Christmas 2017


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I am writing this September 29 almost three full months until Christmas Day and have deliberately posted on this Special Day. I think that for the past several years, I have written something about Christmas although never three months before the actual event.

Usually, my writing has been about the commercialization of this time of the year when the significance of Christmas is lost in the chase for the almighty dollar which sadly still reigns supreme for most of the country.

This is the end of September and the first signs of this dollar madness is already showing with ads for Christmas shopping already beginning to appear. The big box stores are already selling Christmas decorations and they are only waiting for Thanksgiving to be over before decorating those stores.  A lot of families who have been paying off their last years Christmas debt are hoping to have enough space on the same credit cards to repeat the process for this year. As for the kids, this is America so get them what they want. They deserve it as they are only young once. Never mind that the family is in debt to pay for the expensive goodies but if their buddy or closest friend has one, then they must have one, whatever it is.

Well, you know what, I refuse to rant and rave about it this year as I have in previous years. This is a time of reflection, of taking a good long look within yourself to see just how you as an individual, measure up. It’s not about the expensive gifts and toys that are forgotten immediately the celebrations are over or about the one upmanship that sadly intrudes upon our lives. This is all about loving thy neighbor, the guy across the street or the homeless man on the street corner who can always use a helping hand. This is a season of giving if no more than a word of thanks.

Lets celebrate Christmas the way it should be by sharing a part of us with those not so fortunate and I can guarantee that not only will each and everyone of us feel just a little bit better but that the world is a little better place.

Happy Holidays to one and all.

Written 9/27/2017

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Audiobooks and writing.


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For those of you that follow my blogs, you know that I am a big fan of Audiobooks reserved strictly for listening whilst out driving in the car. I do not listen at home with the single exception of when I am in the hot tub relaxing after a long hike and then sometimes, I will bring out the portable speaker as I soak and unwind.

Even though I write a blog and to date have posted over 700 articles, I do not consider myself a writer in the strict sense of the word. No, I am a reporter that can write an interesting (I hope) narrative of something that has occurred that usually, I have been involved in. Whether it be a hike or an Austin Pond Society Meeting or a poem, they are all things that I have been a part of or lucky enough to witness. Sometimes, I will get on my high horse and start ranting about something that I find disturbing that is happening in the rest of the World outside of my little part of it. I like to think I have an interesting style, enough for my readers to enjoy but as we are all different, I can only hope.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog. I have tried several times to write a novel and in a couple of cases have even written over 500 or more pages on a story but have never been very happy with the end result and have never pursued it further. As I listen to a story on Audiobooks, a part of my mind is trying to figure out where the story is going and what might be the next step the hero or heroine will take. Sometimes, I get it right but most of the time, my mind is just not devious enough to figure things out. Some of the twists and turns I would never have expected and when they go in a particular direction, my mind is in awe of the writer’s ingenuity. I guess that is what makes some writers truly great and some stories super interesting when nothing is as it seems.

What will I write about when I can no longer hike and have given up my interest in ponds as a hobby? Does that mean that I will also give up writing (reporting) as I will no longer have these things to write (report) on or will my mind grow more devious as I age? I suppose that in all probability, my mind will also deteriorate as I get older along with all of the other physical aspects of living. Maybe I will lose the ability to put one word after another to make an interesting story. This will pretty much solve the dilemma of writing or reporting if I will not be able to do either. I can probably fall back to writing bad poetry as a few disjointed and mangled or missing words here and there will not be noticed.

Who knows what the future may hold. With limited time left on this earth all I can hope for that other than getting more and more forgetful, the rest of the brain still knows how to act and will continue to function until I no longer care. At that point, goodbye world.

AND I can listen to Audiobooks on my way out….

Written 9/28/2017

The Future-What does it Hold for the Human Race.


visiting-grandmaI wrote a piece a while ago about cell phones and the way people are now totally addicted to them and want to pursue this topic a bit further. Being older and having memories of life before cell phones, I feel that I am somewhat qualified to discuss this topic at least from a personal point of view.

My concerns are many in this particular area. For starters, this has the makings of a good novel and maybe even a series about how the World population was taken over by cell-phones and humans lost the ability to think for themselves or even communicate one on one without consulting their phone first. Conversations, even with the person right next to you were conducted through your phone not verbally as we would normally expect. People would receive calls from “Interested Parties” telling them what to wear, what to eat, what to do today after work, what groceries to buy and what shop to buy them at and on and on until in the end, humans lost the ability to think or reason without being told by their phones. In fact, they became brainwashed into being totally dependant on their phones for everything.

Does this sound familiar? Something from the world of George Orwell or H.G. Wells of years gone by. Take a look around you the next time you are in a crowd of people or a Supermarket. You can almost guarantee that any kids even the very youngest have their face glued to a phone or a tablet even as they are walking around with their parents as they circle the aisles. In many cases, the Parents are either also talking on the phone, checking for messages or even consulting their grocery list which is where, you got it, on their phone. I read somewhere that the art of penmanship is rapidly dying out as more and more people use either a phone or a computer to write with and many younger kids, have not mastered the basics of writing. Even in my day, penmanship quickly deteriorated when ball point pens were invented but at least virtually everyone could read and write. Now it is questionable in both cases. Personally, I prefer to use a computer to write with because at least, everyone can read the words which is not necessarily true of my handwriting which sometimes verges on the point of ineligible due to my hasty scribbling. I was watching an English Premier League football match the other day and saw several people in the crowds checking their phones so it is not just this country that has the problem.

Getting back to the point of the blog. I can only imagine what the home life of an average family is in this day and age. Personal conversations with friends take precedence over everything else which includes both verbal and texting. I wonder how many families have rules at home of how much and when their kids can use their phones? At the meal table? During family conversations? When the family is doing something together and on and on. I would imagine that the worst punishment that any kid can get is to have their cell phone taken away.

Where is this all leading to? How long before we become a Nation so reliant on our phones that we find it impossible to operate without them. I am lucky that being very old and those that are in my generation are in the same boat, that we do not have the same need for a cell phone other for maybe as a safety net in case something happens to us such as, “Help, I have fallen over and can’t get back up” or worse yet, “Help, I think I am having a heart attack”.

We are being controlled and manipulated by “Big Business” in a very subtle way as we are bombarded from all sides with truths, untruths, false advertising and claims to do this or buy that and every conceivable pressure that is possible. All because of our reliance on our phones.

How do I end this blog? I predict that things will only get worse and that this is exactly what the Powers That Be are very happy with especially the way things are falling out. Whether they actually foresaw this is anybody’s guess but I bet someone was smart enough to figure this out to be another way to control the masses. Did I mention that the only calls I answer is if I recognize the name. If not, they are not going to get to me like they are to the rest of you guys…
Switch off the phone and see what the rest of the world looks like.

Written 12//7/2017

What to do on a Rainy Day


Today it is raining, the first wet day since Hurricane Harvey. This rain is of the normal kind and maybe signals the start of our Texas Fall. It is dark outside of my window as the clouds have socked in and the rain falls.

I welcome the rain as does my garden. The plants open their leaves to gather in the precious moisture to give them life and the roots drink as the water seeps into the ground.

I sit indoors and write away on my computer trying to express my thoughts and feelings into words that other may share. Rainy days are so few and far between here in my part of Texas that I welcome them.

I have a couple of projects outside that I need to finish but they will keep until the rain has moved on as I am only too glad to see it fall. So different than when I lived in England and it seemed like it rained every day, enough to drive me to this country after I was given the opportunity.

Tomorrow, the sun will shine and the clouds will blow away and we will be through with the rain for a couple of days but this is Fall in Texas and it will rain again. Between now and the Spring, the creeks will fill and the rivers will flow stronger. Until the Summer and they will be dry.

Written 9/26/2017

Buescher State Park – 9-24-2017


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There are ten individual pictures to make up this Pano

I decided at the last minute that I would drive to Buescher State Park in Smithville to see how the Park was recovering after the devastating fires from a few years ago, 2011 to be exact. The plan was to go in the Park entrance and then take Park Road 1C back through to Bastrop State Park as I hadn’t planned to hike any of the trails. I turned off HWY 71 where the sign pointed to the Park and arrived at the Park gate only to see that it was barricaded off with another sign indicating that I should follow the Detour instead.

I turned around and then followed the Detour which I figured would bring me back into the park from the back end, so to speak. There are several roads that lead into the park that have private residences so not all accesses are controlled. I drove around for a bit just checking things out. The Park was pretty quiet as far as visitors go with a few cars parked at the cabins. I drove to the lake and looked around but it too was very quiet and I couldn’t see any bird life at all.

I decide to take Park Road 1C and head towards Bastrop State Park and then stopped at the two overlooks located along the way.  The picture at the top of the page is a pano of 10 separate pictures joined together. It truly is a wonderful view. The picture below is a single picture taken from the first overlook.

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Continuing along Park Road 1C, I noticed that the flowers were out in abundance and then as I turned another corner, came across a road washout which completely prevented me from continuing towards Bastrop State Park. I am not sure when this washout occurred but it must have been very recently as no attempt had been made to make any repairs. I turned the car around and then walked back to take a few pictures mostly of the wild flowers.

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I had no choice other than to backtrack and head out of the Park off one of the other roads which was no problem. It looks like the Park is coming back to life and there is a lot of new vegetation and young trees growing. Even the Loblolly Pines that were planted just after the burn are beginning to grow back. Nature is a pretty wonderful thing and has remarkable powers of recovery and even takes the opportunity to wield her magic brush and paint a different picture than was there before.

Written 9/26/2017

Taking the time…


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Have you ever taken the time
to look around you at the checkout line
and what is it that becomes known
that everyone has their phone
busy scanning just in case
as around the store they did race
they might have missed a call or two
and if they did what would they do
shrivel up and die because of the loss
maybe it was a call from their boss
or better yet one from the kids
telling her they are in a fix
and whatever the trouble may be
its instant contact so Mother can see
that they are OK no harm done
no need to hurry we’re having fun
and out to the car to make the drive home
once more to check on the phone
just in case between here and there
another text comes in wanting to share
did you get the ice cream this one reads
and on it goes until one needs
to turn it off to get some relief
for personal time there is no belief
all the time that you have the phone
you will never be alone.

Written 9/22/2017

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What Can I Say?


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What can I say that will change your mind
as you look at me for one last time
with that long and lingering stare
showing me that you do not care
as other things you need to be
and other places you want to see
and the time we spent has now gone
and you are in fact, moving on
to pastures green with everything new
what that means I haven’t a clue
as I believed with all of my might
that what we had was pure delight
and in each other’s company shared
many moments with none compared
and the love we had would always last
how was I to know it has now passed
as bit by bit it drained away
never to return until this day
when you say to me that we are through
and even though I hadn’t a clue
that in fact you didn’t care
even though my bed you shared
that it was so hard to see
that you no longer cared for me.
I should have written this years ago
twenty five years and I should know
that the day my world came crashing down
as those fateful words did sound
and you walked out of the door
not listening as I implored
for you to stay we can work it out
just give me a chance I have no doubt
that we can be a couple again
instead of you wanting just to be friends
but alas it was not to be
as I remained in my misery
not wanting to live and at the same time
nothing can ever be that sublime
I had my chance and blew it too
an ignorant male who had no clue
that the love of his life no longer cared
and the life that he knew they no longer shared
and as time passed as the years slipped by
never again did I feel the joy
of marriage for love no longer came
and a bachelor’s life it did remain
and now so old so withered and grey
love has passed like the end of the day
and all that remains are the memories true
of the love of his life when things were new.

Written 9/22/2017