Someone who cares about you, and knows you have had challenges, keeps on trying to offer you advice. Only it is not helpful. They use cliches and say things like “look on the bright side of life”…or “every cloud has a silver lining”…or worse! At first you tried to overlook what they were doing because you know they are well motivated, but they keep on doing it. It’s as if they have made you their mission.



What is THE CARAMEL CRUNCH? Well, it’s all about decisions. When it comes to THE CRUNCH what would you do?

One of the definitions of the word CRUNCH is:

a crucial point or situation

 – generally involving a decision with weighty consequences

  • Your response can be a quickie. Please feel free to send a comment to say what you would do, and if you have time or are inclined, please feel free to explain your decision.
  • If you would like to create a post with a longer explanation of your decision, please pingback to THE CARAMEL CRUNCH post. (Or copy and paste a link to your post in the comments section – please feel free.)

If you know anything about CRUSHED CARAMEL, you will probably realize I am a gentle soul, so my questions are not supposed to be terrifying! What I am hoping for really is to see a variety of responses. Afterall, it’s pretty obvious that WordPress bloggers are from a huge variety of backgrounds and cultures. It would be fascinating to learn more about how we as individuals make decisions.

Some of the questions I am going to ask are questions I have discussed with friends when we have been having coffee or dinner. I often find there is no clear right or wrong. It can be so much a matter of our individual experiences and outlook. I find it fascinating how very different some of us are when it comes to decision making.

We all have different outlooks, and may make different decisions. I am really looking forward to learning WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

One Way Street, Decisions, Opportunity



Fights For Rights

Karate, Sunset, Fight, Sports

Fighting for rights, fighting for respect, fighting for opportunities, fighting for justice, fighting for breath.

Centuries of human domination have resulted in people fighting for freedoms that human rulership will never bring.

Many have their own fights. These fights will not abate.


This was my response to the 42-word writing prompt hosted by Deb Whittam, the creator of Twenty Four:

Where You Are Is Peace

Take me with you to where you find peace

Let me rest beside you within the forest’s shade

Hide me away under the moon’s purple-pink rays

I want to breathe in the cool calm and swallow it down


Take away the pain that is throttling my heart

Let me rest beside you feeling safe in your arms

Hide me away within the blanket of your sweet love

I want to breath in the scent of you and let it fill my lungs


Take my hand in yours and never let go again

Let me rest beside you, I can’t be alone another night

Hide me away from this world that is intent on crushing me

I want to breathe in the warmth and security of your luscious love



Thursday photo prompt: Tranquil #writephoto


Watching The Birth Of A Star

I was delighted to see Teresa’s writing prompt yesterday, but time ran away with me, so I am publishing this a day later that intended. All of you astronomers will instantly recognise the picture below as the Orion Nebula:

What do I have to say about the Orion Nebula? Well…I remember one evening picking up a magazine with an article about the Hubble Space Telescope and what it has revealed. I was only in my early teens, but the words I read have stayed with me for the past twenty years.

Part of the article focused on the constellation of Orion. Many of us are familiar with the stars that make up Orion – the hunter – including the famous Orion’s belt, from which dangles a sword.

That sword is actually the Orion Nebula. It has been a very interesting part of our galaxy for astronomers.

I remember reading that the Orion Nebula and the “baby stars” within it are one of the most active areas of starbirth in our neighbourhood. Although it is around 1500 light years away.

When we gaze at these beautiful images, what we are seeing is in effect “a cosmic maternity ward!”

Many astronomers believe that within the Orion Nebula, stars and in fact, entire solar systems are being formed.

I find it awe-inspiring. I wish I knew more about the stars. In London, we don’t see nearly enough of the stars. But over the past couple of months I have sometimes been walking home to the little nest after a long day at work, and I have looked up to see that most familiar of constellations – Orion.

Even though it was a long time ago when I read that article which enlightened to me about what was going on in the skies above me, I remember it very well! To think that when I look up at the sky, I am witnessing stars being born!

