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This site has been set up in the conviction that travel,

faith and writing form a powerful alliance for influencing 

the way the world operates.

The three elements form separate sections of the site -

Travel, Faith, Writing - but they are really a unity of

influence. They are three elements in the life of

Tony Gates

It is hoped that the site may be helpful to others who seek

to be instrumental in the process of peaceful, positive

change.


The site has also been set up because Tony loves what he does

and enjoys sharing his passions.


Perhaps there will be something on the site

that interests you



Tony Gates         Traveller             Speaker           Writer




The Camargue Cross

I have above my desk a small Camargue Cross. It measures about 6 inches by 4 inches, is black and made of metal. What is a Camargue Cross? It is the cross that characterises and belongs to the Camargue wetlands area of southern France, the territory of the grand and petit Rhone rivers which form th...

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The Blessings of Silence and the presence of a name

It was my great joy to attend a little while ago, with Ruth, the Quaker Meeting House in the village of Come To Good in Cornwall. It is one of the oldest Quaker meeting houses in England. I had wanted to visit it for some time since including it in my Kindle novel, "Cornish Pastiche. A Murder Myster...

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Incident on a Train

  I was thinking this evening of an incident involving a train Ruth and I were travelling  in toward the end of last year. In December we were passengers on The Overland to Melbourne. Close to Cressy the train was bowling along at a very good speed. We felt two jerks to the moti...

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Cornish Pastiche, a Murder Mystery

It's said that a writer writes because he is impelled to do so; he or she is not at ease when not writing. I'm sure that claim is correct, at least to some degree. I set my alarm for 4.45am each day simply to be sure that I can have a little over three hours to write before breakfast when I know tha...

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All Change Here

At a theological group meeting today I remarked that the world is changing at a more rapid rate than ever before, and that presents challenges to all voluntary organisations, a challenge to present their case in the context of change, rather than trying catch up with the new world. Change is certai...

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Must Peace Always be Illusive?

As last night I watched on television what is happening to innocent people in Syria I found myself thinking of the words of Tacitus (c56 - c.117AD: "They make a wilderness and call it peace." Who does not long to see peace in Syria. Our hearts are pained by the sight of young children suffering the...

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Is God Concerned With Religion?

William Temple (1881-1944), once said, "It is a mistake to suppose that God is only, or even chiefly, concerned with religion." To some that will be a jarring comment, yet it raises questions for faith and for living.  The first is Temple's taking-for-granted existence of Divinity. For some t...

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The World in the Room

It has been a joy for the past few days to be a facilitator at an Initiatives of Change "Life Matters" workship at Armagh, the house in Toorak which is the headquarters of Initiatives of Change in this part of the world. It has been inspirational. The workshop was for young people under t...

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The Inner Voice

The property known as Armagh, at 226 Kooyong Road, Toorak in Victoria, is a special place. It is the headquarters of a deeply spiritual yet clearly practical movement called Initiatives of Change. Its spirituality is based upon the Inner Voice we can all listen for. As I thought about it today I wa...

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Obituary for Cricket

As I write this blog, a Premier League match is being played between Arsenal and Chelsea, a London 'derby' that has been pulsating thus far. The second half has just started after a 0-0 first. Oddly, much as I love football, the match has taken my mind to cricket. Why? Because both games have suffe...

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Life Is...?

It's hard to imagine a more depressing statement about life than the assertion, 'Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery.' It is found, of all places, in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, a book which I am very fond of, but I don't identify with this remar...

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A Dream of Wales

A couple of days ago I read an advertisement on the back cover page of the October 2017 edition of Writers' Forum magazine. It concerned writing courses, so inevitably I read it. The courses advertised are held in North Wales at a large country house called Ty Newydd, a property which sta...

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The Inner Voice

We seem to me to be living in a time when, in Australia, we have to be protected from silence. Silence is treated as though it were a dangerous enemy. In restaurants, music is more often than not played in the background. Those who decide to pipe it for the customers seem unaware that one person's ...

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Train Travel

Yesterday's blog described an incident on our journey to Melbourne on the Overland a week ago, an incident which sadly cost a woman her life. Most train journeys are without incident, as our return journey on the Overland was on Tuesday this week. Being a train lover I would not...

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An Overland incident

Last Friday (3rd November), Ruth and I travelled to Melbourne on the Overland. Ruth, being the reasonable and understanding woman that she is, agreed to travel on the Overland rather than fly because she is very well aware of my love for trains.  The journey should have tak...

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Toc H Campsite Open / Infrmation / Volunteers Day.

Yesterday, October 21st, we held our Open Day at the campsite in Victor Harbor to provide information about Toc H, about the campsite and about tasks which require the time and effor of volunteers. We were lower in visitor numbers than we had hoped, but our pleasure in recruiting new volunteers out...

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Toc H 6 To Love Widely

The next point of the Toc H Compass I have to comment on has the title, TO LOVE WIDELY. Love is a word which is understood in many different ways. In Toc H our understanding of love is the sense in which the Church understands it and the New Testament teaches it, and it's summarised by a Greek word...

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Toc H 5 Service

The next point of the Toc H Compass I want to comment on is that which has to do with service. We call it in Toc H, To Build Bravely. I think of that as building service opportunities, which in themselves build bridges, which can also lead to peacemaking. To build bravely is a powerfu...

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Italy - I can't help writing about it.

As some of the readers of these blogs know, my murder novel, CORNISH PASTICHE, A Murder Mystery has been available via Smashwords outlets and Kindle as an ebook for a few months.  I can't help writing, so I am currently in the process of writing not a novel, but a book on Italy. This is inevit...

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Toc H 4

I've visited Talbot House in Poperinge, Belgian West Flanders, five times in all. Each time I have found myself in direct contact with the spirit of Toc H. On the first occasion, I arrived at Poperinge railway station from Ypres (It appears on the map today as Ieper, its Flemish name) wit...

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Toc H 3 To think fairly

The Toc H Compass is our guide for service within the movement and we hope in all our living. It is throughly Christian way of being and living. In this blog I'm commenting on one of the four points of that Compass - To Think Fairly. To think fairly is to consider all points of view. We are not com...

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A Ship, a Missile and Building Character

Building character is one of life's hardest tasks. It is, of course, a lifelong one. We can be grateful for the people who have been examples to us. They have often been our inspiration. I am certainly grateful for those who have been examples to me. In the Travel section of this site there is an a...

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Toc H 2

Yesterday it was my privilege to be able to speak about Toc H (=T. H. = Talbot House) at the Yilki Uniting Church. It's always a joy to me to able to share Toc H values and the Toc H story with people. Toc H's Christian orientation ensures that it remains a service movement, seeking to provide serv...

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Toc H Invites You - Toc H 1

On saturday, October 21st, Toc H in Victor Harbor invites visitors, volunteers and potential volunteers to an Open Day / Volunteers Day at the Victor Harbor Toc H Campsite. If you want to discover how fine a facility the campsite is, want to walk a little of a unique piece of scrubland and learn th...

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Preaching at Yilki

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching at the Yilki Uniting Church at Encounter Bay. The congregation is formed by a very warm, welcoming group of people. As is my custom, I used and preached from the lectionary readings set for the given Sunday. In this case the two principal readings were the...

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A School Visit

It was my privilege and pleasure to be invited to speak about Toc H, a Christian service movement, at the Tyndale Christian School, Strathalbyn, yesterday morning. My speaking appointment was during the 9am Assembly for senior students. I very quickly discovered that the Tyndale School is a very sp...

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Faith is for Everyday

Faith is either for everyday and for every circumstance or it is not for serious consideration at all. When it is understood to be a way of life it becomes revolutionary. One of the best-known sentences in the New Testament is found in the letter to the Hebrews, one of the two major documents left...

