Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Wednesday waistband woes

I was enduring a mental reprimand for overdoing it at breakfast today. Porridge, recommended as the best of food to start a day, had been on the menu. Short on time, I reached for the toaster instead.
Sinner that I must be, two slices of Low GI Dumpy Seeded Whole Wheat brown bread went into the machine.
I ignored any calorie warning and reached instead for a banana - a small banana - for the topping.
I made a mental note. No butter! Definitely not, not that I ever use butter anyway.


I turned to the laptop to code a new verse by brilliant poet Robert Graham, when two Facebook announcements dropped into the inbox in quick succession.
And for the first time since I can't remember when, both Photoshop addresses boasted – so it seemed to me at that moment – the virtues of calorie-overflowing gluttony.
One from Jeanna showed fish and chips covering a dinner plate.
Fish and chips! How self-righteous I felt all of a sudden. And then, as if not to be undone, good friend Chris displayed in his page – I can hardly type the words – pies! Yes, p i e s. Not one, but two.
Thankfully, gratefully, Chris didn't reveal what humble critter had given up its body for such, well, over-the-top feasting. Continues on the blogs for my ocean-travel adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Monday, October 29, 2018

Raleigh: what a nasty, murderous, brilliant hero

 It's the deathday of an astonishing figure from history, Sir Walter Raleigh, one of the real yet questionable heroes of the past.
Most Brits have read and studied the history of this astonishing sailor and politician, and - (take a deep breath) - landed gentleman, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy and explorer.
Yet reading through a short version of his history on Wikipedia now, I am left quite amazed, dazed, revolted in parts, by such an unusual fellow. His history is astonishing.


Occasionally, he appears as some callous butcher, when for instance he was stationed in Ireland as a young blade.
And take this hair-raising sentence in Wikipedia, 'He was present at the Siege of Smerwick, where he led the party that beheaded some 600 Spanish and Italian soldiers.'
What an unconscionable butcher. It seems to suggest that he well deserved his own violent end – and a pity some torture wasn't added.


And yet, this following excerpt is one of the parts of his history that astonishes the seafarer in me. 
Shortly after the queen died, '…Raleigh was arrested on 19 July 1603, charged with treason for his involvement in the Main Plot against Elizabeth's successor, James I, and imprisoned in the Tower of London.'
That's, as the record shows, 1603. Wikipedia reports, 'He remained imprisoned in the Tower until 1616.'
He was born in 1552 or 1554, so he was at least 52 when the gates opened at last. 
He had plenty of intellectual exercise while locked away – 'he wrote many treatises and the first volume of The Historie of the World (first edition published 1614) about Greece and Rome. '
However, there's no hint at all that he took any physical exercise, apart from a moment or two with Mrs Raleigh to conceive a son, a good 12 years before the prison gates opened at last.
Hardly had he staggered home than the King ….  Continues on the blogs for my ocean-travel adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Friday, October 26, 2018

Style gives away the great guessing game

It's challenging to be, well, mature and not to groan at the tales of poor little semi-maidens in their thirties and forties shocked to the quickie by filthy brutes of men who want to … I pause for the cue for a dramatic sniff and deep sigh. 
Blessedly I don't have TV so I don't suffer a screen-view of the won't-lie-down news of poor gals troubled by what comes naturally.
And, seeing that the world population stands at around seven point six billion – 7,600, 000,000 - seemingly still might do.
If I might reef wicked male pride, I'll borrow that old phrase 'in my day'.
In my day, on my way to Cape Horn and back and having to find a port for repairs, I don't recall any fairer gendered lovely holding off, nor wanting to – just as it was back in Cape Cook's time, and earlier.
Enthusiasm to at least match mine seemed to be the case no matter which of the three far-apart ports.
Back in my years in journalism, I don't recall even one lady reporter who didn't want to (numerically two or to with enthusiasm).
When part-timing on magazines in London, I could envy the depth of respect many lady reporters paid to their seniors in locked offices.
However, of course, one huge difference exists now that certainly wasn't so in office quickie times.

A keen bloke

Back then, a keen bloke mightn't have had to wonder if she would, but he certainly could speculate about what he would find.
No space here for a biology class, so let me just offer the reminder that not all gals are the same. Hence, I suppose, the recent weirdness we hear of alleged up-the-skirt photography.
No need these days for snaps of that nature. Definitely not. The shape of everything is on view. Everything. That's thanks to fashion, and presumably the wearers of fashion.
And whether it's in London, Warsaw, Salisbury, or Cape Town, we all see everything – like it or not - of not just wives—in-waiting but of mothers, grans, office workers, and very surprisingly even little girls.
On the street it's staring you in the face, to borrow another expression, and that's everywhere – on the street, on buses, on the tube and on trains.
Travel to your office in London, for instance, and many fellows are likely to be as ready to pass on pleasure as a Jersey stud released into a field of bulling heifers.
And one last, er, stand in defence of my wicked gender. Continues on the blogs for my ocean-travel adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at