An Irish Connection

On my birthday in 2014 we had a visit from my daughter Rosemarie and son-in law Padraic O'Riain. As an an immigrant from Dublin, he's about as Irish as you can get. His first name is pronounced Porric. I've never been on second-name terms with him but I imagine it's pronounced O'Ryan. Their son is… Continue reading An Irish Connection


Mother’s Day Visit

In England, Mother's Day was on Friday March 19th, a celebration for three Jamaican mothers who live in England. We're not in a position to visit them in South-East London, as we don't have a car any more. What with this and that, we weren't able to meet up till last Saturday 20th May. We… Continue reading Mother’s Day Visit

Perspectives and Remembrance

Originally published on May 11th, 2014 The emblem of this blog is a weathervane with a gilded Centaur, standing above a cupola on top of the 18th century Guildhall, in the market square of High Wycombe, built where two main valleys cross. There are smaller valleys too. Wherever thou goest, thou canst lift up thine… Continue reading Perspectives and Remembrance

Driving again

I stopped driving three years ago, started to feel frightened of hitting other vehicles, or worse. Even in daylight. Carefully made my last journey up the hill to WeBuyAnyCar, was amazed to get back nearly half of what I paid for it new ten years earlier. (v. low mileage full, maintenance history—plus inflation?) But I'm… Continue reading Driving again

My Day, by Victoria Roberts

I've no idea how I came to acquire this book, but it was published in 1984, when my youngest daughter was five years old. I'll ask her how old she would have been to write her name thus. (She reckons 9) I've selected a few out of the fifty strip cartoons. Victoria Roberts was born… Continue reading My Day, by Victoria Roberts

A Portrait of General Gordon

DURING the year 1883 a solitary English gentleman was to be seen, wandering, with a thick book under his arm, in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. His unassuming figure, short and slight, with its half-gliding, half-tripping motion, gave him a boyish aspect, which contrasted, oddly but not unpleasantly, with the touch of grey on his hair… Continue reading A Portrait of General Gordon

My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but O! my soul is white

(title from Little Black Boy by William Blake) In this novel, based on the lives of Charles Lamb, known today as an essayist, and his sister Mary,  a document has been discovered showing that Shakespeare was not a Papist as generally supposed, but a member of the English Church. Now read on: . . .… Continue reading My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but O! my soul is white

A World Split by the Same God …

. . . Un Mondo Separado Por El Mismo Dios in the original Spanish I put this compilation together about 12 years ago. 1. Weep No More My Baby - Brenda Lee I'd just left school and got a summer job washing dishes in a Shanklin hotel - heard it in the street and loved… Continue reading A World Split by the Same God …

Secrets of Happy Family Life

2189. Husband and Wife.—Being hints to each other for the good of both, as actually delivered at our own table :— 2190. Hints for Wives.—If your husband occasionally looks a little troubled when he comes home, do not say to him, with an alarmed countenance, " What ails you, my dear ? " Don't bother… Continue reading Secrets of Happy Family Life

Student japes in the 60s

To: on 2023-03-11 11:38 Thanks to you all! You made me reflect that I graduated 60 years ago. I was given a secondhand (third hand ... who knows?) scarf on my birthday. I see you sell them online shop has them on sale. Are they  passé now? I used to wear one in the winter of '61,… Continue reading Student japes in the 60s

Strange Angels

This CD is one of several I picked up free at the Wycombe Counselling Service. Someone had left a pile of cds in a spare room with a note saying help yourself, with a little tray for donations to maintain the service. Before introducing Strange Angels,  please permit me a rambling digression. I worked there… Continue reading Strange Angels


"As of February 2023, Rumours has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it the sixth best-selling album of the 1970s, and the 12th best-selling album of all time." (Wikipedia). I'd never heard of Fleetwood Mac until their first hit, the instrumental "Albatross", released in 1968. and though Rumours came out in '77, I never… Continue reading Rumours

Origin of Symmetry

The critics over the years have relished the opportunity  for ridicule and hate: here is the nearest I can find to a positive review All I can say is, I've always loved it since I first bought a copy in an Oxfam shop in Gerrards Cross, brought it back minutes later… Continue reading Origin of Symmetry

