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A Writing Challenge from Bill Holland: The Woman on the Mountaintop; Breathing Space

Updated on February 8, 2017
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Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.

Woman On The Mountaintop; A Chance To Breathe

Source

Natural Wonders To Take Your Breath Away

Scafell Pike, Cumbria, UK. England's highest mountain.
Scafell Pike, Cumbria, UK. England's highest mountain. | Source
Frozen Pangong Tso, Between India and China
Frozen Pangong Tso, Between India and China | Source
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania | Source
( Montage) Lake Nakuru, Kenya
( Montage) Lake Nakuru, Kenya | Source
Amazon River, South America
Amazon River, South America | Source
Yellowstone National Park, Castle Geyser
Yellowstone National Park, Castle Geyser | Source
South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon
South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon | Source
Uluru/Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, Australia. Large sandstone  rook formation.
Uluru/Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, Australia. Large sandstone rook formation. | Source
Mother Shipton's Cave and Petrifying Wall, Yorkshire, U K   England's oldest Tourist Attraction
Mother Shipton's Cave and Petrifying Wall, Yorkshire, U K England's oldest Tourist Attraction | Source
The Amazing Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The largest reef system in the world
The Amazing Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The largest reef system in the world | Source
The Spectacular Iguazu Falls. Argentina. Lady Roosevelt famously responded when she first saw  Iguazu, "Poor niagara."
The Spectacular Iguazu Falls. Argentina. Lady Roosevelt famously responded when she first saw Iguazu, "Poor niagara."

Breathing Space

Since the beginning of time men and women have roamed the earth in pursuit of that elusive treasure, a soulmate. Not everyone succeeds. Some will compromise and settle for less, others may stumble and fall, but never give up the quest. For the few who are prepared to conquer the highest mountains to attain that dream, they'll find the reality far surpasses the dream....“Damn it; this isn't working. Why the hell can't I focus on this cursed book today?”

Writer's block is an affliction that has never troubled Bill. His agile brain and fertile imagination have earned him raved reviews for his books and articles. Today was different.

"I bet Harper Lee never suffered from writer's block, then again, she didn't write another book after 'to kill a mockingbird' now, did she?" Bill prattled to himself with his PC sitting idle before him; he was ready to access the flow of inspiration that usually comes so easily to him. This morning, however, the prolific writer could not get it together, his eyes seemed fixed on the woman beyond the window.

The large mass of reddish brown hair weaved in and out among the tall corn, raspberries and lavender. Occasionally, the woman would turn, lift her hand to shade her eyes from the morning sun as she peered into the mountain range in the distance. Bill could sense her restlessness; she was distracted, he knew what was on her mind.

Bev had initiated a campaign to prevent illegal mining in the protected areas around the Cascade mountain range. These are areas of outstanding natural beauty, they are the nation's breathing space, but there are those who would desecrate and destroy the sacred places for short term gain. Although the area is protected, corrupt politicians are experts at looking the other way, particularly when big money are involved. His wife was afraid that once again, callousness and greed will win the day. A cynical half-smile touched Bill's lips as he thought about the Jackass politicians in Washington. Yeah, he could read her like a book.

The word book, brought Bill's attention back to the computer before him, he really ought to get a few chapters written today, the deadline set by the publishers, was fast approaching and boy oh boy were they impatient! Time was the enemy.

The sight of the petite, but perfectly formed figure of his wife pottering about in the garden continued to draw Bill's eyes, she was the eternal fountain from which he drew his strength. It was Bev's love that made him whole again when the world chewed him up and spat him out. She is his best friend, his woman, his lover, his conscience. She is the muse whispering in his ears, motivating and inspiring him to go further than he dared to dream. She is the reason he gets out of bed in the morning. He loves her completely, and when she is unhappy, he is unhappy.

Right now, he could clearly see that like himself; she was having a real tough time concentrating on the work at hand, her attention was less on pruning flowers, more on the far-distant peaks. Bill gave in. Obviously, no work was getting done today; it was much too perfect a day to remain indoors.

He walked out into the garden, sneaked up behind his wife, threw his arms around her waist and embraced her. He began to nibble her ear, she smiled, turned around and kissed him hard on the lips.

“Bev, my love, do me a favour, put down those shears, let's face it my darling, your heart just isn't in it.” Bev looked at Bill through narrowed eyes. She opened her mouth, about to protest, but thought better of it and relaxed into her husband's embrace.

“It's beautiful isn't it?” Bill whispered in her ear, Bev smiled but did not reply. “Ok, that's it, come on, let's find our walking boots, I feel the need to climb a mountain.”

