Monday, 23 April 2018

Failing feet - a poem

A time approaches 
when my socks will sit in drawers
awaiting toes
that my knees won't bring me close to.
Distant feet
at the end of short legs,
they may as well be in China.
What then?
Barefoot in the park?
Or do I forgo my Robert Redford moment
and make a stick with a hook
catching up a black sock
like I once caught bright yellow ducks
at the street fair each September.
I don't want to ask for help.
And how would that help anyway?
Ah, feets don't fail me now.
I'm not immobile, but tap dancing?
Well, maybe a soft sand shuffle.
I pick up my socks and throw them to the wind.
Perhaps I should move on and get used 
to the feel of softly shifting sands between my toes.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

It's Easter...

So that’s Easter done with thank goodness. These holy religious celebrations are not very much fun are they? At least from a ritualistic perspective. Give me a burning wicker man, a Lord of Misrule, or a bloody good Satanic orgy every time – oh and wine and beer and lots of it. Just a thimble full of wine and an ice-cream-less wafer doesn’t really do it for me.

I know, I’m shocking aren’t I? I’m surely going to Hell, where no doubt a dozen demons and devils are waiting to give me my just deserts (ice cream hopefully) - and that’s how they do it isn’t it? Promises and threats. It’s what all religions are all about. Be good and you’ll go to Heaven, you may even get a few virgins to shag when you get there, be bad and you’ll go to Hell and burn, and burn, and burn - unless of course you are a Catholic. If you are Catholic, you can do whatever you want as long as you pop into confessional and admit your sins on a weekly of fortnightly basis. Mind you, deathbed confessions are also taken (your soul may be at risk if you do not keep up repayments on your faith or other loan secured on it).  Handy that isn’t it?

I spend a lot of time thinking about religion. Maybe I feel guilty that I don’t practice one despite being Christened into the Church of England when I was so young (a baby) that I had bloody zero say in it. Of course what could be better than to be a member of a church founded by a syphilitic, womanising King who decided that he wanted to execute / divorce / send into exile his numerous wives because he liked a bit of a change? Can you really think of anything or anyone more unholy? Despite this there are a lot of people who believe in the teachings of the Church of England and will defend their right to be mediocre to the hilt. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with jam, or bring and buys, all that kneeling and standing up, and afternoon tea with the vicar, but it’s hardly a pilgrimage to Mecca is it.

Mind you it’s not just the C of E, it’s not even Christianity in all of its ridiculous forms, including the rattlesnake handlers, the Creationists, and all that wearing of hair shirts and self-flagellation in the name of God. No, all religions are a bit hit and miss aren’t they? Bonkers really.

Now, I can kind of understand how you might want to worship the sun, or the moon, or the Earth even - after all you can see them and without them you’re pretty much buggered. I can also almost understand why the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and all the other ancient religions had loads of gods in human form to make sense of the world they lived in. But Jesus? The Bible? Let’s face it’s a bunch of stories not so very different to Grimm’s Fairy Tales. You may as well worship the seven dwarves or little mermaids – which I’m sure some sects somewhere probably do.

Of course it’s not just Christianity, it’s all of them right-on religions - Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Paganism, Shinto, Jainism, and all of the other four-and-a-half-thousand recognised religions to be found on this tiny planet – more if you count the ones people have tired of and no longer purposefully exist like the ancient Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Mayan, Inca, Aztec, and who knows how many others?

But ask any religious zealot, including those in the Women’s Institute, and they absolutely know that they are right and their's is the one true religion. Mrs Norma Normal doesn’t even think about what religion she might have been if she’d been born in Afghanistan, or India, or Ethiopia, or China, or Haiti. After all She’d still be Church of England, or at the very least Christian – the one true religion – wouldn’t she?

Errrrr… No!

And that, in my mind, shows just what nonsense all religions are. It’s more about geography and the community you live in, what your parents and teachers think and ram down your throat, how open to influence you are, how accepting, how gullible, how desperate to believe that there is something more than what you know and can see. Sad really, isn’t it? Your soul hanging by a thread of chance…

Now I don’t know if there is a supreme being or not. For all I know there could be thousands, tens of thousands, but not all of the religions on this planet can be the one true faith, can they? There are too many of them and some of them worship alligators. You might as well worship Disney.

Oh, you do. Well, you do have the right to decide. Anyway, that’s Easter done with, thank Whatever.

Friday, 23 March 2018

A bit of a journal - four.

Today, with nothing pressing to do, we decided to go off piste. Now obviously in a place this bloody hot it hasn’t anything to do with skiing or snow. It’s all about maplessness. Yes maplessness, such a brave move on an Island that’s only twelve miles wide and eighteen miles long but:

-       Maps are meaningless on Barbados. Roads that should exist don’t, and those that shouldn’t exist do.
-       Signposts are only there to trick you into going the way they are pointing.
-       There are no ‘you are entering’ place names on Barbados, in fact I’m not even sure anywhere has a name.
-       Roads can be highways one moment, then turn a corner and they become a potted dirt track in the blink of an eye and often stop in a set from a bad slash movie.
-       The roads are really a spider’s web.
-       Though it’s not in the Bermuda Triangle it should be, as compasses do not work here.
-       Even though you can see the coast, and think you can drive towards it, you can’t.
-       The potholes look shallow, but are bottomless.
-       Other drivers can’t see you as you are driving down, or up, that one in four hill. You are invisible to them.

Yes, driving and navigating has its challenges on Barbados. Even so we set out full of gung-ho spirit to explore mapless - what a jolly jape you might say.

Of course within minutes of leaving we were hopelessly lost. ‘I think it’s up there.’ I said. Not really knowing what it was and not realising the slight incline was actually a steep hill that went on for miles and then ended abruptly  in a village that seemed only to be inhabited with barking dogs, no way forward, and too narrow (due to the three feet drainage gullies on each side of the very narrow track) to turn. We reversed carefully and slowly, trying not to draw attention to ourselves and took a road to the right. This was better. The road was okay, not too steep but after a mile or so became a dar gulley full of rusting cars and vans with shacks either side. Surely nobody lived in those tumbledown dwellings? And then a door opened…

This time there was room for a hasty turn, and (after barely missing a detached fender lying in the road) we were off once again. How jolly (as I said before).

Back on a road, with some semblance of tarmac, we breathed a sigh of relief. We were definitely on the right road, up high but on the right road, up very high, but definitely the right road. We could see the coast in the far distance as we entered a mass of trees and then… no more road. A great view though.

Into reverse once more until we found a place to turn, then down, down, down and bump, bump, bump.

And so it continued our mapless adventure. Through burning fields of burning cane sugar stubble, the smoke so thick you could barely see, the flames so close to the road you could feel their heat, through villages we will probably never come across again full of smiling children coming home from school, down roads through deep gullies until we found a sign pointing to the ABC Highway, a road we do know, and strangely enough we did.