Saturday, August 04, 2007

post-script: Words for the End of Time

I had to come back in here one last time.
There was something I had wanted to say, throught the first 3 of these photos, which were all shot 15 days ago.
Then, I need to thank all of the people who have come, either here or other via another photo-site that has nothing to do with blogging, but who are doing their best to sustain me just the same.
Pequete,thank you, with love. But you have something that has inspired me far more, I believe, than I could ever inspire anyone. You have a commitment with tomorrow. The way that you are raising your little ones offers more hope and possibility for the world's well-being than anything I have been able to do for a long time.
How could I not feel actually saddened, besides moved, by your responses to me, through all of the past 12 months, and now in particular? I have difficulty understanding how or why people who hardly know me can be so good to me.
But this is August 2007 and not a year ago, when I had strength for the purpose that we were living 24 hours every day, and that had brought me to this town.
To rub it in, August has long been a month of very meaningful anniversaries. A month of dates to remember. That only adds to the struggle. I need a lighter, clearer mind, first and foremost. 35 to 40ºC doesn't help much.
This PS is to tell you a thought I had, in the garden of Estrela, after spending some time with the friendly black swan, until she took ker rest (as in the photo), in a pose that made me think of the ballet to Chaikovsky's music. And then the butterfly that settled on my left leg and asked me to carry it home with me.
I suddenly saw this:
In the true beauty of nature is the true nature of beauty.
That is the thought with which I have to close this page and this book.
And to echo the identical names of the two old boats at the end: A Deus..........Goodbye, "Time and a Word". You have been so good to me and have helped me along by opening your door to the very special people that can still be found in this world, who demonstrate the true nature of beauty. This is all I could want.




I wish you the best of health, sweetness, expanding horizons, growth and fulfilment. I wish you enwrapped always by the warmth of loved ones, freedom from trauma and turbulence.
I wish you rasberry or mango sorbet on hot summer evenings.
Bless us all

******** ***********
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 27, 2007

The End of Blue

It is the REAL end.
It has to be.
The music went first. Then the poetry. But then photography came.
Now that has gone, along with the writing, the escape, the brain.

Presume nothing. It is even worse than it may seem.
I owe many people so much that cannot be repaid, because of this "Time & A Word".
But it is just one more thing that I can no longer do, or be part of, so much have I disintegrated these past few weeks.
I have a close friend who keeps telling me that I am a survivor. That is because she can't face hearing me, or seeing how it has all been tearing chunks off me for too long, but faster & faster, like the pull of gravity.

"The Flames of Eden" has to be the most appropriate place to end and bring the curtain down. That is where I will try to explain more, for any one who is wondering, for those who are concerned, for everyone still around who matters and deserves an explanation.
It is sheer horror. I know full well who I have been. I have tried to give my best in return for all the salvation, support, marvels that this medium has brought me from the earliest days. It started as an attempt to help me adapt to an immense change in my life, 14 months ago.
Ultimately, it cannot be enough, as I suspect that all of you who are in greater or lesser extents of personal difficulties, know.
Yes, I've threatened it before over the past 11 months. But this is now, and I can really no longer be even an invisible presence on your places, when I can't write a comment, or an e-mail, because I have lost my articulacy, my sensem my will, my strongest defences aginst the horror that is happening, which has no alternative.
This must all seem terrible. I make no apologies. Presume nothing; this is MY life, nobody else's.
At the start of this week, I needed to check in my archives all of those posts about the homeless man from December 10th last year, for a friend in Northern Ireland.
The biggest shock,- the opposite of a serendipity - was that I realised instantly just how much I have changed since Christmas, particularly since February.
These past 3 weeks have seen an even more rapid change.
I am empty. For that, the blue sunsets.
But also, something I took one evening last week - blue - that has become a kind of signature-photo: the single pigeon over the blue boat, on the blue, darkening river.

Please check in "The Flames" for my valediction.
Be well, look after yourselves very well. Better than I look after myself.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 20, 2007

Vision Blue

"What did you see, my blue-eyed son?"

What did I see from morning to sunset? Can you see?




Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Azulejo Blue

The ancient tiles, telling stories from history, or merely decorative. Portugal's streets, monasteries, gardens would be far poorer without them.



Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Alentejo Blue

I recommend a click particularly on the collage, to see Arroiolos, the blue town.



Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Planet Earth is Blue...

The first of a series of posts entitled "Blue", inspired by filipa azul, of Sintra (and Woophy).



Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 11, 2007


To those wondering about my well-being, thanks & I intend to be in touch very soon.

I've just posted something on "The Flames of Eden" again.

If you would like to see my whole week - 31 May to 7 June - in photos, I have posted 6 separate picasa web albums at:
The most recent is first. Please, for 7 June, open Part 1 (38 pics) before Part 2 (35 pics).
There is also a little experimental video at the bottom of the gallery, "Gulls Fishing", which was filmed on 11 Sept 05.
Comments welcome.
These below? Just fillers, though the relfection in the pond was this morning & the snails tasted good, but not as good as their large French cousins from Bourgogne.



Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


A year ago today, I rode silently into the blogosphere on the back of a full moon;
the early days of what I had named in a piece of writing about it 3 years ago, The Time of Jacarandá. For me, this name perfectly describes what I consider the very best 2 to 3 weeks of the entire Lisbon year.
I had been privileged to live it for 9 of what is now 11 years here. To learn how to watch for it, anticipate it with growing excitement, then plunge fully into it and everything that came with it.
The jacarandá trees explode in late May, they are all over the city and not only do they give us - in the air above and carpeting the pavements and grass - a carnival of lilac, but they seem to announce to all the other spring & summer flowers their cue to join them. Hibisco of red, pink and yellow, bougainvillea of purple, red, orange and white, agapanthus of purple-blue or white, lantana of 6 different shades, white and pink oliander, morning glory and on and on and on. All for free, in public places, like parks, streets, gardens.
I grew used to this pure joy. the weather is always the best now, warm to hot, sometimes too hot at 40ºC+. Warm nights, with open-air events, like the month-long book fair in one of the city's main parks, free concerts by that Torre de Belem, pictures of which I've shown you so many times.
And the two public holidays of this time, Portugal's National day on 10th June and Lisbon's very own saint's day, Santo António, which starts on the evening of 12 June. The old, popular districts like Alfama & Madragoa, the streets bedecked in coloured garlands, throng with people to eat the grilled sardines and salad sold from open-air restaurants, either permanent establishments or temporary licensed, or maybe not. Apart from the "perfume" from that, the air is full of music, warmth. It is a wonderful party night, that is repeated for most of the following week.
It all comes together like some giant natural & man-made celebration of the best of Springtime. It just exhilarates you, fills you with a joy to be alive through it, like I've never known anywhere. 20, 50, 100 times better than Christmas ever can.
So now, you know why I searched and came up with this descriptor for it all: The Time of Jacarandá.
Putting these photos together last night, of the T of J's gone by, I couldn't help become really wistful. I arrived in this place a year ago and there is no such time here.
I miss it with a real, human pain.
Maybe - no, in FACT, I started this blog as a way to try to offset all that I had lost in arriving here, where there is hardly a tree, let alone avenues of tall jacarandá. I know just one, which I will show you below. I only know two large purple the whole town. This, however & sadly, is also Portugal, just 20 miles away from what I have described above. "But so near!", I hear you say. I'm sorry, it is too far. this is where I live now.
What a year this has been. I think I will write more on "The Flames of Eden" about all that. Now is to celebrate the serendipity that creating this blog brought.
It feels like I have been everywhere, and everywhere has come to me through it. I could never have dreamed that would happen.
It has brought me a band of brothers and sisters - YOU! - who have sustained me through my own most difficult days and nights, with sincere support, with understanding, with appreciation for what I have tried to give them, and with openness to receive the little I have tried to give them back in turn, in so many times of need.
Cyber? 21st-century, digitalised, virtual relationships?
People, I have been around that block more than once and I know the difference between real, genuine, wanted and valued FRIENDSHIPS and fleeting, superficial, virtuality.
I thank all of you for helping me get this far in my heart locked inside me, to battle against the hardships, cruelties, injustices and loss that what is outside of me and my control constitutes.
Now, take a look at the Time of Jacarandá, taking place right now, somewhere over the horizon in the city of my dreams.



I have saved till last this view of the one old jacarandá tree in this whole town. These photos were taken at 6 pm yesterday afternoon. It is in the little street 15 metres from my front door. I noticed it a year ago, when I wasn't living where I now live; it brought tears to my eyes. In recent months, I have become good pals with the woman whose garden it stands in, Conceição. She has told me that it was planted by her great-great grandfather, 166 years ago. It is past its best and has been too far cut back, to save the blossom falling into the street!! I told her about Time of Jacarandá in Lisbon, and she was enchanted. This year, i will be able to go into that garden and visit at least one jacarandá, before it is too late. If it weren't for this ancient tree, I would have to rely on my memories & pictures........
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cruz Quebrada "Beach", Sunday morning, 13th May.

First, I would like to use this post to tell anyone who may be thinking: "One-way traffic from Icarus this week" - You are right, Mate. That is mostly true. So, now I'm 'free', I want to do a lot of blog-tourism this weekend, which is perfect just for that kind of tourism. Patchy grey/sun weather, threats of further heavy rain. Also, all those mails to reply to...
I have got through another kind of torrent - the work embarked on & completed between last Friday and Wednesday has left me tired, but richly satisfied and I feel pretty good in myself. Rewarding & rewarded, in all senses.
Now, these are 4 of about 50 taken early-ish 2 Sundays ago, when I drove to and beyond Lisbon, just to get these views of yet another mega US war machine. Whenever they sail in for R & R, they always park in this place, which I realised 2 years ago is the nearest we can get to observe it. It is not a beach in the sun-&-sand-holiday sense. I would NEVER go into the water here, or even sunbathe. The real beaches start where the sea takes over from the Tejo Estuary, about 5 miles/8 kms further along. This is kind of poor, but has a lot of recreational opportunities - walking, jogging or cycling along a wide path right between the shore and the main Lisbon-Cascais railway, fishing & the national stadium sports complex is across the main road, dramatically set in a pine forest.
Cruz Quebrada means 'broken cross'...If Patti Smith could see this, I reckon she'd write a strong poetic song, not being the greatest fan of US war machines.
This sunbather is saying: "Yeah, but am I bovvered, though?":-

One of my fellow beach-combers, apparently not a marine, but a wannabee?:-

You know those fishermen's stories, with their "It was THIS big, honest!"? Well, look what this guy has caught!:-

I like this view back into Central Lisbon & our fantastic 25 de Abril Bridge, with the huge Cristo Rei monument on the opposite hill:-

Posted by Picasa

UPDATE: It didn't happen, did it? I knew it wouldn't last. A job arrived and that put an end to any hope of being a blog-tourist today. There is a word for it, that's just behind my teeth, begins with "S" & ends with "T".