Saturday, 31 March 2012


A professor once said to his class “Has anyone ever seen God?” The class was silent. “Has anyone ever touched God?” Again the class was silent. “Has anyone ever smelt God?” Still the class was silent. “Well then according to my logic, there is no God.”
     At that point a student stood up at the back of the class and said, “Has anyone ever seen the professor’s brain? Has anyone ever touched the professor’s brain? Has anyone even ever smelt the professor’s brain?” And the class was silent. “Then according to the professor’s logic, the professor doesn’t have a brain.”

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sky Battle

I'm basking in the hot, afternoon sun, reading a book, when a cry breaks the stillness. I glance up just as I hear it again. The second time I recognise the call and look up into the clear blue sky. A gull passes over followed by another, shouting loudly. I've not heard a gull do this before.
     Then I see it. Wings spread wide, gliding smoothly, a buzzard. Suddenly the first gull rises slightly and swoops down on the buzzard who darts sideways at the last moment. Then the second gull attacks and this time Mr Buzzard can't evade and gets a sharp peck.
     Now he's flying hard, his cool, powerful presence disintegrating. Again and again the gulls fly in, herding him. A third gull arrives and together they drive the lone raider away over the gardens.
     Gazing into the sky I pick out another bird, wings spread, almost completely still. It must be his mate, watching from high above. What is she feeling? Why doesn't she make any move to rescue him?
     Suddenly though Mr Buzzard pulls away and the gulls can only yell after him. They turn and swoop back congratulating each other on their success.
     I look again into the unending blue, but Mrs Buzzard has gone too.

Monday, 26 March 2012

The Girl In Chains

I haven't had anything to do with this but I want to help promote it.

27 million slaves is 27 million too many, especially when women are forced to be sex workers. This must stop.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

78 minutes

I'm running, running, here and there, back and forth, I'm running. I've stopped running, or have I? No I'm still running, but I'm not going anywhere. Have I stopped?
     I'm falling.
     No, I'm still running.
     But no, I'm definitely falling. Gently, slowly.
     I'm running flat out now.
     I'm on the ground.
     Faster, faster.
     I can feel the grass between my fingers. How did I get here again?
     Everything has become a blur.
     The damp smell of the evening dew fills my mouth and nose.
     Darkness is taking over.
     The noise increases and suddenly dies.

Suddenly I burst out into light, like coming out of a tunnel. I slow down and come to a halt resting my hands on my knees, gasping for breath. It's strange, I can't feel my heart beat. Still panting but the air doesn't seem to come.
     The light is very bright here. Bright white. How far did I run? Where have I come to? I was going so fast I wasn't paying attention.
     'You know, you didn't run so far,' says a voice, 'and you didn't run that fast. It was time that was moving fast, speeding by you.'
     The light is so bright I can't see a thing. 'Who are you?' I try to say, but no words come out.
     'A nation has been praying for you. Now it's time for you to go back.'

     There is a click and I'm yanked backwards and upwards. I'm flying and everything is a blur again, but this time there is no darkness. I crash down onto my back, but it's a soft landing. I bounce and gasp. Air fills me and my heart is racing. I open my eyes for a second and a blaze of colour an noise overwhelms me. I close them again and peace returns. I'll try again later. For now I just want to sleep.

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Silent Pianist - Part 3

I leave early and walk home. The clouds are heavy and glow pale orange, reflecting the street lights. Mist descends until I can barely see the pavement in front of me and my eyes begin to sting with the damp air. I miss my house completely and have to turn around. By the time I get in I’m so cold and miserable I go straight to bed.

