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2021 memories

20 Dec

Just a few pictures from an interesting 2021 . . . apologies if there seems to be a lot of pictures of Ripley..


Steve Jobs and success

21 Oct


There’s a post wandering round the internet and social media that’s purportedly from Steve Jobs.

It isn’t.

I won’t bother to reprint the whole thing, but in amongst its off the shelf self help words about the need to “Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends” and “Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands” lies a deep dark poison.

Before I start, I don’t know Steve Jobs. Never met the guy. I have a lot of respect for his speech to the University in Stanford which contains some real insights into modern life, business and the pursuit of a dream.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

That’s the sort of vision that I’d like Steve to be remembered for.

I have a lot of respect for his achievement. Although I don’t own any Apple technology. Because I don’t like it much. So I’m not a huge fan of Apple.

But I am a huge fan of people following their dreams. And Steve did. And this latest post, which seems to indicate that Steve rejected what he achieved in life, rings false to me, and with it trickles a steady stream of new age poison into our lives and our beliefs.

Steve was a man with a vision. Not a vision to be wealthy, as such, but a vision to create. To create a working personal computer. To create a computing world that was elegant and beautiful. To create a computing world where things worked together. To create devices that were intuitive, effective, efficient and enjoyable to use. And he created that.

In his time with Pixar he helped create the computer animated feature, and paved the way for new stories to be told.

I don’t see any way that Steve Jobs saw his life as a failure, or that it had turned him into “a twisted being”. Steve was a Zen Buddhist, deeply at peace with ‘what is’.

The fake deathbed quote talks about how he was surrounded by life support (he wasn’t, he died at home), and that he had “little joy”.

I don’t think so.

As far as I can see it, Steve followed his dream, his vision, and his heart. For sure, he had feet of clay. He had his weaknesses. There were times when he wasn’t an easy boss. But then anyone with a vision is going to concentrate on pursuing that vision.

I agree with pieces of the post. All you can have at the end of life are “the memories precipitated by Love”. Those are “the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on.” Although perhaps the things that you do, or your heirs do, with your material inheritance also goes on. Perhaps your achievements remain behind, inspiring others to achieve as you achieved.

If we forget love, we forget everything. Steve knew that. In an article published in Time magazine Walter Isaacson, his biographer, recorded him as saying:

I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.

The article continues: “He was very human. He was so much more of a real person than most people know. That’s what made him so great,” he added. “Steve made choices. I asked him if he was glad that he had kids, and he said, ‘It’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done’.”

So let’s not succumb to the poison that says that you should shun success, that it will make you unhappy. Following our hearts, and our dreams, and our vision – while coming from a place of love and peace and kindness – can only make the world a better place. And that’s what Steve would want you to hear.

Find out more at

PS. According to his sister, Mona Simpson:

Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.

Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.


Now THAT’S amazing….

Lunar winter

19 Dec

imageTonight, the moon is beautiful again – just above the horizon it floats, wrapped in a glowing blanket of soft cloud that echoes back its wintry beauty – hovering against a dark icy backdrop of glittering points of light, individual diamonds that sparkle as if a promise of infinite and endless treasure.

It’s a silent and peaceful counterpoint to the Christmas lights that hang, garish and yet with their own beauty in the street below. And it seems, to me, that wherever we find it, and whatever its setting, light has its own innate beauty, bringing not only illumination and clarity, but also, somehow, a touch of magic where ever it finds itself…


26 Jul

"Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving." (Terry Pratchett in “A Hat Full of Sky”)

It’s been nearly four weeks since I got back home… and it’s been strange being static for so long. I’ve been taking time to go through my journal, to look at 10,000 pictures, to create my photo books of the trip, and to reflect on an incredible adventure. I’ve been looking to the future, too – designing products and seminars, and putting the final touches to something that I want to get out into the world in the next couple of days.

I’ve also taken a few days to go up to Edinburgh to decide if that’s where I wanted to go and live… I had a very reflective moment with echoes of my trip to Macchu Pichu in Peru a few years back. As I sat at the peak  of Arthur’s Seat, the peak of the mountain in Holyrood Park, my mind went back to a similar moment several years before….

At the end of the Inca Trail and exhausted from ill-advised consumption of aPeru 237 yucca (vegetarians, take note..don’t do it) and the high altitude adventures above the glacier line, I had arrived at Macchu Pichu. (This picture, which I’ve used in this blog a couple of times, is me climbing to the top of the pass with my companion, Jeremy (since replaced by Tigger and Snuff).

