Weekly Writing Challenge: Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction. Shine A Light

Weekly Writing Challenge: Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

For this challenge, we want to see a photo of someone looking truly happy. Not “I’m-smiling-for-this-photo” happy, but really, deeply, twinkle-in-the-eyes happy. When we’re smiling a genuine smile, our whole faces get involved — our whole bodies, for that matter. There’s a light in our eyes. We look relaxed; there’s a forced tension in a fake smile.

Then we want to know why: what’s going on in the photo?

Strangers are just friends who haven't met yet
Strangers are just friends who haven’t met yet

You might be forgiven for thinking that these two are a couple, long established. They look so comfortable together and are clearly sharing a moment of fun.

The photograph is one of mine, taken a few years ago. I try to remain at the rear of the camera whenever I can and cannot abide a lens pointed at me, so coming up with my own smiling face proved to be more than a challenge; it was impossible.

I love this photograph though, and it was an easy choice for this challenge. The story behind it is simply interesting rather than extraordinary.

Start Point Lighthouse, Sanday, Orkney, taken ...
Start Point Lighthouse, Sanday, Orkney, taken on the 200th anniversary of the light’s commencement of operations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The gentleman in the photograph is called Andrew Skea and he is (or at least, was) the part-time lighthouse keeper at Start Point lighthouse on the Orkney island of Sanday. On this particular day he was showing a Ranger-led party around the lighthouse as part of its 200th anniversary celebration.

(that’s my photo too! I have no idea how it got into Wikipedia.)

I don’t know the name of the lady in the image, she was visiting that day especially for the lighthouse trip as her grandfather had been a keeper there, back when the keepers stayed at the light (it is fully automated now.)

The two of them clearly hit it off together. They found connections, and shared similar memories.

Being a few years ago, I cannot now remember any of the detail of the conversation that day. I simply recall that it was fascinating.

I don’t know if they did, but I like to imagine that the two kept in touch and that this day was the start point of a real and lasting friendship.


  1. March 4, 2013

    Great photo! I love the back story especially because I love lighthouses. You should contact wikipedia about them using your picture without crediting you.

  2. March 5, 2013

    Hi thank you so much for visiting and following my blog. I followed the link and was amazed to see that you have four blogs running! I don’t know how you find the time, but I shall try to look at all of them.

    • March 6, 2013

      Oh, my – no, really, it’s not like there is a reciprocal obligation. Unless you are really into bread or knitting, I shouldn’t bother. This is the blog for responding to prompts and pushing my writing. It may thrive, or may wither when I get bored. Who knows.

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