Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Path

This is my first visit to Poetry Jam. This week we write poems on the theme of 'Path' 





She sits and stares
Unfocused eyes swimming to the horizon
Gazing into infinity

No sign of tears
Her expressionless face an empty canvas
A sea of pallor

I look into her eyes
I see nothing but a swirling mist of grey
That sparkle gone

I try to ask  why
But a cloud of despair envelopes her
She hears me not

But I will wait
I’ll stay by her side for as long as it takes
for her to return

But for now
she wanders a path  of her own
Somewhere. Alone


I know not where


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sea legs

A little bit of nonsense for THE MAG!




Mind over matter. I won’t be sick, I won’t be sick, I won’t –wooo – be siiiick!

Just hold the rail. That’s right. The rail’s moving – ooooh – no it’s not it's  me-ee-ee

Hold tight. Nearly there, nearly there. Ooo,ooo, ooo!  

That’s better, not rolling soooo much nowwwww! 

Weeee!  Bluuuuh………

SPLAT……..  

Airbourne 2014

For Wordless Wednesday

Eastbourne International Airshow








Monday, August 18, 2014

Grateful




For The Sunday Whirl. This week's words are demimonde, asylum grey, oranges, candle, grand, rites, reborn, Africa and transgression.I used all but one.





Many of the grand and wealthy landowners in that part of Africa employed the services of a demimonde. But those from the lower orders took advantage of the vulnerable. The rites of the weak and defenseless women in the villages seemed non-existent; for them, there was no asylum. A grey undercurrent rippled unheeded below the surface. The transgressions of the selfish few went unnoticed or ignored. This short story tells the tale of a samaritan who held a candle for one such poor soul; a story of hope reborn.

Grateful

There were not many people at Gerald’s funeral. A couple of neighbours, three or four folk from his church and his health visitor. He had lived alone for years and although everyone around him did what they could for him, he never really seemed grateful.
       There was however one person at the chapel whom nobody had seen before. Tall, expensively suited and with a skin the colour of polished mahogany . His gentle smile lit up the miserable grey walls and the leaden sky which peered through the chapel windows.
       Thirty or so years ago , Gerald had been a manager at a gold mine in Africa . There, the local men toiled and laboured taking home a meager wage, day in day out, year after miserable year . One evening after Gerald had finished his shift he was wandering back though an orange grove to his hut when he witnessed the appalling sight of a man raping a local girl. Had she not been wearing a bright yellow coloured garment he might never have noticed her. He was however too late to prevent the ghastly crime, and the guilt he felt for not being there minutes earlier haunted him for many a long month .
       As a result the girl had conceived and in the following spring gave birth to a healthy baby boy. So moved was Gerald that he made a promise to see that the mother and child were supported both physically and financially for as long as he lived. Months later he returned to England and never saw them again. His attempts to contact the girl and her baby were unfruitful, but still he ensured that the financial help he had promised continued even though he realised that the aid he was sending could well be falling into the wrong hands .
        A couple of weeks ago Gerald was lying in a hospital bed. He had few visitors and those did sit at his bedside never felt that he was in any way grateful for their visits. Then one afternoon a handsome young man strode up to his bedside. He was tall, expensively suited and had skin the colour of polished mahogany. His smile lit up the gloomy hospital ward and softened the leaden sky which peered through the windows. Gerald knew at once who the young man was, but was too weak to utter a single word.
       ‘My name is Gerald too’ said the visitor. ‘My Mother and I owe you a debt we can never repay. You have given us everything, for which we will be forever grateful. Yet I ask for one thing more. I simply ask that I be permitted to call you Father. Gerald’s feeble smile was all the confirmation the young man required. 
       At the graveside the gathered few scattered soil on Gerald’s coffin as it was lowered into the ground. The young man cast in a piece of bright yellow fabric. ‘Rest in peace Father’ he said. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sunday Scribblings 2

I was talking to Brenda Bagley the other day. I noticed she had another bag inside her hand bag. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Because’ she said. ‘Because?’ I asked. ‘I keep a big bag inside my little bag in case I bag a bargain’. ‘Like what?’ I asked ‘Well, yesterday I got some cheap bagels and baguettes’ she said. ‘The other day I got some cheap pants but they were a bit baggy’. Once she began she didn’t stop! ‘I got some bug spray, some bog roll (toilet paper to you and me) and some other bargains’. She continued. ‘I got some cut price lettuce, cos, ‘coz they cost less’. She carried on. ‘Some cabbage and carrots and cake and camembert and even a new camera’ she gushed.

She always talks like that. Some say she has the gift of the gab. I say she garbles and others recon she needs a gag! That’s our Brenda Bagley!  

For Sunday Scribblings 2 This week's prompt word is BAG.

Six Word Saturday

Getting itchy feet. Where to next?

for Six Word Saturday

Friday, August 15, 2014

The magic and mystery of Morocco



The image I had of Morocco was very much drawn from movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile and of course Casablanca. But many people told me there was so much more to this ancient country than appeared on the silver screen. I’d met many people who had traveled there and one descriptive word kept cropping up when relating tales of their visits; ‘colourful’. I just had to see it for myself, so I joined a group of other curious travelers and set off across this fascinating land.