After exploring for a few hours, I decided to climb the mountain that appears in all the photos of Macchu Pichu – Huaynu Pichu, ‘Young Mountain’. Only 150 people were allowed up there each day, and I was number 148. Climbing the mountain was fine.. but the temple perched precariously on the edge made me nervous (I’m happy about the things God puts up high… just not so sure that the things man puts up there will stay there). So I wandered round the back of the mountain before returning (with some trepidation) to the temple on the front face.

Peru 430Peru 485

By this time, everyone apart from the caretaker had gone, and a strange hush had fallen on the mountain. I decided to take a risk (after all, that temple had been there for hundreds of years). I stepped up to the edge, heart in my mouth, and looked out over the city hundreds of metres below.

It’s an incredibly beautiful sight, but something else caught at my heart that dayPeru 479. The Inca civilisation has a reputation of being bloodthirsty and violent – and yet somehow I knew deep inside how the priest-king had felt… how keenly he felt his duty of care and his responsibility, and how much he held his people close to his heart. It could have been my imagination, it could have been the yucca lodged in my gut.. but something spoke very deeply to me that day….

Fast forward to the present day – looking out over the city of Edinburgh spread out below me, I felt something of the same concern for the people – and knew that I needed to be in Edinburgh.

So I’m chasing flats, sorting finances, and getting things arranged for the beginning of September. Another adventure awaits….

Happy New Year in Adelaide . . . .

4 Jan


So, arriving at 6:00 am in Adelaide on New Year’s Eve… time to shower and then see what’s going on in town. One of the girls from the tour is in Adelaide too, so we take a tram ride to the seaside at Glenelg for a couple of hours in the sun and a quick dip in the sea, then I come back for the evening concert. Interesting to see everyone hiding out of the sun under the pier though.  So New Years Eve was great party fun on the banks of the Torrens River. The pedalos have Christmas lights on them and it all looks pretty funky.

Glenelg (4)Glenelg (1)

The opening act the Funkees make Hi 5 look classy – although the kids seem to like them – but the music gets better with Mr Buzzy (good covers band, really bad name) and local heroes The Touch and The Shiny Brights. I like them.. And they are certainly good fun to watch.

Elder Park (16)Elder Park (14)

The fireworks are fabulous, though – Adelaide sends 12 tons of them up into the air – it’s truly magical. And Sydney only (!) sent up 7 tonnes this year

Fireworks (2)Fireworks (10)

It’s a bit odd knowing that all my friends back in the UK are ten and a half hours away from New Year though – my son enquires if 2011 is an improvement and whether we have flying cars yet.

Melbourne on Christmas Day may be buzzing, but New Year’s Day in Adelaide is completely dead! So time for a few New Year thoughts (watch this space!) and a walk by the Torrens and into the Botanical Gardens. I did manage to catch some of David Guetta’s set at Summer Layze in the park too, which was a bonus

Elder Park (13)

It’s a quick stop in Adelaide – next stop… Alice Springs. See you there…..

Into the Grampians….

3 Jan

Not, of course, the mountain range in Scotland, but the huge range in South Australia (part of the range that runs all the way from the North Coast near Darwin and finally gives up around 13km from the sea in South Australia)

And now, off to the Grampians. A stop at a volcanic caldera where the surface has sunk, yielding a deep basin – we can see emus at the bottom, but the whole thing looks like a scene from Jurassic Park.

Volcano (6)Asses Ears Lodge (3)

We’re staying at the Asses Ears Lodge, which is a great place with kangaroos roaming the grounds and dogs that look startlingly like dingos. The sunset is gorgeous, and I stick my head out of the tent for half an hour simply to watch the stars.

Asses Ears Lodge (6)Asses Ears Lodge (10)Asses Ears Lodge (8)Asses Ears Lodge (11)

The sunrise tempts me out of bed at 5:45 too, and I wander round in search of more kangaroos to talk to – sadly, they bounce off into the distance before I can get close enough.

Sunrise at Asses ears (4)Sunrise at Asses ears (9)

The trip the next day yields views of that species of psycho in a tutu called the emu – completely bonkers birds – and more kangaroos. There’s a plague of locusts in South Australia too, which means that every now and again the bus shivers to the impact on the windscreen.

