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No Man Is An Island

I do appreciate that my interpretations of the photo challenges set by The Daily Press may appear a little random to the casual observer but I can assure you that I do have a process.  I clock the word, in this case ‘afloat’ and then I scour my photographs for something that strikes a chord within me.  It’s a bit like when I was at primary school.  We had the most inspirational music teacher, Mrs Russell who pursuaded the Headmaster, Mr Caldicott, that we should do music every single day.  So we did.  And we had an orchestra and a choir of course but we had so much more – Miss Gardner-Brown led the pop group in which we sang Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel songs, 59th Bridge Street Song being a favourite on account of being allowed to click our fingers; I played double bass in the orchestra and we had a subgroup of 2 violins, 2 cellos a viola and me and a recorder group with the  impossibly beautiful Sarah Chant trilling on her sopranino.  We went to Eisteddfods and won prizes and we went to other schools to demonstrate what music could be in a school.  We played in the Church of St James The Less down the road  (I always wondered about St James the More) and they used my Bass to stop the traffic as we crocodiled giggling and higgle-piggling through the lychgate.  And sometimes I was given chime bars to play and I loved it when the sound of the chime rang true and sweet and gave vital chime-ness to the piece that we were playing.  So simple – strike it when asked and it resonates perfectly.  In principle, that is my process – find it, strike it and hey presto, bongo we have lift-off.  In principle.


Voila!  Here is a picture that, for me, evokes the algaefied tree island in The Life of Pi or Asteroid B-612 when the baobob trees have invaded it and forced The Little Prince to leave his beloved home planet.  It is afloat in a lake in the park that surrounds Tsaritsyno Palace one of many summer palaces built on the periphery of Moscow for the uber rich of their day, these days superceded by equally super-rich oligarchs who strut and swagger and swamp the city with petrol fumes from their hefty cars steadily choking their planet in no less a profound way than the baobob trees have ruined the asteroid and made the Little Prince’s Rose ill or the algae has made the tree island an acidic flesh eating hell whilst appearing to be a tranquil haven to Pi or any other cast upon its shores.

PS:  There is the odd day when I wish I was on Asteroid B-612 or afloat with Richard Parker in a vast ocean.  Just the odd day you understand.  An odd one here and an odd one there.  I try not to let them join up too much for Donne is right – I’m no island.

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. I like your process, and I think it fits the prompt very well.

    April 10, 2015
    • Thank you Claudette 🙂

      April 11, 2015
  2. both your wonderful and nostalgic text and your photos have reminded me of the tiny island of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan… 🙂
    * * *
    I also hummed and I still do Simon & Garfunkel’s songs… 🙂
    * * *
    speaking of island(s), you surely know Jim Morrison’s statement-declaration of love:”I found an island in your arms and a country in your eyes…” – magnifique, right?!… 🙂

    April 11, 2015
    • I still hum the songs too Melanie! And thank you for the reminder of those fantastic words from JM – they sure do resonate magnificently 🙂 Just going to read your piece on Golden Pavillion … my father spent much time in Kyoto in the 70s – he loved it x

      April 11, 2015
      • have a sunny Monday and a serene week, like here… <3 c u asap! 🙂

        April 13, 2015
  3. Arby #


    April 11, 2015
    • Thank you Arby … I’m glad you liked it and hope you will drop by and, if you have time, comment again 🙂

      April 11, 2015
  4. Love the photo but even more your reminiscences about primary school. Took me right back to mine. Isn’t it amazing how we remember the names of our primary school teachers so clearly. I had a Miss Jones, a Mr Giles and a Mr. Phelps who when I was eight wrote in my notebook his advice for life: a dafyl dong adir ya garig (?sp) translated from the Welsh – “constant striking breaks the stone.” Powerful words for a little boy in short trousers 🙂

    April 13, 2015
    • Andrew, Mr Phelps clearly knew the power of striking which in fact makes him a kinsman of Mrs Russell who taught us to strike the chime bars. It is indeed amazing the influence of those early teachers. It saddens me that many think it somehow more important to be a Professor when in fact those that teach tiddlers probably have a more lasting impact 🙂

      April 13, 2015
  5. Since you started this one off with an explanation of your process, at least in regards to the photo challenges, perhaps this is the time for me to jump in with some babbling about my own process. As you may have noticed, I’ve been banging about in your archives and savoring your past efforts. It’s been a wonderful travelogue, greatly enhancing the happenstance that we stumbled across one another. You have me enraptured.

    Still, I haven’t been making many comments on these slightly-dusty entries, because I know how it is when someone stumbles across one of your older posts and makes a comment. Your mind has moved on, and it’s a little disconcerting to get back in that frame of reference and adequately respond. (Or maybe it’s easier for you, I don’t know.) I just wanted to say that when I click “like” on these older nuggets, it really is a small but honest bouquet of appreciation, not just a random press of a button…

    May 14, 2017
    • I had noticed, of course … the ego hardly lets any likeage slip by un-noticed. But I am so grateful that you haven’t made comments on all …. not an accident, of course but born of one who knows what it is to have people rattling round in the basement and pouncing on the delights of your own writing. Thank you, thank you for taking the time to let me know and thank you for being thoughtful about what you see. I’ve been in a bit of a grey period recently (and not a chic designer grey … more a morose misty grey) and it really does inspire me to kick my largesse into touch and get on with producing more for the blog. Hopefully that won’t make you curl your toes with horror at the prospect! Happy day Beau Brian. It’s a big fat pleasure being in the room with you 😊

      May 14, 2017
  6. Thank you for the pingback … now taking a stroll around your blog which I am enjoying immensely 🙂

    April 19, 2015

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