I published this on on 31st March 2010 and it somehow got lost in the conversion to WordPress. I'll have to check how many other posts need restoring. Humphrys: I’ve been talking about climate change to one of the world’s most respected scientists, Professor James Lovelock, the man who developed the Gaia theory, which says… Continue reading James Lovelock – transcript of radio interview
I visited someone in a locked mental ward. She desperately wants to get out but is not ready to do so. She’s a lawyer, indeed a barrister, though I doubt if that fraternity will open its arms again to her. This piece was dated August 8th 2006, same as my previous Never considered it suitable… Continue reading Paradoxes
My life has changed so radically in the last 7 days that I don't know what to say. Unless I write, knowing I'll reach a handful of readers, I won't have access to my true thoughts and feelings. Strange perhaps, but it's been this way for a long time. In ordinary consciousness, this radical change… Continue reading Glad
As journals, blogs are like life: open-ended. You finish one piece, you've no idea what the next will say, or whether there'll be a next one. After ending my last with a quote from Julian of Norwich, to round the thing off as I thought, I never expected to encounter her again so soon. A… Continue reading “There is No Other Doer but He”
It's not curtains for me yet, much as I admire the views they bear of Chiltern scenes, as I saw again on my latest visit to Stoke Mandeville, which lasted two nights. I'll pull back the screen to show what happened.Let my goat be called Chemo. I was fed intravenously from her high-dangling udders, while… Continue reading Tethered to a Robo-goat
This audio file was a first attempt to communicate from a comfortable position in my present state. It's rough and spontaneous. I don't know whether it would hold anyone's interest. PS on May 23rd 2020. Time I did an update . . .
. . . all bar the Eternal, which simply smiles. This is what happened to my recent post "All Actual Life is Encounter" Feb 1st: I started drafting the post , after arriving home from a trip to the Island. Feb 9th: published. Feb 11th: added a category and tags, pressing Update before the content… Continue reading A work in progress . . .
We went to the Island for a long weekend with a couple of friends, staying at Mimosa Lodge, where I took a photo at dawn across the Solent from our bedroom window. Outside it was chilly and neither of us got to take photos, especially as we were acting as guides to our friends, to… Continue reading “All actual life is encounter”
From Friday’s Daily Telegraph. The last of the aurochs died in Poland, in 1627 I’m writing this post in pen and ink† while my computer’s still at the mender’s, being restored from the wrecking job I did on its data. An ignorant computer user could never have ruined it so thoroughly, but I’ve proved the… Continue reading Taking the Bull by the Horns
We managed to make it to his last show yesterday, but not to any of his weddings. That’s him on the left when he came to ours. We didn’t know him well but his acts of kindness were unforgettable. Often it’s the way of things that you don’t find out what a person is till… Continue reading Four Weddings and a Funeral
In my last I described how a stranger’s eyes met mine in the street. I imagined that his glance said “My soul soars, but I’m stuck in this body.” I don’t claim the power to discern a person’s thought from his silent face. More likely, the thought had lain dormant in me for a while,… Continue reading Living in a body
I was walking along the Ledborough Road this morning, past the little shops and into town. You see every kind of person, it seems, from anywhere on earth. Something struck me about one man, the way he glanced at me as I passed. It seemed to say “My soul soars, but here I am stuck… Continue reading Figures in a landscape
Yesterday the young man who shot 12 people in a cinema was sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of release, though some had expected the death penalty. No one has any idea why he did it—the court said it wasn’t relevant. I wasn’t interested in the verdict or his motives. It was just a… Continue reading Death Row
To be alive is such a blessing that we rarely find ourselves able to grasp it. To feel this blessing in the moment is the most precious thing I know. Briefly I wondered if it makes grammatical sense to say “It’s a blessing to be alive,” for we are not in a position to compare… Continue reading “Life’s a bitch”
Winston Churchill in Bangalore, 1897 The subtitle of Karen Armstrong’s latest book Fields of Blood is “Religion and the History of Violence”. At the end of my last I said she was arguing the wrong case, and promised to write a follow-up post nominating the right case. This is the best I can do. As… Continue reading “They hold life cheap”
Stepping out the door into sunshine or cloud, nothing on my mind, I marvel at what it is to be human. It’s like being in a strange land with no map. Here am I, familiar to myself. Slowly I change, but not as fast as the world around me. I'm more comfortable with things as… Continue reading Divine Economy?
