I’ve been a wanderer all of my life, and many’s the sight I’ve seen…

There is no Aberdeen to which I long to return. My whole life has been spent moving on. There has never been anywhere for me to return to, because it was no longer there after I left.

I can remember two homes in England before I was five. We had five more homes in four towns in New Zealand before I was eleven.

The most stable period of my youth was my teenage years in West Auckland. After that I moved around a lot again, until I acquired a family and had a second, relatively stable, period with them in only three locations. And that didn’t last either. Not nearly as long as I wanted. It was not my choice. Which does not mean it was not my fault. I don’t know.

What I do know is there is nowhere to which I can return. No family seat, no family. Just scattered relatives. A few friends.

In the small hours I wonder “What if?” There is no answer except the soft early call of the magpie who roosts in the trees behind my caravan.

I ponder the events that led me here. Living with anyone is difficult. When does the effort become too much? Is the person wiser who decides “enough” or the one who keeps trying? Who is at fault, when someone calls enough? Perhaps the fault must always be borne by both.

I am trying to be more zen in my introspection and self-appraisal. I accept what is, but still can’t help wondering what if? I am the sum of my memories. I owe it to myself and the world to ensure my memories are honest and clear.

I was not a good son, I was not a good brother, I proved to be a poor husband, Twice. I truly don’t know any more what kind of father I was. I want to write accurately about my memories. Of what made me what I am. That will not always put me in a good light, but it also may not please those who get to see themselves as I saw them. They may see my perception of causality as blame. But one does not blame the sun for sunburn. It is what happens.

Well. Wow. I didn’t know that was where I was going when I started this post.


Zen and Now

If anyone told me a year ago that I would be cycling ten to fifteen kilometres a day, and enjoying it, I’d have laughed heartily. Yet here I am, admittedly assisted by technology, doing just that. I have set the bike to minimum assist, with no accelerator boost. So it only helps when I’m actually pedalling. I have to give it some effort all the time, especially on the hills, where I must use the gears.

I know I’m putting in the exercise, because I can feel it in my muscles at day’s end. Also, despite faithfully following my dietary guidelines I have actually gained a little weight in the last few days. The evidence of my shrinking waistline and the need to periodically tighten the drawstring in my elastic waistband suggests this extra weight might be accounted for by increased muscle mass. I think it’s likely. Even so the general graph of my weight is trending nicely downwards, despite fluctuations.

Today I took a different approach to my swimming session. Instead of setting a time to achieve, or a number of laps to complete, I decided to count nothing, measure nothing, and just swim until I was tired, or until I decided I’d had enough. So I turned my watch around on my wrist so I could not see its face. I Resolved not to look at it until I got out of the water. I put my mask and snorkel on, put my head down, and swam, resolving also not to look up at the big clock on a post near the corner of the pool.

At the end of the lane I turned around and kicked off again without touching bottom, and without raising my head. I breathed in time to my strokes and as I swam, admired the patterns of light on the pool floor. They dappled and rippled in a dancing display of symmetrical chaos created by the interactions of wind, water, light and me. From time to time I was aware of someone swimming in the adjacent lanes. Most of them swam faster than me. Some did three laps to my one. I just kept swimming, after a while they were gone and I was once again swimming alone.

It was hard at first not to count. It is an ingrained and annoying habit I’ve had for decades. To obliterate the counting I started a mantra in time to the rhythm of my strokes. “Just keep swimming”. To maintain the cadence I shortened it to “keep swimming”. This led, by word and memory association, to me imagining I was a turtle, slowly, steadily swimming across the Pacific. I remembered the times I had swum out past the reef drop off, in clear tropical waters, where the bottomless blue seems to go on forever, it was like swimming in space, and staring into infinity. I held that image in my mind and swam into the blue.

Out of the blue, like a stealthy phantom, came the memory of my first and only close encounter with a Tiger shark. Somewhere between four and five metres in length it had come straight towards me until we were eye to eye. Then it turned and swam away.

