Thursday Doors – A visit to Rugby, Warwickshire, England

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

In 2019, Terence and I visited the town of Rugby in Warwickshire. This lovely town is home to Rugby School which is the birthplace of Rugby football. According to legend, Rugby football was invented in 1823 by a schoolboy from the school called William Webb Ellis.

Street through the shopping area in Rugby

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Dante’s Inferno, part one of the Divine Comedy

This article about Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri was first published in August 2018, a few weeks after I started this blog. I thought about the Divine Comedy for the first time in ages today when I listened to a terrific podcast about this magnificent poem on Tea, Toast and Trivia hosted by Rebecca Bud. You can listen to the podcast here: I decided to share an amended version of the post I originally wrote.

When my writing of Through the Nethergate led me down the path of Margaret being kidnapped by Hugh Bigod and taken to Hell in the phantom coach, I immediately thought of Dante’s Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri’s 14th century epic poem called Divine Comedy.

The reason I thought of The Inferno, which tells the story of Dante’s journey through Hell guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, is because of of its association in mind with the Hell I learned about at school.

Although I had heard of Dante, I knew more about the various artworks which have illustrated the Divine Comedy than the actual poem itself. These paintings and etchings scared me to death when I was a little girl. I remember sitting and looking at my dad’s book including these pictures, eyes as big as saucers, and having nightmares afterwards.

Satan in the Inferno is trapped in the frozen central zone in the Ninth Circle of Hell, Canto XXXIV (Gustave Doré)

Botticelli Map of Hell - Explore Dante's Inferno Drawings

Botticelli’s map of Hell

Botticelli's Inferno Painting | Dante's Inferno -The Webpage of Author  David Lafferty

Botticelli’s Inferno painting – You can find out more about Botticelli’s illustrations for Divine Comedy here:

To augment my thoughts and depictions of Hell, I looked into Dante’s descriptions and read the whole of the Inferno. I was fascinated to discover that in the Inferno, Hell is described as nine concentric circles of torment, located deep within the Earth. The poem starts with the poet lost in a dark wood where he has strayed from the right way of salvation. He attempts to climb a small mountain but his path is blocked by three beasts which he can’t circumvent. The three beasts are said to symbolize the three kinds of sin that bring the unrepentant soul into one of the three major divisions of Hell. These three categories of sin are incontinence which means lacking in moderation or self-control, especially as it relates to sexual desire, violence and bestiality and fraud and malice.

The nine concentric circles are said to infer a gradual increase in wickedness and ultimately end in the centre of the Earth where Satan is held in bondage. The poem further explains that sinners within each circle are punished for all eternity in a way that befits their particular sin with the punishments become harsher towards the centre.

In the central [ninth] circle are sinners, trapped in a large frozen lake of ice, who are guilty of treachery against others ranging from betrayal of family ties, betrayal of community ties, betrayal of guests and betrayal of lords. Trapped in the very centre of Hell is the Devil. Condemned for his ultimate sin of personal treachery against God. The Devil is described as a giant and terrifying beast trapped waist-deep in the ice. The Devil has three faces, each a different colour: red, pale yellow and black.

I thought the depth of thought and meaning in this ancient poem was incredible and have incorporated a bit of this newly found knowledge into my book, Through the Nethergate as follows:

Who or what is the devil? Will he kill us all as we come out of the elevator?

Her fertile mind conjured up images of the devil. Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem entitled Divine Comedy came into her head. She had discovered this poem last term at school when her art teacher had shown her class the illustrations created by French illustrator Gustave Doré. These pictures had so captivated her that she had looked up the poem and found it to be equally fascinating.

She particularly enjoyed the first part when Inferno tells of Dante’s journey through Hell. She had re-read this part so many times, she knew parts of it off by heart. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the bowels of the earth.

She thought about the devil, found in the very centre of Hell, condemned for committing the ultimate sin of personal treachery against God. In the poem, the devil is a giant and terrifying beast trapped waist-deep in ice from which he cannot escape. He has three faces, each a different colour: the one on the right is a pale
yellow, the one in the middle is red and the one on the left is black.

