Tag Archives: Nature

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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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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Pintô Art Museum, Exterior

I love a good museum, especially one that is housed in a lovely building. On a Sunday living up to its name Crissy and I, took advantage of an offer from cousin-in-law (if that is the right term) Jerrold and girlfriend Kim to explore the Pinto Art Museum.

What a find it was! Entering through a small gated archway, I could have been mistaken for thinking I’d ended up in the Mediterranean countries.  The greenery and the whitewashed buildings were a world away from the glass and steel buildings of the everyday.  The addition of a little chapel near the entrance was a nice juxtaposition of historical art, leading as it would, to modern art.

I could find no information about the actual buildings but I think that adds to the aura of the place.  The relaxing atmosphere leaves the adventurer free to explore and stumble upon the pieces as haphazardly as one wishes. I imagine sitting for a time at the mini amphitheatre watching a play in the dusk breeze would be amazing.

With chairs and beds placed around, as well as some statues and sculptures to keep one satiated between galleries this is a truly wonderful place to seek out and appreciate nature as well as art. Read the rest of this entry »


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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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~Walking in the Rain; Observations

Walking through that closed, temporarily satiated city
light bleeds through the syrupy air before pooling together, mixing colours in the shimmering liquid display of luminescence
multi storey car parks and cheap neon signs become things of beauty in the rain, the strange distortion of air making things clear to the watcher
yet pleasingly fuzzy around the edges, reminiscent of daguerreotype photos and just as timeless.

The tram lines are silent as the scent of autumn whispers through the trees bordering the graveyard
It greets me unmolested by traffic fumes
the calm of the pristine air for the untried day yet to be experienced in this magical way
for most it will not be.

It’s my own world, the rhythmic lull of the rain, cleansing the ground is my soundtrack home
those wrapped up in bed, lulled to sleep by its romantic nature without knowing this experience unique and enigmatically illusory
my Aloneness in this world only magnified by the possibility of another spectral traveller in the distance, at once both real and imagined
perhaps I am that ghost, suddenly the nature existence is something less tangible.






Posted by on 04/09/2017 in My Writings, Poetry


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Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well – Lola A. Åkerström

As the Swedish proverb goes, ‘Lagom är bäst’ (The right amount is best). Lagom sums up the Swedish psyche and is the reason why Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world with a healthy work-life balance and high standards of living.

Lagom is a way of living that promotes harmony. It celebrates fairness, moderation and being satisfied with and taking proper care of what you’ve got, including your well-being, relationships, and possessions. It’s not about having too little or too much but about fully inviting contentment into our lives through making optimal decisions.

Full of insights and beautiful photographs, taken by Lola herself, this authentic book will help you make small, simple changes to your every day life – whether that’s your diet, lifestyle, money, work or your home – so you can have a more balanced way of living filled with contentment.

Lagom is a deep-set part of Swedish culture, it cultivates a clean, intelligent way of living inside and out.  This sense of balance and sustainability is concisely explained in this book as well as its context in Swedish society and beyond into the wider world.

The presentation of this succinct work is sharp, clear, and colourful throughout sprinkled with plenty of illustrations and some great photos of both scenery, food and everything in between.  It truly makes the reader yearn for a visit to Sweden to soak it all in and go hiking.

There is a comprehensive look at the different ways in which Lagom is invested in many lifestyle choices including; food, health, fashion, work, money and nature, to name a few.  It shows that unlike for other countries – my own included – this is not just a trend but an ingrained way of living. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 02/09/2017 in Life


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Pulag Night Sky

I left out one of my favourite experiences of the Mt. Pulag trip from the last post and that was because I didn’t have the photos, and my words can only describe so much.  Many thanks then, to Aaron Palabyab who has kindly allowed me to use a selection of his impressive photos so you can see some of what I saw that night.  For more of Aaron’s fantastic work you can check his site here.

Having spent a good two and a half hours in the woods, dodging between puddles and uneven stones, we finally came out to an open area and our long line stopped, giving us chance to look around and have a breather.  The atmosphere changed once we were out into the open, there was a sense of anticipation building, partly because we knew we into the final third of our journey and partly because of our surroundings.

At eye level, there was a vast expanse of blackness in front of me – which I later found out was a huge grass field – and bordering this was an L-shape queue of the many of my other fellow hikers, the tiny lights from their headlamps flickering back and forth but mainly upwards to the glorious canopy above our heads. Read the rest of this entry »


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