The Daily Betrayal

I took the bowl of warm milk with a few oat flakes floating on the surface from her and set it gently down on the table. “I just want some normal porridge’ she cried softly, tears welling. It seemed like a small thing to be upset about but this was our second attempt at breakfast and it had gone as badly as the first. We had both been ill recently and were in that vulnerable phase where food was a vital ingredient on the road to well-being. But the tears were not just being spilt over a pitifully poor example of a bowl of porridge, these were tears of grief at the state of our distant homeland, the United Kingdom, split down the middle by a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union. The vote went to Leave. Continue reading

A Double-edged Sword

They say that too many cooks can spoil the broth What would one say if there is too much broth – does that spoil the cook? SO, I find myself with half-cooked posts not only on all the back-burners but there are some fairly hefty ones simmering on the front burners as well. Continue reading

Finding Shangrilala

I write from the ‘Valley of Longevity’ – marketing hype if ever there was. Truth be told most of the, supposedly, old timers round here in Vilcabamba, Ecuador cannot remember their exact date of birth with great accuracy and therefore claims that the climate, soil and way of life will put off the inevitable are a little stretched. Continue reading

A Chance in a Million

It stretched away on all sides: a shiny black crust many metres thick that snaked and cracked across the face of the earth like some revolting sore. It radiated the sun’s heat with ferocious efficiency and one felt totally basted in warm air, like a piece of meat in a convector oven. I felt my core temperature peaking as sweat ran from each and every pore, eyes stinging from the salty rivulets and the diamond-bright sunlight overhead that this cursed rock seemed to reflect upwards thwarting my wide-brimmed hat. It was hellish in its assault on the human frame, hellish in aspect and hellish in its total abnegation of life. Or so it seemed. Continue reading

Welcome to a New World

The passenger compartment in the boat, although open to the elements at the rear, was stiflingly hot and airless. We were all arranged along either side on padded benches with the hard upright walls as support and a pile of luggage on the floor in between. The roar from the three Mercury 200 outboard engines was horrendous and together they raised an impressive ‘rooster tail’ of wake almost as high as the boat itself. The only saving grace on this infernal journey was that the sea was smooth apart from a very long-interval swell which came at us exactly side on and thus did not cause any stomach unsettling motion. Continue reading

Street Life

I stepped out onto the balcony just in time to witness a stream of urine spurting down into the street from the balcony opposite. The small boy giggled with delight, his naked brown bottom-half shining in the early morning sun while his father sat behind him smiling at the scene with no word of reproach. The man was dressed in flamboyant red boxing shorts but his physique was not that of a fighter, or if it had been then those days were long past and the shorts were an old memento. Their little balcony was cluttered with plants, chairs and washing: a tiny piece of al fresco space cantilevered out above near traffic-less streets in a part of the city without plazas or green space. Continue reading

Dreaming of Bacon

Those of you who know me well will gasp at the next piece of information. Until yesterday midday I had not eaten for 65-hours! A personal record indeed but one which gave me absolutely no pleasure in achieving. For the first time in nearly a year I was laid low by a stomach infection which came at me unbidden and sweeping low under the radar did its work and laid me out flat for two days straight (which might also be another record). Wow, down like a nine-pin. Continue reading

Grist to the Mill

Must post, must post, must post! It seems like a long time since the publish button was tapped, and indeed it is, over 3-weeks. Why this has happened is the reason behind this post’s opening lines. There is a a need to break silence and get something, anything out there (although not just any old thing will do as it does need to have some sort of binding theme to it). Continue reading

Of Ants And Men

The ants had been right: shortly after nightfall the heavens opened and the rain drummed down on the tin roof making conversation difficult. Later it softened considerably and was more like rain falling on canvas, a comforting lullaby. Continue reading

From Babble to Babel

If there is one thing destined to make a man feel totally hamstrung, inadequate and foolish it is not being able to express himself clearly. Nowhere is this exposed more vividly than when trying to communicate in a foreign language where one is often reduced to a frightful child-like level of sentence construction. Continue reading