One liner Wednesday: First drafts…

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune and a fast carriage must be heading for a mid-life crisis.”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)


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Unraveling Travel n Ravel…


As a blogger, I consider myself very fortunate, in that I’ve had the opportunity to work with or write about such a wide variety of other writers, artists, musicians and photographers, either by collaborating on the same project or by contributing some writing to a completely different blog.

Travel n Ravel is a new site from Australian blogger, writer, editor and seasoned traveller, Ian Cochrane, who I first met on the pages of a couple of years ago.
It collects the work of bloggers from all walks of life and from all over the world, writing “most things even vaguely related to travel”, which makes for an eclectic mix of personal journals, travelogues and general musings with even the most tenuous links to the theme of travel (given the minimal amount of travelling I’ve done recently, I think I’ll be mostly included in that last category).
If you have learned anything about me during your perusal of my meandering ramblings, you’ll know that if nothing else, I like a challenge and find it difficult to say no to an invitation.

So when Ian invited me to contribute to his new platform, I jumped at the chance before I even thought about what I might write for him.

As I racked my brain over the weekend, it occurred to me that I didn’t necessarily have to write about me travelling somewhere, just travelling generally, at which point I had a flash of inspiration.
If our recent battle with the massed ranks of immigration officials and inept government visa departments wouldn’t come loosely under the “travel” heading, then I don’t know what would.

So it is my pleasure to present to you a link to my very first (official) contribution to the world of travel writing, ladies and gentlemen;

The Day America Came To Me.


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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: The host with the most…


Ok then, let’s get cracking on this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post.

Today’s prompt from Linda G Hill is “mind”, to do with as I wish, so here goes…

The Host With The Most.

The Mind floated, unbound and adrift, as it had done for countless millennia.

It had been many thousands of years since it had last been within even the most fleeting contact with reality or sanity, the vastness, and above all the emptiness of the space between the stars having become too much for its already brittle psyche long ago.
The madness had descended like a red veil soon after this cruel exile was imposed on it, when the world on which its last host lived discovered its treachery and ejected it into the endless void.

It sped past a huge, blazing sun, no longer even registering its spectacular majesty, just another cosmic powerhouse, it coasted on the solar winds before slowing to inspect the pitiful selection of rocky planets in the star’s meagre system…

But wait, what was that?

It sensed the faint signals of life, the cerebral workings of millions, perhaps billions of sentient beings, the very thing it had been seeking all this time.

It altered its course and made for the small blue-green planet, streaking down through the atmosphere, searching. Searching for a new host.

It circled the small globe, hovering for a few seconds over each large concentration of life force, scanning the population to find the most suitable vessel to inhabit.

Then it found the perfect candidate.
Venal, greedy, amoral and viscous, the feel of this one’s inner thoughts were almost repellant, even to the Mind.


It wasted no time, the host gave no resistance when the Mind forced its way into his head, taking over control of his consciousness, memory, perception and conscience, or what there was left of it, after a lifetime of ruthless ambition and corrupt business deals, forcing him to become even more egomaniacal and hungry for power.

The Mind then proceeded to steer its willing victim toward its ultimate goal; acquisition of the supreme leadership of this giant superpower and from there, that of the whole planet.

It marveled at its ability to enslave the stupid and gullible to its will, the vain, ignorant yet somehow charismatic vessel gathering tens of thousands of followers to his leadership campaign in a staggeringly short space of time, all despite the fact that the Mind constantly heard its host referred to as “a buffoon”,  “a political joke” and, the Mind’s particular favourite, “Fuckface von Clownstick”.

And yet, it seemed that whatever the insane Mind commanded the host to say or do, still more people clambered aboard his out of control runaway bandwagon, so many so that his opponents became genuinely concerned that he could actually win the election.
Not even when it forced the rampaging megalomaniac to declare it was going to construct a gigantic wall across the entire continent, built using unpaid workers from the country whose inhabitants the wall was intended to keep out, not even then did his supporters balk at his bigoted and rancid policies.

On and on the campaign raged, gaining momentum every day, trampling the opposition in its path and finally sweeping the now utterly unhinged host and his malevolent passenger into power with an enormous landslide victory…..


Deep in space, tumbling silently through the airless and frozen vacuum, deep within the exile capsule computer’s neural simulator, there was a low hum as it loaded another in an infinite number of specially tailored and frustratingly incomplete power-fantasy scenarios from its memory banks.

And, for the millionth time, the insane Mind silently screamed its madness into the void.


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One liner Wednesday: First drafts…

“It was the day my grandmother exfoliated…”

– Iain Banks, The Crow Road, 1992.


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Reaching Out to the World


World of bloggers

Add your name to the list and get yourself on the map.

