all has been written

When there’s nothing to say, all has been said

When there’s nothing to hear, all has been heard

When there’s nothing to smell, all has been smelled

When there’s nothing to taste, all has been tasted

When there’s nothing to touch, all has been touched

 

When there’s nothing to offer, all has been offered

When there’s nothing to sow, all has been sown

When there’s nothing to grow, all has been grown

When there’s nothing to know, all has been known

When there’s nothing to show, all has been shown

 

When there’s nothing to undo, all has been undone

When there’s nothing to think, all has been thought

When there’s nothing to consider, all has been considered

When there’s nothing to forgive, all has been forgiven

When there’s nothing to write, …

                                                                                 Glyn Ridgley (2019)

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

The Soul Knows

The soul, after sufficient incarnations, begins to understand the reason for its cyclic return to the earthly realm and in preparation for its next conscious life considers where the best possible opportunities for development and learning will occur – and chooses accordingly.

Sometimes it’s not obvious and only extended periods of contemplation and meditation bring about this wakening.

So that in my twenties I was trying to work out what it was about being born and raised in south Bucks that could make my present – and, now I know – final incarnation occur in this region. There is more to say about this, but for now…

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I mean, there’s nothing obviously remarkable about the area whatsoever.

Maybe…

But then again –

John Hampden – after whom my abhorrent secondary school was named – was an English Civil War hero, on the side of the Parliamentarians against Charles I, born in Great Hampden, a village where my nan used to walk to, after hitching up with my Bucks born grandad, from her house in Widmer End to work in a big property there. Maybe one of John Hampden’s descendants. Times change, after all.

Our little family often went to Hampden woods on Sunday afternoons for a picnic on the grass beside the beeches, where we’d play badminton and take long walks amongst the trees and honey-suckle.

We’ve got the best music-makers in Bucks, otherwise known as – birds!

To walk through a summer meadow in the hot Bucks sunshine and listen to a skylark singing three-hundred feet up in the air is to be transcended into another realm, as Percy Bysshe Shelley discovered…

Waking or asleep

Thou of death must deem

Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream,

Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

… while trudging through Bucks farmland on the edge of some woods on a freezing cold sleety day in winter and hearing the cawing of the crows is to experience an inner desolation you would hardly think imaginable. Such is Bucks music. Along with the silences.

Poet and political writer, John Milton, was also a staunch Parliamentarian during the Civil War and, in particular, a real champion concerning FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Anne and I visited the cottage where he lived one rainy afternoon a couple of years ago when I wasn’t feeling too good because of blocked Chi energy resulting from an enervating lifestyle and subsequent iron overload in my liver (after stopping at the Roald Dahl museum in Great Missenden High St, above which we had lived for a while when it had been a shop). Milton’s Paradise Lost is probably the best known poetic composition in the entire English language canon.

All the more odd then, that for as long as I’ve known the area it has always voted in the blue anti-proletarian Tory Party.

Actually, conservatism and affluence generally go hand in hand, it seems.

If I head north from Naphill Common towards High Wycombe I pass through Benjamin Disraeli’s old pile in Hughgenden – the Manor, NT owned, where I worked on a ridiculous government-funded Manpower scheme for the unemployed back in the eighties – now rebranded to reflect its use by the UK Air Ministry during WW2 (and in whose grounds stands St Michael’s and All Saints church where my mum’s funeral service was held at the start of this year); if I go in the other direction, walking through Lord Dashwood’s property and more NT land, then I quickly come upon Strike Command – previously Bomber Command from where Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet (no less) launched the RAF’s campaign against German civilians during the same war, most notoriously in Dresden. st lawrenceGo east through the woods down to the dene and pretty soon there is Flowers Bottom where my great-aunt Ishbel – daughter of the UK’s first Labour PM Ramsay MacDonald – ran the Plow Inn with my great-uncle Norman before his death; while going westerly leads eventually to the start of the Vale of Aylesbury road, West Wycombe village with its Hellfire caves and up to St Lawrence church with its golden ball atop the spire, and an amazing view of the Chiltern Hundreds.

Stanley Spencer and his Cookham paintings depicting the Resurrection are nearby; not to mention the notorious Eric Gill up at Piggot’s Hill where my grandad worked in the pigsty, and his forbears sawed logs in the local forest after gravitating from Stokenchurch/Radnage/West Wycombe, and where our family reunion takes place every year now. In the woods hangs a carving of the crucified Christ made in Gill’s workshop there.gill christ

Right now there’s a plaque recovered from the local museum hung on the exterior wall of the old Methodist church building at the bottom of the slope where an annual commemoration concerning old Uncle Charlie from Bryants Bottom in the dene below is to become an annual event.

Our family is making its mark in the area once again. In favour of yet more war imperialism, now twenty-first century British-style, unfortunately. The exaltation of a dead man in the shade of a dead empire might appear somewhat necrophilic to some.

When my mum used to take me in with her occasionally to her job in Beaconsfield we’d drive past Enid Blyton’s old place and I’d always look out for hobgoblins, elves and the like prancing on the large front garden. Didn’t see them often, though.

Or, at least, not often enough.

Another house we drove past belonged to Karl Popper, the philosopher of science and my favourite writer from the twentieth-century, but I didn’t realise he was living and working there at the time; I was more interested in the pond where we’d skate when it froze over in the wintertime, or the strangely hollowed-out trees that we’d climb in summer. Not to mention John Ives’ bike shop along the connecting road.

Bicycles and trees and the overhead sky were – and still are – big parts of my life, as the various injuries, scars and memories testify to the present day.

My home village dates back at least to Anglo-Saxon times and has the meaning of ‘hazel by the pond’ – Hazlemere.

Trees, water, sky, bird-song, agriculture, philosophy, art, politics, war, peace, mysticism – FREEDOM TO THINK, is what the Bucks area immediately conjures up for me.

When I ran out of puff and grey matter in London in my twenties – a casualty of post-punk excesses – south Bucks and its woods was the place I turned to for my complete rehabilitation.

Over the undulating Chiltern Hills covered in ancient beech forest and under the big Vale of Aylesbury skies I walked and wrote and pondered – inspired by the names and places mentioned above. While doing so I saw a whole world emerging in my mind, one of common people living out their lives in dignity and freedom and mystical union…which had to be arranged on paper so that others could share in this vision also.

Until, at last, I had all the ideas put in order…and further…in one joyous upsurge felt the innermost whole of the harmonious universe mingle and merge finally as one full-on spout of experience inside the centre of my being before exploding out again to encompass existence in its love-filled entirety…

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All under a south Bucks sky.

So, for me at least, my beloved tree-concealed corner of this 13-billion year old universe residing in south Bucks…is, obviously, special.

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

Dad and Me

Three framed photographs of different sizes and various hues stand on a shelf in the bungalow living room. All contain images of females. There is one of a pre-pubescent girl with ribbons in her hair holding a bag of sweets while standing in a wooded glade; another of a woman in her early fifties sitting classically at an angle on the edge of an armchair with clasped hands and face to camera; the third shows a woman in her eighties looking fresh in the obviously cold atmosphere around her donned in matching white woollen hat and scarf with dangling golden earrings. They all smile.

They are all dead, frozen in a pictured moment shortly before their passing.

They are my two sisters and mum.

Or, my dad’s two daughters and wife.

The females in our family, gone.

Which means of course that only Dad and I remain.

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“Didn’t expect this, Glyn.”

I arrived early back to the bungalow from a trip to India last week owing to another death, that of my mother-in-law.

In a strangely apposite manner you could stand another set of photographs in a mirror-like arrangement in the living room with my mother-in-law, wife and daughter complementing those already placed on the shelf.

So, back to my dad and me.

My first memory of him is as he runs down a beach in naked panic and I am sat beneath a candy-striped umbrella which is stuck in the sand. A day later I see him from the backseat of the Vauxhall car turning into our road with one family member less.

