Feb 2

Today is largely about getting ready for leaving next week: clean the car’s interior, re-instate the ‘boot-jump’ camping block, purchase windscreen-wipers and tags for the wheel caps.

Whenever I dream of being in a car it always relates to present-day conscious life. Last night’s involved crossing a main road and then having to choose a turning, being unable to take the bend at speed and flying off the road to end up on top of a pile of mud about fifteen feet high. Enough said. Though a solution to getting back on the road did emerge in usual symbolic fashion.

It’s going to be quite hard leaving the old place – yet again. While out walking in the woods yesterday afternoon, it occurred to me that only two more opportunities would be available before our departure. I have done that walk thousands of times and it always leaves me feeling revivified. Yesterday the feeling was one – not of sadness but – of a slight melancholy. Not a bad emotion to experience on such an occasion.

on releaseI have confronted the emotional difficulties and complications of removing oneself from one’s family and past, and thereby allowing the opportunity for spiritual growth, especially in ON RELEASE.

NOVELS

Jan 30

All the veterans from the Royal Artillery and their guests were so nice and warm and friendly yesterday. They revealed a huge birthday cake made in the shape of an old war cannon to celebrate the birthday of my dad and another veteran, their ages adding up to 185 years! Prior to that we had a lunch of fish and chips washed down with a pint of ale, all in the British Legion hall. So old-fashioned (and maybe a perfect manner to say goodbye to Blighty). All my reservations concerning their motives for belonging to the organisation evaporated as we became engulfed in their hospitality. They were so welcoming and, as part of the year ahead, were looking forward to a peace talk to be given at one of their meetings. What’s more, we won three prizes in the raffle!

Today is given over to resuming my Russian language studies, by way of Duolingo to get back in the groove. This is all in preparation for a proposed trip to the country in 2021 to mark the bi-centennial of Dostoevsky’s birth. I was there in 2001 and actually attended all the events as they occurred in Staraya Russa, the small town where he both set and wrote ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. That was the best individual trip of my life and a video I made from the stills taken on my rubbish camera during the stay is up on my Amazon Author Page. Or just click on NOVELS below. More particularly, an account of the visit – and my relationship to the writer more generally – is included in my book DOSTOEVSKY’S PLACE.cropped-dostys-place

In that vein, my intention is to make videos based around my novels and have them made available on YouTube. Quite what format I’ll use is yet to be decided. In the meantime, I hope you might enjoy reading some of them.

NOVELS

Peace, perfect peace

I mentioned in the last blog about finding peace (on earth). Well, the mountains in central Portugal provide a good place to start. Little or no traffic makes its way up here. There is pure silence for large parts of the day. The sun beats down and the cicadas only begin to thrum late in the afternoon. Otherwise, it is just occasional birdsong – and the honk of Jose’s van at mid-morning to let us know he is delivering the bread and pastel de natas, ready for coffeetime.port mounts

But then there are the humans. An old Czech woman at the far end of the village who has developed a hatred of life encourages her poor rescue dog, an Alsation, to bark from the end of its chain out on the patio of her house, simply to annoy people; which in turn sets off the Pit-bull, another rescue animal, next door. Right now we are in touch with a charity to make sure these animals are properly cared for, and the mountain silence becomes further established.

We had only been here a fortnight when an Irishman rocked up saying he had bought the property beneath ours and there was an issue with the adjoining boundary. As he waved his mobile phone and its screen capture of a Google map image showing the immediate locality with a yellow line seemingly indiscriminately drawn in, it became clear the issue existed in his mind only. We had him over the same evening to share a bottle of wine and thought no more of it.

Except a day or two later something told me the issue had not gone away and he would be making a fuss sooner or later. To help him out, I cut back the brambles and neglected undergrowth to reveal fully the concrete posts and wire fence and low brick wall that clearly marked the existing boundary. Unfortunately, this failed to register with him, since I saw that he cut his way through some laurel bushes to gain access to the land while we were in town, and so I deposited some cuttings from our garden to make the parcel of land’s ownership all the more evident. Riled, he pushed the cuttings nearer to our house and laid out some branches as markers of his own. In response, a little embarrassed at the escalation of proceedings, I brought round branches of my own from the side of the house, and left them out in preparedness for burning in the autumn. Later in the day came a banging at the door and shouting from the lane which could only belong to the crazed neighbour. Knowing a fight would ensue if I went out, my intention was to phone the local police, until my wife announced she would go and try to calm matters. Some hope, as he effed and blinded, all the while waving his cutters and throwing tree branches around, oblivious to the fact he was manhandling private property at the same time as trespassing on our land. “Ask Ricardo!” he kept shouting jubilantly. “He’ll tell you!”

