Saturday, 19 December 2015

Time Terrorism

This house is between Aberdeen and Huntly and when I first saw it I wondered what it would have been like to live there, It has since been renovated but it seemed the right place for the HQ for Vanguard, the organisation that wants to counter the evil PATCH organisation who want to change history for their own ends .When I first started terrorism was in the back ground but now it has sadly come to the fore with all its evil and tragic consequences.
Suppose there were time terrorists, who wanted to change not just events but time itself . Suicide bombers who could go back to Israel or India in  1948 and with their death take out democratic leader. I am writing a fourth book if my editor at Black Rose likes it. The thought of time terrorism is frightening and all this from an old house on the  Aberdeen Huntly road. Time travel going back a couple of centuries is interesting though it can be fatal.It is when what you write about starts to take on a different connotation that it  becomes scary, and it takes on a life or death of its own.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Spring Song

To day is the first day of Spring. It is not often you get to hear something beautiful for the first time on the first day of Spring.
The Finnish Composer Jean Sibelius wrote a Tone Poem called 'Spring Song' It tells of the coming of spring after the long cold yet magical Finnish winter The season of darkness passing and new hope coming just when the memories of Christmas begin to pass away.
Sibelius could write his country into his music ,you are there when you play his music and you feel like an eagle soaring over the forests and lakes watching people come alive. Finland is a land of the heart with a very hard language ,It is one of the few places where you can find peace and solitude and time to think . The Hill Country of Texas is another.
It has been over 40 years since I have been in Finland but somehow I have never forgotten it nor has the magic of the country died so to hear a piece of Sibelius lovely music for the first time has been superb and that same music I will listen to many times.

It made me think that if hearing a piece of music for the first time can have such a joyous effect what will it be like to see Jesus compared to whom all Sibelius music is trash as is everything else. There will be one day that first vision of the King of Kings who hung on a cross for me to save me from going to hell and to get me to His Fathers Kingdom.
Sibelius wrote some drop dead gorgeous heart grabbing music but imagine writing music to celebrate the first time you see Jesus and just kneel at his feet .He is the most beautiful symphony ever written. Maybe with "Spring Song" you can change it into your heart  not about the coming of a season but the King of Kings Jesus the Christ

Monday, 17 March 2014

Home Star State

With the years ticking away I have been thinking where I would like to live in America. One picture sticks in my mind .In 2006 I was driving back to the house in Texas where I was staying and it was the most marvellous sunset . As I drove I could almost feel the place wrap itself around me like a loving mother. Bandera was small but had a lot going on. I had not met Stephanie but felt at home here. I had eaten in the OST and loved the d├ęcor then the food. The people I had seen were good folks a bit like Mayberry on the Andy Griffiths show.
In eight years things drastically changed and I am older and thankfully married to Stephanie. We could get a house in Montgomery and that would be nice but in your dreams you keep walking down to Bandera and the places round about her . There are snakes and fireants and scorpions but the people more than make up for that. There can be a shortage of water.
We have a big God who can do miracles like getting us a house in Tarplay, Utopia, Medina or Bandera or one of the villages round about.
I know two things after searching my heart - 1. I want to spend the rest of my life with Stephanie no matter how long or short that may be. 2. Texas just won't go away .I t has a Siren like quality and I felt safe thinking about it when it did not seem to happen. God has ways of making anything happen
Be practical, think carefully you are getting older and so on .The truth is you only get one life here on earth and it "ain't over till its over." We serve a miracle working God and may be he can let me hang up my Long rifle over the fireplace of a home in the Hill country. I know too that if I got called home first Stephanie would be in the place where her heart is. Being part of a community that cares and where everyone young or elderly contribute. Come lay your bones out in the Hill Country but it would be nice to enjoy life with my most wonderful wife and the scenery of the Texas Hill country for as long as the Lord allowed.

Saturday, 8 February 2014


As one who looks forward to living with his American wife in America in the not too distant future I thought I had better try to understand the politics of my future nation . I used to listen to Alastair Cooke -Letter from America and gained a lot from that but as far as I can see this is the way it is.
In UK there is basically no difference between the politicians so I am trying to understand the American party system .
There are Republicans and Democrats .The present occupant of the White House is Democrat but there have been Republican Presidents as well . So far so good .
The Democrats and the Republicans are different and there is an election due in 2016. No president can serve more than two terms. If I have read it right the next Democratic contender (why does it sound like a boxing match?) will be Mrs Clinton .If she is elected she will be the first lady President. Mr Clinton who has been president will be by her side except she gets to sit in the swing chair in the Oval Office and Mr Clinton will be there to advise her and tell her where everything is, which is useful. I think as an outsider that she will probably get elected for two reasons.

1 She is a lady. She will get a lot of the female vote. Unless the Republicans put forward a female candidate maybe someone like Sarah Palin. Now don't shoot me down I am looking in from the outside. Maybe that anyone who has had to govern a tough place like Alaska and do it with a smile can handle most things. So there is a possibility that my two reasons may get reduced to one.

2 My second reason for thinking that Mrs Clinton may get elected is that there is a third party.
The third Party is the Tea Party .Now the last time the Brits had this problem was when y'all threw our jolly nice tea into Boston Harbour . There was no milk or sugar added which as every Englishman knows is the way one drinks tea . From this iced tea was born. Though I would advise against drinking the water from Boston Harbour
 Anyway the Tea Party, it looks like to me will split the Republican Party vote. So whereas more people may vote for the Republican Party and The Tea Party combined the Democrats may get more votes for their party.This is where I start to get lost .

 If I was in America I would support either the Democrats,the Republicans ,or the Tea Party (I put them in Alphabetical Order not in order of preference)
I am still trying to understand The Electoral College which can swing the balance. There appear to be states that are only Democrat like California or States which are only Republican like Texas and there are swinging states which can go either way.  
I have a lot to learn but just think it could be worse, you could have an Emperor or dictator but that could not happen in America - could it ? Please take good care of my future country not just for me but for your children as well. I still Remember Mr Lincolns statement "that government of the people, for the people by the people should not perish from the face of the earth."

Saturday, 11 January 2014

New Day Dawning

This is a picture of a new dawn at the start of a new day. Abba had a song "I have a dream a song to sing to help me cope with everything........" I long to live in America , it keeps coming back and coming back like a call .Jack London wrote the wonderful Classic "The Call of the Wild". America is like a call to the heart. As a foreigner I have the luxury of looking in .You as Americans understand all the political goings on. Though as an outsider I do not understand why the government feels it is unable to live by the rules it asks the people to live by?
I have to separate America form its government and think of the country and the people. The people are one of America's great strengths. They are the kind of people you can get along side. Yes there are bad guys and girls and whackos but the real American is inspirational, they love their land and when there is danger close ranks .It does not seem to matter whether you are Black, White, Hispanic Chinese - you are American no matter how diverse the background ."My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty of thee I sing ...let freedom ring." Now I LOVE freedom. Yes there are differences but not irreconcilable differences. You can still be Americans while sorting these out. The pride of statehood is also good , Texan, Virginian, Alaskan, Iowan. Okay sometimes you think the civil war is still going on in more than books . I did a version of Pickett's Charge from Gettysburg in one of my novel  The Scent of Home but even in writing that the sense of both sides trying to fight for what was right caught me up and I had to restrain my hero from joining one of Pickett's brigades. I dedicated the book to their memory.
I want to get a house in America and try and contribute to the community into which God leads us. You may say "He doesn't know the reality he is idealistic." Wait wasn't America built by idealists and people of vision ,something to believe in? These Visionaries were able to pass it on to the next generation .This caused people to move out from the original 13 colonies to right across the land as far as California and Hawaii and Alaska. If I am an idealist I will be in good company.
 My stepson Major Luke Parker USMC inspired me by his faith and character - now there is a guy I would have followed into battle. My Lord, Luke loved his country .I have had some good examples of Americans -yes the other kind exist but if you find a mouldy loaf in a bakery do you throw out the contents of the whole shop?
 One day I will die and be buried I hope it is in America and I hope it is in an America that I have helped support and build and backed -then I can get to Heaven knowing that I have done what God put in my heart to do - I wonder if basic training for the Marines in Heaven is as tough as it is down here -I have this picture of A marine drill Sgt with Angels wings - now if that is not idealism I do not know what is.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Dream

