Full of Saudades

Pink, her dressing gown hangs on the bedroom door
But Empty :(
Like her place by me in our bed on the floor
Is Empty :(
Her egg cup twins mine at breakfast in morning
So Empty :(
And I could spend life without her, in mourning
Just Empty :(
But her voice fills my ears, her vision my mind :)
And her picture my eyes, her body my touch :)
Her love fills my heart :)
I’m full! Saudades

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Just Do It, Just Did It!

Stepping into my garden as the sky begins to pale, feeling cool moist uncut grass underfoot, seeing a pair of pigeons fly overhead, maybe rats with wings in London but still doves, and dove is love, what Albert E said made the world go round in his role as emcee on the square, I asked myself why I wasn’t writing this.

Things to do, I said.  This is important but they are urgent.  Respond to emails, promote events, hang shells curtain at kitchen door, register with GP, do accounts, transfer catalog, promote latest book, get on with next, make breakfast, eat breakfast, go shopping (with Sainsbury’s cart concealed in garden – well, it says give it back when finished with, and I haven’t, not for years, paid a pound for it anyway), first get dressed … you know the blah blah, we all have our own.

So here am I,  not a statue in white outside the blazing casino but at the desk, having at last understood I build my own blogging blocks and that’s bollox. Now I start the day feeling good.  Thanks, Nike.

This blog contains product placement.

btw Lauren Platt to win?

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Coming Soon To a Download near You: Shiatsu Secrets for Hairdressers: watch this space!


This handy little manual holds the secrets of a unique treatment to transform your hairdressing experience, using special Shiatsu pressure points for relaxation, vitality, and stress relief.
It’s easy to give the massage, and the more you know about it the more you will impress the friends and colleagues you will find eagerly volunteering to be your guinea-pigs, as well as Clients looking for that little extra in their personal pampering program.
Learn to find the secret points, called Tsubos in Shiatsu, with special therapeutic qualities: releasing tension – how many people will go for that!
The first secret is: Shiatsu isn’t just great for clients – it makes you feel good too! You already know people have different sensitivity levels: some like it hard and fast, some slow and gentle; some like a light touch, others more penetrating. Like so many other pleasurable activities the enjoyment of a Shiatsu massage is unique to each individual.
Your hairdresser will thank you for this book!

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A Toe in the Coach Trip

On my way to the Healing Circle, reflecting on last night, seeing my Beloved off at Heathrow to whirl again across the desert dancing round gypsy fires, I had a moment, like you know they creep up on you when you least expect it: after a pleasant evening dipping my toe in the waters of coaching with the lovely Mark Phoenix who rose to the occasion of distracting me from missing her so much it ached, but then, ah then, I came out of the meeting into the street and mindlessly pulled my phone from my pocket to say Hi Honey I’m on my way home…saudades, a word in her language of poetry, untranslateable into ours prosaic.
So I came home to the emptiness and watched Cilla, easing back into the Sixities when London swung and I was in the jungle creeping up on Her Majesty’s enemies and giving ‘em one for England. I rememember that voice, a combination of power and innocence; Sheridan Smith did it justice.
The Coach Trip was fun: I found Mark to be dedicated, enthusiastic, conscientious and inspiring. The bit of coaching I got from him via colleague Winston (I think he was really Wilson but seemed happily misnomered) actually got me thinking about how I can do more of this and less of that. Schedule sorted: I’ve got a publication date in mind, probably my birthday, to e-launch Shiatsu Secrets for Hairdressers on Smashwords and Amazon, before I get back to my more risque business with Taoist Tantra: aiming for Valentines Day.
Now to Camden for the Taoist Healing Circle. Year of the Horse = Life at the Gallop.

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A kind of Sundayness led me to where my Auntie Pat lived: a pebbledash house, once opposite a cricket ground now luxury apartments, with her dog Pongo (yes he did), fishmonger husband and three children, one sporty who married an actress and gave her six children (so much for that);  a  fashionista who married a pipe-smoking oilman, and a pretty communist engaged to an Angry Young Man (he proposed over tea at the Ritz.)

I would go in by the side entrance, now a curly-iron gate, to the kitchen door.  Pat seemed always pleased to see me. On a weekday she would take me shopping in the High Street, little old ladies in spotted blue dresses tugging wicker baskets on wheels from store to store.  I remember a green-glazed pork butchers with sawdusted marble floor, the name J Sainsbury over the door, and smelling like a charcuterie.  Is that the French for pork butcher?

Walking on, over the bridge,  I peered through the railway fence, overgrowth almost hiding the concrete pillbox built to defend the southern approaches to London Bridge and Victoria.  We had tried to get in to play, my brother and I, but never could so made our own way to defend the realm, he in the air, I in the mud.

Bridge Road led into Copers Cope, a broad avenue of great trees, of great houses once occupied by society’s great mistresses.  My mother bought the one once owned by  Lily Langtry.  I and my brother lived there, between South America and East Africa, with the uncle who became our Dad after his brother our father died in the Atlantic.  Even in times of war one does not expect a parent to die, never mind his role being assumed by one’s godparent, but Archie made a good job of it.  It is only the koala that tears an embryo  fathered by another bear from the womb of its mate.