Remembered words from the poem filled Margaret’s mind:

… he had three faces: one in front bloodred;

and then another two that, just above,

the midpoint of each shoulder, joined the first;

and at the crown, all three were reattached;

the right looked somewhat yellow, somewhat white;

the left in its appearance was like those,

who come from where the Nile, descending, flows.

Margaret shuddered, her heart filled with trepidation at what she was about to see.

The doors of the elevator slid open. Hugh Bigod reached out and grasped Margaret’s wrist in a vice grip. He stepped out into the penthouse, dragging a reluctant Margaret with him.”

My ideas of Hell are very different but I thought it created a great contrast to include the more traditional thoughts and ideas as expressed by Dante too.

This is a part of my description of Hell:

“She hesitated on the threshold, gazing at the interior of the huge hall. Her stomach twisted and writhed in shock.

It was packed with row after row of cubicles. The walls were high enough to prevent any distracting exchanges or conversations between the occupants of the cubicles. The intense lighting gave the scene a clinical and sterile look, but the cubicles reminded Margaret of the multitude of six-sided cells that make up a honeycomb. There was no relief from the heat inside the building although it was not moist and oppressive.

What is this place?

Each cubicle had a nametag stating the name of its occupant in black capital letters. They were all equipped with a keyboard, computer, second screen and mouse. The glass walls of the hall were dominated by enormous screens. Each screen showed an outline map and row after row of words and figures moved up the sides of the maps.

It was not noisy, but Margaret could hear the occupants. Not voices or breathing, although it was a living sound. Again, she thought of a beehive. The underlying sound, she could sense more than hear, was like the continuous hum of worker bees as they go about their jobs, their lives dedicated to the survival of the queen.

In a beehive, each worker bee has its own role to play and everything is done in a strict pattern. The queen produces a “queen substance”, which controls the behaviour of the worker bees and keeps them together as an orderly community.

It’s the sound of souls. The sudden thought, like a lightning flash, illuminated Margaret’s mind.

There was a sense of timelessness about the scene, as if this brightly lit hall and its occupants would remain here, unchanged, for all of eternity. She had a vision of the souls, working like honey bees into perpetuity, their actions facilitating the continuous expansion of the hive and maintenance of the queen.
Who is the queen bee? The possible answer caused Margaret to raise her hands to cover her eyes, blocking out the room, before her mind tumbled into a black void of horror and despair from which there would be no return.”

A Ghost and His Gold available as an ebook from Amazon

I am happy to announce that, at last, A Ghost and His Gold is available as an ebook from Amazon here:

Robbie Cheadle and Women During the Time of Ghost and His Gold

Thank you to Jacqui Murray from Worddreams blog for hosting me with a post about the role of women in the Second Anglo Boer War. Jacqui writes wonderful books and has a well research and fascinating series of books about early man. Do take a look around while you are there.


Robbie Cheadle’s latest book, A Ghost and his Gold, takes place during the Boer Wars, two important South African conflicts that few outside the country understand. They were between the Brits fighting for the Crown and Dutch settlers (called Boers) fighting for their way of life. The First resulted in Boer victory and the eventual independence of the South African Republic in 1884. But the discovery of gold reignited British Imperial interests and in 1899, the Second Anglo Boer War broke out.  The Boer women played an important role and eventually, the British leadership realised that subduing them was the only way to a successful end to the war.

Robbie’s book takes place during the Second of these two…

The role of women in the Second Anglo Boer War


At the end of the 19th century when the Second Anglo Boer War broke out, the European…

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Thursday Doors – Sandton Clinic

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

This has been a very busy and stressful week. Michael and I were at Sandton Clinic, our local hospital on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for two covid tests, a series of lung functioning tests, a chest x-ray, and to have his wisdom teeth and two molars removed.

South Africa is in the middle of a third wave of covid infections so it was very stressful going to the hospital which is full of covid patients. The covid tests were the worst because the queue for people have tests for admission purposes and people who think they have covid is one and the same. It is very uncomfortable to be in the proximity of so many potentially infected people. Anyhow, it is all done now and, hopefully, we have come through the experiences unscathed.

The above picture is of the front door of the clinic. The two pictures below are of the covid testing station.

The Hospital

Oh, how I hate the hospital,

what a dreary and austere place,

I hate it more and more each time,

it raises its clinically sterile face.