I must have fallen asleep. One of those dreams where you are not sure if you are awake or asleep ;and where you don't want to wake up.
The Christmas tree shone with lights and decorations, stars with Jesus Name hung down from the branches and lights changed colour changing the room to a different mood.
"Come on sleepy" she said "how about a nice mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows -your favourite"
Thank you I replied and smiled at her. My wife
"Libby and Luke will be here soon,they travelled back from college just to spend Christmas with mum and dad."
I must have looked surprised.
"Your children" she said
"But er but"
"Too late now you can't send them back -shop won't take them." She took my hands "and you big brave hero were there at the births. Now come and help me in the kitchen if everybody wants to eat."
She left and returned with my hot chocolate .It tasted real and delicious. It was neither too hot nor too cold.
Libby and Luke I thought. "I wonder what they look like. When you do not remember having children you do wonder what they looked like even in dreams,if this was a dream. I dreamed my way through food preparation until it was done .
"No ....Stephs voice came to me -"you were going to put chocolate sauce in the potatoes."
I smiled "but I thought innovation was part of cooking, culinary adventures and all that."
The door bell played Dixie and I went to answer it .
Carrying three bags and a guitar was a young man of over six feet tall.
"Dad ,you not recognise me ?" His broad smile and wide blue eyes welcomed me."
"You've grown" I said trying to sound parental or fatherly.
He gave me a big hug -"Love ya dad ."
"Love you too Luke" I replied and then I thought 'how did I father such a fine boy'
"I'll go and look for Mom."
I watched him go and thought dreams were such good things.
The house was lovely, beautifully decorated it encapsulated love from the harsh world outside.
I thought I had better no interrupt mother and son .
In my day dreaming in my dream the door bell went again,
I opened the door
"Hello daddy."
It must be Libby . Her green eyes sparkled with joy and a lock of red hair worked its way down over her forehead .This was December and the other part of summer had arrived. Next thing I knew her arms were round my neck and I was getting just the best hug ever. Sometimes love doesn't need to speak words . How could I have fathered someone so beautiful .Yet what shone from Libby also came from the inside as well as the out .
"Come in Sweetheart Luke's here thanks for coming for Christmas."
As she walked past me I could scent the beauty of flowers and her laughter was like a stream running over stones.
Heaven must have given her a day off.
We ate and I could taste everything. We walked together. First with Luke and he told me how he was doing and I think with every word I would have been honoured to have a son like that not just in a dream.
Then Libby threw snowballs at me and each one that landed was like a kiss. "Remember me she said
I live in your heart and we will meet for real one day. It works two ways you are the only daddy I have and I am proud of you."
I could feel her hand,it was so real and warm.
"I never had a dream like this before. "I told her
"You never loved like you do now she replied " We walked on
"I wonder what kind of a father I would have made?"
The same kind of a daughter I would have made. When you get to heaven and you see a carroty haired angel step out lets go for a walk in the hills and you can tell me all the things you would have if you had been my real father.
I took her hand and my heart in my dream filled with such happiness.
When we got to the house I sat down and felt sleepy and the last thing I heard was Libby's voice
"I love you -don't forget me."
Then I was back home and I heard the voice of the wife I love- maybe we both agreed the best is yet to come

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Learning a new language

In just over a year we are going to visit the folks in Alabama and Texas .I have become conscious that I need to watch my spelling 'cause y'all spell things differently from us
The last letter in the English Alphabet is Zed to Brits and Zee to Americans -this is confusing
You have lines -these are punishment exercises we got at school for some misdemeanour to us. Imagine my surprise when I found they were what you waited in in a shop. We call these Queues and Brits are good at forming orderly queues. You have Gas we have petrol .I went into a petrol station in Alabama and asked to pay the petrol -the guy behind the counter looked at me as if I had Tamales growing out my ears .When I said Gas his face brightened with understanding. The station was BP (British Petroleum) I thought he would understand. I might as well have been up to the knees in Brandywine Creek .
You take tea cold -we take tea hot but at least we have in common that neither like warm tea .I now drink my tea as iced tea even in winter- my countrymen think I mad. "I like iced tea" I say  and they say to me "but you are not in Texas now." I reply but I need to keep my hand in at iced tea drinking should I move back there,
You have funny cookies  which we call biscuits .What y'all call biscuits we call scones. How on earth did ALUMINIUM (AL-U-MIN-IUM) become ALOOMINUM ? I doubt even if Ben Franklin could explain that . I walk on the pavement which you call side walk and I put things in the rear of my car which we call boot and you call trunk and the front of the car we call bonnet (as in Easter) you call it hood which to us is a gangster. The engine is in the gangster the luggage is in the trunk which itself can be luggage.
You have a Senate, which over here is the governing body of a university. You do have hot dogs and hamburgers . Now we too have these .We get ours in tins and jars and they are American because they have the "Stars and Stripes" on the jar or tin. We have Grits and Hershey's Chocolate Syrup and Fish and Chips.
When I get to USA my first buy will be a Dictionary by Merrriam Webster. I do not know who he was but I guess he must have disliked the Brits intensely to make so many differences . I am working hard at adjusting to color instead of colour and many other things. I shall persevere but the trouble is "you can fool some of the people some of the time and all of the people some the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." or as John Paul Jones said when he was doing his memoirs
"I have not yet begun to write - remember he came from Scotland so there is hope for me yet.