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Category Archives: meditation

Hardwick Pair

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Together the surveyed Hardwick’s glassy lake. Reflected in it, was their constellation far up in the starry sky. They had seen it often and as a couple, they would gaze at it again. For they together had weathered their own storms and days of darkness. And so, as one, they were forever bound.
But it was time to move on. Their young had grown, found wing and fled. The year too showed signs of turning and the earth tilting. At dawn, they made ready to leave for a warmer season elsewhere.
Out, out into the waters, they swam. Soundlessly, they wished each other well. They pushed through the leaden water, gained speed until they were free in the air. Flapping their long wings, the Hardwick pair stretched their necks towards the rising sun.
A bystander watched with breath held tight, thinking only of the elegance of paired swans in flight.

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The Cyclist’s Fight

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Through the illness, this moment kept him going.

He unearthed his bike and dusted it off after long disuse. He mounted and the wind breathed on his face. Down the main street with a few early shoppers barely glancing at the lycra-clad figure speeding pass. He, however, enjoyed being on a surfboard weaving easily around the parked cars. Next came the outskirts where business travellers encumbered with briefcases look enviously at the free rider. Little could they understand

The highway, tranquil and gentle, let him taste open country. Then he turned into a forest track. The effort he needed now increased multi-fold. He changed gear and pedalled hard with growing confidence. With each rising yard, he pushed himself more, oblivious to the cattle gawping in their curiosity.

Despite the cooling breeze, his legs burned as did his lungs. The acrid taste in his mouth told him he was closing into the ‘red line.’ But, sheer determination kept him focussed on each revolution of the wheels. Onwards and onward until he conquered the ascent. Then he stopped and looked in gratitude at the town nestling in the valley. Now he had surmounted the anxiety of the tests, the fear of surgery and the soul-sapping tiredness of the chemotherapy.

Another day of life lay before him and that’s enough.

 
 

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Blue Balloon

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“I am a blue balloon,

I am a blue balloon not a red balloon,

I am a blue balloon living in a world

Of red balloons.”

 

Perhaps because it was a blue balloon, it was let go. Even the wind was not keen to take it. The balloon bounced along the ground before a gust lifted it grudgingly into the air. It soared higher, hungry for freedom. It was away from that mean town with its traffic aggressive in push through narrowness.

 

The balloon gained height and passed over a park with souls below escaping the shove of their existence. But only the geese looked up and envied its ease of flight.

 

A motorway, a castle and a patchwork of fields followed as the balloon picked up speed on a freshening breeze. Village, farm and hill passed by in the crystal light of that crisp day. No one looked up at the growing balloon skipping high above.

 

Before long, the coast appeared with the blue of the sea flecked with boats braving the tides and waves. Then, just as the balloon knocked on the door of the stratosphere, bloated with expanding gas, it burst asunder. It gave its blueness back to sky leaving the world to the held-fast red.

 

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Painting the future

Time & Eternity

 

The artist opened her paint box, dampened her brush and started. Before her was a handsome half-timbered house complete with moat and gatehouse. She worked on in that hot summer’s day. The picture developed but did not show the many visitors who trooped passed. She disliked their intrusion with garish tops and shorts into this piece of Tudor history.

Then she sighted an old man in straw hat and linen jacket stop and gaze at the house. He was perfect for inclusion just at the bridge over the moat.
Soon she finished her work as the shadows drifted towards afternoon. So, she collected her gear and arose. To her surprise, there beside her was the gentleman she had portrayed.

 

They talked, and she asked if he knew the house well.

‘Yes’ he replied ‘many years ago I lived here’.
‘My uncle once owned it and I stayed each summer as a boy ‘. ‘Do you miss it?’ asked the artist.

‘Yes, but you can’t turn the clocks back. Now it’s the property of the tourists who pay for the upkeep’.

 

He paused and said: ‘Why don’t you paint it again including the visitors-that’s the picture of the future?’

 

A few minutes later he left with the first picture and the painter started again remembering that time runs in only one direction.

 

 

 

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Summer Postcards

Here are some reflections I wrote last summer on time, change and hope.

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Click here to read this collection in Wattpad.

 

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Going backwards with Starbucks

As I sat in the Starbucks today I had a sudden realisation. For a quickA_small_cup_of_coffee glance around confirmed that I was the only ‘leisure’ coffee drinker in the place. Since in this coffee house outside the Metro Centre in Newcastle, the customers were all surrounded by laptops, netbooks and phones. Business meetings predominated but singletons tapped furiously on keyboards surrounded by A4 pads creating undoubtedly the next… Starbucks

 

It seems then that these specialist coffee outlets have rediscovered the Georgian Coffee House. Actually the first coffee house in England was established in Oxford in 1652. However the idea soon spread to London. In time they became business hubs with no less than Lloyds of London, the London Stock Exchange, Christies and Sotherby’s all having their origins in these establishments. Whether they had the same bored and surly staff that I encountered in Starbucks today history doesn’t make unclear.

 

However, the earlier Restoration coffee houses had another clientele; because in that turbulent era they were the centres of political agitation and dissention. So much so, Charles II was all for closing them down. A reputation they were to reinvent in 19th Century Europe where they brought artist, writers and intellectuals together for discussion and debate. Now if Starbucks and its ilk were do that, we may indeed see a revisiting of something else – fresh thought to go with the fresh coffee.

 

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Fishermen among Men

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Yesterday I was wandering around the harbour at Arbroath – that’s a small town with a long tradition of fishing here in eastern Scotland. Despite being pulled in every direction by my dog, I chatted to a fisherman mending his creels. Apparently, it has been a bad year what with the poor catches and the storms damaging his gear. In fact, pointing to a mound of creels he said every one had needed mending.

It turns out that these fishermen can have down as many as a thousand creels at a time. These original net-boxes are roped together in groups and are lifted about every 4 days. As a result it must be a full time job just heaving up the their buoyed lines, replacing bait and mending the damage. Work that seems to go on in all weathers despite the dangers.

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And that makes me realise how lucky I am to be behind a screen being creative. Yet I wonder what I am not maintaining today?

 

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