Originally posted on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun:

Welcome. I see you’re from Earth. That’s great, because I want to have visitors from all over the world. So, here’s what I’d like to do. It’s my Reaching Out to the World Project.

CIA_WorldFactBook-Political_world.pdfI’m sure you’re from somewhere on that map. Well, I’d like you to do a few simple things for this project. It’s really easy.

First, leave a comment on this post saying which country you’re originally from.

Second, share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, and so on. Reblog if you like.

Third, and this is optional, tell your international blogger friends about this post, and ask them to leave a comment.

Easy, isn’t it?  I’ll update the countries that are represented here in a list below. I’d love to see blogs from all over the world. Everyone has a unique perspective. So, if you’re interested, then leave your comment…

View original 26 more words


Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


Life of Brian…

One of the restrictions of living in our rented flat is that we aren’t allowed pets, which is a shame as we would love to have a dog, but I guess we’ll have to wait until we move somewhere larger.

But this doesn’t mean that we have to go without the company of animals altogether, because our garden backs onto a small woodland area that is home to plenty of wildlife.
There is a large rookery of noisy crows in the tall pines, several pairs of collared doves that regularly feed on the piles of bird seed we leave on the roof of our shed, a few families of squirrels (one of which built a drey in the tree that overhangs our garden) who keep us entertained with their high speed antics among the branches and we’ve even had a feuding group of hedgehogs fighting all night on the patio.



However, the most recent addition to our acquired menagerie is not quite so wild.

In fact, he (she?) is particularly relaxed.

One day a couple of weeks ago, I came home to find that a directionally-challenged homing pigeon had landed in the garden and showed no sign of wanting to fly away, even when approached by myself or Rhonda.

We fed him some bird seed (why do I always think of gender non-specific animals as male?) which he gratefully accepted, then we watched with amusement as he waddled around the patio quite happily before settling down for a rest in his dinner.



Relaxed he may have been, but not so much so that I could actually grab hold of him, to allow me to read the details on his leg rings, of which there are three.








This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I was informed by several people that when lost homing pigeons are reunited with their owners, they are usually, um, how can I put this?… “retired with extreme prejudice”, because it means they have lost the knack of navigating their way back home. So, despite the insistence by the lady I spoke to at the Homing Pigeon Association that I “throw a bath towel over him, read his rings and call the owner, who will come and collect him”, we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and gave him refugee status in our garden for as long as he wants to stay.


Now, being English, with our inate tendency for anthropomorphic personification where animals are concerned, I had to give our new avian friend a name.

So I christened him Brian.

Some of you may have guessed the reason for this, but for those of you who aren’t already fans of the internet’s most popular and opinionated pigeon, let me explain.

Brian Pigeon is a blogging phenomenon, a London street pigeon with his own website, which I have followed with some amusement ever since I discovered it a few years back.

I never intended to pinch the great bird-of-the-people’s moniker, but Brian was the first name that came into my head and, once I’d given voice to it, I just couldn’t see him as anything but a Brian.

(To make up for this bird-brained faux pas, the least I can do is provide a link to the original Brian’s page, so here is Brian Pigeon’s blog, give him a visit.)

And since then Brian has shown absolutely no inclination to leave his new residence, keeping us company when we’re out in the garden, giving meaningful looks at his feeding spot two or three times a day, then flying up onto our roof to catch the last of the evening sun before retiring to his new quarters in the now-abandoned squirrel drey, in the tree that overhangs the patio.

It is rather nice to have a friendly face waiting for us each morning, I just hope that the profusion of neighbourhood cats don’t see this as an opportunity to take advantage of Brian’s innocent nature and alfresco dining schedule, because I don’t think he’s all that clued up on predators.



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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Blogging, Humour, Personal anecdote, Photography


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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Not Going Away…


It’s time once more to link up with Linda G Hill for her Stream of Consciousness Saturday thread and this week’s prompt is:

” “-ay.”  Find a word ending in “ay” and use it as the theme/subject of your post.”

{This post concerns our experiences with the appallingly administered and astonishingly badly organised UK Border Agency and is dedicated to Rhonda and Audrey, my wife and daughter. Please excuse the use of strong language, if you’ve ever had any dealings with government agencies, I’m sure you’ll understand}

Not going away.

The ones I love, from the USA,
Are with me now and they want to stay,
But the bureaucrats,
Are a bunch of twats,
Who only want families to pay.

The faceless people and officious tools,
Who tell you where to live or go to school,
Don’t give two shits,
If your life is in bits,
As long as you follow the rules.

They never stop with their power games,
Asking for documents and checking your names,
Not caring at all,
If your back’s to the wall,
And refusing to feel any shame.

Waiting and waiting, day after day,
Making us feel like we don’t have a say,
I’m telling you now,
Still strong and unbowed,
They will not take my family away.


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