Sunday, 30 March 2008

Favourite Places

Click on the photos for a better view

Japan constantly astonishes me. These two photos were taken in the northernmost part of the main island, Honshu, on the same day in March. In the village, people carry on their lives growing rice and vegetables as they have always done, while a few miles away, superb Japanese engineering is driving the 'shinkansen' or bullet train track through the mountains to bring the beautiful 300kph 'Nozomi' ('Hope') trains to Aomori City on the Mutsu Peninsular. The shinkansen system has been operating since 1964 and has never had a fatality.

NB: The first shinkansen ran between Tokyo and Aomori on 5th December 2010

The Tribulations of T5

Even the captain of the BA jumbo was apprehensive as we flew into T5 last night, but the system seemed to work reasonably well and we only waited 30 minutes for our baggage - though naturally without a word of explanation. But entering Britain from Japan always entails reverse culture shock and this is nowhere better experienced than at train stations and airports. In Japan everything works perfectly with a quiet silky smoothness, occasionally puntcuated by softly-spoken female announcements in precisely-modulated English. Everything is spotless and the staff well-dressed, alert and eager to help.

At T5, one sees self-important BA staff pushing their way in groups through throngs of confused passengers, while many of the BAA staff are scruffy, apparently dressed in whatever they like, except for over-intrusive fluorescent jackets. They also move about in somewhat threatening groups - apparently sightseeing - or standing with their hands in the pockets as though the terminal exists for them and not the passengers. No amout of high-priced architecture can make up for incivility of the staff and the feeling that you are being processed by a system, instead of being welcomed and helped by friendly and well-educated people.

Click the heading for some more photos of T5

Friday, 21 March 2008

Eckhart Tolle - The Power of Now


Have you ever experienced, done, thought, or felt anything outside the Now? Do you think you ever will? Is it possible for anything to happen outside the Now? The answer is obvious, is it not?

Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now

What you think of as the past is a memory trace, stored in the mind, of a former Now. When you remember the past,you reactivate a memory trace - and you do so now. The future is an imagined Now, a projection of the mind. When the future comes, it comes as the Now. When you think about the future, you do so now. Past and future obviously have no reality of their own, just as the moon has no light of its own but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only reflections of the light, power and reality of the eternal present. Their reality is borrowed from the Now.

Eckhart Tolle - The Power of Now.

Kei`s Poem for Obachan

The pipe gleamed with the heat passing through
And once I rested my hand upon its bough
And felt the slow harsh burning of my skin,
Then I was warned not to touch it again
Amongst other things – she kept everything.
The sound of rustling beads hanging in the wooden frame
Would tell of someone entering the kitchen,
And through the numerous sliding doors one could find the
Deep square bath where ships would drown,
The pink plastic bowl used to rinse one’s hair when our bodies
Rested contorted upon the rubber floor,
Outside we could hear the wind whistle and ripple the paper screens
Whilst within their glass boxes white dolls gazed out in their open eyed sleep,
In the morning steady rhythms beat from a wooden knuckle and
Rose to touch the ceiling of the house and descend again onto a reed floor,
The stepping stones ran always to the house
Whether crushed by thick drapes of icy snow or unmasked before the summer glare
That lit up all the blood of the mountains trickling into open fields of velvet earth,
And when we needed to our feet would take us down the road
To a row of shops outside of which I’d stare at the dispensing machines
Marvelling at their hidden plastic treasure,
Then we would return and guide our bodies through the beaded waterfall
And sit round the table late at night and listen to the murmur of the village.

Catherine Kei Lawford 2008

Click the heading for a short video of the chimes played every evening across the village

Saturday, 8 March 2008


Litchfield, North Hampshire.

Litchfield, where I was born. on an early spring morning. I was christened in the village church of St James the Less where the vicar, the Rev Hamilton Lloyd, holds a well-attended traditional service twice a month.

Friday, 7 March 2008


I AM the wind which breathes upon the sea,
I am the wave of the ocean,
I am the murmur of the billows,
I am the ox of the seven combats,
I am the vulture upon the rocks,
I am a beam of the sun,
I am the fairest of plants,
I am a wild boar in valour,
I am a salmon in the water,
I am a lake in the plain,
I am a word of science,
I am the point of the lance in battle,
I am the God who creates in the head the fire.
Who is it who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?
Who announces the ages of the moon?
Who teaches the place where couches the sun?