Bev did not need telling twice; she was ready and chomping at the bit. The voice of the mountain was loud and clear; even the deaf could not fail to hear the call.

Bill retrieved the backpacks from the cupboard, while Bev prepared sandwiches. She took two bottles of water from the fridge as Bill shouted. “Don't forget the first aid box, and wear a pair of double-layered socks...oh, and Bev, pack an extra pair, blisters are not much fun when you're on the top of a mountain, miles from anywhere, let me tell you.”

Like The Red Orchid, She Blossomed On The Mountaintop

Exhausted, but excited, she made it to the top of the mountain. The view was phenomenal. Exhilarated, she walked to a rise overlooking the valley and gazed into the Celeste blue sky, that seemed to go on forever. The mountain boasts not of boundaries nor borders, no race or creed to divide and conquer. It calls to us, come and lose yourself in my beauty, be at peace. Revel in the majesty where simple droplets grow into islands of clouds that shifts and drifts, pierced by rays of sunlight and driven by the wind to sail across the heavens like galleons. But we can only gaze in wonder.

"Whether we're fleeing demons or chasing angels when we get to the top of the mountain, we can not help but stop and wonder at our place in this universe," thought Bev.

On a day such as this, one could talk to the clouds, the spirit of the mountains lifted her high, high enough to see far beyond the horizon.

How small and insignificant we are? Yet; we too are a part of this magic. Bev's heart soared, she is at one with the mountains, the universe. She felt the powerful pull as the valley calls out to her; her spirit lifted like an eagle gliding on thermals. She gazed into the exquisite ancient parchment above her, where the sun and moon took turns to watch over the precious cache of jewels, like centurions on a sacred mission.

The woman on the mountaintop was acutely aware of the rare and precious gift that surrounded her. “Man should never be allowed to lay this to waste,” she said, indignantly. She pledged that she would fight to her very last breath until all the acres of forest and wildlife habitat are safely protected for future generations. To this end, she will ceaselessly rage war on those who would destroy this haven for monetary gain. She would keep right on petitioning until they were sick of the sight of her, one way or another, she was going to stop the clear-cutting and mining of the most rugged and wild places left in the country.

She drank greedily of the pure air, yielding to soft caress, as the cool mountain breeze washed over her vibrant skin.

Bev contemplated the awe-inspiring spectacle that enfolds her. She wished with all her heart that the whole world could share this miracle of nature that left her breathless. Overwhelmed, she started to sway.

She glanced down at her feet; she was standing among the clouds. Behind her, the noise of the city had long since faded away. She is connected, immersed in this magnificent beauty of nature, her soul quiet, her mind still.

A single tear traversed the beautiful, serene face, expertly etched by the hands of time, as Bev looked up at the sky. A teardrop trapped the sunlight in a rainbow prism. The woman on the mountain top felt her soul extending. Her husband leant forward, kissed the tear away, then dropped to his knees.

Bill took Bev's small hand in his as he gazed into her kind and gentle eyes. “Bev, marry me again.... darling let's renew our vows.” Bev didn't trust her voice; she nodded her head affirmatively.

Hand in hand they walked through the trees and into the pristine forest. No words were spoken, lest the spell be broken.


"Come away, O human child: To the waters and the wild with a fairy, hand in hand, For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. (William Butler Yeats)
"Come away, O human child: To the waters and the wild with a fairy, hand in hand, For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. (William Butler Yeats) | Source

Lake District National Park

When the earth ceases to breathe we all choke. Protect the breathing space.
When the earth ceases to breathe we all choke. Protect the breathing space. | Source

Into The Wide Blue Yonder

We can only gaze in wonder
We can only gaze in wonder | Source

The Bucket List

Which of these natural wonders are on your bucket list?

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    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Shanmarie, very nice to see you! I'm glad to know you enjoyed reading my response to Bill's challenge, it was challenging but also fun to do. I hope all is well with you, my best always.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 2 years ago from Texas

      What a lovely response to Bill's challenge! And indeed a challenge to write about actual people that way.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Suhail, this was a tremendous challenge that inspired some outstanding work. This was a pleasure to write, both Bill and Bev are wonderfully inspirational.

      I'm really touched by you lovely comment, thank you so much. Take care and my best to you.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Well, I think this is the perfect response to Bill's challenge in my opinion. You captured all the characters and elements from the challenge posed - Bill himself, his beautiful wife, the mountaintop, everything that the picture depicts, and threw in it your own adventuresome and outdoorsy experience. Wow! to me, this is a perfect response.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Patricia, thank you so much for the visit and wonderful comment. I hope you'll always know the healing power of nature that you found on the mountaintop. Take care and my best to you.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Great story.

