Meetings

Have you ever considered the reason there appears to be so much evil in the world might be because there is so much love..!DSC_0244

Up in the Himalayas, in the Kullu Valley, the April before last, I heard English being spoken at a table on the terrace restaurant of the hotel whose owner I knew, and from whom I wanted to order a special meal of trout from the nearby river Bea for my wife’s and my wedding anniversary. In fact, the speaker at the table was Russian, but his spoken English was perfect. He was with his English girlfriend on a trip to scout out Ayurvedic provisions for the business he was hoping to set up. They were staying at the same hostel as us, up the road. First, we arranged to meet next day and show them a local temple, then altered our plans when a friend, M – , offered to take us on a day-long hike instead.

On a typically lovely Himalayan spring morning, we met up and started out through the cool forest and onward along a path our friend knew well. Approaching a dwelling where an acquaintance of his lived – and whose dog had recently killed a jaguar in the vicinity – we stopped off at a small shrine incorporated within the surrounding orchard and admired the images of snakes and serpents engraved into the wood and stone.

Only then was I sure that I recognised Arkady’s voice. I changed the conversation to books and book-writing, and he explained how he had recently issued a three-part series containing his own fiction set on an invented south-sea island, and had recorded the narrative in order to help foreigners learn the Russian language.

‘Hahaha!’ I laughed, explaining how I had bought the books and downloaded the audio accompaniment just a few months prior, in an attempt to revive my waning memory of the language. I had them on my laptop back at the hostel, nearly forgotten while we travelled through northern India.

So, just yesterday, on a trip back to the UK, I took the London-Stratford-upon-Avon train and climbed off at the station where Arkady was waiting for me. We were joined by his wife – eight months pregnant – and spent the afternoon exploring the old spa town in the English summer heat. He is a member of the Society of Authors and only hopes that he can continue to write following the birth of their child. I told him that so long as he was prepared to get up at four o’clock in the morning and make some headway while the world was silent, there was no reason at all why shouldn’t continue to write. After all, I had done it.

Oh, yes – back to the rather cryptic opening…

In a section of the Key of Love – and included within my other fictional work – it’s described how the universe is created throughout infinity by a single force and how this force permeates all being as we can know its existence, and how this force ceases to be comprehended should the personal ego close its bond to the totality.

Well, evil originates from the closed egoistic mind and not from the original force from which it cannot emerge; therefore the more egoism there is around us, the greater the backdrop to the original binding force.

Unfortunately, since the rise of monetarism and its exaltation of personal greed, there has been a greater encouragement and acceptance of egoistic desires, so that presently this way of living has been allowed to become an encircling background for all to acknowledge –while the activities of love, fortunately, continue to play out ever brighter in the foreground.

With forbearance, the former will become even clearer against that which currently obscures all reality.

GLYN F RIDGLEY novels available worldwide at bookstores and online inc. Amazon

Travelling

fiat dobloSelling our beloved Fiat Doblo today…right now it’s up on the hydraulic jacks of the local garage getting its brakes and rear suspension sorted all in preparation for – I hope – some happy souls to continue its and their journey into the extended unknown…

Meanwhile listening to Bob Dylan’s most recent offering and reckoning it’s by far away his best album of songs ever (I never was a fan, not even now…). His Murder Most Foul is the best account of JFK’s assassination that I have personally come across: a great eulogy to its significance and place in twentieth century All-American culture (if that’s not too much of an affected oxymoron…)

Certainly His Nobel Prize for Literature makes just a little more sense after this offering.

Plus Key West (Philosopher Pirate) operates on pretty much the same level…and reminds me how an intended road trip down that way was aborted some years ago.

After our long and sometimes repeated trips through Europe, it makes sense to sell our old-time metallic friend. There are no hard feelings. We’re living in a different country – I mean, really and not metaphorically (although that other meaning could be true, too). The cost of matriculating the piece of machinery has made the process inevitable, anyhow.

All of which makes me think pleasantly ahead.

This year: family gathering and consolidation

Next year: Camino and Russia (Dostoevsky’s Bi-Centennial)

2022: road trip to Key West and down on to Cuba

Yeh, sorted!

