Poet Kiera’s Joy

Please scroll down for Kiera’s poem. Thank you.

Photo AW

Kiera’s companion Anna remembers …..

“It is 5 years ago exactly that I went to Many Tears in Llanelli to pick up this beauty! Kiera is my constant and trusty companion and as many of you know. …even sends poems over the ether to me. She is delightful and I have never regretted collecting her. From Romania to the UK…..her story is a huge success!”

Kiera also remembers. Anna sent me this poem by Kiera:

I love to run and dash, enjoy and splash..
Memories so part of me, fading now…..
Like mists which rise and fall
Into a deep nothingness….
And yet
Somewhere deep within
I was once loved……
My mind expands to far off lands
For one brief moment…
I remember. …
But soon returns for I am here…forever near
To the One who breathes love
And cares for me….
An echo from my plight, a shaft of light
It’s always there, deep and asleep
In my doggy soul….

Click here for the amazing story of how Kiera came from Romania to England.

The Village in the Clouds by John Bartels – How it changed my view of reality

Republished in Match 2022. This was published a few weeks before my wife and I got Covid. Question: How deeply do we understand reality?

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet – Ac1, Scene 5, 166-7

James Fromme tripped and fell off the ten-meter-long suspension bridge into a shallow stream running in the gully below. The drop was about five feet and he landed on some boulders. Lying in the icy water he realized his left leg must be badly injured. 

The pain was excruciating, and he passed out. It was five thirty in the afternoon and getting dark.

The accident happened on Sunday, September 16, 2012 on the golf course at the Sani Pass Hotel close to the border between South Africa and Lethoto. The hotel is in a narrow valley next to the road leading up the pass.

The valley is surrounded by the Drakensberg mountains. It is an area where the weather changes quickly and with little warning. The temperature can drop suddenly. On a sunny afternoon black clouds can appear in the west over Lesotho and quickly bring drizzle, rain, sleet and even snow. It is not a good place to lie unconscious hidden in a gully with a badly injured leg.

At the time, James and his wife Cindy were staying at the hotel. The plan was to stay for the week. They had been several times before. They knew the place well and in particular enjoyed the golf course. It is a narrow golf course because of the narrow valley. This means that the furthest hole is about two kilometers from the hotel building. Baboons can often be seen from the hotel patio feeding on the distant fairways. These baboons have never been a danger but as anyone who lives in Africa knows, baboons are not to be trifled with. A baboon can easily kill a dog or even a leopard, given the chance. Obviously a person is no match for a baboon.

      On the day James fell, his wife Cindy was twenty seven kilometers away in Underberg. She had gone there for a Church Meeting to be followed by a late afternoon tea with friends from the nearby Drakensberg Gardens resort.

      Cindy had left the Hotel at around two in the afternoon. She told James she would be back at about seven in time for dinner. James stayed behind at the hotel. After tea – at about half past four – he decided to go and play golf. He did not tell anyone he was going.

      He fetched some balls and a golf club and made his way down to the course. There were some baboons at the far end of the course about two kilometers away, but he was sure that they would run away if he went near them.

      Playing several balls, he made his way towards the Lesotho end of the course. The baboons were nowhere to be seen but he could hear them barking in the nearby ravines. Then, it began to get chilly. Huge clouds over Lesotho had quietly crept closer, dropping and getting darker. He suddenly realized the light was going fast because when he looked back at the hotel in the far distance the patio lights had come on and were sharply visible in the gathering dusk.

       James had just crossed he last bridge and was at the end of the course when suddenly there was crackling flash of lightning followed immediately by a massive boom of thunder. The sound of the thunder was greatly amplified as it echoed back from the surrounding mountains.

      James was concerned because there was no delay between the lightning flash and the boom of the thunder. This meant the storm was right above him. Then suddenly –  more and more lightning and thunder. This really worried him as his golf club had a steel shaft and this could attract the lightning. He realized he must get back to the hotel. And quickly. By then it was half past five but because of the coming rain and heavy clouds it was it was difficult to see. It was when he was crossing the first bridge on the way back that he tripped and fell.

