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This is how it started. Allegedly, in October 1949, I was born in Clapham, London UK. My first memory was crawling across a carpeted floor towards an armchair containing my father. My mother assured me that was at our flat in Paddington. The next home I remember is a cottage in Broadstairs, Kent, across the road from a vicarage. Me and my brother on our side, two or maybe three sisters on the other. Vicar’s daughters!

At some point, while I was three or four years old, we moved back to London, South Kensington. In 1955 we got on a boat at Southhampton and moved to Gordon’s Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa. That’s 5 homes in 5 years.

18 months later we moved to Johannesburg, to a cottage in the grounds of a big hotel in Orange Grove. From there we moved to a rented house in Bryanston. Within 2 years my parents managed to buy a house in Inanda. 4 years later they had to sell and we moved to a rented cottage in Rivonia. Lastly we moved to an apartment in Rosebank. All these are various suburbs of Johannesburg.

In April 1962, we went to Cape Town by train and got on a boat back to England. We moved into a cottage outside Newbury in Berkshire. That’s 11 homes in 12 years.

I could go on. I’ve saved you the torture by doing the math. Besides overstaying my welcome at dear indulgent friends’ homes, including the London apartment I’ve just moved into, I have had a further 54 addresses; these in France, Germany, Spain, New York, Italy, Denmark and England. That’s 65 homes in 72 years.

To confound the numbers still further, I stayed in the home I just left for 14 years! Which is why I am especially happy to be moving again. I love my new place, and already feel at home here, but its not any nesting instinct in me, but rather a wanderlust I was born into that is resurfacing in me. As I simultaneously unpack and shed belongings, I see this as a well situated base for excursions of all kinds, while the travelling is still to be had.

Friends have recently been nodding wisely and saying how awful moving is. From my perspective the more you do it, the less awful it is. The move I’ve just completed is more like their experiences. As we stay in one place for years, we accumulate an enormous surplus of unused stuff. A Franciscan priest I enjoy listening to recounts how as a young friar he was encouraged, perhaps required, to go through his room once a month and get rid of anything that wasn’t being regularly used. How smart is that?

I’m always happy to remember we are descended from wandering tribes. Who surely didn’t carry much surplus to requirements stuff. In the end we have to trust in finding any materials we need, when we need them, in the place we are at that time. Until which time we do not need to be carrying them, and certainly not storing them away just in case.

I feel inspired, in a relaxed way, to keep moving. I don’t think any of us were made for a sedentary life. We are more ourselves in motion, more what we were made to be. We know in our hearts, that even when we are as still as we can be, our journey is ongoing. I believe we are encouraged to maintain a state of flux, a conscious acknowledgment of the present, which is always on the cusp of the future. As we manage even for a moment, to be in such a place, we are one with the universe, with our destiny, with our eternal loving source of everything.


knowmation or inforledge?

We confuse the two. Or at least I do sometimes. Knowledge is so much more than information. But I have been inclined to wield both, almost like weapons, applying one or the other where there is no call for either.

Keeping mostly quiet is maybe where wisdom comes in? If you’re lucky. The wise ones I’ve been fortunate enough to know, don’t say much. I like to think they are too busy paying attention to the moment. Enough research and discussion already!

Every mystery does not require a solution. Some of the best mysteries are just that, and therein lies their beauty.

As I get ready to move to London, Im already getting into a very different rhythm of life. The Church of the Aimless Wanderer is taking shape. No followers. That’s not the point. Just wandering the neighbourhood feeling part of it and grateful. My new neighbourhood is going to be the big bad city, right outside my front door.

Sunday scrawl

I’m trying to slow down, grow old gracefully. Progress is slow! I’m still inclined to get ahead of myself, wear myself out being other than present. In the present, being still and being in motion are inseparable.

Of course I’ll get there in the end…we all do. There’s no need to beat myself up. I pray I can give myself a break, enjoy being the idiot I am, more and more of the time.

“…the future is bright…”

An old friend recently emailed me and amongst other things, encouraged me to come back here and write some more. So here I am. It’s been a while.

I am excited about the near future, as the title suggests. I’m moving back to London, after nearly 25 years. I’ve found a place I really like, that I can afford, in a great central part of town.

I was born in London. Before moving to South Africa when I was 5, we had 4 different addresses, 3 of them in London. As a teenager we lived there for a year or more. In my 20s I moved around Europe a lot, but was back and forth to London and lived there for a total of at least 4 years. In my 30s I was in New York. In my late 40s I was back for two and a half years. I’m now 72.

I’m very sentimental about London. I love to walk around, all kinds of different neighbourhoods, engage with strangers, feel the history and the changing rhythms, be by the river that has seen it all and washed it away.