GLYN F RIDGLEY novels are available at bookstores and online worldwide

Wandering & Wondering

My hometown is regularly voted in among the UK’s top ten Most Boring towns, largely because it contains all the usual high street brands, cinema chains and national supermarkets, and no longer has any kind of bohemian section. In other words, it has been homogenised and sanitised through town-planning and gentrification, and that’s the way the people like it, I guess. What’s more, it has become something of a dormitory town for those who work in the capital but can barely afford the cost of living in such a grand metropolis, thus removing the heart from ordinary daily activities.high wycombe b&w

I’m not saying those who vote are unfair, but it is to neglect that the town still contains the arcaded Guild Hall and similarly fashioned Corn Exchange at the end of its High Street, and a series of lovely old pubs from the Three Tuns at one end to the Antelope and Falcon by the aforementioned buildings – albeit the latter is now a bloody Wetherspoons. The Red Lion statute remains standing proudly atop the columned white portico halfway along.

At the time of my grandad, they still drove sheep up through the town, and are still permitted to do so by right – though I have never seen this actually happen.

The street market still operates but is a shadow of its former existence, with no stalls selling everyday fresh vegetables, meat or fish – unless your diet contains yams and green bananas. And you can eat great Turkish and Asian street food; otherwise, it’s all bongs and travel bags.

On the Saturday street market used to be a stall beneath the Guild Hall which sold cheap jewellery and we regularly walked the four miles from our village down through the fields and by way of the cemetery across the railway bridge to the centre of town in order to peruse what they had on display. One particular ring caught my fancy, a painted shiny black and chromium skull ring with clasps so that it could fit nearly any finger. That went straight on my left-hand middle digit, at a cost of two bob, sixpence less than the half-crown I saved by pocketing my dinner money. Plus, I had a paper round which paid 7s/6d. So, quids in.

Another stall sold little bottles of scented oils, like musk and strawberry. My favourite was patchouli, which I applied liberally to my neck and wrists (and even my Afghan coat later), enjoying the gloriously woody aroma wafting about my being as I went round the town. That scent has never been reproduced, not even during a recent trip to India where much of the prized oil is still manufactured. Also on that stall, apart from king-size Rizla, they sold little patches of woven cotton with simple designs and words like LOVE and PEACE or KEEP ON TRUCKIN’. Many a Sunday evening was passed with me rooting through mum’s Quality Street sewing tin, seeking out needles and the right-coloured thread before sewing the patches onto my jeans or denim jacket.

Metal studs were sold at the same jewellery stall under the Guild Hall, and were pushed through the material of the clothing – usually denim or leather – to ornament the shoulders, sleeves or cuffs, sometimes with a pattern on the back or placed strategically round the pockets of denim jeans.

A shop across the way by the Corn Exchange named Fosters quaintly displayed women’s clothing in one window and men’s the other side. There we espied matching pale-green brushed denim jackets and jeans and someone came up with the idea of us each buying a set and forming a uniformed gang. The Polecats was the name agreed upon until it was discovered that the animal was a kind of tree-climbing skunk and not the vicious land-based predatory feline of our imaginations. The gang was never officially formed, but we continued to hang around in each other’s company for a good while after and I did in fact buy the aforementioned clothes. I didn’t much like them on, though. They looked a bit sickly.

Driving back the other day with dad from town and cutting across at Four Ashes (where he and his brothers had seen a ghost) and along the lane overlooking Hughenden Valley as far as St Michael and All Angels church, seen beneath billowing white clouds, we stopped to look at the development taking place at the old Uplands conference centre. A purpose-built and modernist structure of glass and metal added to the original EB Lamb building, it never really caught on as a destination and has been lying disused for some years now. Typically, it is being converted into apartments, which I suppose will retail at something near half-a-million pounds apiece, what with the view and all. The same kind of development is occurring at the factory where I had my first proper job near Saunderton in the Aylesbury Vale, producing the contraceptive pill along with medical castration tablets and acne cream, in a grand-looking building which resembles the American White House. I’m not sure these apartments will fetch as much, however, given their non-elevated location.

