Tag Archives: Life

Animal Farm

Animals are great and even if I wasn’t a fan, living with a horde of the critters would certainly change my mind.  The kittens have been spoken about elsewhere on this blog before, my favourite of which is still Mr Boffles:

Here he is, attempting to line up with mum Alut and uncle Rambo, in what I assume is a homage to the opening scene of the magnificent 2001: A Space Odyssey.  As mentioned before, he enjoys gangster movies and the music of Louis Armstrong.  Since then he feels confident enough to run at Rambo and be mercilessly pawed at in return, as well as meowing at Die Hard 3, dramatic stunts are expected from this little one.

Our latest new edition – a dog this time, just to mix things up – which arrived yesterday is this little lady, Rexie:

Having spent little over a day with her, I can confirm she likes the taste of slippers, nibbling Rambo’s tale and disappearing at various times to make me worried that she has wandered off somewhere.  Now that we are up to six animals, life is getting more interesting both in and out of the house.


Posted by on 21/03/2018 in Life, Photography


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Working the Space

At the moment I am attempting to be a lot more proactive with my writing as you may have noticed, although today is one of those days when I want to post but writing feels like a bit of a challenge today so here’s a look at the workspace I fashioned for myself.

From left to right:

  • A Test of Time is the latest book I am reading, which is a look at the Egyptian chronology, a rethink and an attempt to sync it up with Biblical archaeology.  I’m also reading The Singularity Wheel, kindly sent over by Mike (see last blog post) as well, to keep my days varied.
  • To the right is my Green Apple notebook which contains my notes for a novel, unlike past efforts this time it is not only going well but in an order hitherto unseen in past attempts.
  • In front of these is my Tagalog notebook, in which I am writing words lists and attempting to get down the grammatical rules so ease me into this foreign language which doesn’t (thank goodness) have masculine and feminine words to remember.
  • The laptop which, other than helping realise these blog posts also keeps me up-to-date with all the big news, like the football scores, which is a welcome tonic to the morning’s TV catch up BBC Worldwide and CNN Philippines.
  • Lastly, behind my coffee cup which is the best jump-start for the day is my trusty notebook which has been to three continent with me and is rapidly filling up with all my notes for reviews and various other blog posts.
  • You may have noticed 10 month old Rambo (guess who named him) who when not happily biting various items of footwear is keeping alert for any move made for food.

It’s amazing what a simple zone for working can achieve, especially when one is in the mood for work, which it seems, I now am.


Posted by on 15/03/2018 in Blogging, Life


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Posh Nosh

On my travels I came across this wonderful Swiss restaurant, Vieux Chalet.  Set back far from Manila, in the hills of Antipolo, this charming place brings a slice of Europe to the locals and has a wonderful ambience and setting.  Outside there is a lovely atmosphere of silence, only broken by the sound of nature.  Inside friendly hosts and relaxing music compliment the wonderful food and intimate surroundings, the Beef Filet Mignon is definitely recommended.

There is another reason to head over to the restaurant and that is to photograph the skyline of Manila.  Sadly it was too challenging for my photography skills and the scope of the phone camera too.  The openness of the view is impressive, especially during the sunset and reminds the diner that it is good to be out of busy city and appreciating life in peace.

Then there was this amazing doggie, named Beast. He happily and patiently accepted all of our attentions despite the heat, which must be intolerable in the summer. He was last seen ambling off into the distance to where, we were told by the owners, he knows of a cooler place to rest.  That ambling backside was perhaps the most enduring image of an altogether wonderful experience.


Posted by on 07/03/2018 in The Philippines, Travel


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Intraterrestrial – Nicholas Conley

Adam Helios is a bully magnet without many friends. When he starts hearing a voice that claims to come from the stars, he fears he’s losing his mind, so he withdraws even further. On the way home from a meeting at the school, he and his parents are involved in a horrible car crash. With his skull cracked open, Adam’s consciousness is abducted by the alien who has been speaking to him for months.

After surviving the wreck with only minor scratches, Camille Helios must deal with her guilt over the accident that left her husband badly injured and her son in a coma. When the doctor suggests letting Adam go, Camille refuses to stop fighting for her son’s life.

