Monday, 12 October 2015


I entered this for a history writing contest in BC History in magazine. The somewhat hippy voice is deliberate or at least that is how it flowed out of me before editing!


“And did those feet in ancient times/Walk upon England’s mountains green?”

Maybe it is a bit fanciful to think that the young Jesus was brought by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea to Cornwall and then onto to Glastonbury where Joseph was said to have thrust his staff into the ground where it took root and came to life as the Holy Thorn. But sit near that tree in the abbey grounds in the cool of the early evening and who knows you might just get a glimpse of that other world where a better life awaits.

Or wander further into the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey where you will come across a head stone for a tomb where King Arthur was reburied in 1191 in the reign of Kind Edward 1 to keep the Welsh in their place. Take another moment to pause and allow your mind to wander through the Arthurian legends and the old Welsh Mabinogion stories of a prince born to be king and born to die in battle with his son but with the promise of future resurrection when his people need him.

Further afield is the Chalice Well Gardens with its health giving waters that have attracted the attentions of a modern day Prince Charles in need of healing. Take a quiet moment at the well head and maybe you can connect the life of Arthur and his knights’ quest for the holy Grail which was said to be have been used at Jesus’ last supper.

Finally a walk up to the ruined church on top of the Tor, a vast panoramic view awaits which is today thankfully unflooded, no Avalon in sight, no mist either but take a quiet reflective moment and pay a silent tribute to the 12 early Christian monks granted 12 hydes of land to live simply and establish the first Christian Church at Glastonbury.

In all of these places around Glastonbury that are rich in history and myth I get a glimpse of a different world that might have been and who knows might still be.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Pet Shop Boys by John Farmer

This is an ace composition by John Farmer for my retirement do which has a huge number of et Shop Boys song titles embedded in it!

“Go West”

or “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”

In preparing to mark William’s retirement I thought I could do no better than turn to the words immortalised in the titles penned by his beloved Pet Shop Boys.

When I was asked to do something for William’s retirement I thought, Do I Have To? I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing but as I’m already retired, it’s true I have got Time On My Hands. Still, I’m starting Nervously. I’m Not Scared exactly, but It Always Comes As A Surprise to be to be writing for a new audience and My Head Is Spinning. I’m worried you won’t like what I’m saying and as Neil and Chris warn us, To Speak Is A Sin, It’s A Sin; A Man Could Get Arrested. It seems to me It Must Be Obvious I’m at risk of Being Boring but, when I think about it, It’s Alright because I’m largely In Denial.

Liz said How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously? without you write something personal, so here goes. William is not One Of The Crowd. He takes pride in having A Different Point Of View. He is Flamboyant. He can be Shameless. He can have Delusions Of Grandeur. But he knows that What Keeps Mankind Alive is the certainty that Happiness Is An Option. So who is he? Boy Strange? Jack The Lad? Don Juan? In the current climate there’s even been Some Speculation he might be Your Funny Uncle. But hey, Nothing Has Been Proved.

So retired, eh? How did that happen? I guess One Thing Leads To Another or, at least, That’s My Impression. Retired! Hard to believe, I know, but I can tell you what that’s like. It’s So Hard. You feel Up Against It. You ask yourself could it be The End Of The World? But listen to my advice, because I’m one of The Survivors. It’s important To Face The Truth and just Try It. It’s the start of A New Life and, be reassured, you’re always getting Closer To Heaven.

So it’s A Red Letter Day and I wish to propose a toast:

To The Only One, that One In A Million, The Man Who Has Everything the Absolutely Fabulous William! And now, it really is time for you to Go West.

William, if you’ve enjoyed this little tribute, thank you. I would be flattered, but I know You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk.

Here’s a Postscript for all of you at William’s party:
Later Tonight, when you’re all Domino Dancing at the Discoteca, Always remember Girls & Boys, We All Feel Better In The Dark.

All the very best in your retirement, William.

From Li “Lowe” Ballinger and John “Tennant” Farmer (did you see what I did there?)