Lyme Regis, Then and Now

21 Oct

100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below.


Loch ness2_edited-1

(Copyright The Reclining Gentleman)


“Sooty-winged tern.”


“Common shelduck.”


“Stop that, Mary. None of those creatures are out there.” said Mary’s birding partner, Shannon, from behind her binoculars.

“It’s not what you look at,” Mary replied quietly. “It’s what you see.”

“Leave Thoreau out of this.”

“I can’t help it, Shannon. In the Jurassic period the ancestors of today’s birds ruled these wetlands.”

“When was the Jurassic?”

“Long ago, Shannon. In deep time.”


In the distance, curtains of mist parted. Something rose silently from the water.


“What on earth?”

“Plesiosaurus marcrocephalus.”





(Research for this week led me to the story of Mary Anning, whose spirit moved through my character, Mary, and breathed life into my tale. She was a fascinating woman who should be remembered for all that she endured thoughout her life and for her contributions to our present day window on Deep Time.)

90 Responses to “Lyme Regis, Then and Now”

  1. rochellewisoff October 22, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    Dear Doug,

    Your story is the perfect reminder that there may be more to what we see. Sometimes we refuse to see what’s right in front of us, don’t we? The banter between the two women is smooth, natural and has me wildly researching. Masterfully conceived and written.



    • dmmacilroy October 22, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      I’m betting no one sees, despite your help and this blatant attempt to prime the pump. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘We shall see.’

      Thanks for your kind comment…and…



  2. Claire Fuller October 22, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    You’ve captured Mary’s feisty nature, which she must have had to survive and make a name for herself in that male-centric world (even it was after her death). I don’t live too far from the Jurassic coast, and have spent many happy hours there with my son, searching for fossils.

    • dmmacilroy October 22, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      Dear Claire,

      It is gratifying to me to read that you know the Jurassic coast and of Mary Anning. I have placed it on my list of places in the world that I must visit before I become a fossil. Then again, i may be too late. Ah, well…

      Thank you for reading and commenting.



  3. Jessie Ansons October 22, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    Oooh loved the image of the mist parting and what the sceptic will think of that!

    • dmmacilroy October 22, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      Dear Jessie,

      Thanks for letting your imagination run riot for just a bit. Birds of a feather, we are.



  4. Snow's Fissures and Fractures October 22, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Interesting take on a prompt. Loved the part “In deep time.” I don’t know why.

    • dmmacilroy October 22, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Dear Lore,

      It has a connotation that puts our world and all of our problems in perspective, doesn’t it. The description of Deep Time was coined over a century and a half ago and that long span has not put a dent in the depth of the term. Thank you for reading and commenting.



  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) October 22, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    This is just so very good Doug, I would love to see one of these fossils .. (bare the fangs and viciousness). Love the back-story.

    • dmmacilroy October 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      Dear Bjorn,

      Thank you, good sir. I second your desire to see one of these fossils. Amazing creatures in an amazing time.



  6. Sandra October 22, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    Beautifully written, and another piece to broaden the knowledgeable horizons of we Friday Fictioneers. I was interested to read about Mary Anning, and gratified to see that Dickens was one to support the work and the struggle that she had achieved. I’m pleased that she has now received the recognition she so richly deserved. Well done.

    • dmmacilroy October 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      Her story contains lessons for writers, doesn’t it? I am mindful of the need to write well despite not knowing if my work will ever see the light of day. Her passion led to broad knowledge and a place in history long after she was dead. Perhaps mine will, too.

      Thanks for your fine comments.



      P.S. I have a Mallen streak that covers my entire head.

  7. vborzymowski October 22, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Beautiful! Especially “it is not what you look at, it is what you see!” If dreams affect your real life what makes them not real? All the best, v

    • dmmacilroy October 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Dear V,

      Thanks for saying so. I try to see beyond the boundaries of the picture. My main character has honed that skill to a keen edge.



  8. AnElephantCant October 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    AnElephant loves dinosaurs so he enjoys this very much.
    He also chuckles at your little joke on the protagonists’ names with regard to what we see.
    But does not out you!

    • dmmacilroy October 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

      Dear AEC,

      I’m glad you liked Lyme Regis, Then and Now. Your keen eye sees much, but not all. Keep looking, and thank you for dropping by to read and comment.



  9. Sightsnbytes October 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Neat! Great story!

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 8:52 am #

      Dear S&B,

      Thanks for saying so,



  10. sustainabilitea October 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Doug, no deep comments at this point. Still reading about Mary and deep time and my brain’s a bit fuzzy this morning. But the conversation feels completely natural and thanks for the reading material. Always good to learn something new. There were many Mary’s out there, in many different fields. And too many were fossils themselves before they and their work were recognized.


