Category: Journeys

Going for a Walk

Far be it from me – about 1473 miles as the crow flies providing there is no French air traffic control strike – to make any such claim as to the veracity of what is about to be now undertaken. But occasionally these things need to be aired and aired in public. That is what she more or less said to the judge anyway. He - being of a more open frame of mind than the judiciary were once renowned for - agreed there was some merit to her claim. However, he said that such open and frank displays could…

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The Theory of Pie

In the past, people often thought the universe was unchanging and eternal… at least until the invention of the pie. Philosophers, after Plato, thought this world was somehow an imperfect copy of some ideal existence. This world was a mere shadow cast on the cave wall, of the perfect world. But as Francis Bacon discovered centuries later in one of his earliest true scientific experiments, putting pasty around some meat changes everything. Although, the Greek philosophers, notably Heraclitus, had first noted that people rarely wanted to eat the same meal twice in a row. So, shoving some meat, veg and…

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The Mystery of the Disappearing Queen

‘You missed a good story in the inn last night.’ Helm shrugged. ‘I have little time for storytellers. They’re all liars.’ Tolg sat down beside the shepherd, both watching the sheep. ‘Oh, this storyteller is new. He hasn’t visited our village before.’ Helm muttered his thanks as Tolg passed him the wine bottle. Helm drank deep; watching sheep was a thirsty business. ‘Anyway,’ Tolg said. ‘This storyteller told us a new tale - about the Queen of Amboria.’ Helm stopped drinking. ‘Where?’ ‘Amboria.’ ‘Never heard of it.’ Helm swallowed, even though he was clutching the bottle in both hands where…

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Llamas and Bureaucracy – A Crisis in the Making

Still, I suppose you know what llamas are like. Most people these days have at least some familiarity with what was once regarded as exotic wildlife - at least in places far from their natural habit – through the medium of the TV nature documentary. Although, even these days, there are still some people who are surprised by the llama’s natural antipathy towards any form of bureaucracy. Many wildlife programme-makers have been somewhat lax in this regard, and not just with llamas. Often, they prefer to fill their programmes with sweeping panoramas of herds migrating across the great plain in…

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The Hauntings

‘Come back,’ she said. I turned. There was no-one there. There never is. The voice comes at odd times with no real pattern or purpose. Like the visions of her, the mirages, the sightings – whatever you want to call them. They happen in various places both inside the house and outside it. I have seen her - and heard her - at different times and places from the attic rooms down to the cellar, along the remnants of the smugglers’ tunnel, as well as along the cliff and down on the beach. She speaks as if she knows I…

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Monday Poem: The Frozen Fields

The Frozen Fields We drift through mists that hide the day. The night will close in on us, and the cold Will make us huddle protectively inside. The rain will fall, almost frozen, hard Like the ice of sadness that freezes Then shatters the delicate heart of one Who has known love and seen it die Alone and uncared for, out in the frozen fields Of a time lost to it and bare of all traces Of the hearts it once held, beating together Inside itself, as though something so strong Could never be beaten or could ever die.

A Real World Out There?

This world is not the world I remember. It has been some years, how many I do not know. But it goes beyond that. Changes over the time I’ve been away I could expect and understand. But this – these changes – go beyond mere alterations made by the passage of time. Something fundamental is different from this world to the one I left behind. It should be a matter of subtracting the year I left this world from the current one to give me an idea of how much time I lost while I was… away. But the calendar…

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No More Stories

It used to be so easy. I would find the women. I would discover their closely-guarded secret. Then I would weave a story around that one thing they desired more than anything else. I would tell them the story I’d made for them. They would show their gratitude, happy someone had come along into their lives and shown them something beyond their small world. It was easy travelling from village to village, making up stories to tell to those who needed to hear them. Being a mere storyteller meant that the outlaws ignored me, at least until they needed someone…

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How Cheese Made Civilisation Possible

Many people these days are familiar with how evolutionary psychology has shaped the human mind. For back in the early years, when humans were small groups of hunter gatherers, there was little or no naturally occurring cheese to be found. Those who did discover the natural cheese deposits began to mine it and develop the various stone tools that archaeology has shown were used to mine the cheese. Although rather primitive by today’s cheese mining technology, those early stone tools enabled many of these small bands of hunter-gatherers to settle in places where the cheese could be mined. Originally, archaeologists…

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The Shadow Dancer

Sadjil was a Shadow Dancer. We met – if met is the right word – one night back in the Year of the Green Death. I was walking the streets unable to sleep. I’d lost my ability to dream after a bout of the sickness that bought the Green Death. Without my dreams to sell I had no money left to buy a place to sleep, and since the Green Death had taken my wife and children I had no wish to call any place home. I walked both the days and the nights in that part of the city…

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