwave taught me that. Thanks, microwave.

Maybe the kettle was trying to tell me something similar.

And the red traffic lights; the queues in the supermarket; the times that I can’t get to sleep; the seconds waiting for the computer to power up; even the time spent on hold on the telephone with some awful tinny hold music – they are all highlighting just how much time I have now.

Looking back over the past few decades, those seconds have always been there. The clock is constantly stopping and starting, but I am more often than not oblivious to that fact as I am looking elsewhere.

The second I pay attention to my time is the moment my life can begin again. I think that is most definitely worth stopping the clock for, if only for a second or two.

(Originally posted 23rd January 2011)

I’ve never written a sonnet before. I’m not sure if I’ve written one now either, for that matter, but this is my first ever attempt at writing one. The ending’s slightly weaker than it should be, I feel, but it’s a start. That must be a first: having the start at the end! Anyway, I digress. The theme for the sonnet is strangely familiar… for me, and it’s also wearing a little thin now… but, I’m getting there!

A Thought Occurred (A Sonnet by T L Merriman)

A thought occurred as I sat down to write
This post, correct, precise and so in time
But as I typed the thought just went, took flight,
Cleared out, vanished! Leaving an empty mind
This mind of mine so full of thoughts no more
Is not ideal for me in any way
Thinking, waiting, typing, ‘til fingers sore
Wanting something worthwhile and new to say
The words are there, I know, hidden from view
As if they play a game of hide and seek
And once I work out what I need to do
To set them free I’ll use them so to speak

I’ll play with words, I’ll mix them up, have fun,
I’ll write once more. For now this post is done.

(Originally posted 27th April 2014)