There’s a waterfall walk in there to the MacKenzie Falls…

McKenzie Falls (8)McKenzie Falls (15)McKenzie Falls (22)McKenzie Falls (26)

A climb through the other Grand Canyon…

The Grand Canyon ( (4)The Grand Canyon ( (5)The Grand Canyon ( (10)The Grand Canyon ( (12)

The unbelievably dramatic vista of Reid’s lookout…

Reed Lookout (5)Reed Lookout (11)

Reed Lookout (8)

And then some time wandering round the Aboriginal Cultural Centre with some REALLY cool art

Brambuk Centre (16)Brambuk Centre (17)Brambuk Centre (19)Brambuk Centre (23)

I take a wander out the back of the centre, and find a mob of kangaroos (yup, that’s the right word) out there – Mom stops for a chat, although at one point I am pretty certain Joey gave me the finger. They don’t seem at all fussed by my presence, which is very cool.

Brambuk Centre (2)Brambuk Centre (13)Brambuk Centre (10)Brambuk Centre (3)

And hen the bus drop me off in Ballarat for dinner in a deserted town (brief excitement when we find a curry cafe followed by despair when we find that they’re not actually serving curry) then a bus transfer in Ballarat for our overnight to Adelaide…. aarrghhh… it’s a full bus, and it’s not very comfy….

Hit the Road, Timmy (and Tigger and Snuff)

2 Jan

One of the great journeys in the world is the Great Ocean Road – a stretch of coastline between Melbourne and Adelaide (more accurately between Torquay and Peterborough (trust me, this naming of Australian towns is seriously weirding me out!))

So to get the most out of it, I hopped on a tour from Bunyip Tours. Now, the bunyip is a mythical giant kangaroo creature from aboriginal legend. Although since the aborigines have been in Australia for around 75,000 years, and there are fossil traces of a 3m tall kangaroo creature that are newer than that – well, I’d say that was probably a racia memory. So what, now, of dragons? But is it a good name for a tour company?

Anyway, 21 of us on a bus, first stop the surf stores of Torquay – every surf brand on the planet. I picked up a pair of thongs. Flip flops, rubbah slippahs, Reefs, or whatever else you want to call them… trust me, I’m not going to refer to them as thongs no matter what the Aussies might call them.

Gt Ocean Rd SignOn the BusTigger & Snuff on Tour (3)

And then on to Bell’s Beach, a beautiful surf spot. Fairly calm today, but these can be massive breakers! Quick run down to the beach, photo opportunity, back to the bus (this will be the pattern of the next few days!).

Bells Bay (15)Bells Bay (20)Bells Bay (25)Gt Ocean Rd (49)

Down the coast to Split Point lighthouse, famous for being the lighthouse from children’s TV show ‘Round the Twist’.

Round The Twist Lighthouse (Airey Point) (1)Gt Ocean Rd (33)

Into the picturesque but completely jam packed town of Lorne for a swim in the chilly sea… and then on to Apollo Bay for even more picturesque sea views.

AdamGt Ocean Rd (Lorne) (3)

(That’s Adam, the driver and fount of all knowledge on Australiana)

Overnight we’re at Bimbi Park camping – the park has koalas in the trees, some of whom come down for a wander around at night. Koala mating is quite a noisy business, so it’s not a particularly silent night (late Christmas reference there) but the stars are gorgeous in an inky black sky…

Koalas at Bimpi Park (1) - CropKoalas at Bimpi Park (6)

The next day finds us in the real heart of the Ocean Road… first stop is Gibson Steps, cut into the cliff – the soft limestone cliffs here readily form sea stacks and arches, gorges and islets. The effect is quite stunning…

Gibbson Steps (6)

Gibbson Steps (8)

(Yep, I just found the panorama function)

Gibbson Steps (32)

Gibson Steps simply forms a gentle introduction to the incredible effect of the Twelve Apostles (named to improve tourism). The official count is 8 apostles – the soft limestone erodes and the stacks collapse dramatically.

Now, a warning. This now becomes a series of photographs of impossibly beautiful sea stacks with impossibly beautiful cliffs and impossibly beautiful sea with impossibly beautiful surf, impossibly beautiful jade green sea and impossibly beautiful blue sky. Just thought I’d better let you know.

12 Apostles (9)12 Apostles (12)12 Apostles (21)12 Apostles (22)12 Apostles (27)12 Apostles (32)12 Apostles (5)

Loch Ard gorge tells a different story – of the ship the Loch Ard that ran aground on the rocks (this is called the Shipwreck Coast – out of the shelter created by Tasmania, the swells can run to 30 metres). There are only two survivors – an apprentice seaman, Tom, who is washed to land first. He spots another survivor, holding tight to a bathtub, and swims out to rescue Ellen, a doctor’s daughter on the way to a new life with her family. He revives her with some of the ship’sbrandy, fortuitously washed ashore too, and builds a ladder from the timbers to climb out of the gorge (luckily, we have steps). He sets out for Adelaide but fortunately finds farm hands way before that (just as well, it’s about 30km away). The local press try hard to build a romance out of the whole affair, but they go their separate ways (the romantic version says they did fall in love, but Ellen was not prepared to marry below her status – ouch).


