Book Excerpt.

No context…

The Nine Amendments.

Chapter 6

The real estate industry has three axioms. These are: location, location, location. The current Consul General, Bishop Statelee Holmes also had a similar number of axioms: me first, me first and me first.

On his arrival in Sunniclimes his first duty of office was to find one. And a building to surround it.

Introduced to the owner of Singoli’s most prestigious real estate firm, Mudhuts & Mansions, the pair set out on a tour of suitable premises. Ever mindful of the Church’s humble origins Holmes shied away from anything ostentatious. After a morning of house hunting he settled for a very humble building in the Red-Candle district.

‘Er . . . are you sure, Your Reference?’ enquired Al Pleurotremata, in broken Judysearan.

‘Positive. This will do fine. Thank you.’

‘But Your Enemance, this area has a . . . reputation.’

‘Splendid! Then it will be perfect for our church as, like us, it is reputable.’

‘It is not that kind of rep—.’  He stopped. ‘On second thoughts, Your Irreverence is absolutely right. This will suit your church down to the ground.’

Bishop Holmes was over the moon with the purchase and the money he saved went a long way towards aiding his quest for spiritual enlightenment. In the space of a few months’, part of that enlightenment included the makings of a very fine wine collection.

He made the magnanimous decision to donate several bottles to the Church for communion purposes upon his return to Judysear.

The building, like every other in Petticoat Street had little to offer in terms of salubrious accommodation. But it did provide good views. Always a plus in the world of real estate.

The views in question while not exactly scenic were, because of the buildings proximity to each other, and depending on one’s viewpoint, obscenic.

In fact, so close together were they that, on several occasions, Bishop Holmes had been woken in the dead of night by a semi-naked man jumping across his bed. And said man was often being pursued by a woman in an equal state of undress screaming for money.

Iron bars on all the upstairs windows had soon solved this problem. It had not impressed several semi-naked men. Unaware of the iron bars, they had some explaining to do to their wives from their hospital beds. Not least, how come the housekeeping money was short this week and why their arms or legs were broken?

The Ark

Copyright DSP 2013

Dr Feelgood – She does it right.

Here’s a band that not many people may remember.

They had a minimalist sound which they exploited to the full.  I thought they were brilliant.

The guitarist, Wilko Johnson is almost a legend, and he moved around the stage like a clockwork mouse.

Time for dinner.

It’s all double-dutch to moi?

Smile. I had a feeling this would happen. My post,Cruising the blogs which was little more than a sentence, has sparked one of those meandering posts that could go on for ever.

Having Neuronotes, Roughseas and Arch on the same page is a recipe for a long conversation.

And Sonel hasn’t even arrived yet. I am getting out early.

No problemo! This is what blogging is about; com-mun-i-cation.

Anyhow, as the post has sparked a conversation about dyslexia, this short extract seems appropriate.

From the book The Nine Amendments.

Context ( or Tish will give me funny looks)

Dyslexic prophet Mo Sez has climbed to the summit of Mount Sinaisitus to await a ride home from a very special ship. He has been followed by a small band who think he is a tomb raider dressed as a Mummy. This intrepid group includes the ruler of Sunniclimes, Toot at the Moon,his guard Captain, Al Falfa, Minister Abduller, Isack Knewtun and two twins Dick and Sean.

‘Ah, we’ll have company soon,’ said Mo looking skyward. He began to sing along while conducting an invisible orchestra: ‘Do, do, dah, dah, do. Dah, dah, do, do dah.’

There was some more furious starring.

‘Ahem … anyway, that noise will soon drive us all nuts so . . .’ He reached out and pushed something on the sceptre. There was a click. ‘Mute button. It’s okay, they can still hear it. It acts as a relay from the distress beacon.’

‘They?’ said Toot at the Moon.

Mo made an upward motion with his thumb.

‘You seem very sure that we are soon to get a visit from the gods,’ said Toot at the Moon, smiling benignly.

