Back on the Road, yet again

Staying for a time in central Portugal has informed us that, yes, we’d like to find a place round here to make a base. Goats and sheep are grazing in our garden among the olive trees. Pomegranates and Sharon fruit are growing along with the oranges and figs. Grape vines are used to delineate fields. Come on, in the local supermarket they have great big hoppers full of apples and pears.

What can’t be grown here? (Apparently root vegetables can be a problem – tho not if Sunday roast dinners aren’t on the menu, it seems to us.)

And so, last Sunday we met up with a whole group of people to enjoy a Mozambican feast prepared at the house of a local family and ate vegetarian food and listened to a local child prodigy play music on a violin made by his father.fiat doblo

Haven’t experienced that round my beloved south Bucks in a while.

None of which will stop us getting back there for Christmas.

Hey, we ain’t the Rolling Stones and we ain’t the Allman Brothers Band…we ain’t no one in particular, yet we keep movin’ on all the same…

Novels by GLYN F RIDGLEY available from Amazon and bookstores worldwide

Be yerself – if you can, too

This time last year I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness: haemochromotosis.

After doing my research, rather than go down the route of constant tests and check-ups at the hospital – let alone blood-letting, I bought a bottle of turmeric capsules, made kim chi, cut out alcohol, had a course of acupuncture and booked a stay in Gran Canaria.

I also changed my job.

Later, I gave up work completely to concentrate on my writing.Soul_Journey_Cover_for_Kindle

That resulted in the publication of SOUL JOURNEY earlier in the year – an artistic representation of the mess we all find ourselves currently living in.

Now I have just completed another full-length work.

What I was reminded of while writing the two inter-connected pieces was what I disliked about growing up in my beloved country, despite actually having an idyllic childhood (paradoxical though that might sound): the authority-figures wanting you to conform to some unstructured and ill-considered narrative idea running inside their skulls about how life ought to be conducted.

Not that many of them conformed to the ideas they expressed themselves.

In other words, it soon became obvious even to a child they were utter hypocrites demanding one thing from others while expecting absolutely nothing of the sort from themselves.

Now – following the social gains of the 60s and 70s – that same old, mean, exploitative, hypocritical and out-dated set of so-called values seems to be closing in again – perhaps for good this time – on that little island setting itself further adrift in the Atlantic Ocean.

Thank you Margaret Thatcher, thank you John Major, thank you Tony Blair, thank you Gordon Brown, thank you David Cameron, thank you Theresa May and all your benighted cohorts…

Thank you for screwing up what was set on course to be a truly liberal, respectful and caring society.

Thank you for absolutely nothing

A plague on all your Houses of Parliament & Lords

Novels by GLYN F RIDGLEY are available from Amazon and all enlightened bookstores

cropped-gfr

 

 

Be yerself – if you can

And so down here in Portugal watching the whole UK Govt/Brexit fiasco unravel you get to recall and consider why you embarked on a ‘let’s see Europe one more time while we can’ journey in a tiny little red van you can’t stand up in – and then of course your original decision makes perfect sense.

You don’t want to be – were never part of – a collapsing identity.

fiat doblo

You want to be yourself.

Standing back, seeing just the way people take irresolute positions and try to force others into believing their own absolutely unsubstantiated take on affairs they know nothing about…

Makes you realise why you never believed them in the first place.

GLYN RIDGLEY novels available on Amazon and bookstores worldwide

Sometimes Ur New Language…

Wow! Phew! Sometimes, learning how to say the simplest things in a new language is really, totally, pearly perplexing… I am sure you will agree. And this one is just utterly basic, if you notice what it is saying, and it is not saying anything more than that:

fiat doblo

Smokoe jokoe

Whaja take yar photo

Jam a crimo loco

Goin up in smokoe

Got to smake a shokoe

Sholo cremo ă proto

Ate a silly groto

Meant a facta doto

Went to sacro billo cloto

I’m not jara fully jokoe

Just a silly roto

GLYN RIDGLEY NOVELS

cropped-gfr

No More Stan Lee

Just last Friday we watched Dr Strange on dvd down here in Portugal and every time I consider those old Marvel superheroes I am transported back to the Saturday mornings of Spiderman and Iron Man read in the backroom of our house in south Bucks after completing my paper-round and using part of my earnings to buy the comics…

spiderman portugal

All that witty dialogue and great graphics – not to mention the pathos – of those strips made mundane UK days not only tolerable but exciting and worthwhile…

God Bless Stan Lee

PS I have my own theory why the films don’t really work so well: a movie narrative requires character development, whereas a comic character MUST remain the same time after time in order to continually engage the reader… And Stan Lee created these characters quite a while before special FX made films based on them possible at all.

GLYN F RIDGLEY NOVELS

Ramsay MacDonald: Pacifist

Ramsay MacDonald, the pacifist first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was the father of Ishbel MacDonald, who married my great-uncle Norman precisely eighty years ago.  Ramsay MacDonald has been condemned by many, but I wonder where British society would be now without such a trailblazing personality. For my part, I am glad to know that such an intelligent and far-sighted individual added something so positive to our family. I intend to add to the legacy. A few videos are attached:

Novels by Glyn F Ridgley

Great-Uncle Charlie: War Victim

A plaque that I re-discovered in the High Wycombe museum commemorating  the death of my great-uncle Charlie in the Great War is being reinstated at the Methodist church in his home village of Bryants Bottom on Armistice Day, not far from where I was born.

I never knew uncle Charlie but I would like to think that he would not have approved of the present-day slaughter of innocent people in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria…

White poppy

If commemoration of atrocities means anything, then we can hope that the death of those like my uncle Charlie Ridgley leads to love, life and peace.

Novels by Glyn F Ridgley available at Amazon and bookstores worldwide

cropped-gfr

 

 

Books: who needs ’em?