      James must have been unconscious for about half an hour when he woke and realized that something was moving in the darkness above the gully. Confused and nauseous from pain and terrified that it might be a baboon he shouted. “Who is that?” A scuffling sound grew closer and he then could see the very dim shapes of a person and a dog clambering down towards him. “It is me – Joshua and my dog Nala.”

      James must have lost consciousness again immediately because the next thing he remembered was waking up in a hospital room with Cindy at his bedside.

      “Awake at last sweetheart” Cindy kissed him. You are going to be ok. You fell on the golf course and nearly broke your leg. Banged your head too. You would have died if a young man had not seen you fall and come to you. He carried you all the way back to the hotel in the thunderstorm. An ambulance brought you here to the hospital in Umzimkulu – about an hour and a half from the Hotel.”

      James lay very still. “Cindy – it was Joshua who rescued me. He was there with his dog.”

      Three days later James was discharged from the hospital and returned to the hotel. The next morning, he discussed his amazing rescue with the manager of the hotel.

      The manager told him that at about seven in the evening the previous Sunday, during a massive thunder storm, a member of the hotel staff had come running and told him that an injured person had been brought to the hotel. He had quickly gone outside and found a young man carrying James who was unconscious. The young man told the manager that he had found James injured on the golf course.  The manager had then brought James inside to get warm by the huge fire in the hotel lounge and phoned for an ambulance. At the same time Cindy had returned from Underberg. When the manager looked for the rescuer, he discovered that he had gone without even giving his name. The manager told James that he was incredibly lucky – nobody had known where he was. He could have died of exposure as it had snowed later that night.

      James then told the manager that it was Joshua who had rescued him. He explained that he had known Joshua for several years. He was a local shepherd. Their friend ship had started a few years earlier when James had come across Joshua on the golf course. Joshua was about fourteen then. After that, James and Cindy had come to the hotel regularly over the years and had met Joshua on almost every visit. The pattern was the same: Joshua and his sheep dog Nala would be tending livestock on the mountainside above the golf course. He would see James and come down to chat.  And so, the friendship had developed.

 James told the manager that he supposed this is exactly what had happened on the previous Sunday “Joshua and Nala must been on the mountain above the course when the storm broke. He saw me fall and came down to help me. I know where Joshua lives. He is from a village on the first mountain ridge towards Lesotho, about ten kilometers away. I have seen his village from the patio. You can’t always see it. Most times it is covered by cloud but sometimes the clouds part and you get a glimpse of it. It looks an exceptionally beautiful place.”

The manager was most helpful. “Yes. I have heard of that village. It apparently is very beautiful. Our Chef is from the same village.”

   “I would like to thank Joshua.” James was excited. “May I speak to the Chef? What is his name?”

“His name is John. He comes on duty at twelve. I’ll ask him to meet you on the patio just after twelve.”

   James was ready waiting on the patio at a quarter to twelve. The air was full of bird chatter celebrating the end of winter and the certainty of spring. He walked to the edge of the patio and looked above the golf course towards Lesotho. He tried to see Joshua’s village. It was a warm, sunny day but there was still plenty of cloud. He could just see the village but only dimly. He decided right then that he would go there one day and meet its people. Then James heard a sound behind him. It was the Chef, John.

   “The manager said you wanted to see me.”

   “Yes. Thank you for coming.  Let us sit down.”

   The two men sat down at a table on the patio. James told the John his whole story. How he and Cindy had been coming to Sani Pass Hotel regularly for years. How he had first met Joshua and then got to know him better as the years passed. And then he explained how Joshua had saved his life.

   While James was telling the story, John did not say a word. He just looked steadily at James.

   “I would like very much to thank Joshua for what he did. I understand that you and Joshua live in the same village – that beautiful village in the mountains on the way to Lesotho.

   John did not reply. A full minute passed.

   James was puzzled. “Is something wrong?”

   Speaking very softly the John replied. “Joshua died about four months ago.  He and his dog Nala were killed by a landslide high in the mountains”

   The two men sat in silence. Even the birds seemed to have gone quiet.