The white noise is just awful,

children, crying through the night,

it’s meant to do the opposite,

but it sucks out all the hope and light.


It hurts to see his dear, little face,

on the pillow, clean and white,

the fact their colours match,

makes it a really horrible sight.


Oh, how I hate the hospital,

the nurses looking weary and drained,

children with arm drips neatly bandaged,

their faces puffy and tear stained.


If I had to describe the hospital,

I would call it a modern version of Hell,

just being in this cesspit of illness,

is enough to make me feel unwell.

I wrote this poem about a previous visit by Michael to the hospital in 2017. It is published in Open a new door, a poetry collection by Kim Blades and myself.

To make my week even more fun, today I took my mom and aunt for their first covid jabs at the Discovery Health building in Sandton. It took 35 minutes to get into the parking and I waited for them for just over 1 hour. I am grateful their vaccination process has finally started, but it is quite exhausting visiting these places and negotiating all the checkpoints and people.

This is the entrance to the parking lot of the Discovery Health building where vaccinations are being given to the over 65s.

If you would like to join in Thursday Doors, you can do so here:

Open Book Blog Hop – Advertisements

What commercial do you hate? What commercial is your favorite? (YouTube link us if possible) Have you ever got an idea for a story from a commercial?

This week’s topic is commercials, but as I don’t watch and TV or movies and don’t listen to the radio, I don’t know any, good or bad.

As I never watch commercials, I have never been inspired by them, but I am sometimes inspired by pictures, especially picture writing prompts.

So, I have decided to apply wide poetic license and show off a few of my book advertisements. Many of these are provided to me through my All Author subscription and book promotions and some I make myself. I like all of them, but I personally enjoy the advertisements I make myself and which include quotes from my books best.


The above three advertisements’ for A Ghost and His Gold set out above are a GIF that I made using a tool provided by AllAuthor, a picture advertisement provided by AllAuthor, and my own advertisement incorporating a quote from the the book.

These are a few of my own adverts for anthologies I have contributed to that I quite like:

What’s your favourite advert? Which one do you hate? Join in the blog hop by clicking on the link below, or just leave a comment:


  1. Link your blog to this hop.
  2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
  3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
  4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
  5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Book Reviews – #Paranormal #Historical #BoerWar The Ghost and his Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Sally Cronin has written a most compelling and wonderful review of A Ghost and His Gold. I am completely delighted by her complete understanding of this story and my writing goals and intentions. Thank you, Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

This week my review for the recent release A Ghost and His Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

robbie a ghost and his goldAbout the book

After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904. Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?

After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the…

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Thursday Doors – Roman lighthouse and Saxon Church at Dover Castle

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

Last week, I shared some of my pictures of Dover Castle in Kent. This week I am sharing my pictures of the Roman lighthouse and the Saxon Church that are both built on the site of Dover Castle.

Roman lighthouse

The Roman lighthouse at Dover Castle is one of two such lighthouses in Dover and one of only three surviving Roman-era lighthouses in the world. This lighthouse is the tallest and most complete standing Roman structure in England and is claimed to be Britain’s oldest standing building. The lighthouse survived after being converted into a belltower for the adjacent church in the Saxon era when a new upper layer was added.

Saxon church – St Mary in Castro

St Mary in Castro or St Mary de Castro is a heavily restored originally Saxon structure which is built next to the Roman lighthouse which became its belltower.

There are records which indicate that this church was build by Eadbald of Kent in the 630s, but this is not a proven fact. The existence of a large, late-Saxon cemetery around the restored church does support this theory. The present Saxon church was built around AD1,000.

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#Bookreview – To the Last Man, a novel of the first world war by Jeff Shaara

What Amazon says

Jeff Shaara has enthralled readers with his New York Times bestselling novels set during the Civil War and the American Revolution. Now the acclaimed author turns to World War I, bringing to life the sweeping, emotional story of the war that devastated a generation and established America as a world power.

Spring 1916: the horror of a stalemate on Europe’s western front. France and Great Britain are on one side of the barbed wire, a fierce German army is on the other. Shaara opens the window onto the otherworldly tableau of trench warfare as seen through the eyes of a typical British soldier who experiences the bizarre and the horrible–a “Tommy” whose innocent youth is cast into the hell of a terrifying war.

