Just a Thought

Cycling home on my red Cannondale racing bike, at least the bike frame said “Racing”, as I struggled into the headwind, a thought hit me and it wouldn’t go away.
It was the kind of thought which seemed so clear as I pushed on the pedals but now I sit and push on the computer keys it seems somehow incomplete…
We are the bole of the tree of life, my wife and I. Our roots were nourished by the fertile soil of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, who gave us values and standards and love and our branches are surrounded by the burgeoning spring leaves of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
We are the trunk that links the past to the future.
We are the guardians of the past, who pass on family messages, stories, traits, values and mores in an uncertain world to the coming generations.
We are the trunk of a bountiful tree, a healthy and still growing tree, but we know when the time comes another tree will replace ours just as we replaced those trees which grew before us.
Just a thought.


The Three Badgers – An Allegorical Tale

3 badgers


Three badgers had lived quietly down in the woods just below our house for years. They upset no one and no one really bothered with them. They were just there in the background along with all the other members of the family of friends who lived at Belmont North. Then something changed, not suddenly but slowly, imperceptibly a first. Marjorie bought a bird feeder. Now she was extending an extra kindness to birds. Some some new foreign ones arrived too. We had all sorts flying in – black ravens, grey headed jackdaws, jays with their iridescent blue stripes and, of course, sparrows tits, and the year-round red breasted robin as well as a few visitors like swallows and swifts – to peck away at the freely abundant food…. Continue reading “The Three Badgers – An Allegorical Tale”

In Praise of Idleness

Bernard Russell wrote a piece with this title in 1932 at the nadir of the world depression. Perhaps he was trying to put an optimistic spin on mass unemployment, but he was also making a valid point, namely that we work too hard.

More recently Rutger Bregman wrote ‘The Solution to Everything: Work Less’. In the same spirit, he notes that that our work-life balance is too unevenly positioned.

I wrote ‘Mind Reader’, inspired by the opening of Russell’s piece, as a reflection of the relationship between crime and savings.


Thirteen-year old James O’Brien walked with a limp. Passers-by ignored him.

Yet he had a rare gift, a sixth sense his mother called it right after he came home, and announced, ‘Mum, today, I saw a traveller regard twelve beggars lying in the sun. He offered a dollar to the laziest of them. I knew which one would get it even before it happened.’… Continue reading “In Praise of Idleness”

The Leader

Written in response to a Critique Circle challenge. Your character is the dictator of an arising nation. They’re charismatic, intelligent, emotional, and extremely deadly. Explain their motives and rational behind their terrible deeds (whatever they may be) in a convincing, realistic manner.

The Leader
With his mini tape recorder running, Peter Jones, Head of CNRBC’s overseas news operations said, ‘Now Mr. President, could we start the interview?’
Andilpe Zoomba waved his carved-ivory, horse-tail, fly swatter at an imaginary insect in the air-conditioned room overlooking one of Africa’s largest waterfalls.
Handsome Andilpe looked impressive. He was impeccably dressed in a pressed white suit with a red handkerchief puffed out of a breast pocket. Blood on a white body thought Peter Jones wondering about the symbolism of his attire…. Continue reading “The Leader”

We Come in Peace…Maybe

An alien species has landed on Earth but communication has come to a standstill. The aliens have not indicated any aggressive tendencies and the world leaders hope to keep it that way.
Who can save the Earth and talk to these aliens?

IMG_2539 Mamalapuram

Professor Henry Higgins (Jnr.) was the son of Henry Higgins, the teacher of elocution made famous by George Bernard Shaw in his play Pygmalion. He was just ending his lecture on communications to the third year students of Stanford University, California, when an assistant walked onto the stage.
‘Call for you, Professor’, said the assistant. ‘Sounds important, the White House.’
The professor gathered up his papers and went to the telephone…. Continue reading “We Come in Peace…Maybe”

William Wordsworth

I went out blackberrying today.
A westerly wind hummed and hawed
Amid the blackthorn and the nettles
Where brambles grew aplenty.
My September delight on southern hedges
Ripe with sloes and long-eared grasses
To pick most carefully brambles black and round.

The wind, my companion ushered the sounds
Of rolling waves from the shore below
While gulls and crows called and cawed
To partners and their pals.
O! to be out under the troubled sky
Of blues and blacks, of whites and greys
Amid the swords of sunshine and my punnet full.

Thanks to a fellow Participant (Alathea Anderssohn) I noticed a poem by Wilfred Owen:


Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved,—still warm,—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

And her comparison to Wordworth’s opening lines of The Prelude: Book 1: Childhood and School-time.

—Was it for this
That one, the fairest of all Rivers, lov’d
To blend his murmurs with my Nurse’s song,
And from his alder shades and rocky falls,
And from his fords and shallows, sent a voice
That flow’d along my dreams?