   Then after a few minutes, without saying a word, John got up and left, leaving James alone. James stood up and slowly made his way back to the edge of the patio to see if he could still see the village. But he could not. The clouds had come down over the whole ridge. Everything had been hidden.

   James went slowly back to the room he and Cindy were sharing. She was getting ready for lunch.

   “Did you see the Chef? She stopped brushing her hair. “Is something wrong?  What has happened? Are you upset about something?”

He looked quietly at her. “Cindy sweetheart, I have something to tell you that will change the way we look at life forever.”

**************

Kiera’s Lament – A Prayer for Ukraine

This beautiful and moving prayer was given by Kiera to her owner Anna. When you thoughtfully read the prayer you will realise that Kiera is very special as is the relationship between Kiera and Anna. Prayerfully read the prayer and then click here to read Anna’s account of how she and Kiera came together. Their story has received more views than any other post on this blog. Read the story and you will know why. But, read Kiera’s prayer first. Please scroll down.


Kiera

KIERA’S LAMENT

I lie in stillness needing peace
And beg my mind to please release
For thoughts of anguish and of pain
Transfer to me from dear Ukraine.
I feel them, sense them, hear their cries
Winged by clouds across the skies….
And screams from wounds keep me awake
How to deal with this heartbreak?
Blessed Angels hear my plea
(Even though a dog I be)
Wrap Ukraine in wings of love
Ask for forces from above.
I’ll shout, I’ll whine and bark out loud
For this country now so proud….
Till this fight is put to bed
Man nor beast can rest his head
Make haste dear Angels, show you care
Will you hear a doggy ‘s prayer?

Click here for the story of Kiera

Thank you

Memories of Bulawayo and the Falls

Visiting the Victoria Falls

Photo by Jonny Lew on Pexels.com

1953

On strip roads. Bulawayo to Wankie. On “the Falls Road” Mom driving. My great uncle from New Zealand with us. Half way house. Dusty. The car not going well near Wankie as we pass a notice warning about elephants. Exciting. Arriving in Wankie. The car needs fixing. Staying at the hotel in Wankie and waiting for a part to come for the car. Car fixed. On to the Falls. Seeing the spray from the falls – “the smoke that thunders”. Trying unsuccessfully to catch a tiger fish from the bank in the Zambezi just above the falls. Rod way too small. Then, back on the strips. Going home. But first have to cross an angry swollen river using a low bridge with no side rails. Mom will not drive over the bridge. She asks a chap who turned up in a truck, to drive our car across. He does. Home at last. What an African adventure for a nine year old.

Can we learn from a humble mouse?

Yes we can! Read this story about a mouse. My son in London wrote it.

Lets all listen up and learn!

What the mouse treading milk in the bucket is really about

It’s about two things. The first is the obvious one that everyone knows about. The second is the less obvious but the most important.

The first is about not giving up when in a difficult situation. It’s about keeping going because you never know what might happen. And while this is good advice it is also self-evident. The second is about doing work you don’t want to do. No mouse wants to be stuck in a bucket treading milk. But look what happens when he keeps going. The milk turns to butter. Not only does this change provide salvation for the mouse but it turns the milk into something very useful. And a whole bucket of it.

Work is like this. No matter what work you do, if you keep at it, it turns into something very useful. Things start to happen as if by magic. Take a janitor cleaning a floor. Nobody wants to do that. But if he keeps at it then he begins to notice how to do it in the most efficient way, which chemicals work best, when to do the work and so on. How many million-dollar cleaning businesses started this way? And yet they began with work that nobody wanted to do.

Whenever you do anything hard you are treading milk. Like with treading milk you may not see any progress for a long time. The quality of your output (whatever that might be) won’t change at first it and it may seem like it never will. But then… slowly, the milk begins to turn into butter. The output becomes valuable and sought after and you, its creator, will begin to love it. And all this happens through nothing more than persistence. You don’t need to learn. You need to keep going.

Beautiful Zimbabwe – An Invitation to Think Back with Deep Gratitude

Please read this post, think about it, and then play the music at the end.