Then he goes a little bit AWOL, always working at the factory or out in the shed or all-night fishing in the river Thames with his brothers and workmates.

He disappears completely for long stretches, always returning with presents, until with a minute to spare – apparently – he narrowly avoids hauling us all north where I would have become something of a Scouser.

Instead, he takes me to watch midweek football games under the floodlights at Loakes Park where Wycombe Wanderers play their Isthmian League home ties against the likes of Slough Town, Walthamstow and Wealdstone, winning, losing and drawing in about equal measure. I can recall what must have been a cup game against Brentford, a professional team from nearby west London, who wore a strip of red-and-white striped shirts with black shorts and all eleven of them looked about a foot taller than our lot. We lost, I think, 1-4.

Brentford was where my grandad was serving as a policeman at the time he met my nan (who already had four children) and following some mysterious fire and an insurance claim they were able to buy the first ever family-owned property in Widmer End, where dad was brought up alongside eleven other assorted siblings. Having narrowly avoided the permanent trip north, he remains a south Bucks lad through and through. Like me, really.

During my teens we kind of lost touch with one other in some ways, although early on he always took me down to Cosy Corner on Friday evenings to buy paper-wrapped fish and chips to eat back at the house while mum visited one of her many Irish sisters. After this routine was discontinued – other than a pummelling he gave me for not cleaning my football boots – we didn’t re-connect until he imposed another bout of violence on me following a shop-lifting incident, this time using his fists and later claiming to mum that I had howled like a pig – which was pretty much true since I didn’t want to punch back because I knew that would be the end of our relationship forever and yet I wanted the violence to stop also.

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An ecstatic-looking Dad a few Christmases ago – don’t ask

We managed to stay friends and when my mates came over to the bungalow purchased not far from the house he never complained when we made a lot of noise and doused each other with cold water from the garden hose on hot summer days, or smoked drugs or…

Actually, the violence was always at his wife’s instigation.

Next up, I left home and we had some more argy-bargy when I returned briefly – again with my mother centre-ground – and that was pretty much it until I married and had a son of my own. Since dad was semi-retired by now we’d go up to the bungalow and the three of us play together in the garden until mum returned from her waitressing job at the nearby D’Israeli manor house.

Several years and one daughter later we moved to a place on Dartmoor and when Dad suffered his annual mental breakdown he’d come down to stay and he and I would take walks across the moor and on the coast until he was well enough and patched up and ready to go back for another round of normality at the south Bucks bungalow. Really, we were the best of pals.

Shared holidays were taken in Normandy and Kerala and then my remaining sister was diagnosed with cancer and things changed for the worse. Trying to help with her alternative treatments he wore himself out until the inevitable occurred, and his second daughter was prematurely laid to rest while he looked on in deep sadness.

A fissure arose and it wasn’t easy to understand why, although the usual suspects were always watching on from the background.

Mum’s illness, diagnosed after a fall during a trip to Switzerland, meant that he devoted himself entirely to her well-being and as he became immersed in her life so did his moods fluctuate accordingly.

We stayed in touch and of course I helped out where possible – but then…last Boxing Day mum passed away in hospital, so that dad and I rode back home in the car together; with this time just the two of us remaining.

So now, here we are in the bungalow for a while, Dad and me.

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

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28 Years of Love & Freedom

Twenty-eight years ago today I married the most beautiful woman that I could ever have hoped to meet. Despite everything – and there has been a lot – we have stayed the course. Together, we have been able to bring into this universe two of the most wonderful and adorable human beings that it is possible to imagine. They are nigh perfect. Between nobody else would this have been possible. What need have we for silver or gold?

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Anne & Glyn 1991

Going back to that day in Finsbury Park registry office just a few months after having first met on a plane taking us to the old Sheremetovo airport in Soviet Moscow, how could we have known we’d be celebrating this day twenty-eight years on high up in the Himalayan mountains of India? We didn’t even know how we were getting to the registry office from the Islington flat that morning until Anne’s sister’s boyfriend stepped in. Thanks again, Dave. And thanks once more to Sue and Paul for witnessing the event.