I can give up owning and running a car. Residents of my vintage get free rides on buses, the Underground, overground trains, and even river boats.

I look forward to finding like minded people to enrich the contemplative path I’m on. Thanks to the Pension Service I can devote more time to writing and recording my own music. I look forward to offering beds for the night to friends and family. As long as no one starts getting their mail sent there. I envisage a cross between a recording studio, a monastery and a crash pad.

What could possibly go wrong? Everything I expect. Right now it feels good seeing what could have been another stillborn dream taking shape in real time.

preempt armageddon

Can we?

Clearly something has to change. Humanity is systematically bringing about their own demise, and quite possibly taking the rest of the planet with them. In a way we are witnessing natural law at work. This extraordinary earth has withstood a great variety of violent transformations. Many species have doubtless sprung up and in time become extinct. Is it now our turn?

Well, ours is a unique case. While our consciousness and powers of perception probably operate at least to some extent in other creatures as well, we are as one inclined to feel we are uniquely aware of who and what we are, and have an edge on the rest of the field. So our history is a long saga of bending the rest of creation to our wills.

Inasmuch as this has led to the extraordinarily twisted world we inhabit today, are we now possessed of the self determination to undo what damage we can, exercise care and attention to the rest of the planet and its inhabitants, and transform the way we live sufficiently for this to be possible?

Well, first off, private ownership of cars has to end. The sheer convenience of owning a car is something I’ve taken for granted for a very long time. Its time to get over that. Then we have to stop airplane travel. Like that…Perhaps we can continue to travel by trains and boats, and on communally owned electric vehicles, but clearly our day to day lives would be forced to change radically. 200 years ago, people mostly walked around the neighbourhood of their birth their entire life and never ventured very far. A post modern village life might resurface.

If it doesn’t consume itself beforehand, we need to scrap our lopsided financial system. The greed and deceit it has spawned is at the heart of the forces that are devastating the planet. Widespread panic may well ensue. Suddenly the poor, who have been surviving on next to nothing for generations would have a natural advantage. Essentially people would have to start getting along and caring for each other a whole lot more. This day will dawn, so why not prepare for and then bring it about ourselves?

The level of change from just these two fundamental measures would be total. There would surely be immediate widespread consequences, some of which none of us can even imagine right now. We’d basically have to rethink every aspect of our lives from the bottom up. We could so do it, but I’m afraid what’s more likely is we’ll keep putting it off till some catastrophic disaster comes to pass, and any survivors will have no choice but to start again from scratch.

We have unwittingly created the path to our own extinction. As we slowly are obliged to recognise this, you’d imagine we’d at least start applying the brakes a little. Instead we still seem to have our foot firmly on the accelerator.

wind down

so, dwindling fossil fuels, unravelling economy, a dinosaur of a political system, unprecedented ecological imbalance, and a rotten old power structure, out of touch and impotent…also, there’s way too many of us ….and how much longer do you think the internet will last?…its all going west…or south…a long way from where we’ve got used to it being…g g g gone…

there could be a future, but denial will not be part of it…we have to help each other face up to it…cry, stamp our feet…accept it and move on, open our hearts, our senses…be more alive than ever…moment by moment…survive and become an integral part of the ongoing creation we’re a tiny little part of…stop all this master species shit…

if any of us survive, it will surely be a tiny fraction of our numbers today…brutal, but better all round…one thing’s for sure…its out of our hands…the best we can do is adapt and cooperate..

which was always the best we can do…how few of us signed up to do so…

sitting on the offence

We are offered, free of charge, a great deal of things in this life, some worth taking, others not so much. Offence is surely one of the latter.

We’ve all done it, but why would any of us do so? Might it be connected to our reluctance to show ourselves, be vulnerable? I’m suggesting that it is not what is said or done that can cause offence, so much as how the witness responds.

When I am offended by someone’s actions or words, I recognise something. I have a familiar bad taste in my mouth. Its a knee jerk reaction.

If I’m honest, I have to admit that I recognise whatever it is because the same thing is part of me too. Can I at this point take the juice out of the offence by exposing it?…by gracefully declining to take it?

I’m working on it.

one world

I’ve been thinking about homeless people, gypsies, travellers and the like. It may well be that they represent the future, and are unwittingly in training for a post apocalypse reality that is more imminent than we care to consider.

Rather than ostracising, marginalising or mistreating these pioneers, we should perhaps begin appreciating them, helping them if we can, and learning from them.

Our cosy little hi-tech world cannot possibly last much longer, at least not in it’s present form. Let’s get humble, grateful of our earth, and loving of each other.