Category Archives: Featured

The Love That Time Forgot

Under the twisted, knot-riddled arms of this hundred year old cypress, two young lovers used to convene everyday for lunch, a habitual pastime that lasted about ten years. During this glorious decade they became as much a part of life in the park as the great tree itself. They were in tune with the rhythm of that small, square oasis of green, and when they sat together on the shiny wood panelled bench, enjoying cool relief in the shade from the dazzling sub-tropical sun, it was as if the encroaching noise and hubbub from the undulating streets of Lisbon evaporated. Príncipe Real became their personal garden of Eden where everything was just as it should be.

Ancient Cypress at Principe Real

While Maria knitted blankets and weaved garments for long, hot hours in the co-op at the bottom of the hill, José worked as a pastry chef at a small café on the corner by the park, and each morning he would prepare something new and enticing for their lunch date. José was a gifted baker to say the least, but the food he prepared for Maria was created with an unparalleled level of passion that brought his talent to new heights.

A new masterpiece was conceived at the dawn of each new day – such as folded petals of pastry formed into a natural looking rose as delicate as Maria’s elegant hands, or a saucy filling of candied berries that oozed with gloss once the crisp shell was broken – so many marvels, never to be repeated, a unique art inspired wholly by and dedicated to his one true love and muse, Maria.

On the other hand, Maria thought of her work as a bore, a neverending repetition of the same stitches, the same patterns and the same styles, year in, year out, effortlessly dictated by tradition, something the old donas at the co-op just couldn’t seem to see beyond. She envied the free expression that José could enjoy from his work.

“But Maria”, he would remind, “I still have to bake ten dozen of each and every pastry in the shop, piles and piles of croissants and custard tarts, before I can even practice making something new, which I can only do for you”.

Maria wouldn’t feed his foolishness though, for she too loved him with every fibre of her being, even if he were to become deaf and mute and couldn’t manage to break an egg let alone concoct some intricate work of culinary art. She loved his person, not his performance. “You shouldn’t do it just for me José, you must bake for yourself, simply because it’s your passion”.

In José’s mind though, Maria was the singular catalyst of his artistic expression and as his love for her grew and grew, so did the ferocity with which he applied himself to his baking, expecting more and more from himself until his customers became quite astounded at his unrivalled workmanship, doubtful that one man could produce so much in just a few short hours.

But José had a magic secret that nobody knew, a special talent he had discovered only when he first fell in love with Maria. In a small kitchen at the back of the pastelaria where he worked, he suddenly found that he was able to slow down time, simply by wishing it so, and once he had finished his work in time for the café to open, he could easily whip up a compact triage of sponge cakes, arranged in three tiers and topped with a different flavoured cream and an assortment of exotic fruit, in a matter of mere seconds.

It wasn’t until Maria and José’s ten year anniversary, when they were to meet, as they usually did, under that old cypress at Príncipe Real Garden that time actually ceased to exist for José, but on this occasion without the effect of his mysterious mental influence.

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The Common Starling

I understood your call today,
It was an imitation of life.
Even the chorus was not your own,
Just another stanza of defence,
A flawless instrumental, coded without contest.
But I don’t blame, I don’t accuse,
It’s not your fault you were born to lose…

Your gift of mimicry so dear
When existence predicates entirely on fear,
None of it your own,
A universal inheritance
From friend to foe.
But I don’t blame, I don’t accuse,
It’s not your fault you were born to lose…

The only songs in your repertoire
Are renditions of resemblance.
The rest a prized secret
What matters most is artifice, a self-protective version
Through that peculiar power of suggestion.
But I don’t blame, I don’t accuse
It’s not your fault you were born to lose…

The trickery of appearance
Is an age-old competition,
A survival strategy modelled on blatant plagiarism,
Valued solely through the complexity of camouflage            To make just that right impression and be left in company… Alone.
But I don’t blame, I don’t accuse
It’s not your fault you were born to lose…

So you prevent damage and death to the lost nest,
Keeping the signature of the common starling secret.
Something performed out of necessity
When nothing more could be sung in society,
Except the ones already hummed.
But I don’t blame, I don’t accuse,
It’s not your fault you were born to lose…

The Tale of Lost Canyon

There once was a town high up in the mountains and in it lived a thousand people. The people were decent, hard-working folk who lived entirely by the clock, ever watchful and mindful of what they should be doing at certain hours of the day in accordance with the town’s strict customs. One of these prescribed that children, teenagers and even young adults were to be seen and heard at all times. This was to safeguard against them venturing up the treacherous peaks surrounding Lost Canyon, which was strictly prohibited because everyone who had done so vanished when they reached the other side, never to be seen or heard from again.

Lost Canyon terrified the locals. Mothers, fathers and grandparents in particular were constantly filled with dread, and each had their own negative expectations and wild imaginings of what terrors might await their children, who were very curious to know the truth about it all.

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Lanzarote: The Desert Island Experience

Palm treesLanzarote can easily be described as a desert island. With palm trees sparsely dotted along its shores and a vast expanse of barren volcanic terrain stretching inland, there is no mode of transportation more fitting to this setting than to hitch a ride on a camel (or to be exact, a dromedary, which is very similar but has only one hump).

Lanzarote Volcanoes
From high up on the camel’s back Lanzarote’s volcanoes look spectacular

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gentle Contentedness

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There is a feeling that arises from being in exactly the right place at the right time. Notions of synchronicity are often hard to describe in words, but this visceral feeling I’m alluding to is a simple one, best described in terms of gentle contentedness.

We’ve all felt it, sometimes it’s just a fleeting moment that passes us by, while other times, we feel it in situations that are more  permanent, like the lasting glow of a warm and honest relationship.

All of a sudden you feel at home in yourself, in harmony with your surroundings, enjoying that pure ecstasy of existence. Enveloping you like a warm blanket nesting a newborn child, it is playful and light, the touch of a summer breeze. Giggles rumble from deep in the belly, surfacing without restriction at every opportunity.

The real question is, how do we stay in this blissful state indefinitely? How do we hold on to a harmonious homeostasis of one’s consciousness?

As with most questions in life, the answer lies within you. What led you to this feeling in the first place?

You might just notice that you have been in heightened communion with self, you have not merely listened to that inner voice of eternal truth, you have answered it. You have exchanged with the real you, and in doing so, remembered that you are just as innocent and pure this very moment as you were on your first day of existence on this planet. Each breath we breathe can be like our first – fresh, alive and open to the universe of spontaneous positivity that awaits us all without bias.

The Weaving Spider

Weaving, weaving all the time
This sticky web of mine.
Catching flies, catching spies
In a silky world of fragile wires.
Always without remorse
From an inexplicable source.

Like a flame that never flickers,
Unseen, unheard, unspoken.
Or a synchronous show that softly whispers,
“Spidey, come find ME”.

Weaving, weaving all the links
To this broken web of mine.
Spinning away time, an intuitive rhyme
Unlearned, yet all-knowing.
Always without remorse
For the unsullied cause.

Mystical Landscapes in Connemara: Errisbeg Mountain

Errisbeg in Roundstone, a captivating climb with wonderful photo ops, strange rocks and mystical views… It feels like you have been transported to some prehistoric land out here, one that has been long forgotten. We come here to remember.

 

The Ecstacy of Dolphins

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