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The birds are nesting

The spring equinox is only three weeks ahead and before long our fruit trees will be covered in blossom. The later winter / early spring is a beautiful time to experience. The magpies have been busy at their nests. The pair which uses the nest in the tall eucalypts opposite our home on the other si...

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Faith or Fossilisation?

It was my privilege to preach at the Newland Uniting Church in Victor Harbour yesterday. The set Lectionary reading was the chapter in Matthew's Gospel which tells of Peter's declaration that Jesus was the Messiah, and the response that the Church would be built upon the rock of his faith. Faith is...

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Tony Gates and Writing Magazine

In the August edition of Writing Magazine (a UK writing journal) there is a short article featuring my writing Cornish Pastiche, my murder mystery novel available as an Ebook for US$3.99 via Kindle and Smashwords outlets. I enjoyed writing the article in which I set out why I chose to...

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Toc H Campsite, Victor Harbor

Toc H is a movement which excites me when I think of its founding, its many decades of service and its current opportunities. I value my involvement in the Victor Harbor branch in South Australia, a branch that will be 82 years old later this year. Toc H had its genesis in the terrible days of tren...

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A Boyhood Dream Realised

Almost three weeks ago,a dream from my schooldays was realised.  As early as I can remember, the most exciting location in the place where I was brought up was for me the railway station. When I first discovered that magical place (as a very small boy) I knew there was nowhere to match its exc...

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Cornish Pastiche and Tony Gates appear in Writing Magazine

The current edition of Writing Magazine (August 2017) has a half-page column on my detective novel, Cornish Pastiche, under the heading, 'Corpses in Cornwall', a rather clever title supplied by the editor. The column has a photograph of me and a photograph of the ebook cover.  I am p...

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Railway Travel

 There are no forms of transport that can possibly rival the train for me. I know that to leave Australia I have to use an aeroplane or a ship, but wherever possible I take the train. It has ben my good fortune to travel by train in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand. Can...

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Our Journey (9)

From Alfriston, leaving beautiful Sussex, a county deeply etched into my experience from the age of 20 when I spent my first week there among the South downs, we proceeded by train to London where, at Victoria Station we had merely to leave the train and check into our hotel whose entry was from the...

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Our Journey (8) Alfriston

Following our brief time in London we took the train from Victoria to Eastbourne where we took a taxi to the lovely village of Alfriston. It is one of the delights of rural England. We spent our first night there at the lovely Dean's Place Hotel and on the following morning (Sunday) walked across t...

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A Murder Mystery

My new novel, Cornish Pastiche: a Murder Mystery, became available on Smashwords distribution retailers and on Kindle this week. Smashwords retailers include Apple Products, Barnes and Noble, etc. The action of the novel takes place in Cornwall and centres on Detective Chief Inspector Jim Hatchard,...

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Our Journey (7) London

Arrival at Victoria station, not far from Buckingham Palace, and disembarkation from the Orient Express, was sad in one way. We were of course sorry to leave the VSOE, but we had England, or our chosen part of it, to enjoy.. Our hotel for two nights was on Euston Road, a taxi ride from Victoria.. O...

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On Stones and Bread

Sundays are important for Ruth and me. They give us a focused opportunity for contemplating realities beyond the material or, to put it another way, the deeply satisfying exercise of sitting aside from the consuming society. Instead, Sunday provides us with the invitation to give attention to nurtur...

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My novel now available as an ebook

Yesterday my new novel, 'Cornish Pastiche: a Murder Mystery', was uploaded to Smashwords. It is available now from the Smashwords store, and should within a few days be available from Apple ibooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribd and Gardners. Next week I intend upl...

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The Beauty of Pens

Pens don't appeal to everyone. Some would probably say, if I spoke to them of my love for pens, 'What's wrong with a word processor?' Of course, there's nothing wrong with a word processor if all you want to do is put words into print. Others might say, 'What's wrong with an SMS? I'd have to say, 'T...