Other treasured, yet rarely remembered memories washed in. The school of Mako sharks and Bronze Whalers at the Poor Knights, my first, and only hammerhead at Mayor Island, schools of huge kingfish at Cape Brett, the time we played tag with dolphins, the huge packhorse crayfish I caught at Cape Wiwiki. The school of small squid that spoke to me in a language I did not understand off Caqalai island in Fiji, the clear waters and corals of the Rock Islands in Palau. The wreck of the Toa Maru. Other shipwrecks I logged dives on long ago, and whose names I’ve forgotten. Caves we dived into. Moray and Conger eels and octopuses that startled us. The time I fought and lost to an octopus that wanted the crayfish I had just caught. Holding on to a ray’s tail with gloved hands, and being taken for a ride.

Surrounded by memories and rippling light, I realised I was in a Zen moment. This swim was a metaphor for my life. There was no future, for I had set no goals, there was no past except for these memories, because I was not counting anything. I was no longer counting costs, or losses, or slights, or pain. There was only the Now and what I brought to it. What I chose to carry with me.

I just kept swimming.

I truly lost track of time in my reverie. I did not get tired. I just swam. Finally I noticed the shadow of the floating lane divider. When I got into the water the shadow had been right under the lane divider. Now it ran along the line of blue tiles along the centre of the lane. The tiles I had been staring into, and past, for – how long? I guessed maybe two hours or so.

I wanted to know. I had jumped in at exactly seven minutes past twelve. What time was it now? I turned my watch around, read the time. Just past three thirty. The spell was broken.

Time to get out, shower, cycle to Aldi for eggs and bread, then head home.

Outside the pool I saw that someone had added an extra flag to the flagpole of my bike trailer.

One of the ladies working at the pool had commented when I arrived how she liked my pirate flag, and from now on she would call me Pirate Al.

While I was swimming, she had been busy. She printed and laminated me a personal flag. How cool is that? I think that has earned her and her colleagues a cake.


BF85623B-4847-4915-9F57-1642FA32B3A2Voici un sortilège

  • trois yeux de serpent
  • trois oiseau volants
  • trois fruits suspendus
  • trois chaussures perdues
  • trois sourires de crocodile
  • trois doigts d’anguille
  • trois oreilles de souris
  • trois foies de lézard
  • trois orteils de canard
  • Trois yeux de limace
  • trois morceaux de glace
  • trois oeufs de coq vert
  • trois jambes de vers
  • trois bras de poisson
  • trois ailes de cochon
  • Trois langues de chat,
  • trois queues de rat,
  • trois gros crapauds,
  • Trois escargot
  • trois litres d’eau,  stagnante.
  1. Remuez  bien,
  2. mélangez bien,
  3. Trelin trelin, trelaron.

il n’y a pas de nuages ​​au Ciel’ 

Je m’inquiète pour ma santé mentale.




This blog no longer serves any purpose.

I started it in part to stay in touch with my family,  partly to serve as a journal or memoir for when I became old and senile, and partly to see if I could develop a writing skill worthy of using on something more substantial.

I have my answers, and medical tests assure me I need not fear dementia.

I no longer need validation.  If I continue at all it will be just to post the best of my photographs.


And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make
Lennon / McCartney



How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy.

In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.

State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security,
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.

Wendell Berry



Raglan Road.

On Raglan Road on an Autumn Day,
I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I may one day rue.
I saw the danger, yet I walked
Along the enchanted way
And I said let grief be a falling leaf
At the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November,
We tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen
The worst of passions pledged.
The Queen of Hearts still baking tarts
And I not making hay,
Well I loved too much; by such, by such
Is happiness thrown away.

I gave her the gifts of the mind.
I gave her the secret sign
That’s known to the artists who have
Known true Gods of Sound and Time.
With word and tint I did not stint.
I gave her reams of poems to say
With her own dark hair and her own name there
Like the clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet,
I see her walking now
Away from me, So hurriedly.
My reason must allow,
For I have loved, not as I should,
A creature made of clay.
When the angel woos the clay, he’ll lose
His wings at the dawn of the day.

Paddy Moloney / Patrick Kavanagh / Van Morrison

 © BMG Rights Management



When I have ceased to break my wings 
Against the faultiness of things, 
And learned that compromises wait 
Behind each hardly opened gate, 
When I can look Life in the eyes, 
Grown calm and very coldly wise, 
Life will have given me the Truth, 
And taken in exchange — my youth.

 Sara Teasdale, Love Songs)