Saturday, 27 May 2017

Black Bear, Burning Bush and Mystery Flower

A small nature reserve to the south of Vienna was the setting for today's adventure. Intended to be a recovery jog after last week's half-marathon (see Bard on the Run) it turned into a walk of discovery. Fortunately I had my camera with me. 

Please can someone identify the mystery (to me) orangey-brown flower immediately above the stone cat? I saw perhaps half a dozen of these flowers. Nobody I spoke to could say what they were.*

*Mystery solved. It's a Yellow Broomrape. And a lovely one too! 

Arctia Villica (Cream-Spot Tiger Moth (Eng) or Black Bear (Ger)

Dictamnus Albus - Diptam or Burning Bush (Ger)

Orbanche lutea - Yellow Broomrape (Eng) Gelbe Sommerwurz (Ger)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Meditations: Book 10, Meditation 37

from Meditations:

At every action, no matter by whom performed, make it a practice to ask yourself, "What is his object in doing this?"  But begin with yourself, put this question to yourself first of all. 

Marcus Auerlius 

(121 - 180)

The beginning of Ramadan is marked by the killing of 23 Coptic Christians in Cairo. It is another Friday. Another day of prayers for Muslims. The latest atrocity follows on the heels of the carnage
in Manchester. In an effort to understand what's behind all this I'm rereading Pulitzer  Prize Winner The Looming Tower. I think there's no better book on the subject.

For those who ask 'Why?'   

" . . . describes the contorted intellectual journey that has taken place among some Muslims . . . which allows a holy book . . . to be used to justify catastrophic terrorism." - Financial Times

" . . . untangles the anxieties, resentments, aspirations and ideals that have driven and defined radical Islam." - Los Angeles Times 

" . . . extensively researched, gripping tale of the growth of Islamic radicalism." - The Indianapolis Star

" . . . Wright's book is my new touchstone. None of the previous books led me to say 'Aha, now I think I understand' as frequently." - The Boston Globe

"Should be required reading for every American . . . yes, it is that good." - The Christian Science Monitor 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Weeping Angel of Dresden and the Memorial Chapel

Robert H. Lee (1915-2007)
The Weeping Angel
Presented to the Frauenkirche in 1998

British Artist, Craftsman and Prisoner of War in Freital,
whose love of Dresden never dimmed. Carved in lime
wood, painted and distressed, the Angel aims to represent
the sorrow and suffering of the survivors. It is the artist's
personal tribute to the beauty of Dresden and his expression
of respect for the people of Saxony, whose pain he shared.

Another place of worship in Dresden is the Cathedral of the Bishopric Dresden-Meissen built by the Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri in late baroque style and completed in 1754. This building was also destroyed by bombs on the 13th February 1945.

Reconstruction began immediately following the war's end.

The Pieta in the daylight-flooded Memorial Chapel was created from Meissen porcelain by Friederich Press in 1976.

Dear Lord,
we have lost the means. 
We waiver from one side 
to another
and find no foothold.

Give us your hand, O Lord,
and lead us out of the darkness -
you know the way. 

Dear Lord, I thank you,
that I may come to you -
with my joy
and my sorrow,
with my faith
and my doubt,
with my plans
and my lack of direction.

I can tell you everything.
I can ask you for anything.
You listen to my prayers sometimes
differently than I would like -
but always,
that it may serve me the best. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Henderson Island: 'X' no longer marks the spot.

Palm fringed


tropical paradise.

Friday eat your heart out.

A place to die for.

Henderson Island.

A treasured spot on our blue planet.

And thriving on the golden beaches

               37 million ". . . pieces of rubbish . . . "  

to quote an official mouthpiece.

I smell a rat.

in this unsightly vomit of progress -

this voluminous regurgitation

of countless tons

of seaborne garbage.

Here is the new normal.

'X' no longer

marks the spot.

*Island in Pitcairn group.
9km. long. 27 km coastline.
Total area 36 sq km.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Summer on the way . . .

the dawn 

 her early light alights

so soft inside my window

Sun flowers

the rosebush set,

the daffodils deadheaded . . . 

 how quick they grow - these lions' teeth 

Löwenzähne - The teeth of lions

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Heavenly Superstars!

 The star nursery in the Buttercup Cloud 

 The constellation of Ranunculus in the Little Frog Galaxy 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

TV Repair Men

My favourite PG Tips advert. 

View this and others on YouTube and give them your 'thumbs up'!

Nothing beats a nice cup of tea.

Monday, 1 May 2017

I can believe

given the vastness
of the cosmos

and its immense age

that there are super-
intelligent entities

out there

in the darkness (or somewhere) -


or twenty
or one hundred

or two hundred


a billion

or more. Observers
of everything 

everywhere. Keepers 

of records.  Our
wars and our


the poverty of our days
of mistrust

perhaps worth a footnote -

but scarcely of interest
to most.