    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      Dear Janet,

      You are absolutely right about the many Marys out there. (I left out your apostrophe because you might like it more than I.) I will probably be a fossil before I master English Grammar. Have you ever stopped to think that the people who proof-read Hitler’s speeches really were grammar nazis?

      Thanks for your lucid comment on Lyme Regis, Then and Now. I appreciate your insights and input.



      • The Writer's Village October 28, 2014 at 10:23 am #

        Oh, Doug, that was a great line. Grammar nazis. Ha.

        Now is nazis plural okay with just an “s” or does that, too, need an apostrophe? And, more significantly, does the word nazi need to be capitalized?

        I, for one, think they capitalized way too much already.


      • sustainabilitea October 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

        Grammar Nazis rather than grammar nazis. No, hadn’t thought of it, but I wish I had. 🙂

      • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

        This thread is getting crowded. I love all of you. Aloha, D.

      • The Writer's Village October 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

        don’t leave on account of me.

  11. yarnspinnerr October 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    A touch of esoteric here. Love your take on this prompt,

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Dear Yarnspinner,

      Thanks, I guess so. The prompt was a great slate.



  12. patrickprinsloo October 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    Time to run. I bet you had us all googling some of those names.
    Lovely little place, Lyme Regis. Some good fish and chips there, too.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:09 am #

      Dear Patrick,

      I’m finding that quite a lot of people have been to Lyme Regis, fish and chips notwithstanding. Thanks for dropping by.



  13. lingeringvisions by Dawn October 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Thank you for that spiritual and educational story. I always like learning something new.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:10 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      You are most welcome. I agree with you re learning something new. Keeps the brain from becoming one of Mary Anning’s fossils.



  14. sandraconner October 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Very nicely done, Doug. The play in the conversation between Mary and Shannon is perfect. And you’ve caught her spirit wonderfully. (I dutifully followed your links to the research pages.) Isn’t it interesting that people who have a great passion for their work — as well as a gift for doing it — refuse to let lack of acknowledgment and support — or even downright ill-treatment — keep them from doing the work they love. It’s what keeps the human race going.

    I also see what Mary sees, but I have to decide now whether it’s a plant or a reality. I may have to hop over the the Reclining Gentleman’s site and ask some questions.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      Keen eyes you have, said Yoda the Photoshop master. What did TRG say when you asked him?

      Thank you for your detailed comment and cogent insights. You make me feel as though I wrote something of worth and that feels good.

      Mahal and Aloha,


  15. liz young October 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    That was excellently done – and you either know the subject well or you’re a very quick researcher!

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      Dear Liz,

      Thanks for the kind compliment. The answer lies somewhere in between.



  16. Leona H - Shadow Strokes October 22, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    How you created this little masterpiece in such a short amount of time astounds me. Love the concept, the twist and who doesn’t love a bit of Thoreau?

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:23 am #

      Dear Leona,

      I’m good with photoshop and a quick study. Got the Thoreau from my fourth grade teacher. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  17. elmowrites October 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    I read this straight after Rochelle’s and it appeared to me as an anniversary gift to the leader who has made Thoreau’s words our motto.
    As for your writing – the conversation is realistic and yet ageless – I can’t decide whether these girls are 7 or 70. Lovely stuff.
    (And no, I’m not away, just crazy busy and trying not to turn crazy crazy as a result!)

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Thanks for dropping by. The piece was meant to jump between times so it is fitting that the main characters age could not be pin-pointed by you. As for giving Rochelle an anniversary gift or nod, perish the thought. It just fit the story rather neatly so it survived the editing process.

      Remember to stop and smell the roses.



  18. aliciajamtaas October 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    A few years ago I read a book by Tracy Chevalier called “Remarkable Creatures” a story based on Mary Anning. It is one of my favorites – thanks for reminding me, I might read it again. Lovely tale. Alicia

    P.S. “Stop that, Mary. None of those creatures are out there.” said Mary’s birding partner … Do you want a comma after there?

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Dear Alicia,

      Thank you for turning me on to Remarkable Creatures. I wish I’d known more about it before I wrote Lyme Regis. Oh, well..

      Not sure about the comma. Thanks for mentioning it. I will investigate as soon as the task of catching up on stories and comments before tomorrow night is accomplished.



