Egypt and religious fundamentalism – photos

Egypt is at war with itself. It is in the midst of civil war. Many of its people want to move into the 21st century with its consumerism and affluence. The religious fanatics want it to stay in the 7th century with conservative values and strict religious laws.

It feels as if it is stuck in the past.

There is much about the modern life and its greed and consumerism that I despise. It is a valueless culture. But there is much about the strict religious fundamentalism with its intolerance that I despise even more.

Egypt has so much poverty and hardship.

Everywhere we went there were armed militia, machine-gun posts and the promise of violence.

Surely there is a middle way?

The Corona Diaries – Day 136.

The Cummings saga refuses to go away. A report states that the Barnham Castle ‘incident’ played a big part in undermining confidence in the government and their position regarding Covid-19. A lot of people thought that if he could do it, so could they, and began ignoring guidelines.

That is bad enough.

Now it seems there is controversy over whether Cummings travelled to Durham for a second time. He denies it – but he would, wouldn’t he? He says he has evidence but refuses to release it.

Why would he refuse to release it?

I think that he and Johnson are so used to lying and getting away with it that they believe they can say what they like.

We’ll see how this pans out. If the government wasn’t in with such a majority I think they’d be concerned – but basically, they can do anything they want and ignore everyone (as they are doing). With an election four years away they have carte blanche.

So we stumble along – quarantining more countries, new cases rising steadily – now 950, deaths up again to 55 – more shutdowns, and a track and trace system (world-beating) that couldn’t find its own backside in the dark (even with a torch).

Meanwhile, in the USA Covid-19 cases are heading right up to 60,184 as Trump flounders around and becomes increasingly incoherent and erratic. He condoned people taking off facemasks and says it is going away. How can anyone lead so badly? 160,000 have died and the virus is surging. He’s trying to pretend it’s not happening! It won’t go away until they start taking it seriously.

Brazil is just as bad – another 50,000 cases. Are these populist idiots trying to outdo each other?

It is good to get out into nature and forget the rancid stench of politics. Nature heals.

Today I went for a long walk in the Yorkshire sunshine. Another beautiful day. Back home I am listening to Jack Kerouac putting his poems to Jazz music and watching England beat Pakistan in the first Test Match. A really exciting game.

Not doing a lot of writing. But there’s tomorrow!

Stay safe! Keep distancing! Keep safe!

Man – a genius of a catoon video that illustrates the relationship between mankind and nature.

I have to thank Cheryl and Safar for this link!! This is a must watch video for anybody concerned about man’s impact on the planet!!

Anecdote – Dad’s death in Walton hospital.

Anecdote – Dad’s death in Walton hospital.


Dad’s death in Walton hospital

Death is not a subject that people want to hear about these days. We are institutionalising it. We leave to the experts – the medical team, nurses and then the undertakers. I think we should talk about it more.

This fear and silence is a modern phenomenon. Death used to be more common. It was not merely the old who died. Most families lost children. Nobody was immune. Because it was more common did not make it any the less distressing. But even so it was the family who nursed and cared for the dying and it was the family who laid out the body. The body would remain in the house. The Irish wake was a celebration of the life of the dead person and they were present at it.

We have become divorced from the cycle of life and death just as we have from nature. Increasingly we are marooned in an artificial cocoon. The reality of life and death is kept at arm’s length and institutionalised.

My father died from liver cancer at the age of fifty eight. Much too early. He never lived to enjoy his retirement. His illness spanned nine months – the length of a gestation.

He started to smoke when he enlisted in the war at the age of seventeen and it was a habit that stayed with him for his remaining forty one years. I hope he extracted enough pleasure out of those fags to warrant the loss of twenty to thirty years and the life that would have filled those years.

My mum and dad came to stay at Christmas. He was off his food and grumbling of a loss of appetite. Over the course of the next few months I’d phone him at work and he’d say he was fine but he’d been to the doctor’s for some indigestion medicine. It wasn’t until Easter that my aunt phoned and said I should go down to visit him because she was concerned.

I drove down and had a shock when I walked in. My father was so gaunt and thin he appeared to have aged thirty years. He resembled a refugee from Belsen. I could not believe that he was still working.

We had the meeting with the consultant. He told my mother that there was no hope. There was only palliative care. I do not think it sank in with him or her. They pretended it would be alright. He just needed medicine.

My father refused to discuss death. He ignored it.

That summer he grew weaker. He was forced to give up work, then even walking around became too much. He sat and read and watched television.

As summer progressed he became bed-bound. I spent my summer holidays helping care for him along with my mother and older sister. I gave him bed baths and helped feed him. We watched TV together. It was the cricket. He loved cricket and this was Botham’s Ashes. We delighted in the way Ian Botham took apart that Australian team

Dad read one of my books and said he enjoyed it. It was an old typed manuscript. I am pleased that he read it. I look back now and see all the faults in those early books. I have to rewrite them extensively. Dad was an intelligent man who worked for the newspapers in Fleet Street. He would correct and edit the raw stories. My errors must have glared at him but he was too kind to say.

We sat and talked for hours – but it was all trivia. How I would have loved to have talked in more depth about feelings and emotions. But there was a barrier. He knew the depth of feeling without me saying and so did I. That was the way things were then. Yet still it would have been nice to share more. I would love to have heard the stories of his life. But my father was a private man. He did not like to talk about his life and to do so now would have been to admit what was happening. I had to respect that this was not something he wanted. It was hard. It felt like pretence and it was a pretence. We both knew what was being acted out.

He always used to say that he felt alright in himself. I can’t forget that. I do not think he was in any great pain. He merely felt helpless, humiliated, impotent and embarrassed.

