Saturday, 31 December 2016

Fortes caffe Italia

We visited Swanage on this day 29th December 2016. Warm weather greets our arrival and we walk without the bite of a cold wind. The sun warms our backs as we pass the promenade and sea front. Amusement arcades line the streets, bringing many memories of guiding Robert away from them. Now he will not give them the time of day. Not for the grown up Robert, are the Funworlds, Jurassic Amusement Centre or the train rides. No, he had nothing but scorn for these innocent venues. Now they just exploit the peasants. Interesting theory as he was always a great supporter of these seaside amusement centres. 
Swanage is a seaside town held in check by the waters edge, more of a second home or holiday cottage type of town. Swanage, so much like all the seaside towns of England, slightly grubby and unkempt. These towns come to life in the short summer months then seem to only attract tour buses and pensioners for the rest of the year. Actually not a bad place to retire, when that time eventually does come. 
We had a stroll around the harbour and through the town before stopping for some much needed coffee at the above establishment and then drove the 18 miles home on the more scenic route through Corfe Castle, Wareham and Sandford.
On reflection, a pleasant day out and as we took in the winter air, very healthy.

Some only last to Christmas

The ultimate sign of a dying shop or restaurant is that when you walk in they are empty, no customers giving it life. The staff stare back with lifeless eyes, expecting nothing but knowing this is an end to an era. You feel this and walk out again, a little sorry for them and for yourself. Poole has many empty shops on the high street, mainly because the council of Poole sets such high rates for these small shops.
Talking of this very festive time of giving and receiving, Susan has a Fitbit Charge 2 watch, from the boys. Great little item of technology and to be entirely honest, something Susan got to grips with very quickly. App downloaded onto her iPhone, put in her details and that is when the fun started. This little watch measure your heart rate, also your steps walk, run, crawled, climbed and rewards you when you reach your goal. A great motivational tool and I am happy to say, it has never left her side since the happy time she unwrapped it. Woke up Boxing Day and there was only time for a cup of coffee before she was getting us up for a walk. Unbeknown to me, she had checked her Fitbit and there was a goal to be achieved. None the wiser we set off for our walk on this lovely, overcast, cold and windy day. Back home we hastily enjoyed a cooked breakfast before it was time to walk Sam, should of clocked it then and there. 
To be fair I did cotton on to it this morning. In spite of that we visited Salisbury and walked up and down every street in the town, including the cathedral and the gardens. Not sure how many steps were taken but I am safely settled on the couch with a glass of wine and loving it. I do know there is many steps to take and many miles to exceed before we can sleep. God only knows what I would be without her.
In all fairness we have been out and about over the last few days and that cannot be a bad thing. Keep it up GSP.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Trees

We have put a Christmas tree outside this year and decorated it with lights and Christmas baubles. Susan suggested it, something to do with God seeing the tree. Susan also suggested that maybe I can see it when I go for a wee pipe, as I am prone to do.
As you all know I am not a man of faith but Susan does enjoy a small degree of belief in a higher being, so if you are up there please have a good look, I am not sure if it is for you or me and I cannot miss it every time I go out, so it is up to you now. We are planning on sitting outside around the tree with the fire pit ablaze on Christmas Eve, maybe a sign to show your appreciation? Just a thought and I know Susan would be pleased.
Actually, sitting around the tree with a fire going should be fun and we can always go inside once we have taken the photo to prove it. Nights can be quite cold in the later half of December.
I have escaped the joys of IT and now you find me at the beach, enjoying a coffee and a view of a very deserted beach, dimming as the night creeps. The sea has lost its sparkle and even the break of the waves are tinged with gloom. A night only for fisherman and vagrants.
This ageing thing has its advantages, I find that I can go to the beach and enjoy a coffee, walk on the sand and not feel guilty, guilty about not working. Getting older has its surprises, I woke up the other morning to find my stomach has bloomed into the fullness of my 65 years or was it the tumble dryer shrinking me shirts.
Thinking about it, I suppose I go to the beach because so many people I love enjoy the beach. You can tick them off in your mind and suffice to say it gives me inspiration and moments of reflection.
Talking about the fullness of time, I can't help but think of the children in the UK. They cannot sit on Santa's knee anymore, no one will take the job for fear of being branded a paedophile. I think it is only in Australia that children can tell Santa their special Christmas wish. This politically correct world we live in has its drawbacks. Overzealous politicians have effectively killed the joy of Christmas for young children.
On that sombre note I wish you all the best for Christmas, may the joy envelope all of you and those you love.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

A Walk in the Park

Winter and the time comes when the trees are bare, but my words are brighter. This change in creative urge awakens subconscious thoughts, re-evaluates how I interpret an everyday scenario. From this ebb and nothing, comes a new consciousness of the most trivial of events, creating a story with thoughts so strong its bursts the fruit. 

