"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)

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Looking Back..

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Picture taken in the Halebidu temple complex, Karnataka.


Time At The Temple: Part 3

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Coming or going..

Picture taken in the temple at Belur, Karnataka.


Temple Time

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Revisiting the temples of Halebidu.

I last visited Halebidu almost two years ago.
It is just as fascinating the second time.


Shadows And Stripes

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My bedroom balcony overlooks the coffee plantation.

Picture taken in Wayanad, Kerala, during a tour of  South India I am presently making with old friends


Lux Redux

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A detail from yesterday’s image re-examined

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“Sorrow is hushed into peace in my heart like the evening among the silent trees.”
From Rabindranath Tagore’s Stray Birds: verse 10.

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The quotation was suggested by S Etole at Just… a moment
This is the original image


Winter’s Light And Shade

untitled (1 )-2Cochin chiaroscuro.
A December evening’s sunlight and shadow.


In The Shadow Of Prayer

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Chapel lights and shadows

Picture taken in Fort Cochin


Sunday Evening Calls

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Picture of a corner-shop, taken in Pattalam, Fort Cochin


Shadowlands

Coping with descent:

Now you see it;
now you don’t.
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Pictures taken in Diskit Monastery, Ladakh.
Music courtesy of The Shadows


Monastic Light And Shade

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Our route took us on to Likir Monastery, a one thousand-year old Tibetan Buddhist community.
Both its centuries of prayer and our privilege of being their only visitors contributed to the perception that Likir was a place of palpable peace

Climbing the steep hill on which the monastery stands, we walked through shadowed passages, past rows of prayer wheels and into an ascending series of temples.
The monks smiled kindly, but said nothing.
Whatever we might be seeking, it would have to be found in silence.

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Please forgive the advert which precedes this clip.
It came as quite a shock to me but the contrast with what follows is dramatic and perhaps, inadvertently telling..

Pictures taken in Likir Monastery, Ladakh.


Aspiring To Altitude: Almost There


Aspiring To Altitude: Base-Camp Logistics

Chandni Chowk market, Delhi.


Caught By The Light

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Picture taken in my room while staying in Kopua Monastery, New Zealand


The Lament Of Loss

The two chairs still sit together on their verandah:
his and hers;
the grandparents I never met.

Following a decade of health problems, all had assumed that he would be the first to go.
But it was my grandmother who quietly surrendered:
the unexpected loss of a son, too much to bear.

Life’s meaning was lost.
My grandfather turned his face to the wall.
In a matter of days he followed her.
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Dido’s Lament

“Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.

When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.”

From Dido and Aeneas
Music: Henry Purcell

Libretto: Nahum Tate
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Picture of the verandah in our family’s home, which my grandfather built, and where my father lived as a child and young man.


Unchained Melodies

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Picture taken in Fort Cochin


The Nature Of Stone

From our kind hosts’ garden

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To still glorious ruins

The transience of beauty.

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Pictures taken in the Yorkshire Dales and the ruins of Fountains Abbey.


Colunnade

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“Consider the momentous event in architecture when the wall parted and the column became.”

Louis Kahn

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Photographs taken at the Padmanabhapuram Palace

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Latticed

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“In a universe that is all gradations of matter, from gross to fine to finer, so that we end up with everything we are composed of in a lattice, a grid, a mesh, a mist, where particles or movements so small we cannot observe them are held in a strict and accurate web, that is nevertheless nonexistent to the eyes we use for ordinary living—in this system of fine and finer, where then is the substance of a thought?”

Doris Lessing

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All photographs taken at the Padmanabhapuram Palace, during my family’s recent visit.


Caught On A Wire

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Like a bird on the wire,

like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free.

Like a baby, stillborn,

like a beast with his horn

I have torn everyone who reached out for me.

( From “Bird On The Wire” by Leonard Cohen)

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Photographs of a discarded snake-skin & plastic bag caught upon the razor and barbed-wire, that surround our local Naval base.


Ghost In The Machine

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“…creatures walk the earth unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep”             John Milton

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“I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself.”

William Shakespeare

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Fearful Symmetries

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“The universe is built on a plan the profound symmetry of which is somehow present in the inner structure of our intellect”

Paul Valery, 1871-1945

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“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time: pills or stairs.”  Joan Welsh

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Morning Shadow

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We often speak of evening shadows.

But with the coming of dawn, our attention seems held only by the new light.

Is there an innate reluctance to focus on what departs?

A preoccupation with what takes its place?

Perhaps it is the contrast which captures our attention.

Morning shadow

maybe an illusion

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We perceive merely an absence of the light;

the last trace of night’s darkness.

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7 o’clock Shadow

When I was a boy, I remember my father shaving with 7 o’clock razors.

Nowadays, 7 o’clock means time for a morning walk, while the sun is still low in the sky.

But I am a relatively late riser.

By seven, the local shops have been open some time.

Rubbish is being collected:

Though, not all of it.

Men are already waiting

While women see to some of life’s necessities.

The early morning sun catches the basilica.

The faithful are called to Mass.

Morning Glory opens its petals

As do the local engineers.

And boys begin the day’s first game of cricket.


Roof With A View

During the sultry afternoon heat, I retire to the roof,
ostensibly to read but, in reality, to drift into reverie.

Armed with a book, today’s “Hindu” newspaper and my laptop computer, I relax.

My morning may have been busy supervising the staff, taking the ferry across to the mainland for a shopping excursion, or visiting one of the many local art galleries.
But come noon, I aspire to avoid the foibles of the Englishman abroad.

Shielded by a colonnaded terracotta roof and bamboo blinds,

Sitting beneath the roof fans, I am protected from the fierce Indian heat,

And the eyes of neighbours.

It is quiet

And shaded

The silence disturbed only by an occasional sea breeze.

But dusk arrives early in the tropics.
By six o’clock it is too dark to read and time for the day staff to go home.

I rise from my planter’s chair as the sun begins to set over the Arabian Sea.

Twilight fades on another day.