Orion, Night, Shy, Star, Constellation

Take Me Far Away

I feel bad. As the weeks pass by I have noticed the long long work hours I have had to work are taking a toll on me. Tiredness has accrued. I am still managing, but my creativity is suffering. After a long day at work, dealing with both lovely and not so lovely patients, it is hard to imagine a story or a poem.

Teresa has been providing some wonderful prompts, and I am so tired I have been unable to respond to some of them. But I do appreciate the effort that other bloggers put in to preparing and hosting writing prompts. This is Teresa’s prompt for today:

The weather in England is cold and dreary

After work my mind and body are weary

So until I can afford a holiday

Put your arms around me, take me far away

Your love is like walking along the seashore

And for all of my heartaches you are the cure

Wrapped up in your embrace, the sun always shines

Your kisses taste sweeter than the finest wines

Gazing into your eyes, like blue skies above

How could I endure without your fondest love?

I Want My Spring

Teresa’s prompt today stirred my thoughts of what is to come! I am already excited by the thought of spring being on the doorstep!

For today’s writing prompt, use the image above of a spring wood as the setting for a story, poem, or other creative venture. There are no rules except to enjoy yourself and follow where the prompt leads.

I have been helping out extra during January (and it looks like I will be working a lot of extra hours during February too) at my paid job, because they are very short-staffed. I have mentioned to our manager that I can be flexible on a short term temporary basis, but I am really looking forward to them recruiting a new member of staff. I know they have had interviews and I think there are more lined up. But I hope they have someone by spring time because I do not want to miss out on enjoying spring!

Just at the end of my road lies deep dark woods. Right now they are almost barren, devoid of life and charm. Stiff breezes are clearing away the autumn leaves that have lain upon the ground all these cold grey months.

But there are tiny buds emerging. Signs of life to come are hidden away. Nature is hatching something spectacular – I know it!

I want to be ready to behold the unfolding of spring. I am longing to discover the joys of colour and floral fragrances again. I long to walk in the woodland alongside the scampering rabbits and squirrels. I am craving for the blue skies, the fresh green leaves and the emergence of rainbowed flowers. I am yearning to breathe in spring again and to see the kind of smiles and relief that comes when we know the dark, cold months have been vanquished once again.

Hark! Spring is on the way! A jubilant chorus awaits us! Hold on for these last few bitter grey weeks. They will lose their hold. Spring will reign supreme and launch us into golden summers!

My Beloved Muse

Very weary head today! I will tell you about that later! But I have come up with a poem of sorts for Teresa’s writing prompt:

Your challenge today is to look at the self-portrait of Jean Jacques de Boissieu and see where it takes you. It can be anywhere at any time. Just go with it and have fun.

I read a little about Jean-Jacques de Boissieu and his etchings. I also thought of how Goldfinch became like my muse (don’t tell him I said that!) and inspired scores of adoring posts. Voila! I have a little poem as a result!

Although you are far away

In my heart you’ll always stay

The face that a thousand times I sketched

On my eyelids is forever etched

For your fond touch my soul yearns

Your kiss on my lips still burns

For now you are the muse for my art

I’ll treasure thee til death do us part

Shades And Shards Of Vengeance

I found Teresa’s writing prompt for today intriguing. It gave me a little idea to develop a post I started last year and has been sitting in my drafts folder waiting for me to give it attention.

For today’s prompt, use the image above of a pottery shard and tell it’s story. Where was it made? Who made it? What was it used for? How or Why did it break? How you use the pottery shard is up to you. Let your mind wander and see where it leads.

I am used to visiting museums and historic sites. The post I wanted to work on was about some artifacts on display when I visited The Roman Baths in the beautiful city of Bath.

As Professor O’Keeffe gently brushed away the dusty sand that held the pottery shard in place, her eyes focused on the small marks on the inside. As the earth that had hidden the shard for centuries finally gave way, she was finally able to gradually release the artifact and transfer it to the collection tray.

Hours later, one of her research team called Professor O’Keeffe to examine the reverse side of the shard.

Curtis declared to Professor O’Keeffe, “It’s another prayer for vengeance. This one is horrible!”

