Final Curtain


Final Curtain

The cast of The Merry Wives of Windsor takes a final bow on their final night

For two frantic weeks, I had the wonderful job of stage manager to this amazing amateur production.
Amateurs they might be, but amateurish they were not
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about working with them is that they did such a good job playing their roles that I, as a Johnny-Come-Lately, have no idea at all what they are like in real life.


Some months ago, one of my former students in Damascus reminded me of a discussion we once had when I was teaching him English. He had tried to convince me that I was mispronouncing “chaos” because all the words he knew that started with “ch” had a “soft” start, like “church” and “chimney.”
In my letter back to him, I reminded him that English can be such a complicated language because it is the child of many many fathers, with all the problems of its mother’s complex relationships.
I probably called it a “bastard” language back then, with all the wryness of someone who had herself only recently learned of the depths such a status could indicate: a chasm between self and family, between self and community.
Chaos comes to English from Latin, but it is a bastard in itself, coming into Latin from Greek. It comes into English from the Vulgate where it was the word for the vast open unformed emptiness that preceded the seven days of creation.

Chaos stands against cosmos 
As bastard stands against family
As order stands against disorder
Ahh — but think!
Think of all the creative potential
Think of what happens outside the walls
There in the borderlands
Lies all the possibilities for change and growth
Let me, O Lord,
Be the bastard
Who finds how chaos
May yet change
Th’imperfect order
Of the church.
What a funny chaotic language English really is: not empty at all, but very disordered 🙂
Ahhhh – the possibilites




White Poppy
There is a level of unreality in the level of controversy this one flower engendered.
But I will not buy into jingoism
Peace is is not free – it comes at a cost
Sometimes the cost is the voluntary loss of ego

Egos are high
Peace is deep

No colour egos
to the all-colour light
of peace
And the poppies blow
in unbloodied fields

In the Midst of Tears, Smiles

Admittedly, now that my funds have well and truly run out, and my job applications bring no results, there are far too many tearful times

But I have a companion who provides me with good reasons to smile, and even laugh out loud.

A silly German meme posted by a distant friend gave me an idea for a poster of my own. 
Theodore is not to keen on flashes, so I had only one shot to get it right.

And here is the result


White Poppy: Prayer for Peace


White Poppy: Prayer for Peace

Captured in Bournemouth, passed through two photoshop filters
Being used as my avatar on facebook amid despite controversy

I have been accused of being disrespectful to “our” veterans.
The only member of my family who actually fought in one of the “great” wars died.
He had no choice as to whether to fight or not: he was conscripted.
He left behind a wife pregnant with a daughter he would never see, and, as the only son, the family name died with him.

The other veterans in my family were innocent civilians.
My father, a teenager too young to fight, pulled the unexploded bombs out of the houses in his home town. Hardly a week went by without one of his cohort dying in the effort to save the home of a neighbouring family.

As both the Russians and the Allies advanced on the city, my father had the task of getting his mother, sister and baby brother to safety. Those women who were unable to leave the city were raped, from tiny little girls to ancient grandmothers – and I am asked to honour the veterans among whom there are men who raped these innocent women.

I am told that I should honour them because they ‘saved’ the world from Hitler.I should be grateful that we had a “safe” country to land in. Had the allies not decimated the country I was born in, we would not have had to leave.

After the war was over, the Allies took the pulp and paper company that my grandfather had founded and built away from him as part of the reparations, thereby necessitating our leaving our native land.

I should honour the veterans?


I proudly display the white poppy as my prayer for peace. It dishonours no-one.

War dishonours every-one

My poppy will stay on my wall until after that day, because I pray for peace. I pray that our sons and daughters, our grandsons and granddaughters and all of yours too will not have to fight either on their own soil or anyone else’s

I pray that no-one will have to witness, as my father did, the way a pilot and his gunner toyed with a civilian bicyclist riding down the road, dive-bombing and strafing him until the finally managed to hit the bicycle – a nasty bloody game that ended in the death of an unarmed civilian man at the hands of Allied bullies after they had tormented him in a game far uglier than cat and mouse.

I pray that no more white flowers will be stained with the blood of the fallen
I pray that the earth will never again run with rivers of red

This is my prayer for now and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow