Monthly Archives: February 2014

THE BROTHER’S WIDOW

Must be getting soft in the head, old mate, he muttered to the kelpie at his feet. What would she want with a pair of rough diamonds like us?í

Jack tossled the dog’s floppy ears, smiling at the raucous laughter of a kookaburra further up the ridge. The dog, warming to the calloused hand’s ministrations, rolled back onto his master’s laceless boots and implored that the massage include his belly as well.

He sat on the edge of the packing shed bay, taking in the familiar panorama, and sighed appreciatively. Down at the foot of the banana slope, the cottage already lay in shadow, nestled amongst the rounded domes of avocado and mango trees. Framed by two hills to the east, the sea shimmered, still basking in sunlight.

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HANUMAN’S GRACE

The day started badly. The end of April, inland south India. Hot. Very hot. With the temperature shimmering around 40 degrees at nine in the morning, and likely to rise by another five degrees by early afternoon, staying home in the relative cool of my shady garden was definitely the activity of choice.

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AGRA – 1975

Ramesh the cycle-rickshaw wallah: Mughal-style baked partridge for breakfast?

We arrived late in the evening at Agra Cantonment station. As usual, a mob of rickshaw drivers advanced on us aggressively, each demanding our patronage.

Me sahib, madam – take me. I am strong and cheap.”

No no, ji, he is a scoundrel fellow who will cheat you. You must be taking me!”

One fellow waited beyond the melee, apparently refusing to be a part of such indignity. I approached him and named the hotel where we wanted to go.

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A TURNING

A TURNING

 It’s early evening after another perfect winter north-coast day. Cloudless, with not a breath of wind, the temperature sub-tropical cool. Not cold, and in the clear fresh air, the stars are emerging sharp and bright as the last reflected rays of light of the day softens and fades from rich lapis blue towards inky blue-black night.

 I am standing there on the broad open verandah of the beloved crude little wood and mud house I have crafted , with laughter and passion and so much hard work with hands and muscle. Together that house and I have grown, and I have learnt so much, practical and personal.

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BORN AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN

BORN AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN

After almost two years work in a very different field, we are finally back on the Permaculture track, and more enthusiastic than ever. But why the pause in the first place?

I’d been living as most of us do; as if I was immortal. Like all of us, I was not. Far from it. Two years ago I discovered that I had significant liver cancer. It was made clear to me that without rapid surgical intervention, my chances of survival for more than months was very remote.

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