‘Gods.  Quite.  Listen.  I think now would be a good time to explain a few things concerning gods,’ Mo began. ‘You see, it’s like this. I do, or at least have done on occasion suffered from dyslexia.’

‘Yes?’ said Toot at the Moon.

‘Er, you know what that word means, I suppose?’

‘May I, sir?’ Al Falfa asked. The king nodded. ‘My late mother suffered from it. It got so bad we had to put her in an institution, I’m afraid.’

‘I didn’t realise,’ said the king. ‘Why didn’t you say something, Captain? We would have seen she received help.’

‘Thank you, sir. But it was while I was still young. My father didn’t know what else to do with her.’

Mo frowned. ‘Hold on a moment. No one gets put in an institution because of dyslexia.’

‘Oh, we had to. Couldn’t have her running around naked like that. It was too terrible.’

‘What are you talking about; dyslexia is a learning disorder!’ Mo exclaimed.

‘I know,’ Al Falfa agreed earnestly. ‘No matter how many times my father dressed her she never learned to keep her clothes on. As soon as his back was turned, she would strip down to her underwear and run out into the street. Often he wasn’t quick enough and by the time he caught her she had discarded the rest of her attire.’

‘Shame, Captain. I’m sorry,’ the king added in a sympathetic voice.

‘Thank you, Your Majesty. But it’s behind us now. We don’t bring it up any more.’

Abduller was nodding in agreement but Isack had a feeling Al Falfa had misunderstood.

‘Wait, for the gods’ sake. When I said learning disorder I meant it’s to do with reading. How a person sees words,’ Mo explained.

‘Words? Are you sure?’ Al Falfa asked.

‘Yes. Of course, I’m sure.  Whatever it was your mother had, it was not dyslexia. Sounds more like senility, if anything.’

‘Oh.  So you say,’ Al Falfa retorted.

‘Yes. I do. When a person suffering from dyslexia looks at a word, he sometimes reads it backwards. Why do you think the sign on my tomb says Om?’

‘Ah. I see!’ said Sean, realisation dawning. ‘So you’d be okay when you call to your mum, but she’d get confused if you said you were going for a parc.’

‘You go to the park, not for a park. And why would she get confused if you told her you were going to the park? said Dick. ‘Besides—

‘I am trying to explain about gods, for gods’ sake. Now will you lot listen?’ Mo interrupted. Six heads turned. ‘Thank you. What I am about to tell you will, I’m sure, come as a bit of a shock but,’ he took a breath, ‘there are no gods.’

The Ark

Copyright©2013. DSP

I’m off for my dinner. T’ra.

Nite, Nite. You Overwhelm me. Robert Palmer.

Everyone should have a song…

The first album of Robert Palmer’s I bought was Double Fun. I had never listened to the man before, although I knew he had been a guitarist and singer for the band Vinegar Joe in the early seventies.

I picked the the cassette up merely out of curiosity because I recognised the name and bought it on the strength of the old kinks song, You Really Got Me.

It turned out to be one of my favorite albums of all time.


When Robert Palmer passed away a few years back I was numb for nearly a week. I hadn’t felt like that about a musician since I was a young kid and read of Hendrix’ death.

It was three months before my twelve month contract in Johannesburg was up. I’d had a ball. It had taken a month to get used to but after that  – great fun. A real gas. Three months left. I’d already secured my next assignment; a seven month Scandinavian Cruise, and after that Bermuda was on the cards.

The world was my ‘shellfish’, as Terry Pratchett says.

Three months. Just three months and I’d be on the other side of the world.

Then she walked into the salon and asked for a haircut …

The Ark.

Nite, NIite.

Boing! Spring has Sprung

Morning Campers …

At our spot there is a Wild Plum tree by the front gate and we watch every year for the first buds to appear. And every year – so far – it catches us unaware until someone in the family say , ‘Hey, have you seen the plum tree?’

plum tree

Already, this past week, the days are a bit sunnier, a bit warmer; enough for some to chill outside.


‘Not now, Ark, I’m catching up on my tan.’

Things are beginning to peek up or peek out all over the garden.


3 daffs

It is still a few months before we get any decent rains, but they’re coming!

bee 3

‘Hmm, what’s in here, I wonder, bzzzzz ?’

And for some, love is in the air

kiss 1

‘Give us a kiss then’ 

Watch the birdies …

I was sitting on the stoep this morning munching my cornflakes and having a coffee while watching the world – as one does, right? when I heard the familiar call of a Hadeda Ibis as it landed on the roof.
Putting down my coffee I wandered to the garden, camera in hand, and there on the roof was the Hadeda in question.
1 Hadeda

I took a photo and went back to my coffee. Then I heard more calls.
And when I walked to the garden again I saw this …

3 Hadeda

By the time I had refocused the number had gone up…

4 Hadeda

and a minute later one more joined the party …

5 Hadeda

Then the dogs came woofing around the corner and they all took flight!

Book Excerpt.

The Nine Amendments.


Chapter 2

Ernie Albertstein sat on his cab waiting for his next fare. Wrapped up against the night chill in a thick, full-length overcoat, woollen bobble-hat and mittens, he often took such opportunities to catch a nap between hectic driving schedules. In Ernie’s case, this could mean several hours.

Ernie epitomised everything that Bat out of Hell taxis was not.

For instance, there were no stripes painted down the side of his cab to make it go faster which, contrary to what all the other, much younger drivers told him, didn’t really. And he never saw the need for one of them new-fangled, garish-coloured furry feedbags. Nor did he have a caged songbird fixed to the jump board.    Entertainment for the fares, they said.  Some of the drivers had even taken to having a vicious dog ride shotgun. For security, they said. Ernie had no need for woofers and tweeters.

And the furry feedbag always looked like the horse was munching on some sort of exotic cat having a very bad hair day. The old leather feedbag his horse, Daisy, used was quite all right, thank you very much. Couldn’t have the old girl thinking she was in some hallucinogenic nightmare.

‘Evening, Ernie,’ Isack greeted the elderly driver.

‘Snaffelummf,’ Ernie grumbled in his sleep, brushing away a non-existent insect from his greying moustache.

Something fell from Ernie’s lap and landed on the street.

‘Oops,’ said Isack looking down at the remains of the old man’s supper.

Isack placed his hand on Ernie’s right knee and gently shook the old man.

‘You can take your hand off my leg, Isack Knewtun.  I won’t be buttered up by a quick feel, by the likes of you. I don’t paddle up stream, as well you know.’

‘Your wife would find out anyway, Ernie. Women know these things, so I’ve heard.’

‘I wasn’t referring to men. I meant undertakers. My number’s far from up and I don’t want to go pre-empting anything. Not at my time of life.’

Isack laughed. ‘Glad to see you’re awake.’

‘Am now, no thanks to you.’

Isack drew the man’s attention to the remains of his meal, now lying in a puddle of muddy water by the carriage’s right front wheel.

‘Sorry, Ernie,’ he apologised.

‘Hmmf. No great loss. Can’t stand meatloaf anyways.’

The Ark

Copyright ©2013 DSP

Win! Creation ‘science’ banned in UK state-funded nurseries


You want to know why I utterly despise religion?
Go read Johnny’s outstanding blog and recognise the sterling work this man is doing.
This is what the insidious, sick-minded religious are trying to do to kids.

I don’t care what form of god-belief you believe in, you can stick it in your ear.

Originally posted on Leaving Fundamentalism:

The headline of Friday’s Daily Telegraph screamed “Toddlers at risk from extremists“. The British Education Secretary has announced plans to ban teaching creationism is publicly-funded nurseries.

What it didn’t say is that, although the British Humanist Association (BHA) was the most prominent campaigner against creationism in nurseries, this was originally the subject of a letter-writing campaign by the readers of Leaving Fundamentalism. But I know you wrote the letters, so thank you.

We won.

Here’s a brief history of what has happened, and what it means. More importantly, an article in the TES last week may explain why ACE schools have been able to get away with so much.

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