Wednesday, 23 June 2010


How lovely is the morning!

All the things Of earth are fresh and newly born again.

The ravages that seemed to wear away

The newness in which yesterday began

Have been restored. The world's recovery

Shines on each blade of grass and every leaf

That sings again of morning. And God's Voice

Calls to his Son to make another choice.

From The Gifts of God authored by the scribe of A Course in Miracles
Helen Schucman 

Thursday, 10 June 2010

God - Spelled Backwards

 ( This is the bit at the end of the story, but I have decided to write it first for dramatic effect.)

When news filtered through the doggy community that the big black dog had gone away, I was beside myself with grief. I hid amongst the gravestones, crying and wrote a poem. This is the poem I wrote ...

Old Friends

Faintest whispers
fleeting mallards
the morning air
Strange mists
of time
on a skyline
of tolling churchbells
I see a dog
leaping frantically
in the nursery
of lifes embrace
a mischevous pup
in a field of dreams

I made a headstone - a rubber duck, mounted on a wooden stick with a plaque that read 'Boss was Ere' and erected it in Whalley New Road Cemetery, (near 'The Blackburn Giant') and surrounded it with a love heart made from dog biscuits.

(The above picture is the cover of an ep called the beginning by a band I have never even heard of. I am using it to let you know that this is the beginning of my blog) 

This story is about an angel who came to earth disguised as a big black dog.

In March 1975 I lost a testicle after a classroom scuffle with another boy.  I awoke the following morning in a hospital bed believing I had been abducted by aliens. Little Grandma always told me that I referred to myself as 'the odd man out'.

I returned to school in late June and on that very same morning, the Headmaster, Mr.Gillam told the entire school what had become of me. I felt powerless, and knew that life would never be the same again.

In 1981 I attended big school for the first time. This would be my big chance to leave behind the trauma I had suffered in losing a testicle. Unfortunately, this was short-lived. Within days, some of the other kids had started to call me “One Ball”.  I was devastated.
 Being on the recieving end of a nasty bully can be horrid. ( Bullies have difficulty seeing the love in other people. They are like an eclipse of the sun which blocks its light ) 

I lived in fear of bullies. I was humiliated, ridiculed, kicked in the testicle, punched in the face, pinned to the floor and forced to eat handfuls of grass like a cow.  I started to experience severe panic attacks.

Mum and Dad took me to see Dr Muckerji  who was a very nice indian man who wore thick rimmed jam jar spectacles,and spoke in an accent I couldn't understand. He prescribed Valium (which is a drug that makes people forget things) and I became a zombie. ( A Zombie is a dead body that has been brought back to life by a supernatural force)

I felt so embarrassed and ashamed that I didn't express the hurt to anyone.

I  wanted a friend, a dog to protect me from the bullies -  a cockagreenspaniel all of my own. Unfortunately, furry things made Dad's chest go all wheezy, and then he would transform into Sneezy (Sneezy is one of  the seven dwarfs in the 1937 American animated film called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs -See right for a picture of Sneezy) Did you know that a sneeze travels at 100mph? The reason why sneezes are so powerful is because it is a reflex response that involves the muscles of the face, throat, and chest.
I  once read that sneezing cockateels may have an illness called parrot fever, which is serious and can spread to humans and give them lung damage. So, a cockagreenspaniel would have been completely out of the question  (because it is a green mutated cockateel called Buddy crossed with a Spaniel.) It just wasn't worth risking Dads health.

I tried to convince my folks to buy a small, non shedding variety of dog like a poodle or a wirey haired dog like a cairn terrier. Dad said that ALL dogs shed - even poodles. (The reason you don't see poodle hair everywhere like other breeds is because it stays in the coat.)Which means they need lots of grooming to prevent matting.

In a nutshell ...

Then, one cold winter afternoon I opened the front door and saw a black dog making a trail of paw prints in the snow. The black dog stopped and stared at me, looked inside my head, and for a brief moment we connected.  In the time it takes to say WOW, their was a knock at the door, and a lady from over the road  had invited me to walk the dog. It didn't matter that the dog was black instead of green. It had four legs, and a tail that wagged when it was happy, and that was good enough for me. I had found my friend. This is a picture of the big black dog in the snow...

Boss (Boots Spog Og Dig Dogger Scooby Doo) was a black labrador retriever. He was broad, and muscular - ex gundog. (Gun dogs are used to assist hunters in finding and retrieving waterfowl) Unfortunately, Boss was dismissed from his retrieving duties after he failed to return the bird to the handler. In other words Boss was sacked for eating the ducks. He was thrown out of the inner circle of ducky retrievers and made into a doggy outcast instead. That's how he ended up living on my street. Thats how I ended up becoming best friends with the black dog in the snow.

