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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Island Escape Update

Further to my previous blog here is a clip of the amazing Mr. Grimshaw from the programme ' Indian Ocean ' shown on BBC 2 a short while ago. Actually he is 86 not 81 as I thought.
Do give it a look.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Island Escape

Here is a nice story. It is an antidote to my previous blog.

In 1972 Brendon Grimshaw from Yorkshire ( what a splendid Yorkshire name ) bought a small island in the Seyschelles called Moyenne for £8000.00.

When Brendon ( now 81 and still a picture of health ) bought the island it was so overgrown as to be impenetrable. Over the years he has transformed the island into a 22 acre nature reserve. He cleared the scrub, built a wooden house, planted Palm trees, Mango and Paw Paw. He piped water, electricity and phone line from the nearby island of Mahe. He introduced wildlife and has 120 giant Tortoises.

The island is now a national park so is protected when he dies. In addition to the tortoises the island has a range of wildlife and 40 species of Palm trees.

Brendon is not a recluse and welcomes day visitors from nearby Mahe for £10.00 a visit, but does not allow overnight stays. After his mother died his father came out from England and lived on the island until he died. Brendon says they had a wonderful few years together.

He is living the dream and will leave the world a better place.

The programme ' Indian Ocean ' ( BBC 2 on Sunday ) presented by Simon Reeves will feature Brendon.
( The programme has now been shown so here is a clip from it. Do give it a look.)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Dog of Democracy.

Am I alone in thinking that democracy in it's present form has had it's day?

Here in Scotland we are in the midst of local council elections. I am inundated by leaflets by candidates all promising to work hard to increase jobs and services, to make everyone's life better etc. No one has the honesty to say the limit of money that can be raised by taxes or borrowing was reached years ago and therefore we cannot promise a better standard of living.

The French election is producing a backlash from voters who feel betrayed by the promises made but depressingly only seem to be prepared to elect another president who is making unattainable promises.

Democratically elected governments have for years been promising more and more to get elected and then in trying to meet the expectations raised by spending more and more borrowed money. Now it is no longer possible to kick that can further down the road. Certainly banks were culpable in this crisis but governments connived in the recklessness as long as the tax on bank profits kept coming in.

We got the governments we deserved, they appealed to our greed and we too turned a blind eye, voting for the promises. Would we have elected governments promising reality as an alternative? I don't think so. We also have to ask the question; have we failed democracy? It is, in a way a reflection on us, the electorate, if politicians have to make unrealistic promises if that is the only way they will get elected!

So this has proved to be the fundamental flaw in modern democracy. It does seem to be approaching a death spiral ( at least in Europe ) and one can only hope it doesn't lead to a resurgence of totalitarianism of the right or left.

Does anyone have a solution ? I suppose the first step has to be a recognition that democracy as we know it has failed.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Ghost of Tomorrow

Another poem by Phil Cornelius from his book Shadowlands.

Ghost of tomorrow.

I am known here among the stones and bones of this soulless place.

I am the shiver in the wind; the tremble of panic in the wild bird's cry.
I am the silence when the mist rokes in; the shadows in a cloudless sky.

I am the shaft of light as the storm clouds clear.
The rustle in the heather that draws you near.

I am the smoke of past fires hung low on the breeze.
The sound of the ocean coming down from the trees.

I am the one behind who's never there,
Unseen echoes in the cold night air.

I am the spite in the rain when the East winds squall.
A glimpse of tomorrow through a hole in the wall.