By morning the mist has lifted slightly and in the east the sun hangs like a ghostly orb. I often like to go for a walk on Saturday mornings, before it gets busy and this morning as I enter the woods it feels like I’m entering a scene from a black and white Hitchcock thriller. The world seems rather more fantastical and mysterious.
            After a while my mind returns to last night and the equally mysterious pianist. I wonder if I should forget him and walk away like he has, but I can’t, every time I try to think of something else he’s there. I’m determined to see him again, to speak to him.
            Slowly the sun is burning away the mist and the sky is clearing. The bare trees brighten and seem to visibly stretch their tired twigs in anticipation of spring.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

True Freedom

People want to be individuals, to be themselves and to do what they want. They want to be free, especially after the 20th century when it must have felt (and for some people it actually was) that their lives were being controlled. People wanted to get away from that, escape to the Outside. But has this gone too far?
   People aren't meant to be caged, that's not why we were created. We were made with a will and a desire to roam and discover. However there is a difference between true freedom and merely trying to shake off all advice and authority. In fact true freedom can only come when we accept and honour the advice and guidance we are given.
   One of the main reasons I believe that there is so little respect in the Western world (and elsewhere) is due to people trying to be their own person, owned by no one and responsible to no one. This can be seen from the poor way we treat our politicians to the lack of respect between pupil and teacher in almost every school across the country.
   True freedom comes in belonging. A young person on leaving home for the first time may say 'I'm free' but is more likely that he or she is just a part of the next stage of life, maybe bound by stereotypes or by a job. And as humans we crave company, inside we long to be a part of a group, which contradicts our desire to be 'free'.
   But God offers both. Come to him and belong to him and he'll show you what freedom really looks like. When you're with him nothing else matters. The world and all that's in it cannot constrain or contain you.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Silent Pianist - Part 2

The next night I hoped he would leave another note, but he didn't, and as before I had fallen asleep to the soft tinkling of the old piano.

The days that followed were very busy, I had let work catch up with me and I didn't have time to go and listen to the pianist. Would he notice my absence? I wondered as I sat at my desk late at night, scratching out essays.
   Finally, on Friday evening, I am free to go and hear him again. I think about taking my friend, but decide against it. There will be time for her to come, but tonight I want to go by myself.
   As I enter the room and make my way past empty tables it strikes me as being terribly quiet. Maybe I'm a little earlier than usual but there are remarkably few people, especially for a Friday. I sit at my table and it's only then that I realise he's not there. The piano is silent. My first thought is that he hasn't arrived yet, but he's always been here by this time. Then perhaps he's having a break, while there are fewer people, but the piano is pushed right into the corner and the lid is shut. Something is wrong here.
   The waiter comes over, smiling and asking if I want my usual, but I just look at him and say, 'Where is the pianist?'
   The waiter looks over at the piano, as if he'd only just noticed too, but then he looks back at me and says, 'He's left. Finished on Wednesday.' He's not smiling anymore. 'Shame, he was good. Brought the people in. You can tell they've all gone somewhere else tonight.'
   I'm not really listening. All I heard was, 'He's left.' After a moment my brain starts working again. 'Where's he gone?' I ask, trying to keep my voice neutral.
   'I don't know,' replies the waiter. 'He didn't seem quite as happy this week, though. Made mistakes I hadn't heard all the time he's been here. Maybe something's happened with his family or something and he's had to go home.'
   He made mistakes, I think. Something happened. I try to stop myself, but I can't help wondering, was it my absence? Oh please say he hasn't left because I wasn't here.
   'Did he leave any note?' I ask.
   'Not that I know of. Just told the manager that he was sorry but he had to go.'
   I still can't believe it.
   'I need to see to another table; I'll bring you a drink.'
   'Wait,' I say, and he turns back. 'Do you know his name?'
   'Benjamin Jury,' he says and walks away.

Friday, 2 March 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

If I had to choose one performance that stood out in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, out of all the splendid actors and actresses I would choose Maggie Smith playing Muriel. Her story was for me the most wonderful, the most complete and satisfying. Of all the characters in their twilight years she is the one who is still living and giving. However the film belonged to India, which sparkled. Light and life jump off the screen. There is adventure there that the western world seems to have decided doesn't exist. Too many people have looked at life and have thought that they were born and someday they'll die and in between the wheels go round and round. We've given up belief that there's anything else, but what if there is? What if there is something better at the end, and it's worth living for, even if it means an adventure. Stepping Outside the box.