JB Trip

JB turns up a bit late in his rather battered truck. He always sleeps with his truck when he travels with a consignment. ‘Precious cargo man!’ beats his chest and readjusts his drooping khaki shorts with a wide smile.  ‘Hi JB I’ve been up to the border by car but never all the way to Kampala. It’ll be quite a trip!’ ‘It’ll be a few days over roads that are rough in places and rather precipitous in others’ he warns me. ‘But I’ve made it every time. I’ve not been to the orphanage though but its not too far off the Kampala road. We’ll get there with St Christopher’s help!’ He taps the medallion around his neck.  ‘He’s never let me down. Yet!’  He laughs. ‘Not trouble at the docks. The pick up went through smooth as butter this time! It’s not always that easy.’ I throw my bag onto the wide front seat and pull myself into the truck. It smells of of hot...
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Journey

The journey by road JB turns up a bit late in his rather battered truck. He always sleeps with his truck when he travels with a consignment. ‘Precious cargo man!’ beats his chest and readjusts his drooping khaki shorts with a wide smile.  ‘Hi JB I’ve been up to the border by car but never all the way to Kampala. It’ll be quite a trip!’ ‘It’ll be a few days over roads that are rough in places and rather precipitous in others’ he warns me. ‘But I’ve made it every time. I’ve not been to the orphanage though but its not too far off the Kampala road. We’ll get there with St Christopher’s help!’ He taps the medallion around his neck.  ‘He’s never let me down. Yet!’  He laughs. ‘Not trouble at the docks. The pick up went through smooth as butter this time! It’s not always that easy.’ I throw my bag onto the wide front seat and pull myself into the truck. It smells...
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The Lunatic Line Trip

As we pull away from the station forty-five minutes late the huge blue diesel engine slowly picks up speed. Kampalas flimsy houses begin to crowd in close to the Line. Corrugated-roof slums with ragged children wave. Everyone we see turns towards the train and smiles. I return the smiles and waves, but the scene passed as quickly With the briefest glance back and a twinge of privilege-induced guilt, I return to my own personal reality - a bell-boy summoning First and Second Class passengers to the dining car. Local passengers are few and there are only a few passionate train enthusiasts. I hadn’t quite realised that riding on the Lunatic line would be a five hundred-mile trip.  The narrow-gauge track journey is twenty-three hours long. The scene is something from a 1940's black and white movie. Waiters hovered around the tables in starched almost-white uniforms and serve luncheon from once-gleaming silver platters. With a great sweep of his huge hands and a broad...
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Stones

She  skip round the lonely stones She’s looking round the lone grey stones Livein’ the dream now She steps on confetti  Damp from the night before Sadly bright some how some how Was yesterday she took her vow Many years away From confetti falling falling day Where has she been She lives in a dream Waits at the window A woman who keeps her face in a jar And waits for the man in his bright red car Where does she come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong? Nobody knows Where is she going Where the wind blows Blows blows she knows the blows So what does she care? Swirling confetti is bright It is bright But not in the darkness Not in the night And yet in the morning he says its alright she walks in the door not keeping score She dances around the stone - the stone She dances around the standing stone And plays a game of ‘not alone’ Heart beating and breaking Mending and making The word spins around Confetti is falling Swirling and spinning As she whirls around The world spins around...
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Orphans

Sometimes I think mum loves O’Mally more than Dad She’s so down on Dad. I just can’t work out why. I hear them shouting in the night. I think she maybe hates him.  At Sunday school they say to love mum and dad.  But I don’t see dad much he’s always off on jobs.  Some Sundays he lets me sit in the drivers seat and work the wheel when he’s mending the car.  I look at all the dials and numbers and stuff and work the nob stick back and forth.  He whistles tunes while he’s fixing the underneath. In the side mirror I see his legs sticking out. He lets me look under the bonnet sometimes too.  I love the workshop mix of smells. I sniff the cans when he’s not looking. ‘They don’t make them like this anymore’ he says. I wonder why they don’t and who ‘they’ are. But I don’t dare ask him. Mum keeps having accidents. Getting bashed by a kitchen cupboard door and giving herself...
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Phone

40 Return to the Orphanage I am doing a behind the counter stint afternoon at Hassocks and Cassocks shop. Nobody has entered the shop in the last two hours. I flick a large fly off my hand written accounts note book. I find myself beginning to worry about the orphanage consignment. It should have arrived for pick up by now. I ring the container shipment guy who tells me there were hold ups in the Gulf but the offload is expected in Mombasa any time soon.  Reaching for the counter phone I ring our van man JonB to put him on standby. He is our go-to delivery guy who picks up our Far East consignments from the docks in Kilindini Harbour. His wife makes a living running up sets robes for the numerous charismatic churches in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. We use her for making some of our more targeted stuff for the East African market.  Much of the rest comes as standard...
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Grandma’s House

When the Supa arrives in Kampala he decides to go to take a look at the old family house. He strides out of Kampala station with a purposeful air. The childhood memories of the house on the wide track off Bukasa South come thick and fast.  He smiles as he remembers playing in his grandmas colourful garden with his cousins running and tagging around the banana trees. His little cousin Caffetti with her shining eyes and huge watermelon smile. The Supa frowns as he realised he has lost touch with his cousins and knows that no one was left to ask where in the world they were now. As he rounds the corner the Supa is shocked to see several army vehicles that are parked against the homestead fences. He looks over the fence of the old house and sees it has been cleared into a small parade ground. A group of soldiers lounge on the veranda, their guns propped against grandmas...
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Uriel Name

Sculpting our inner Life  Only the light within our soul can be with God - all that is not light - the rest - will drop away. What is not spiritual light cannot reach the heavenly realm - love in all it’s forms is the material  with which we create the our spiritual selves. It is a soul sculpture because all else drops away - only the pure light form of our spiritual selves can be with God. ——————————————————— O’Mallys voice booms out over the dark heads of his congregation. His tiered pulpit towers above them. O’Mally loves sermonising best of all. ‘This week we have been celebrating Michaelmas. The Feast of All Angels also known as Michaelmas Includes Gods special angels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and of course Uriel  Thus begins O’Mally’s old hat  —tick box Michaelmas sermon. A sermon which he transplants on the same Sunday every year of his priesthood. Starting with his early parish life in Shropshire to his church in the centre of...
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The lunatic Line

The Supa’s family have a tale passed down through the generations of a very great great and venerable Grampa who helped build the railway along the Rift Vally escarpment. It is said that he was sleeping he was pulled out of a railway box car by lions one night and was never seen again. The boy never forgot the goose bumps he felt as his grandpa told the tale around the camp fire in the relative safety of their small Kampala garden. There is no doubt that from that time onwards the Supa loved trains. The Lunatic Line Poem written out by his Grandma was nailed to his bedroom wall. When he is quite young she takes him on the two night trip down to Mombassa. He remembers her laughter when he asks  ‘Why the windows have EAR written on them.Grandma?’ She tells him about an artist who cut off his ear.and sent it to a friend.  ‘I think he did it because...
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Lines of Blood -the cheque

I get a message to pick up a registered letter from the central Nairobi postal service in Kenyatta Square. I decide to walk. As I turn into the main street my senses turn cartwheels as I encounter the riot of colour, noise and dusty aroma of down town Nairobi. The post office is ‘manned’ by a small woman in blue uniform. She is in a visibly padlocked kiosk surrounded by lockers. I give her the number and after a few minutes she returns with the registered envelope with Bishop Raith’s impressive bishops mitre logo on the front. ‘We don’t handle  many of these, sir.’ Her mouth splits into an impossibly wide white teeth smile. Kenyan  ‘Thank you’ I reply with a smile as I try to fit the larger than average vellum envelope into my jacket pocket. ‘Neither do I,’I reply with a nod and a slight wink. I suddenly worry if this is inappropriate these days but she keeps smiling. Luckily most Kenyan...
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