Professor O’Keeffe and archaeology team were working on previously undisturbed parts of the world famous Roman Baths which were painstakingly being excavated before they were due to be opened up for public exhibition.

Amongst the fascinating discoveries made were the many shards of pottery and clay that contained prayers that an enemy be cursed. There were already numerous such requests for the gods to exercise vengeance on display in the Roman Baths Museum. One worshipper named Docimedis, who had attended the temple at the site back in Roman times, had complained about the theft of his pair of gloves. He had wished for the thief to lose his mind and his eyes.


But archaeologists had unearthed ever more shards inscribed with pleas for revenge.

“What does this one say?” asked Professor O’Keeffe.

plunge pool (2)Curtis screwed his eyes as he focused in on the carvings in the pottery shard, “It seems to be referring to one of the plunge pools here at the Roman Baths. Whoever wanted revenge asks that the water temperature become so hot that the man who stole his wife be boiled to death.”

Professor O’Keeffe pulled her face, “That’s really macabre, isn’t it? It’s no wonder that the worship here disappeared long ago. Imagine all these worshippers coming along with hearts full of hatred, praying that their enemies be cursed in all sorts of sadistic manners. You can’t imagine this was having a healthy effect on people.”

Curtis pondered over the many shades of vengeance he had seen inscribed in clay. “I guess seeking revenge is one of the more sinister aspects of human thought. People can feel so justified and righteous in their desire to see their enemy suffer that they walk straight into a place of worship and permanently record their rage and the desire for vengeance.”

Roman Bath, Relief, Bath In EnglandProfessor O’Keefe nodded, “That’s why we’re here Curtis. In exhibiting lessons from the past, we hope that mankind will not repeat the same mistakes that humans have made throughout history. The record of humans seeking revenge is a brutal one, a quest that has never brought about true justice. Just more and more suffering and bloodshed. Some of the bloodiest wars were fought by those who believed a god was on their side. “



An Ethical Dilemma

Teresa’s challenge for today should have been easy for me. Afterall, I do work in a medical practice!

Your challenge today, should you accept it, is to take put on your mask and gloves and write your best Medical Mystery tale and see where it leads…or whatever/wherever the picture takes you.

Boy oh boy, I had no idea where I was going with this one. I found it really hard! Which is odd considering all the experience I have in various aspects of medical care. I just had no ideas. So I started typing and a mystery even I could not solve developed!

Doctor Plumley had a dilemma of conscience. He was wading into an ethical quagmire with the case he had taken on. The young girl he had just operated on had a secret to hide and she had demanded her right to confidentiality. She was in fear of her very life if her family were to find out. Yet Dr Plumley knew that he had a professional obligation to report his findings to the police or child protection services.

But Surita had made her mind up not to give Dr Plumley the chance to debate the ethics in this case. She had fled from the hospital before the discharge paperwork could even be started.

wardDr Plumley decided to go to talk to Surita and explain the position he was in. But as he arrived on the ward, there was no sign of Surita or her belongings. When the nurses realized she had left vanished, they were astonished. While they poured over her admission paperwork in search of her mobile phone number, a lady in the bed opposite to the one Surita had occupied called out, “She only left a few minutes ago. She’ll still be somewhere in the hospital.”

Hearing this information, Dr Plumley ran out of the ward and towards the elevators that led down to the ground floor of the hospital. Surita would have to be heading towards the bus station outside the hospital. There was a figure ahead of him, carrying a backpack and wearing a baseball cap. Dr Plumley caught up with her.

There was a look of terror in her eyes, “They will kill me!” she cried.

“Who is it you’re afraid of? You’re family?”

baronSurita cried out, “My marriage has been arranged by my parents. I am supposed to marry an infamous drugs baron named Chitteo. I fell in love with Samuel. If they knew they would kill both of us.”

“But you’re only fourteen Surita. Samuel could be charged with peodiphilia.”

Surita looked horrified. My wedding is next month. I would have become the wife of a notorious criminal. Samuel is a good man. He will protect me and our child.”