  19. David Stewart October 22, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    nice shout-out to one of the tenets of Friday Fictioneers. It’s really true that you can change what you’re seeing at by a change in mental perspective. Sometimes when I’m walking, I imagine that I’m 1000′ tall. Instantly, the road is changed into a vast, asphalt plain with canyons and towering redwood-like weeds growing out of it. There’s magic anywhere you care to look for it.
    And I would love to see a Plesiosaur, no matter how scary it would be. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Dear David,

      I like the way you push the envelope of perception. Bill Watterson did that to perfection in Calvin and Hobbes. As for the Plesiosaur, all I can do is tell you to enlarge my picture above the story until you do see one.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  20. singleworkingmomswm October 22, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Oh, when the mist parted I was grinning with mischievous delight for Mary! Thanks for the reference links, too. I enjoyed this so much. XOXO-Kasey

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      Dear Kasey,

      Thank you so much for your out of the blue comment. How are you doing? Mary Anning was one in a zillion, wasn’t she?



      • singleworkingmomswm October 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

        You’re welcome, Doug. I’m doing well…having a bit more “lunchtime free time” to read the blogs I love. 🙂 Your posts always seem to take me away to the niftiest of places, so I enjoy getting to take a break in the middle of my regular day.

  21. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) October 22, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    Doug, How does your prompt have Nessie in it? I copied your picture, as it was the first story I read and used it as the prompt and built my story around Nessie. What’s going on here, Dude?

    It’s too early for April Fool’s!

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      Dear Perry,

      That’s what you get for copying my photo. You’ll look twice in the future, won’t you? Someone told me that’s how you operated so I put Nessie in there to trip you up. Instead, you went and wrote a great story for it. Well done.



  22. Karen Whitelaw October 23, 2014 at 1:35 am #

    I loved the clever way you played with this, Doug. Like Alicia, I found “Remarkable Creatures” a great read.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:40 am #

      Dear Karen,

      Thanks for your kind comment. I will be finding Remarkable Creature soon, too.



  23. The Writer's Village October 23, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    Man, Doug, you are really deep.
    I mean, like each week you hit one out of the space-time-geological-mathematical-submariniacal continuum.
    I think you might be as far out there as Perry Block is in.

    I looked out on that body of water and all I saw was a coldiferous dippingsterious in what Mainers call a pondalactus – or a cold jump in the lake.

    Be well.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      Dear Randy,

      That was an out there comment in and of itself. Thank you. I saw the mists of time parting out over the waters and the rest was history.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  24. Margaret October 23, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    Aaah. Delightful. Maybe she’s got magic binoculars. I like your story – it’s whimsical and clever.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Dear Margaret,

      I am glad you enjoyed Lyme Regis, Then and Now. Don’t tell anyone about my binoculars.



  25. Maree Gallop October 23, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    This is a fantastic story Doug, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and felt completely satisfied. My favourite line is “It’s not what you look at … it’s what you see.”

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      Dear Maree,

      The mantra of many Friday Fictioneer story tellers. Thank you for reading and commenting.



  26. draliman October 23, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Rather whimsical and then suddenly – could there really be something prehistoric out there? Very good!

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:47 am #

      Dear Draliman,

      Wormhole on the water, eh? Thanks for reading and commenting.



  27. JanuarysDreamer October 23, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    I love it when history comes to life – even the prehistoric … I think. If my kids taught me correctly, a Plesiosaurus marcrocephalus is vegetarian 🙂

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      Dear JanuarysDreamer,

      Your children sound as though you have done a marvelous job with them. Well done.

      Thousands of tiny, sharp teeth for shredding kelp.



  28. John Yeo October 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    Brilliant ~ I love the repartee and the twist at the end ~~ 🙂

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      Dear Mr. Yeo,

      Thank you for reading and commenting.



  29. storydivamg October 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Ah . . . those women who won’t play by the rules. Fun stuff and an interesting bit of both science and history with the links. Thanks for sharing.

    All my best,

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      Dear Marie,

      Do you know a single woman who plays by the rules? Thanks for reading and commenting.



  30. Rajesh Asarpota October 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Fab and how true.. What we see today is what we think was in the past, not knowing that what was in the past, was truly unknown.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:52 am #

      Dear Rajesh,

      The past is a mystery and we will soon be a part of it. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  31. Suzanne Joshi October 24, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Doug, Interesting and well-researched story as usual. I checked the link. She was a remarkable and dedicated woman. I’m also glad she finally received recognition.
    Too bad it couldn’t have been during her lifetime. Well written as always. 🙂 — Susan

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:54 am #

      Dear Suzanne,

      Thank you for saying so. I think, in the end, Mary Anning will be remembered long after many of us have joined her fossils. Thank you for reading and commenting.