Do you remember the classic film “Out of Africa”? Mozart’s Clarinet Concert: Adagio was played as Meryl Streep and Robert Redford flew over thousands of pink flamingos in Central Africa. Heart rending. The Concerto has inspired this post about Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in the 1950s. I was massively privileged to grow up there then, in Bulawayo, Matabeleland.

Did you live in Zimbabwe in the 1950s? I invite you to quietly think back.

Do you remember? The hot summer days. Hotter and hotter towards lunch time. The clouds building up. Getting darker and darker. So dark you had to put the lights on in the house. Then, the searing crack of lightning.followed by a massive clap of thunder. Too close for comfort. The sudden deluge of rain pounding the corrugated iron roof of the house. And outside, the downpour so heavy it became a thick white curtain. Half an hour. The storm was over. Out came the sun. The bright African sun. Running water everywhere. The ditches full. Flowing muddy water. The rain drops shining like thousands of glinting diamonds on the green grass and on the tall green mealies at the back of the house. And the smell! The wonderful smell of fresh rain on the rich African soil. Look up. Towering massive white clouds fill the sky. And there, miles away high in the clouds is a slow moving dark dot. You look carefully. It is a slowly circling vulture. Thank you Africa for the gift of growing up in the palm of your hand.

There is so much more to write about. It is emotionally draining to write this post so I will stop. I hope you understand. You of course have your own memories. Treasure them.

How do I feel? Please let the music I am playing speak to you. Thank you

Original house built c. 1910. Now with additions.

Thank you Africa. Thank you Mozart.

The Village in the Clouds by John Bartels

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet – Ac1, Scene 5, 166-7

James Fromme tripped and fell off the ten-meter-long suspension bridge into a shallow stream running in the gully below. The drop was about five feet and he landed on some boulders. Lying in the icy water he realized his left leg must be badly injured. 

The pain was excruciating, and he passed out. It was five thirty in the afternoon and getting dark.

The accident happened on Sunday, September 16, 2012 on the golf course at the Sani Pass Hotel close to the border between South Africa and Lethoto. The hotel is in a narrow valley next to the road leading up the pass.

The valley is surrounded by the Drakensberg mountains. It is an area where the weather changes quickly and with little warning. The temperature can drop suddenly. On a sunny afternoon black clouds can appear in the west over Lesotho and quickly bring drizzle, rain, sleet and even snow. It is not a good place to lie unconscious hidden in a gully with a badly injured leg.

At the time, James and his wife Cindy were staying at the hotel. The plan was to stay for the week. They had been several times before. They knew the place well and in particular enjoyed the golf course. It is a narrow golf course because of the narrow valley. This means that the furthest hole is about two kilometers from the hotel building. Baboons can often be seen from the hotel patio feeding on the distant fairways. These baboons have never been a danger but as anyone who lives in Africa knows, baboons are not to be trifled with. A baboon can easily kill a dog or even a leopard, given the chance. Obviously a person is no match for a baboon.

      On the day James fell, his wife Cindy was twenty seven kilometers away in Underberg. She had gone there for a Church Meeting to be followed by a late afternoon tea with friends from the nearby Drakensberg Gardens resort.

      Cindy had left the Hotel at around two in the afternoon. She told James she would be back at about seven in time for dinner. James stayed behind at the hotel. After tea – at about half past four – he decided to go and play golf. He did not tell anyone he was going.

      He fetched some balls and a golf club and made his way down to the course. There were some baboons at the far end of the course about two kilometers away, but he was sure that they would run away if he went near them.

      Playing several balls, he made his way towards the Lesotho end of the course. The baboons were nowhere to be seen but he could hear them barking in the nearby ravines. Then, it began to get chilly. Huge clouds over Lesotho had quietly crept closer, dropping and getting darker. He suddenly realized the light was going fast because when he looked back at the hotel in the far distance the patio lights had come on and were sharply visible in the gathering dusk.

       James had just crossed he last bridge and was at the end of the course when suddenly there was crackling flash of lightning followed immediately by a massive boom of thunder. The sound of the thunder was greatly amplified as it echoed back from the surrounding mountains.