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Our Journey (6)

Santa Lucia station in Venice is always an exciting place. I feel a growing sense of excitement when I walk onto one of its platforms to board a train to travel to another part of Italy or another country of Europe. This time the journey was very special. Ruth and I were to board the Venice Simplon-...

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Studying Matthew's Gospel

I am finding an early morning study of the Greek of Matthew's Gospel immensely satisfying. Over the past few years I have worked methodically through the Greek of John's Gospel, of Paul's letter to the Romans, and through the Gospels of Mark and Luke. This current study of Matthew is therefore the l...

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Our Journey (5) Anticipating the Train (Venice Simplon-Orient-Express)

On leaving Carcassonne we made a number of connections in order to reach Venice prior to boarding the Orient Express for London. First, we made a relatively short journey from Carcassonne to Marseilles by train. It meant that we could have a leisurely breakfast at Hotel de la Cite before taking a t...

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Our Journey (4) Carcassonne

From Narbonne we made the short train journey to Carcassonne, one of the most stunning places in all of the south of France. We had visited Carcassonne some years ago, staying the in Hotel Cite located on the site of the old Bishop's Palace next to the cathedral. We fell in love with Carcassonne on ...

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Our Journey (3) Narbonne

We left Paris for the south of France with the sense of pleasant anticipation I always feel when I know I am headed for Gare de Lyon and a journey on a TGV (Train Grande Vitesse - very fast train). This time we were headed for Narbonne over a route with which I was familiar. I was very familiar wit...

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Our Journey (2) Paris

Paris, the place I always feel my pulse rate increasing! We arrived at Charles de Gaulle from Dubai and took the easy way into the city - by fixed-price (50 euros) taxi to our hotel, the Panache just off the Grand Boulevards. The Panache has recently changed its name from the Madrid Opera. We have...

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Our Journey (1) A Dubai Sleepover

Ruth and I have recently returned from a very special time away. Our purpose was to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary by selecting the best experiences we knew. In future blogs I'll talk about those. It's sufficient here to say that our time in Europe was wonderful, the best time we have had o...

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Guido Brunetti's Venice

A few days ago I finished reading Donna Leon's novel, Falling In Love. It is of course one of her series of novels featuring Commisario Guido Brunetti, his Ispetore (inspector) Vianello, the brilliant secretary at the Questura (police station) Signorina Elletra and Brunetti's wife Paola an...

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Les grands diseurs ne sont pas les grands faiseurs

Les grands diseurs ne sont pas les grands faiseurs, runs the French proverb, and it can be argued that it is generally the case that the great talkers are not the great doers. There have been eloquent men who have achieved much - Winston Churchill comes easily to mind, and a careful considerat...

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The Closing of the Jungle

The newspapers and the television newsreels are showing pictures of the smoke and flames of The Jungle, the migrant camp at Calais being closed and dismantled by the French Government. In England, the media is largely describing the people in the camp as migrants. There is a good deal of sense...

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If You Like Shakespeare...

I was talking with some locals many years ago in a pub not far from Stratford. You might not expect locals in a pub to be Shakespeare students. These locals, though, were passionate. "Shakespeare wrote them all," one of the drinkers said to me, speaking of the whole corpus of his work, "They had not...

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Birthdays and Special People

Ruth has just had a birthday. I know there are some people who would say, "So what? Birthdays are just days like any other days." In one sense, that is true. A birthday is simply a date on a calendar. You go to work as normal. You read the morning paper as normal. You eat your three meals in t...

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The Courtesy of the French

I do not know how many times I have visited France. The first visit was many years ago, or perhaps I should say very many years ago. I love returning to that land for many reaons, not the least of which is the wonderful courtesy of the French. In the days that I was lecturing on France to adults, i...

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Seneca, Noise, Nero and Me.

"I cannot for the life of me," wrote Seneca, "see that quiet is as necessary to a person who has shut himself away to do some studying as is usually thought to be." Given that he was living above a public bathhouse at the time, it seems he could claim some authority for his view. There is, I am sur...

