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Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge

I was nominated by the amazing Rachel to take part in Five Photos, Five Stories!

Rachel is into bikes and thinking about the environment in a scientific way.  She has just moved from New Zealand to Scotland, near Aberdeen, and posts lovely pictures of her travels around the area.  I read her blog whenever I can.

The idea is to post a photo for five consecutive days, with a story.  Full rules below.  And then nominate another.  What I like about this challenge is that you only have to nominate one.  Otherwise it’s exponential growth, which is unsustainable.  (That’s the sort of thing that worries you when you have a mathematical mind.)

Day 1

This is a photo of my roof garden.

roof (2)

It’s looking a bit neglected – the pansies that the previous owner put in are looking a bit wilty, and the pelagonium (the brightly coloured thing) sparse.

Since I moved to the town to escape a garden, I fear I have gone rather over the top in my freedom, so this evening I drained down some bokashi juice from my bokashi bin and did a little watering.

But the story of my garden is linked with the story of me shedding the things I don’t need or want to do any more.  For years I struggled with a garden, wanting to make a good job of it.  Same with the house I lived in.  I wanted to tame them both.  When I wasn’t working full time, I would be out there mowing, planting, watering, and pretty much resenting it all.

Now I try not to do things I don’t want to.  This morning, I went to a Meetup group.  Meetups are groups where people with similar interests hook up online and arrange to, well, meet up.

I am finding LGBT meetups a bit hard work.  Basically, sharing a sexuality with a group doesn’t mean that you share anything else in common with them.  The upside is that I have found a few good friends through meet ups.  The downside is that while there, I feel a lot of pressure to be friendly and welcoming, when I am frankly finding the person I am talking to incredibly dull.

My pact with myself is that I’ll chat if I share an interest with someone, but I’m supposed to be enjoying myself, not performing charity work, so if someone looks like hard work, I’ll leave them to someone else as soon as it’s polite to.

My friend Kate is much nicer than me, so this morning, she got into conversation with someone who had come and sat down, and hadn’t said anything for about twenty minutes.  Now, I know people can be shy, but the whole point of going to a Meet up is to meet people.  We are all there for the same thing, and sometimes you need to give something to get something back.

After a bit of background “where do you live”, Kate asked, “What are you thinking about?”

And the woman said, “I’m thinking about knives.  I went to a car boot sale this morning.  I bought two knives.  I’m thinking about whether they’ll cut vegetables or not.  I don’t think my knives are sharp enough.”

I don’t yet have any regrets about my decision to stop being nice and accommodating all the time.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

I was nominated by Rachel.



  1. Your meetups sound a bit like mother’s groups. I sometimes found them more effort than they were worth when quite often all we had in common was that we were mothers. My complaints were the same as yours: the conversation was just painfully boring much of the time.

    • That’s scarily accurate and I had never thought about it like that! I am sure some of the participants would be mortified at the comparison 🙂 But you are right – the parallels between wanting to be a “good” member of the group, the worthy “topic based” conversation (instead of weaning and schools, it’s LGBT struggles through history) and the discussion about venues (instead of petting zoos and soft play, it’s clubs and performance art).

  2. Love the idea of this meme Denise! I also admire your courage to be you, and recognise the benefits of shedding the things you no longer need in life…

    • Thanks, Reneé! Some of the worst things, most awful things I’ve done in my life have been under the guise of wanting to keep other people happy and feeling grateful that they would deign to be nice to me. (Such as that thing I told you about when we met up in the cafe!) I wish I had had the courage before not to put up with doing or being what it was that others wanted me to do or be.

  3. Oh my goodness, life is too short to bother with being bored! Like your decisions Denise, your roof garden and this challenge. Looking forward to the next four!

    • Life is too short is something that only dawned on me when I got a bit older, although maybe that is just the way we humans tend to be!

  4. Gwen Stephens

    I love this idea, and the story you attached with your photo. It’s great that it can be a personal essay, and isn’t limited to creating a fictional piece. What a great exercise in getting your mind working.

    • The concept of this series of posts got me thinking a lot about “what constitutes a story.” I tend towards thinking that a story encapsulates a personal journey, or even a small development, of some kind, expressed by people’s actions.

      • Gwen Stephens

        I couldn’t agree more. Our stories, in no small way, are a collective reflection of our personal experiences.

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