What’s in a picture : Number 14

It’s the fort that counts!

Growing up I had this fascination with castles.

Not just because I had one in my bedroom and I could line knights up on the battlements and take part in epic battles but because they had stairs!.

I recall going to castles and spending ages trotting up and down huge staircases and winding stairways in dimly lit turrets. It became, I suppose, almost an Autistic stim for me and my long legs!.

These days I am less inclined to trot and more inclined to stumble and tumble head over heels down the steps but there’s still a fascination with the huge variety of forts and castles that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

The desert castles of Jordan inhabited, in part, by Lawrence of Arabia; the mighty crusader castle of Kerak; the Red Fort at Delhi and the mighty fort at Agra, pictured above, part fort and part palace; castles as diverse as Harlech and Caernarfon and castles that were not castles but fortified houses; all different and all capable of capturing the imagination.

So yeah, forts, castles- fascinating stuff.

Who’d have fort it?

What’s in @ picture : Number 13?

It’s a bit murky out there!

I’m rubbish at photography.

One of the reasons, partially, is that my hand shakes too much. Sadly that’s the effect of two strokes but, by the by, I’m just not good at taking pictures.

And it’s annoying.

I can see the image perfectly and know what it is I want to capture but what I see with my eye rarely comes out in the photograph.

I’m often disappointed by what I produce. I’m not blaming my camera because it’s a perfectly decent one, a Panasonic LUMIX for those who are interested, but I do wish I was good at actually capturing a decent image.

It’s like a lot of things I wish I was good at. Writing, poetry, life etc. But there’s a rare talent for taking good photographs and I don’t have it.

If I do take a good one it’s usually more by luck than judgement and I come home from a holiday, eager to relive the moments and I find a set of poor photographs, horribly composed that barely do justice to what I’ve seen.

The photo here is of a lake in Ooty, India.

It’s supposed to be a moody, atmospheric shot of the lake and trees, capturing the different greys and lights at the time but it just comes out drab and uninteresting.

A bit like me.



Like a constant pillow pressed against my face,

Unable to breathe,

Fearing that each is my last.

Hiding behind a mask,

Like some LA gang member,

Or a medicine man.


In my own home,

Rare foray into alien landscape

Devoid of people

A land I thought I knew

Now so different.

Give me space,

Space to breathe,

To be me,

But it’s not working.

Working from home,

No escaping the office in my lounge,

Constant reminder,

Of blurred lines.

Each day is now a day,

No Mon, Tues, Wednes- to put before it,

Each like the rest,

Unbroken, seamless passage one into the next,

Losing count of when,

Lost idea of where,

Lost idea of why,

I am doing what I do.

Locked out,

Locked away from life,

Limited and lost,

Struggles to endure,

Endless cycle of life,

Static, unmoving, in a vacuum,

Locked out of hope,

Lockdown in despair.

I wonder

I wonder when

This is over

When normality, or whatever passes for normality returns,

Will we remember

To be kind

And will we think

About those we left behind.

Will we still care

About those who stood on the front line

Or will they be so easily forgotten

Will we pin medals on chests of the deserving

Who deserve so much more than a cold piece of metal

Will we recall those who stacked, and collected and cleaned

Or will we forget

Will the blameworthy escape blame

For inaction and actions that were both hopeless and pointless

Will we care

Will we say ‘I survived’ knowing that, inside, we really didn’t

I wonder if we will see the day

When hands are held up in apology

By those who could have, should have, didn’t

No enquiry necessary

To prolong agony

Yet the howling and baying crowd will demand it

Yet I wonder if

At days end

Any good will come of it

Of any of it

From any of us

Will it?

I wonder.

Hope fades

I was wrong

Wrong about you

Wrong that you might actually mature but no, you resorted to type.

Screaming and yelling, threatening, demanding, using hindsight with great effect because hey, it’s not like you’ve ever made a mistake is it?

You demanded answers

Demanded them yet never deserved them

And you never deserved them because it was all too much for you to cope with.

You were asked to do something simple. So simple that even a child could do it.

And they did.

But you, smug, selfish, arrogant. It didn’t apply to you did it?.

And the blaming.

Demanding enquiries and prosecutions, Ah yeah, as if thats actually going to bring people back.

Learn from mistakes. Learn.

Anger is justifiable. Fury is a warranted emotion. Frustration is palpable.

But hatred? Bile? Death threats? Wishing, hoping that people die? People with sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers..

That’s what you wish for them.

I can’t change you.

You are who you are.

He lied, you said. He was never ill, never in hospital.

Oh, of course that’s justifiable on your part. You are allowed to call him names. You can hope his child grows up without a father.

Because you are better than him.

He’s said it, done it, it’s in black and white.

But now, so is what you say, you keyboard warriors hiding behind anonymity!.

Whereas he doesn’t.

Strange that, eh?.

But no, that’s fine, he lied, he was never sick.

I’m no fan but then perhaps,

My expectations are …reasonable.

Unprecedented times, unprecedented hindsight. Ah, if only we are all so blessed as you, if only you had been in charge for not a single person would have died, no loved ones left to mourn.

Or so you act.

Or so you think.