Dr Plumley shook his head, “I can’t let you go Surita. I have an obligation to report this to child services.”

As they spoke there was the toot of a car horn. A car pulled over besides them. Surita turned to Dr Plumley, “We are going to flee for our lives. Literally. Please don’t let them find out. I beg you!”

Road, Couple, Away, Travel, OutdoorsDr Plumley felt frozen to the spot as he witnessed Surita climb into Samuel’s car. He knew it was wrong for the fourteen year old to be fleeing with the father of her child. But something about the haunting terror in her eyes told him that what she said was true.

Dr Plumley returned to the ward. After receiving inquiries from the nurses, he indicated he had not been able to locate Surita. In his office that evening, he signed off the paperwork from the day’s schedule. He removed the record of Surita’s pregnancy from her medical notes.

For the next few weeks Dr Plumley’s conscience was tormented. Especially when he heard of several shady looking characters turning up at the hospital to try to trace the case files relating to Surita’s admission to the hospital. Apparently, they had been aggressive on discovering Surita had not been officially discharged, but had walked out of the hospital without anyone noticing.

One day Dr Plumley received a phone call that eased his anxiety. It was Surita. “Where are you Surita? I have been so worried.”

“I can’t tell you. But I am safe. Samuel and I have changed our names and have managed to find a refuge to hide away. Thank you so much for helping me Dr Plumley.”

“Stay safe Surita.”

“Chitteo, the man I was engaged to be married to, he is very dangerous. You mustn’t tell anyone that you let me leave with Samuel. He will seek revenge if he discovers the truth. You could be in danger Dr Plumley.”

The following morning, a nurse walked into Dr Plumley’s office and was shocked to find him lent over his desk, with congealed blood pooled below his head. The police investigation discovered that Dr Plumley’s telephone had been bugged. Camera footage showed two men in dark suits had entered the corridor where Dr Plumley’s office was located, half an hour after an international call was made to his office. The two men were seen on the video departing a couple of minutes later.

The Plot To Free Emperor Jugzathan

Teresa is taking us space-trekking across the universe today! All I have for my inspiration is the Star Wars movies and a handful of Star Trek episodes (there was this boy I liked when I was around thirteen and he loved Star Trek!)

Your challenge today, should you accept it, is to take to the skies once more and write your best Galactic Empire tale and see where it leads…or whatever/wherever the picture takes you.

I started this little story with a sort of idea…but I am so sleepy, I gave up. Instead I have tagged on another story that I wrote for one of Teresa’s prompts last year. I have kind of melded them together.

Galaxy, Fog, Kosmus, Universe, Milky Way

The entire Omega Sector had been at peace for the past twenty years thanks to the rule of Lord Scrugkapugur and Princess Chatalia. The imprisonment of Emperor Jugzathan in a temporal freeze prison in the Epsilon Sector had brought the mercenary domination of the Intergalactic Trade Union to a halt.

galzxyHowever, there were some of the pirate space traders who still loyal to Emperor Jugzathan and plotted to free him. Under the powerful emperor, they sought to reestablish their exploitation of the mineral rich planets in the Omega Sector.

The temporal freeze prison had weakened Emperor Jugzathan’s powers. He needed to unite with someone with a high quasiquant factor in their genetic code. He knew exactly who had the potential to develop their powers to become his co-ruler of the galactic empire he had developed before the war with Lord Scrugkapugar.


As Quarek and Ruftix were leaving the holodeck, after a few rounds of the latest programming version of their favourite sport Mandahits, they heard disturbing screams which seemed to be coming from the mess-hall.

Holy meteor showers! What is going on?” cried Ruftix.

Come on, let’s check it out.” said Quarek after opening one of the nearby emergency service portals and reaching for two hand held proton emitters.

The two senior officers who held high ranking stations on board the GOSS (Global Outer-Space Service) Lightbeam ran towards the mess-hall.

Suddenly Ruftix fell to the ground holding his head in his hands.

Ruftix! What’s wrong buddy?

That noise – aaaaagh! It’s intense. It hurts like a Humbodlian’s racktor. Can’t you hear it Quarek?

