A year on from its original publication, I bring these words to the attention of new readers — especially to those followers gained during this continuing pandemic struggle.
The turmoil and confusion that has so destabilized our worlds should be seen in the context of past disruptions. From the ashes of the 1940s, humanity made great strides and will surely do so again now that Covid-19 has exposed the distortions that have led us astray.
This past year has illuminated an increasing awareness of life-threatening planetary woes and the inadequate responses of prevailing economic ideologies.
This Easter, as…
Late up again, this morning.
I open the curtains to let in the new daylight.
Just over the road, I see a well-ordered, socially distanced, queue of masked parents, each with a toddler or two, waiting for school to begin.
Those youngsters, at the start of their schooling today, are destined to be the senior celebrants at the turn of 2100. Will they be anticipating the good life in the 22nd century? Or will they be cursing their forebears of the 21st?
Researchers have just revised how we predict sea-level rise. …
Many places are known for their large icons. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, The Angel of the North, The Eiffel Tower, Portsmouth’s Spinnaker, Belfast’s Titanic glass iceberg, Wembley’s Arch — and London’s Shard, Gherkin, St Paul’s, Nelson’s Column, and Big Ben to name a few more. They shout their supposed importance — even though half their office space is now redundant, and Whitehall is now just a shadow of its former European relevance.
But whilst places may strive to make massive iconic statements, these say little about their essential life. …
A great deal of UK media attention is focused on the plight of people in Afghanistan.
Despite protestations to the contrary, reports of actions and attitudes (particularly concerning the rights of women and children in that male-dominated society) are deeply troubling.
It is difficult to truly know whether the deeply embedded memories of atrocities committed two decades previously are now being revisited, or whether the new leadership has shifted towards a more-reasonably civilised form of governance — or, indeed, whether the new command has full control of its supporters, the Taliban foot-soldiers. Who knows? How long before we find out?
A walk to higher ground
In search of fresh perspectives, today, I turned right and, as police constables might once have dutifully reported, ‘I proceeded, Sir, in the direction of the low numbers’. It was a mistake — although that didn’t become obvious for some time.
My mistake was compounded by wearing a warm fleece. I’d assumed that, after two days of Autumnal weather, it would now be chilly. It wasn’t. But as I got closer to the A27 it was certainly noisier.
I relish the cool quietness of my early morning coastal walks, but today, inland, I found the…
The harbour sounds a little more awake this morning. Before I reach the old slipway at the end of Hospital Lane it’s already clear that the distant drone of a ship’s engine is more than the usual mumbling of the Brittany Ferry, now secure in her berth. The only other candidate is one of the carriers alongside the naval dockyard — but, as yet, no obvious signs of imminent departure. Maybe the sound is carried on the light breeze that ruffles the surface of the outgoing tide. Otherwise, all is still until two nervy pigeons exercise their wings in a…
I know little about birds — but they are not bothered. They take little notice of early walkers along the coast-paths. If action needed, a few flaps as I approach will casually lift them from fence to field or maybe an outrageous Olympian triple jump from standing start, one rock to another and another without touching the puddles between. Most don’t bother. Side-stepping caution is now a far more human trait.
Dogs demonstrate far more energy and ambition. They already know the tide will be high, and can hardly wait to leap into the waters. Soaked, they’ll return to their…
But will we?
I’m not a climate expert — but this morning there’s really no need. Stepping outside, I know, from the very first breath, that the tide is low and the creeks are reduced to narrow channels.
The high tide around midnight has again sploshed over the gravel path outside castle walls. Now, at this spectacularly low tide, the incoming Brittany Ferry hoots in the harbour, very cautiously navigating her way home. Vast islands of mud stand between us and the next high water at noon. …
I am not a flower expert — but Portchester demands that such deficiencies be bloomin’ well corrected.
Such is my inability to remember common plant names that plant identifying apps on my phone must work overtime. I defy anyone to walk past the vicarage and not admire the vicar’s pink blooms. Hydrangeas (as I have now learned to call them) have been out in force this year — and in so many varieties. Not just the conventional flower balls but extraordinary versions that, at first sight, might seem to be an entirely different species.
Nor is it only front gardens…