      I have been to mountain tops and have felt the way it was described. there is something so very precious about the world from atop a mountain...to see and feel that wonder.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Shyron, thanks for taking the time to read my tribute to Bill and Bev, I enjoyed the challenge.

      Glad you liked the images, Yellow Stone is on my bucket list, what a fascinating place. I hope you're well, take care now, my best always.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Oh Eddy, wonderful to see you! You've just brightened up my day, it haven't been the same without you.

      Thanks for reading this, I hope all is well with you. Take care and my best always.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Jo this is just beautiful, the pictures awesome. I have been to Yellow-Stone and loved it.

      Have a great week dear friend.

      Voted-up all but funny and shared.

      Shyron

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant tobu;I loved it and vote up.

      Eddy.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      fpherj48, Bill and Bev are pretty special, the world could do with a few more like them. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for the vote and share, much appreciated. Take care and my very best to you.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Jo....how precious and filled with all things romantic. This is just how I imagine these 2 wonderful & loving individuals....Bill & Bev must be so grateful to have the privilege of finding the "magic.".......sigh...UP++++ tweeted

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Vellur, lovely to see you, appreciate you reading this.

      Have a great weekend and my best to you.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      A beautiful and romantic response, enjoyed reading.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Jamie, I guess I'm a sucker for romance. Thank you for taking a look, much appreciated. My best always.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      So romantic Jo. Written brilliantly. Jamie

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Alicia, thank you for reading the story and for the lovely comment, much appreciated. I'm glad I decided to contribute to Bill's challenge, it was fun to do. I hope all is well with you. Best wishes.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the way in which you have combined a beautiful story with a very important message. This is a lovely contribution to Bill's challenge.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Audrey, glad you could make it. Yes, it was quite a challenge and a pretty incredible response. Thank you for taking a look, it's always a pleasure to see you. I hope all is well and my best to you.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      This is beautiful Jo! I am late to this party! But what a wonderful response to Bill's Challenge!!

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Harishprasad, thank you for this touching comment, you're very kind, much appreciated and my best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Word55, so lovely to see you. Thank you for reading my entry, I'm please you enjoyed it. Take care and my best to you.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Hey tobusiness, this is one of the best. I was really engulfed by your detailed descriptions here. Great job!

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      It was a remarkable story and you chose the real characters - Bill & Bev. How interesting and really a great response ! Jo, I admire a poet at present but now found a master storyteller also for that. A wonderful tale and a fantastic finishing touch at the end ! Voted up and shared.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Nell, visit and brilliant comment much appreciated.

      My very best to you.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hi Jo, this was awesome! how clever to place Bill and Bev at the centre of the story! and so true too! what can I say? Brilliant!

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Faith, thanks for stopping by, lovely to see you. I'm thrilled to know that you enjoyed the story.

      I'm a sucker for love and romance. I think Bill and Bev lent themselves perfectly for this story. I do hope they genuinely like what I did with it.

      Bill wanted imagery, with unique similes and metaphors and I think he was right.

      Your point about why Harper Lee may not have written another book is one I haven't considered, but there may be something in what you've said. If so, it is doubly sad, because who knows what a talent like hers would have produced. She was an incredible writer indeed. Have a wonderful Sunday, my best always.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Suzette, I've been reading Bill's articles for almost three years now, his love and devotion for Bev is hard to miss, It's there in everything he writes, and of course, I could never resist a good love story. So glad you like it. Thank you for the visit and wonderful comment. enjoy your Sunday, take care and my best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      MsDora, I hope they will. Thank you for stopping by, always lovely to see you.

      Glad you like the story, my best always.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      I'm sure the couple will love this. Great conversation and very beautiful theme!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is beautiful, Jo. You write of Bill and Bev as if you have known them for years. What an interesting and enchanting look into their lives full of love and nature. Just beautiful.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Jo, this is brilliant and beautiful! I love how you have brought us all into their lives quite naturally. I was completely drawn into your creative piece of writing here, so romantic too. You have surpassed the challenge and then some.

      I always wondered that the reason Harper Lee never wrote another book, could very well be due to back then and how it was, that she may have received death threats as to her subject? Just a thought as she surely was a brilliant writer.

      Voted up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Bravo!

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Kim, you got it girl! Appreciate the support, thank you so much, my best always.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Devika, glad you enjoyed it, lovely to see you.

      The challenge was good fun to do, thanks for reading and for the lovely comment.

      Best wishes to you.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Jo,

      Yes. Protect our breathing space! Stop for a minute. Appreciate the ones we love. See beauty, and this write shows that beauty - beautifully. Voted Up.

