Photography – The Ribble Valley – mountains, viaducts, waterfalls and rivers – a wondrous landscape.

We visited in 2011 and climbed the three peaks one after the other (on separate days). We had glorious warm weather and the scenery was stunning. The phots don’t do justice!

Here they are anyway!

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Poetry – The Spider – It’s real – I know it’s waiting for me indoors!

Poetry – The Spider – It’s real – I know it’s waiting for me indoors!

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The Spider

It is that time of year again. The large house spiders are on the move. The big males are off hunting females to mate. They bounce across your carpet, veering and halting unpredictable.

They lurk in the recesses and under everything.

They are huge, dark and hairy. Their bristles are evil.

At night they emerge to climb walls and on to beds.

They appear in bath-tubs and showers.

They also loom even larger in my imagination!

 

I am an entomologist. I should know better. But childhood experiences combine with evolutionary instinct to tell me that these things are dangerous, evil and a malevolent force.

Nothing will persuade me otherwise.

We have a huge one in the house. My wife saw it scurry under the bath.

I know it’s there, somewhere.

The Spider

Malevolently scurrying across the floor,

Scuttling to a standstill, assessing,

Watching with its many eyes,

Weighing up the scene.

Then darting into dark crevices

Impossible to squeeze into

To lurk and plan

Its evil re-emergence.

 

When darkness falls

It is there

Under the cushion

Under the pillow

Brushing the sleeping face

With its bristles

Legs and gnashing mandibles.

Delighting in its success.

 

No web

Or patient wait

For this one.

He is quick

And unpredictable,

Equipped with

Many legs

And a brain

That intends

To terrify.

 

There

When

You

Least

Expect.

Huge

Dark

Hairy

And

Fast.

 

No ordinary spider.

 

Opher 3.9.2015

Do Planets Dream? – a Poem.

Do Planets Dream?

 

Do planets dream as they embrace their moon?

Are galaxies dancing to a cosmic tune?

Is our sun prancing in great glee

As it hugs us with its gravity?

 

What is this beautiful music of infinity?

Something sublime including you and me?

I think I can hear it as I stare up into the sky.

It vibrates through me as I quietly sigh.

 

Opher 17.9.2019

Listening to my old Grandma.

Listening to my old Grandma.

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Listening to my old Grandma

My Grandma is long dead but she lived to the fine old age of ninety six. She was born in 1890s and so saw the most amazing changes.

I remember sitting down with her while she reminisced. It was extremely salutary. I was entranced.

As a young girl she had played in the streets. They were untarmaced mud and compacted dirt with ruts made by carts. The transport was horse-drawn or steam train. There were no cars. There was no electricity or running water and only outdoor toilets. The house was heated with a single coal fire in an open grate.

She had watched the first planes, made of string and paper (as she put it), crawl across the skies. She saw the first cars bump along the rutted streets. She lived through two world wars and saw her husband and sons go off to fight for God and Country.

Back then the class system was firmly in place. The poor were poor, the middle class were a little better off and the bosses and aristocracy lived in the mansions. Down her street there was great poverty with families not having money to buy food for the children. Kids were sewn into their clothes for the winter to prevent them developing chills. Some could not afford shoes. Infant mortality was high. Every family lost children to disease induced by poor sanitation, malnutrition, cold and damp and disease. She’d lost a child.

She’s seen a different world come into being. Following the wars the Labour Trade Union movement achieved better standards of pay and conditions, the standard of living for ordinary families rose. Cars, televisions, telephones and computers became standard fare for working families. There was welfare for those on hard times. People could take holidays and travel.

The roads were tarmaced, there were millions of cars, and the pace of life was faster.

The churches emptied and people were openly critical of those in power. They no longer ‘knew their place’. They spoke their mind and were not content to be kept down. The class system was weakened. It was no longer ‘God, King and Country’. They questioned the policies and wisdom.

Technology brought electricity, machines, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, hoovers and hot water that transformed the drudgery of life. However my Grandma still had her weekly wash and boiled her linen (and sometimes curtains and other items) in a huge copper on the stove. Heaven knows how she managed to do that into her old age.

Women became more educated and entered the professions. They weren’t content to be mere housewives.

My Grandma was incredulous that in her lifetime there had been a change from bi-planes made of wood, paste and lacquered paper to space-stations and space-craft that could go to the Moon.

The social changes were even more dramatic.

I doubt that we will ever see such spectacular changes again.

It is hard to believe that for centuries very little altered. People went along in much the same way their parents and grandparents had done. They wore similar clothes, had similar jobs requiring similar skills and led a life that was much the same as those of generations before. In the 20th Century that changed. The speed of change has been continuous. Our children live in a totally different world. The world of 2015 would have seemed like science fiction to my 1950s self. I could not have imagined it. Computers, mobile phones and the internet would have seemed far-fetched.

My Grandma used to remark that she did not think all this ‘progress’ made anyone happier.

Now the divide is between the ways the West lives and the impoverished lives of many in the third world. Perhaps that is the next revolution?

What world, or should I say solar system, will our grandchildren think of as normal?

 

5.9.2015

Spurn Head – Wooden piers and groynes – Art in the sea!

I was fascinated with the old sea-worn wood of the old piers and groynes at Spurn Head.

I was fortunate to get a stormy sky which was great to show them off.

I had a great time photographing them.

I thought they reminded me of standing stones – a wooden Stonehenge in Yorkshire!

Poetry – The Meaning of Life – A celebration of intent and possibility.