I’m glad I went to the doctor about my backache. I feel much better now. I learned a great truth which I can’t wait to share with you. It wasn’t the doctor who revealed it, quite the reverse. But he was the catalyst—the midwife!—to my realisation.You don’t want to hear about my aches and pains,… Continue reading Side-effects
This sky is my paper, asking me to write on its clear blue surface, perhaps in sepia ink with my new fountain-pen. But it doesn’t tell me what to write. I don’t care, for my pleasure is in the writing more than the content. Gazing at the blue sky, I welcome the little clouds. Uninterrupted… Continue reading Death will win
Three years ago I cured myself from a serious chronic illness; and changed my life as a result. Only now am I able to put in simple words what happened. The rider started to respect the horse. Instead of “cogito, ergo sum”, the centre of gravity became body-wisdom, the wondrous human animal. Both are joined… Continue reading The Centaur
Since this photo, the fire’s gone out after consuming the fence and denuding finally gone out after consuming the adjacent fence and half of the overhanging tree. In the scale of things, gratitude is now in order My next-door neighbour, bottom left in the pic, had complained to the Council about the state of his… Continue reading Bonfire of the vanities
Today I walked near the house where I lived for 16 years. That’s twelve years longer than I have lived anywhere else in my life. Most of those years I was crippled by a chronic illness and longed to walk the earth freely, so that area has a special poignancy, like the view from… Continue reading The Snowdrop Garden
Today is for doing nothing. My body wants to recuperate from strained muscle and virus, which as Jim pointed out, can interact on one another and with age too. I pace from room to room, not wishing to go out into the cold damp dark day. In the house it’s dark too, a dark house,… Continue reading Seeking the sun
When you have a virus---cold or flu---it comes and goes in waves, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. I woke in the night, thinking about how to continue my memoirs. There’s plenty left in the pipeline. But after age 21 and before 59, there’s a waste land: not an arid desert, but… Continue reading Fevered interlude
’Twas a dark and stormy night. We went as planned to The Royal Standard of England, a 900-year-old pub in Buckinghamshire. Above the festooned hops the visitor may descry a skeleton drinker sitting in the rafters, wearing a Roman soldier’s helmet and holding a pewter tankard in his left hand. The pub was hard to… Continue reading Elemental
From Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! I’ve hinted that my headmaster, Montague Brummell-Hicks, viewed me as a boy in need of control and correction. He seemed to have dark suspicions of my character and this irked me from the earliest days, for I saw there were other boys, more handsome and sunny of disposition, whom… Continue reading The angry caning
It’s not the done thing to bore the company with ongoing bulletins of one’s ailment, but when dramatic recovery is the punch-line, we can risk stretching a point. A week ago, I was troubled in mind, as I recorded in this post. I lit a candle in the church, said a prayer for the world… Continue reading Healing
Since my last I have hardly ventured outside due to a pain in my thigh. It’s not swollen and there is no bruise, just a pain sometimes severe, as when walking or standing. I suppose a muscle got pulled on Friday when I went up to that mysterious US base. Each day since recovering from… Continue reading Why pain?
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… Continue reading Christmas Past
The eastern sky glowed golden yesterday morning, over the chimney pots and the tower of All Saints’ Parish Church. I saw the outline of a hundred wheeling birds, swallows I think, gathering for their departure to North Africa. Later as I went walking, some half-denuded shrubs were full of birds chirping and hopping excitedly from… Continue reading Fragile
Update on December 13th 2020: YOu don't hear the term "mental illness". It's called "mental health issues", and embraces every kind of grief, depression and general unhappiness, especially including effects of loneliness arising from precautions against the corona-virus pandemic I’ve been wondering today what mental illness is. There’s a propaganda campaign going on in the… Continue reading Cause of insanity
From an unhappy household I was sent to boarding school at the age of 6, as it happens on the day that my half-sister was born. I'd been told nothing, just takenOut of this time, I spent nearly six months in hospital with my leg in plaster – not a fracture, but a bone infection… Continue reading Sent to boarding-school