When In Crete: The Author’s Tomb

A timely photo maybe, with today being Good Friday, but this isn’t a religious site-rather it’s the tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis, author of works such as Zorba The Greek and The Last Temptation. When we were in Crete in 2008 I travelled to Heraklion to seek it out. I have most of his books and I do like to make personal connections. Fortunately I have a very understanding wife.

Although deeply spiritual, his books often reflected his struggle to find truth in religion and spirituality. Many Orthodox Church clergy condemned Kazantzakis’ work and a campaign was started to excommunicate him. His reply was: “You gave me a curse, Holy fathers, I give you a blessing: may your conscience be as clear as mine and may you be as moral and religious as I” 

The tomb is quite plain, made of stone marked with a wooden cross. The epitaph, taken from one of his works, reads:

 ‘I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free’.

When Your Child is ill But it’s You That’s Got The Fever

In 2012 my daughter was off school ill, fourteen days before her fifth birthday.  What follows are just two of the many conversations that pushed me right over the edge:


Millie: “Do you like my necklace? Derek bought it me.”
“No, Eric bought it you.”
“Eric? And he took me to The Wiggles.”
“No Derek took you to The Wiggles.”
“And bought me this necklace?”
“No. Eric. There is Eric. And there is Derek.”
“Where did Eric take me?”
“The cinema.”
“Eric took me to the cinema. Did Derek come? With the necklace?”

Andy picks up his phone, calls school. ” I think I will chance her in.”


Millie:”Is it my birthday in the morning?”
There is night and there is morning. Is it my birthday after that?”
“The night and then the morning after that?”
“Is it my birthday after that?”
“After the night?”
After the morning?
“Is it my birthday?”

Andy picks up his phone, calls the adoption agency.

A Time To Create Or, If You Prefer, Put Those Winter Woolies Away

We are not out of the woods yet. Though we are in the tail end of March there is still talk of cold weather to come, with possible snow for Easter being mooted.

But still, there’s always signs, hints of the season to follow. Winter is fighting it’s last rearguard action, and the end will be merciful. Easter does indeed bring a resurrection.

The longer days, the warmer weather and emerging wildlife always seem to bring a creative boon, and now is no different. I am tweaking the manuscript for a second poetry collection: In Brigantia, before returning to the second draft of the novel Seasons On The Hill that I’m writing. Beyond this I have ideas for a semi-fictional take on family stories handed down to me, provisionsally entitled In Times Of War, and also a collection of short stories called The Night Spills In.

I’ve also agreed this week to proofread a translated work for a fellow poet, so things are starting to move.I’ve got a tentative plan about the order of things.

But first a coffee, I think, and see what tomorrow’s weather brings.

In Spanish Hills

From my poetry blog.

Coronets For Ghosts

In Spanish Hills
In this fiery furnace
is forged a languid blade,
yet in these hills
is a vibrant pulse.
And formed within
this small enclave
is a definite sense
of them, and us.

The eye drowns in colour
and shimmering haze,
yet we carry around 
a windswept moor.
On an azure calm
our vision sails,
but what comes to mind
is a battered shore.


View original post

Summer Is Coming. Nature: “Now Where Is That Jackdaw?”

Do you remember my post from two weeks ago, when the Beast from the East roared in an attempt to thwart my plans of getting home to Manchester from a clinic in Leeds? And how I was foolishly optimistic about my return stay as it was a fortnight later on a most probable balmy March 16th?

Well this is Leeds this morning:

British Summertime officially starts a week today. I don’t think nature is adhering to our calendrical clock.

I’m starting to think it’s personal.

R.I.P Stephen Hawking

Whilst under the shadow of death Stephen Hawking attempted to answer some of the more complex questions of life. I saw this quote only this morning:

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”

Personally I think there is more to us than that, but who am I to argue with someone with a mind as brilliant as Hawking?!