Boss was a free spirit who did things his way - WITHOUT EXCEPTION! He was friendly and playful; loved chasing his rubber ball, and for a short time owned a boomerang.(which never came back, and ended up on a neighbours roof).

Boss also had a passion for water. One hot summers afternoon he leapt into Queens Park boating lake and did the doggy paddle for 4 hours. During this time he stole an oar from two people in a rowing boat, almost got me beaten up by the park keeper, and ruined my new flat top haircut (see right) for which I had saved up all my paper round money. Bosses obsession for water didn't stop with boating lakes; he swam in everything from sea to raging rivers, puddles to sewers!

Boss lived in the corner house on the opposite side of the road. His owner Fred, was a retired butcher who had stacks of cash but refused to spend it. Fred would spend most nights in the Thwaites Arms getting Brahms and List.(This is cockney rhyming slang for pissed or drunk) The pub was 5 minutes walk from the house, but Fred insisted on taking the car. One Christmas, during a drink driving campaign in the local area Fred was stopped by the police because he was driving wonkily. He was banned from driving for 2 years.

Fred wore a toupee (which is a wig that men wear to stop them feeling insecure about going bald.) During the great storm of of 87 the wind grabbed hold of Fred’s toupee whilst he was still wearing it, and blew it down the street. Being an  ex retriever Boss gave chase in search of the missing toupee, returning moments later with the wind battered wig in his mouth. - wigfowl! I was hiding behind the neck curtains, watching and laughing uncontrollably.

Fred was married to Mary. She was as tough as old boots. Boss was terrified of Mary. She only had to bang on the window and give him 'that look' and he would freeze on the spot, before dashing back into the house.

Each day after school, I raced home to walk the mutt, who would be waiting patiently, peering through the bay window. Boss would  make a dash for the back door via the kitchen. Unfortunately, his doggy co-ordination skills were a bit haphazarad  and he finished up skidding across the kitchen floor head first into the oven!

I walked Boss  in Whalley New Road Cemetry. The cemetery was a world within a world; vast and ancient with lots of space for dead people - like 'The Blackburn Giant'.

Frederick John Kempster was according to Pops 'a very tall man'  He was so tall that he was given the name 'The Blackburn Giant'. Fred was buried in the same cemetry that I walked Boss. His grave was long. (They had to make it long to fit him in it.) I think Frederick John Kempster was probably a very nice man -  like the Big friendly Giant in Roald Dahls book 'The BFG.' Historians have proof, that he was at least 7'11'', but  the undertaker's daughter said  that her father had always insisted that the corpse measured just over 8'4''. I think if he had been alive today Fred would probably have been a highly paid male catwalk model because they are very tall as well.  

The cemetery attracted keen dog walkers from all over town. Older people like Jack Brown who owned a German shepherd dog called Rocky. Jack told me long winded jokes and made me laugh until my sides ached. He could talk a glass eye to sleep. Jack had a painful condition called kidney stones (which meant that he had to hold his wifes hand when he had a wee)

Boss was also pals with Kim - a small white Jack Russel with a green face. ( See above for a nice posed picture of Boss and Kim) Sadly, Kim collided with a kid on a Raleigh Grifter and was killed instantly. Kims owner Pete was heartbroken. Boss tried to hide his upset by digging holes - he was a compulsive digger ( I tried to get him into doggy rehab to help him address the issue and attempt to teach him new methods of interacting in a dig-free environment. but he wouldn't budge, and as the saying goes you can lead a dog to water but you can't make it drink).

Boss also had a nephew called Sam (which was short for Stanley Kurbrick - the picture on the left  Stan- the pup). The Kurbrick lodged at a house on Cranshaw Drive with my sister Julie and her husband Chris. Chris was like a big brother to me. We frequently walked the dogs together, drank brown ale and chatted freely about life.  Julie and Chris eventually got divorced because they kept arguing about trivial things like washing powder brands. My sister re- married and got divorced again (because she still insisted on arguing about trivial things like washing powder brands) but some things never change and that is why Chris still remains to this day- my big brother.

Everybody loved Boss, even Mum, who hated dogs, because she was bitten as a child by a mongrel (Mongrels are made up from 'bits o this' and 'bits o that'. The Slang term for dogs of uncertain ancestry is Heinz and is often used , in a playful reference to the "57 Varieties" slogan of the H. J. Heinz Company.)

One afternoon we visited Blackburn library to research a school project on a volcano called Mount vesuvius ( Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneu) During the walk home I decided to walk Boss on a field on the opposite side side of the road. As I approached the zebra crossing  a man stopped and gestured for us to cross the road, but as we both stepped out, he pressed his foot to the accelerator and sped into us narrowly missing  me but slamming into the side of Boss' head. (This is called a hit and run incident because the driver had collided with a black dog and failed to stop and identify himself ) I often wondered if the driver of the car was a psychopathic dog hating cat lover who wore a T-shirt that looked  like this ...

I sat in a heap by the side of the road believing Boss was dead - but I knew he wasn't dead because his tail was wagging.  

One day, during a walk in the cemetry Boss was savaged by a pitbull terrier ( Pit-bully dogs are like human bullies because they bite and refuse to let go ) I tried to save Boss, but the dogs owner beat me senseless.  Boss was left battered and bleeding on the grass.  I could barely see for the swelling in my eyes, but I gathered Boss up in my arms and carried him home.

 'True friendship reveals itself in time - not only in the sense of time spent together getting to know one another, but also in the sense that it is through the ravages as well as the easier times in life that we come to see 'who our friends are' Marianne Williamson

Whalley New Road cemetery became a scary place after the demented dog incident. Things started to fall apart. Boss' owner Fred refused to pay for a vet , so I took matters into my own hands and took him myself. When the truth finally surfaced I had an explosive argument with Fred and Mary, and they refused to let me see the dog . I was heart broken.
Everyday Boss would sit at the window and wait patiently for me to come. He watched the seasons come and go and the years roll by and he waited and he waited ...

Boss' great escape occured on Boxing day - Christmas 1989 ( I often wonder if  Boss had dug a tunnel like Andy in the film Shawshank Redemption and made his escape) I remember it well; I heard the gate rattling outside the house, and decided to investigate, and when I opened the front door it was Boss. He greeted me with a bark. I ran to the gate and pulled him close. His fur was dry and and matted and he smelt of cigar smoke. ( This was probably Fred's cigar smoke because Boss was a non smoker)

We walked, side by side in silence,  lit only by the sodium glow of the street lamps above.There was nothing left to say. Boss happily trotted alongside me wagging his tail like a metronome (A metronome is a device that produces regular beats)  and for a brief moment boy and dog became one. Once the long walk home was over I returned Boss to the garage at the side of the house, gave him a hug and quietly closed the door behind me. I never saw the big black dog again.

(This is the bit that I used for dramatic effect at the start of my story.)

When news filtered through the doggy community that the big black dog had gone away, I was beside myself with grief. I hid amongst the gravestones, crying and wrote a poem. This is the poem I wrote ...

Old Friends

Faintest whispers
fleeting mallards
the morning air
Strange mists
of time
on a skyline
of tolling churchbells
I see a dog
leaping frantically
in the nursery
of lifes embrace
a mischevous pup
in a field of dreams

I made a headstone - a rubber duck, mounted on a wooden stick with a plaque  that read 'Boss was Ere' and erected it in Whalley New Road Cemetery, (near 'The Blackburn Giant') and surrounded it with a love heart made from dog biscuits.

Boss knew only Love - sharing, giving, extending. (he didn't care if people loved him - he just loved them anyway) Love is the recognition of the lines of joining - the oneness - which exists between us all and ALL THAT IS - human, animal or otherwise. Boss was a true friend, who came into my life during a hard to understand time, when I had lost hope and felt completely unlovable. He helped me to understand the importance of trust, tolerance, gentleness, defenselessness, generosity, patience, faithfulness, open- mindedness, acceptance and Love. (This helped me to forgive the bullies - because they needed love too.) Boss showed me a brave new world filled with endless possiblities - and for the briefest moment we lost sight of separate interests. Looking back; that 'chance meeting' with the big black dog in the snow just might have been enough to save my life. 

God - Spelled Backwards
When God had made the earth and sky
The flowers and the trees
He then made all the animals
The fish, the birds and bees
And when at last he'd finished
Not one was quite the same
He said I'll walk this world of mine
And give each one a name
And so he travelled far and wide
And everywhere he went
A little creature followed him
Until it's strength was spent
When all were named upon the earth
And in the sky and sea
The little creature said ' Dear Lord
Theres not one left for me
Kindly the Father said to him
' Ive left you to the end
I've turned my own name back to front
And called you DOG my friend'.

Author unknown

I am a rock

I am a rock
by winds of change
sometimes rough
and others smooth 
with well worn lines
and grooves

I am a rock
sitting quietly
in my space
by the world
and all its craziness

(there is nothing
I want or need
in my space)

I am a rock
by winds of change
at the unknown
in the knowingness
that God is my friend

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The 40 Day ' Teach Only Love ' Programme

The week I wrote this programme I was feeling a bit wobbly because I had lost my job, my home and my girlfriend. It was during this blustering, wobbly time that I made the simple decision to stop dawdling, step out my comfort zone,and make the journey from fear to Love. I wrote the 'Teach Only Love' programme sat in the middle of now-here, and once it was finished, made the sober decision to walk the talk,and live juicily like a jaffa orange for 40 days. (The jaffa  is a sweet, almost seedless orange variety) 

This is how the programme works; 

1. Read  the thoughts for the day morning and night, meditate and journal.

2. Repeat the daily affirmation throughout the day and apply it in your daily life without exception.

The programme begins at day 1 through 10, four times, equalling 40 days. If you miss a day, you must start again at Day 1.

Okay here goes. It's time to live juicily like a jaffa orange ...

The purpose of this course is to transcend the limited thinking of the ego and embrace the simple truth that I am Love. Today I cease believing in my ego as my confidant and support. I choose to remember that seeking happiness outside of myself leads to madness, pain and death , and fully commit to accepting, nurturing and extending Love at every opportunity.

Day 1
Find a quiet space for contemplation and look within. This will allow you the opportunity to recuperate from life’s challenges, and strengthen yourself for the next phase of your journey. Life takes on a new perspective, as dramas and fears become insignificant in comparison with the magnificence of the overall picture. The Christ in you is very still, like a calm, clear lake, beautiful and peaceful to be with.

I am peaceful

Day 2
Build a strong foundation. Truth is not frail, and is perfectly undisturbed by the winds of time. Place your faith in God. Pray with serious integrity, ask for guidance and stay open to miracles. In you is all of Heaven. Every leaf that falls is given life in you. Each bird that ever sang will sing again in you. And every flower that ever bloomed has saved its perfume and its loveliness for you.

The hush of heaven holds my heart today

Day 3
Practice letting go of attachment to outcomes. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Everything is unfolding perfectly. Relax, breathe deeply and tune in to the present moment. Stay open to miracles; listen to the whispers, trusting that you are supported unconditionally by the love of God.

Its safe to let go

Day 4
Be an guardian angel to another person. This could be somebody you know or even a stranger. Devote time to silently and unconditionally blessing them with love, support, and kindness. Envelop them in your wings.

I am an angel

Day 5
Make a deliberate choice to see your brothers interests as no different than your own. Every relationship has the potential to become a teaching- learning situation. Take a genuine interest in people. Ask open ended questions to promote communication. Listen intently and respond with kindness, understanding and empathy. This will improve all your relationships and help strengthen your relationship with God.

I am kind and loving in all my relationships

Day 6
Make a list of all the ways that you seek individuality, attention and gratification in the world. Recognizing, acknowledging and accepting your struggles is a vital step towards healing. Explore beliefs, and surrender to God for healing and purification. You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. And what you choose is what you think is real.’

I surrender to Love

Day 7
Give yourself permission to accept and feel all your feelings.

1. Write no-send letters to each of your perceived enemies emptying the mind of all thoughts, no matter what they are or how sick they may appear to be, then rip them up as a symbol of letting go.

2. Walk a mile in your perceived enemies shoes. Attempt to write from their perspective exploring what may have been happening for them at the time. Eventually, you will arrive at a place of understanding and compassion.

3. Explore your shadows. Be specific. Would you condemn yourself for having done the same thing?

Ask the Holy Spirit for help in dissolving your defences and healing your mistaken beliefs so that your true self can emerge.

When you truly embrace the power that comes with facing your fears head-on you will walk lighter in the world and experience moments of unshakeable peace.

Only the love is real in any situation

Day 8
Let go of the old and outworn, forgive your enemies, forgive yourself, and make space for something new. Detoxify your mind and body and blitz your environment. As you start to get rid of things you have been putting up with, you will feel lighter and have more energy and the way ahead will become clearer. Surround yourself with people and things that give you a sense of joy.

Its safe to let go and let love

Day 9
Celebrate another persons happiness; treat their gifts with reverence and encourage them to follow their heart. This will help strengthen these qualities in yourself. Beware of competition, comparison, jealousy and envy and quickly nip it in the bud. Seek equality in all your relationships without exception.

I am equal with all my brothers

Day 10
Count your blessings. Make a list. Remember; abundance is your birthright. Find the joy in simple everyday things. Embrace life fully; take risks; have fun and dare to live each day as if it was your first. In Gods world anything is possible. Relax in the knowledge that all your needs have already been met.

I give thanks for my life

It is the remembrance of who we truly are which leads to a world of love and safety. It takes courage and a little willingness to see things differently!

' Teach only Love, for that is what you are' ACIM

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Hoe Wood

ancient woodland
filled with
The spirit
of fairies
carefree -
in dappled sunlight
The scent of
a thousand deer
call out
and welcome me
Emerald green
the colour calm
surrouds my heart
swirling beneath
dancing feet -
spirit mover