To learn more about Phil Cornelius's work go to 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Living without money.  This is a very interesting story about a man living without money since 2000. Could you do it too? Two questions though, he has a blog and seems to ride a rather nice bicycle. How does he pay for the internet and buy the bike? His story is being made into a book and while it is true he is not the author, maybe, just maybe, some money might flow his way.
However there is a message here, maybe the Buddha's middle way?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Glowing Flowers

Yesterday I worked in Findhorn Foundation's Cluny Garden.
It was quite cold with persistent rain but with spirits undampened I worked with three other gardeners cutting up tree branches.
As a volunteer I am offered a choice of jobs ( nothing is compulsory ) and then having chosen simply get on with it. I love this, as absolved from the responsibility of future planning, my mind is free and open.
Yesterday with this empty mind I was at one with the beauty of nature. The flowers were glowing with, throbbing with, life. The tree buds were celebrating the rain, seemingly opening before my eyes with joy at the nourishment falling from the sky. Blackbirds danced over the lawn to feed on the worms surfacing in the rain. I felt connected to this wonderful energy but at the same time was reminded of my own transience in all of this.

Monday, 16 April 2012

As True Today

Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying;

' Seven things in this world that lead to violence: Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice and politics without principle.'

I am not sure it is entirely true to say sacrifice is essential for worship but I couldn't agree more with the other six.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Scottish Cycle Ride

I have just spent four days researching a route for The Gerry Active September Scottish ride. The weather was indifferent but the ride has everything, mountains, moor and coast. I have booked all the accommodation and am sure my comrades will enjoy it. There will be five of us.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Gate of Understanding

On Saturday I helped with the registration for a workshop entitled Christ Consciousness at the Findhorn Foundation. For this mornings work I was given a free pass to one session of this workshop.

The speaker for this session was Jeddha Mali and very inspiring it was too. She had studied in India with many spiritual masters including the Dalai Lama.

In essence her message was no matter how much you have studied, how many books you have read and how many hours you meditate, unless you connect with the power within you will never go through the gate to actual experience. Without this experience you will only have an intellectual understanding of spirit. This is but a pale shadow of the real thing.

By all means use the tools of teachers, books, meditations and exercise but don't give your power away.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Rock Star

Another painting dabble by me.

Can you guess who?

If not I suppose it's not so good.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Panda Panic

Who would want to be a male Panda? You spend 363 days a year peacefully chewing Bamboo and then suddenly you have little more than 24 hours to impregnate a female Panda!

Just imagine the pressure? After spending 363 days in solitary confinement suddenly you are pushed into a ' love tunnel ' with a girl you don't know. Not only that but there are photographers and zoo keepers watching!

Now I know some red blooded men may think it is a dream come true to be given ' a bride ' after a long period of abstinence, but come on, with the worlds press watching!

I am of course referring to the two Giant Pandas given to Edinburgh Zoo by China. Yang Guang (Sunshine ) and Tian Tian ( Sweetie ) are the Pandas in question. Tian Tian the female is ovulating right now ( it happens only once a year for two days ) and is said to be fired up for it. Yang Guang on the other hand has so far failed his task after a couple of attempts. Time is running out even though keepers are on hand with a long pole to move Tian Tian's tail to one side. Apparently this was a bit of a problem in an earlier attempt.

Come on Yang Guang just a few more hours, a little more effort and then you can go back to eating Bamboo. Remember all the men in the world are rooting for you.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

India. Just a Minute.

Thank God for Radio 4.

A previous post giving thanks for Radio 4 recorded a very interesting talk on Shintoism and today while painting I listened to two fascinating talks.
One was about France with interviews with French people about how they thought other nations saw France.
This was illuminating but what really caught my attention was a programme on ' Just a Minute ' now 45 years old with the same host Nicholas Parsons. Nicholas was in India where Just a Minute has been taken up and adapted by Indians. Very striking was the enthusiasm, intelligence and humour of the people, mostly students taking part in the programme. Also the sheer energy of the new dynamic India came through and I was filled with admiration. We have much to learn from India.

P.S. In case anyone is not familiar with Just a Minute, players have to try to speak for just a minute without hesitation, deviation or repetition. Not as easy as it sounds.

Monday, 2 April 2012


A cold wind moves the grey pines
My heart whispers grey like the air

The illusion of independence vanishing
Crushed on the grey rocks of reality

The shattered dust of delusion
Reforming in glorious yellow

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Oh Dear!

They say practise makes perfect!

However it is obvious I need more practise to get this painting right.