I walked into a bookshop in the university town of Coimbra last weekend and felt really pleased for about thirty seconds as I looked along the shelves…

I so, so want to enjoy being in a bookshop and feel that they are worthwhile and a book-buying renaissance is forthcoming…

Books – and bookshops – are so lovely and so worth having…so much a part of who I am…

books

And yet:

Here is a daring truth to admit: I have not bought a book from a book shop for… What?… Six – maybe seven –  years or more! Tell me, why would I? What would I buy? Jamie’s ‘One Hundred Recipes in Zero Minutes’; JK Rowling…some kind of moribund thriller about somebody being tortured and executed by a psychopath for no good reason other than my supposed amusement; a political memoir…doh!

Where is the fiction..!

I have been in my local Waterstones twice in the same amount of years – to buy calendars as Christmas presents…and that’s all.

One look in the window is enough to turn me off…

Really, very, very sad (to quote an orange-faced American president…)

So sad.

Bring me books I want to buy…

Publish books I want to read…

GLYN F RIDGLEY, AUTHOR

cropped-gfr

Death Factor: Now and Then

Right now we are staying in a converted stone barn in central Portugal and I am watching a tiny lizard scampering along the top of the concrete edging which separates the outdoor terracotta tiles from the burnt grass. Preparing camarão for lunch earlier while listening to an old ’69 recording of Duane Allman / Boz Scaggs combined on a blues workout got me to thinking about a time when I was in a similar situation, staying in an almost identical stone barn in central France not long after the annual grape harvest had concluded, just as it has already in Portugal this year.fiat doblo

The time of year was near enough the same, with hot late-summer temperatures folding into cooling autumn days and encroaching star-filled nights. We – a new-found friend and myself – had travelled up from the Beaujolais district on a train with Tigre, who we had met while working in the vineyards, and were staying in his friends’ vacated property. Amongst the album collection were a stack of blues rock recordings, most notably those of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, which seemed never to leave the turntable and whose sound dominated the barn interior while melding into the surrounding green hills and endless heat-filled days.

The big difference is in the times, in every sense of the word.

Back in the late-seventies you could believe that the world was actually going to become a better place to inhabit, no matter in which part of the globe you lived. Sure, there was already the growing North-South economic divide, and both the post-colonial states and pre-empire USA had proved themselves willing to go to any lengths in order to secure their influence in foreign countries around the world. Both elected and non-elected elements in these states were continually plotting murders, coups and mayhem which they felt would sustain and develop their ascendancy. The Chilean coup by General Pinochet, supported and financed by representatives of the USA, and subsequent dismantling of democratic societies around the world by use of force, along with the rigging of financial institutions (as outlined by the discredited Milton Freidman Chicago school of economics), was the model successfully adopted and imposed on an indoctrinated and gullible public.

Prior to these simultaneously planned and meticulously orchestrated seizures of political and economic power, the mood music – the times they are a’changing mentality – actually had some resonance. Which is what scared the ‘planners’ in the first place. Which is why they introduced their dissonance. Which is how we have come to be in a world that appears to have taken several steps backwards along the road of progress rather than continued moving forwards.

Back then in late-summer France it would have been impossible to imagine a global corporatocracy being fronted first by a Hollywood B-list actor with incipient dementia, followed by a string of downright corrupted or toady characters, leading to the most insane public choice of all in a three-times bankrupted celebrity TV star real estate magnate of dubious moral standing by the name of Trump. Not even K Dick had come up with that one.

Just as there has been external change in hopes between these times, so has there been internal change taking place (that said, had world events continued on a trajectory which appeared to be leading to further freedoms and international cooperation, the internal would have better mirrored the external. Instead, there has been both convergence and divergence).

In the first place, an internal psyche first shaken and even unhinged by the monetarist and militarist takeover of two predominant social orders – the US and UK – rallied to the point of discovering and asserting perfect harmony within and without. This took years of concentrated study, only to be followed by dismal years of disappointment leading to busted ideals and broken dreams. Time both covered up the cracks and buried previous idealistic hopes – whilst also furnishing many opportunities for growing relationships built on trust and love. But what had seemed certain at the outset – that love and contentment would develop in equal measure to a far more equitable and peaceful world – at last appeared hopeless. Not naïve, just hopeless.

And now, looking out at the summery decline of another year to a backdrop of sixties and seventies freedom-loving and politically-inspired white blues music…?

Yesterday morning we were woken to a particular sound…and understood precisely what had happened… Phone calls received from a sister-in-law on my wife’s device are announced by a programmed ringtone; so when Motown blared out at seven-thirty a.m. as we snoozed in bed what had been half-expected became finalised.

“Dad’s died! Dad’s died!”

Naturally, this news has harbingered a whole slew of thoughts and emotions concerning the very bedrock of life itself. We all have our own views about what happens to the human being after death – my own are clearly laid out in a sequence of eight novels which I started writing that summer after my stay with the French hobo Tigre in the stone barn following the year’s vendange – but whatever we may believe seems hardly important against the very first and very real impact arising from the knowledge of the death of a parent, which is an event that can only happen twice in any lifetime. A human being that gave you life is now departed.

And so now here we are living temporarily in our stone barn situated in central Portugal amongst the olive groves of the village…

For me, at least, I’d say the big difference between the time spent in France that late-summer and the time spent here in Portugal is exactly that – : time. Whereas there seemed so much of it back then – in fact time felt limitless and so therefore did freedom and all possible outcomes – now, all these years on, with failed dreams and busted hopes, insults and amassed injuries, that self-same time seems somewhat curtailed, contracting and diminishing, ever-shortening as the final event horizon draws ever closer.

Novels by GLYN F RIDGLEY available at Amazon and bookstores worldwide

cropped-gfr