On a more serious note, our honeymoon was planned for Morocco but in the intervening period our government had allowed the country to be brought into the Gulf War at the behest of the Americans, and now that the slaughter of the Iraqi people had begun, flights across the Arab world were being cancelled, including our own flight to Rabat. Instead, we booked a flight into Spain and caught the ferry to Tangier. As a result, we were about the only Western foreigners in the entire country and traveling down through the Atlas Mountains by public transport from the coast to our intended stay on the edge of the Sahara Desert is a story in itself.

Our marriage day with its modest reception at a north London restaurant and the honeymoon experience in Morocco pretty much set the pattern for what has been a shared adventure during our life together.

When we were married that day twenty-eight years ago, we could only believe that the world around us would open up and evolve into a more harmonious place. The Berlin Wall had come down and there were reasons to believe this ought to be case. Our children would be part of an inspirational generation of young people who would form a society in their own freedom-loving, non-prejudicial image, following on from the social gains of the sixties and seventies. You only need go back to the images, read some of the literature and listen to the music from around the world during those times to see what I mean. And then the conservatives with their falsely-promoted and previously discredited monetarist policies took hold, the CIA and other western-based secret services including the UK’s Secret Intelligence Services MI5/MI6 were given free – if concealed – rein, and the gnarly old establishment and armed forces re-established their control over the immediate social order while deliberately creating unrest across the globe for personal gain, restricting democracy, putting into place their own dictator stooges around the globe, making enemies of peoples for whom there ought to have been no enmity, placing personal wealth before equality, and setting out on a course which has led to imminent destruction of the planet Earth either through over-exploitation of its resources or their pointlessly destructive wars.

Our love-filled marriage and raising children has to be appreciated against the backdrop of an ever-worsening erosion of basic freedoms throughout the western world, as our so-called elected leaders lead our countries into perpetual conflicts with imagined enemies and use such conflicts as an excuse to clamp down on free expression.

In the meantime, peace-loving and truth-telling people have been condemned as threats to the hegemonic world order – which they surely are, since this world is increasingly built on destructive lies.

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Anne & Glyn 2019

Throughout this attack on the structure of our daily lives, for nearly three decades our marriage vows have remained strong, our love – far from diminishing – has increased over time, our children have gained in confidence and knowledge, and we still share the belief that this world we inhabit has the capacity to become a place where all peoples from whatever background can be allowed to come together and live in peaceful co-existence. Despite the war-makers.

The time for war-mongering may yet be drawing to a close, and those individuals who seem more intent on forming death-cults and bringing misery to the masses of freedom-loving peoples in all regions of the globe ought to know that they will be found out and that when that time arrives they will be exposed for the frauds they are. They will then be banished to live out their discredited, lonely lives in the nether regions of the planetary experience they are constantly forming both within and without.

A future post will look at how a handful of people centred in a little community up the road from the guesthouse where we are staying – and will be celebrating our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary – actually went some way to making this future event happen. Even now humanity is reaping the fruit of their endeavours.

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

Assange (updated)

In the light of events now taking place around the Ecuadorean embassy in London concerning Julian Assange, I am republishing this post. It concerns the manner in which the public has for years sleepwalked into a situation whereby one man has to shoulder all the responsibility for exposing the lying, war-mongering, planet-destroying elites around the world.

I had discussions with workmates – your normal white, middle-class liberals – about Julian Assange being illegally detained and what it meant for an open-truth society, and all they could do was attack the guy by saying his organisation’s leaks had put lives at risk. Where had they got their information? From the BBC and Guardian newspaper. In other words, they are just the sort of careless dupes who have allowed the current situation to arise.

I implore my ex-workmates and anybody else around to make recompense for these wasted years and get up there to defend Assange and the right to reveal TRUTH to the world.

Back in 1982 I began working on a novel about a young man who blows up an exclusive club in London to demonstrate his hatred of the neo-liberal agenda and attendant neo-con policies: the contrived ever-lasting wars, austerity measures, pro-elite/anti-social laws, and so on.