      James was concerned because there was no delay between the lightning flash and the boom of the thunder. This meant the storm was right above him. Then suddenly –  more and more lightning and thunder. This really worried him as his golf club had a steel shaft and this could attract the lightning. He realized he must get back to the hotel. And quickly. By then it was half past five but because of the coming rain and heavy clouds it was it was difficult to see. It was when he was crossing the first bridge on the way back that he tripped and fell.

      James must have been unconscious for about half an hour when he woke and realized that something was moving in the darkness above the gully. Confused and nauseous from pain and terrified that it might be a baboon he shouted. “Who is that?” A scuffling sound grew closer and he then could see the very dim shapes of a person and a dog clambering down towards him. “It is me – Joshua and my dog Nala.”

      James must have lost consciousness again immediately because the next thing he remembered was waking up in a hospital room with Cindy at his bedside.

      “Awake at last sweetheart” Cindy kissed him. You are going to be ok. You fell on the golf course and nearly broke your leg. Banged your head too. You would have died if a young man had not seen you fall and come to you. He carried you all the way back to the hotel in the thunderstorm. An ambulance brought you here to the hospital in Umzimkulu – about an hour and a half from the Hotel.”

      James lay very still. “Cindy – it was Joshua who rescued me. He was there with his dog.”

      Three days later James was discharged from the hospital and returned to the hotel. The next morning, he discussed his amazing rescue with the manager of the hotel.

      The manager told him that at about seven in the evening the previous Sunday, during a massive thunder storm, a member of the hotel staff had come running and told him that an injured person had been brought to the hotel. He had quickly gone outside and found a young man carrying James who was unconscious. The young man told the manager that he had found James injured on the golf course.  The manager had then brought James inside to get warm by the huge fire in the hotel lounge and phoned for an ambulance. At the same time Cindy had returned from Underberg. When the manager looked for the rescuer, he discovered that he had gone without even giving his name. The manager told James that he was incredibly lucky – nobody had known where he was. He could have died of exposure as it had snowed later that night.

      James then told the manager that it was Joshua who had rescued him. He explained that he had known Joshua for several years. He was a local shepherd. Their friend ship had started a few years earlier when James had come across Joshua on the golf course. Joshua was about fourteen then. After that, James and Cindy had come to the hotel regularly over the years and had met Joshua on almost every visit. The pattern was the same: Joshua and his sheep dog Nala would be tending livestock on the mountainside above the golf course. He would see James and come down to chat.  And so, the friendship had developed.

 James told the manager that he supposed this is exactly what had happened on the previous Sunday “Joshua and Nala must been on the mountain above the course when the storm broke. He saw me fall and came down to help me. I know where Joshua lives. He is from a village on the first mountain ridge towards Lesotho, about ten kilometers away. I have seen his village from the patio. You can’t always see it. Most times it is covered by cloud but sometimes the clouds part and you get a glimpse of it. It looks an exceptionally beautiful place.”

The manager was most helpful. “Yes. I have heard of that village. It apparently is very beautiful. Our Chef is from the same village.”

   “I would like to thank Joshua.” James was excited. “May I speak to the Chef? What is his name?”

“His name is John. He comes on duty at twelve. I’ll ask him to meet you on the patio just after twelve.”

   James was ready waiting on the patio at a quarter to twelve. The air was full of bird chatter celebrating the end of winter and the certainty of spring. He walked to the edge of the patio and looked above the golf course towards Lesotho. He tried to see Joshua’s village. It was a warm, sunny day but there was still plenty of cloud. He could just see the village but only dimly. He decided right then that he would go there one day and meet its people. Then James heard a sound behind him. It was the Chef, John.

   “The manager said you wanted to see me.”

   “Yes. Thank you for coming.  Let us sit down.”

   The two men sat down at a table on the patio. James told the John his whole story. How he and Cindy had been coming to Sani Pass Hotel regularly for years. How he had first met Joshua and then got to know him better as the years passed. And then he explained how Joshua had saved his life.

   While James was telling the story, John did not say a word. He just looked steadily at James.