After a little investigation I discovered that Al Maghrib, the Arabic name for Morocco, means far west, or where the sun sets. When Arabs first arrived in northern Africa in the seventh century Morocco was believed to be the westernmost point in the world.







We started in journey Casablanca. When I read our itinerary I wondered why we were only spending a part of one day there. Surely this legendary place was worth more than that. But it soon became clear. In a way it is a shame we started there because I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed with the beginning of a holiday as I was right then. It’s a mixture of run-down old, and ugly modern. It’s streets are choked bumper to bumper with fuming traffic. I saw no one who vaguely resembled Ingrid Bergman or Humphrey Bogart! It’s one saving feature was the subject of our only visit in Casablanca; the amazing Mosque of Hassan 11 opened just 20 years ago. Some say when you have seen one mosque you’ve seen them all! But this is different. It’s huge. In fact there is only one larger and that’s at Mecca. From its massive roof which can be slid open, to its titanium decorated walls it’s truly a modern work of art. The cost of building it has never been disclosed; it’s thought it may about four times the already mind-boggling official figure due anonymous funding.




My initial disenchantment was swiftly reversed when we went to the capital of Morocco, Rabat. We started high up on a hill from where we got our first view of this amazing place.


Once inside the city we saw numerous Arab monuments and the remains of the citadel in the area known as Chellah with its magnificent gardens and squawking storks.












We wandered around the walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias. Suddenly I was surrounded by the colour I’d heard so much about!




Volubillis was once a provincial Roman capital. It sits atop a high plateau near Meknes and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We chose an exceptionally hot day on which to visit somewhere which is completely exposed with no shade whatsoever and miles of walking and climbing to be undertaken! 42c. it was or 108 in old money. But my goodness it was worth every bead of sweat. I’ll let the pictures do the talking (and the walking) It makes me hot just writing about it!










Back in Meknes we wandered through the charming narrow shaded streets of old medina. It was quiet and relatively cool. At its centre we spent some time at the Bou Inania Medresse, a religious school where the intricate wall carvings and its colourful patterned tiled square were quite remarkable.














No matter which way you look in Morocco, your eyes are assaulted by the bright colours of decorated tagines and patterned carpets. We watched artisans applying pigments in intricate patterns, and weavers throwing bobbins back and forth.








Fes is the spiritual heart of Morocco. Medieval Fes was once one of the world’s most important centres of education and culture, both Islamic and Jewish. This was what really what I’d hoped to see and I wasn’t at all disappointed. It’s noisy, vibrant fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent assault on the senses. We were based in the elegant French influenced Nouveau Ville area. We visited the old city known as Fes el Bel which is arguably the planet’s most fascinating and confounding old city.  We strolled though its traffic free streets, just stepping aside now and again to avoid being run down by a donkey transporting goods to one of the hundreds of little shops.  We walked past historic khans, medresses and looked out over its famous leather dye pits and tanneries.




Fes is on the Atlantic coast and its beaches are packed with people and sunshades! My lasting impression will however be the amazing sand filled air which hangs above the sea.




Whilst alcohol is freely available in large restaurants, it is not so in the smaller and far nicer cafes that spread out onto the street. But they are an enterprising lot and in places we chose to eat on a couple of occasions, a request for a cola accompanied by a tap on the side of the nose produced of a bottle of red wine in large Coke bottle!

The next morning we boarded the famous Marrakesh Express for a days' train ride to Marrakesh.



On arrival in Marrakesh we settled into our accommodation which was a beautiful Riad, and we had it all to ourselves. A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. Ours was on three levels with spacious rooms surrounding the centre area. The four slender palm trees which stood in the cntre reached up into the bright blue yonder!





On our first afternoon we paid a visit to Jemaa el Fina, one of the largest public open spaces in the world and home to snake charmers, story tellers, fire eaters and musicians.











One of the most bizarre market stalls I’ve ever seen was one selling made to order sets of false teeth!





The following day we set off to the old medina where we visited the stunning Bahia Palace with its inner courtyards fragrant with orange blossom and delicate flowers. The rest of the day we meandered through the narrow streets of the medina, strolled through the ancient bazaar and returned to Jemaa el Fna  to watch the sun set.









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We ate some wonderful food; Moroccan fare is far more varied than I could have possibly imagined. Of course, tagine and couscous abounds, but so many other dishes share the exotic fragrant spices. The smell of cumin, smoke and mint waft on the breeze around every corner.



I took hundreds of pictures, and deciding which ones to use has been a bit  problematical! I can't finish without  including a few more.
























I still find it hard to believe that this magical land mysterious land is only a short hop away from home. It’s a country which is so different from any I’ve visited before. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Thanks must of course go to Geckos who hosted the trip and my travelling companions; a more varied bunch I’ve never met before!