  32. Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy) October 24, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Doug, your title grabbed my attention as Lyme Regis is less than 60 miles away from me. 😉

    I love how you linked the Jurassic coastline with a parting of the dimensions *and* with our Fictioneers wisdom, bringing Mary’s own wisdom to life.

    And now, seeing your tags, I think I’ll go and listen to Kansas ‘Dust in the Wind’ 😉

    • dmmacilroy October 24, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      Dear Joanna,

      Because you live so close to Lyme Regis I want to turn you on to something in my picture (and not in anyone else’s save Perry who copied mine…). Look around on the water on the left side of the island in the middle-ground, find the anomaly and, like my tag says…enlarge it.

      Thank for reading and enjoy.



      • Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy) October 24, 2014 at 10:32 am #

        😀 😀 😀

        That explains why that fella wasn’t where he was meant to be when I travelled past his loch in Scotland a few years back! He’d come through your time-warp, the cheeky so-and-so!

        Giggles 😀

  33. i b arora October 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    interesting piece

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Dear i b,

      Nice of you to say so.



  34. Honie Briggs October 24, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    Doug, I love this story. The dialogue jumped off the page and captured my imagination. I am so going to explore Mary Anning further and add her to my collection of amazing women in history.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:57 am #

      Dear Honie,

      Thanks for enjoying the dialog. That’s hard to nail down sometimes, isn’t it? I appreciate you dropping by to read and then taking the time to comment. Keeps me going.



  35. rgayer55 October 24, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    You had a lot of fun with this one, didn’t you? You’re a clever old captain and a damned entertaining writer too.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 9:59 am #

      Dear Mr. Gayer,

      I did. And thank you very much.



  36. wildbilbo October 25, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    Ha – loved this. Laughed out loud at the “Stop that Mary…” line – I can visualise the person saying this. Its been said by others, but the dialogue here is excellent.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Dear KT,

      You’re kind to reinforce the comments about dialog. Better good than stilted or overwrought. I appreciate you reading and commenting.



  37. Nan Falkner October 25, 2014 at 5:52 am #

    Dear Doug, Magnificent! You are great with the dialogue too! Awesome. Nan 🙂

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Dear Nan,

      Thanks a lot. I appreciate the input and feedback.



  38. Mike October 25, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    Reminds me of “Back to the Future” for evolution.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Dear Mike,

      Thank you, sir.



  39. Sarah Potter Writes October 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Further to a novel I really enjoyed that was based on the life of Mary Anning — Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier …
    I love your take on the photo prompt, made even better by the fact that I once went on a wonderful holiday to Lyme Regis, so I can really visualise the setting.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      Dear Sarah,

      I will add my footsteps in the sands of Lyme Regis as soon as I can. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  40. Dee October 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    Dear Doug
    I love your take on the prompt and link to Mary Anning. Like so many others whose passions take them to work in fields little know by the wider world, recognition was very late in coming. I’m glad it did, eventually.

    Clever addition to the photo and an very entertaining and well written story.


    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 10:06 am #

      Dear Dee,

      Did you see my addition on your own or were you clued into it by various and sundry comments?

      I’m glad Mary got her due. i think she knows.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



      • Dee October 28, 2014 at 10:17 am #

        Hi Doug
        I saved the photo, intending to write a story but events conspired to stop me. Later, i decided to catch up with my favourite writers, I read your story on my pc which has quite a large screen, instead of the laptop I usually use. It was while reading your story and looking at the photo that I saw Nessie or a look alike
        Very cleverly done and so in keeping with your story of Mary.

        I hope to start writing again soon, I do miss the FF family.

        Take care of you


  41. Sarah Ann October 27, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Such wonderful fun and informative conversation. The women’s interests come across clearly. Mary has the knowledge and likes sharing, but Shannon’s Thoreau comment is a fantastic rejoinder.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      Dear Sarah,

      Birders tend to be in the sharp implement section of the tool box, don’t you think? Shannon, firmly anchored in the present, made a fine foil for Mary’s far seeing mind.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.



  42. Ellespeth October 29, 2014 at 7:24 am #

    ““Plesiosaurus marcrocephalus.” oh now! after reading the materials you linked for us, this last line is humorous!
    What an amazing woman Mary Anning was – so gifted. I enjoyed reading about her and ‘deep time’.

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