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Tillich, Theology and Philosophy

If I say that for me Paul Tillich is the most important theologian to work during my lifetime, and I do, it is because he brings his methodical German mind to the task and combines theology and philosophy. He was already known to students of theology when, many years ago, John Robinson, bishop of W...

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Memories of Wales

It was my good fortune to live twice in Wales, once in the south, once in the north. During that time I came to love the principality very deeply, both for its extraordinary beauty and for the character of its people. I have so many fond memories of that lovely country. They include sailing on Bala ...

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BREXIT & champagne

The results of the British referendum on to remain or to leave the European Union have just been declared. The outcome is a Brexit victory. The United Kingdom will leave. I recognise that 48.2% of the voting British population have a view on the issue which is different from mine. However, as an En...

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A Peterborough Experience

Ruth and I were in Peterborough in South Australia's mid-north recently. We journeyed up on the rather dilapidated Indian Pacific train. We used it because I am a train-lover and would use just about any train in order just to be onboard and enjoy the sensation of steel wheels on steel rails and the...

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A Great Reading Opportunity

Sand Writers, a writing group based in Goolwa, South Australia, recently published its 5th volume of Speak Out, a collection of writings largely by its members. The very high quality content includes short stories, poetry, commentary, reviews, profiles and short articles. Many subjects are cove...

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Writing a Novel

I'm in the final stages (I hope!) of editing a novel that deals with murder and detective work. I've learnt something important from the process. It's hard work! That needs just a little clarification. The writing is not hard work. That's fun and quite exhilarating as the story moves on towards its...

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Justice, Equity and an Election

I don't pretend that others see the looming election as I do. I am not excited.  I am not excited because I don't hear any political party talking about moral leadership, political philosophy, justice, equity, compassion, mercy or in fact anything that makes for a better society. A great deal ...

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Change, Survival, or Extinction?

Lylle Schaller, in his 1972 book, The Change Agent. The Strategy of Innovative Leadership, wrote, 'Every organisation, but especially non-profit organisations which do not have easy-to-read evaluations of fulfillment of purpose, tend to move survival and institutional maintenance to the to...

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Agrigento -another world

I have been thinking quite a lot about Agrigento recently. I don't really know why, except that at some time in the future - not the immediate future - I intend to return there, this time to paint in the valle dei templi, the valley of temples (though it's not a valley at all, but a ridge). I first...

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Memories of Bruges

I first went to Bruges many years ago. As a young man I was on a cycling holiday in Belgium and the Netherlands. It was my good fortune to find myself in the town during Mardi Gras, so though I have no record of the dates, it was obviously spring, the last day before the 40 days of Lent. It was a t...

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A Few Days at Lakes Entrance

Ruth and I have just enjoyed a few days at Lakes Entrance. We had not visited the area before and were astonished at the extent of the waterways. I think we shall both remember with pleasure the view down upon the lakes before making the descent into the town as we arrived from Bairnsdale.  W...

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My Writing Mornings

Summer is the time of shortening days and that suits me very well. I start my with a fountain pen in my hand. I begin writing at 5 am and write until 8.15. My first place of writing is a familiar chair in the house. I have a hot mug of tea by my side, made with loose-leaf tea in a teapot. What do ...

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Stone Age Etches

The current edition of New Scientist indicates that etching approximately 13,800 years old has been discovered on a slab of rock about 50 kilometres west of Barcelona. The etching might be of a group of huts, but the important thing to me is that it is, it seems, the oldest example of Mank...

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Reflections on London

To walk in London is to know the old town in a way that is not possible when driving or using the tube or the buses. You absorb it slowly, and therefore in greater detail. It is much the same with other cities. You know Florence, or Rome or Paris or anywhere else best by walking its streets. When I...

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Standing with Belgium

When the multiple-location attacks occurred so recently in Paris, following so closeluy upon the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the words Nous sommes Paris came automatically into my mind. That is how I felt. We all, or at least a great number of us, wanted to declare our one...

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An Empire? Roman? Holy?