The novel was supposed to be a wake-up call about what was happening in capitalist societies – a warning of what would inevitably occur if monetarism and right-wing ideology was followed through.

My only surprise concerning actual events since then is that such an act of individual violence has not taken place. This suggests that people on the whole are very generous with regards to the intentions of their leaders, or that the public’s passivity knows no bounds. Perhaps it illustrates people’s innate goodness, I don’t know.Question_Cover_for_Kindle

The only acts of individual violence regularly witnessed are committed by those who have been deranged by social, military or religious pressure.

Mainly, as ever, the violence continues to be carried out by authorities on behalf of the state, either on its own citizens or in foreign countries.

This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

The whole world is under existential threat as a result of the violent policies being pursued in capitalist societies. Either war or environmental catastrophe have the very real potential to destroy the planet upon which we depend for survival.

Thankfully, more and more people are waking up to this prospect and recognising from where the real threat to their well-being emanates.

Books by Glyn Ridgley available at bookstores and Amazon UK

and in the USA

Also around the world

Note from Naggar

Two-and-a-half years later, here I am – in Naggar!

On a wet, January morning back at school after the seasonal break, I discovered that I had a 1-1 lesson with a Russian woman for the first English class. Anyone who is a teacher knows that such lessons are generally more intense and demanding than teaching a group, so I wasn’t really best-pleased at the prospect.

I was still hungover from the festivities.

And then Svetlana appeared and we got on very well together and before I knew it we were discussing Russian artists and she was suggesting I might appreciate the work of Nikolai Roerich, who I then discovered had set up home in the Himalayas with his family back in the 1920s.

That January morning was when I decided that I would visit what had now become a museum and cultural centre.roerich

I couldn’t go that year, but planned to visit the following April, when the mountain weather would be getting warmer. We booked the guesthouse in advance and had the travel visas in our hands ready for posting to the Indian embassy when a phone call said that my dad-in-law had been taken to hospital.

Naturally, the trip was postponed.

Skip forward another year and the stand-alone trip was to be incorporated into a year-long adventure taking in other places including Himachal Pradesh.

This trip then had to be re-structured once again and so we arrived in Mumbai at the end of January this year. Since then we have travelled through Rajasthan and a section of Uttarakhand, before the weather conditions have at last made it possible to locate this far north and this high up.

And so what started out as an apparently miserable day of work on an English winter’s day which just had to be endured, actually turned into the catalyst for a trip to the roof of the world.

Think of that next time you feel like taking a sickie.

What a place it is, an endless-seeming flow of snow-topped mountains with pine-covered slopes and icy-cold water cascading through the heat and rocks down into the fast-flowing Beas river up along the valley. The orchards are coming into bloom and their dainty white and pink blossoms dot the terraces and lower slopes and the men work with their shovels to scrape away the grass and weed-growth surrounding the blue-painted trunks of the fruit trees. I’ve got my own colourful little topi to perch on my head in the morning and nightime cold, but feel a little stupid wearing it during the day among the paharis as we rock along the winter-damaged roads in the battered old suspension-free buses that cost hardly a rupee to travel on or sit in dhabas eating powerfully-hot thalis of lentil dhal and rice.

At the guesthouse where we are staying I have come upon a copy of ‘Shantaram’ which was recommended to me both before leaving for Mumbai and while drinking in the bar that gets a special mention within its pages. It’s a story that’s awash with poetic language and strong imagery that I would have certainly loved in my younger days of avid reading. Even now, I suspect I’m going to get along with it pretty fine. I hope so. The nights are still long and cold up here and I need something to occupy my waking thoughts as I lay snuggled up safe and warm underneath the heaviest bedspread imaginable until the first sunrays of the Himalayan morning.

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

Utterance from Udaipur

Who’d o’ thunk I’d be lying on my bed in my Udaipur hotel room listening to 1967’s THE WHO SELL OUT…

Then again, I was sick and had been reading Roger Daltrey’s autobiography in order to pass the interminable hours. Mr Daltrey may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he was at least there, and his account of all that has happened in his life is pretty direct.