      Kim

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi tobusiness you told this story in such unique way. I found it very interesting and most enjoyable. The challenge sounds gripping.

    • tobusiness profile image
      Author

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      yasirchohan, thank you so much for reading this and for the wonderful comment, much appreciated. There's been quite a few writing challenges on HP recently, I've taken part in a few, but I think this is my last for a while, even though they are quite fun to do.This one was issued by Billybuc, I'm sure you would have read all the details by now. I'm glad you enjoyed it, take care and my best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Jackie, wow... you are far too generous, but I'm loving it. :) Thank you so much for reading this and for the wonderful comment.

      I think you should give it a go. These challenges are a good way to stretch one's self. When I read the first few responses to Bill's challenge I thought, well.. that's me out then. But I decided to have a go anyway. With comments like yours, I'm glad I didn't chickened out. Jackie, thank you so much. My very best always,

    • yasirchohan profile image

      Yasir chohan 2 years ago from Reisterstown

      Wow this is an amazing story. I don't know anything about a challenge that everything seems to be talking about, but i do know that this story is really touching.

      truly captivating!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow, Jo this is so fantastic!! It was so brilliant using their names and personalities, I just can't quit smiling and so proud of you too! You really are at the top at HP in my opinion and I am so pleased to know you! I wouldn't even try to beat this. It is perfect.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Bill, now you've gone and made me cry. :)

      I'm so glad you like what I did with the challenge. Really this is about both you and Bev. Your love for Bev shines in every word you write. It takes someone pretty special to inspire such love and devotion. You're both blessed. In each other you've found your soul mates. My best to you both, this was a real pleasure. Hope you're enjoying the weekend.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      KoffeeKlotch Gals, thank you for the visit and awesome comment, much appreciated. My best to you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, my goodness, I've never been the subject of a short story. What an honor...but really, it's Bev, isn't it? It's always been her, for me, and you nailed that perfectly. She is my muse...my coach...my cheerleader...and my calming place. I am stunned by this, and oh so grateful.

      You are beautiful, my friend. Thank you!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is absolutely awesome. You had me enthralled from the first word. I look forward to reading more of your writings.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Ann, coach trips are a good idea. We used to do a lot of caravaning years ago, this time of the year we'd go riding in north Wales, beautiful countryside. Unfortunately, my riding days are well and truly over, but we've recently purchased a caravan, so we're on the move again and loving it. We may explore the Hebrides next. But you're right about the driving it can be pretty tiring, especially since I don't drive, my husband does it all, poor love. We've done a couple of coach trips to Aachen in Germany for the Christmas shopping, that was fun. Maybe we'll bump into each other one of these days, wouldn't it be something? :) Enjoy the Autumn sunshine.

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, you too. Yes, we're also thinking that we should explore our own country a little more now instead of gallivanting abroad. There are so many great coach trips, weekends away, that take away the strain of driving on our crowded roads. Maybe we'll see you on one of them!

      Ann

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Ann, thank you for this, it means a lot. Bill and Bev are nothing if not inspirational. Yes, this England, this earth of majesty is a treasure trove indeed. I'm looking forward to seeing much more of it as I slow down on my way to retirement.

      Enjoy your weekend, my best always.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      You have some amazing imagery here - wonderful! Such a romantic story, interwoven with determination, worry and the wonder of nature.

      This is so well-crafted, Jo. I'm sure Bill and Bev will love this and it's a great tribute to both of them.

      The photos are great too; we have some wonderful spots in this sceptred isle, don't we?

      Well done indeed!

      Ann

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Ruby, thank you for taking a look, I'm so thrilled by your comment. I hope Bill and Bev approves. Bill have written so much about this incredible woman, I feel like I've known her for years. let's hope I got it right. :) Have a lovely weekend, my best always.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      First let me say, " Beautiful " then, I love Otis Redding! This was so much like Bill and Bev, both fighting for our natural resources. Also I would love to visit Mother Shipton's cave. Awesome story!

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Frank, I guess when you reach the summit of your writing career with your first book, there is nowhere else to go. I don't know if Harper Lee wrote another book, but she certainly never publish again. But what a book? Also one of my favourites. Thanks for reading this, much appreciated. Have a wonderful weekend and best wishes.

    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi John, thank you my friend for the very generous comment. I hope Bill and Bev enjoy the read, they are both pretty special people, the world could use a few more like them. have a great weekend, take care now.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      you're breathing more life into this challenge.. I like how you did this.. Harper Lee.. no other books after to kill a mockingbird? I have to google that.. that was my favorite book of all time....

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      A truly wonderful story an response to Bill's challenge Jo. I am sure both he an Bev will be delighted with this one. Great message within and photos too. Voted up.

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