Thursday, 8 October 2015

Nothing Has Changed...

...yet everything is different!

It's been a while since my last post. But I'm back!

I've been busy working, travelling and moving home. I have also met and fallen in love with a wonderful girl who loves travelling AND music!

We have visited Ireland twice and Madeira Island once in the past five months! And there are plans for more trips before the year is over.

We have just returned from Madeira, on a week-long trip to celebrate my birthday but also to introduce Miss P to this most exquisite and romantic island. It was also a journey back in time for me; an emotional home coming.

 After two and a half years away from paradise I am happy to report the island looks lovelier than ever.

The city of Funchal is most welcoming to all who visit. It is well organised and business is booming.

So pristine and sweet I'd call it 'civic eye-candy'

While visiting the town of Machico I saw my old boat, the Bonança, looking grand and not a day older than when I sold her.

The Casino Park Hotel offered unrivalled friendly service and even remembered my birthday. A bottle of bubbly and some fancy towel display on our bed made my day that little bit more special.

We visited Moynihan's Irish Pub - my home gig for many years - to hear DD (my talented nephew) play. He invited me on stage to sing a couple and it was just like the old days.

I joined a Warm-Up jam session Monday night and had a fab time.



...and more music...

...eating and drinking...

...drinking and socialising...

...interspersed with  the occasional road trip and sight-seeing...

...Machico - one of a dozen or so pretty towns scattered around Madeira's coastline...

...made this visit with Miss P an absolute pleasure.

On Madeira's highest peak, Pico Do Arieiro, with love, reminded me again why I feel on top of the world.

What a difference a couple of years make!


Sunday, 17 May 2015

To The World, With Love

Our precious planet is unique, at least as far as the solar system is concerned.

It is home to countless life forms and varied awe-inspiring geological compositions.

Selfless and without ulterior motives, Earth bestows all its precious gifts without asking for recompense.

Powerful, yet gentle enough to be susceptible to the actions and negative impact caused primarily by its human guests.

And just as a million matches can be produced from a mighty oak but it takes only a single match to destroy a million mitghy oaks...

..every one of us has the capacity to inflict serious, irreparable damage to our beautiful world.

Our capacity to alter and deface Mother Nature's most wonderful master-piece...

...can only be matched by our capacity and desire to enhance it.

Let us ensure our short presence here serves only to beautify the home of future generations.

Let us ensure our brief voyage through this magical kingdom leaves nothing but a positive legacy of our history, engraved only with delicate foot-prints.

Let us care less for the mythical perceived creator of this vibrant planet...

...and care more for the needs and wellbeing of this very real, powerful-yet-fragile, miracle of Nature.

Wishing all the guardians of Earth a lovely weekend 


Monday, 11 May 2015

Weekend To Remember

I will start by retracting some but not all of the criticism directed at online dating in my previous post.

It appears I wasn't the only one trying out Zoosk purely for research and curiosity reasons.

A delightful person responded to one of my messages!

And we have met, several times! this space :)

Yes, I can honestly say I am surprised and bewildered to have found a genuine sparkling gem in what at first seemed to be a dubious market place stocked with unlabelled goods.

I must desist from the annoying habit of jumping to premature conclusions!

On an equally cheerful note, I announce another extremely pleasant experience that happened Saturday night ( no, not that  -_- ) in Basingstoke.

I was at the New Inn pub with pals (and my delightful new-found gem) to listen to my friend Lisandra playing her live gig. 

I was called up to do a song (something I love doing) and then returned to my table, humbly acknowledging the applause (something I love even more) when an unknown chap in the crowd approached me, shook me by the hand and introduced himself as Ralph.

He knew my name and informed me of how much he loves my blog!

Ralph went on to tell me how he is also thinking of starting a blog and reads mine for inspiration.

Thank you Ralph. You will succeed !

I don't know if all these wonderful surprises are actually good for my health but I'm sure as hell not about to start complaining.

A special thanks and huge hug to Lisandra. 

A heartfelt thank-you to my beloved friends Claudia and Marco, for their enduring friendship, boundless love and selfless hospitality. And also for accepting my precious new friend, with their customary charm and open arms.

And last but not least, thank you, sweet P, for making me tremble in anticipation of our next encounter <3


Monday, 30 March 2015

Ripe Dates Aren't The Sweetest

Last week I decided to take the bold step of joining a dating website.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. I've always said I'd never do such thing, but there you go. I am adventurous enough to try most things once.

Curiosity drove me to join a set up I have always found the idea of quite distasteful.

I now know dating sites are as romantic as a a visit to the dentist. In the 17th century.

I couldn't believe the amount of dishonesty on display. Especially when it comes to age and edited photographs.

There are many women old enough to be my mother pretending to be my age! I wonder if any actually tell the truth?

Worse still is the arrogance of some of these older-but-not-wiser girls who attach conditions only much younger and prettier women would get away with.  Some also advertise the fact they are not desperate but merely browsing, maybe looking for friendship.

Yeah, right!

Like any red-blooded man looking for a prospective partner is going to settle for "friendship" from an old girl they don't know and who most likely doesn't like beer and football.

Other mature women think they have a chance of finding (myopia allowing) Mr Right, or better still a millionaire, mentally stable enough to want a permanent diet of over-ripened fruit.

Millionaires, regardless of their age, choose and find 25 year old girls with long legs and gorgeous faces.

One particular lady, who was elegant and pretty (at least on the hazy out-of-focus profile picture) and listed as 52 years old replied to my invite to chat by writing back "you're a smoker, sorry, I don't like smokers."

I should have replied " and I don't like arrogant past-their-sell-by-date-line-dancing bitches either"

But of course I didn't. I wouldn't stoop that low. I do have manners.

Instead I replied "Just as well, as I don't think I'd feel comfortable in the company of a perfect woman.

So perfect she's alone! And searching. And paying to search.

I spoke on the phone with another whose profile stated '48 years old, no children'

She went on to tell me she was 50 and had two daughters. Maybe she had already forgotten what she wrote on the profile. The major pitfall for liers is that they have to remember their lies, or in short, have a very good memory.

A good memory is an attribute not commonly found in post-menopausal dames.

Nothing wrong with being 50 and having two daughters, but that being the case I can only imagine
what other untruths her profile picture actually conceals.

And as if to want to rub salt into my arrow-wounds, she went on to decline the invitation to meet on the grounds of us being from very different backgrounds. A bit haughty, I thought.

But her reason was 'pragmatism'.

Pragmatism? That may be a desirable quality in the work place, but that's it.

Pragmatism is the antidote of passion. The antithesis of romance. It is the refuge for those whom love no longer touches (if it ever did).

Pragmatism is not what I want between the sheets. Can you imagine a worse scenario than being told to wait whilst her ladyship weighs up the pros and cons of the missionary position. Ew.

The rest of the possible candidates for my unbridled passion (you can stop smirking) all seemed to like playing hard to get, like the fat girl at school who shooed away the boys even though they weren't chasing her.

You'd have thought if these veteran sirens were as precious as they think they are, they wouldn't need the services of a virtual Cupid.

At least I joined only for research purposes. Honest!

Anyway, one older woman's loss is another younger woman's gain (one hopes)

All in all my brief foray into the Dating Game was an experience I'll be delighted to never repeat.

The dating site reminds me of a market. A market that I can only assume hasn't come to the attention of Trading Standards. The erroneous descriptions of the merchandise would surely fall foul of the law.

A market selling goods that should never be bought and sold.

I am almost disillusioned with my generation.

Could this be the reason why I've always chosen much younger partners?

But I'm happy. There's plenty more fish in the sea.

Even if my bait is out of date and the hook has gone blunt.

I'd rather remain single than be coerced into taking up line dancing, or knitting, or dying my hair blue...or being pragmatic


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A New Alliance Twelve Years In The Making

Last Saturday I had the immense pleasure of walking my beautiful daughter Katie down the aisle. 

To present the love of my life to my new son-in-law, Scott, in such a spectacular manner, filled me with emotions I didn't know I possessed.

The childhood sweethearts sign the register 12 years after they met and fell in love.

I liked Scott from the first time we met. I knew instantly we had lots in common, the most important, our love for Katie. 

Scott has been in my inner circle for over a decade. He even invited me to his stag weekend abroad! I've not heard that happening with anyone else before.