In the skies, meanwhile, technology has provided a devastating new tool, the aeroplane, and with it a different kind of hero emerges–the flying ace. Soaring high above the chaos on the ground, these solitary knights duel in the splendor and terror of the skies, their courage and steel tested with every flight.

My review

I listened to the 30 hour audio book of To the Last Man. It was well narrated and the narrator, Paul Michael, had a pleasant voice which is important for such a long listen.

I bought this book because I wanted to learn more about the USA’s involvement in WW1 and it certainly surpassed my expectations in that regard.

The first half of the book is devoted to the role of aviators in this terrible war and focuses on the establishment of the American escadrille, called the Lafayette Escadrille, comprising of American pilots who flew for France prior to America’s late entrance into the war.

Raoul Lufbery is the central character for the telling of this perspective. Lufbery is not a war hero I’d heard of before reading this book, but he was my favourite character. Through Lufbery’s eyes, the reader meets other American aviation heroes from this flying corp including Kiffin Rockwell, Victor Chapman, Norman Prince, William Thaw, and others. I found the descriptions of the in air fights, different aeroplanes and guns, and attitudes and attire of the pilots fascinating. This is exactly the sort of detail I enjoy in a historical novel as it makes the people and events very real.

This section of the book also presents the German aviation perspective through the eyes of the famous Red Baron. I had, of course, heard of Manfred Von Richthofen, but I didn’t know all the details presented in this book. I thought the Red Baron and the attitudes and culture of the German military were well described.

The second half of this book was devoted to the story of America’s entry into the war and the appointment of General John Pershing to head up the USA army. The first part of this section included a lot of detail about the politics of America’s entrance into the war both internally, and among the British and the French. I found it very intriguing.

The last part of the book details the experiences of an American farm boy turned doughboy and his experiences in The trenches and on the ground in France. The details about the tanks, weapons and battles were extraordinarily well researched and the fights and battles vivid and horrifying.

These are two short extracts which illustrate the detailed descriptions of life for soldiers in this war:

“Soaked and thoroughly embarrassed, they were given soft blobs of foul-smelling soup that carried away the last remnants of the creatures who had taken up residence on the skin and hair of each man, and then, more hoses.”

“The darkness was complete, a slow march into a black, wet hell. He was the last man in the short column, one part of a line of twenty men, guided by the low sounds in front of him, soft thumps, boots on the sagging duckboards.”

The reason I am allocating 4 stars to this book is because the short clipped style of writing was a bit irritating in some parts. There was also a relentless usage of the word – said. I found it quite distracting and started listening for it.

For me, the disclosures about ‘the doughboy’ Roscoe Temples feelings of complete displacement and worry he’ll never fit in at home again we’re realistic and vivid. I was glad, however, that the book ended on a bit of a high note after all the misery and loss.

This book is a must read for people interested in learning more about America’s participation in the war.

If you are interested, you can listen to my review and a short extract from this book here:

Purchase To the Last Man by Jeff Shaara

Amazon US

Carrot Ranch May 27 Flash fiction – Flies

I’ve tried to picture in my mind what 480,000 bodies would look like, but all I can visualize are hundreds of fat, black corpse flies feasting on them and, even worse, laying their eggs on them. I see the clusters of flies in the corners of their eyes and in their mouths, noses and ears, and the speckles of fly dust that mark their clothes. The buzzing of the flies fills my mind and I think of those poor dead men turning into a mass of maggots. My gorge rises and it’s all I can do not to vomit.

This is a short extract from my WIP, The Soldier and the Radium Girl. Thank you to Charli Mills for the inspiration. You can join in here:

Day 6 of the WordCrafter Poetry Treasures blog tour – Annette Rochelle Aben

Today, I am delighted to welcome Annette Rochelle Aben, a wonderful poet and blogger, and a contributor to the Poetry Treasures anthology to Roberta Writes with a post about poetry.

Over to Annette

I’m Annette Rochelle Aben and writing has been my go-to for creative expression, emotional release, and a way to boost my GPA since I was a child. I am thrilled to be a part of Poetry Treasures.