For you, on my birthday

It's my birthday (eighteen backwards) and I'm feeling fine, thanks to our blessed NHS and all its pills keeping me alive day by day, especially their gift of Codeine as and when needed—which is quite often. Coming to the point, I have a small set of CDs and books, so precious that when I lost… Continue reading For you, on my birthday

An African Sampler

This was published in 2014 and then lost till yesterday, when I decided to put labels on my most treasured CDs. See this video (opens in a separate tab); also this post “Greater than the sum of the parts”. The guiding principle for the selection of tracks was to pick some personal favourites. I’ve made it unbalanced… Continue reading An African Sampler

A Midwinter Night’s Dream

I meet this wild girl at a strange event, outdoors and indoors, it keeps changing like a chameleon. At first it’s just a place where people are gathered, like a town square in Italy, with café tables open day and night till late. It’s all well-mannered and sedate. Then I find myself drawn into a… Continue reading A Midwinter Night’s Dream

Son Becomes Priest

Inspired by <a href="http://comments">comments on Bryan White' recent dream, and Cindy's sight of the Chinese balloon in St Louis These days I've been waking up several times a night on account of a medical problem that may or may not be identified next week by a special investigation at the hospital, preceded by 2 days… Continue reading Son Becomes Priest

A cryptic crossword, explained

Cryptic crosswords are a British invention. The first ones were printed in the Daily Telegraph. Unless you have knowledge of British geography (especially rivers, counties and towns), games (especially cricket), past prime ministers, abbreviations. you'll flounder helplessly. The English language has an impressive range of metaphoric expressions, some of which you can see here. We… Continue reading A cryptic crossword, explained

At crossword time

First drafted yesterday, see date on crossword The 7 o'clock news says that Britain is the slowest-growing economy in the developed world. To be more precise, it is shrinking. The economists blame our recent Prime Minister, Liz Truss. I was really glad when she was voted in to replace Boris Johnson. For a Conservative, she… Continue reading At crossword time

God’s Funeral

At Wycombe Hospital you can buy hundreds of books at £1 each. There's a shop alongside the main Reception counter collecting donations for purchase and maintenance of scanners installed in Wycombe, Amersham and Stoke Mandeville hospitals. There's a Scannapeal shop near to the main hospital as you go in. Every book is £1. Usually it's… Continue reading God’s Funeral

Escaping from a Festival

We're a bunch of old friends from University days, on our way to somewhere in Wales, in an old Land Rover. Without our copy of The Readers Digest Book of Roads (400 pages), cross-referenced to signposts, we'd have had no chance. Our route takes us up hill and down dale, in a maze of narrow… Continue reading Escaping from a Festival

Classical Music of Africa

This song by Sona Jobarteh is surely an Ode To Joy for our present age. The video shows a loving and idealized portrait of modern West Africa, steeped in traditional roots Up to the middle of the 19th century, classical music came from Central Europe. Sona has absorbed this tradition from early childhood, interwoven with… Continue reading Classical Music of Africa

Christmas Past

Recalling a long-ago Christmas, when I was 12. 1954 on the Isle of Wight; recalled in High Wycombe in 2006.

a wayfarer’s notes

Yes, time can be a spiral, as Cream pointed out in her comment on my last. But it can seem like a circle of recurrence too, as the season evokes emotions long past.

I’ve been wanting to write of life’s pathos for weeks now, but today it caught up with me, with an inescapable twisting of the guts. Everyone I saw in town carried its lineaments, or perhaps I should say they were the unwitting mirrors of my own feeling.

Every Christmas bears with it the ghosts of our Christmasses past, as in Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol. Today I recalled 1954. Since six years old, I’d been boarding at a prep school but all that had suddenly changed and I was 12. I’d just acquired a new stepfather, the previous stepfather having been discarded in a nasty divorce. We went to live far away, where I knew no…

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Time consumes; art distils

recalling Christmas 2006

a wayfarer’s notes

Time is like a forest fire, consuming everything in its path. Our most intense moments burn bright and hot, leaving nothing but fragile tatters of memory. Where would we be without art, snatching moments before they disintegrate into oblivion? What else but art, crucible for smelting the ore of our lives till we get a lodestone, with power to excite other souls, in other moments? How else can time be defied? This is the prodigious, mythical, Promethean feat which propels us animals to create gods, and be punished by them for such effrontery. This is what makes us human, and comes with its price.