I can’t hear any noise, only the screams coming form the mess-hall. Focus Ruftix – try to fight it.

Whatever the noise Ruftix could hear in his head, it was disabling him. He was curled up on the floor writhing with whatever was disturbing him. “Commander Quarek to sick bay.

Sick bay here Commander Quarek.”

I need an emergency unit sent to the starboard side of Deck 36 – between the holodecks and the mess-hall. Lieutenant Commander Ruftix is in severe distress. He reports hearing an intense sound that has completely disabled him.”

A medical unit is being dispatched immediately Commander Quarek.”

Ruftix, sick bay is on the way buddy. Hold in there buddy. I am going to have to go on to the mess-hall.”

Ruftix was being tormented so much by the sound he could hear, he could hardly respond to Quarek. Quarek carried on towards the mess-hall. On the way he passed other members of the star-ships crew who were also writhing around on the floor holding their heads. It seemed they were suffering the same torment as Ruftix. It seemed strange to Quarek that he was not effected by whatever they could hear.

As soon as he came to the entrance to the mess-hall he could see that everyone there was in exactly the same state. It was very hard to see so many of his crew-members in obvious agony, but not to see any obvious cause.

Commander Quarek to the bridge.”

This is Captain Ladsamann Commander.”

Captain, there is a strange phenomenon occurring on Deck 36. All the crew members in the mess-hall and surrounding areas seem to be hearing an intense sound that is causing them debilitating pain. For some reason I am unable to hear it. But there are hundreds here in severe distress. An emergency unit from sick-bay has been dispatched. But we may be under some kind of hostile invasion.”

Stand by Commander. A security team are on the way.” Captain Ladsamann ordered the security officer to lead a team to Deck 36 and for the whole ship to be put on Yellow alert.

Quarek realized that there was somebody else in the mess-hall who was not affected by the sound that was tormenting his crew mates. He had not noticed at first, but now his eyes were focused on a figure standing on the opposite side of the mess-hall.

Emperor Jugzathan! You have escaped your prison in the Epsilon Sector. Is this your doing?”

Commander Quarek – you don’t seem to be effected the same way as your crew mates.”

You won’t get away with it Jugzathan! Evil will never win.”

No Quarek. You don’t understand. I am not really evil. I just had a very bad childhood. I was born into a violent family and a violent race. My home planet was destroyed during the civil war. And then when I married the Princess Chatalia, she turned out to be as cruel as my parents were. Then she left me for that rogue Scrugkapugur and accused me of treating her badly. All lies – I am the real victim.  I suspected her insidious plot. Chatalia and her minion intend to start a war with the neighbouring Mashtak galaxy,

All lies Jugzathan! We all know Her Highness Princess Chatalia is incorruptible. She and Lord Scrugkapugur are bringing peace to the galaxy.

Quarek, she is your mother. She abandoned you at the temple on the planet you grew up on Karkaw. That’s why you were raised by the priests who serve there.”

Quarek felt uncomfortable hearing Jugzathan refer to his personal upbringing. He had been raised in secret by those priests on Karkaw and had never known his parents. It provoked him to hear someone he regarded as one of the galaxy’s most hated villians talk of so much that was close to his heart.

I don’t believe you Jugzathan. Stop whatever you are doing to the crew NOW.”

“I will Quarek. Do not fear – they will not be harmed. They won’t even remember the sound when it stops. It’s the sound of a distress signal my people had genetically modified into our DNA. When under attack we were able to emit a pulse that debilitated our enemies. But we could not hear it ourselves. It allowed us to escape attackers.”

So why can’t I hear it?

Because Quarek – you are my son.”

At that the members of the crew stopped screaming and wailing and started to pick themselves up off the floor. They were a little confused at first, but as Jugzathan had said, nobody seemed to remember the sound or their previous distress.

When the security team arrived in the mess-hall they found all of the crew members there were behaving normally.

There was only one member of the crew in distress. Overwhelmed with all he had heard, Quarek dropped to his knees, “Nooooooooooo!”