The speeches were a roller-coaster of emotions. Some important members of the family who through their untimely deaths could not be with us, were in everyone's minds and hearts. Laughter won the day, but the red eyes of all those present were a testament to a most emotional wedding imaginable.

Vintage VW Caravan 

Katie and Scott's first dance

The wedding went on for the whole weekend. 

The one weekend in my life where I was rearing to go I had to take copious amounts of Paracetamol to keep me on my feet. Yes, it had to be the time I fell victim to the Influenza bug.

All the close family, some having travelled from as far as Portugal, Ireland and Scotland, checked in at the hotel on Friday afternoon. Saturday's ceremony started at 12:00 and went on until 01:00. Sunday morning we all met for a private breakfast and eventually, said our goodbyes.

I had been looking forward to this event for so long that when it was over and I got home Sunday evening, the most depressing bout of anti-climax I have ever endured, descended upon me.

I felt emotionally drained and started missing my loved ones immediately, hours after seeing them. The flu only served to exacerbate the pain.

But I wouldn't have missed it for the world. 


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Islam Is Not To Blame. Raif Is A Muslim

Almost all terrorist atrocities of late are committed by Muslims.  Often under the well-rehearsed cry of Allahu Akbar.

With every attack, support for Israel increases - an inflammatory consequence which adds fuel to the fires of an already volatile situation.

Islamophobia in the West continues to flourish with every evil deed, giving the terrorists exactly what they want. The more alienated and disenfranchised Muslims feel in the West the easier they are to recruit. A perpetual supply of jihadis for all planned future campaigns agains the West, The East, and even more surprisingly, the Middle East is the ultimate aim of the extremists.

Let's not make the mistake of helping terrorism.

Islam has been hijacked by the jihadis and is being used as a tool to legitimise murder, intolerance, racism, slavery and most dangerously, a political ideology drenched in the blood of all those who dare oppose it. Most victims are also Muslims.

And it all started in Saudi Arabia.

Just over a hundred years ago, back in 1902, the Wahhabi Clan of present day royals of Saudi Arabia launched a ferocious attack against the neighbouring 3 tribal regions of what is now Saudi Arabia. Murder, rape and slavery won the day back then, and all the atrocities were committed in the name of Allah and Sharia Law. But of course, religion was not the reason for the greed and lust for power of the Saud Clan.

Those actions of a century ago are almost entirely responsible for spawning all of the present day jihadi ideology. Conquer at all costs and destroy all who stand in the way.

The House of Saud should not be considered a friend and ally of the West, for it is a corrupt dictatorship ruling over an oppressed and unjust society.

The House of Saud finances the building of mosques in western countries, yet refuses to allow the construction of churches in Saudi Arabia for the very few Christians who live there.

Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi.

And the House of Saud continues to promote religious intolerance and to stifle all dissent.

Voices such as that of writer and campaigner for freedom of expression and women's rights, Saudi citizen, Raif Badawi.

Raif was condemned to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes, to be administered every Friday, 50 at a time, for 20 consecutive weeks.

The first session took place yesterday, in public, and was filmed secretly by a few who risked their own life and liberty in order to tell the world.

I watched the clandestine video and it turned out to be as I had half expected; a quiet, sedate public flogging of lightly administered lashes unlikely to have caused any damage to Raif. The Saudi authorities knew the world would be watching, thanks to a campaign by Amnesty International through social media. Had that not been the case one can assume the flogging would have been a lot more damaging.

Raif wrote in his blog nothing more than light criticism for the way Saudi Arabia is governed. That's all.

Islam is guilty of many injustices, as are all other religions, but it can't be used as a cause to further alienate and persecute Muslims who have chosen to live in Western countries.

Those of you who know me know I never defend religion, in fact the opposite is true, but I always defend justice.

After all, did we blame all Irish for the actions of the IRA some decades ago?  

No, we didn't. Well I certainly didn't. It would have been unfair. Just as it is unfair to blame

/or the vast majority of Muslims who have nothing to do with the atrocities committed in the guise of holy war. 

The present day extremists are driven by greed and delusion, just as Ibn Saud was back in 1902.

Raif is a Muslim. A Muslim I want to help. A Muslim I'd have as a friend. 

Just like the Muslim French policeman executed outside the Charlie Hebdo headquarters whilst on duty, by murderous men who claim to be Muslims.