"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

love

A Time For Farewells

Saying goodbye to family or friends is always a little difficult.
Saying goodbye to my first grandchild, knowing I’m unlikely to see him again for at least a year, is even more poignant.

Nine thousand miles can seem an awfully long way…

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Picture of me with my grandson taken by my daughter-in-law


Taking My Bearings

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Photograph taken by my son in Bluff, as he showed me some of New Zealand’s great beauty. I also took a picture of this landmark signpost – but to my chagrin, his was much better!


His Brother’s Child

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Picture taken in Cochin.


New Growth From Ancient Roots

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Late have I loved you, beauty ever ancient yet ever new!
Late have I loved you!
You were within me but I was outside.
There I sought you, as I rushed about among the beautiful things you had made.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
The beautiful things of this world kept me far from you.
You called. You cried.
You burst through my deafness. You scattered my blindness.
I breathed your fragrance, and now I pine for you.
I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you.
You touched me, and I burn with desire for you .

Confessions, St Augustine of Hippo
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Picture taken outside the Seminary chapel, Fort Cochin.


Taj Redux?

Our driver, Ravinder, had looked after us brilliantly in Delhi.

Today he was to take us to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
It was a five-hour journey through busy traffic, variable roads and worsening weather.

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During my first visit to India, the Taj Mahal was high on our must see list.
My family fulfilled this “tryst with destiny”.
I did not.
Though tantalisingly close to the Taj, I spent the allocated day completely unable to leave my hotel bathroom. 

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On this, my second visit, I watched what I was eating with greater care and, as we arrived in Agra, my bowels remained pleasingly quiescent.

But the same could not be said for the weather.
Unseasonal monsoon rains were falling so heavily that the long-awaited tour was still unattainable.
Again I spent my Taj-time in an hotel bedroom,

One step closer to the Taj Mahal, I reflected, than a bathroom. 

The guide hired by Ravinder suggested we delay our scheduled early morning return to Delhi. We would all meet up again at 6:00 in the morning.
If it was dry, we might take our tour before breakfast, when the climate was cool and the site less crowded.

We awoke to some mist
But no rain.
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The sheer size, perfect symmetry and breathtaking beauty of this monument to love and loss are staggering.

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The Taj Mahal’s impact is almost overwhelming.

 Its drama touches people in different ways.

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But the experience remains unforgettable.

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All photographs taken on this tour of the Taj Mahal.


Across That Crowded Room

Interest..

…meets modesty
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Pictures taken at Sri Krishna Cafe, Cochin.


The Journey Is The Destination: Part 7


Pierced by the Light

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Picture taken in Tamil Nadu, during my travels


Sunsets And Siblings

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Following the road to Calicut our driver, Babu, reached the hotel in good time. After showering, taking tea and a rest, we drove to the beach for the sunset.

Indian families frequently assemble on the shore at dusk: the sun is less fierce; the sea breeze refreshing.

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There, a mother and her two children were enjoying the spectacle.  As she stood bathed in golden light at the water’s edge, the sea lapping the hem of her sari, her young son and daughter paddled with unrestrained glee. Though the waves were gentle and the children in shallow water, the mother chanted an almost constant litany: “Be careful. Not too deep!”.

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The brother and sister’s innocent pleasure, alongside their mother’s anxious happiness, triggered memories of my childhood.

Our mother was not a swimmer and would stand nervously beside the breaking waves as my sister and I tried to jump them.

My sister, a couple of years older than me, was by far the braver of us both. Although shy with strangers, in the security of our family she was a fearless tom-boy.

Given an audience, I could not stop talking – but when it came to action I was much less adventurous. Little has changed.

Water redeemed me. It was the one area where I had greater physical prowess and confidence than my sister. I gloried in its overwhelming power and my seeming weightlessness.

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It is from such memories – the shared moments of joy and grief, our childhood bonds – that unwavering love and solidarity are forged.

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Fifty years later I can no longer jump the waves, alone or with my sister.  More than five thousand miles and different continents now separate us.

But the love, friendship and support have never tarnished.

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Born To Be Wild?

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I lust.

But the object of my desire may be inappropriate for a man in his late fifties.

Am I physically capable of this partnership? After-all, I have enough titanium on-board to be mistaken for a Frank Gehry project.

What would my family say?

Will my friends laugh at an old man’s folly?

I must examine all the alternatives…

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Review the situation…

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Is this just a foolish infatuation?

My last attempt to recapture lost youth?

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Or am I looking at the real thing?

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Aspects Of Love

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“the best relationships–friendship and otherwise–tend to be those where you can say anything to the other person but you don’t say everything.”

Audrey Beth Stein

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