In his 1904 book, "The Holy Roman Empire", James Bryce described the Holy Roman Empire as "the wonderful offspring of a body of beliefs and traditions which have almost wholly passed away from the world." It is not my purpose in this blog to agree or disagree with Bryce concerning the claim th...

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The Sunrise of Wonder

It seems to me that a key to living well and finding depth in being is to retain the sense of wonder of the world. I am one of those fortunate people who is happy to set the alarm early and rise well before dawn. I write a page on almost any subject fromabout five o'clock. It takes me about half an...

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A Love of Cornwall

I have visited Cornwall a nuber of times and loved it more on each occasion. The fact that my wife Ruth is of Cornish descent has increased my interest, but I would have found it fascinating anyway. Perhaps, though I would not have been back as often, had Ruth not been of Cornish blood. I certainly...

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Talbot House, Poperinge

Remembrance Day has just passed. We have remembered with gratitude the service and sacrifice of those who gave their lives for their countries including, of course, for Australia. We owe them more than we could possibly repay. The First World War saw the creation of a very important Every Man's Clu...

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The Best Way Out is Always Through

Robert Frost wrote, in 1914, "The best way out is always through." The wisdom of that  can hardly be challenged. We all find ourselves from time to time in circumstances which we wish we could escape. The time would come when many Americans would wish they were somewhere other than in theatres ...

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The Australian Outback

Recently I saw the film, 'The Last Cab to Darwin'. Anyone who has seen it will find it hard to forget Rex, the Broken Hill cab driver. There were some fine acting performances, but perhaps the real star of the film was the multi-redded outback which provides the setting for the film. I am a regular...

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Marriage Day

      Every day is a marriage day, of course, for those enjoying a happy marriage relationship. But you can do things to celebrate marriage. One way of celebrating it is described in my article, Marriage Day, published in the Special 100 issue of The People's Friend, publish...

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The Abominable Tea Bag

I was watching an episode of The Antiques Roadshow not so long ago and enjoying an expert's assessment of a fine teapot which had been brought to him. It was a fine teapot, one I would love to own (as an owner of many teapots). During the discussion with the owner he said that the teapot w...

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Thoughts on Christian Leadership

Henri Nouwen wrote in "The Wounded Healer" in 1972, "...no one can help anyone without becoming involved, without entering with his whole person into the painful situation, without taking the risk of becoming hurt, wounded or even destroyed in the process. The beginning and the end of all Christian ...

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A RED FOUNTAIN PEN

I wrote some months ago about my Ferrari fountain pen. It's a very special one because I bought it as a result of visiting the Ferrari museum at Marinello last year. It's red, as might be expected of a Ferrari product. The clip on the handle has the black Ferrari prancing horse on a yellow backgroun...

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Winter in Echuca

Last week Ruth and I spent some time in Echuca on the Upper Murray. I recall well my first visit to that fascinating town. It was during the summer tourist season and the place was so packed with people that it was difficult to find a seat in a cafe for coffee, and there were queues for many things...

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Two Morning Sparrows

A few mornings ago, at 7.15, before the sun  had shown its face, but a glow was present in the eastern sky, I saw two sparrows perched on the top of a large rose bush in our back garden. The bush was once which contains a bird feeder, but it was too early for birds to be breakfasting. The two,...

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Easter and Simnel Cake

There are more important things about Easter than simnel cake, but nevertheless I engaged in a long English Easter tradition by baking and decorating one a day or two ago, and today we cut it and ate the first slices. My wife Ruth, my son Richard and I went first to church. Easter is, in our f...

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Lovely Queenstown

Last week Ruth and I were in New Zealand. It was the first time I had been in that lovely country for many years. On that only other time I was a merchant seaman sailing out of London on a refrigerated cargo ship. We visited Invercargill, Port Chalmers, Duinedin, Lyttleton (Christchurch) and Welling...

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Mark's Gospel

The Revised Common Lectionary used for preaching during the 2014-2015 Church year determines that Mark is the gospel for the year. One of the difficulties of readings during church services is that they are read as stand-alone passages, and of course they don't stand alone . They are all part of lo...