I wrote the other day of the medieval peasants’ Christmas. The mythic power of Bible stories, even to those who could not read, illumined the darkest days of the Winter Solstice, the time known as Yule, whose druidical lore never quite died. A carol, “The Holly…

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In the bleak midwinter

On Christmas Day 2022 I recall a walk near home in Advent 2006

a wayfarer’s notes

Christmas is the most renowned of all the world’s festivals. It’s full of drama and contrast and potent symbols. Like many, I dread the tawdry commercialisation, sentimentality and ubiquity of this season’s trappings. But I see it differently now, having spent an entire year celebrating the daily advance and decline of Nature’s rhythms in the hills, woods and fields, in all weathers.decfield

I went out on a windy wet afternoon at sunset. The ground was waterlogged and the fields were desolate near Amersham Old Town, which keeps a memorial to its Protestant martyrs burned at the stake in the sixteenth century, for committing the heresy of reading the Bible in their own English tongue.

I thought of the peasants of Amersham in the days when they’d rely upon their priest or wandering friar for tales of the Christ-child’s birth in a lowly stable, which they could imagine only too well…

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The Naked Island

I first read this memoir when I was 14. My stepfather, Sep Charlton, had a dozen war books in Pan paperback editions. They were already well-worn, some with loose pages. He'd got them from a friend at work, along with many of his minor possessions, while he worked at Saunders-Roe, an aircraft company in East… Continue reading The Naked Island

Doodles at Crossword Time

The older you get, the more your married life relies on shared rituals for contentment and knowing where you are. I've been tested four times for dementia, and passed 100% every time. But then again, I'm going for my fifth brain scan in January, having gone a bit funny in the head for a month… Continue reading Doodles at Crossword Time

High Wycombe: good place to live

Wycombe is a great place to live if you don't drive. No traffic jams or parking problems. If you live in Abercromby Road, for example, it's a short walk along Desborough Road to the town centre, with its Eden shopping Mall, library, Hospital. If you are disabled, there are many facilities, including You'll pass… Continue reading High Wycombe: good place to live

Eagle Flew Out Of the Night

Waking up at 3 am, I find a song playing endlessly in my head. Not just the tune, but some of the words too. It's one of the most extraordinary popular songs, more potent than anything by Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. Peter Gabriel has his own explanation for how it hatched in his mind… Continue reading Eagle Flew Out Of the Night

A bewitching tale

. . . of how Jacquetta Hawkes' country was formed Chapter I. Two Themes:a) the author describes her little hemmed-in London garden. b) she speculates about how the world was formed and how it depends totally on the sun. "Writing in 1949 I say that night and day were formed. It is, I know, foolish… Continue reading A bewitching tale

‘Fitness’ in the Design of Form

Postscript Here's an overview of the author's life and work on YouTube:   Many years ago, when I worked at Zeus-Hermes, I read a piece in Computer Weekly mentioning Notes on the Synthesis of Form. I couldn't get a copy anywhere till I bought one on an obscure shelf in the world famous bookshop, Foyles.… Continue reading ‘Fitness’ in the Design of Form

In Bed This Morning

Transcribed from our conversations and my scribbled notes Part 1 We both woke up at the same time: 6:40. I often wake at 5.30 and read till she wakes at 6.30. I had a strange dream of living in a foreign land. Where am I? What am I doing here? But then I discovered my… Continue reading In Bed This Morning

A View From A Broad

In 1978, Bette Midler completed a "Divine Miss M" world tour of 21 venues in two months, starting at the London Palladium. Her beautifully illustrated book is a joyous show-biz travelog, truthful in essence but selected for comic effect. She's a supreme  diva, in full command of her audiences—but not her supporting team. All suffer… Continue reading A View From A Broad

From my desktop

This one's for Cindy. Despite the distance between us—she lives with family near St Louis, Missouri—we've kept in touch for many years by email, and she's made lots of comments on posts here. ----- I shall look no further for inspiration beyond my physical desktop. As bought from Ikea to fit in this corner position… Continue reading From my desktop

Touched by the Printed Word

First published on Feb. 25th, 2009 I learned to read at my grandmother’s knee, at four years old. We used a Victorian primer, Reading without Tears: it proved itself worthy of the name and I worked through it in a few days, mostly on my own. I remember being frustrated with the word “parlour” near… Continue reading Touched by the Printed Word

Helpful advice to men—from the 16th Century

from On the power of the imagination, an essay by Michel Montaigne, translated by J M Cohen: "I have personal knowledge of the case of a man for whom I can answer as for myself, and who could not fall under the least suspicion impotence or being under a spell. He had heard a comrade… Continue reading Helpful advice to men—from the 16th Century

Planning One’s Endgame

When I set my mind to it, this head is crowded with enough memories to spend the rest of my life writing it all down, supposing I aim for two hours a day. But how do I know which bits will be of interest to future generations?. Modesty, probably false, wants to add "if any".… Continue reading Planning One’s Endgame

Don’t Be Abashed

Originally published on August 18th, 2010 I’ve agreed to help publicize DBA Lehane’s competition, which is to help publicize his website. I don’t normally do much to publicize anything. Perhaps I just want to show you my own entry. I’ve never written a short story before, never mind a short short one. It is exactly… Continue reading Don’t Be Abashed

Bel and the Dragon

We had planned a day out walking in Flackwell Heath, near High Wycombe, but the next bus wasn't due for an hour. Another bus was waiting for passengers to Maidenhead, so we got on that. We decided to get off at Cookham, where I knew a nice pub that I hadn't been in since 1965,… Continue reading Bel and the Dragon

Mr Lehane is Back

Years ago, DBA Lehane had a website of Short Short Stories, now defunct. I'm delighted to see it's back at Mr Lehane often visited Wayfarer's and over the years our exchange of comments is worthy of being disinterred from the sands of time, like this fellow: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look… Continue reading Mr Lehane is Back

Sailing into WebSpace

A while ago I created this website. It was before the days of blogs. I used some free kind of web design software. It was harder to use than blogger or WordPress, or so it seemed at the time, but provided some lovely backgrounds. The site is You can view it from any browser,… Continue reading Sailing into WebSpace

What’s Wrong with the World?

first published on August 2nd, 2006, restored from a backup Today I am following on from my previous post and the comments made by Darius and Rama. They felt that it did not really matter what someone believes. Perhaps they take the view that there is some inner Truth ready to be found which will… Continue reading What’s Wrong with the World?


Got out of bed this morning telling myself there's a close connection between sex and God. On reflection, love has to be in the equation: Love + sex = God This is surely why religion smiles on marriage but not one-night stands. As for homosexual relations, every religion so far as I know has frowned… Continue reading Revelations

A call from “Alma Mater”

Lat night I got a call from a bright young woman in the Alumni department, clearly a student volunteer. They ring from time to time to see if you can donate to their charity in aid of  disadvantaged students from overseas. this is from their website : Birmingham is a truly global university producing… Continue reading A call from “Alma Mater”

A Brief History of Politics?

inspired by a new blog:  A Platform for Politics and Culture Speech evolved from homo erectus's point and grunt for catching game in a team. It's presented as a series of steps explained in a talk by Wittgenstein, transcribed in The Brown Book, appended here. Thus creatures and things could be given names. Then speech… Continue reading A Brief History of Politics?

The Origins of Speech, according to Wittgenstein

THE BROWN BOOKI Augustine, in describing his learning of language, says that he was taught to speak by learning the names of things. It is clear that who-ever says this has in mind the way in which a child learns such words as "man", "sugar", "table", etc. He does not primarily think of such words… Continue reading The Origins of Speech, according to Wittgenstein

Visit to Dalkey in 2018

(Drafted September 9th 2022) I've been reading Joyce's Ulysses in odd moments. Its 265,000 words cover a single day in and around Dublin. It never loses a keen reader's interest but the action moves slowly. In fact so far as I've reached, the action is mostly implied rather than described. It starts at six in… Continue reading Visit to Dalkey in 2018

A trip back

originally published on July 15th, 2015, in When I was 12 I lived in East Cowes, shown above on the left of the creek they call the River Medina. The next year we moved across to West Cowes. The two sides of Cowes are joined by a chain ferry. The constant to-and-fro of yachts… Continue reading A trip back

God, Love, Marriage, Sex

In my view, God is not  the Transcendent Being delineated in Scriptures, the one that intervenes in the workings of Man and the rest of Nature. My God is not nullified by Evolution theory. She is the the Whole SheBang: not just the Big Bang of said theory, but the ongoing Carer that never deserts… Continue reading God, Love, Marriage, Sex