“Who’s Ricardo?” we asked each other, watching out the open window at the increasingly sweaty cavorting Irishman.

Since our solicitor was on holiday, and because there was no chance of reasoning with the unhinged new arrival – incidentally, a teacher of engineering at an East London school located round the corner from where my wife was brought up (what are the chances..?) – we simply let the matter rest. His Russian wife was due in a couple of days’ time and maybe she could help him see sense. In the meantime, he had enlisted the comradeship of a Cockney ex-publican with cancer also living locally, in the hope of creating numbers ranged against us.

What a set up!

And then a day later ‘Ricardo’ called round, with an assistant from the real estate agency he owns.

“Ah, that Ricardo!”

Apologetically the two of them assured us that we were correct concerning the boundary, that our over-wrought neighbour had been fully informed of the fact, and that now he was angry with them instead.

The following morning a previous Portuguese occupier of the Irishman’s property was despatched into the mountains to help clarify matters further. With her departure, I then set about restating the ownership of the contended land with the re-application of the branches and cuttings.

As this was taking place, the Irishman and his Russian wife appeared from below, like troglodytes, and he assumed an air of cheery banter.

“Don’t talk to me,” I warned.

“Ah, come on now. What’s the matter?”

Refusing to be drawn, I continued huffing and puffing with the re-arranged branches – he had caused me a lot of extra hard work, after all, not to mention emotional aggro – and had very little to say.

He approached the boundary.

“Put a toe over the line,” I told him. “And I’ll call the police.”

“Ah, come on now. Don’t be so childish.”

If this was his attempt at further negotiations or some kind of rapprochement, he was surely making a terrible hash of it.

“I know it’s not my land. What say I buy it from you?”

I knew this would be coming and so was properly prepared.

“I wouldn’t let you have an inch of it for all the tea in China.”

“Ah, don’t be like that. Don’t make it personal. It’s money we’re talking about.”

Now I stopped for a breather and stood facing him. His hands were rested on a couple of posts I’d hammered into the ground and I raised the implement with another warning he step back. He then went on from a safe enough distance to completely revise the events of the last week in order to ingratiate himself with his wife. He even gave a sob story how he had been sold a ‘pup’ by the agency. Failing to draw any feelings of sympathy from me however, I told him who he should be talking to, and made clear I would not be drawn into any meaningful dialogue with him at all. I did say that I had one question.

“What did you call my wife after she informed you we had been to the council to try and sort the matter out?”

“I can’t remember,” he lied.

At which point, I turned away, put my heavy-duty working gloves back on, and told them both there was nothing more to say.

They left yesterday for London.

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

Leaving England

As the nasty little country I grew up in reverts to its xenophobic default setting, instead of becoming the progressive contemporary state it promised it to be for a very short while back in the 1970s, I am in the happy position of starting out my existence in a realife version of Led Zeppelin III, just as I have always wanted to do since listening to the album and imagining it as a thirteen year old.

High up in the sunny central mountains of the Iberian Peninsula I am now preparing to live out my very own Bron-Y-Aur stomp, listening to folk songs, growing vegetables in the garden and producing wine from my own grapes, replete with an old stone cottage just like the one where Page and Plant composed their hopeful, melancholy ditties. All alongside the woman who has lived close by me for nearly half my life, and has filled my being with the greatest joy and happiness.

bryn-yr-aur
Bron-Y-Aur

At sixty, I am about to find perfect peace on earth.

And amongst all this beautiful mountain setting I shall be writing my tenth novel – a re-telling of the history of humankind up till now in order to describe and explain how we have come to be in the position we are in, whereby we are all about to face complete annihilation as a living species.

Adieu England and Bom Dia Europe and the World

The other nine novels which are all connected and lead up to the final work are available from bookstores worldwide, Amazon and other internet sites

The Nag’s Head

sexpistolsnagshead
1976

I’m trying to think what I may have been reading round about his time, other than Mark P’s Sniffing Glue, of course.