   “I would like very much to thank Joshua for what he did. I understand that you and Joshua live in the same village – that beautiful village in the mountains on the way to Lesotho.

   John did not reply. A full minute passed.

   James was puzzled. “Is something wrong?”

   Speaking very softly the John replied. “Joshua died about four months ago.  He and his dog Nala were killed by a landslide high in the mountains”

   The two men sat in silence. Even the birds seemed to have gone quiet.

   Then after a few minutes, without saying a word, John got up and left, leaving James alone. James stood up and slowly made his way back to the edge of the patio to see if he could still see the village. But he could not. The clouds had come down over the whole ridge. Everything had been hidden.

   James went slowly back to the room he and Cindy were sharing. She was getting ready for lunch.

   “Did you see the Chef? She stopped brushing her hair. “Is something wrong?  What has happened? Are you upset about something?”

He looked quietly at her. “Cindy sweetheart, I have something to tell you that will change the way we look at life forever.”

**************

The Old Lady and the tiny Bird: A Lesson

Photo by Chris Czermak on Pexels.com

Once upon a time in a beautiful valley in the mountains of Europe there was a small village. In the village lived an old lady. She had the reputation for being very wise. People in the village often used to go to her and ask her for advice.

In the same village there also lived two young boys. Despite the fact that they were not living in the age of Professor Google, they nevertheless had reached the age of infinite wisdom. There was not much they did not know (or so they thought).

One day the two boys decided to test the wisdom of the old lady to see how smart she really was. They were sure they could catch her out. Easily. This is what they did.

Photo by Aenic on Pexels.com

They caught a small bird. A bird so small it could fit into the palm of their hands. They told their friends about their plan. “That old lady does not know much. She is really old fashioned. Here is what we are going to do. I am going to put this bird in the palm of my hands.Then we are going to visit the old lady. We will tell her that I have a tiny bird hidden in my hands. Then I am going to ask her if the little bird in my hands is dead or alive. If she says the bird is dead I will open my hands and the bird will fly away. She will be proved wrong. If she says the bird is alive, I well crush the bird with my hands and show her the dead bird. She will be proved wrong. I wonder what the smart old lady will say. Whatever she says, she will be wrong. She can’t win!.”

The other children listening were very impressed with this clever plan to show the famous old lady could be wrong. They all trooped along with the two boys and the little bird to watch the old lady being caught out.

The two boys with the bird arrived at the old lady’s cottage. Plenty of other children were watching.

At the door of the cottage, the two boys presented their challenge to the old lady: “Tell us if the bird is alive or dead”

There was a hush. The old lady looked carefully at the two boys.

One of the watching children whispered, “She doesn’t know”.

At last the old lady spoke. “It is completely in your hands whether the bird will live of die. I repeat: The bird’s life is completely in your hands. It is your choice.”

There was just silence.

Continue

The two boys and the watching children were amazed at the old lady’s wise answer. It is a story they remembered and spoke about for the rest of their lives.

Continue

The take away

We all have great trans-formative power. When faced with a situation, good or bad, we have a choice. By what we do, we can make a situation better or worse. How a situation evolves is very much in our hands. Such is our power of transformation.Take care. Be safe.

Source: The story is an adaptation by me of a story which is all over the internet in different forms.

.

Churchill Diplomacy Masterclass

Sir Winston Churchill

Lady Churchill and Sir Winston Churchill were at a function. The hostess noticed that a visiting diplomat, at the function, had secretly pocketed some silverware. It may have been a salt cellar. She was at a loss what to do and quietly asked Lady Churchill for advice. Lady Churchill said she would ask Winston.

This is what Churchill did.

He found a piece of similar silverware and put it in his own pocket. Then, when he got the chance, he went up to the diplomat and quietly showed him the piece of silverware in his pocket and whispered “somebody has seen us taking the silverware so we’ll both have to put them back”.

A Wise Owl
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The diplomat then quietly put back the salt cellar.

This really showed that Sir Winston Churchill was a master diplomat.

Churchill and COVID19

Source: I think in a book about Lady Churchill.