I had high expectations. A hope for more.

A more fitting place for the heroic. The nurse, the doctor, the care worker, the supermarket checkout girl, those who keep us going in these dark times.

Hope fades.

It fades because, underneath it all, we are helpless. We do not think for ourselves but expect everything from others. We beg advice and yet, when it is given, we ignore it because, hey, ‘You don’t expect me to do that do you?”.

So much heroism, so much bravery, so many deserving of so much.

But a few deserve only contempt.

What’s in a picture : Number 12


Another image from India, the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan.

Not chosen because it’s India but because it appeals to the Autistic me in that it’s well ordered.

I enjoy the sense of order. It’s neat, it has straight lines and the grass is well manicured.

I can’t abide chaos unless I can see the order in the chaos. I like to know where things are and be able to see the point of things. I like things to be well kept and well maintained and tidy.

I can see sense in the planting, it’s not thrown together haphazardly but there’s method to the (non) madness. It’s really appealing to me.

And okay, yeah it’s india.

What’s in a picture : Number 11

Beautiful work


I’m reflecting upon India.

Mum was born in Calcutta. Strange but true story, her birth was never registered because my Grandfather went off to do it but there was a demonstration in support of Gandhi outside the office and, being white, he thought he might not be welcome so he turned around and went home..and then forgot to go back.

India has grown on me. My first visit in 1990 was marred by ill health which culminated in two months of dysentery hell when I got home. It’s enough to put you off! And it did. For 24 years.

And now I’ve been back twice, to the North, the land of mighty fortresses and the Mughals, and to the South, the stunning backwaters of Kerala and the amazing temples.

And I’ve not been ill.

I miss India. I miss it’s beauty because, in a land of 1.3 billion people, there is so much beauty. It’s got it’s huge cities if you want those but it’s also got vast tracts of forest, huge tea plantations, rivers that wend their way down from the Himalayas; it’s got Tiger and Asiatic Lions and Elephants and Monkeys.

It’s got the Taj Mahal.

And I miss them all.

And I miss the people I’ve travelled with and shared those times with, Jenny and Peter, Rob and Dawn, Claire and Woody; people you had a laugh with, swapped stories with and who, for two weeks, became family.

I miss balmy nights. A cooling breeze on a sultry evening. A clear night sky, sunset on the river.

I miss the artistry. I miss seeing the talented artists using their hands to paint and sculpt and forge and inlay.

I miss the history. Feeling the strength of Agra fort, Gandhi’s cremation site, the exquisite temples like the one at Ranakpur.

I miss that sense of belonging, of being ….appreciated. Yes it sounds strange but people seem to like me on holiday when I’m relaxed, informed, funny…happy..

I miss it all. So much.

You won’t take me!

As the sun sets down behind me,

And the night is growing near,

I stand alone at my front door,

And taste the air, it’s fear,

There’s a silence in the treetops,

For the birds have gone away,

And I wonder if they’ll ever come,

Back home to nest, one day,

The wind is blowing softly,

It cries for all we’ve lost,

I hear it’s sad, mournful lament,

For all who’ve paid the cost,

I see the neighbours at their windows,

Waiting anxiously each night,

Waiting for a loved one home,

Embrace them at the sight,

For the terror that has gripped us,

Is invisible to eye,

And although we do the best we can,

Too many still will die,

As I turn about to head inside,

I turn and shake my fist,

I stand there all determined,

At the terrors I have missed,

And I make an oath before it,

Plain so it can see,

I know you’re out there waiting,

But by god, you won’t take me!.

What’s in a picture : Number 11

Flower Power!


I know nothing about flowers and trees and would not know my Ash from my Elbow (Sorry) but it’s very reassuring when you are out in it.

I love seeing flowers in bloom and trees in abundance and despite having hay fever I love the smell of a freshly mown lawn.

At times like these I think we need, more than ever, to appreciate the beauty that surround us and think about what we are doing to this planet of ours.

So, yeah, a flower. No idea what kind but it’s pretty and I like looking at it…which is why I took the picture. To remind me of better times and better places.


The bleakness of the day, Grey clouds scud overhead,

Threat of rain, yet no less grim,

Than that already fallen.

Mankind, at mercy of each other, where greed lies dormant,

Rarely peeping head above parapet,

To shed fresh eyes,

Upon green shoots.

Imperilled yet we can find no comfort in the bosom of others,

Solitary vigil, the lonely watch,

Of the ever watchful.

Abhorrent news, soul decaying, eating at humanity,

What have we done, we cry,

To deserve this.

Ask your god for he will not answer you.

Life, every day the same,

Blurred lines, recurring nightmare from which we cannot escape,

Day becomes night becomes day,

Are we awake now or asleep?

It matters not.

I sit here at my window, oppressed from without and within,

Trapped by circumstance,

Chained by invisible bonds born on the breath of others,

Masked, hidden from view,

I creep out for daily sojourn,

Guilt ridden that I can still,

Whilst others never will again.

At the edge of my fragile, decaying state,

Meltdown barely kept at bay,

Glacier eroding through sameness, monotony of time,

I still hope,

But now it fades,

As does the light.