The New Musical Express was probably most predominant; Charles Shaar Murray, and that lot.

I had been reading the likes of Solzhenitsyn and Kerouac – two great writers from either side of the Divide – but all of that had kind of ground to a halt; there was something of a Year Zero nihilistic chasm forming.

The good fiction writers of the English working class like John Brain and Stan Bartstow(!) had been eclipsed by the truly awful English middle class writers like Julian Barnes and Martin Amis.

I cannot think of any decent British fiction from that era.

So it must have been Philip K Dick, I was reading: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

My favourite was – and still is – The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, his final work.

All the Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Van der Graaf Generator, Planet Gong, Todd Rundgren prog-era psychedelia was evaporating (even though they were to reinvent themselves at some point) and the incipient creativity of the sixties-seventies running dry. And the attendant sci-fi crusting over with it. When Michael Moorcock – author of the ‘Eternal Hero’ series – attempted ‘serious’ fiction the results were truly embarrassing.

Nope. Nobody was getting it.

So here we are today in summer 2019…and I am up high in the hills of a foreign country listening on Spotify to the new album by The Allman Betts Band and mostly getting a kick from it, feeling their energy, and harking back to the days sitting outside the Nag’s Head pub in High Wycombe overlooking the Rye with a joint in one hand, a beer in the other, listening to their fathers’ band’s Jessica/Ramblin’ Man flowing out from the jukebox through the doors and windows of the building, prior to punk, and recalling the freedom-inducing sense of those times…

Still trying to remember what I was reading between paperback covers back then.

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

Dharma Bums

A sixteen-year old kid from a south Bucks village walked into High Wycombe library one rainy October day after school had ended, picked out a book by the spine from the fiction shelf and read

dharma bums front page

and he understood something – that life existed beyond his valley and beyond the school walls and beyond cleaning the floor at Woolworths and beyond anything that his parents or teachers or betters had ever led him to believe was out there; he understood that he would be heading out into that world just as soon as the opportunity arose, and so after just a few more months of enduring the drudgery of riding buses into town and walking up a mile-long hill to an institution where they beat him if he refused to be coerced into believing all the bullshit that he was being fed, he told them all to F-off, donned his afghan coat and flares, emptied his little wooden locker in the green-painted corridor of its exercise books and a hand-me-down geometry set in a faux-leather case, walked through the gates, looked down the hill one last time, and entered that life.

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

dharma bums title page

First book I ever neglected to take back to the library

The media were telling us the Russians were to be feared. I never believed their scaremongering.

DSC_0311

This novel by Solzhenitsyn – who proved to be one of, if not the best, novelists of the second half of the twentieth century – helped put a clearer perspective of what was happening in Soviet society, which was not very different to what we are experiencing in so-called Western democracies right now.

I know, because later I went there to find out for myself – was present at the time of its collapse, and have written about it in:

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

Why I write

This extract from the Facebook page of Mani Ridgley shows how the reality of people’s suffering may be artistically represented through words accompanied by a few visual images.

Even amongst the wild beauty of rural Guatemala, the magnificence of La Ceiba has captivated human imagination for thousands of years. It was the tree of life for ancient Maya, their axis mundi that connected earthly beings with the spiritual realms. Its mystical significance has been passed down through generations of Maya, preserved in narratives that emphasise profound affinities between all elements in the natural world.

Today, these sacred trees stand in the heartlands of extractive capitalism, rooted in the plantations of rich landowners of European descent. The privatisation of land swept Guatemala during the late-1800s coffee boom when the state sold swathes of traditionally Maya territory to wealthy immigrants, many German and British, for coffee production.

Attempts at land redistribution in the 1950s by a democratically elected government were thwarted by a CIA-backed military coup. Today, 65% of land is owned by 2.5% of commercial producers.

The Ceiba trees pictured above stand tall within a vast palm oil plantation in the Polochic Valley. Out of fear or respect for local Maya, plantation owners often leave Ceiba trees standing whilst decimating the surrounding ecosystem.

These palm plantations notoriously suck water away from local villages whilst wrecking the natural equilibrium that once evolved in harmony with indigenous groups. Ironically, private property signs dotted around the plantations remind the local Maya to care for their environment.