SELL OUT is a terrifically self-deprecating album that signals the times.

Roger: I love it because it’s a real tribute to those days before the BBC hijacked pop music. What we hear now is what Mother wants us to hear. The DJs on the pirate ships were real music fans, and the competition made them all musically adventurous. Back then, everyone listened to them, and the music was real. It was an outlet for our generation’s music, and the BBC hated that. They hated losing control. With the government, they did everything they could to stop the pirate stations or, at the very least, stop kids listening to it. And they succeeded. [There’s a lot I love about the BBC but] there’s a lot I loathe, and that’s right at the top of the list.

‘They hated losing control’

Just as – being a part of the MSM – they hate losing control of the news information narrative.

‘With the government…’

If the BBC do not tell outright lies concerning what is happening in the world they frame and present and omit their content in a manner that shows the ruling, privileged elite class in a positive and glamorous light, while those who are genuinely working to try and make life on this planet a far more enriching overall experience are either largely undermined or ignored.

BBC World is not a nice place to inhabit.

Any more than Daily Mail, Express, Guardian, Times, WAPO, NYT, CNN, NBC World etc are nice places to live and breathe.

Get your news and views from them and you are a hateful, ignorant moron.

Go on, just try and break the habit. Try living in a more positive mindset, gaining your news and impression from the ‘pirates’ out there – and see what a much better world could be lived in.

Or are you so moronic that you are unable to break away even for a very short space of time?

What the freedom-loving music and times of the 1960s and 70s and the way the establishment fought back to seize control of people’s minds once more, and how so much promise for a wholesome, healthy World Life for the enhancement of all, was either destroyed, stolen or reined back by the fearful, hate-filled, war-mongering Self Life of the existing elites, is a constant theme throughout my written work.

Welcome to a new headspace.

THIS WORLD CAN BE MADE A BETTER PLACE

Being in India only increases my belief this is so.

Books by Glyn Ridgley are published by Valley Independent Publishing and are available at Amazon and bookstores are the world

Rosicrucian on the Amazon

It’s such a beautiful image that I can’t refrain from sharing. My daughter is reading her old man’s latest book ROSICRUCIAN as she floats down the Amazon river to Brazil. This after she had unexpectedly met with Rosicrucian musicians who were traveling through Colombia with permission to visit some sacred hill temples.

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We were supposed to be joining her, but the death of my mother on Boxing Day means that we have had to change our own plans drastically. Rather than hole up in a comfortable condo on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in preparation for the Carnival, we’re more likely to be seeing out the next couple of months in an empty end-of-terrace in the East End of London.

Remarkably, I used this setting in my very first book QUESTION.

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Books are available on Amazon or at bookshops worldwide

To a Slogan-free and Flavorful Existence!

There’s mainstream, there’s alternative, and there’s – complete stand alone.

This blog falls into the third camp. If you think about it, the first two are just different sides of the same coin. What I prefer to use is a brand new currency.rosicrucian copy

Take my new book, ROSICRUCIAN.

It claims to be a novel, but is really a genre mash-up.

It bigs up mystical knowledge, but does down people from current organisations.

It destroys religious teachings, but purports to open a gateway to God.

It does away with prejudices and classifications altogether.

My mother died this Yuletide so 2019 is going to have a different complexion to previous years from the get go.

That suits me fine, since the constant right/left, rich/poor, good/bad dichotomies leave me tired and bored.

If you share my need and desire for something so utterly profound and new that a paradigm shift of some sort is required, you might start by taking a look at these books written over the past thirty years:

AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON AND BOOK STORES WORLDWIDE

I’d like to think that similar-minded people acting together in both active and passive distribution mode can lead to a better-thinking society, one in which black/white, on/off, backwards/forwards are no more than misleading abstractions.

TO A SLOGAN-FREE AND FLAVORFUL EXISTENCE!

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

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