Evening descending early, our sun low in the sky, dusk setting around me, as if the darkness is growing too great to be opposed by the failing sun. My eyes adjust to the lowlight allowing me enough sight to reveal the peace of the evening.

Walking in Poole park and I realise just how well I have come to know the  place. Every tree we pass, every stream we cross, hold memories and associations. I recognise flowers, swans with their signets, trees of particular favourite to Sam and seasonal plants. The light at different times the day or the clouds forming when the air is warm and the wind turns to the north-east. The wild flowers I expect to see in fields or woodland and those which catch me by surprise because I was inattentive. I would not say I understand it, more that I and this land come to an understanding. Makes sense to me. I know I will not return from here now, the thought of life elsewhere is not tolerable. I was asked if I was happy here. I have had moments when the beauty of Africa was almost too much to be bear and I ache for it. I am a scarred man and I underestimate the extent of that damage. I would still rather be scarred, knowing what I know, then have that knowledge taken away or to have learnt it and remained untouched by it. I keep myself busy and that is the main thing. 

This is my life now for better or worse. I shared the sensibilities of those around me and that carries enough acceptance to tolerate the inevitable differences. I'm freer than I would be elsewhere, and you know that is always important to me. Although, even here, I have needed to act at times for the perceived good of the community in ways I doubt the wisdom of. Inevitable, I suppose.
What did I see of consequence, do to plan, add as achievement?

Monday, 12 December 2016

A Day Of Reflection

As winter continues to gather momentum and Christmas fills my thoughts with its own magic. I find I get more reflective. I move through the day as one would walk on a deserted winter beach, denude of life and colour. A journey of solitude, I allow it to pass and avoiding the feeling between the light and dark. Like the passing of summer and only sunburn captures the passage of time.

Susan has a stiff neck; how do they suddenly appear? That tender moment, that time of least resistance, a twinge grows to muscle cramp and stiffness sets like the cold wind. Reminding you of its intent as you turn a corner, open a window. Cold air and sharp pain, to be handled gently.
It is at moments like this that I long for my family. A touch by a grandchild. Different things make companionship become great love. I talk about literature, songs and current events because they again matter. Having someone around who understands me, has gone through the events of life I have and came out of the other end that much wiser for it.

This is the time of the year when my life tends to be an ebb and flow of creation and then ineffectualness. Creation is strong, the need to accomplish, the desire to complete before a period of reflection overtakes and I move slowly to writing. The overwhelmingly urge for that perfect sentence, lines filled with imagination, thoughts unravelled into meaningful paragraphs, polished descriptions and simply told tales. Sometimes I feel the same as an exotics gardener, tending plants of fragile beauty, there mere existence a delicate balance.
They require care and tending, gentle voices and soft handling to solicit their favours. Beautiful and fantastic but enervating. In comparison, the flowers of the meadow have a subtle beauty. Individually simple and negligible unless inspected closely, but scattered in their thousands, adrift on the sea of grass, then they attain greatness. It is a sustaining beauty, feeding the soul, the comforting hand of a friend who makes no demand and expects no response. Only to cease living a memory of unexplored words which never quite recede, always leaving an impression, a sense.
My coffee has a slight bitterness to it, leaving a caramelised bouquet on the top of my palette. Not quite right, not entirely wrong, just not there.

Monday, 21 November 2016


Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth" 

This quote originates from Buddha's thoughts, though it has been reduced down to this single sentence. Since translation is so subjective, and the truth is a flowing river, I think we're safe in attributing this wonderful saying to the historical Buddha. Zen sometimes describe the mind like a glass of cloudy water. If you want to clarify the water, stop shaking, stirring, and fussing.
Well Autumn has arrived with a vengeance, 3deg C.
Bonfire night, loads of bangs, lights, rockets and noise. Must say quite a lot of money will be exploded or burnt tonight. Enough bangs for now. Fireworks upset the night.

I have been doing quite a large amount of graphic design lately and did a brainstorm with Derek on the layout of a website. Brainstorming, interesting word and I suppose it is a way of thinking, when a large amount of ideas are thrown into the page, most of which will be scrapped, enabling a kind of thinking though doing. For me it provides vital space for the testing of ideas, placing them side by side for comparison, or on top of one another to reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form. Many of my blogs start off this way, on paper and in my head.

I must say that often, I will take a photograph and the rest seems to come naturally.