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Stories we tell


Our stories and recollections, particularly those committed to paper or otherwise recorded, gain general acceptance and eventually the credibility we call 'history'.  They then become a template for future action.  We are told to learn from history, lest we be condemned to repeat it.  It tells us who are friends and who not to trust; where danger lies.

This mode of action is very familiar to us because it is just how we proceed as an individual identity.  For our every action, be they sub-conscious or even accidental, we are constantly inventing retrospective motivations and explanations.  We use these to guard against getting soap in our eyes; burning ourselves; or repeating a social faux pas.  We use salutary tales from others to avoid snakes and spiders; fallen electrical cables; or sometimes walking alone across a park at night.

When she was preparing for her death my mother was still very lucid.  Bedridden in Hospital she read through the entire Patrick O'Brien series of historical seafaring novels and at least another 30 books.  

Towards the end she and I had some long talks adult to adult; that's sometimes hard for parents to do.  I learnt a lot of things about her life I didn't know before.  One of these was the story of my conception in a hospital bed where my father was recovering from a severe back injury as a result of a plane crash.  He was a fighter pilot, and later a flying instructor, in the RAF.  

My mother had already lost a child in Canada.  There is a lot of history there too.  Suffice it to say I was an experiment to see if they could still conceive.   Thus, unless all those things, driven by 'Mr Hitler' and his cronies, had happened just as they did, I would not be here to record this; nor would you if you were born after he came to power.  This reality, that we would not be here to comment had the past not been as it was, extends to all the events that actually happened behind the tales we tell. 


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USA - middle bits






In September and October 2017 Wendy and I took another trip to the United States where we wanted to see some of the 'middle bits'.  Travel notes from earlier visits to the East coast and West Coast can also be found on this website.

For over six weeks we travelled through a dozen states and stayed for a night or more in 20 different cities, towns or locations. This involved six domestic flights for the longer legs; five car hires and many thousands of miles of driving on America's excellent National Highways and in between on many not so excellent local roads and streets.

We had decided to start in Chicago and 'head on down south' to New Orleans via: Tennessee; Georgia; Louisiana; and South Carolina. From there we would head west to: Texas; New Mexico; Arizona; Utah and Nevada; then to Los Angeles and home.  That's only a dozen states - so there are still lots of 'middle bits' left to be seen.

During the trip, disaster, in the form of three hurricanes and a mass shooting, seemed to precede us by a couple of days.

The United States is a fascinating country that has so much history, culture and language in common with us that it's extremely accessible. So these notes have turned out to be long and could easily have been much longer.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Now I am seventy

 On the occasion of an afternoon tea to mark this significant milestone...


When I was one, I was just begun;
When I was two, I was nearly new;
When I was Three, I was hardly me;

But then I was sixty, and as clever as clever;
Wouldn't it be nice to stay sixty for ever and ever?

(With apologies to AA Milne)


Hang on!  Now I'm seventy?  How did that happen? 

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Opinions and Philosophy




Death is one of the great themes of existence that interests almost everyone but about which many people avoid discussion.  It is also discussed in my essay to my children: The Meaning of Life on this website; written more than ten years ago; where I touch on personal issues not included below; such as risk taking and the option of suicide.

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