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Cricket and Mr Orwell

"Will cricket survive?" wrote George Orwell in the days when it was still played. He was reviewing a book. "Cricket Country", by Edmond Blunden whom he describes in the reveiw as "a true cricketer." "The test of a true cricketer," Orwell wrote, 'is that he shall prefer village cricket to good crick...

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The World Around Me

      We live in an  area where we see kangaroos almost daily. As I look from our kitchen or lounge window across the road to the field opposite I see, more often than not, kangaroos feeding and occasionally drinking. At times I have seen up to a dozen from one of those...

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Thinking About Peace

      Three and a half centuries ago John Milton wrote,             'Peace hath her victories             no less renowned than war.' Do we admire men and women o...

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The Beauty of Wales

      I read this morning in a writers' magazine of a 5-day writers' retreat at Ty Newydd at LLanystumdwy in North Wales. My mind raced to the exhilerating beauy of the principality and my two periods of residence in Wales.       To spend a wee...

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Je suis Charlie

      There has rightly been great horror expressed after the murders carried out at the offices of Paris' Charlie Hedbo journal.       There have been many other atrocities committed during our time, some with far greater loss of life. Yet none, pe...

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James Elroy Flecker

James Elroy Flecker is a (was a) poet who ought to be better known. I cannot help asking what he might have achieved had he not died at the ago of 30. On January 3rd, 1915, consumption ended his brief life at Davos. He is buried at Cheltenham in the west of England. I should like to see his grave an...

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The Appropriate Present

      With Christmas now two-and-a-half weeks behind us we are probably getting used to the presents we received on Christmas morning. Some perhaps are "just what we wanted", others might be less appropriate. Some might even have been just what we needed.    ...

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A Family of Magpies

Because I start work at five each morning, I am able to enjoy the wakings of the birds in the garden. We have a pair of blue wrens, the male looking magnificent, who have made our garden their major place of abode. To see them flitting among the shrubs and flower beds and occasionally across the pa...

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To save or not to save; that is the question

"Free", says the advertisement, thus grossly misusing the word.  All forms of advertising seem to misuse it. Radio, newspapers, dodgers, television, internet - all carry advertisements using the word "free". They also use the word "save". Both words are used in ways that are parodies that add u...

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Standing common values on their heads

I'm working my way through the Greek of the apostle Paul's letter to the Christian Church in Rome. I've been doing so for about four months, and I'm about halfway through chapter 12. That makes my progress not quite two-thirds of the way through the letter. Greek, of course, is the language in...

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A New Fountain Pen

I am a sucker for fountain pens. I can't resist them. I bought one this year as a result of visiting the Ferrari museum at Marinello. It's a handome red fountain pen with the Ferrari black prancing horse on a yellow background. The pen is magnetised and that makes it different from any other foun...

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To Be A Janus?

I have a Janus watch. That isn't its official name of course, though I think it's an appropriate one. It was not advertised as a Janus watch. I have forgotten its official description. It was probably called something like a dual-time watch or something similar, but certainly not as precise or suit...

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My Janus Watch

I have a Janus watch. That's not its correct name, though my opinion is that it certainly ought to be. I've forgotten what description it was sold under. It was probably called something mundane like 'a dual-time-keeping' watch. I think my title is better. My watch is two-faced, you see. like the m...

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A Bad Bishop and Good Friends

Chess has some interesting terms. One of them is "Bad Bishop." A bad bishop is a bishop which is unable to move freely because friendly pawns, themselves unable to move, hem it in. Is there a picture of life there? Can well-meaning friends get in the way when something important needs to be done, ...

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A Few Hours on the Murray

A few days ago Ruth, Richard and I spent 3 hours on board the paddlesteamer Captain Proud, based at Murray Bridge. We were starying in the town for five days, so thought it would be a pleasant things to do, and so it turned out to be. I've posted a review of the experience in the travel section of ...

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