In his final week he required medication. They put him on morphine and the decline set in fast. He drifted in and out of lucidity.

Yet it went on. The strain was telling on all of us.

To get a break I went to visit a friend. I came back late evening. There had been a scare. The hospital had called the family in. I went in to see him. He was conscious. I said good night and he said ‘night bless’.

He died in the night.

The next morning I went in. He was cold and as hard as marble. You could sense that he was no longer there. Something had departed.

I remember looking out of the window as people walked by outside. Inside that room I was standing next to the bed with my dead father. My life had changed. Outside life went on as usual.

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The Death Diaries – Chapter 1

The Death Diaries – Chapter 1



I am sixty six and three quarters. I have lived two thirds of a century. I don’t want to die but realistically I know that the probability is that I will do sometime in the next twenty years, in all likelihood a lot sooner than that.

Presently, apart from the aches and pains and limitations of age, I am fit, healthy and still have my mind. There is nothing wrong with me. I am merely dying by degrees. We call it ageing.

Death is biologically programmed. It is not necessary. We are coded to die. It is in our genes. We have to get out of the way so that there is food and space for our offspring. We are past reproductive age and hence superfluous.

We do not like to think or talk about death. We ignore it and prefer to pretend it isn’t going to happen.

It is.

As Dylan said – ‘he not busy being born is busy dying’.

I am dying.

The Death Diaries

The Death Diaries


I noticed that if I released a post about happiness or hope I received lots of hits.

If I released a post about cruelty or environmental destruction I receive few.

We, as humans, like to focus on the positive and pretend that all the nasty stuff does not exist.

I write about life.

My books are about everything. I do not leave anything out.

Being perverse – I decided to write a book about death – my death. I am calling it ‘The Death Diaries’. I aim to chronicle my own death.

I think it will be very popular – not. But it will be real!

I like real!

This is the opening:-

The Death Diaries

They say that there are only two things you can be certain of in life – Death and taxes.

Well I’ve paid plenty of taxes.

Poetry – We are all terminal


Poetry – We are all terminal

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We’re all terminal

I have been writing these pieces about death but hopefully not in a morbid way. Death is something that waits for us all and there are many views on what will occur. Yet death is a taboo; something we avoid.

I think about death a lot.

I wanted to record a diary of my own thoughts on death and record my own death – quite difficult – particularly the very last bit!

We’ll see how it progresses. If it is soon and sudden it may be a very short book!

But as I was writing this I was listening to the radio. There was an interesting discussion with a lady who had a terminal illness and did not have long to live. She was talking very lucidly about what she was wanting to pack in to what time was left, her priorities, her bucket list, and the interviewer asked if she was finding it difficult to talk about her ensuing death. She said that it wasn’t. She had come to terms with it and that we were all terminal.

The irony is that she will undoubtedly life longer than a small number of the healthy listeners who were tuned in. The difference was that they did not know they were destined to suddenly die.

We go through life and waste our opportunities, take for granted the love, awe and wonder around us, and rarely make full use of our time.

For me, talking about death, makes me want to pack more in to the time I have; to not dwell on my aches, pains and limitations (ageing is a bastard) but to focus on what I still can do and make the most of each precious moment.

Death fills me with determination to live.


We’re all terminal

We’re all terminal.

Each day ends with a little death;

Each morning starts with resurrection.


Our span is fleeting.

A mayfly’s dance upon the water;

A bubble’s iridescent moment.


So while we may

Let us fill the moments with joy

And wonder at the stars above.


For all life is but a moment

That we must fill with love.


Opher 13.4.2016

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Anecdotes – paperback just £6.95  Kindle – just £1.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited

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Overpopulation – The biggest problem for everyone!

As the world population heads to a staggering 8 billion, we are destroying more forests than ever and producing more CO2 which promotes more climate change.

We are killing off wildlife in ever increasing numbers.

I think people are afraid to address the issue. It is not PC. So I will. There certainly is a problem with the size of third world families. It is madness. I was just watching a report from Yemen yesterday in which a father (who looked pretty well-nourished himself) was talking about the fact that he could not get enough food for all his eight children. They were starving. Babies were dying like flies.

Then the next item went to the 7000 refugees fleeing Honduras because there is no work – too many people not enough jobs. They were starving. They had no prospects. I could make a few connections.

a. If he only had 2 kids he might have enough food and they wouldn’t starve.

b. If there were less people the unemployment wouldn’t be so high and they would not be mass migrating everywhere.

c. With less people there is less pollution, less climate change and less of the environment destroyed.

It seems to be in everybody’s interest to get the overpopulation under control.

I would suggest some carefully thought out strategies are necessary:

a. Access to birth control.

b. Education.

c. Welfare.

d. Pensions.

e. Inducements.

Of course it is in the capitalists interest to have a large, desperate population to exploit.

It is in the various religious groups interest to increase their numbers and power!

Stalked – a poem about overpopulation.



Stalked by our own virility

The cthonic monster of fertility

Will drown us in our own flesh.


The Malthusian oceans of humanity

Riding swells of pleasure and vanity

Have snared us in its mesh.


Like a flood


The Earth

Sweeping all before it.


Like a fire


The land

Turning it to ash


Like a plague


The body

Dissolving the breath


Swamping everything

Reducing everything

Killing everything

In the pangs of pleasure.


Opher 13.4.2018



The flood of humanity is consuming the earth, destroying the forests, slaughtering all creatures and leaving smog, pollution and devastation in their wake.

We are busy turning this beautiful green planet into a sterile ball of concrete, plastic and bacterial slime.

It’ll take us some time but the project is well under way.

Unless we put an end to this capitalist religious impetus for more, for growth and expansion we will destroy the very thing that gives us life and nourishes our souls.