My Auntie Eileen occupied a suite of rooms with her husband and their son Gregory Paul: whom they called ‘the Perfect Child’ therefore much hated by my brother and me.  Later we met up, between Brunei and Malaysia as I remember, for a drink in the Three Tuns, now an Italian known as Zizzi’s, where Greg told me he was running the Bluebell Railway.  Grown up, he seemed quite a nice chap.  Who would have thought, when he was dropping us in the shit.

Another uncle, Ted, my mother’s brother with a huge ginger mustache and addiction to adultery lived there too, mostly part time with his unhappy Welsh wife and child whose name and gender I forget, until ending up at the end of a rope.

Then there were my grandmother and great grandmother, and two lodgers: an elderly banker dressed always in black suit, wingtip shoes, starched white wing-collared shirt with traces of egg down the front,  and an Argentinian post graduate student with a short temper and long nose who once beat me for pulling it.

The other ten houses in the quartermile stretch from the top of the road had turned into luxury apartment complexes.  Ours stood as it always had, although the carriage house had become two large apartments that used to be a workshop with living quarters above a garage for two cars where I had my first driving experience reversing Uncle Ted’s Austin Seven in, until reminded by the sound of breaking glass that I hadn’t closed the door.  I was an expensive child.

The third oldest mulberry tree in Kent had long gone, as had the goldfish pond it overhung, the rockery I made, the sunken lawn where wild flowers flourished in spring time, and another pond watered by a massive shell.  The Golden Arrow no longer whistled past the end of the garden a hundred yards away, by the greenhouse where we would run to see it go by and where I first explored the female anatomy with one of Auntie Eileen’s ballet students, a freckled Cockney girl with a loud voice who, I learned on a visit between South Arabia and Hong Kong, grew up to prefer women.  Not because of me, I hoped.  The dance studio, former ballroom, had become another apartment, and the conservatory too, turned from coloured glass panes bending afternoon sunshine into a lightshow at those huge Sunday tea times when cousin Sally always took the best cakes.

The Regal, ABC, now Odeon still stands at the crossroads opposite the War Memorial.  where Auntie Eileen took me for tea in the Regal Restaurant before a movie.  Then came a real rush of memory:  the 227 came by, the little bus I used to catch with my brother.  We’d chant to the conductor ‘Two halves to the Beckenham Baths.’  I jumped on, pressed my Seniors Freedom Pass on the electronic thing and rode down memory lane, passing the Baths, now a huge spa, back home to where I live now, past itch well scratched.

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History with Elvis

Coming January it would be just 20 years to Elvis’s 100th Birthday.  That thought came to me last night at Miss Saigon (a thousand true stories.)  All I remembered from the first time were the helicopter and the faces of abandoned children.  I felt my soul feel the hurt of them all, including my own.  That first time it was closer and so was I, veteran of a different campaign in Southeast Asia: same same, but different.  Now I feel full of history.

The Fifties were sixty years ago.  Poison dwarfs wrecked the movie-house on Delamere at the first screening of Rock Around the Clock.  Bob Mitchum got punched by a husband in the Long Bar.  Elvis Presley became the best-known name in the world without the benefit of Twitter, Facebook, Fox or Sky.  The Thirties seemed like a really distant past, too far back to picture.  None of us had any idea of what the future, the Sixties, would be like.  I had a picture, when I thought about it, which was rarely, of a continuation of the time that we knew.  Elvis changed all that.

The King is dead.  Long live the King.

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Tai Chi Goatsmilk Quest and Boom, That’s What I Do

What do I do for a living, they asked. Well, I just got back from drinking milk squeezed fresh out of the goat before my very eyes in the breakfast break at Tai Chi Retreat in the wilds of Wales. That was after a gig talking about Taoist Secrets of Love and Life Mastery to a full house at the Quest Festival in Devon. Now I’m taking a breath of fresh London air – so much sweeter now we have a garden – before flying out to Portugal to teach those same secrets at the Boom Festival: already sold out! And going back there again for our first Tai Chi Certified Instructor Training in September: also sold out! Anamarta even managed to fit in Jade Circles in Wales and London in between times. And we came home to find invitations to teach in Cape Town and Greece, yay.
Yes, this is what we do. Somebody said somebody suggested we just did it for the money. Well, sure, it’s a great life but if it was just for money I’d have stayed in the real estate business and Anamarta in PR. Think of the numbers – I don’t remember those times too fondly but I do remember making enough in one deal to take two years out. Nowadays work does feel like time off in comparison to that fiscal slavery: bit like the Wolf of Wall street minus drugs and hookers.
One day you wake up and realise where the real value lies. A property colleague used to say he’d die the richest man in the graveyard. Food for thought, I thought, dropping career at age 51 and picking up rucksack. Twenty two years later I live on what I’d have tipped and don’t regret a moment. Sure struggles can challenge, but wtf – I teach turning stress into vitality: grateful for the chance to practice! Success comes from keeping at it regardless.
Hey, I didn’t set out to write a sermon so I’ll sign off now: see you at the Boom? OK, September in Kentish Town where I’m going to celebrate with more Tai Chi Tuesdays.

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