Anyway, back to the road and off to London Bridge. London Bridge, sadly, did fall down a few years back, stranding holidaymakers on the other side. Calls to the police only resulted in the response ‘London Bridge has fallen down? Pull the other one, it has bells on it’ – only actually investigating after a press helicopter flies over. It’s still dramatic and beautiful though – there’s a missing arch on the left of the picture.

London Bridge (1)London Bridge (6)London Bridge (2)London Bridge (4)


And then more stacks, islands and so on at the Bay of Martyrs and the Bay of Islands.

DSCF4331Bay Of Islands (3)Bay Of Islands (4)Bay Of Islands (8)Bay Of Islands (11)

More tomorrow… but that seems like a good place to take a break….

Melbourne–the day in the middle

27 Dec

Thought I’d better do a quick post to fill in the gaps…. So, they threw me out of The Nunnery on Boxing Day (booh, hiss) – unlike one of the other guests, who was ejected for drunken naked revelry on Christmas Day (most un nun-like), they threw me out because they hadn’t got room (too many cricket fans). So down the road to the Collingwood Backpackers… no nuns, low budget but high speed internet! (In Australia, the only way to buy internet access is by bandwidth AND capacity – which is why most hostels charge for internet access.) This hostel simply puts an extra few cents on each nights stay. Very illuminated (and fortunate – it’s a lot further to the library from here).

Now, a word of warning. Just because you’ve found 137-139 Johnston St does NOT mean that you’ve arrived at the right place. Bizarrely, there might just be another 137-139 Johnston St ON THE SAME ROAD but in a different part of town. This is not a good thing to realise while carrying a full backpack.

They do have some fabulous graffiti art here though. Check out this ad for the local Vespa shop (took that for little brother). And for some reason related to some popular game played with a leather ball, some bits of wood and a wooden bat, the locals are very grumpy at the moment, although there have been no attacks on bemused Poms.


Anyway, suitably installed, I took some time out to review my web site ready for launching some new products, events and workshops in 2011… there have been lots of things happening for me over the last couple of weeks that have inspired me to write.. And get ready…

It helps that I found Ta-Co’s Choc Shock Café. This is not good for the wallet or the waistline, but the Chilli Hot Shockolate is incredible (word for the wise – choose ‘medium spicy’), the chocolates are awesome and the churros…. Oh, the churros… That’s knocked the Cubans off the top spot in hot chocolate manufacture…yet another good reason for moving to Melbourne….


Anyway, suitably inspired, I’ve redone my agenda (noticed I can’t count) and finished the first draft of my web site – check out for the latest.

Early morning pickup for the Great Ocean Road to Lorne and then on to Adelaide, re-emerging on Friday for New Year . . . .

PS – I’ve put some thoughts on the Registered Disciple blog on the Path of the Wizard

Tigger and Snuff’s Australian Christmas

26 Dec

It’s Christmas but not as we know it, Tim…

In my 2009 goals I wrote ‘have a different kind of Christmas’. What I MEANT was to have some friends round, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Not spend it half way round the world in the middle of summer.

For the last 10 years Christmas has had a kind of routine to it. Christmas Eve curry with my brother.. Christmas Day walk by the river or in the park… Christmas day lunch on my own (probably – you never know) and then an invasion by my kids later on Christmas Day.

Well, just cause I’m halfway round the world, doesn’t mean I am going to be lonely..and just cause I’m in Australia, it doesn’t mean that routine is going to be different either. So, here are the Christmas adventures of Tim, Tigger and Snuff.

I stop off at Federation Square first for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on the big screen. Christmas Eve is a broadcast transmission in Federation Square – the real thing is happening down the road at the Music Bowl – Carols by Candlelight. I’m a bit perplexed by the football playing magpie (mascot for the local Aussie Rules Football team (rugby hasn’t really caught on in Melbourne yet).

Carols By Candlelight (2)Carols By Candlelight (7)Carols By Candlelight (9)Carols By Candlelight (10)

Lots of fairies and elves in attendance. It’s good fun though, and some of the artistes really get caught up in their songs. Kids entertainers Hi5 put in an appearance, and there are some duelling acoustic guitars to liven up Jingle Bell Rock.

I didn’t plan on being out so late, though, and in search of warmth, Tigger, Snuff and I go off in search of that curry. We find just the thing at FunkyCurry Café.

City SquareFunky Curry (1)Funky Curry (2)

Warmed and refreshed, it’s back to the carols and even more passionate deliveries. And back to the nuns, where the party is in full swing. Well, the drinking game is getting heated, anyway.

Having decided to have a lie in, I am rudely awakened at 7:15 by the Black Eyed Peas. And at 7:20. And 7:25. And 7:30. Someone has it as their alarm tone. Briefly toy with the idea of dropping the phone down the sink. Decide to get up instead.

After breakfast provided by the nuns, and a little reading, meditation an prayer, I wander off for my walk by the river. In this case it’s the River Yarra, and the park is Yarra Park and the Botanical Gardens. Mind you, it’s a long way to St

Yarra River (9)Yarra River (1)

We make a few extra friends along the way . . .

Albert Park (2)Albert Park (4)

. . . And walk by the lake . . .

Albert Park (1)

And arrive at St Kilda. In common with previous Christmas traditions, Christmas dinner is a little late – but I didn’t expect to spend it watching a half naked cricket team wearing Christmas hats, or a equally behatted frisbee competition. Everyone’s out for a picnic.

St Kilda (9)St Kilda (10)

A chance to gaze out to sea

St Kilda (13)

A walk along the pier reveals some cute little penguins hiding in the breakwater…

St Kilda (21)

…and then back to town. I love this city. On Christmas Day, the trams are free . . . And Starbucks (and half of town) is open.

On the tram (2)Starbucks (2)

Back to the nunnery then, and Christmas tea. No trifle, no turkey sandwiches, but a good old English breakfast. Well, I am at the other end of the world, so something’s bound to be back to front.

Merry Christmas, everybody . . . .

24 Dec

So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun….

For me, there really is something spectacularly wonderful about Christmas. I’m the guy who deliberately goes out shopping on Christmas Eve because I love the atmosphere (it’s not so much fun in Melbourne – can’t quite get in the Christmas spirit when it’s bright and sunny)… who gets all sad when the Christmas adverts disappear as soon as the shops shut on Christmas Eve. I’m convinced Santa Claus is still alive and well and planning a comeback tour (that’s OK, but he needs to leave the elves behind). I love the sparkle, the lights, the cuteness of it all… and (in the UK at least) we manage to brighten up a dismal time of year with lights, and tinsel, and angels…


I don’t miss ‘Lonesome this Christmas’ playing on rotation in supermarkets – but I’ll be lining up The Pogues, Wizzard, Slade and all those fabulous Christmas hits (including, to my eternal shame, the ‘Girls Aloud Christmas Bonus CD’). Picnic time for Christmas dinner this year though.

And watching ‘It’s a wonderful life’. On the big screen. Outdoors. Now, if I can just find that Nunnery copy of ‘Love Actually’


Somehow, Christmas is one of those times when the barrier between our usual world and the magical world starts to grow thin – when, somehow, anything might be possible. When it just might be possible for one man to travel round the world in a night and bring hope and happiness around the world. Where it might just be possible to deliver presents down a chimney that’s been blocked for years. Where happiness is real, and love is guaranteed. And where ‘anything is possible’ here might be where love, finally, breaks through. Sure, sometimes Christmas can be a real tough time, putting a huge strain on relationships and bank balances.. And it can be a time when love finally wins through – when we actually try and be kind to each other. And who’s to say that’s not the reality, anyway? So let’s just reach out to one another.. Let’s be kind to each other.. Let’s enjoy each other’s company..

So to all my friends across the world – wherever you find yourselves, whatever you find yourselves doing – I am eternally grateful that you are part of my life in some way. The world is a richer, warmer and more wonderful place simply because you are in it. So, this Christmas, wave that magic wand. Make a difference. Share some love. Make a friend. Reach out to someone. Tell someone you love them. Call someone you haven’t seen for ages. Give someone a hug. Give lots of people hugs. Get good value out of the mistletoe. Forgive people. Love people.

And if that makes you feel good… carry on doing it. Create magic. Create miracles. Bring heaven to earth.

I may be a long way away from many of you (and probably sufficiently close to some others of you that you’re actually starting to get nervous) – but thankyou for who you are. Thankyou for what you’re doing. Thankyou for being part of this wonderful, glorious,beautiful world. And thankyou for being a part of mine.

It’s time for magic . . .

Alton Towers (15)Wizard

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