Poetry – The Meaning of Life – A celebration of intent and possibility.

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The Meaning of life

There is no other reason to life other than the living of it. The living of it is an art. You experience every second; the whole force of the infinite universe pressing in around you and in the midst of the fury, the quiet. The appreciation of the greatness of a word, the nuance of a smile, the wonder of holding a child.

The meaning of life is nothing to do with where you are going; it’s all about the journey and what you make of it. It can be sensuous and creative, altruistic and benevolent, or selfish, cruel and vicious.

Your choice

The Meaning of life

Sunbeams breaking through clouds,

Trees, rocks, sea and mountains,

A nice pint on a mild afternoon,

The soft fur of a warm life,

A cuddle and a love,

A dance and a tune,

A helping hand,

A poem and a shared moment,

A cool breeze on a hot day,

A gentle touch,

Sunlight glinting on a lapping sea,

Sunset and sunrise,

Love, friendship and birth,

Hoar frost shards on twigs in the morning glow

The hues of feathers, wings and crystals,

Ravines, gullies and rocks,

Tiny creatures,

Big animals,

Great, green plants,

And wild places,

Giving and receiving,

A smile, a handshake and a meeting,

Flowers in all their magnificence,

Differences and argument,

Laughter and accord,

Sex, fun and frolics,

Everything young and new,

Holding hands,

A kiss in the dark,

Ice-cream and chocolate,

Wonder and discovery,

A good film,

A realisation,

A creation,

A painting and a dance,

A good play,

Play,

Clever words,

Good stories,

Sport and skill,

Books, records and pictures,

Travel to exotic lands,

Infinity and vertigo,

A joke and a chuckle,

The vulgar and profane,

Having family gathered round,

The seasons,

Snow on trees and hills,

Colours,

Sounds,

Feel,

Scent,

The Blues,

Rock and Folk,

Walking in the quiet,

The trill of insects,

The song of birds,

Thinking,

Pondering

And wandering,

Sharing,

Above all ……… Sharing.

 

Opher 18.8.2015

Poetry – Far Horizons – a poem about the wonders of humanity.

Poetry – Far Horizons – a poem about the wonders of humanity.

 

Far Horizons

I’m always amazed by the creativity of humanity. Our minds are incredible. We are so new yet we have harnessed our astounding minds to create the world we live in. We exploded out of Africa to dominate the world. We overcame obstacles and destroyed our enemies. No creature has ever been so resourceful. The original ideas and solutions come flooding out of that jelly in our heads.

We are a duality: a strange mixture of compassion and altruism and callous barbarity. Future history will show which of the two sides is the greater. I believe in the caring side. I believe we build the zeitgeist that will see us through.

Our intelligence came out of such mundane things as an opposable thumb and binocular vision. Our amazing ability to question why and find solutions, we conjure them up out of nowhere. Our imagination is our only limit.

Far Horizons

Far horizon, curve of sky

Thumb and finger – wonder why?

Out of Africa – black as pitch,

Ever pondering – which is which?

Hunting, gathering – wandering far.

Following on high seas the only fixed star.

Spreading outwards, like a vivid splash.

Overcoming obstacles in a neuronal flash.

Devising, solving, challenging the how

With ideas and inventions for which we take a bow.

Arrogant and vicious yet gentle and kind

Honing the body, instruments and mind.

Vast cities, many colours, the bomb and the gun,

Religions and cultures, music and fun.

Sources of hope and scattered profanity

We are the animals we named ourselves

Humanity.

 

Opher 17.8.2015

The Beatles – All You Need is Love – Lyrics of optimism and hope that epitomised an era.

The Beatles – All You Need is Love – Lyrics of optimism and hope that epitomised an era.

 

The sixties was an idealistic, optimistic age. The Love and Peace image galvanised a generation and spread round the whole world. People in Pakistan, Peru and Russia were wearing flares and declaring brother and sisterhood. It changed the world

There was hope.

The events of the past decades have been of greed, selfishness and religious fanaticism. It has spawned inequality, poverty, war, death, torture and a divided world. Hatred breeds hatred. Violence traumatises people and spawns revenge.

We don’t seem to learn.

What the world needs now is a big does of love, friendship and a caring, helping hand.

The Beatles got it spot on. Where’s the new Beatles?

“All You Need Is Love”

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, loveThere’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easyNothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yee-hai! (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)

Yesterday (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Oh yeah! (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)

Photography – The Nuclear Bunker at RAF Holmpton, Withernsea

If you want a chilling day out then go and visit  the Bunker at RAF Holmpton, Withernsea.

This Top Secret installation was built following the 2nd World War as, first a Secret Radar centre, and then a Top Secret Communications Centre.

The object was to run the country following a Nuclear War.

While the rest of us either fried or slowly rotted from radiation sickness a bunch of government officials and military would remain underground safely buried under tons of soil, with ten foot thick cement walls to protect them.

From these shelters they would assess the damage and then try to control the mad population and run the country.

I’ve lived most of my life knowing that a number of nuclear warheads are targeted at me.

It only takes a madman like Trump or Johnson to escalate a problem into a crisis and we are in the midst of a holocaust. Ho hum. It’s nearly happened a few times!

This experience really brings it home!

This was the technology to run a World War from!

This was the expected result! (Bear in mind – the boms are tens of times bigger now!)

This is a map showing the likely scenario of bombing!

They not only had food and water but entertainment – a dart board, snooker table, juke box and pub.

It hasn’t gone away!