Up at the disused conference centre, dad remarked how the land had belonged to Lady Murray, in connection with a conversation we’d been having about how local dignitaries used to visit the nearby schools and the children all had to stand up behind their desks in admiration of the personage now in their presence. What they were supposed to be admiring was never made perfectly clear, just simply understood as such. Most likely the visitor was being admired for their social station and wealth. I asked him if that would be the same Murray family which gave their name to the town’s only department store back in the sixties. When the time came to build the UK’s first shopping mall – called the Octagon for obvious reasons – the main entrance came by way of access through the store, which must have been a scheme cooked up by the local councillors and representatives of the land-owning family back then, in much the same way the Dashwoods – under the auspice of the Lord himself – have made a mint through selling off their land for more recent developments by the council.

Actually, it was from the development of the Octagon that the town centre grew into the near-sterile commercial wasteland that is currently always voted into the top ten Most Boring towns. The monetary die of mind-numbing affluence was cast with that decision, along with the one taken to concrete-over the Wye, which is formed by fresh water emerging from chalk streams beneath the Chiltern Hills at West Wycombe, joined with streams from Hughenden and Wycombe Marsh, and flows through the valley along a ten-mile stretch which used to incorporate several mills up to its confluence with the Thames at Bourne End. Two man-made mini-disasters based on money-making leading to a concrete desert where the only Eden to be found is the tunnel-like shopping project which is more or less an extension of the original sixties mall. Boring, in other words.

Still, maybe next year the town will not be voted onto the list on account of its football team being promoted to the EFL Championship after beating its nearby M40 rivals Oxford United in the play-offs. The raw vibe of that success may carry across to resuscitate the heart of the town. Especially since they play their football to a rock n roll rhythm (their manager fronts a rock band and they are sponsored by a music label). Certainly when I used to watch Wycombe Wanderers beneath the floodlights on midweek evenings at Loakes Park as a boy, I very much felt the quiver of life within me as I stood in the surrounding darkness of the terraces – but then I felt it all the time back then, pretty much as I do to this day.

*

As a result of being on a covid-restricted twenty-four hour ferry crossing, and in the spirit of my proposed novel P, I composed this prose poem, called Wandering and Wondering – or

P is for the Mask you wear

P is for Plenty.

P is for Penury.

We should have got the former, but instead we got the latter.

Worldwide.

Should not could.

Privatisation took it all away – from us.

Privat-I-sation paved the way for a few exalted Is of Plenty and many, many more Is of Penury.

Public-I-sation will save the day.

If privat-eye-sation hasn’t saturated the entire nation and now at last when we can see it is too late for public-eye-sation and honest conversation to provide true radicalisation without prison for a penalty.

They – the Is of Plenty – are throwing the radicals into OUR gaols.

Too late, then, as I head for the Land of My Forebears on a ship – no Black Star Liner – from the Basque Country into isolation.

My nation requires isolation for a solution to the ultimate failed state intrusion.

Who would a thunk it: Penury in place of Plenty, even when back then when the police were battering the public in the land of their forebears into submission at the behest of the state?

And yet it was clear.

We should have got the latter, but instead we got the former when the private Is took precedence above the public eye space.

Think about that next time you pull on your mask.

GLYN F RIDGLEY novels available from bookstores and Amazon worldwide

P4: (57 minutes remaining)

PHolding no awareness of location, presence or time, P must assemble fragments of the past, present perception and possible purpose to ensure survival. An inability to collect, collate and create from the surrounding environment will result in total oblivion. There can be no in between. Without an identity, P has a one hour countdown to annihilation.