The signs also prohibit the impoverished locals from hunting or fishing. To feed their families, they are dependent on employment from the plantation owners. Those ‘lucky’ enough to have a full-time job work 50 hours a week for a minimal wage. In a month, Guatemala will hold national elections, but there is little optimism that government will effect change. Exploiting land and people is common sense for Guatemalan elites.

The future of our planet may depend upon the ancestral Maya understanding of humans being in nature, but for now, at least, it is business as usual.

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=mani%20ridgley&epa=SEARCH_BOX

Below is a wonderful presentation regarding the fact that suffering is a universal condition of the human race until such time as it is realised that the answer to our quandary lies in our own hands.

The Master Within–Roland Brisson, FRC

This is why I write.

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world

 

 

 

LOVE (explained)

This post is an addition to the earlier LOVE post to try and clarify a few points regarding the Key of LOVE and how its deeper meaning may be revealed to the enquirer.

Arguably, like a Rorschach test, it reveals as much about the observer as it does about the universe. After all, one cannot immediately transcend one’s own understanding (except at certain key moments along the way). It takes time and effort to analyse certain circumstances – especially when they are encountered for the first time – and the internal powers of comprehension often judder, even grind to a halt, when an original paradigm is presented in an unusual form.

A common misunderstanding about the KoL arises when someone remarks that it is only applicable to the English language, since the word ‘love’ is written differently in other languages. The ‘written’ point is important. Not only is the word a different one, but quite possibly so will be the alphabet (if there is one, since some other symbol may be used, for example the Chinese pictogram 愛). प्यार is the Hindi, and любовь is the same word written in Russian.

But, letters are of course symbols more than anything else, more so even than whole words.

So, L may stand for other things, like 100 as a Roman numeral, or it could stand for ‘litre’ or so forth.

That is the first thing: LOVE is a symbol of the entire universe, in this instance.

Next, there is nothing new in having a word stand in for a whole different concept of meaning.

Actually, a word like ‘love’ has many different and nuanced meanings even in common discourse.

Let’s look at Gematria, the system used to elucidate further and more profound meaning from words written in the Greek and Hebrew alphabets. Dating from Babylonian times, letters are ascribed numbers and when these numbers are put together they take on a particular meaning, with correlating number systems then being associated with other words and sentences. LOVE in Jewish Gematria comes out as 775, a number which correlates with the phrase Holy Father of All. But that’s only one example and has no actual bearing on any understanding imbued by the Key of Love. It is simply to show how people sometimes invent meaning.

Another aspect of gaining deeper understanding through alphabetic symbols is demonstrated in the study of Kabbala, where Hebrew letters create increasingly profound layers of meaning and comprehension. Because in this system Hebrew is considered to be a sacred language a great many rabbinical exegeses have been compiled concerning the words and sentences that go to make up the Jewish religious texts. Again, this manner of trying to gain deeper comprehension [of God, in their ancient realisation] is not directly applicable to the KoL because there is no religious purpose associated with LOVE here. Only mystical reasoning.

However, the Key of Love may be viewed as a kind of condensed cabbalistic diagram greatly distilled from the seraphic Tree of Life.

And many people are familiar with the figure of Christ being referred to the ‘Alpha and Omega’ – which is to say the Α and Ω.

Also, there is a lot of playfulness incorporated in the Key of Love, along with the notion of using the letters as pictograms. Understanding doesn’t have to be dour and tedious; plus the idea of suffering may be particularly enhanced in the Jesus Christ figure and experience of the last two thousand years, and may not be so applicable to other eras and cultures. Think Krishna – a precursor to the Christ – and his joy of life as he wanders through ancient India playing his pipe, dancing and generally having a great time with all the gopis who find him so attractive.krishna

So, L is in E (which is to say, the Logos is found – or manifests – in Earth). This is true, and is truly profound because it means that on earth it is possible to comprehend the very origin of existence. Look again at the written statement and you can see clearly that L is indeed found (contained) in the letter E. Just remove the top two cross-hatches.

Similarly L is in V…just tilt the letter L…and see!

Just as E contains all three levels: spiritual, mental, material, again with its cross-hatches interlinked with the vertical… Which may be compared to the human spine and from there the seven chakras and the raising of the kundalini which is itself both a material, mental and material manifestation of mystical enlightenment…

Books by Glyn F Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available from Amazon and bookstores around the world