Archived Observations


Gluttons for punishment


Imagine falling asleep on a glorious summer’s day and not waking for a very long time.  The last thing you see as your eyes close is the beautiful weeping willow tree in the garden.

Eventually you are awakened by the sound of a Christmas carol sung by an unseen choir.  As you open your eyes you realise you have slept for six months but the willow tree is still in full leaf, are you still asleep?  Is this a crazy dream?  Surely this cannot be.

This scenario would have been the stuff of nightmares when I was a boy, today it is reality.

* One part stupidity one part procrastination one part carbon dioxide.


Love thy neighbour?


The recent awful event on a London street that left a young soldier dead by truly dreadful means gave me reason to believe that I awoke that day on a different planet.

The sight of his life’s blood splattered on the pavement and staining the hands of his assailant was a view of hell.

What makes the scenario worse are the words of another young man trying to justify his actions in a hate fuelled diatribe of revenge, I struggle to imagine his thoughts of the one he calls God.

The following day my wife Sue showed me a birthday card she had bought for our son, I could not read it as tears drowned my eyes and just for a moment I became the father of a dead soldier.


The bitter taste of Eve’s apple

Distant Hope

Light nights at last devour the darkness of winter and the earth is reborn.

Who could not marvel at the resurgence of life to our land as a mantle of greenery cloaks the grey memories of nature’s sleep?

Life is resurgent in sound, colour and scent with the pungent aroma of the may evoking memories of a childhood doing what children don’t do now.

The winter months however have not been without their wonders.  This restless soul as usual found himself gazing into the night sky observing super nature beyond interference and despoliation.  Standing on a grain of dust on a spiral arm of the Milky Way a good eye and a modest pair of binoculars will show the viewer such sights as the Andromeda Galaxy over two million light years away.  The giant gas clouds of the Orion Nebula and beautiful open star clusters such as the Beehive in Cancer and the Seven Sisters in Taurus.  Boy does it go on.

Trying to portray the night sky by cameo is of course impossible but what we have learned to date should remind us all that we are going nowhere fast and no one deserves the future less than the wreckers of our Garden of Eden.


Another one for the pinstriped parasites


The word integrity is not a word we hear used very often today.

My battered old lexicon describes this noun in many ways, for example wholeness, probity, honesty, uprightness, rectitude, moral soundness, goodness, purity.

There is little wonder it is not used much.

Look out for the word turpitude it may be number one before Christmas.

I wished I’d never bothered


When a child seeks guidance, they usually rely on the wisdom of an adult to help them through difficult times.  What trauma must ensue when questions remain unanswered, and difficulties are not salved because little help is forth coming?

The greatest responsibility of an adult is to ensure the good nurture of their offspring, too often this is not so.

A simple passage from the bible reminds us of our responsibility.

“When I was a child I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned as a child but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

What a great pity that at a time when some are most needed, the truth is revealed that they too have not grown up.


Silence is golden


A friend told me recently that he had visited a local hostelry for a meal with his wife.  He was told that a party was underway in an adjacent room, because he could hear no sound he peered through the door and was amazed to see about a dozen people sat around a table each staring into the screen of their “smart” phones.  Some party!

The advent of mobile phone technology seems to have done nothing for true communication even the unintelligible grunts that used to emanate from pubescent mouths are stifled by the techno gag of the surgically attached mobile.

As if the dreaded contraption hasn’t stolen enough it seems that everywhere the public gather, grown ups also from eighteen to eighty eight are to be found en masse beguiled, entrapped, lost in cyberspace.


Hello is there anyone there?


It was a bitterly cold January morning the frost was in a bad temper and the wind bit everything in its reach.  A lone carrion crow drifted over the ancient meadow in the lessening hope of gleaning what may be his last breakfast.  After a while he landed upon the barren table wrapping his wings around himself like a dull black cloak and stood like a tombstone cursing his hatching.  Some time passed before he decided to try his fading luck elsewhere but as he tried to take off, he discovered to his horror that his feet were firmly stuck to the ground.  The sly frost had him in its deadly grip.

What was he to do?  Sometime earlier he had spotted a fox quartering the fields nearby, the crow was safe in the air but if Reynard should pass his way what flesh was left upon his scrawny body would no doubt do for starters.

In desperation the crow cast his watering eye around the meadow and to his cunning joy spotted an old Highland bull standing beneath the tortured boughs of an aged Hawthorn tree.  “Bull help me” shouted the crow “Please help me”.  With a sickening indifference the bull just stared through his shaggy hair at the worthless one in his hour of need and then after what seemed like hours the bull lurched forward and with casual disdain ambled towards the crow “What do you want” said the bull as if he could not care less.  “My feet are frozen to the ground, and I cannot move” said the crow.  “What do you expect me to do about that,” said the bull.

“If you are thinking of having a poo would you, do it near my feet for the heat could help thaw the frost and I will be free”.  As the bull chewed what bit of cud he was able to raise from his stomachs and with an incredulous look in his eyes he eventually said “I’ll think about it” and returned to the cover of his tree.

A great gloom of despondency enveloped the mind of the crow the terrifying thought of his impending encounter with Reynard was being diluted with a half wish for his predicament to end as numbingly painless as possible.  The thought process of the bull had the viscosity of lead but something a dim recollection of his hatred for Mr Fox awakened his stagnant conscience and he strode across to where the crow sat imitating death.

“Close your eyes” said the bull and as the crow sat in the darkness, he heard to his great delight the steady plop plop plop of Mr Bull’s gift of steaming hope.  “Oh, thank you thank you a thousand times thank you” said the crow and as his legs took to an elastic dance in his efforts to free himself the bull wandered away without a word.  The heat had done the trick and close to complete exhaustion the crow and frost were parted.

As he left the ground, he heard an enormous snap as the jaws of Reynard closed a fraction of an inch from his liberated feet.  The shock of this lifted him like rocket propellant to the top of the tallest tree in the hedgerow and there he sat for a moment of disbelief at his good fortune.

As it turned out the fox had been luckier in his bloody criminal search for food for earlier, he had slaughtered the contents of the local farmers chicken coop and red faced blustering man armed with double barrelled revenge was on his trail.

Buoyed by his new found freedom and blinded by disbelief the crow started to shout “I’m free I’m free” as loud as his weakened beak would allow.

Bang, the crow hit the ground with a stiffened thud, his hunger his fear his freedom gone.  The fox heard the shot and was away, anger had been misplaced and nothing had been gained.

The moral of this miserable tale is that if ever you reach the top of the tree through a load of old bull do not crow about it.


And talking of bullshit and foxes.


John Peel still blows his horn

The hounds are in full cry

A new day was not born

“Tradition” did not die.

There lies a ravaged corpse

At legislations door

It’s one rule for the privileged

Another for the poor.


My latest philosophical audit on our lamentable attempt to live in symbiosis with Mother Earth suggests that long term comfort in a finite world may be impossible.

I listened recently to a gathering of “experts” discussing the theory of global warming, in the green corner stood an eminent scientist, in the smoke blue corner a number of people came out fighting with the consensus that if they had worked all their lives to be able to afford to fly around the globe

ad libitum and buy the gas guzzler of their dreams, who was some biased scientist to tell them they were wrong.

A while ago I sent a few bob to a charity that provides clean drinking water facilities to remote villages in India, I was somewhat bemused when I heard recently that an Indian probe had found vestigial water on the Lunar surface,

either my money has been misappropriated or someone has found a way to make a few Rupees stretch a very, very long way indeed.

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