Lost among galaxies, Adam must use his imagination to forge a path home before his body dies on the operating table. But even if he does return to Earth, he may end up locked inside a damaged brain forever.

Inveterate coffee drinking author and fellow blogger Nicholas Conley is back again with another fine offering which treads the fine line between what is real and what may not be.  He also comes up with such prose as this, which makes me happy:

The coffee was too hot and too grainy.  The fiery grounds jabbed at Camille’s tongue like a tattoo gun.

Conley’s fourth novel is yet again a very good piece of writing and just like his other novel Pale Highway, draws on his experiences working in the understaffed healthcare system to reinforce the plight of Adam and family with solidly realistic emotional reactions.  The strong start brings in the challenging themes straight from the off:  Bullying, being orphaned, belonging, puberty, guilt, and family problems, all before the main story of a terrible and all too easy to imagine car accident really kicks off.

I’m glad that the decision to focus on both Adam and his parents separately was chosen, this help balance out the physical and psychological effects of the real world whilst making room for the retention of the feeling of tangible and unfettered imagination in Adam’s story.  Both parts work well together, allowing the realistic edge of the hospital to give way to the extravagance of imagination, ensuring for an easier but no less challenging read. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 23/02/2018 in Fiction, Sci-Fi


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Valentine’s Date

I’ve been saving these up for today, as what is more romantic than to show the official wedding photos now that we have them, on Valentine’s Day.  I will show a selection here (less than I’d hoped due to the internet being on the blink, thanks to some high winds) and for anybody who is interested in the full set of nearly 1900 photos, you can check them all out at this link…here!

The ladies were looking great even before getting into their dresses…

The Gents were as suave as always…

Releasing the doves was picturesque, even if Crissy’s failed to fly after this shot… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 14/02/2018 in Life, Photography, The Philippines


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Early Shots

I have returned after a wonderful wedding and honeymoon week.  Photos will be coming soon of course, there have been so many posted on Facebook already and once the official ones are through, there will be a couple of posts coming up with the photos that really encapsulate the day.  Until then here are a few photos – in no particular order –  of my travels so far.

A visit to a beach – especially these beaches – in the company of wonderful people is always good. Added to great food, swimming at night, a thousand stars in the canopy of the sky and a super moon; followed by paddling about in the morning and enjoying the view of the sun glinting off the clear water, it was perfect…except for the grimmest toilet and shower facilities I have encountered in a long time.  Eagle eyed viewers will recognise the beach as being just a stone’s throw away from the beach I went to last year Costa de Oro.

Intramuros (within the walls) is also known as the Walled City, so being because the Spanish built the wall in the 16th century to protect themselves from attack in those days when it was a remote outpost of the Empire.  The span of this fortifications is impressive and there are still some cannons lining the walls as well as a sign warning about flying golf balls from the local course. There is a fascinating bookshop amongst other things in this part of Manila, which tempted me with lots of local literature.  One day I will be back for handfuls of that, as there seemed to be some enticing and powerful works waiting for my eyes.

Twin Lakes is a picturesque spot overlooking Lake Taal (which contains the second most active volcano in The Philippines, although Mt Mayon is stealing all the headlines at the moment), here we spent some time photographing, the wind was a bit chill and we had other places to go so didn’t enjoy any of the places to eat whilst taking in the view.  We didn’t really explore the resort but it was nice just to take in the clean air and the natural beauty of the area.  The highlands of Tagaytay are considered cold, with the average minimum temperature for January being 18 degrees.  The wind keeps it feeling cool sometimes but is considered pretty cold for Filipinos.
Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 07/02/2018 in Photography, The Philippines, Travel


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Tuning Out

After my last post based, based on a song I heard, which created some fanciful writing of my own, I decided to add some more musical pieces that make my mind whimsical. On a side note, I won’t be around from the 26th for a while, as I shall be getting married and catching up with my parents and best man Tom who are coming over for the occasion.  If I don’t get around to moderating and replying to your comments in the in the next week, that is the reason why.

Both these pieces I came across whilst playing the atmospheric flash game 6 Differences.

Who could say no to a bit of Sigur Ros!


Posted by on 26/01/2018 in Music, My Writings


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