 When I first started writing poetry, I never knew much about it, except to know that (to me) a good poem HAD to rhyme. Gee whiz, have I ever been schooled through connecting with other writers and poets here in the blogsphere. One of my favorite poetry styles is called SYLLABIC POETRY. And one of my favorite forms of said style is the ABHANGA. An ABHANGA is a 4-line poem in which the first 3 lines contain 6 syllables each and the last line has 4 syllables. Also, the 2nd and 3rd lines must rhyme with each other.

 Here is a poem I wrote titled: SUPER SISTER and it is inspired by a very timely event occurring in my sister’s life. As the older sister, I want to vanquish the bad guys and make her problem disappear, but ah…  please read on.

I want to step in

To prove I have her back

It’s not courage I lack

It’s not my fight

Right now, she needs support

Reminders of her strength

Me to stay back some length

For she’s got this

For this poem, I wrote a DOUBLE ABHANGA, as I felt that the thought needed to be expanded. Sometimes we can love someone so much that we forget that love doesn’t mean smothering another’s flame. Unless she asks me to help her, to do so would be disrespectful.

 Thank you for sharing this SYLLABIC POETRY moment with me and I look forward to learning that you have obtained a copy (or two) of Poetry Treasures.

 Keep in touch, eh?

Annette Rochelle Aben Amazon US author page


A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2020. Open the book and discover the poetry treasures of Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria (Tori) Zigler, Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jude Kitya Itakali, and Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Purchase Poetry Treasures

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About Annette Rochelle Aben

I was born writing! At least this is how it seems. I had the good fortune to be published while a sophomore in high school, so continuing the journey by publishing books has been a natural course of events.

It is my pleasure to announce that the book I have just released is # 1 Best Seller! And that is: A Haiku Perspective 2018, which is available in both Kindle and paperback formats! Enjoy celebrating a year of my life as told using the framework of Haiku style poetry.

Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart, is a book filled with beautiful photos and remarkable tanka poetry. People LOVE this book because of the comfort it provides. Many have gifted it to others and been thanked over and over again.

A Tanka Picture Book is exactly as the name suggests. I took photos of a variety of everyday objects, works of art and nature, then wrote a tanka poem for each. I suggest this book for all the right reasons. It will entertain, provoke thought, stimulate conversation and be a great addition to your library!

I have chosen to release my annual haiku collection in time to celebrate National Poetry Month, in April. A Haiku Perspective 2017 is filled with smiles, laughter, wisdom and creativity, all cleverly disguised as haiku poetry. Enjoy!

My book, GO YOU offers some encouragement when you need it. It is a pep-talk in a book! Each page gives you a quick way to start your day, help you through a moment or even provide someone else words that can inspire them to a better life. We can all use a cheerleader, when one isn’t available, this book fits the bill!

Most of the books I have published here are centered in poetry, Haiku poetry to be exact. Much of the feedback I receive about the haiku poetry is that people can really understand the messages and they appreciate that the poems are short and sweet!

Angel Messages – a wing and a prayer is my first book about angels. Filled with photos, prayers, poems and prose of and about Angels, this book will delight any Angel lover in your life. Check out the reviews, people are drawn to the inherent inspirational nature of this book and as result is fast becoming their favorite. You can have it right away using the Kindle option or order a paperback copy (or two) and carry it with you wherever you go.

I mentioned that many of my books are filled with my poetry and several of them combine that with my love of taking pictures. Books that feature poetry and photos include Perspective, it’s all about replacing one thought with another, PhoKu, visual perspective haiku and BooKu, Halloween haiku. Perspective has a wide variety of pages that feature prose, poetry and nature photographs, while PhoKu is filled with the photographs I have taken in nature with Haiku poetry added to them, hence the title: PhoKu. BooKu is a “behind the scenes look at how Halloween decorations feel about their jobs. All three of these books are available in print and Kindle formats.

A Haiku Perspective 2015, and A Haiku Perspective 2016 are haiku poetry books. When I first experimented with the haiku writing format, I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I do. These days, I am writing haiku daily and finding myself thinking in 17 syllables. You can find these books in both print and Kindle formats.

Annette Rochelle Aben has a blog of the same name here: