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For no apparent reason, the silver haired man ran from his companion, shook a tree branch, then ran back to continue their normal conversation. It was as if nothing had happened. The woman seemed to ignore his sudden departure and return.

Bruce had been stopped in peak hour traffic, in the leafy suburban street, and had noticed the couple walking towards him, engaged in good humoured argument or debate.  Unless this was some bizarre fit, as it seemed, the shaken tree branch must be to illustrate some point. But what could it be?

Just as the couple passed him, the lights up ahead changed and the traffic began to move again. 

Attachments:
Download this file (The Time Lord.azw3)The Time Lord[eBook for Kindle]78 kB
Download this file (The Time Lord.epub)The Time Lord[ePub for e-readers]53 kB

 If you have an e-book reader, a version of this story is available for download, below.

 

Chapter 1

 

 - news flash -

Body in River

Monday

 

The body of a man was found floating in the Iguazú river this morning by a tourist boat. Mary (name withheld) said it was terrible. "We were just approaching the falls when the body appeared bobbing in the foam directly in front of us. We almost ran over it. The driver swerved and circled back and the crew pulled him in. The poor man must have fallen - or perhaps he jumped?"

The body was discovered near the Brazilian side but was taken back to Argentina. Police are investigating and have not yet released details of the man's identity...

 

Iguazú Herald

 

Everywhere we look there's falling water. Down the track to the right is a lookout. Over the other side of the gorge is Brazil, where the cliff faces are covered by maybe a kilometre of falling curtains of white, windswept water. Here and there the curtains hang in gaps or are pushed aside by clumps of trees and bushes, like stagehands peeking out into a theatre before the performance.  

Attachments:
Download this file (A Secret Agent.azw3)A Secret Agent[eBook for Kindle]139 kB
Download this file (A Secret Agent.epub)A Secret Agent[ePub for e-readers]100 kB

There is an obvious sub-text to my short story: The Secret, that I wrote in 2015 after a trip to Russia. Silly things, we might come to believe in, like 'the law of attraction' are not harmless. 

The story is also a reflection on the difference between American and Australian stereotypes, that were evident from conversations on the cruise.

I lived in New York for some time and my eldest daughter was born there. I have visited the US fairly regularly since. It is, in many ways, the closest country to Australia that you will find, outside New Zealand.  So, I have often been surprised by how different it is in other ways to Australia, given the great similarities in the median standard of living, shared popular culture and immigrant demographics.

I have come to the conclusion that this stems from our different founding origins.

 

 

 

 

How I miss Rio.  Rio de Janeiro the most stunningly picturesque city on Earth with its dark green mountains and generous bays, embelezado with broad white, sandy beaches.  Rio forever in my heart.   Rio my a minha pátria, my homeland, where I spent the most wonderful days of my life with linda, linda mãe, my beautiful, beautiful mother. Clambering up Corcovado Mountain together, to our favela amongst the trees.

Thinking back, I realise that she was not much older than I was, maybe fifteen years.  Who knows?

Her greatest gift to me was English. 

Attachments:
Download this file (The password.azw3)The Password[eBook for Kindle]86 kB
Download this file (The password.epub)The Password[ePub for e-readers]33 kB

 

 

 

 

It was hot, dry and dusty when they finally arrived in Jaisalmer.  But then, how often is it not hot and dusty here? 

In the markets a wizened woman, of indeterminate age, is using a straw broom to aggressively sweep the area in front of her shop. The dust will soon be kicked-back by passers-by; or swept back by her neighbours; requiring her to sweep again, and again.  She will do the same again tomorrow; and the day after; and the day after that.

Jennifer's mind is elsewhere. She's has dreamt of visiting exotic India ever since a client at the hairdressers told her, with enthralling details, of her adventures here.

They've arrived in the dusty city late in the afternoon, by road from Jodhpur.  In spite of his preference to visit California or Las Vegas again, she's finally persuaded Bruce that he might like India. He should try something a bit more adventurous for a change.

Below the entrance to the famous Jaisalmer Fort, is a small square that marks the start of the road winding up, then turning at right-angles, through the protective elephant-proof gates.  In this little square, motorised trishaws: Tuk-tuks, jostle restlessly like milling cattle.  They are waiting for tourists, like our travellers, who may hire them tomorrow to see the town or, if they are lazy or tired, just to mount the steep hill up to the Fort. 


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Travel

Cruising to PNG

 

 

 

 

On the 17th February 2020 Wendy and I set sail on Queen Elizabeth on a two week cruise up to Papua New Guinea, returning to Sydney on 2nd March. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Lost Magic

 

 

I recently had another look at a short story I'd written a couple of years ago about a man who claimed to be a Time Lord.

I noticed a typo.  Before I knew it I had added a new section and a new character and given him an experience I actually had as a child. 

It happened one sports afternoon - primary school cricket on Thornleigh oval. 

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Opinions and Philosophy

The Prospect of Eternal Life

 

 

 

To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream:
ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause:
… But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

[1]

 

 

 

 

When I first began to write about this subject, the idea that Hamlet’s fear was still current in today’s day and age seemed to me as bizarre as the fear of falling off the earth if you sail too far to the west.  And yet several people have identified the prospect of an 'undiscovered country from whose realm no traveller returns' as an important consideration when contemplating death.  This is, apparently, neither the rational existential desire to avoid annihilation; nor the animal imperative to keep living under any circumstances; but a fear of what lies beyond.

 

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