*take nothing for granted!
  • Sydney Australia

  • Luang Prabang Laos

  • Angkor Wat Cambodia

  • Halong Bay Vietnam

  • Yangon Myanmar (Burma)

  • Forbidden City Moat Beijing China

  • Great Wall Shuiguan China

  • Shanghai China

  • Terracotta Warriors Xian China

  • Giza Pyramids and Sphinx Cairo

  • Jemaa el-Fnaa Marrakesh Morocco

  • Damascus Syria - (Oct 2010 pre destabilisation)

  • Istanbul Turkey

  • The Sphinx ANZAC Cove Gallipoli Turkey

  • Saltzburg Austria

  • Cezky Krumlov Czech Republic

  • Prague Czech Republic

  • Champs Elysees Paris France

  • Oberbaum Bridge (over the Spree) Berlin Germany

  • Budapest Hungary

  • Rome Italy

  • Florence Italy

  • Venice Italy

  • Valletta Malta

  • Lisbon Portugal

  • Plaza Mayor Madrid Spain

  • Seville Spain

  • Alhambra Granada Spain

  • Mosque–Cathedral Córdoba Spain

  • Moscow Russia (from Moscow State University)

  • London England

  • Mumbai India

  • Udaipur India

  • Taj Mahal - Agra India

  • Varanasi (Benares) India

  • Kathmandu Nepal

  • Madurai India

  • Havana Cuba

  • Pyramid of the Sun Teotihuacán Mexico

  • Zócalo Mexico City

  • Buenos Aires Argentina

  • Ipanema Rio De Janeiro Brazil

  • Iguazu Falls Argentina-Brazil

  • Machu Picchu Peru

  • Lake Titicaca Peru-Bolivia

  • Queens New York USA (from the Empire State)

  • Boston USA (across the stern of USS Constitution)

  • Washington DC USA (from Arlington House)

  • San Francisco USA (from Alcatraz Island)

  • Los Angeles USA (from the Getty Museum)

Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2015

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>  The Meaning of Death

Etherial Richard
News

I was recently restored to life after being dead for several hours. 

'Really?' you say, 'dead?' What does: 'dead' really mean?

At one time a person who was no longer breathing; who had no heartbeat; was limp and unconscious; and failed to respond to stimuli, like being poked with a knife; or having their heart removed; was pretty certainly dead.
Yet while a death certificate may well have been issued for me in the not so distant past, today we set no store by the heart or the lungs or even reflexes as indicators of life but rather the potential recovery of the brain and central nervous system.

Thus I was not actually dead. The colony of cells that is me remained relatively undamaged, still a viable living organism thanks to continuing oxygenated blood supply. In particular my brain was undamaged, so my mind could be restored to awareness when anaesthesia ceased. 

 

Read More...

 

>  Southern England

Port_Isaac thumb
Travel

In mid July 2016 Wendy and I took flight again to Europe. Those who follow these travel diaries will note that part of out trip last year was cut when Wendy's mum took ill. In particular we missed out on a planned trip to Romania and eastern Germany. This time our British sojourn would be interrupted for a few days by a side-trip to Copenhagen and Roskilde in Denmark (later posts to come).
We spent the initial week in London and after our return from Denmark, toured about the West Country to Cornwall and then east along the South coast as far as Sidmouth.

Read More...

 

>  South Korea (& China)

P1100792 thumb
Travel

I hadn't written up our trip to South Korea (in March 2016) but Google Pictures gratuitously put an album together from my Cloud library so I was motivated to add a few words and put it up on my Website. Normally I would use selected images to illustrate observations about a place visited. This is the other way about, with a lot of images that I may not have otherwise chosen.
A few days in Seoul were followed by travels around the country, helpfully illustrated in the album by Google generated maps: a picture is worth a thousand words; ending back in Seoul before spending a few days in China on the way home to OZ.

 

Read More...

 

>  Bali

Travel
Travel

At the end of February 2016 Wendy and I took a package-deal to visit Bali.
I had not been to Bali since 1973 and it has changed remarkably.
Back then Bali was was recovering from mass death and political problems and was low on the tourist agenda.
The only tourists we saw there were fellow travellers from the cruise ship we were on.
In Ubud and Denpasar chooks ran in the street and colonial buildings decayed.

 

Read More...

 

>  Berlin

Berliner Dom
Travel

I've been to Berlin several times but have been reluctant to offer an 'off the cuff' summary of this complex city.
Instead here are some selected impressions that are by no means intended as a comprehensive analysis.

 

Read More...

 

>  Greyhound Racing

Jack Lang
History

Rather bravely, the New South Wales State Government has accepted the recommendation of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound ​Racing Industry in NS​​W and announced the end of Greyhound Racing in the State from July 1 2017.  The Australian Capital Territory Government quickly followed suit. 
Some years ago I remarked, in an article on NSW history, that it was the NSW State Government that started the Greyhound Racing industry.  That was in the Depression, in the time of 'Big' Jack Lang, and a great deal of harm ensued.  Lang was later dismissed by the NSW Governor.  But it was not for further impoverishing families 'doing it tough'.  By that time dog racing had already become endemic in the State.

For 'Big' Jack Lang's role - Read More here...

Like many people, I have always been concerned about how attractive gambling can apparently be to people who can ill afford it.  If people like the Packers want to gamble for recreation or a thrill that's one thing but a mum or dad spending the rent and grocery money on a slim chance to get rich is quite another.  Greyhound Racing has always been targeted on these very people  Sure, poker machines are even more insidious but that has proven to be an issue that's just too much to bite off and chew. Greyhound trainers have made themselves an easy target.  It's hard to be cruel to poker machines and they don't need to be blooded on rabbits. 

For Gambling in Australia - Read More here...

 

>  Recollections of 1960 - the U2 Incident

Movie poster
Recollections

The 2015 Spielberg movie Bridge of Spies recalls the U-2 Incident, one of those seminal moments when the world would take a new path into the future.  In 1960 this otherwise mundane spy flight would swing the result of a US election and thus set the tone for the coming decade.  The new President was to make US confrontation with the USSR a hallmark of his term in office.  The Cuban Missile Crisis; escalation of the wars in Indochina; conscription;  draft dodging; protest; flower-power and a spate of assassinations; can therefore all trace their roots to this incident. 
On the positive side was the Peace Corps and the 'Space Race' that would lead to rapid technological advance. The technologies of the 21st century: communications and computers; new materials; 'and all that' came from there.

Read More...

 

>  Skydiving

Coming Down to Earth
News

For my 70th Birthday Wendy took me at my word and bought me a voucher to go Skydiving.  I've always wanted to try it and 75 is a limit for insurance.

Read More...

 

>  Climate Change - a Myth?

Ice core data
Environment

Partly in response to my article Carbon Footprints (below) several friends and acquaintances have told me that Climate Change is a myth.

Might this be true?

 

Read More...

 

 

>  The McKie Family

McKie Ginger Beer
History

This is the story of the McKie family down a path through the gardens of the past that led to where I'm standing now.  Other paths converged and merged as the McKies met and wed and bred.
Where possible I've glimpsed backwards up those paths as far as records would allow.
In six generations, I, like most people, have 126 ancestors.  Around half have become obscure to me. But I know the majority had one thing in common: they lived in or around Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England.

During that time Newcastle grew from a small port town into one of the World's most important and innovative cities.  Thus they contributed to the prosperity, fertility and skill of that blossoming town during the century and a half when the garden there was at its most fecund.

So it's also a tale of one city.

Read More...

 

>  A little fiction...

Book Short Stories thumb
Fiction

If you have previously read one of my stories and enjoyed it you might like to have another look. 

An advantage (or disadvantage) of e-publishing is that writings are not cast in hot type and committed to a printed volume.  This allows an author to revisit them from time to time;  to re-imagine passages; to tidy up; and expand on ideas.  Thus they e-books are works in progress.

The risk is that stories get over-baked and ruined.  Let the reader be the judge.

Here are a few of a dozen I have published - click on their name to open them.

The Time Lord (science fiction?) was recently updated and extended. 

The Secret (a travel tale) is a similar length - it's been changed several times.

If you would like something shorter and more comic try A Twisted Pigs' Tale  (a twisted fairy story)

His Life in a Can (a domestic tragedy) is also a quick read but rather more dark.

The Password (another travel tale) will take you a little longer.  It's my fantasy revenge on the pair who stole my wallet in BA.

The Soul of the Matter (yet another travel inspired story) and April Fools' Day (paranoia on a ferry) are longer again.

But if you want to read a novel length story on your device then you should read The Cloud (a dystopian-Shakespearean science fiction). 

 


 

 

 


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Travel

India and Nepal

 

 

Introduction

 

In October 2012 we travelled to Nepal and South India. We had been to North India a couple of years ago and wanted to see more of this fascinating country; that will be the most populous country in the World within the next two decades. 

In many ways India is like a federation of several countries; so different is one region from another. For my commentary on our trip to Northern India in 2009 Read here...

For that matter Nepal could well be part of India as it differs less from some regions of India than do some actual regions of India. 

These regional differences range from climate and ethnicity to economic wellbeing and religious practice. Although poverty, resulting from inadequate education and over-population is commonplace throughout the sub-continent, it is much worse in some regions than in others.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

Getting about

 

 


This article contains a series of recollections from my childhood growing up in Thornleigh; on the outskirts of Sydney Australia in the 1950s. My parents emigrated to Australia in 1948 when I was not quite three years old and my brother was a babe in arms.
 

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

Syria - again

 

A fortnight ago I was moved to suggest that it was possible that the alleged gas attack in Syria might not be the work of the Syrian Army.  I withdrew the posting when more convincing evidence of Army involvement became available.

Because of our visit to Syria took place just before the most recent troubles began, I have been, perhaps, more interested than most.  I wanted to know why Syria is automatically assumed to be guilty when there are some very nasty groups on the other side?

We are fed so much doctored information, spin, that it is hard to get the facts even when we are directly involved.

So to claim that I know what is actually going on in Syria is fanciful.  Assad vehemently denies responsibility; the Russians are doubtful; and the inspectors have not yet reported.  But the certainty, and aggressive language, of the Western leaders accusing Syria of this latest incident seem extraordinary - do they know something that they are not revealing publicly?

As I have explained elsewhere I have fond memories of Damascus and of Syria in general.  Damascus was the most pleasant and interesting of the cities we stayed in; lacking the extremes of poverty and wealth we saw in Cairo (and in Egypt in general) or the more western normality of Amman in Jordan. 

Read more ...

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