Meandering Thoughts


Samantha, Fats at the back, Whiskey Bean, Manfried is the Maltese in front and then Ennery. plus two cats.

I just finished writing a blog
an exercise in thoughts you might say
as I had to remember back fifty years
when the first dog came my way.

In it’s own way it was fun
remembering back all that time
and the memories of all of the dogs
stirred other thoughts of a different kind.

Of time spent in the country where I was born
and the people there that I knew
the life I lived and the jobs that I had
and the wives of which there were two.

A childhood romance when we were young
not knowing what life was all about
bringing into this world two beautiful sons
before life filled us full of doubt.

Into another’s arms her love to feel
with struggle and strife along the way
and finally making it all worthwhile
as off to America a new life a new way.

Sadly America was not the cure
for after ten years of married bliss
all of the dreams came tumbling down
my world fell into the abyss.

Another lady filled the void
with her life was full as it could be
after fifteen years of married bliss
once more back to misery.

I decided I was not the marrying kind
and spent the next twenty five years alone
except for the dogs of which there were many
everyone important as though to atone.

For the fact that I make a terrible mate
but a friend to the dogs is not very hard
and the love for a woman seemed not to be there
but I love all dogs with the highest regard.

If I could live my life again
there would be many things I would change
but there is one thing of which I am sure
my love for all dogs is stronger than before.

Wives would have no part of that life
as they only bring trouble and strife
instead my life would be full of dogs
with wagging tails and sloppy tongues.

And love so strong it is a shame
their lives are so short and sweet
but another is ready to take it’s place
with instant love as soon as we meet.

Written 1/19/2018

Link to the other blog here.


What is Wrong with the World?

DSC_5100What is wrong with this modern world? It is a question that everyone should be asking themselves.

The news we read or listen to every day is always about something horrible that has happened somewhere or to someone in this country or across the World. I understand that to make things newsworthy require some sort of sensationalism but it is very sad that so much of it relates to violence in one form or another that man is inflicting on each other. It is not just this country but many that are having this problem.

For better or worse, we are in an age of instant notification. If something happens that someone, somewhere deems as newsworthy, whatever it may be, it is broadcast around the world in an instant and becomes common knowledge to anybody that cares to read or listen to it. So, the question arises, “Was the world always like this and we just didn’t learn about it prior to the Internet and other forms of information sharing?” Because of the instant notification, is it creating a copycat instinct in people’s mind to be bigger and badder than the person they just read about?

When I was growing in England 70 years ago, life was so simple. There were no TV’s or computers. We didn’t even have a phone and our only form of contact with the world was by radio and the BBC. We would be glued to it listening to the news about the ongoing World War 11 and in the early years, wondering if jerry would cross the Channel and attack us. When the war ended, it took a long while before TV was introduced and with it came the first changes to a quiet way of living which would never ever again, be the same.

I came to America when I was 32 years old for the betterment of my family and myself mainly because I was given the opportunity. In the early years, life was quiet and reminiscent of the English way of life with an American twist to it and although there were personal setbacks along the way, I adopted this country as my own and became a citizen. Now, as time goes by, I am becoming increasingly aware that things are changing. Sure, I am an old man now and not much longer for this world but what I see going on around me makes me so very sad.

Parents no longer take or have the time to teach their kids about simple things like common decency and good manners and being polite and not so demanding. It is an uphill battle as the kids are bombarded from all sides with information both good and bad and they are forever to be found with their noses glued to their cell phones. I was in the doctor’s office the other day and these two kids came in probably around 16-17 years old. The girl had a recently broken nose which still included two black eyes and a huge plaster strip over it. They saw the doctor and came out with the girl leading the way. At the door leading out of the office, the girl opened the door and held it open to let the guy go out first. My immediate reaction was incredulity that she, the injured one would open the door for him and he never made any move to get to the door first or to offer her any help. Where were his manners or his concerns. Has he never been taught what manners are? I guess the bigger question may be that do the younger sexes consider themselves to be equal and things like good manners or treating the female sex in a special way are no longer important.

I see families walking around the Supermarket and the kids that are in their teens have their noses glued to their phones. There is no conversation within the family unless one of the parents asks one of the kids to get something and immediately following that, the noses are back into the phones. It makes you wonder what sort of a family life do people have nowadays.

Which brings me back to where I started. It appears that violence is on an increase and everything can become a lethal weapon. It is no longer just a gun or a knife although these are usually the weapons of choice but now the automobile joins the list of murder tools. What is really frightening is the lack of moral character that these individuals that commit these murders display. Whether the problem is drugs or alcohol or just a plain ole chip on the shoulder, this country and the world in general are becoming less and less safe.

Do I have a solution? I wish I could say that I did but I don’t. Sometimes there is a lot to be said for the good old days when life was so simple, comparatively speaking. Modern gadgets are supposed to help us and make life better and from many points, they have with the advances in medicine and man’s trip to the moon bringing with it modern technology. I guess there is a price to pay for all of this advancement and it is showing up in all of the violence. People are empowered like never before and when they feel like it, take the law into their own hands and only after do they realize the consequences.

Too bad as this country has so much potential but the quality of leadership is declining and along with it, the American Dream and the American Way of Life. If I was a religious man I should say, “God help us all” about now but I doubt that even he can do much to help a world that is turning on itself. Or maybe, that is a part of His plan given the way we treat the world. Maybe, we are reaping the rewards for all of our efforts to destroy the world through Global Warming. Are we being manipulated?

Town Lake in Austin 8-6-2017

DSC_0580I hadn’t been out for either a hike or a photographic trip in over a week and wanted desperately to get back out again. One reason was to fill my mind with other thoughts as I grieved over the loss of my little dog, Richie and I had to get my mind back onto regular things. I didn’t want to take a long hike as the weather is still so hot and very uncomfortable so a short walk on the Town Lake trails seemed like a very good idea.

I opted to park in the lot next to the Zachary Scott Theatre Center off Lamar Boulevard and wander along that part of the trail as far as the bridge over the creek on Barton Springs Road. As it was a weekend, the trail was very busy with runners, cyclists, people with dogs, people without dogs, lovers walking hand in hand and families pushing young kids in strollers, the obvious end result of lovers walking hand in hand.

You name it and every kind was out on the trail.

Turning my attention to the Lake, I saw that it was filled with people in canoes of various types and on surf boards all paddling around in different directions as they enjoyed the Texas summer day on the Lake. Many of the metal canoes had the name of a rental company printed on them. Others were probably owned by the people paddling them. There were dogs everywhere either swimming alongside or actually in the canoes or on the paddleboards. Many of the people, especially those of the female gender were dressed in the barest minimum of skimpy bikinis with lots of flesh showing.  Many of the guys had their shirts off to catch the sun on their bodies and although I didn’t see any ladies in bikinis who shouldn’t have worn them, I did see many of the gentlemen whose portly shapes indicated to much good living and not enough exercise. Paddling a canoe around in circles barely counts as exercise and the amount of visible flab is hardly the way to attract the ladies.

I wandered along taking pictures and wishing that I had brought the camera with the telescopic lens with me as well as the one that I carried to zoom in on some of those long range shots. I reached the bridge where the trail crosses Barton Creek and took several pictures of the view into the city and back up the creek in the reverse direction. This part of the Creek was very popular with lots of people in canoes of all shapes and sizes and the inevitable paddle boards. I even saw a pair of swans who, apart from keeping a wary eye out, totally ignored all of the activity going on around them. The people were good to as most gave the swans a wide berth. Interesting how Nature eventually blends together given the right circumstances.

I passed one very hot looking policeman and chatted to him for a bit. When I said that it was a bit warm, he remarked that it was overtime so was worth getting a little hot. I agreed and moved on. I wandered back along the same trail to where my car was parked taking a few more pictures here and there as I went. All in all, an interesting afternoon.

The total trail length is 10 miles and can be broken into smaller segments by crossing any of the bridges to complete the loop and there are several different places to park to gain access to the trail. On any given day, there are always people out on this trail.

The slideshow is of the different views of the Lake  especially of the people in the watercraft.

Town Lake 8-6-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Hiking on a Weekend…

DSC_0314I never really had any intent
to hike today thinking instead
I would stay inside and write in my blog
out of the sun and my thoughts to log
onto the page of the next blog I write
hoping to make it a wonderful sight
so that others can read the words on the page
and hope gain something as they engage
in reading this blog fresh from my mind
stories to share of the Nature kind.

I try not on a weekend to hike
not that it doesn’t give me delight
but I like to stay away from the crowd
as noisy and raucous as I have found
that out on the trails solitude makes
happiness when there are pictures to take
especially of animals and birds that need quiet
so as to not get their picture spoilt
a difficult time that often fails
approaching anything live on the trails
as my walking poles make so much noise
and there is no way to disguise
that something is coming and it’s time to flee
and they are gone before they see me.

As much as I like on the trails to meet
other people who are using their feet
getting around out on the path
walking and talking and so I ask
“Can I take your picture” as they walk by
and most of them give me a short reply
“Certainly” as I explain
that I write a blog but I refrain
from using their names just a picture or two
showing them smiling in my view.
I give them my card and wish them well
as I go forward on up the hill
one foot in front of the other I place
sticking to my usual slow pace
and like the tortoise who beat the hare
I reach the end of the trail that I share
with others like me who really feel
Nature’s serenity and beauty is something real.


dsc_4115I think back about my life
that spans four score years and one
remembering days of long ago
when things were different and oh so slow.

Time is not measured by a clock
in hours and minutes as we know
that time in life is a different time
sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

When I was young all those years ago
time was passing ever so slow
and I could pack much in a day
and life just seemed an endless play.

Now that my race is almost run
even though life is still much fun
days that used to be so long
pass by so fast just like a song.

When I get up to start the day
not knowing what I will do to play
maybe a hike or write a blog
or out in the yard to work like a dog.

Whatever it is I will have fun
knowing my race is almost run
no more worries and no more cares
just live the life and see what fairs.

Of one thing I can be sure
life is not a revolving door
I only get one chance to shine
to make the most of my allotted time.

When my time is up I will be sad
there is so much living left to add
to the years spent on this earth
when each day brings a miracle of birth.

And Nature brings forth and shines
new growth new life each welcoming times
making a brand new cheerful day
for those that remain behind to play.

Life is an ever changing thing
in this magnificent universe
to get share whatever the strife
is worth the time we span our life.


Love and Promises…


With so much rain these past few days here in my part of Texas, I have been able to catch up on a lot of the things that I had been putting off or had not gotten to. I’m talking blog work and such that requires a lot of my attention. I’m definitely not talking about cleaning and dusting my house. It would need a long winter socked in by about ten feet of snow to even come close in giving me enough time to complete that task. As we very rarely get snow in Central Texas around Austin, I am quite safe in predicting that my house will not get cleaned any time soon. The floors get mopped because I have three dogs but absolutely no dusting even though the  dogs do contribute to the layers of dust that covers everything. If I could just teach them to dust…

Maybe I need to get one of those, whatchamacallits, darn it, what are they called? I know, they are called wives. Wait a minute, I already tried that, three times in fact and they didn’t work for me. Anyway, the modern wife doesn’t know anymore about cleaning and dusting than I do and has even less inclination to do that sort of work. It would be a lot cheaper to hire a maid service than to get another wife which is what the modern wives do anyway. I am too old and set in my ways to share anything with anybody unless I don’t want it for some reason or another and then I will gladly give it away. Besides, at eighty years old, what could I offer anyone besides my unbounded selfishness, my dirty house and inept and decrepit old body.

The one thing I am still good at as age begins to take away some of my finer points is the ability to recognize a beautiful woman as I pass them in the streets and in the stores while I am out and about. This is to the extent that I stare straight at them with no subtle sideways glances and no attempt to hide my obvious delights in their beauty. Some of them probably think of me as a “dirty old man” and in retrospect, I probably am but what the hell, what else is left? I think I might enjoy a slapped face or a biting remark just because it would remind me that I am still alive and bring back memories of when I used to “love” others. It’s true, I fall in “love” with every beautiful girl I see.

Which got me thinking about “love”. What is love anyway other than being a four letter word?  It has got to be the most used word in the English language at least between two people. The guy says it to get in her pants and the girl says it to get into his wallet. Or maybe she has bigger designs and wants to take the whole thing, house, car, bank account…I love my camera but it is not capable of responding. I love my dogs and cats and all animals. Well, most of them. They do not have to give me anything in return but they do. I wonder if in their little brains or their nervous system, they have anything close to love. I know they have affection but is that the same thing? Probably is for them.

I “love” to hike but how can love be returned from such a static environment. I love the English Premier League and watching Wayne Rooney play, I love audio books and listening to a good story, I love my car and on and on and from anything that I love, is it returned to me as love? I don’t think so. It’s like watching a show on television where the couple are running for their lives and it looks hopeless and he tells her, “I love you AND I promise to get you out of this”. How the heck is he going to do that when all the odds are stacked against him and yet he makes a “promise”? I guess if they are both dead, technically, he didn’t really break or keep it and of course, a good screenwriter will save the day for him but even so, “promise” is another overused word with very little meaning. Those three wives all “promised” and they are all gone…

Don’t get me wrong. I like most people and as far as I can tell at this late age in my life, have no known enemies. All of those that wanted my head in my early days have either died or at the most become senile enough they can’t remember that I chased after their wives. Some people I like much more than others but the truth is, I don’t love any of them and neither will I promise to save them from the end of the world.

There are some exceptions of course, most notably sons and daughters but I was not including them in this particular conversation. But, I promise to leave each of them a million dollars. Now that one is easy to break.  Such is life.


Members Only Tour, Saturday May 9

Even the Deer joined in.

Even the Deer joined in.

As I had indicated in an earlier blog of this event, we were all to meet at the “Y” at Oak Hill to get our instructions from Jeannie. Everyone else had to follow a set of clues to arrive at the different locations but because I wanted to take pictures, Jeannie had furnished me with my own set of instructions with actual addresses on them so that I didn’t have to follow the clues. I met with everyone else at the “Y” and there were about nine cars ready to go. I quickly moved on ahead to get a good start driving directly to Sol’stice in Dripping Springs which I knew well having passed it many times on my way to Tractor Supply to buy fish food.

When I arrived, I was met by the owner Chris Smartt, who chatted with me for a bit before sending me on my way to take pictures.  Sol’stice is a very interesting place. In some respects it is like a regular garden nursery with plants and trees of many varieties for sale but what really makes it different, are the pieces of metal art work hung or placed around the three acre that makes up the site. Inside the house, there are paintings and other art items enough to interest any collector of fine art of the garden and house variety.

You can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them. You can also scroll left or right after enlarging them.

I happily wandered around taking pictures as fast as I could click the shutter. There were so many interesting things, some very beautiful and others, not so much but all were very artistic. In the house, taking the pictures presented a different challenge with the outside light coming through the windows requiring me to constantly be making adjustments to the camera. Altogether, I took more than 175 pics but many will get discarded along the way as I edit it down to a manageable slide show.

It turns out that the next stop on this fun trip was to see a pond close to Wimberley. It had originally been a swimming pool that was no longer in use. Chris had done all of the heavy work like placing the rocks and plumbing and such and was very enthused by the end result. I bid my farewells and after punching the address into my GPS system, was on my way. It was several miles but a very nice drive. I was almost the last to arrive and was met by a gentleman, John McMillan who introduced himself to me as the owner, after directing me to a parking place.

Most of the members who had participated were gathered on the far side of the pond. I wandered over to see the attraction and discovered drinks and cookies, which explained everything. I walked around taking a lot of pictures and had some company with one of the Grandsons who was  interested in what I was doing and kept pointing out things for me to photograph. The pond itself was very nice and it looked like one end had been turned into a semi bog area to help keep the water clean. The pump and filters were very cleverly hidden and the only sign of moving water was a fountain that bubbled up through the rocks. I wandered around and took a lot of pictures and managed to stay away from the cookies and then moved on to the final stop at Nancy and Jake’s pond. Interesting to note that both ponds that we visited are converted swimming pools and Nancy’s is the only one that still resembles a pool, probably because of the wooden deck.

Since the last time that we had been to their pond, which was for the Christmas get together, they had rebuilt the bog utilizing the full size of it to clean the water. The end result is that the water in the pond is remarkably clear and it is now possible to almost see the bottom of the pond at the 6 feet deep end.

The fish looked in great shape and the big red and silver one is a real eye catcher. It was interesting to see that they had established an underwater growth of hornwort that apparently the Koi were not interested in tearing apart. I asked Nancy how they had done it and she said that it had all happened on its own without any help from either her or Jake other than dropping the original piece into the water. Something worth trying. I took a lot of pictures and as someone had brought an apple pie and there were also brownies lurking around, helped myself to both. I skipped the hot-dogs.

Of the nine cars that attended the event, everyone had a good time and seemed to enjoy themselves. The event had been set up so that the participants had to find their way to the three different places by filling out the various clues that were along the way. Jeannie had even bought prizes (Blowing Bubbles) for the top three participants but as nearly everybody had them all correct, the prizes were shared by everyone each taking turns to blow bubbles. We all sat around talking about the trip and how much fun it had been. We resolved that we need another such trip before the year is out. If anyone has any ideas for a similar trip, please contact Jeannie.