The day Jack Kennedy died we danced to this again and again ... It was a Thursday evening on November 22 in 1963. I'd graduated that summer with a mediocre BA Hons from the University of Birmingham. I'd had some adventures after that—see this post for example. There was lots more. I'd earned a few quid selling ice-cream at… Continue reading The day Jack Kennedy died

How this blog got its URL

When this blog started in 2015, taking over from my former blogspot address, I used the name of singer Tabu Ley Rochereau, who often performed with Franco Luambo's TPOK Jazz Band. This had been a favourite of mine since I first discovered African music through some tracks copied on to a cassette by a local… Continue reading How this blog got its URL

Mary, Martha and Jesus

They had by this time arrived at the large well outside Magdala. Clouds had covered the sun: a pale darkness fell over the face of the earth. Black threads of rain hung down, joining sky and soil. . . . Magdalene lifted her eyes to her skylight and saw the heavens blacken. "Winter is upon… Continue reading Mary, Martha and Jesus

Etty Hillesum’s Diary – 2

8.00 p.m. 8 uur, 's avonds. We are always in search of the redeeming formula, the crystallizing thought. As I was cycling about in the cold, I suddenly thought: perhaps I am making everything much too complicated because I don't want to face the sober facts. Een mens zoekt altijd naar de verlossende formule, naar… Continue reading Etty Hillesum’s Diary – 2

Etty Hillesum’s Diary – 1

MONDAY, 4 AUGUST 1941, 2.30 P.M. He said that love of mankind is greater than love of one man. For when you love one person you are merely loving yourself. He is a mature 55-year-old and has reached the stage where he can love all mankind, having loved many individuals in the past. I am… Continue reading Etty Hillesum’s Diary – 1

Neighbours: live podcast

Turned on voice recorder as I left the house yesterday, on my way to town. Intended to comment upon things of interest as I passed them. Didn't expect this encounter with an African neighbour at no. 13, three doors down. We'd not spoken before, other than a friendly greeting. This is what I captured, unknown… Continue reading Neighbours: live podcast

Homage to Clichés

With all this clamour for progressThis hammering out of new phases and gadgets, new trinkets and phrasesI prefer the automatic, the reflex, the cliche of velvet.The foreseen smile, sexual, maternal, or hail-fellow-met,The cat's fur sparking under your handAnd the indolent delicacy of your handThese fish coming in to the netI can see them coming for… Continue reading Homage to Clichés

Good Vibrations, good migration

 Revised on October 3rd Things have changed in my body & psyche. One is the worse for wear, the other has recovered after 6 weeks of insanity, diagnosed as an infection of the brain which like the common cold has cleared up by itself. During those 6 weeks my head ran wild ("Freak Out!") scaring… Continue reading Good Vibrations, good migration

High Wycombe has a Monopoly

from our local newspaper, the Bucks Free Press. I've corrected its numerous typos, excused by the fact that today is its publishing day, and Isabella Perrin was clearly rushed to get the copy ready in time High Wycombe MONOPOLY board release date and locations announced 15th August by Isabella Perrin , @IsabellaHPerrin Senior Digital Journalist… Continue reading High Wycombe has a Monopoly

(Not) Closing Down Soon

I've just transcribed Shaving Through the Blitz  from scribbled notes and posted it here. I'd written these words: This WordPress site, already much pruned, is returning to Blogger, the land of its birth. A few hundred posts from here will be transferred there asap. See you there already!Now I'm asking myself "Why? Are you crazy?… Continue reading (Not) Closing Down Soon

Shaving Through the Blitz

Here follow verbatim the notes I scribbled on Thursday 7th October 2021 Life can get very awkward at times. I've not asked for this cup to be taken from me, nor am I comparing my succession of predicaments with anything as violent as crucifixion like those martyrs who emulated Him in the surrendered cruelty of… Continue reading Shaving Through the Blitz

“Thank You NHS”

I went up to the hospital for a blood test and took these snaps of the approach road. They've been painted here for more than a year, and reflect a massive manifestation of affection for our National Health Service since the pandemic hit us. At various points it has drastically overloaded its workers at all… Continue reading “Thank You NHS”