 

P4

There was a car accident.
There was sickness.
There was vomiting.
There was a loss of consciousness, but no concussion.
There was blackness as the car left the road and swayed across several lanes of fast-moving traffic from the middle lane across the overtaking lane to scrape the central barrier and back across all four lanes to wind up smashed against the barrier on the verge.
There was a tapping on the window.
There was a show of concern.
There was an explanation.
There was yellow vomit all over the dashboard and over his trousers.
*
There was a little Buddha.
A stone Buddha.
A stone Buddha on a window sill surrounded with flowers.
Yet it was winter.
Maybe late winter and approaching spring.
So maybe daffodils.
Or imported flowers from abroad. From somewhere in the south, maybe. Most likely.
*
There was a winter holiday in the Alps.
Yellow sunshine up on the mountains.
Hot grog and flaming braziers in a kiosk-lined market place.
*
The mobile was still blinking its little red light – its last red death throes – when it pinged and a little band lit up along the top, saying WhatsApp Message and in a line of glowing tiny green-white letters:
…on my way…
But who was on their way and where to? Without the power cable or PIN he was unlikely to ever find out.
He looked around the room: square, about five metres from wall to wall, painted perfect white, with four exits: one with a permanent-looking heavy wooden door leading to an ante-room and steps down to another imposing-looking door; an internal closure of two narrow wooden doors (from where he had emerged less than four minutes ago?); two similar-looking internal doors, but glazed, off two steps up into what was probably a kitchen; and two big sliding doors out onto a vertigo-inducing veranda.
It didn’t look like a room in a sanatorium, which was some kind of relief – wasn’t it?
It meant he was probably here under his free will – originally, at least. He wasn’t a patient of any kind. (That was a definite relief!)
He examined the low wooden table, and saw it unexpectedly contained a drawer. Inside the drawer was a sleek, silver-coloured laptop with a lead coiled beside it.
Yes! He was saved.
He took out the equipment and plugged it in to a socket on the wall and waited for it to come alive.
Boing! There it was…
And then, an error message and warning:
Repeated failed attempts to access this device. Power on and wait for two hours before attempting again.
Two hours! But he only had one hour to live. Less than one hour. In fact, fifty-six minutes was all that remained to save himself.

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Stories by GLYN F RIDGLEY available @ Amazon & bookstores worldwide

 

P is for Peace

Recently, this blog has been receiving an unusually high number of hits from countries not normally associated with its main readership. So, I would like to say a special and warm ‘Welcome’ to those reading my posts in places from far and wide, such as China, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Hong Kong SAR China, India, and any other countries not included in this list.
I would like to think this interest from around the world is inspired by a desire to be part of a global community made up of self-reflective individuals who take pride in their own identity and locality, yet seek inclusivity within a broader spiritual recognition of humanity as a whole.
This desire can only be based upon a hope for peaceful co-existence among communities around the planet.
World harmony is a wish placed within the heart of most individuals – only the callous, self-serving destructive nature of some influential people and the institutions they represent prevent peaceful relations from becoming the norm.
Much more needs to be said about this, and the nature of this situation is graphically explored within the pages of my ten novels (published in English but available worldwide).
As a matter of fact, the publication of these works may be seen as the culmination of a personal destiny.
As for the blog, I suddenly began taking it much more seriously following the previously mentioned increased interest in recent posts and, in particular, as a result of activity after the posting of P is for Revolutsiia.
I want to make it absolutely clear that not for a second would I welcome a re-run of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. I have a university degree in Russian, have lived and worked in Russia, and was in fact present at the very moment of the collapse of the Soviet Union (as I have written about elsewhere). In other words, I am too knowledgeable to ever want anything like the Soviet system ever instituted anywhere or at any time in the world.
Unfortunately, too many state systems even today are implementing repressive measures and using propaganda in an attempt to control the behaviour of their citizens.
This is where the internet can still be used to break down the frontiers of ignorance which are used to distance peace-loving peoples from one another.P
Regarding the P series, this is a serious attempt to reveal the true nature of human identity and in so doing make it clear that every person is fundamentally the same, and that it is these shared qualities which enable us to seek and share peace with one another.
We each have our own personal identities, but together we are stronger.
(NB I modified the concluding paragraph of P is for Revolutsiia immediately I recognised how easy it was to misread symbolically that which was originally posted. All comments welcome.)

Books by GLYN F RIDGLEY available at Amazon & bookstores worldwide

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